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Comment A headline, but not an effective law. (Score 3, Informative) 225

The proposed Nebraska statute says "Sec. 7: Nothing in the Fair Repair Act shall apply to motor vehicle manufacturers." As for other manufacturers, they get to take into account whether compliance would be too expensive, and the maximum penalty is $500. So regardless of whether or not you think these laws are a good idea, it's nothing close to being a Tech Writer Full Employment Act, an Everybody Can Repair Their Own Car Act, or a Put All The Small Manufacturers Out Of Business Act.

Submission + - CERN Engineers Have to Identify and Disconnect 9,000 Obsolete Cables

An anonymous reader writes: CERN, home to the Large Hadron Collider, has grand plans to update the world’s largest particle accelerator complex in the next few years. But engineers have identified a barrier to the upgrade: there’s no space for new cables in the injectors that accelerate particles before they enter the LHC.

Comment Nothing new under the sun (Score 5, Informative) 90

Alternate headline: "Academic incrementally advances an established line of thought."

Lila Gatlin was writing about this in the 1960s and 70s.

"Life may be defined operationally as an information processing system—a structural hierarchy of functioning units—that has acquired through evolution the ability to store and process the information necessary for its own accurate reproduction." --Lila Gatlin, Information Theory and the Living System, 1971

I'd like more insight on how Adami's contributions are especially significant (which they may be, but TFA doesn't make that clear). Or is it just that he's a really good spokesman?

Comment Minkwitz is the key (Score 2) 464

Since you're on /., you probably will care to understand the Minkwitz relationship:
deltaA/deltaX = 2 × deltaM/deltaY
where A is the astigmatism created by the lens, M is the power of the correction provided by the lens, and X and Y are the usual coordinates. Thus progressive lenses always get blurry in direct proportion to the difference between your near and far correction, and in inverse proportion to the vertical distance between the near and far sweet spots.

In practice, some advanced techniques such as grinding both sides of the lens and applying wavefront or raytracing optical simulations can make the problem less noticeable (mainly by moving the worst areas from one spot to another). Some brands of lenses are better than others, and some labs do a better job of making them than others. If you go for progressive ("PAL") lenses, ask to see the "occupational" lenses from several different manufacturers. Learn how to see the "invisible" manufacturing codes printed on your lenses.

My solution at the moment: fixed-distance computer glasses, plus Hoya Summit iQ PAL lenses adjusted to increase the size of the reading zone a bit.

Submission + - Customers, support thy selves...

An anonymous reader writes: Has anyone else noticed the trend towards "community forums" where customers are basically being recruited to solve the issues of other customers while the companies selling the products causing the issues sit back and take a passive role in the process? Granted, sometimes the companies' employees play an active part in the forums and provide some value-add by contributing crucial, and often undocumented, knowledge that solves the problem in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case and this leaves customers with no visibility into whether or not their problems are being addressed, and, if they are, when they might expect to receive assistance. This is bad enough when dealing with consumer electronics that cost up to a couple of hundred of dollars, but it's completely unacceptable when dealing with proprietary design tool vendors that are charging several thousand dollars for software licenses for tools that are the only option if a customer doesn't want to drop an order of magnitude more money to go with 3rd party tools (e.g., Synopsys).

This leads me to the following questions for all of you Slashdotters: who do you think are the worst offenders of this downloading of support onto the backs of the customers themselves, and what can be done to let them know that this new reality is ridiculous?

Comment To maximize bacteria (Score 5, Informative) 250

IIRC from the book "The Life That Lives On Man," the skin count of undesirable bacteria is maximized by daily showering. That's just frequent enough to wash away the desirable strains, and to keep things moist enough for the undesirable strains to proliferate. That research is over 20 years old, so I'd love to see an update.

Comment Re:Slippery slope? (Score 5, Interesting) 604

Did anyone else listen to this on a scanner? It's amazing how many times the dispatcher had to remind officers to exercise discipline and to follow the orders which they had been given. Apparently many officers felt compelled to converge on any suspected sighting, abandoning their assigned lookout posts. In general, I was impressed by the police response, but it was far below the standard that would be expected in many other cities.

Submission + - 8 Irresistible Programming Contests (

Esther Schindler writes: "Baseball players can compare their excellence by looking at statistics. Developers... not so much. It's hard to know how good you are unless you go head-to-head with other programmers, which is one reason that programming competitions are fun. So, too, is the money you might win, or the career bragging rights, or, as Steven Vaughan-Nichols points out in 8 Contests and Challenges You Can't Resist, you might get to contribute to a NASA project. Wouldn't that look cool on your resume?"

Submission + - Oil Detection Methods Miss Important Class Of Chemicals (

MTorrice writes: "For decades, scientists studying oil spills have relied on the same analytical methods when tracking the movement of oil and assessing a spill’s environmental impact. But these techniques miss an entire class of compounds that could account for about half of the total oil in some samples, according to research presented last week at the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference, in New Orleans. These chemicals could explain the fate of some of the oil released in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident and other spills, the researchers say."

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