from the gas-guzzlers-that-make-your-eyes-bleed dept.
Wired has an amusing writeup that accurately captures the most recent ridiculous addition to Bugatti's automobile catalog. The $2.1 million Veyron sports over 1,000 horsepower, a 16-cylinder engine, and a top speed of 245 mph. The guilty conscience comes for free. "That same cash-filled briefcase could buy seven Ferrari 599s or every single 2009 model Mercedes. You could snap up a top-shelf Maybach and employ a chauffeur until well past the apocalypse. Hell, in this economy, $2.1 million is probably enough to make you a one-man special-interest group with some serious Washington clout."
Conundrum writes: "seems they might have found the Lost Ark of the Covenant, in Ethiopia.
according to some theories the structure of the Ark stores electrical energy like a Leyden Jar (a form of capacitor) and explains how people were "struck dead" as touching one will cause death if the charge is strong enough (more than 30 Joules or so)
so maybe they used it for buffering the power flow from static collectors, and running primitive silicon carbide/gold wire based lamps.. who knows."
An anonymous reader writes: Here's a story by the AP which mentions NedaNet, a loose organization of hackers that are providing more secure channels of communication for Iranian citizens, with the goal of "supporting the democratic revolution in Iran". (from their website ) The idea is to get information about what is really happening on the streets of Iran, including the most recent protests, to the global community though the usual channels (like Twitter, Email, etc), by providing Iranian citizens with tools to evade their government's internet censorship software.
MrAndrews writes: "My kids have had a fairly geeky upbringing so far, learning the evils of DRM at a young age, configuring new drives of anime for XBMC, and Creative Commons licensing their crayon drawings. But I feel like there's more education I could be doing, so I'm planning to create a series of short digi-fables that will prime them for life. I've already done DRM, patents, censorship and bullying, but there are probably lots of other topics out there that need covering, like net neutrality. Or SQL injection. Or... stuff. I've heard rumours that Slashdot is a fairly geeky place, so I put it to you: what are the most important lessons you can teach a geek-in-training?"
"As a long-time professional songwriter, I have always objected to the practice of illegal downloading of music. I have also always, however, been sympathetic to the average music fan, who has been consistently financially abused by the greedy actions of major labels," Marx said in a statement. "These labels, until recently, were responsible for the distribution of the majority of recorded music, and instead of nurturing the industry and doing their best to provide the highest quality of music to the fans, they predominantly chose to ream the consumer and fill their pockets."
He continued, "So now we have a 'judgement' in a case of illegal downloading, and it seems to me, especially in these extremely volatile economic times, that holding Ms. Thomas-Rasset accountable for the continuing daily actions of hundreds of thousands of people is, at best, misguided and at worst, farcical. Her accountability itself is not in question, but this show of force posing as judicial come-uppance is clearly abusive. Ms. Thomas Rasset, I think you got a raw deal, and I'm ashamed to have my name associated with this issue."
Marx isn't the only artist to take umbrage with the ruling against Thomas-Rasset. Writing on his official Website, Moby said, "What utter nonsense. This is how the record companies want to protect themselves? Suing suburban moms for listening to music? Charging $80,000 per song? Punishing people for listening to music is exactly the wrong way to protect the music business."
On the other side of the story, an RIAA spokesperson recently commented about their victory: "This group of 12 Minnesotans showed us that, despite the protestations of some pundits who suggest that the digital world should resemble some kind of new wild west, the majority understands and believes that the same laws and rules we follow every day apply online. Not just in theory, but in practice. Another group of 12 people presented with similar questions said the same thing two years ago. That makes a sample size of only 24, but it's certainly enough to learn from."
"People of a village near Bajpe were in a panic, after they found a chip resembling a pen drive in their toilet soaps.
As rumours spread that the chip was a bomb or was inserted to make blue films, the villagers made a beeline to the police station. Police investigated and found that the chip was installed for collecting data. A team from Hindustan Lever Limited was conducting studies related to Lifebuoy soap and its usage in the village.""
from the who-or-what-do-you-trust dept.
Michael_Curator writes "It's no secret that commercial airplanes are heavily computerized, but as the mystery of Air France Flight 447 unfolds, we need to come to grips with the fact that in many cases, airline pilots' hands are tied when it comes to responding effectively to an emergency situation. Boeing planes allow pilots to take over from computers during emergency situations, Airbus planes do not. It's not a design flaw — it's a philosophical divide. It's essentially a question of what do you trust most: a human being's ingenuity or a computer's infinitely faster access and reaction to information. It's not surprising that an American company errs on the side of individual freedom while a European company is more inclined to favor an approach that relies on systems. As passengers, we should have the right to ask whether we're putting our lives in the hands of a computer rather than the battle-tested pilot sitting up front, and we should have right to deplane if we don't like the answer."
dacut writes "After successfully repairing the Hubble Space Telescope, astronauts aboard the shuttle Atlantis found themselves with a free day due to thunderstorms which delayed their return. They attempted to pass the time by watching movies, only to find that their laptops did not have the proper software, and Houston was unable to help. No word, alas, on what software was involved, though we can assume that software/codec updates are a tad difficult when you're orbiting the planet at 17,200MPH."
from the careful-with-those-nanites dept.
gabrlknght writes with this excerpt from Science News:
"Because nanoparticles are small, a large proportion of their atoms are near the particle's surface. Having fewer neighbors, those relatively unconfined atoms can link in unusual ways, giving materials made of nanoparticles novel properties. But the same characteristic that makes nanostructures useful — size — also makes working with them no small task. Engineering on the nanoscale is like building a ship in a bottle while wearing mittens. It would be far cheaper and easier, researchers agree, if nanoparticles could just arrange themselves into nanomaterials — like dropping the pieces of the ship into the bottle and then sitting back to watch the ship build itself. What scientists are working on now is finding the right chemistry — creating just the right conditions so that natural properties such as charge or magnetism direct the pieces of the ship to come together just so, with the mast above the deck and never below or to the side. This idea, called self-assembly, isn't exactly new. Examples range from the simple separation of oil and vinegar in a bottle of salad dressing to the complex movements of proteins and enzymes — themselves nanosized — reacting in living cells. Scientists have long been inspired by these naturally self-assembling systems. But designing self-assembling systems in the lab, with nanoparticles, presents its own scale of difficulty. And making self-assembled nanomaterials grow large enough to actually be useful is even more challenging."