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Submission + - Fingerprints at School 2

Inda writes: "My daughter, 7, is about to start at a new school that likes to think they excel in technology. They use an interesting system for checking out library books using a single thumb print. When I first heard this, alarm bells rang. The way I understand it, once a fingerprint is compromised, it is compromised forever.

I'm told the children enjoy using the fingerprint system and I would not want to single my daughter out as being different. The alternative to fingerprints are library cards, with barcodes, that are scanned manually.

I am not confident that the school's security is up to scratch. Their website is poorly written in FrontPage by the headmaster, all the staff use the Comic Sans MS font; I'm sure you get the picture. At the end of the day, they're teachers, not security experts. Security is not my field of expertise either.

Should I be concerned? Have I been reading Slashdot too long? Should I put the tinfoil hat down?"

Submission + - Open-Source Projects that need Dads to Code?

Dave Potts writes: "As a Dad of two and one more on the way I don't have a lot of spare-time to spend coding. I'd like to contribute code to an open-source project in the spare moments I do have (ideally python, but I'm not proud). It's not easy to justify something esoteric as a project, no matter how interesting. Do any readers have suggestions for an open-source project I could get involved with that could be used by my children? I'm thinking games, educational material, interactive stories etc."

Submission + - Diamonds are fuel cells' best friends

Roland Piquepaille writes: "Researchers at UC Davis have used nanocrystals made of diamond-like cubic zirconia to develop cooler fuel cells. Even if hydrogen fuel cells have been touted as clean energy sources, current fuel cells have to run at high temperatures of up to 1,000 C. This new technology will allow fuel cells to run at much lower temperatures, between 50 and 100 C. Obviously, this could lead to a widespread use of fuel cells, which could become a realistic alternative power source for vehicles. The researchers have applied for a patent for their technology, but don't tell when fuel cells based on their work are about to appear. Read more for additional details and references."
Wireless Networking

Submission + - Open Wifi Hardware Project

rnmartinez writes: "I have been a Linux "newbie" for close to 10 years now. Sounds like a long time to be a novice user, but I find that one application or piece of hardware brings me back to Microsoft applications. I am trying to finally get away from MS completely, but my current dilemma seems to be with wireless. I am trying to encourage my employer to move away from MS solutions, but several factors, like the ones I encounter personally seem to get in the way.

My most recent headache was when my wireless adapter, that worked out of box with Ubuntu 7.04 physically broke. Trying to find a replacement has not been easy, and while I have compiled drivers before, it is such a struggle and this time I was not able to get it to work.

I would like to see a permanent solution to this, so does the slashdot group think that it would be worthwhile to try and either purchase:

A) an 802.11 a/b/g/n design — have someone make one from the ground up for a group or company x, and completely open it up

B) purchase a small or struggling semi conductor manufacturer (as part of a group effort — it could be run as a profit or non profit)

And try and come up with an open solution? I know that manufacturers like Intel have excellent driver support, but they do not have PCMCIA, USB or PCI solutions (unless if you use some type of adapter, which I am going to do for now). Ideally I would like to see an open USB wifi dongle, that would have completely open driver support and eventually be submitted into the kernel. If this were to be successful, then of course other types of hardware, i.e. webcams, RAID, etc... could also be considered.

Is this too ambitious a project? Has it already been done? Any comments and criticisms are welcome. While my knowledge of Linux and open projects in general is a bit limited, I think that something like this makes business sense. I feel that outside of Canada and the U.S. there is an enormous market for Linux and other open source projects, and by removing the hindrance of hardware many other things could fall into place.

I only need to look at my frustration as a consumer trying to completely replace a mainstream o/s with Linux, and feel that there must be many more in the same situation. (if anyone replies to this, I'd also be glad to tell you about my RAID woes, but that might be best for another project/post).

Thank you.

P.S. I haven't invested in a domain or a site of any type for this yet, but if there is some interest, I would definitely move forward. If this makes it to Slashdot and the feedback is good, then I will come up with a url somewhere."

Submission + - Top 5 Really Alternative Home Energy Sources ( writes: "As solar panels and wind turbines become more and more commonplace in homes, it appears that green energy is finally moving into mainstream. But lest you fear that solar power is becoming too played out, there are still plenty of TRULY ALTERNATIVE energy sources to out there to sink your trendspotting teeth into. From kinetic energy to sound-power and even natural waste (yes, poo), there are more and more creative, weird, and super-promising ways to deliver all the power you need from renewable energy sources all around us. Here are our top 5 Really Alternative Energy Sources... (Cow Poop, Sound, Human Motion, Wind/Kinetics, Spinach)... see article for full descriptions. -ways-to-power-your-home/"

Submission + - Career change into programming or IT?

An anonymous reader writes: How viable is a career change into software engineering or IT later in life? I've been something of a hobbyist most of my life and have started to wonder if I should jump in as a new career. I'm getting close to 40 and have a bachelors degree in physics. I only make about $50K a year, and in my industry now I will cap out at $55K to $60K.

What would be the best approach to making the switch? I only have a couple of CS classes as most of the stuff I have learned was on my own, so should I take some more classes? How about programming certs, do they help at all? What's the best way to get my foot in the door.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - iPhone shunned by London

TobyToadstool writes: There's an extremely strange video on CNET showing a giant, depressed iPhone wandering the streets of London. It eats fried chicken, fights its way through the London Tube, does its laundry, and gets stuck in a phone box. Then the video shows it going to the cinema and narrowly avoiding a mugging. Stranger still, no one in London seems to be paying it any attention at all. By far the weirdest and funniest take on the iPhone I've seen so far.

Submission + - free energy demo melts

boldra writes: Steorn's perpetual motion engine (reported here yesterday) has apparently melted beyond repair. According to CEO Sean McCarthy:

Technical problems arose during the installation of the demonstration unit in the display case on Wednesday evening. These problems were primarily due to excessive heat from the lighting in the main display area. Attempts to replace those parts affected by the heat led to further failures and as a result we have to postpone the public demonstration until a future date.
They may have cheated thermodynamics, but they're still victims of Murphy!

Submission + - Top International News Events (

professor matt writes: "Gordon Brown backs nuclear now and for the future.

In his first Prime Minister's Question Time Gordon Brown knocked back an attack on nuclear power from Liberal Democrat Leader Menzies Campbell. The Prime Minister said that the security of our future energy supply is best safeguarded by building new nuclear power stations.

click here for more information

Uranium price dips slightly after staggering rise

The spot price of uranium fell back $3 on Wednesday, but this was the first significant dip after steady gains for nearly four years. Increasing speculation that a resurgence in nuclear energy and concerns over supplies has see the price of uranium rise almost tenfold to $135/lb.

Though there may be a small correction, no major reduction is expected. Despite these increases in the price of uranium the cost of nuclear power has hardly been affected, because nuclear power stations use so little fuel the cost of uranium is only a small part of overall generation costs.

click here for more information

Nuclear Report's Arguments "Fatuous"

The conclusions of the Oxford Research Group "Too Hot to Handle? The Future of Civil Nuclear Power" report has been described as 'fatuous' by a senior industry expert. The report suggested that the fact that France 'only' built around 3-4 reactors a year during its peak build phase meant that the world couldn't build 4 a month, which would be needed if nuclear energy were to supply a third of electricity by 2075.

However, that's comparing the build rate in one country France to the potential build rate across the world. If you consider the larger population of OECD countries the reactor build rate could be easily achieved.

click here for the full story"


Submission + - Students Design and Build Hybrid-Electric SUVs (

aegisalpha writes: "Students from 17 colleges have built and tested hybrid-electric SUVs as part of the government and GM sponsored Challenge X competition. And they will be touring the country with the vehicles next year to test the consumer acceptability of the vehicles. This could be good news for those beginning to feel the oil crunch, to quote the article: "...every team member has a future in auto engineering. And for a North American auto industry under siege, that makes Challenge X a bright beacon of hope for the future.""

Submission + - Bill Gates No Longer World's Richest Man (

Armadni General writes: "The Guardian (UK) is reporting that Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim, after a surge in profits of his America Movil mobile phone service, has overtaken Bill Gates as the world's richest man. From the article, "this is estimated to have boosted his fortune to an estimated $67.8bn (£33.6bn) — equivalent to 8% of Mexico's gross domestic product — compared with $59.2bn for the Microsoft mogul, putting him in the lead by a decisive $8.6bn.""

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