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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Hardware Hacking

Workings of Ancient Calculating Device Deciphered 268

palegray.net writes "Scientists have discovered new meaning behind the functions of the Antikythera Mechanism, which has been referred to as the oldest known analog computing device. In addition to providing a means to calculate the dates for solar eclipses, the device apparently tracked the four-year cycles of the Olympiad. From the New York Times article: 'Only now, applying high-resolution imaging systems and three-dimensional X-ray tomography, have experts been able to decipher inscriptions and reconstruct functions of the bronze gears on the mechanism. The latest research has revealed details of dials on the instrument's back side, including the names of all 12 months of an ancient calendar.'"
Censorship

IOC Admits Internet Censorship Deal With China 380

Dave writes "BEIJING (Reuters) — Some International Olympic Committee officials cut a deal to let China block sensitive websites despite promises of unrestricted access, a senior IOC official admitted on Wednesday. Persistent pollution fears and China's concerns about security in Tibet also remained problems for organizers nine days before the Games begin. China had committed to providing media with the same freedom to report on the Games as they enjoyed at previous Olympics, but journalists have this week complained of finding access to sites deemed sensitive to its communist leadership blocked. 'I regret that it now appears BOCOG has announced that there will be limitations on website access during Games time,' IOC press chief Kevan Gosper said, referring to Beijing's Olympic organizers. 'I also now understand that some IOC officials negotiated with the Chinese that some sensitive sites would be blocked on the basis they were not considered Games related,' he said." But yet somehow the mainstream media will ignore this because the Olympics are patriotic or something.
Quickies

Submission + - Toshiba and NEC to Team Up on 32-nm Chips (techluver.com)

Tech.Luver writes: "apanese chip makers Toshiba and NEC said on Tuesday they would jointly develop 32-nanometer chips to better keep up with rivals.____________ "The companies will decide in 2008 how and if they will jointly produce the chips, they said. ____________ Chip makers are racing to move to tinier circuit sizes to cut production cost per chip function and enable powerful electronics that run for hours without killing the battery. But the shift also forces changes in fundamental materials and processes and exposes chip makers to huge initial costs. ____________ Samsung, IBM, Chartered Semiconductor, Infineon Technologies, STMicroelectronics and Freescale Semiconductor have said they would work through 2010 to develop and produce 32-nanometer chips. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter. ____________ ( http://techluver.com/2007/11/27/toshiba-and-nec-to-team-up-on-32-nm-chips/ )"
Biotech

Gene Study Supports Single Bering Strait Migration 289

Invisible Pink Unicorn writes "One of the most comprehensive analyses of genetic variation ever undertaken supports the theory that the ancestors of modern native peoples throughout the Americas came from a single source in East Asia across a northwest land bridge some 12,000 years ago. One particular discovery is of a 'unique genetic variant widespread in natives across both continents — suggesting that the first humans in the Americas came in a single migration or multiple waves from a single source, not in waves of migrations from different sources.' The full article is available online from PLoS."
Security

Submission + - Firefox 2.0.0.10 is affected by a serious error

thisispurefud writes: The latest Firefox 2.0.0.10 includes a serious error, which causes that certain images are not properly represented. The error concerns the representation of vector graphics using HTML and JavaScript. Firefox 2.0.0.10 reacts to the JavaScript method canvas.drawImage() with the exception of "NS_ERROR_NOT_AVAILABLE". The method drawImage() should render pixel images into vector graphics drawing. The developers have now is to investigate the mistake, based on this test page can be demonstrated: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=405584
Biotech

Submission + - Has Science Become Corrupted?

An anonymous reader writes: Has Science Become Corrupted?

An award winning science author, Gary Taubes has written a book that pans the medical community's treatment of the obesity epidemic. By itself, that isn't particularly worth our time. Diet books are a dime a dozen and we don't cover them on Slashdot anyway.

What is interesting is that it looks like the medical community is behaving in a very unscientific manner. Taubes points out that the current medical orthodoxy has no basis in research. In fact, all the available research points in quite another (more traditional) direction. Here is BoingBoing's take on the story. You can follow the link from there to an excellent podcast of an interview with Taubes on CBC's 'Quirks and Quarks'.

The medical community seems to defer unthinkingly to authority. For instance, when Britain's most respected paediatrician Sir Roy Meadow came up with a crackpot theory (which I thought we have covered on Slashdot but can't find) that sent innocent people to jail, the courts and the medical community bought it hook line and sinker. Of course, he isn't the only one in that boat. Pathologists all over the world have sent innocent people to jail. There's a case in Ontario, Canada right now of a pathologist who screwed up more than twenty cases and sent several people to jail.

People who study expert behavior have found that people need feedback to maintain their expertise. If they don't get the feedback by the nature of the system or because others are too intimidated/lazy to disagree with them, their behavior becomes non-expert. Ericsson points out that surgeons get better as they get older but mammographers don't. Surgeons get feedback immediately. The patient lives or dies. Mammographers may never find out if they are right or wrong.

So, has medicine become a non-science? Is it mostly a non-science? Somewhat? Can physicists feel smug with their repeatable experiments or do they have some 'splainin to do about string theory?
Announcements

Submission + - Fuel-cell, electric plug-in and solar powered car (motorauthority.com)

autofan1 writes: VW's latest supermini features a new high-temp fuel-cell powerplant with lithium-ion batteries as well as an electric power plug and solar cells in the roof for extra power. This car could potentially run forever without the need for any fossil fuels.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Police arrest teen for "virtual furniture" (expatica.com)

ekes writes: "According to the German Press Agency (DPA) Dutch police have arrested a teenager and are questioning four more about the "theft" of "virtual furniture" from the online Habbo Hotel http://www.habbo.com/hotel
A police spokesman said the suspects will be charged on two accounts: hacking and burglary.

English report on Expatica http://www.expatica.com/actual/article.asp?subchannel_id=1&story_id=45939"

Robotics

South Korea to Build Robot Theme Parks 125

coondoggie writes "South Korea officials today said they hope to build two robot theme parks for $1.6 billion by 2013. The parks will feature a number of attractions that let visitors interact with robots and test new products. "The two cities will be developed as meccas for the country's robot industry, while having amusement park areas, exhibition halls and stadiums where robots can compete in various events," the ministry said. The theme parks are not a big surprise because South Korea loves its robots. Earlier this year the government of South Korea said it was drawing up a code of ethics to prevent human abuse of robots — and vice versa."
Biotech

Submission + - Trees that Eat Pollution (nih.gov)

TTest writes: Kinda like in Fern Gully... only real. Scientists at the University of Washington are reporting the creation of fast-growing, pollutant-eating poplar trees. According to a NIH press release, the trees rapidly absorb and break down cancer-causing hydrocarbons from the air and soil around them. The original research publication also mentions that the trees may be cheaper than conventional waste clean-up techniques, prevent erosion, capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and can be harvested to make biofuel or paper.
Space

Submission + - NASA Delays 4th Spacewalk (techluver.com)

Tech.Luver writes: "NASA canceled a spacewalk Wednesday as it scrambled to deal with two power problems at the international space station. The spacewalk set for Thursday was supposed to deal with a malfunctioning rotary joint for the solar wings on the right side of the space station. Instead, the astronauts were informed that their next spacewalk would be Friday -at the earliest-and involve work with the station's ripped solar wing. Both issues are competing for the precious little spacewalking time that's left in Discovery's mission, which already was extended a day after the joint problem cropped up last weekend. The problems could delay future missions and make it even harder to finish building the orbiting outpost before the space shuttles must be retired. ( http://techluver.com/2007/10/31/nasa-delays-4th-spacewalk/ )"

Slashdot Top Deals

We can defeat gravity. The problem is the paperwork involved.

Working...