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


Forgot your password?
User Journal

Journal Journal: Ron Paul in West Virginia Caucuses 7

Iowa caucuses are coming up in a few days, everybody is looking at that, I think Ron Paul has more chances than anybody else there, however few people are thinking beyond Iowa, but there is an interesting case of West Virginia now, where only Romney and Paul are registered for Republican primaries.

Submission + - Paul Christoforo tries to extort money from Avenge (escapistmagazine.com)

yuldude writes: Well, after pissing off one of penny-arcades.com founder by disrespecting a customer.

Paul, who still has access to Avenger Controller's GoDaddy account,has parked the domain.

Then, went on tweeting things such as:
"if they fuck with me, I got all these websites all over me. Whatever I tell them to write, they write"

According to the new PR, Moises Chiullan, at Avenger, Paul is asking for money in exchange for the GoDaddy account access.
His demands include a contract written on his terms and substantial compensation, both immediate and for as long as the company continues to exist.

The Military

Submission + - What War in the Hormuz Strait Would Look Like

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The high stakes standoff between Iran and the US over the Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for one-fifth of the world's oil, escalated this week as Iran's navy claimed to have recorded video of a US aircraft carrier entering the Port of Oman and the deputy chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Hossein Salami rejected US claims that it could prevent Iran from closing the strait. To drive the point home, Iran has started a 10-day naval exercise in the Persian Gulf to show off how it could use small speedboats and a barrage of missiles to combat America's naval armada while in a report for the Naval War College, US Navy Commander Daniel Dolan wrote that Iran has acquired “thousands of sea mines, wake homing torpedoes, hundreds of advanced cruise missiles (PDF) and possibly more than one thousand small Fast Attack Craft and Fast Inshore Attack Craft. The heart of the Iran's arsenal is its 200 small potential-suicide boats — fiberglass motorboats with a heavy machine gun, a multiple rocket-launcher, or a mine — and may also carry heavy explosives, rigged to ram and blow a hole in the hull of a larger ship. These boats will likely employ a strategy of “swarming”—coming out of nowhere to ambush merchant convoys and American warships in narrow shipping lanes. But the US Navy is not defenseless against kamikaze warfare. The US has put more machine guns and 25-millimeter gyro-stabilized guns on the decks of warships, modified the 5-inch gun to make it more capable of dealing with high-speed boats, and improved the sensor suit of the Aegis computer-integrated combat system aboard destroyers and cruisers. “We have been preparing for it for a number of years with changes in training and equipment,” says Vice Admiral (ret.) Kevin Cosgriff, former commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command."

Submission + - A look at the average Android user [infographic] (bgr.com)

zacharye writes: Bluestacks, the team behind the Android app player for Windows, has released the company’s first “Mr.Android” study. Ever wonder what the average Android user may look like? Pretty normal, apparently. Using data collected from Nielsen Media Research along with a survey of Bluestacks’s 145,000 Facebook fans, the company created a composite of what the average Android user looks like and even what kind of clothes typical Android users might wear...

Submission + - US Bans Loud Commercials (activepolitic.com)

bs0d3 writes: On Tuesday, the FCC passed the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or CALM. It's a law that states all commercials must run at the same volume as network newscasts. The same applies to network promos. The responsibility falls on cable providers like Comcast or charter. The law will not take effect until next year which leaves it plenty of time to be challenged in court by cable providers or advertisers.

Submission + - Hairy men catch more bedbugs (sciencemag.org)

cyachallenge writes: When it creeps into your bed at night and crawls across your skin, the bedbug has to navigate a forest of body hair before plunging its proboscis into your flesh for a meal. One wrong step, and it could get smushed. Tickled by the question of how people detect such microscopic pests, researchers recruited 19 volunteers with various amounts of body hair and shaved one of each of their arms. They then asked the subjects to look away while they dropped bedbugs onto their arms. The volunteers hit a button as soon as they felt something crawling on them. Participants, especially men, with more hair follicles per square inch and whose body hairs were longer, tended to be several seconds quicker than less hirsute individuals to notice the bugs on their unshaven arms, the researchers report online today in Biology Letters. And everyone took a long time to notice the bedbugs on the shaved arm. That might explain why humans still have hair on their bodies, the researchers conclude, since we no longer need it for keeping warm.

Submission + - Amazing Trans-Atlantic Amateur Balloon Flight In P (aprs.fi)

cjsnell writes: "An amateur high altitude balloon was launched in San Jose, CA on Sunday by some ham radio enthusiasts. Their balloon achieved a rare "float": instead of bursting, it maintained an altitude of ~105Kft and headed east over the continental US. Amazingly, it crossed over Atlantic City, NJ at 2200 local time. The amateur ballooning community was going nuts because this may have been the first-ever transcontinental amateur balloon flight. The balloon continued out over the ocean until it disappeared ~500 miles off Nantucket. ...and then suddenly, at 1100 MST this morning, radio repeaters in the Azores islands off of Africa started hearing the balloon! Incredibly, it was still aloft and trucking towards Europe/Africa at ~150mph! If it makes it, this will be a new record for the first-ever transatlantic amateur flight. What's more amazing is that teams from engineering schools have been launching balloons from the east coast for years, trying to achieve an Atlantic transit. Out of nowhere, two guys who clean swimming pools for a living launch a balloon from Northern California and break every major record in amateur ballooning in a day. They launched three other balloons on Sunday, one of which set a new altitude record of 136,000 ft. Unbelievable.

Track it: http://aprs.fi/?call=K6RPT-11"


Submission + - NASA Developing Comet Harpoon for Sample Return (scienceblog.com)

An anonymous reader writes: NASA appears t have decided that the best way to grab a sample of a rotating comet that is racing through the inner solar system at up to 150,000 miles per hour while spewing chunks of ice, rock and dust may be to avoid the risky business of landing on it. Instead, researchers want to send a spacecraft to rendezvous with a comet, then fire a harpoon to rapidly acquire samples from specific locations with surgical precision while hovering above the target.

Submission + - 25% of males in tribe were attacked by giant snake (mongabay.com)

rhettb writes: After spending decades living among the Agta Negritos people in the Philippines, anthropologist Thomas Headland has found that the hunter gatherer tribes were quite commonly attacked by reticulated pythons (Python reticulatus). Headland found 26 percent of Agta Negritos men had been attacked by a reticulated python in the past, most bearing the scars to prove it. Women were attacked much less frequently, but since men spent their time hunting in the forest they were more likely to run into a python, an encounter that could prove deadly for either party.

Submission + - Sony, Universal, Fox caught pirating TV, movies, m (extremetech.com)

Bad_Feeling writes: Ernesto, the piratical kingpin of TorrentFreak, has discovered that US movie and TV studios, including Sony Pictures, Fox Entertainment, and NBC Universal, are eager pirates as well. Sony employees were caught downloading dubstep music and a rip of Conan the Barbarian. Someone at the NBC Universal office in Fort Lauderdale downloaded the entirety of Game of Thrones season one. If the problem of piracy has taken root within the walls of the publishers and producers, suing hapless consumers seems stupendously hypocritical.

Submission + - Chevron Bites Back (wizbangblog.com)

sanzibar writes: Chevron filed a RICO lawsuit against those behind the Ecuadorian case including: the lead attorney Steven Donziger; Stratus Consulting; and Maest. As part of their lawsuit, Chevron obtained through discovery, outtakes from a documentary film called “Crude” that show Donziger and Maest colluding to ignore their own scientific findings and make up some new unsubstantiated claims .

Details of the RICO pleading can be found here:

Submission + - Higgs Boson Explained 2

ahale writes: "The moment anyone finds out I research particle physics, the question is always asked: “Do you think we will find the Higgs Boson?” My immediate answer is always: No. Honestly, I do not really have any idea- I just like giving the short answer to avoid intense explanation. The Higgs Boson has received a lot of media attention. It is my aim to explain in plain terms: what is the Higgs Boson? And, why must it exist?

I should note: I am very much against the media hype of the Higgs Boson. It is just another part of the Standard Model (which I explain below), and there is no reason to pour so much money into crony corporate physics research. Had physics not been a political tinker toy of corporations and interested countries, the Higgs particle would have been experimentally verified years ago. In the explanation below, I put aside my own beliefs and just offer the facts.

The Higgs Boson is a mathematically proposed part of the Standard Model of Particle Physics (Which I will just abbreviate as: SM from now on). The SM is an explanation of the fundamental players in what actually constitutes all of reality. Molecules are made of atoms. Atoms are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons and neutrons are made of quarks. Quarks are bound together by a force. That is the quick definition of the SM. There are other particles as well, but they do not concern us- at this time. Think of the SM as the Periodic Table for Particle Physics.

The Higgs Boson is an esoteric but relevant player in the SM. While its role is formal and mathematical- it is responsible for the defining characteristic of particles.

In nature we have 4 fundamental forces that act upon the constituents. These forces are: Gravity, Electromagnetism, Weak force, and the Strong force. The first two are very familiar to humans and we encounter these every day. I will not bother to explain these two.

The Weak force is what causes radioactive decay of subatomic particles. It has two force carrier particles associated with it: The W and Z boson.

The Strong force has little to do with what I am trying to explain here. The strong force is what binds quarks together.

It was discovered by three Nobel Prize winning Physicists in 1979 that the electromagnetic force and the weak force are actually derived from a single unified force. This force is not unified until a particle accelerator reaches the level of ~100 TeV (tera electron volts). At the early universe, when everything was still hot enough- these two forces were indistinguishable.

Leaving out the tedious mathematics, when these forces are combined it can be views as symmetry. That is, one is symmetrical to the other and there is no preferred point of reference.

As mentioned above, the force carriers for the weak force are the W and Z boson, which are extremely massive, but very short range. The force carrier for the electromagnetic force is massless. How is this mass lost? The mass is converted into energy, that energy is essentially a photon (The force carrier of the electromagnetic force): the particle of light. The photon never rests; it always travels at light speed. The mass from the electroweak force, somehow gets converted into the energy of the electromagnetic force. (Recall Einstein’s famous equation). The answer: there must be a particle responsible for this. What is this proposed particle? That is the Higgs particle.

Let us take a moment to get some terms straight. In quantum mechanics, specifically quantum field theory- you may use these three terms interchangeably: field, wave, and particle. A field is something that may permeate a space. If one is to wiggle that field, a wave develops. The resulting wave is a differential equation of probability. The area where the probability is high: is where it is likely to find the “particle”. This short definition I offer is a mix of three ideas: the Schrodinger equations, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum waves. You are welcome to research those further to get a better grasp.

To recap, the relationship is: fields: to wave: to particle. This explanation greatly ignores the particle wave duality. I do not intend to explain it here.

Going back to the Higgs particle.

  It was proposed by Peter Higgs that a field must permeate all of space. The space between atoms, the space between everything: the people, planets, galaxies, and the universe. Anywhere where the laws of physics as we know, hold true: exists the Higgs field.

This idea sounds crazy to most people. If there is some kind of uniform field that is everywhere, should we not feel it? This field is only agitated at high energies; therefore we would need to “pluck” this field with a high energy “guitar pick” for lack of a better analogy.

For the past thirty plus years physicists have attempted to “pluck” this field. By doing so, they hope to create a wave which can be described to have the properties of the Higgs Particle as predicted by the SM.

How does this field create all the mass properties of all the particles known?

Trying to explain this is trying to put very formal mathematics into terms, but I think it is something I would like to try. As particles move through this field, the same effect that reduces the electroweak force into the electromagnetic force can turn energy into mass, just as it turns mass into energy. As we go up on the TeV scale, that is- as we get hotter and hotter- ever closer to the early universe, the electromagnetic and the weak forces become a single unified force. Also, the strong force begins to have less influence, instead it is replaced by the electroweak force until eventually they are a single force. This is believed to happen because of the “drag”, produced by the Higgs field.

The experimental discovery of the Higgs field by producing a Higgs Boson, would greatly explain the SM. It would explain why the fundamental forces converge and decohere (not to be confused with quantum decoherence). The discovery would complete the particle physics most successful model and lead to more accurate predictions about reality, cosmology, and the universe as a whole.

While it may not be the Higgs field that lends all the particles their mass and other properties, there is something out there. Something must cause these forces to converge and act differently upon the particles. Failure to find the Higgs would just give researchers another route to travel. Perhaps another force of nature? Or- Perhaps we misunderstand the high energy excitation of particles and forces. Either way, it is not likely the SM will be scrapped any time soon."

Submission + - Wikipedia debates strike over SOPA (wikipedia.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Jimbo Wales has suggested that English Wikipedia restrict its services for a period to protest against the anti-piracy SOPA bill in the United States. This follows a similar action by the Italian Wikipedia last month.

Slashdot Top Deals

In English, every word can be verbed. Would that it were so in our programming languages.