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Comment Slashdot business model? (Score 1) 608

Advertisements on the web may be the most common way to turn a profit online, but it's certainly not the universe anyone really wanted except for advertising firms. I would gladly pay $5 a month for wikipedia to exist without ads. In fact, I would almost always pay money rather than see ads for any service (as I eventually did on slashdot, incidentally). So perhaps wikipedia should adopt the slashdot model: No ads for special or paying members- everyone else gets non intrusive ads (by special, I mean long term members, frequent contributors, etc.). You could even adopt a system where contributors get "points" which allow them to not see ads.
Media

1928 Time Traveler Caught On Film? 685

Many of you have submitted a story about Irish filmmaker George Clarke, who claims to have found a person using a cellphone in the "unused footage" section of the DVD The Circus, a Charlie Chaplin movie filmed in 1928. To me the bigger mystery is how someone who appears to be the offspring of Ram-Man and The Penguin got into a movie in the first place, especially if they were talking to a little metal box on set. Watch the video and decide for yourself.
First Person Shooters (Games)

Gamer Plays Doom For the First Time 362

sfraggle writes "Kotaku has an interesting review of Doom (the original!) by Stephen Totilo, a gamer and FPS player who, until a few days ago, had gone through the game's 17-year history without playing it. He describes some of his first impressions, the surprises that he encountered, and how the game compares to modern FPSes. Quoting: 'Virtual shotgun armed, I was finally going to play Doom for real. A second later, I understood the allure the video game weapon has had. In Doom the shotgun feels mighty, at least partially I believe because they make first-timers like me wait for it. The creators make us sweat until we have it in hand. But once we have the shotgun, its big shots and its slow, fetishized reload are the floored-accelerator-pedal stuff of macho fantasy. The shotgun is, in all senses, instant puberty, which is to say, delicately, that to obtain it is to have the assumed added potency that a boy believes a man possesses vis a vis a world on which he'd like to have some impact. The shotgun is the punch in the face the once-scrawny boy on the beach gives the bully when he returns a muscled linebacker.'"
Sci-Fi

Churchill Accused of Sealing UFO Files, Fearing Public Panic 615

Newly released secret files show that Winston Churchill ordered a cover-up of an alleged encounter between a UFO and a RAF bomber because he feared public panic. From the article: "Mr Churchill is reported to have made a declaration to the effect of the following: 'This event should be immediately classified since it would create mass panic among the general population and destroy one's belief in the Church.'"
Space

Astronomers Solve the Mystery of 'Hanny's Voorwerp' 123

KentuckyFC writes "In 2007, a Dutch school teacher named Hanny van Arkel discovered a huge blob of green-glowing gas while combing though images to classify galaxies. Hanny's Voorwerp (meaning Hanny's object in Dutch) is astounding because astronomers have never seen anything like it. Although galactic in scale, it is clearly not a galaxy because it does not contain any stars. That raises an obvious question: what is causing the gas to glow? Now a new survey of the region of sky seems to have solved the problem. The Voorwerp lies close to a spiral galaxy which astronomers now say hides a massive black hole at its center. The infall of matter into the black hole generates a cone of radiation emitted in a specific direction. The great cloud of gas that is Hanny's Voorwerp just happens to be in the firing line, ionizing the gas and causing it to glow green. That lays to rest an earlier theory that the cloud was reflecting an echo of light from a short galactic flare up that occurred 10,000 years ago. It also explains why Voorwerps are so rare: these radiation cones are highly directional so only occasionally do unlucky gas clouds get caught in the crossfire."
Science

Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Protein ... and Now Fat 210

ral writes "The human tongue can taste more than sweet, sour, salty, bitter and protein. Researchers have added fat to that list. Dr. Russell Keast, an exercise and nutrition sciences professor at Deakin University in Melbourne, told Slashfood, 'This makes logical sense. We have sweet to identify carbohydrate/sugars, and umami to identify protein/amino acids, so we could expect a taste to identify the other macronutrient: fat.' In the Deakin study, which appears in the latest issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, Dr. Keast and his team gave a group of 33 people fatty acids found in common foods, mixed in with nonfat milk to disguise the telltale fat texture. All 33 could detect the fatty acids to at least a small degree."
Government

Secret Service Runs At "Six Sixes" Availability 248

PCM2 writes "ABC News is reporting that the US Secret Service is in dire need of server upgrades. 'Currently, 42 mission-oriented applications run on a 1980s IBM mainframe with a 68 percent performance reliability rating,' says one leaked memo. That finding was the result of an NSA study commissioned by the Secret Service to evaluate the severity of their computer problems. Curiously, upgrades to the Service's computers are being championed by Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who says he's had 'concern for a while' about the issue."
Image

Hollywood Stock Exchange Set To Launch In April 100

You can buy and sell actor or movie "stock" for virtual cash on the website Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSX). Starting in April the company plans on letting you turn those movie performance predictions into real dollars. HSX filed with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission for approval as an active trading site in November 2008 and has just entered the final phase of regulatory review. Richard Jaycobs, president of HSX's parent company, said, "The number of people who visit movie theaters each year and form opinions about a film's success is in the tens of millions. We believe that's the reason the public response to this product has been very positive."
Education

CMU Web-Scraping Learns English, One Word At a Time 148

blee37 writes "Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have developed a web-scraping AI program that never dies. It runs continuously, extracting information from the web and using that information to learn more about the English language. The idea is for a never ending learner like this to one day be able to become conversant in the English language." It's not that the program couldn't stop running; the idea is that there's no fixed end-point. Rather, its progress in categorizing complex word relationships is the object of the research. See also CMU's "Read the Web" research project site.
Image

Tower Switch-Off Embarrasses Electrosensitives 292

Sockatume writes "Residents in Craigavon, South Africa complained of '[h]eadaches, nausea, tinnitus, dry burning itchy skins, gastric imbalances and totally disrupted sleep patterns' after an iBurst communications tower was put up in a local park. Symptoms subsided when the residents left the area, often to stay with family and thus evade their suffering. At a public meeting with the afflicted locals, the tower's owners pledged to switch off the mast immediately to assess whether it was responsible for their ailments. One problem: the mast had already been switched off for six weeks. Lawyers representing the locals say their case against iBurst will continue on other grounds."
The Internet

FCC's New Broadband Plan Prioritizes Competition 71

adeelarshad82 writes "The Federal Communications Commission has released an outline of what might be included in its upcoming national broadband plan, and encouraging competition was a top priority. The FCC statement said 'Competition drives innovation and provides consumer choice. Finding ways to better use existing assets, including Universal Service, rights-of-way, spectrum, and others, will be essential to the success of the plan. The limited government funding that is available for broadband would be best used when leveraged with the private sector.' The stimulus plan provided $7.2 billion in broadband grants and $350 million for a broadband mapping program, but also directed the FCC to deliver a national broadband plan to Congress by February 17, 2010."
Media

Lack of Manpower May Kill VLC For Mac 398

plasmacutter writes "The Video Lan dev team has recently come forward with a notice that the number of active developers for the project's MacOS X releases has dropped to zero, prompting a halt in the release schedule. There is now a disturbing possibility that support for Mac will be dropped as of 1.1.0. As the most versatile and user-friendly solution for bridging the video compatibility gap between OS X and windows, this will be a terrible loss for the Mac community. There is still hope, however, if the right volunteers come forward."
Image

Dad Delivers Baby Using Wiki 249

sonamchauhan writes "A Londoner helped his wife deliver their baby by Googling 'how to deliver a baby' on his mobile phone. From the article: 'Today proud Mr Smith said: "The midwife had checked Emma earlier in the day but contractions started up again at about 8pm so we called the midwife to come back. But then everything happened so quickly I realized Emma was going to give birth. I wasn't sure what I was going to do so I just looked up the instructions on the internet using my BlackBerry."'"

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