Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Good and bad (Score 1) 352

Two things:

1. Great, I want all the data on how to make an atom bomb provided in a neat easy to use format.

2. I accept that the viewer is ultimately responsible for their own due diligence, but why am I paying for a newspaper if the media aren't being held to reasonable standards of diligence?

Comment Re:Sudden Outbreak of Common Sense (Score 1) 352

Asking a scientist to show you their data before they have had a chance to analyse it is like asking a novelist to show you their storyline notes before the book is written. Or asking an office worker or government official to show you an incomplete report.

Generating the data is part of a process. You wouldn't interrupt any other professional half way through a major project and demand they give you what they've got and then judge them on it.

'Hey builder, I've paid for the frame you've built for my house. Now, despite our contract, for you to build me a house, I'm going to demand that you give me the frame, so I can get someone else to finish it. No, it doesn't matter if you've already bought the bricks, or if you already understand the plans, I'm sure someone else can do just as good a job.'

Please, give me a break. Scientists are paid to generate science, not data!

Comment Re:I'm afraid of generalization (Score 1) 240

If google owns a copy of each book they want to scan, then I think it's fair for them to maintain a scanned copy under fair use. Same as if I own a CD, I should be able to make an mp3 to keep as a back up. However, if they don't own a copy or haven't been given permission, then that's the same as me going to the video store, hiring a video and making a copy to show my friends after I've returned the original (not allowed).

Submission + - Can a Computer Finally Pass the Turing Test? (hplusmagazine.com) 2

An anonymous reader writes: "Why not develop music in ways unknown...? If beauty is present, it is present." That's Emily Howell talking — a music-composing computer program written in Lisp by a Santa Cruz professor. Classical musicians refuse to perform Emily's musical compositions, and the professor says they believe "the creation of music is innately human, and somehow this computer program was a threat...to that unique human aspect of creation." But Emily raises a disturbing question. With the ability to write music even classical purists can't distinguish from the compositions of humans, have we already reached the moment where a computer can pass for human? (The article includes a sample of her music, plus her intriguing haiku-like responses to queries. "I am not sad. I am not happy. I am Emily... Life and un-life exist. We coexist.")

Submission + - Can Science Explain Heaven?

Hugh Pickens writes: "Lisa Miller writes in Newsweek about the thesis that heaven is not a real place, or even a process or a supernatural event but that heaven is something that happens in your brain as you die. The thesis is based, in part, on a growing body of research around near-death experience (NDE). According to a 2000 article by Bruce Greyson in The Lancet, between 9 and 18 percent of people who have been demonstrably near death report having had a NDE and surveys of NDE accounts show great similarities in the details describing — like some religious visionaries — a tunnel, a light, a gate, or a door, a sense of being out of the body, meeting people they know or have heard about, finding themselves in the presence of God, and then returning, changed. Andrew Newberg, an associate professor in the radiology department at the University of Pennsylvania, believes the "tunnel" and "light" phenomena can be explained easily. As your eyesight fades, you lose the peripheral areas first, he hypothesizes. "That's why you'd have a tunnel sensation." If you see a bright light, that could be the central part of the visual system shutting down last. Scientists have theorized that NDEs occur as a kind of physiological self-defense mechanism when, in order to guard against damage during trauma, the brain releases protective chemicals that also happen to trigger intense hallucinations. This theory has gained traction after scientists realized that virtually all the features of an NDE can be reproduced with a stiff dose of ketamine, a short-acting, hallucinogenic, dissociative anaesthetic. "I came out into a golden Light. I rose into the Light and found myself having an unspoken interchange with the Light, which I believed to be God," wrote one user of his experience under ketamine. "Dante said it better," writes Miller, "but the vision is astonishingly the same.""

Submission + - US Judge Rules Human Genes Can't be Patented (feministing.com)

kandela writes: A feministing blogger has comprehensive coverage of the decision by U.S. federal district court Judge Robert Sweet that human genes cannot be patented. "The judge declared that all 15 patent claims that [were] challenged are invalid, based on the fact that they cover products of nature and abstract ideas. He wrote in his decision: 'The resolution of these motions is based upon long recognized principles of molecular biology and genetics: DNA represents the physical embodiment of biological information, distinct in its essential characteristics from any other chemical found in nature. It is concluded that DNA's existence in an "isolated" form alters neither this fundamental quality of DNA as it exists in the body nor the information it encodes. Therefore, the patents at issue directed to "isolated DNA" containing sequences found in nature are unsustainable as a matter of law and are deemed unpatentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. 101.'" The blogger goes on to declare the result a victory for scientific freedom and women's health.

Submission + - 3-D in a 3-inch screen (skunkpost.com)

crimeandpunishment writes: You can get a crisp, clear 3-D image without wearing those annoying glasses. But it's only on a 3-inch screen, and you have to hold it a foot away from your face. Sharp is showing off its latest 3-D displays, demonstrating liquid crystal screens for mobile devices.

Slashdot Top Deals

Prototype designs always work. -- Don Vonada