Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Data Storage

Self-Growing Material Opens Chip, Storage Advances 30

coondoggie brings us this NetworkWorld article, which begins: "In the ever-growing desire to produce smaller, less costly, yet more powerful and faster computers and storage devices, researchers today said they are looking at a way to use self-growing fabrics that will let manufacturers build nano-sized high resolution semiconductors and arrays to answer that craving. Researchers at the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC) at the University of Wisconsin — Madison have come up with a method that uses existing technology to combine the lithography techniques traditionally used to pattern microelectronics with novel self-assembling materials known as block copolymers, researchers said. When combined with a lithographically patterned surface, the block copolymers' long molecular chains spontaneously assemble into the designated arrangements."
The Courts

Collegiate Resistance To RIAA In Michigan 175

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "There are now at least three complaints being investigated in Michigan against the RIAA's unlicensed investigator, SafeNet a/k/a MediaSentry, one of which was filed by Central Michigan University itself. Two other complaints have been filed by students, one from Northern Michigan University and one from University of Michigan. This appears to be part of the growing sense of exasperation colleges and universities are feeling over the RIAA's harassment."

Cooking Stimulated Big Leap In Human Cognition 473

Hugh Pickens writes "For a long time, humans were pretty dumb, doing little but make 'the same very boring stone tools for almost 2 million years,' says Philipp Khaitovich of the Partner Institute for Computational Biology in Shanghai. Then, 150,000 years ago, our big brains suddenly got smart. We started innovating. We tried different materials. We started creating art and maybe even religion. To understand what caused the cognitive spurt, researchers examined chemical brain processes known to have changed in the past 200,000 years. Comparing apes and humans, they found the most robust differences were for processes involved in energy metabolism. The finding suggests that increased access to calories spurred our cognitive advances, although definitive claims of causation are premature. In most animals, the gut needs a lot of energy to grind out nourishment from food sources. But cooking, by breaking down fibers and making nutrients more readily available, is a way of processing food outside the body. Eating (mostly) cooked meals would have lessened the energy needs of our digestion systems, thereby freeing up calories for our brains. Today, humans have relatively small digestive systems and allocate around 20% of their total energy to the brain, compared to approximately 13% for non-human primates and 2-8% for other vertebrates. While other theories for the brain's cognitive spurt have not been ruled out, the finding sheds light on what made us, as Khaitovich put it, 'so strange compared to other animals.'"

Virgin Galactic Shows the Finished WhiteKnight Two 212

Klaus Schmidt writes "Virgin Galactic today unveiled their WhiteKnight Two mothership, called 'EVE.' It is designed to carry the smaller SpaceShip Two into space. The rollout represents another major milestone in Virgin Galactic's quest to launch the world's first private, environmentally benign, space access system for people, payload and science. Christened 'EVE' in honor of Richard Branson's mother — Sir Richard performed the official naming ceremony — WK2 is both visually remarkable and represents ground-breaking aerospace technology. It is the world's largest all carbon composite aircraft and many of its component parts have been built using composite materials for the very first time. At 140 ft, the wing span is the longest single carbon composite aviation component ever manufactured."

Submission + - Bush claims executive privilege

gawiedeboef writes: Valerie Plame Wilson case
The concept of executive privilege rings a special bell with readers of a certain age.
It was relied on by the Richard M. Nixon White House seeking to shield documents and personnel from inquiring congressional committees and prosecutors during the Watergate investigations.

President Bush quietly claimed executive privilege on Tuesday, after Atty. Gen. Michael B. Mukasey requested the shield.
Mukasey is seeking to avoid delivering to congressional investigators documents dealing with interviews of Vice President Dick Cheney and members of his staff regarding the unmasking of CIA covert agent Valerie Plame Wilson.

Researchers Simplify Quantum Cryptography 106

Stony Stevenson writes "Quantum cryptography, the most secure method of transmitting data, has taken a step closer to mainstream viability with a technique that simplifies the distribution of keys. Researchers at NIST claim that the new 'quantum key distribution' method minimizes the required number of detectors, the most costly components in quantum crypto. Four single-photon detectors are usually required (these cost $20K to $50K each) to send and decode cryptography keys. In the new method, the researchers designed an optical component that reduces the required number of detectors to two. (The article mentions that in later refinements to the published work, they have reduced the requirement to one detector.) The researchers concede that their minimum-detector arrangement cuts transmission rates but point out that the system still works at broadband speeds."

Schneier's Keynote At 138

Stony Stevenson writes "Computer security expert Bruce Schneier took a swipe at a number of sacred cows of security including RFID tags, national ID cards, and public CCTV security cameras in his keynote address to (currently being held in Melbourne, Australia). These technologies were all examples of security products tailored to provide the perception of security rather than tackling actual security risks, Schneier said. The discussion of public security — which has always been clouded by emotional decision making — has been railroaded by groups with vested interests such as security vendors and political groups, he claimed. 'For most of my career I would insult "security theater" and "snake oil" for being dumb. In fact, they're not dumb. As security designers we need to address both the feeling and the reality of security. We can't ignore one. It's not enough to make someone secure, that person needs to also realize they've been made secure. If no-one realizes it, no-one's going to buy it,' Schneier said."
The Courts

Magistrate Suggests Fining RIAA Lawyers 133

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Angered at the RIAA's 'gamesmanship' in joining multiple 'John Does' in a single case without any basis for doing so, a Magistrate Judge in Maine has suggested to the presiding District Judge in Arista v. Does 1-27 that the record companies and/or their lawyers should be fined under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules, for misrepresenting the facts. In a lengthy footnote to her opinion recommending denial of a motion to dismiss the complaint (PDF, see footnote 5), Judge Kruvchak concluded that 'These plaintiffs have devised a clever scheme to obtain court-authorized discovery prior to the service of complaints, but it troubles me that they do so with impunity and at the expense of the requirements of Rule 11(b)(3) because they have no good faith evidentiary basis to believe the cases should be joined.' She noted that once the RIAA dismisses its 'John Doe' case it does not thereafter join the defendants when it sues them in their real names. Arista v. Does 1-27 is the same case in which student attorneys at the University of Maine Law School, "enthusiastic about being directly connected to a case with a national scope and significance", are representing undergrads targeted by the RIAA."
Social Networks

Aboriginal Archive Uses New DRM 182

ianare writes "An application that gives fresh new meaning to 'digital rights management' has been pioneered by Aboriginal Australians. It relies on a user's profile to control access to a multimedia archive. The need to create profiles based on a user's name, age, sex and standing within their community comes from traditions over what can and cannot be viewed. For example, men cannot view women's rituals, and people from one community cannot view material from another without first seeking permission. Images of the deceased cannot be viewed by their families. These requirements threw up issues surrounding how the material could be archived, as it was not only about preserving the information into a database in a traditional sense, but also about how people would access it depending on their gender, their relationship to other people, and where they were situated."
The Courts

ACLU of Ohio Sues To Block Paper Ballots 243

Apu writes in to inform us that the ACLU is trying to block an Ohio county from moving from touchscreen voting machines back to paper ballots. While it may seem like Cuyahoga County — which includes Cleveland — is moving in a good direction from the perspective of ballot security, the system chosen tabulates all votes at a central location. This means that voters don't get notified if their ballot contains errors, and thus they have no chance to correct it. The ACLU of Ohio is asking a federal judge for an injunction against any election in Cuyahoga County it they move to the new system.
The Internet

P2P Fans Pound Comcast In FCC Comments 306

Not Comcastic writes "Two weeks after officially opening proceedings on Comcast's BitTorrent throttling, angry users are bombarding the FCC with comments critical of the cable provider's practices. 'On numerous occasions, my access to legal BitTorrent files was cut off by Comcast,' a systems administrator based in Indianapolis wrote to the FCC shortly after the proceeding began. 'During this period, I managed to troubleshoot all other possible causes of this issue, and it was my conclusion (speaking as a competent IT administrator) that this could only be occurring due to direct action at the ISP (Comcast) level.' Another commenter writes 'I have experienced this throttling of bandwidth in sharing open-source software, e.g. Knoppix and Open Office. Also I see considerable differences in speed ftp sessions vs. html. They are obviously limiting speed in ftp as well.'"

Weird Science Offered As University Class 137

ludwigvan968 writes "The ACTLab at the University of Texas at Austin is making waves with its Weird Science class. The link is to the TA's blog with documentation of some of the projects: a laser harp, a 3D environment constructed with fog and an LCD projector, and a 'water bridge' using a 50,000-volt transformer. Next semester, they're introducing a new class called 'Disruptive Technologies.'"

Submission + - Iran builds supercomputer from banned AMD parts 2

Stony Stevenson writes: Iranian scientists claim to have used 216 microprocessors made by AMD to build the country's most powerful supercomputer, despite a ban on the export of U.S. computer equipment to the Middle Eastern nation. Scientists at the Iranian High Performance Computing Research Center at the country's Amirkabir University of Technology said they used a Linux-cluster architecture in building the system of Opteron processors. The supercomputer has a theoretical peak performance of 860 giga-flops, the posting said. The disclosure, made in an undated posting on Amirkabir's Web site, brought an immediate response Monday from AMD, which said it has never authorized shipments of products either directly or indirectly to Iran or any other embargoed country.

Submission + - Are Humans Evolving Faster?

Hugh Pickens writes: "A new study examining data from the International Haplotype Mapping Project describes the past 40,000 years as a time of supercharged evolutionary change driven by exponential population growth and cultural shifts. The findings may lead to a very broad rethinking of human evolution, especially in the view that modern culture has essentially relaxed the need for physical genetic changes in humans to improve survival. Anthropologist John Hawks estimates that positive selection in the past 5,000 years has occurred at a rate roughly 100 times higher than any other period of human evolution because large populations have more genetic variation. Many of the new genetic adjustments are occurring around changes in the human diet brought on by the advent of agriculture, and resistance to epidemic diseases that became major killers after the growth of human civilizations. Malaria is one of the clearest examples, Hawks says, given that there are now more than two dozen identified genetic adaptations that relate to malaria resistance, including an entirely new blood type known as the Duffy blood type. "We are more different genetically from people living 5,000 years ago than they were different from Neanderthals," Hawks adds."

Slashdot Top Deals

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981