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Comment It's not about communication through radio waves (Score 2, Informative) 774

I am not trying to single out this post, but half the thread seems to be assuming Fermi's paradox is about alien civilisations communicating with us over radio. This is 100% wrong. We are all actually talking about a paradox that was never postulated.

First, it has to be pointed out that the radio-wave idea has been discounted many times for a much more obvious reason. The period of time that any civilisation engages in communication by radio waves is likely to be a tiny fraction of a percentage of the total life of said civilisation. The idea of finding our alien friends through listening to radio waves was ridiculous when Carl Sagan was promoting it and remains so today.

Secondly, The Fermi Paradox is about alien civilisations *colonising* the Galaxy or "arriving here." It was originally phrased as the question "where are they?" (i.e. - they should be here by now given a finite universe and a certain amount of time.) As flawed as *that* idea also is, it's a completely different flawed idea than what most folks her are arguing about, which is the incredibly super-duper flawed idea of radio communication between advanced civilisations.

Comment Re:Maybe it was the same collision (Score 1) 167

The thing I find interesting about the whole debate, is that for as long as I can remember scientists have been vilifying Velikovsky for his theories about exactly this kind of thing, and now all of a sudden (like over the last five years or so), this kind of "Planets in Collision" theory has become the standard view.

Sure Velikovsky was a bit of a crackpot and the specifics of his theories are pretty much made-up, but he was the first person to take a look at the same evidence quoted in this article and evolve some reasonable suppositions from it. At the time, his idea that planets could actually move around and change orbits, colide with others etc. and *especially* the idea that stars outside of the solar system or other objects could significantly affect our own planets, was roundly ridiculed.

He noted the same time period, the same planetary anomalies and supposed almost the exact same cause, yet for decades and decades he was made out to be absolutely crazy for saying these things. Now we talk about the "late-early bombardment" as if it has always been the standard line, when you would be chucked out of your academic job for believing in this stuff only a short time ago.


Submission + - Update to the Enigma Ebay auction article

phlegmboy writes: eBay has pulled the auction of the Enigma machine.

I suspect that because it had a Nazi logo on it

This listing (270146164488) has been removed or is no longer available. Please make sure you entered the right item number.
If the listing was removed by eBay, consider it canceled. Note: Listings that have ended more than 90 days ago will no longer appear on eBay.

Submission + - One Laptop Per Child to add filtering?

notdanielp writes: "According to a Reuters blurb One Laptop Per Child is considering adding filters to their laptops Nigerian complaints of students accessing pornography on their free laptops. "Efforts to promote learning with laptops in a primary school in Abuja have gone awry as the pupils freely browse adult sites with explicit sexual materials," NAN said. A representative of the One Laptop Per Child aid group was quoted as saying that the computers, part of a pilot scheme, would now be fitted with filters.Is content filtering counter to the egalitarian spirit of the OLPC initiative? Is there a place for a proxy server in a streamlined design like the OLPC appliance?"

Submission + - Cheney to be President (for a few hours)

ArcherB writes: From HERE:

US President George W. Bush will undergo a "routine colonoscopy" at the Camp David retreat on Saturday, temporarily ceding his powers to Vice President Dick Cheney, the White House said Friday. Cheney will serve as acting president until such time as Bush, who will be under anesthesia, says he is ready to resume his duties, presidential spokesman Tony Snow told reporters. "The president has had no symptoms" of cancer, said Snow, who noted that Bush had been scheduled for such an examination since undergoing a colonoscopy in June 2002.
Please, no colonoscopy jokes.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Ghostly Tech Experiences

thechanklybore writes: "Earlier today someone logged into one of our systems using my username, and proceeded to alter Apache configuration files. Being a security conscious guy, my boss instantly noticed and notified me.

The strangest thing was that the user was logged in from my IP address. As it turned out in the end, this wasn't some malicious phantom, but a keyboard wedged between my (headless) development machine and my desktop machine, running through my SSH command history!

My question is, have any other Slashdotters had any ghostly technology experiences such as mine?"

Submission + - Plasma or LCD in 12 Months

An anonymous reader writes: My old dependable Sony CRT telly is clearly now in its last 12 months. The question is whehter to go with a plasma or LCD display. The trick is that I won't be buying for up to 12 months (don't know exactly when the CRT will die).
Currently Panasonic is running 'plasma — superior' types of educational ads but I'd prefer to hear from a wide audience that already owns one of these two display types. In my uninformed opinion it seems that plasma is a 5-year-old technology that is being eclipsed by LCD. Is this the case?

Both camps seem to have solved their archillies heels; burn-in for plasma and viewing angle for LCD. Is one now (and in the new future) better than the other?

p.s I've given up waiting for SED

Submission + - do Internet users want anonymity? 5

An anonymous reader writes: There's been quite a lot of research (academic and otherwise) on anonymous communication systems (TOR, Nyms, Crowds...). But the user population on even the most popular system, Tor, is an insignificant portion of the net user population. So I'm wondering, is anonymous communication useless, or is there just no killer app yet?

If someone implemented anonymous BitTorrent, would you sign up?

Submission + - An apparently new and quite serious Vista bug 1

Gazza writes: "As a regular Slahdot reader, I knew I had to share this issue with you as I feel that this is, or should soon be, "breaking news" of sorts — it concerns a bug in Vista's Disk Cleanup tool that can (and has — see provided CNET forum link) render a user's computer unbootable and cause serious data loss. I personally experienced this problem yesterday, and I'm understandably concerned about such a serious bug existing in a popular operating system. Details of the bug are outlined in a CNET forum thread (my experience was the third posted on this thread) at 'http://forums.cnet.com/5208-12546_102-0.html?foru mID=133&threadID=255106&messageID=2531664' Do some investigative journalism on this one, it'll be big news in no time flat! Keep up the good work, Gazza"

Submission + - IRENE Makes Old Sound Recordings Audible Again

orgelspieler writes: "NPR is running a story on a safe way to reproduce sound from ancient phonographs that would otherwise be unplayable. The system, called IRENE, was installed in the Library of Congress last year. It can be used to replay records that are scratched, worn, broken, or just too fragile to play with a needle. It scans the groves optically and processes them into a sound file at speeds approaching real time. IRENE is great at removing pops and skips, but can add some hiss. Researchers are also working on a 3D model that is better at removing hiss."
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Magnetic avalanches cause hard drive failure

An anonymous reader writes: According to this report by IT PRO, scientists working at the University of California have discovered the main reason of hard drive failure. According to researchers, some materials used in hard drives are better at damping spin precession than others. Spin precession of magnetic material effects its neighbors' polarity and this can spread and cause sections of hard drives to spontaneously change polarity and lose data. This is known as a magnetic avalanche. So next time Windows fails to start, you'll know why!

Submission + - The Truth is Out There Returns

DesertBlade writes: Looks like Mulder and Scully will be re-uniting on screen in X-Files! Since Mulder left the show was never the same. Mulder, I mean Duchovny, is expecting to recieve the script as early as next week.

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