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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth

Submission + - Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear (vanityfair.com)

GilliamOS writes: Living in Iowa, escaping corn is no easy feat; Escaping Monsanto is even harder. Every farmer I know and have talked to say they cannot escape them, even if they give them no business. They are to farming what Microsoft is to computers, except they are allowed to kill, poison, and pollute on a scale that can make even the least of us concerned about the environment cringe. Allowed by the US Patent system, they have turned seed research that used to done by public universities into IP and patented technology, and they stop at nothing to protect their seeds. Saving seeds, a practice that allowed farmers to ensure they can plant crops in the next season, is no longer permitted. They are the inventors of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Dioxin, two of the most toxic non-military chemicals known to man, yet they also control some 90% of our seed for crops.
Microsoft

Submission + - Hackers counter Microsoft COFEE with some DECAF (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Two developers have created "Detect and Eliminate Computer Assisted Forensics" (DECAF). The tool tries to stop Microsoft's Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE), which helps law enforcement officials grab data from password protected or encrypted sources.

Previously, Microsoft issued takedown notices for COFEE: http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/11/26/1356246/Microsoft-Issues-Takedown-Notices-Over-COFEE after it pirates leaks it to the Web: http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/11/08/1340208/Microsoft-COFEE-Leaked

Transportation

Laser Ignition May Replace the Spark Plug 388

dusty writes "Laser Focus World has a story on researchers from Ford, GSI, and The University of Liverpool and their success in using near-infrared lasers instead of spark plugs in automobile engines. The laser pulses are delivered to the combustion chamber one of two ways. One, the laser energy is transmitted through free space and into an optical plug. Two, the other more challenging method uses fiber optics. Attempts so far to put the second method into play have met some challenges. The researchers are confident that the fiber-optic laser cables' technical challenges (such as a 20% parasitic loss, and vibration issues) will soon be overcome. Both delivery schemes drastically reduce harmful emissions and increase performance over the use of spark plugs. So the spark plug could soon join the fax machine in the pantheon of antiquated technologies that will never completely disappear. The news release from The University of Liverpool has pictures of the freakin' internal combustion lasers."
Windows

Windows 7 Hits Build 7600 (Possible RTM) 671

An anonymous reader writes "One Microsoft Way is reporting that Microsoft has significantly incremented the build number of both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2: 'Reports across the Web are pointing to a build 7600 for both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. This is significant because the bump in the build number would suggest that Microsoft has christened this build as the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) build. The RTM is expected to be given out to Microsoft partners sometime later this month and launched on October 22, 2009, the day of General Availability (GA). The build string is "7600.16384.090710-1945," which indicates that it was compiled just a few days ago: July 10, 2009, at 7:45pm. Microsoft only increments the build number when it reaches a significant goal, and the only one left is the RTM milestone. The last builds that were leaking were all 72xx builds, so such a large bump is suspicious but at the same time it is something Microsoft would do to signify that this is the final build.'"
Biotech

Japanese Creating "Super Tuna" 280

motherpusbucket writes "The Telegraph reports that Japanese scientists hope to be breeding a so-called 'Super Tuna' within the next decade or so. They have about 60% of the genome mapped and expect to finish it in the next couple months. The new breed will grow faster, taste good, have resistance to disease and will totally kick your ass if you cross them."
The Internet

When Your Backhoe Cuts "Black" Fiber 385

bernieS writes "The Washington Post describes what happens when a construction backhoe accidentally cuts buried fiber so secret that it doesn't appear on public maps — and what happens when the Men in Black SUVs appear out of nowhere. Apparently, the numerous secret fiber and utility lines used by government intelligence agencies are being dug up with increasing frequency with all the increased construction projects in the DC area. It's amazing how quickly they get repaired!"

Comment Living in Iowa... (Score 5, Interesting) 894

It's next to impossible to find a gas station that does not have Ethanol in it's fuel. It doesn't help that two huge ADM plants are with in 90 minutes of where I live. Regardless, there is a single Shell station in the area that has 93 octane V-power that is without ethanol. The cost different of $0.30/gal is offset by the noticeable decrease in fuel consumption, increased power, and smoothing the idle. Yes, my car is tuned to require at least 91 octane.
Power

The Great Ethanol Scam 894

theodp writes "Over at BusinessWeek, Ed Wallace is creating quite a stir, reporting that not only is ethanol proving to be a dud as a fuel substitute, but there is increasing evidence that it is destroying engines in large numbers. Before lobbyists convince the government to increase the allowable amount of ethanol in fuel to 15%, Wallace suggests it's time to look at ethanol's effect on smog, fuel efficiency, global warming emissions, and food prices. Wallace concedes there will be some winners if the government moves the ethanol mandate to 15% — auto mechanics, for whom he says it will be the dawn of a new golden age."
Books

How Google's High Speed Book Scanner De-Warps Pages 209

Hugh Pickens writes "Patent 7,508,978, awarded to Google, shows how the company has already managed to scan more than 7 million books. Google's system uses two cameras and infrared light to automatically correct for the curvature of pages in a book. By constructing a 3D model of each page and then 'de-warping' it afterward, Google can present flat-looking pages online without having to slice books up or mash them onto a flatbed scanner. Stephen Shankland writes that the 'sophistication of the technology illustrates that would-be competitors who want to feature their own digitized libraries won't have a trivial time catching up to Google.' First, a book is placed on a flat surface, while above it, an infrared projector displays a special mazelike pattern onto the pages. Next, two infrared cameras photograph the infrared pattern from different perspectives. 'The images can be stereoscopically combined, using known stereoscopic techniques, to obtain a three-dimensional mapping of the pattern,' according to the patent. 'The pattern falls on the surface of (the) book, causing the three-dimensional mapping of the pattern to correspond to the three-dimensional surface of the page of the book.'"
Technology

Microchips That Shook the World 185

wjousts writes "IEEE Spectrum has an interesting article on '25 Microchips That Shook the World,' including such classics as the Signetics NE555 Timer, MOS Technology 6502 Microprocessor (Apple II, Commodore PET and the brain of Bender) and the Intel 8088 Microprocessor. Quoting: 'Among the many great chips that have emerged from fabs during the half-century reign of the integrated circuit, a small group stands out. Their designs proved so cutting-edge, so out of the box, so ahead of their time, that we are left groping for more technology clichés to describe them. Suffice it to say that they gave us the technology that made our brief, otherwise tedious existence in this universe worth living.'"
The Military

Project OXCART Declassified From Area 51 208

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from the LA Times: "... the myths of Area 51 are hard to dispute if no one can speak on the record about what actually happened there. Well, now, for the first time, someone is ready to talk ... Colonel Hugh 'Slip' Slater, 87, was commander of the Area 51 base in the 1960s. Edward Lovick, 90, featured in 'What Plane?' in LA's March issue, spent three decades radar testing some of the world's most famous aircraft (including the U-2, the A-12 OXCART and the F-117). Kenneth Collins, 80, a CIA experimental test pilot, was given the silver star. Thornton 'T.D.' Barnes, 72, was an Area 51 special-projects engineer. And Harry Martin, 77, was one of the men in charge of the base's half-million-gallon monthly supply of spy-plane fuels."
Microsoft

MS Silverlight To Stream Obama Inauguration Events 589

Ilgaz writes in to let us know that we will have to install MS Silverlight 2 to watch the US President's inauguration online. Everyone running Mac PPC, Linux, and FreeBSD has been left out, as there are no working Silverlight 2-capable alternatives on these systems. Here is Microsoft's press release announcing the selection of Silverlight yesterday. Streaming of various events around the inauguration begins today at the Presidential Inaugural Committee site, which touts its "inclusive and accessible" coverage.
The Courts

Entire Transcript of RIAA's Only Trial Now Online 315

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The entire transcript of the RIAA's 'perfect storm,' its first and only trial, which resulted in a $222,000 verdict in a case involving 24 MP3's having a retail value of $23.76, is now available online. After over a year of trying, we have finally obtained the transcript of the Duluth, Minnesota, jury trial which took place October 2, 2007, to October 4, 2007, in Capitol Records v. Thomas. Its 643 pages represent a treasure trove for (a) lawyers representing defendants in other RIAA cases, (b) technologists anxious to see how a MediaSentry investigator and the RIAA's expert witness combined to convince the jurors that the RIAA had proved its case, and (c) anybody interested in finding out about such things as the early-morning October 4th argument in which the RIAA lawyer convinced the judge to make the mistake which forced him to eventually vacate the jury's verdict, and the testimony of SONY BMG's Jennifer Pariser in which she 'misspoke' according to the RIAA's Cary Sherman when she testified under oath that making a copy from one's CD to one's computer is 'stealing.' The transcript was a gift from the 'Joel Fights Back Against RIAA' team defending SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, in Boston, Massachusetts. I have the transcript in 3 segments: October 2nd (278 pages(PDF), October 3rd (263 pages)(PDF), and October 4th (100 pages)(PDF)."
Television

Octopuses Have No Personalities and Enjoy HDTV 482

Whiteox writes about an Australian researcher named Renata Pronk, who has discovered that octopuses prefer HDTV. She recruited 32 gloomy octopuses from the waters of Chowder Bay. Previously, researchers have reported little success when showing video to octopuses. Miss Pronk's insight was that the octopus eye is so refined that it might see standard PAL video, at 25 fps, as a series of stills. She tried HDTV (50 fps) and her subjects reacted to the videos of a crab, another octopus, or a swinging bottle on the end of a string. A further discovery is that octopuses show no trait of individual personalities, even though they exhibit a high level of intelligence. It would certainly be possible to quibble about the definition of "personality" employed, and whether Miss Pronk had successfully measured it.

Slashdot Top Deals

New York... when civilization falls apart, remember, we were way ahead of you. - David Letterman

Working...