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Submission + - "Prehistoric Art" actually created by shee (

Eric Powell writes: "Archaeologists used X-Ray fluorescence spectrometer analysis to show that some "rock art" in Wyoming was actually created by sheep. Ewes marked with different colors for breeding purposes seem to have taken shelter at a rock art site, leaving behind abstract smears mistaken by archaeologists for prehistoric paintings."

Submission + - Is Global Warming Past The Tipping Point? (

s31523 writes: "New speculation based on updated computer models predict a possibility of an ice free Arctic Ocean by the year 2013. As new reports come out, many scientists are saying the Arctic is screaming and we have to act fast, while others are not so sure. But with record breaking events like a record amount of surface ice was lost over Greenland this year, 12 percent more than the previous worst year, 2005, the evidence is mounting."

Submission + - On Demand, On The Fly FLV Transcoding of Library

erpbridge writes: "While recently doing a consulting job for a local college, I was asked an interesting question. They have a backend archive of videos, ranging from training to classroom instruction videos, in AVI format using DIVX codec, with an average size of about 400MB. They can easily make these videos available on campus, but for commuting students accessing from home this is not feasible. The idea is to setup a Youtube/DailyMotion style site with Flash videos. As these are to be allowed to students only, it is not feasible to upload these to a commercial site such as Youtube or DailyMotion. They don't want to transcode the entire library to ASF for Windows Media Server, and double storage capacity (same goes for transcoding all videos to FLV). They also want to keep the originals available to students onsite, as they are higher quality than any FLV will be. Instead, click a video, the backend server performs an on-the-fly FLV transcoding on demand, and the user gets the video. The temporary videos would then be cleaned up later by a collection process running on a regular basis. Has anyone seen a solution that would let a web user do this sort of on demand, on the fly FLV transcoding?"

Submission + - Desktop synchrotron freezes molecular action

An anonymous reader writes: Most sources of synchrotron radiation are giant dough nut-shaped particle accelerators. But researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland have developed a compact synchrotron machine that could fit inside any lab. Instead of a giant ring of magnets and microwave cavities, the device uses plasma wakefield acceleration to accelerate electrons. Synchrotron radiation can be used to probe many kinds of matter and is used in many areas of scientific research.
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - US Consumerism Poses Global Recession Threat (

Horar writes: "From the article: One of the world's leading economists has issued a scathing denunciation of American consumerism, saying overspending could lead to a "catastrophic" recession... He says the United States has a current account deficit of $US811 billion for last year, which means America is borrowing [more than two] billion a day from overseas.

What are the implications of this for the IT industry if there is such a recession? Alternatively, what would happen if rampant consumerism is brought under control? Isn't it that very consumerism that pushes the development of the devices and technologies which most slashdotters could not live without?"


Submission + - More Antarctic dinosaurs 2

RockDoctor writes: The highly respected palaeontology journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica has published its December number for free access on the web, with the headline paper concerning new discoveries of dinosaurs from Antarctica.

The first major part of these discoveries were made as isolated bones of a sauropod (a relative of the well-known Brontosaurus) which were associated with a theropod (ancestor or cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex). These specimens were discovered at an altitude of 4100m, above the Beardmore Glacier in the TransAntarctic Mountains in 1991. Further field work during the following 13 years produced more material, seemingly from the same specimens and allowed more accurate description of the sauropod and it's naming as Glacialisaurus hammeri (the reason for the genus name is obvious ; Professor Hammer lead the field expeditions under "extremely difficult conditions"). The herbivore was some 25ft long and weighed-in at 4~6 tonnes ; at the time of life, the area was between 55 and 65 degrees south, suggesting a climate similar to the Falkland Islands or Tierra del Fuego.

The popular conception of dinosaurs as slow-moving, cold-blooded animals has long been challenged by such finds of high-latitude dinosaurs. One would expect the mainstream news sites (Slashdot included) to pick up on this publication as further evidence that the dinosaurs were much more diverse than that. After all, the only significant land animals in present-day Antarctica are penguins ; penguins are birds ; birds are dinosaurs (for any meaningful use of "birds", "are" and "dinosaurs") ; so one could make a good case that Antarctica IS the continent which has been dominated by dinosaurs for the last 200 million years. Quoth the penguin : "we don't need no steenkin' furry Mammalia on this here continent!"
However, since Antarctica is probably the most Linux-laden continent on the planet, and Antarctica is also the "dinosaur continent" (as I've just argued), then some FUD-merchant is going to make the false deduction that this means Linux is a dinosaur, instead of the correct deduction that dinosaurs are really well adapted to their extreme environments.

For the editors : Why is this under Topic:Mozilla? Because it's the closest match available in the list of topics — theropod and all that jazz.

Submission + - Voyager 2 finds solar system's shape is 'dented' (

Selikoff writes: "NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft has found that our solar system is not round but is "dented" by the local interstellar magnetic field of deep space, space experts said on Monday. The data was gathered by the craft on its 30-year journey into the edge of the solar system when it crossed into a sweeping region called the termination shock, they said. It showed that the southern hemisphere of the solar system's heliosphere is being pushed in or "dented." Voyager 2 is the second spacecraft to enter this region of the solar system behind Voyager 1, which entered the northern region of the heliosheath in December 2004."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Words that should be in the dictionary (

Margaret Rouse writes: As 2007 draws to a close, the Oxford American Dictionary has proclaimed "locavore" the Word of the Year 2007 and tech media will put out endless lists of Words to Watch in 2008. And I wondered, where is the list of new words that will be added to the dictionary in 2008? Merriam-Webster has been strangely quiet, so I invited contributors to start a list of their own. Here you go — tech words that should be added the dictionary in 2008.

Submission + - HTML5 now officially devoid of Ogg Vorbis / Theora ( 4

Rudd-O writes: "It's official. Ogg technology has been removed from the HTML5 spec, after Ian caved in the face of pressure from Apple and Nokia. Unless massive pressure is exerted on the HTML5 spec editing process, the Web authoring world will continue to endure our modern proprietary Tower of Babel.

Note that HTML5 in no way required Ogg (as denoted by the word "should" instead of "must" in the earlier draft). Adding this to the fact that there are widely available patent-free implementations of Ogg technology, there is really no excuse for Apple and Nokia to say that they couldn't in good faith implement HTML5 as previously formulated."


Submission + - Mars robot unearths microbe clue 1

Fur-Q writes: Nasa says its robot rover Spirit has made one of its most significant discoveries on the surface of Mars. Scientists believe a patch of ground disturbed by the vehicle shows evidence of a past environment that would have been perfect for microbial life. The deposits were probably produced when hot spring water or steam came into contact with volcanic rocks. On Earth, these are locations that tend to teem with bacteria, said rover chief scientist Steve Squyres. "We're really excited about this," he told a meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

Submission + - Microsoft disses Windows to sell...more Windows ( 1

mjasay writes: "I stumbled across this fascinating Microsoft tutorial entitled "How to Justify a Desktop Upgrade." It's an attempt to coach IT professionals on how to sell Windows desktop upgrades internally. Apparently the value of Vista is not readily apparent, requiring detailed instructions on how to connive and cajole into an upgrade from XP. The most intriguing thing about the tutorial is its implicit rejection of Microsoft's older technology. Just a few years ago Microsoft was pitching the world on how secure and cool XP was. Now it's telling us largely the opposite, implying that XP is a security threat, costs too much to run, and so on. With Microsoft marketing against itself, perhaps the Mac and Linux camps can simply wait for Microsoft to self-destruct?"
Linux Business

Submission + - Linux is about to take over the low end of PCs ( 3

An anonymous reader writes: Desktop Linux has a recent commentary on the inevitable growth of Linux on the cheaper end of the desktop market. According to the article, the availability of under-$500 usable hardware, combined with free a operating system, free desktop office products, and free or cheap "Software as a service" online applications, opens a new market in which Microsoft cannot compete. "Microsoft will fight this trend tooth and nail. It will cut prices to the point where it'll be bleeding ink on some of its product lines. And Windows XP is going to stick around much longer than Microsoft ever wanted it to. Still, it won't be enough. By attacking from the bottom, where Microsoft can no longer successfully compete, Linux will finally cut itself a large slice of the desktop market pie."

Submission + - $100 Billiion 'Fix' For Global Warming Discredited ( 4

slowboy writes: "Science Blog reports that a $100 billion fix for global warming may not work. The discredited 'fix' is the fertilization of potentially millions of tons of iron or other nutrients into the ocean to promote an algae bloom. If this was to work then the algae would start sucking the carbon out of the atmosphere and reduce the effects of a major greenhouse gas. But guess what, that may just not work, regardless of how it would disrupt the ocean's ecosystem. It seems that the carbon may not get pumped into the deeper ocean, it may just lie near the surface and get taken back up into the atmosphere. Fortunately we are finding this out now, and not after $100 billion of you're, mine and others tax money went to the scheme."

Submission + - BBC creates 'Perl on Rails' 2

Bogtha writes: Long-time users of Perl for their public websites, and having successfully used Ruby on Rails for internal websites, the BBC have fused the two by creating a 'Perl on Rails' that has the advantages of rapid development that Rails brings, while performing well enough to be used for the Beeb's high-traffic public websites. This is already powering one of their websites, and is set to be used in the controversial iPlayer project as well.

Submission + - Darwin 9.0 Code Released (

mr100percent writes: MacNN reports that Apple has released the source code to Darwin 9.0, the backbone of OS X 10.5 Leopard. x86 and PPC versions are available. According to Apple's developer mailing list, some key drivers are missing however.

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