Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


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! ×

Satellite-Based Laser Hunts Woodpeckers From Space 53

University of Idaho scientists have figured out a more effective way to track woodpecker populations than following the incessant laughter. They're using a laser onboard NASA's Icesat spacecraft to determine where the birds might be living. From the article: "NASA's Icesat satellite was initially intended for measuring glacial surfaces at the Earth's poles but has proven to be quite effective in measuring vegetation also. The satellite's laser bounces off of forest canopies, tree trunks and the ground making important characteristics about the forest easily measurable. For example, forest density is determined by the relative amount of light returned versus that which is returned from the ground. Once ideal woodpecker locations are identified 'we actually conduct ground-based woodpecker surveys in these locations as well to verify it,' says team-member Patrick Adam."

Using Infrared Cameras To Find Tastiness of Beef 108

JoshuaInNippon writes "Might we one day be able to use our cell phone cameras to pick out the best piece of meat on display at the market? Some Japanese researchers seem to hope so. A team of scientists is using infrared camera technology to try and determine the tastiest slices of high-grade Japanese beef. The researchers believe that the levels of Oleic acid found within the beef strongly affect the beef's tenderness, smell, and overall taste. The infrared camera can be tuned to pick out the Oleic acid levels through a whole slab, a process that would be impossible to do with the human eye. While the accuracy is still relatively low — a taste test this month resulted in only 60% of participants preferring beef that was believed to have had a higher level of Oleic acid — the researchers hope to fine tune the process for market testing by next year."

What the iPod Tells Us About the World Economy 380

Hugh Pickens writes "Edmund Conway has an interesting article in the Telegraph where he analyzes where the money goes when you buy a complex electronic device marked 'Made in China,' and why a developed economy doesn't need a trade surplus in order to survive. For his example, Conway chooses a 30GB video iPod 'manufactured' in China in 2006. Each iPod, sold in the US for $299, provides China with an export value of about $150, but as it turns out, Chinese producers really only 'earned' around $4 on each unit. 'China, you see, is really just the place where most of the other components that go inside the iPod are shipped and assembled.' Conway says that when you work out the overall US balance of payments, it shows that most of the cash for high tech inventions has flowed back to the United States as a direct result of the intellectual property companies own in their products. 'While the iPod is manufactured offshore and has a global roster of suppliers, the greatest benefits from this innovation go to Apple, an American company, with predominantly American employees and stockholders who reap the benefits,' writes Conway. 'As long as the US market remains dynamic, with innovative firms and risk-taking entrepreneurs, global innovation should continue to create value for American investors and well-paid jobs for knowledge workers. But if those companies get complacent or lose focus, there are plenty of foreign competitors ready to take their places.'"

3D Video Game Collaboration Used To Solve Crimes 45

eldavojohn writes "Reuters explains how the National Science Foundation's Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation (CDI) program is funding research used to implement real life crimes in a CSI-like game. They will use IC-CRIME's laser scanner technology and the Unity platform (which recently enjoyed the release of a freeware version) to recreate the crime scene as closely as possible. The crime scene will then be hosted for multiple remote crime scene investigators to explore concurrently while discussing what they see, sharing their data and experience as well as learning and asking questions."

Submission + - Strange Creatures Found Deep in Ocean

kulnor writes: Do they look at us as "Strange Creatures found on Top of the Sky"?

"The creatures living in the depths of the ocean are as weird and outlandish as the creations in a Dr. Seuss book: tentacled transparent sea cucumbers, primitive "dumbos" that flap ear-like fins, and tubeworms that feed on oil deposits. A report released on November 22, 2009, recorded 17,650 species living below 656 feet, the point where sunlight ceases. The findings were the latest update on a 10-year census of marine life."

Submission + - Missing decimal comma, huge sums debited (

mario.m7 writes: Poste Italiane, the Italian postal service has suffered yesterday from an abnormal computation in ATM and credit card operations, since the decimal comma was not taken and the whole sum debited multiplied by 100, resulting in a 115,00 Euro transaction debited as 11.500 Euro!
Il Sole 24 Ore reports that thousands of accounts are in the deep red and locked, so that no more operations are possible. Poste Italiane are gradually recovering the problem, fixing the error and re-crediting the sum debited in excess. Consumer associations have offered support to clients in case this inefficiency will last for more time and cause damages.

Submission + - Wikileaks publishes 500,000 9/11 pager messages (

An anonymous reader writes: Wikileaks is preparing to release 500,000 intercepted pager messages from a 24-hour period encompassing the September 11 terrorist attacks. The messages show emergency services springing into action and computer systems sending automated messages as buildings collapse. Wikileaks implies this data came from an organised collection effort.
PlayStation (Games)

US Air Force Buying Another 2,200 PS3s 144

bleedingpegasus sends word that the US Air Force will be grabbing up 2,200 new PlayStation 3 consoles for research into supercomputing. They already have a cluster made from 336 of the old-style (non-Slim) consoles, which they've used for a variety of purposes, including "processing multiple radar images into higher resolution composite images (known as synthetic aperture radar image formation), high-def video processing, and 'neuromorphic computing.'" According to the Justification Review Document (DOC), "Once the hardware configuration is implemented, software code will be developed in-house for cluster implementation utilizing a Linux-based operating software."

Submission + - 'Assassin's Creed 2' Breaks Records (

adeelarshad82 writes: Ubisoft said on Tuesday its Assassin's Creed 2 adventure game had record sales in the first week of its launch, quashing fears the potential Christmas season blockbuster was not doing as well as expected. The world's third-largest independent video games publisher said internal estimates showed that first week sales of the game reached 1.6 million units worldwide.

Your Mashup Is Probably Legal 149

TV Barn writes "We've been conditioned to think that if you pull something off the web and use it, you're committing some sort of copyright infringement. But increasingly, the law is moving in the opposite direction. Provided you are making a truly new use of the content, you are free to make money off those copyrighted images and video and sound. On Monday the Center for Social Media released 'Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in Online Video,' which reflects the latest changes in copyright law that has expanded the understanding of fair use to include 'transformational effect.' Already Miro has endorsed the guidelines, as have several public broadcasters. The Center has a good track record, having issued guidelines for documentary filmmakers that have greatly reduced copyright claims in that area. The website has plenty of resources for mashers and mixers; I interviewed the Center's director in this podcast that summarizes the most important findings of the report." On the other hand, says reader kaliphonia, your guitar tablature sites may not fare so well.

How To Check Yourself For Abnormal Genes 133

AnneWoahHickey writes "While the State of California was harassing personalized genomics companies, and hindering the development of personalized medicine, Wired was preparing a guide to genetic testing. It explains how to make sense of the massive sets of raw data offered by 23andMe or deCODEme, and a way to check yourself for genetic abnormalities that are not covered by microarray tests. Facing a medical community that is fiercely resistant to change, the fate of personalized medicine is truly in the hands of consumers."
The Courts

User Charged With Felony For Using Fake Name On MySpace 931

Recently a user, Lori Drew, was charged with a felony for the heinous crime of pretending to be someone else on the Internet. Using the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Lori was charged for signing up for MySpace using a fake name. "The access to MySpace was unauthorized because using a fake name violated the terms of service. The information from a "protected computer" was the profiles of other MySpace users. If this is found to be a valid interpretation of the law, it's really quite frightening. If you violate the Terms of Service of a website, you can be charged with hacking. That's an astounding concept. Does this mean that everyone who uses Bugmenot could be prosecuted? Also, this isn't a minor crime, it's a felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment per count. In Drew's case she was charged with three counts for accessing MySpace on three different occasions."

Submission + - Bush Admits Administration Leaked Agent's Name (

InvisblePinkUnicorn writes: "Following the recent story that President Bush commuted Scooter Libby's sentence, Bush acknowledged publicly for the first time that someone in his administration likely leaked the name of the CIA operative: "I'm aware of the fact that perhaps somebody in the administration did disclose the name of that person," Bush said. "I've often thought about what would have happened if that person had come forth and said, 'I did it.' Would we have had this endless hours of investigation and a lot of money being spent on this matter? But, so, it's been a tough issue for a lot of people in the White House. It's run its course and now we're going to move on." MSNBC points out that the president 'had initially said he would fire anyone in his administration found to have publicly disclosed the identity of Valerie Plame.'"
Operating Systems

Submission + - 64-bit Kernel mode only OS, No Wussies (

losethos writes: "LoseThos is an open source, free, 64-bit operating system created absolutely from scratch with no restrictions (freer than GPL). It's designed to serve people who program for entertainment. It just supports a VGA display, keyboard, mouse, harddrive, CD-ROM and internal PC speaker. What more do you need for writing games? It's designed to serve as a supplemental operating system you duel boot to for this purpose. It's modern, however, supporting 64-bit (only) computing and multicore processors. It's like the old days when you could access all memory, use all instructions, access all ports, read all disk blocks. The memory space is identity mapped to physical memory so you can easily have processes interact. It has the most advanced command-line on the planet, seriously. Basically, as you type, it goes straight into a C/C++ compiler, with code outside functions executing immediately and the command line supports a variety of widgets including graphic, trees and file links."

Slashdot Top Deals

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. -- H. L. Mencken