Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Even the safest cars will kill you (Score 2) 641

The Tesla Model S is one of the safest cars on the road.

However, it has the performance of a Ferrari. People are aware of this since it is one the key selling points.

Maybe the car could have a spare key for limited performance settings, if you are going to loan the car to someone else or to a valet parking attendant.

In any case, drinking and driving is inexcusable.

Comment The Americans pulled out (Score 3, Insightful) 419

First of all, the Rosetta mission was a joint NASA-ESA mission, where NASA was in charge of providing the power supply. However, the US Congress pulled the funding on the mission and ESA had to do it alone. This was after most of the spacecraft was already designed.

Second, ESA never developed nuclear-powered spacecraft. Even though it is a policy choice due to the fears of blowing up nuclear material in the atmosphere, it is also reflection of a space agency created specifically for non-military purposes. While NASA is also a civilian agency, it has a strong connection with the US military and access to materials such as plutonium.

Third, different Nuclear Power sources in Space (NPS) have to be developed in order to guarantee the availability of the raw material. There is no point in developing a long-term programme based on rare or very hard to obtain nuclear materials.

Comment Gaussian distribution (Score 1) 264

For many years professors in natural sciences have been adjusting test scores to match Gaussian distribution.
Typically, you decide on the average and then adjust the shape accordingly.

Most professors would go for a 12 points (60%) out of 20 average and a standard deviation of around 3 points (15%). Every student below 10 points (50%) would fail the class.
After that, you rank the questions from easy to hard, according to the scores obtained for each.
Initially, you a award the same weight for each question. If the test was designed properly, this should create a Gaussian distribution.
If not, different weights within a range (e.g. 0.8 to 1.25) for the questions can be adjusted until it matches the Gaussian distribution.

I doesn't solve the problem of easy classes competing with difficult ones but it solves the problem of grade inflation.

Comment More details please (Score 5, Informative) 175

First you need to mention where you are exactly. Internet service over satellite is usually sold through local providers. Furthermore, different satellites have different coverage areas.

Second, if you want high speed broadband, you will need a Ku/Ka band (small antennas) satellite terminal. The problem is that in South America, it is more common to use C band (big antennas) satellite terminals that are slower than Ku band since the spectral bandwidth is smaller and more expensive.

Third, the latency is basically the same for all Geostationary satellites and in practical terms is about 250ms from the transmission latency and 150ms for the latency of the entire transmission chain. As systems improve, this latency gets reduced but the transmission latency only depends on the relative position of the terminal to the satellite and the speed of light.

Forth, above 70C latitude it is not possible to provide Internet over satellite with geostationary orbit since there isn't enough visibility of the satellite on the horizon.

Submission + - Nvidia Removed Linux Driver Feature Due to Windows

RemyBR writes: Softpedia points to a Nvidia Developer Zone forum post revealing that the company has removed a specific Linux feature as of the v310 drivers due to the Windows platform. A BaseMosaic user on Ubuntu 12.04 noticed a change in the number of displays that can be used simultaneously after upgrading from the v295 drivers to v310.
Another user, apparently working for Nvidia, gave a very troubling answer: "For feature parity between Windows and Linux we set BaseMosaic to 3 screens".

Comment It is called DSRC and it is nothing new (Score 5, Informative) 126

This is old news!
The Dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) is a set of protocols and standards for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communications.
The lower layers in the protocol stack are defined by the 802.11p standard, which is a modified version for the 802.11a for vehicular environments and it operates in the 5.9 GHz band.
The higher layers are defined by the Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments (WAVE) stack, for messaging and control, and the IPv6 stack for applications and services.

There are already commercial DSRC radios and lots applications have been developed in the ITS research community. For instance, the See-Through System: an overtaking assistance system http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Esh1EjgBQaI

Snails On Methamphetamine 93

sciencehabit writes "Science answers the question: What happens when you put a snail on speed? From the article: 'The results suggest that meth improves memory, something that has been previously observed in creatures with large, complex brains like rats and humans. But since the snails store their memories in a simple, three-neuron network, the team hopes that studying the meth effect in these gastropods will help pinpoint how the drug's memory magnification powers work.'"

Comment DVB-S2/RCS or BGAN (Score 5, Informative) 541

There are two possible technologies (among other similar ones)

With DVB-S2/RCS you have a bidirectional satellite system that requires a 1.2 meter dish antenna and a satellite terminal composed of an indoor unit (about the size of a bulky cable-modem) and an outdoor unit (transmitter and receiver horn mounted on the focus point of the satellite dish. This costs around US$1000 dollars and it takes about 30min to install (if you are an experienced installer).

With BGAN you have a very portable terminal (about the size of a netbook) that only requires you to point it in the general vicinity of the satellite location in the horizon.

Both systems use GEO (geostationary) satellites, which means that they have a fixed location in the horizon. They are actually located over the equator (0Â latitude) and they orbit the earth in 24h cycles, thus appearing to be stationary.
With DVB-S2/RCS you can have a 50Mbit/s in the downlink, although most services provide less than 10Mbit/s. The usually upload speed is 1Mbit/s. This speeds are shared between all terminals within a beam (similar to Internet over cable, where you share your Internet within a residential area of about 1000 persons).
With BGAN you only have 492Kbit/s in both the downlink and uplink. On the other hand, it is designed for mobility.

Comedy Central Confirms 26 New Futurama Episodes 259

e9th was one of several readers to write with an update to the Futurama rumors we discussed earlier this week: "TVWeek reports that 20th Century Fox Television and Comedy Central have officially confirmed a deal for 26 new episodes of Futurama, due to the strong ratings of its reruns and feature-length specials. Matt Groening is quoted as saying, 'We're thrilled Futurama is coming back. We now have only 25,766 episodes to make before we catch up with Bender and Fry in the year 3000.' According to the press release, the episodes will begin to come out in mid-2010."

The Woman Who Established Fair Use 226

The Narrative Fallacy writes "The Washington Post has an interesting profile on Barbara A. Ringer, who joined the Copyright Office at the Library of Congress in 1949 and spent 21 years drafting the legislation and lobbying Congress before the Copyright Act of 1976 was finally passed. Ringer wrote most of the bill herself. 'Barbara had personal and political skills that could meld together the contentious factions that threatened to tear apart every compromise in the 20 year road to passage of the 1976 Act,' wrote copyright lawyer William Patry. The act codified the fair use defense to copyright infringement. For the first time, scholars and reviewers could quote briefly from copyrighted works without having to pay fees. With the 1976 act that Ringer conceived, an author owned the copyright for his or her lifetime plus 50 years. Previously under the old 1909 law, an author owned the copyright for 28 years from the date of publication and unless the copyright was renewed, the work entered the public domain, and the author lost any right to royalties. Ringer received the President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service, the highest honor for a federal worker. Ringer remained active in copyright law for years, attending international conferences and filing briefs with the Supreme Court before her death earlier this year at age 83. 'Her contributions were monumental,' said Marybeth Peters, the Library of Congress's current register of copyrights. 'She blazed trails. She was a heroine.'"

Comment IP isn't property, it's a monopoly. Piracy needed (Score 1) 504

"It is common to argue that intellectual property in the form of copyright and patent is necessary for the innovation and creation of ideas and inventions such as machines, drugs, computer software, books, music, literature and movies. In fact intellectual property is not like ordinary property at all, but constitutes a government grant of a costly and dangerous private monopoly over ideas. We show through theory and example that intellectual monopoly is not necessary for innovation and as a practical matter is damaging to growth, prosperity and liberty."


Slashdot Top Deals

Someday somebody has got to decide whether the typewriter is the machine, or the person who operates it.