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Space

New Theory of Gravity Decouples Space & Time 575

eldavojohn writes "Petr Horava, a physicist at the University of California in Berkeley, has a new theory about gravity and spacetime. At high energies, it actually snips any ties between space and time, yet at low energies devolves to equivalence with the theory of General Relativity, which binds them together. The theory is gaining popularity with physicists because it fits some observations better than Einstein's or Newton's solutions. It better predicts the movement of the planets (in an idealized case) and has a potential to create the illusion of dark matter. Another physicist calculated that under Horava Gravity, our universe would experience not a Big Bang but a Big Bounce — and the new theory reproduces the ripples from such an event in a way that matches measurements of the cosmic microwave background."
Privacy

Submission + - Sears leaps into the spyware business (theregister.co.uk)

Gandalf_the_Beardy writes: The Register reports that Havard researcher Ben Edelman claims Sears Holding Corp — owners of Sears and Roebuck and of KMart has been tracking peoples online browsing after loading Sears provided software From the article "...Sears Holding Corporation, owner of Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart, makes the pitch in an email sent to people shortly after they provide their address at Sears.com. Clicking the "Join" button invokes a dialog that requests the person's name, address and household size before installing ComScore spyware that monitors every site visited on the computer..." The alleged spyware's tracking activity was disclosed — on page 10 of a 54 page document. Sears alleges they have done nothing wrong saying the retailer "..goes to great lengths to describe the tracking aspect" of the software. He also claims a progress bar during the installation of the software gives users an easy way to back out if they change their mind..."
Biotech

Submission + - Larger human brain led to larger penis (pressesc.com) 2

Anonymous Coward writes: "The human penis is comparatively larger than that of the other great apes because of our comparatively larger brains, gynecologist Edwin A. Bowman explains in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. Through millions of years evolution the infant babies' skulls became larger in order to accommodate bigger brains, explained Dr. Bowman. This in turn led to a female pelvis become larger to allow women to give birth to children with larger brains, and this led to the female vagina also becoming less tight."
Power

Submission + - Toshiba Micro Nuclear Reactor for Apt Buildings

ardent99 writes: Toshiba has developed a new class of micro size Nuclear Reactors that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. The new reactor, which is only 20 feet by 6 feet, could change everything for small remote communities, small businesses or even a group of neighbors who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs.

The 200 kilowatt Toshiba designed reactor is engineered to be fail-safe and totally automatic and will not overheat. Unlike traditional nuclear reactors the new micro reactor uses no control rods to initiate the reaction. The new revolutionary technology uses reservoirs of liquid lithium-6, an isotope that is effective at absorbing neutrons. The Lithium-6 reservoirs are connected to a vertical tube that fits into the reactor core. The whole whole process is self sustaining and can last for up to 40 years, producing electricity for only 5 cents per kilowatt hour, about half the cost of grid energy.

Toshiba expects to install the first reactor in Japan in 2008 and to begin marketing the new system in Europe and America in 2009.
Education

Submission + - A Master's Degree in Intelligent Design (chron.com)

ParanoidDrunkard writes: "The Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research is seeking state approval to grant an online master's degree in science education to prepare teachers to "understand the universe within the integrating framework of Biblical creationism," according to the school's mission statement. Last week, an advisory council made up of university educators voted to recommend the program for approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, sparking an outcry among science advocates who have fended off attempts by religious groups to insert creationism into Texas classrooms. But students and faculty must profess faith in a literal translation of Biblical creation — that God created the world in six days and made humans and animals in their current life forms; that the Earth is only thousands of years old; and the fossil record is the result of a global flood described in the Bible, according to the Web site. Is this another attempt to validate intelligent design as a science?"
Education

Submission + - Prank led school to punish 2 students with shocks

ardent99 writes: Two special education students at the controversial Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton were wrongfully delivered dozens of punishing electrical shocks in August based on a prank phone call from a former student posing as a supervisor, a state investigative report has found.

The Judge Rotenberg center, which serves about 250 adults and children from across the country, has been under fire for more than two decades for its unorthodox behavior-modification treatments, including electric shock treatments.
Government

Submission + - Guantanamo deleted detainee IDs from Wikipedia (ljsf.org) 1

James Hardine writes: The New York Times and The Inquirer are reporting that Wikileaks, the transparency group that published two manuals leaked from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba earlier this month has now caught US armed forces personnel there conducting propaganda attacks over the Internet. The activities uncovered by Wikileaks include deleting Guantanamo detainees' ID numbers from Wikipedia, posting of self-praising comments on news websites in response to negative articles, promoting pro-Guantanamo stories on the Internet news focus website Digg, and even altering Wikipedia's entry on Cuban President Fidel Castro to describe him as "an admitted transexual". Guantanamo spokesman Lt. Col. Bush blasted Wikileaks for identifying one "mass communications officer" by name, who has since received death threats for "simply doing his job — posting positive comments on the Internet about Gitmo". In response Wikileaks has posted independent confirmation of their analysis by security expert Bruce Schneier.
Programming

Submission + - Is wasting time or goofing off "productive?

mlwmohawk writes: Now be honest, how many hours a "work day" do you spend surfing the net, talking with others, fiddling with computer settings, or just plain spacing out? Its a lot isn't it!

Now, do you think it is a necessary function of programming i.e. just a cost of business or is it just what it seems, goofing off?
Privacy

Submission + - Porn sites hold users hostage (yahoo.com)

Technical Writing Geek writes: "Now comes a scheme some researchers say amounts to extortion: One site's threat to disable visitors' computers with relentless pop-up ads if they don't pay for a subscription they were automatically signed up for after a free trial.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071128/ap_on_hi_te/tech_bits_porn_site_extortion;_ylt="

The Internet

Submission + - Monster.com Attack, User Data Stolen (bbc.co.uk)

Placid writes: "The BBC has an article detailing a successful attack on the US recruitment site, Monster.com. According to the article, "A computer program was used to access the employers' section of the website using stolen log-in credentials" and that the stolen details were "uploaded to a remote web server". Apparently, this remote server "held over 1.6 million entries with personal information belonging to several hundred thousands of candidates, mainly based in the US, who had posted their resumes to the Monster.com website". The article also links the break-in to a phishing e-mail sent out recently where personal details were used to entice users to download a "Monster Job Seeker Tool".

What does this mean for spam? Will we now be inundated with job requests for pharmaceutical companies and African investment opportunities?...Oh, wait..."

Announcements

Submission + - Zinc lozenges an ineffective treatment for colds 1

ardent99 writes: A new study (a meta-study?) shows that most of the past studies about the effectiveness of treating colds with zinc are severely flawed. The article finds that despite 20 years of research, the benefits of zinc lozenges as a therapy for the common cold have not been proven. A new study, published in the Sept. 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, currently available online, reviews the 14 placebo-controlled studies from the past two decades and finds significant fault with 10 of the studies. Of the four remaining studies, three reported no therapeutic effect from zinc lozenge or nasal spray, and one study reported positive results from zinc nasal gel.
Privacy

Submission + - Unencrypted passwords at "secure" sites 1

linear a writes: I've noticed that quite a few web sites do *not* encrypt user passwords. I've gotten into the habit of hitting the "email me my password" from them to see what happens. So far I've found maybe 6 that must store passwords in clear since they were able to return the original password back to me. Clearly this is Bad Security Practice. Also, I've had notably bad progress when I ask them to fix this practice. Some of these are sites one would clearly expect to have better security (e.g., a software vendor and an online bank). Do you have thoughts on how to better encourage better password practice at these places? Also, is this is really as common as it seems to be for me?
Security

Submission + - CIA Declassifies the "Family Jewels"

An anonymous reader writes: The CIA has recently declassified some records relating to illegal spying, assassination attempts, and other goodies for afternoon reading. These are available from the CIA's FOIA portal
From the article:
Last week, CIA chief Michael Hayden announced the decision to declassify the records, saying the documents were "unflattering but part of CIA history".
The documents detail assassination plots, domestic spying, wiretapping, and kidnapping.
The incidents include:
* the confinement of a Soviet KGB defector, Yuriy Ivanovich Nosenko, in the mid-1960s
* attempts to use a suspected Mafia mobster, Johnny Roselli, in a plot to assassinate Cuba's Fidel Castro
* the wiretapping and surveillance of journalists, including in 1972 columnist Jack Anderson who broke a string of scandals
Spam

Submission + - Spammers spamming using our addresses

Vesty writes: "I recently enabled a catchall on our domain while our company transitioned to a new website. I didn't want emails going astray etc while things changed over... Recently I've noticed that on the catchall I get a LOT of 'delivery failure' and similar emails, that are all being returned to the same non active alias. After a bit of digging I discovered that about half a dozen different companies spam has been being sent using an alias at our domain as their from address. I've been slowly attempting to call each of the companies, most are extremely shady, occasionally I get a real person that supposedly knows nothing about it. It seems to me that each of these companies has farmed out there 'advertising' to the same third party that is using our address as their from address. I'm sure this has happened to other people, what can we do to stop it? With the amount of spam these fools send I'm worried that any email from our domain will automatically be treated as spam... Anyone have any suggestions? Are they breaking any laws?"
United States

Submission + - Bush Tells Agencies to Ignore Laws

ardent99 writes: President Bush has used signing statements to instruct federal agencies in the executive branch to disobey the law. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office has studied a small sample of recently passed laws for which Bush has issued signing statements, and found that under presidential advisement, 6 of 19 laws have been disobeyed, 10 were enforced as written, and 3 have not yet been found applicable. Bush believes that as president it is his prerogative to set aside laws.

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