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Television

FCC Unanimously Approves White Space Wi-Fi 156

Smelly Jeffrey writes "With the release of this whitepaper, the FCC unanimously approved plans for a new technology with strong supporters and even stronger detractors. White Space Wi-Fi effectively allows manufacturers of wireless devices to incorporate transceivers that operate on unused DTV channels. Although the deregulation is new, the idea seems to have caught Google's interest recently as well. It seems that this has been rather rushed through the normally stagnant channels at the FCC. While some view it as interference in the already crowded spectrum, it seems the FCC Chairman really likes the idea of re-purposing dark parts of the newly allocated DTV bands once more." Update: 11/06 18:15 GMT by T : You may want to look at Tuesday's mention of the decision as well, but the additional links here are interesting.
Power

The Coming Uranium Crisis 485

tcd004 writes "MIT reports that the world is running out of fuel for our nuclear reactors due to production limitations and an aging infrastructure. Nuclear power has gained popularity as a carbon-free energy source in recent years, but Dr. Thomas Neff, a research affiliate at MIT's Center for International Studies, warned that fuel scarcity could drive up prices and kill the industry before it gets back on its feet. Passport has pulled together some interesting numbers: there are 440 reactors currently in operation and 82 new plants under construction. The demand for fuel has driven the price of uranium up more than 40% in the last few months — 900% over the last decade. You can follow the spot price for a pound of uranium. "
Space

Space Debris Narrowly Misses Airliner 297

An anonymous reader writes "An airliner jet traveling from Chile to New Zealand early today was in for an interesting ride. Flaming space debris — the remains of a Russian satellite — came hurtling back to Earth not far from a commercial jet on its way to Auckland, New Zealand. Here's further justification for the growing concern of the increasing amounts of space garbage orbiting our planet. From the article: 'The pilot of a Lan Chile Airbus A340 ... notified air traffic controllers at Auckland Oceanic Centre after seeing flaming space junk hurtling across the sky just five nautical miles in front of and behind his plane...'"
Robotics

The First Evolving Hardware? 148

Masq666 writes "A Norwegian team has made the first piece of hardware that uses evolution to change its design at runtime to solve the problem at hand in the most effective way. By turning on and off its 'genes' it can change the way it works, and it can go through 20,000 - 30,000 generations in just a few seconds. That same number of generations took humans 800,000 - 900,000 years." The University of Oslo press release linked from the article came out a few days ago; the researchers published a paper (PDF) that seems to be on this same technology at a conference last summer.
The Courts

RIAA Receives Stern Letter, Folds 382

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In SONY BMG v. Merchant, in California, the defendant's lawyer wrote the RIAA a rather stern letter recounting how weak the RIAA's evidence is, referring to the deposition of the RIAA's expert witness (see Slashdot commentary), and threatening a malicious prosecution lawsuit. The very same day the RIAA put its tail between its legs and dropped the case, filing a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal. About an hour earlier NYCL had termed the letter a 'model letter'; maybe he was right."
Biotech

Semi-Identical Twins Discovered 224

daftna writes in with a story from Nature about a pair of twins who are neither identical nor fraternal: they are semi-identical. Researchers discovered twins who share all of their mother's DNA but only half of their father's. Both children are chimeras — their cells are not genetically uniform, but include a mix of genes from two separate sperm cells that fertilized a single egg. This is, apparently, not as rare as one might think; but the resulting fetus is rarely viable. This report marks the first known incidence of two half-identical twins resulting from a double fertilization.
Space

Cassini Probes the Hexagon On Saturn 280

Riding with Robots sends us to a NASA page with photos of a little-understood hexagonal shape surrounding Saturn's north pole. "This is a very strange feature, lying in a precise geometric fashion with six nearly equally straight sides," said Kevin Baines, member of Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team. "We've never seen anything like this on any other planet." This structure was discovered by the Voyager probes over 20 years ago (here's an 18-year-old note on the mystery). The fact that it's still in place means it is stable and long-lived. Scientists have no idea what causes the hexagon. It's nearly big enough to fit four earths inside — comfortably larger than Jupiter's Great Red Spot. The article has an animation of clouds moving within the hexagon captured in infrared light.
HP

HP Dishonors Warranty If You Load Linux 702

darkonc points us to a writeup on linux.com about a very Linux-unfriendly policy at HP. A woman bought a Compaq laptop and loaded Ubuntu on it. Some time later, still well inside the 1-year hardware warranty, the keyboard started acting up. An HP support rep told her, "Sorry, we do not honor our hardware warranty when you run Linux." Gateway and Dell refused to comment to the reporter on what they would do in a similar situation. (Linux.com and Slashdot are both part of OSTG.)

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