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Scientists Say Toads Can Predict Earthquakes 66

reillymj writes "Researchers claim toads sensed a severe earthquake last year five days before it hit. Last spring's L'Aquila earthquake devastated the medieval city of the same name in Italy. Five days earlier, a group of biologists noticed some toads behaving strangely in a pond nearby that would later be the quake's epicenter."

Comment Re:How convenient! (Score 2, Insightful) 857

Evolution IS the response to the environment and life-affecting issues. Evolution is, in a manner of speaking, random genetic mutations that result in having a better chance of surviving those environmental changes. So, yes, modern medicine is definitely a factor in keeping people from passing on their genes. Take for example, a childhood leukemia victim. If modern medicine saves that child, that child now has the ability to pass on whatever genes predisposed them to that leukemia. Now, I'm not saying that that person shouldn't be saved, but it serves to support both the article and the medicine aspect. Society's support of curing leukemia, combined with the ability to do so, have limited the evolutionary path.
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Recovering computers after house fire? (

Nathan Neulinger writes: "Today, my family and I experienced (after the fact — we were not home) a house fire that completely destroyed our kitchen, and caused significant smoke and heat damage throughout the rest of the house. I believe that the two more important computer systems in the house shut themselves down automatically when the power was cut, but I don't know how much smoke and soot was pulled into them.

I'm not terribly concerned about the machines themselves, but I'd like to pull the data off onto new media. I'm a long time unix admin, so recovery tools themselves are not an issue, but I am concerned about the hardware itself. Are there any things to watch out for in terms of powering the drives back up on another machine, or is this a "don't touch it, leave it to the pros" type of thing? I have not been able to look at the drives up close yet — waiting on insurance adjuster to approve messing with house's contents first."


Submission + - Searching for powerful yet agile publication SW

teh_commodore writes: I work for a relatively small group that develops an immensely large piece of software with a pretty steep learning curve, and I'm looking for some sort of publication software that will fit my needs. I'm looking for something that can be updated on the fly from anywhere, as features and functionality are almost constantly being added, changed, or removed (builds come out 3 to 5 times daily) and a few members of the staff work off-site. Everyone on staff, including developers and testers, should have access, and it should be able to publish in multiple formats, specifically something printable (pdf?) and something web-based. Furthermore, only certain functionality is available to select customers, so there should be some modularity control. It needs to work cross-platform, as we work with Linux of varying flavors here at the office, yet a few employees have Windows machines.

I'm thinking something that marries the power of Framemaker with the agility of a Wiki. Does such a beast exist?

Submission + - Echinacea 'can prevent a cold' (

Kyojin writes: Taking the herbal remedy echinacea can more than halve the risk of catching a common cold, US researchers say. They found it decreased the odds of developing a cold by 58% and the duration of colds by a day-and-a-half, but the results in The Lancet Infectious Diseases conflict with other studies that show no beneficial effect.

What do you Slashdotters take when your extreme programming partner has a cold that you really don't want to catch? Which research do you trust?

Linux Business

Submission + - Building Workflow into the OS, or core module?

g8orade writes: I have two questions about workflow use in businesses —
  1. What are the best examples of workflow management you've encountered on the web or at your job?
  2. Do you think there would be a benefit in building in core ticketing functionalities like messaging, owner, status(es), comments, auto-notificatio, subscriptions, parent/child identifiers, due by date, etc. as extensible file system data? Then the OS or a core module of it, would *be* the workflow manager, available universally upon installation of a networked OS.
Background The company where I work has gained tremendous efficiencies by moving processes once managed with email to a ticket system. (BestPractical's RT, we love it). I could write an analysis of why ticketing in general is so great, but the book RT Essentials lays it out very well in the Introduction and a later chapter on scenarios, no matter which tool you choose.

We are also now investigating Business Process Management modules for our structured order management database(ERP) software. This is like ticket functionality with some identified processing logic that guides actions to types of tickets.

Web 2.0 is about "social networking" which seems to be mostly about giving individuals a workspace over which they have administrative rights and some tools to work with. Google Docs is a good example of this a bit, but it's not exactly tied to all the ticketing functions right now.

Side note,

And yes, go read Manna to see where this all might lead in a business environment.

Submission + - Are laptop batteries the next "printer ink"

Quixote writes: Sometime back I bought a Dell Inspiron laptop because Dell was offering a very good deal on it. A few weeks after the warranty expired, the battery suddenly died. It was as if the battery was non-existent: the laptop would shutdown if unplugged even if the battery had been in the laptop the whole time. When plugged in, the battery charging light would keep flashing. This seemed quite puzzling, since just days before this, the battery used to give me a good 2 hours or so of use.

Searching around on the web to see if the flashing lights meant anything, I came across this page. It seems like lots of people have been reporting the same symptoms: just after the warranty expires, the battery mysteriously "dies". Even the Dell forums are replete with posts from unhappy users.

The solution from Dell is: buy a new battery. But they aren't cheap: a Dell one runs you about $100.

I know I should have known better than buying a Dell (cue the "Dude!" jokes). But this begs a bigger question: is this legal (it certainly doesn't seem ethical)? How many of these (working) batteries end up in the landfill? Have laptop batteries become the next "printer ink", forcing us to keep buying new ones?
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - How would one sell a web application? (

rastakid writes: "I've just started the selling process of a web (2.0, so you will) application I wrote, called It's an online desktop environment built in PHP using AJAX technology. It started out as a hobby project to learn AJAX development but it soon grew much further than that with features being added on a weekly basis. Now that I (and a couple of friends who helped me on this project) are moving on to other things we don't want to let our work go to waste and decided to sell the source code, art material and domain name.

Based on the features and the possibilities of this application we decided to go for an amount of EUR 5,000.-. In our opinion that's enough to be considered serious and not too much for smaller companies to pay. Our target audience consists of entrepreneurs, companies (intranet) and schools.

My question: how would one go about selling such a web application? Where do we market such a sale? Any tips would be appreciated.

Note: If you would like to have more information about the application: please visit"


Submission + - Laptop Theft Recovery

supertechguy writes: With laptop theft becoming a major concern. Products such as Computrace by Absolute Software, CyberAngel, and The LaptopLock have been developed to recover stolen computer and protect data. These products typically report a machines public IP address when it is connected to the internet. Is anyone aware of a Open Source software package that accomplishes the same goal? I am looking for a product could be deployed in a enterprise environment on hundreds of machines. Does anybody have any suggestions?

Windows Vista Keygen a Hoax 154

An anonymous reader writes "The author of the Windows Vista keygen that was reported yesterday has admitted that the program does not actually work. Here is the initial announcement of the original release of the keygen, and here is the followup post in which the same author acknowledges that the program is fake. Apparently, the keygen program does legitimately attack Windows Vista keys via brute force, but the chances of success are too low for this to be a practical method. Quote from the author: 'Everyone who said they got a key is probably lying or mistaken!'"

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"Probably the best operating system in the world is the [operating system] made for the PDP-11 by Bell Laboratories." - Ted Nelson, October 1977