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Opossums Overrun Brooklyn, Fail To Eliminate Rats 343

__roo writes "In a bizarre case of life imitates the Simpsons, New York City officials introduced a population of opossums into Brooklyn parks and under the boardwalk at Coney Island, apparently convinced that the opossums would eat all of the rats in the borough and then conveniently die of starvation. Several years later, the opossums have not only failed to eliminate the rat epidemic from New York City, but they have thrived, turning into a sharp-toothed, foul-odored epidemic of their own."

Comment I'll believe it (Score 1) 240

I'll believe it when I see a successive series of releases supporting Linux, rather than one-off updates, especially with regards to security updates. Plus all the stuff about "well Linux isn't standard so we'll implement stuff only for Windows" makes it even more clear that Flash needs to be replaced unless they show results regarding supporting all platforms equally.

Comment Tough (Score 1, Insightful) 870

1. Tell the students "Tough!". You don't need a calculator!
2. The best way I've seen professors handle this is to design the questions to only require basic math knowledge, or only require answers that don't require extensive calculations. Make it so that if they are correctly arriving at the answer, the math is stupidly easy.
3. Tough about the English requirement. You are in the USA, and our language is English. And in a physics class, there shouldn't be that much to look up anyways. If you must have a dictionary, you can buy really cheap paperback ones. You think I get access to a dictionary when I take a test, or any book for that matter? NO!

No test should ever need a calculator if setup properly. It should only require basic math skills. If it must require knowledge of square roots and such, make a table available or make it so that the final calculations are ridiculously easy (like square root of 9). You are testing physics concepts, not math. And if you can't handle basic math and basic English, how did they ever get into college in the first place?

Image

Woman Wins Libel Suit By Suing Wrong Website 323

An anonymous reader writes "It appears that Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader Sarah Jones and her lawyer were so upset by a comment on the site TheDirty.com that they missed the 'y' at the end of the name. Instead, they sued the owner of TheDirt.com, whose owner didn't respond to the lawsuit. The end result was a judge awarding $11 million, in part because of the failure to respond. Now, both the owners of TheDirty.com and TheDirt.com are complaining that they're being wrongfully written about in the press — one for not having had any content about Sarah Jones but being told it needs to pay $11 million, and the other for having the content and having the press say it lost a lawsuit, even though no lawsuit was ever actually filed against it."

Comment Re:UFFSA (Score 0) 637

Back in the mid 90's I was detained at the Canadian border for 2-3 hours (I was driving into Canada) while on a camping trip. I had just graduated from college, and decided to go camping in North Dakota and Southern Canada just for fun. I was stopped, taken upstairs, repeatedly asked questions where a customs offer would come in the room, ask me if I had ever been to prison, been in front of a judge, how much money did I have, did I have a job, etc. She would leave for a few minutes, would come back and ask me similar to identical questions while typing on her computer, leave and come back...repeated for almost 2 hours. Then they took me down to my truck and searched everything, took apart my camping equipment, took a keen interest in my first aid kit, but found nothing (there was nothing to find) and let me go. I was detained for 2-3 hours just because.

On my way back into the USA, they barely batted an eye.

Comment Re:TI Should really let them be hacked (Score 0) 234

Agreed. I can see the usefulness of a basic calculator for math and simple operations, which can be found in extremely cheap china versions for less than $1 each. One solution my professors had for the complicated calculations problems on exams was to make the math extremely easy, as what they were testing was your ability to do the calculation, not whether you could calculate 1.84523*32.344/422.33... so they'd make it into a problem where the math was more like 2*6/4.

Comment TI Should really let them be hacked (Score 1, Insightful) 234

What if the kids did hack their calculators, install inappropriate notes, and cheat on their exams? It would be inconvenient for the teachers to reflash/reformat/reset each calculator, and be sure that the student wasn't still cheating. The teacher's only solution would be to purchase additional TI calculators for exam purposes only. A win-win for TI!

Biotech

How a Key Enzyme Repairs Sun-Damaged DNA 97

BraveHeart writes "Researchers have long known that mammals, including humans, lack a key enzyme — one possessed by most of the animal kingdom and even plants — that reverses severe sun damage. For the first time, researchers have witnessed how this enzyme works at the atomic level to repair sun-damaged DNA. 'Normal sunscreen lotions convert UV light to heat, or reflect it away from our skin. A sunscreen containing photolyase could potentially heal some of the damage from UV rays that get through.'"
Communications

Amateur Radio In the Backcountry? 376

bartle writes "I spend a lot of time hiking in the Colorado Rockies. Cell phone reception is very unreliable and I'm curious if carrying a small amateur radio would make any sense at all. I don't want to add too much weight to my pack; from what I gather, a radio weighing a pound would give me at most 5 to 10 watts of transmitting power. I have no idea if this is enough to be effective in a mountainous region, and I'm hoping some experienced Slashdot hams could give me a clue. I'm only interested in acquiring a radio and license if it is a lot more effective and reliable than the cell phone I already carry. Otherwise I'll just wait for Globalstar to bring back their duplex service and buy a next-generation SPOT messaging device. (I know some Slashdotters will want to suggest a modern SPOT or Personal Locator Beacon; these are suitable for the worst kinds of emergencies, but I'll point out that reliable communication can help prevent small crises from becoming big ones.) Are small amateur radios effective in the field, or are vehicle rigs really the only way to go? Or am I better off just waiting for satellite?"
Government

US Senate Passes 'Libel Tourism' Bill 467

Hugh Pickens writes "AFP reports that the US Senate has passed (by a 'unanimous consent' voice vote) a bill that prevents US federal courts from recognizing or enforcing a foreign judgment for defamation that is inconsistent with the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech. If the bill becomes law it will shield US journalists, authors, and publishers from 'libel tourists' who file suit in countries where they expect to get the most favorable ruling. 'While we cannot legislate changes to foreign law that are chilling protected speech in our country, we can ensure that our courts do not become a tool to uphold foreign libel judgments that undermine American First Amendment or due process rights,' said Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy. Backers of the bill have cited England, Brazil, Australia, Indonesia, and Singapore as places where weak libel safeguards attract lawsuits that unfairly harm US journalists, writers, and publishers. The popular legislation is headed to the House of Representatives, which is expected to approve it. 'This bill is a needed first step to ensure that weak free-speech protections and abusive legal practices in foreign countries do not prevent Americans from fully exercising their constitutional right to speak and debate freely,' said Senator Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on Leahy's committee."
Displays

Sony Developing 3D Screen-Sharing Technology For Two Players 174

Stoobalou writes "Sony has recently published patent applications which will allow two-player 3D gaming on a single screen. The new technology could spell an end to split-screen gaming, but is unlikely to see the light of day for a few years at least. Sony's method would allow player one to see frames one and three whilst player two would see frames two and four. Current technology requires a display with a 120 Hz refresh rate so it seems likely that we'll have to wait for 240Hz screen technology to become commonplace before two-player 3D becomes a reality. PDF versions of the two applications are available."

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