Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment Not just maths (Score 4, Interesting) 680

I wish science in general was considered part of what a learned person has to know. I mean, if you want to pass for an intellectual you have to read your Dante, your Beckett and you at least need to know who Lautreamont was. But, apparently, you can very well get away with thinking that you can suck gravity out of a room the way you suck air, or with not having even heard about string theory. That divorce makes no sense, and it was impossible in the history of ideas till very recently. And Euler's formula is more beautiful than most poems.
Windows

Submission + - Kinect hacked to work with web browser, Windows 7 (gamepron.com)

dotarray writes: The technology we saw in Minority Report is getting closer and closer to reality, as hackers and clever developers get their hands and minds around the Xbox 360s Kinect. I’m not talking about being able to see the future and prevent crimes, but the motion-sensing controller-less peripheral is being used to redefine the sort of interaction we have with our electronic devices.
Programming

Submission + - 60 years of Hamming codes (cio.com.au)

swandives writes: In 1950 Bell Labs researcher Richard W. Hamming made a discovery that would lay an important foundation for the modern computing and communications industries — coming up with a method for performing computing operations on a large scale without errors. Hamming wrote about how self-checking circuits help eliminate errors in telephone central offices. He speculated the “special codes” he proposed — which became known as Hamming codes — would only need to be applied to systems requiring unattended operation for long periods or “extremely large and tightly integrated” systems where a single failure would incapacitate the entire installation.

Hamming code was the first discovery in an immense field called coding theory. This article looks back on the history of Hamming codes, their applications, and includes interviews with Todd Moon, Professor of electrical and computer engineering at Utah State University and David MacKay, Professor of natural philosophy in the department of Physics at the University of Cambridge and chief scientific adviser to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. An interesting read, about a little-known but fundamental element of information theory.

Ubuntu

Submission + - Ubuntu Rolling release rumours wrong (h-online.com) 1

ddfall writes: Previously on /. — http://linux.slashdot.org/story/10/11/24/1346221/Ubuntu-May-Move-To-Rolling-Releases — This is wrong! Engineering Director of Ubuntu Rick Spencer says "Ubuntu is not changing to a rolling release". He goes on to say, "We are confident that our customers, partners, and the FLOSS ecosystem are well served by our current release cadence. What the article was probably referring to was the possibility of making it easier for developers to use cutting edge versions of certain software packages on Ubuntu. This is a wide-ranging project that we will continue to pursue through our normal planning processes".
Facebook

Submission + - Facebook & Google Track NHS Site Visits (eweekeurope.co.uk)

geek4 writes: Facebook and Google know about what illnesses you looked up on your visit to the NHS Choices site

Four third-party companies are tracking users who visit the National Health Service (NHS) website – apparently with the organisation’s blessing.

The NHS Choices site has included links to Facebook, Google, AddThis and WebTrends. Online information control experts at Garlik have pointed out that site allows these organisations to see when a user visits its Conditions pages and to track their subsequent movements.

Social Disease Networking

Users visit these pages to find information on a range of ailments, some of which could cause social embarrassment if the information was leaked. The Conditions pages offer advice on many ailments including binge drinking, testicular cancer, AIDS, thrush and many other confidential problems.

Submission + - Unlimited Detail - The End of the Geometry Race? 3

TeachingMachines writes: An interesting video is making the rounds, although its claims seem somewhat difficult to believe. In the video (also available here, at the developer's website), a graphics display technology demo is presented that seems to render (no pun intended) the current battle between graphics card makers ATI and NVidia somewhat pointless (again, sorry about the puns). This is because unlimited detail is exactly that: unlimited graphic detail, without polygons. Graphics are instead produced through search algorithms, similar in function to those used by search engines. Pixels presented on the screen, and based on the search algorithm, are based on points rather than polygons (the idea being that each point is equivalent to a screen's pixel, in terms of the colors that are presented to the user). The video demo itself is somewhat, well, alarming, considering that the demo is running in software...

Comment But (Score 0) 53

If the best expected performance of the new technology is just 5 times better than current technology, is it really worth pursuing it? Current technology is current, as in real. Best expected performance needs to be divided by a correcting factor which is unlikely to be much lower than 5.
Google

Submission + - SPAM: Losing Google would hit Chinese science hard

designperfection9 writes: "More than three-quarters of scientists in China use the search engine Google as a primary research tool and say their work would be significantly hampered if they were to lose it, a survey showed on Wednesday. In the survey, 84 percent said losing Google would "somewhat or significantly" hamper their research and 78 percent said international collaborations would be affected.

"Research without Google would be like life without electricity," one Chinese scientist said in the survey, which asked more than 700 scientists for their views"

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:Evolution, suckers.... (Score 1) 139

Let me see if I can make my post evolve to a less typoed version:

It makes some sense. The idea is that whenever you have a lot of bacteria reproducing, mutation rates being what they are, benefitial mutations will eventually appear. Chemostats, which are what these reactors will essentially be, have been used to test evolution experimentally in just this way.

Now, the flaw in Niedi's reasoning is that evolution is directed only to better differential reproduction. So, if bacteria reproduce before self-destruction, there will be no environmental pressure to select against this feature.

Comment Re:Evolution, suckers.... (Score 4, Insightful) 139

It makes some sense. The idea is that whenever you have a lot of bacteria reproducing, mutation rates being what they are, benefitial mutations will eventually appear. Something like this has been used to. Chemostats, which are what these things will essentially be, have been used to test evolution experimentally in just this way.

Now, the flaw in Niedi's reasoning is that evolution is directed only be better differential reproduction. So, if bacteria reproduce before self-destruction, there will be no environmental pressure to select against this feature.

Submission + - Reborn Coma Man’s Words May Be Bogus (wired.com)

Schiphol writes: The statements of a Belgian man believed to be in a coma for 23 years, but recently discovered to be conscious, are poignant, but experts say they may not be his words at all.

Rom Houben’s account of his ordeal, repeated in scores of news stories since appearing Saturday in Der Spiegel, appears to be delivered with assistance from an aide who helps guide his finger to letters on a flat computer keyboard. Called “facilitated communication,” that technique has been widely discredited, and is not considered scientifically valid.

“If facilitated communication is part of this, and it appears to be, then I don’t trust it,” said Arthur Caplan, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Bioethics. “I’m not saying the whole thing is a hoax, but somebody ought to be checking this in greater detail. Any time facilitated communication of any sort is involved, red flags fly.”

Slashdot Top Deals

The goal of science is to build better mousetraps. The goal of nature is to build better mice.

Working...