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Mars

Phoenix Lander Discovers Nighttime Snowfall On Mars 48

Many outlets are reporting on the recently released results of the various experiments and observations of NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander. Most notable is the discovery of nighttime snowfall on the planet, lending credibility to the idea of a hypothesized active water cycle based on earlier data collection. "The papers rely on evidence from a variety of the instruments on the lander, and the description of the data provides an impressive catalog of the various ways that Phoenix could prod and query the Martian pole. In the months before Martian winter shut the lander down, it managed to dig a dozen trenches, taking soil samples from each. These samples went into wet and dry chemistry labs, had their conductivity tested, and were even examined using an atomic force microscope. Meanwhile, cameras and a LIDAR system (a laser-based range detector) scanned the surroundings. The overall conclusion is that the northern pole has an active water cycle. This had been suggested by a variety of evidence from orbital sensors, as well early images returned from Phoenix. It's also not a huge shock, given the seasonal growth and retreat of the polar ice cap. Still, Phoenix provided some significant details on the cycling of water in the area where it landed."

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 326

I disagree. If one is to make an educated decision, it should be over an educated issue. If there's an EULA five thousands words long, there's too much detail to make an educated guess.

EULAs and other agreements such as the mentioned in TFA should be less than five hundred words long, otherwise they are void unless signed by the user's lawyer as well.

Space

Cassini Finds Source of Icy Jets On Enceladus 37

Not long ago, we discussed Cassini's mission to "skeet-shoot" Saturn's moon Enceladus in order to take high-resolution pictures as close to the surface as possible. Well, NASA scientists found what they were looking for. A newly released mosaic shows 300-meter-deep fractures in Enceladus' surface which are the source of enormous icy plumes that periodically erupt into space, reaching hundreds of kilometers from the moon's surface. Another picture shows one of the fractures in closer detail.
Slashdot.org

Welcome to the New Slashdot Chicago Cluster 149

Thanks to everyone who tested on Friday, as well as to all of SourceForge's netops crew, our corporate overlords at SourceForge for paying the bill, and of course all the engineers on Slashteam- Jamie McCarthy, Tim Vroom, Chris Nandor, Chris Brown, and Scott Collins, we are now running on the new iron in a cage in Chicago. We'll run a story in a few days about the ridiculously overpowered new hardware we have now, but now is the part of sprockets where we dance.
Science

Brain Study Calls Free Will Into Question 733

siddster notes an account up at Wired of research indicating that brain scanners can see your decisions before you make them. "In a study published Sunday in Nature Neuroscience, researchers using brain scanners could predict people's decisions seven seconds before the test subjects were even aware of making them... Caveats remain, holding open the door for free will... The experiment may not reflect the mental dynamics of other, more complicated decisions... Also, the predictions were not completely accurate. Maybe free will enters at the last moment, allowing a person to override an unpalatable subconscious decision."
Networking

LAN Turns 30, May Not See 40? 279

dratcw writes "The first commercial LAN was based on ARCnet technology and was installed some 30 years ago, according to a ComputerWorld article. Bob Metcalfe, one of the co-inventors of Ethernet, recalls the early battles between the different flavors of LAN and says some claims from the Token Ring backers such as IBM were lies. 'I know that sounds nasty, but for 10 years I had to put up with that crap from the IBM Token Ring people — you bet I'm bitter.' Besides dipping into networking nostalgia, the article also quotes an analyst who says the LAN may be nearing its demise and predicts that all machines will be individually connected to one huge WAN at gigabit speeds. Could the LAN actually be nearing the end of its lifecycle?"
Biotech

Scientists Create Zombie Cockroaches 243

Reservoir Hill writes "Zombie insects might sound like a B-movie plot device (quicktime video) but to the emerald cockroach wasp (Ampulex compressa), they're a tried and tested way to provide food for their hungry larvae. The wasp relies on cockroaches for its grisly life cycle but unlike many venomous predators, which paralyze their victims before eating them, the wasp's sting leaves the cockroach able to walk, but unable to initiate its own movement. Researchers have discovered that the wasps sting the cockroaches once to subdue them, then administer another, more precise sting right into their victim's brain. The venom works to block a neurotransmitter called octopamine with a similar action to dopamine, which is involved in preparations to execute complex behaviors such as walking. Then the wasp grabs the cockroach's antenna and leads it back to the nest 'like a dog on a leash', says one researcher. The team found that they could restore spontaneous walking behavior in stung cockroaches by giving them a compound that reactivates octopamine receptors in the insects' central nervous system. Researchers were also able to create their own zombies by injecting unstung cockroaches with a compound that blocks the receptors producing a similar effect to that of the venom."
Privacy

White House Ordered to Preserve All Email 259

Verunks writes "A federal judge Monday ordered the White House to preserve copies of all its e-mails in response to two lawsuits that seek to determine whether e-mails have been destroyed in violation of federal law. The issue surfaced in the leak probe of administration officials who disclosed Valerie Plame's CIA identity. ' The Federal Records Act details strict standards prohibiting the destruction of government documents including electronic messages, unless first approved by the archivist of the United States. Justice Department lawyers had urged the courts to accept a proposed White House declaration promising to preserve all backup tapes. The judge's order "should stop any future destruction of e-mails, but the White House stopped archiving its e-mail in 2003 and we don't know if some backup tapes for those e-mails were already taped over before we went to court. It's a mystery," said Meredith Fuchs, a lawyer for the National Security Archive.'"
Software

Computer Software to Predict the Unpredictable 287

Amigan writes "Professor Jerzy Rozenblit at the University of Arizona was awarded $2.2Million to develop software to predict the unpredictable — specifically relating to volatile political and military situations." From the article: "The software will predict the actions of paramilitary groups, ethnic factions, terrorists and criminal groups, while aiding commanders in devising strategies for stabilizing areas before, during and after conflicts. It also will have many civilian applications in finance, law enforcement, epidemiology and the aftermath of natural disasters, such as hurricane Katrina."
Security

Submission + - Preventing Bike Theft - Innovative Suggestions? 1

victorhooi writes: "I recently (read: 2 days ago) lost a bike to theft, after locking it up with a $30 lock at a bike rack at my local train station.

For my next one, I thought I would canvas the collective wisdom of Slashdot =), for opinions on effective ways of securing a bike.

I've had people suggest U-locks are the best, and others that a heavy-duty chain from a hardware store with a padlock would do it better.

One person suggested somehow welding a car-alarm to the seat post, but I'm not exactly sure how this would work.

Alternatively, one idea I tossed us was using a GPS/GSM module (e.g. one from the Telit range) glued under the seat to send me the coordinates of the bike.

Finally, some people suggested sabotaging the bike somehow. Removing the seat seems to be a common option, but it is ultimately still rideable. Is there perhaps some way of making it so that it won't actually spin? (Most of the elements in the drivechain are tightened down fairly well, for obvious reasons, I can't think of anything that could easily be removed yet still be essential to the bike's operation).

Any thoughts on these ideas, or other suggestions?"
Power

Heat Wave Shuts Down Alabama Reactor 401

mdsolar writes "In a first for the US, one of three nuclear reactors at the Browns Ferry nuclear plant in Alabama has been shut down because the Tennessee River is too hot to provide adequate cooling for the waste heat produced by the reactor. This is happening as the TVA faces its highest demand for power ever, reports the Houston Chronicle. This effect has been seen in Europe in the past, forcing reduced generation, but the US has until now been immune to the problem. The TVA will buy power elsewhere and impose higher rates, blaming reduced river flow as a result of drought."
Media

Submission + - RIAA Prepares to Sue 400 College Students

An anonymous reader writes: The RIAA sent out "pre-litigation settlement notices" to 400 network users at 13 U.S. universities today, continuing a PR blitz that began last week with a much-publicized list of the 25 most notified universities for copyright infringement. Once again, Ohio University tops the list, with one out of every eight notifications. From the press release: "The RIAA will request that universities forward those letters to the appropriate network user. Under this new approach, a student (or other network user) can settle the record company claims against him or her at a discounted rate before a lawsuit is ever filed."

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