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! ×

Submission + - Deep Galaxy Surveys and Gravitational Lensing

lee1 writes: "Astronomers who survey galaxies in the distant universe are getting some
unexpected help, and interference, from gravity. Analysis of images
from the Hubble Ultra Deep Field survey, a collection of the furthest
images of the universe ever taken, revealed a mystery: many of the
faraway galaxies they observed appeared to be located near the line of
sight to galaxies in the foreground. Through a statistical analysis,
they determined that strong gravitational lensing is the most likely
explanation. This arises from the bending of light in a gravitational
field, first predicted by Newton and, more accurately, by Einstein’s
general theory of relativity. It turns out that as many as 20 percent
of the most distant galaxies currently detected appear brighter than
they actually are, due to the lensing effect. In fact, many galaxies in
the remote universe will only be visible to us because of the bending of
their light by the gravitational fields of other galaxies."
United States

Submission + - Patriot Act Up For Renewal, Nobody Notices

Ponca City, We Love You writes: "When the Patriot Act was first signed in 2001, it was billed as a temporary measure required because of the extreme circumstances created by the terrorist threat. The fear from its opponents was that executive power, once given, is seldom relinquished. Now the Examiner reports that on January 5th, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) introduced a bill to add yet another year to the soon to be expiring Patriot Act extending it until February, 2012 with passage likely to happen with little debate or contention. If passed, this would be the second time the Obama administration has punted on campaign promises to roll back excessive surveillance measures allowed under the act passed in the wake of 9/11. Last years extension passed under the heading of the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act. "Given the very limited number of days Congress has in session before the current deadline, and the fact that the bill’s Republican sponsor is only seeking another year, I think it's safe to read this as signaling an agreement across the aisle to put the issue off yet again," writes Julian Sanchez."

Submission + - US revamps sci-tech standard-setting efforts (

coondoggie writes: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been given new marching orders: expand work with the private sector to develop standards for a range of key technologies such as cloud computing, emergency communications and tracking, green manufacturing and high performance green building construction. NIST could also see its core science and technology budget double by 2017. NIST has also cut the number of labs it runs to 6 from 10. NIST labs now include, engineering, physical measurement, information technology, material measurement, the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology and the NIST Center for Neutron Research.

Submission + - Scientists find the anti-Viagra: a woman's tears (

An anonymous reader writes: The male test subjects didn't know what they were smelling, they were just given little vials of clear liquid and told to sniff. But when those vials contained a woman's tears (collected while she watched a sad movie), the men rated pictures of women's faces as less sexually attractive, and their saliva contained less testosterone. Is this proof that humans make and respond to pheromones? The researcher behind the study doesn't use that controversial word, but he says his findings do prove that tears contain meaningful chemical messages.

Submission + - NASA may delay 'WFirst' search for Dark Energy (

Algorithmnast writes: This blog entry points out that NASA's project WFirst (Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope) is under threat of being delayed by cost overruns for the Webb Space Telescope (Hubble's successor). If they don't hurry, then the EU may in fact be first to field a Dark Energy surveillance telescope — leaving Wfirst being ... second.

While the EU project Euclid (scheduled for 2018) is not a sure thing, American scientists are worried that they'll be left out in the dark if they don't launch first.

There are more references here and here.

Submission + - College Students Lack Scientific Literacy

An anonymous reader writes: Most college students in the United States do not grasp the scientific basis of the carbon cycle – an essential skill in understanding the causes and consequences of climate change, according to research published in the January issue of BioScience. The study, whose authors include several current and former researchers from Michigan State University, calls for a new way of teaching – and, ultimately, comprehending – fundamental scientific principles such as the conservation of matter.

The Future of the Most Important Human Brain 252

mattnyc99 writes "About a year ago, we watched live as neuroanatomist Jacopo Annese sliced the brain of Memento-style patient Henry Molaison (aka H.M.) into 2,401 pieces. Since even before then, writer Luke Dittrich — whose grandfather happened to be the surgeon to accidentally slice open the H.M. skull in the first place — has been tracking Annese and a new revolution in brain science. From the article in Esquire: 'If Korbinian Brodmann created the mind's Rand McNally, Jacopo Annese is creating its Google Maps. ... With his Brain Observatory, Annese is setting out to create not the world's largest but the world's most useful collection of brains. ... For the first time, we'll be able to meaningfully and easily compare large numbers of brains, perhaps finally understanding why one brain might be less empathetic or better at calculus or likelier to develop Alzheimer's than another. The Brain Observatory promises to revolutionize our understanding of how these three-pound hunks of tissue inside our skulls do what they do, which means, of course, that it promises to revolutionize our understanding of ourselves.'"

New Batfish Species Found Under Gulf Oil Spill 226

eDarwin writes "Researchers have discovered two previously unknown species of bottom-dwelling fish in the Gulf of Mexico, living right in the area affected by the BP oil spill. Researchers identified new species of pancake batfishes, a flat fish rarely seen because of the dark depths they favor. They are named for the clumsy way they 'walk' along the sea bottom, like a bat crawling."

Submission + - FDA says Homeopathic Cure can Cause Loss of Smell

Hugh Pickens writes: "The FDA has advised consumers to stop using Matrixx Initiatives' Zicam Cold Remedy nasal gel marketed over-the-counter as a cold remedy because it is associated with the loss of sense of smell (anosmia) that may be long-lasting or permanent. The FDA says about 130 consumers have reported a loss of smell after using the homeopathic cure containing zinc, an ingredient scientists say may damage nerves in the nose needed for smell and health officials say they have asked Matrixx executives to turn over more than 800 consumer complaints concerning lost smell that the company has on file. "Loss of the sense of smell is potentially life threatening and may be permanent," said Dr. Charles Lee. "People without the sense of smell may not be able to detect life dangerous situations, such as gas leaks or something burning in the house." The FDA said the remedy was never formally approved because it is part of a small group of remedies known as homeopathic products that are not required to undergo federal review before launching. The global market for homeopathic drugs is about $200 million per year, according to the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists. Matrixx has settled hundreds of lawsuits connected with Zicam in recent years, but says it "will seek a meeting with the FDA to vigorously defend its scientific data, developed during more than 10 years of experience with the products, demonstrating their safety.""

Submission + - Climate change is happening 'here, now' : US Gov (

suraj.sun writes: WASHINGTON (AFP) — The harmful effects of global warming are being felt "here and now and in your backyard," a groundbreaking US government report on climate change has warned.

"Climate change is happening now, it is not something that will happen decades or centuries in the future," Jerry Melillo of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts, one of the lead authors of the report, told AFP.

Climate change, which the report blames largely on human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases, "is under way in the United States and projected to grow," said the report by the US Global Change Research Program, a grouping of a dozen government agencies and the White House.

The report is the first on climate change since President Barack Obama took office and outlines in plain, non-scientific terms how global warming has resulted in an increase of extreme weather such as the powerful heatwave that swept Europe in 2003, claiming tens of thousands of lives.

"We focused on regions of the US because another big message we wanted to get across is that not only is climate change happening now, but it's happening in your backyard," said Melillo.



Submission + - Google Considers Secure email as Default for All

Hugh Pickens writes: "The NY Times reports that last year Google made it fairly easy for users to enable HTTPS in Gmail, though it is not clear that the company has done much to publicize the feature. Now Google is "planning a trial in which we'll move small samples of different types of Gmail users to HTTPS to see what their experience is, and whether it affects the performance of their email. Does it load fast enough? Is it responsive enough? Are there particular regions, or networks, or computer setups that do particularly poorly on HTTPS?" If the negative effects are limited, Google will turn on HTTPS protection for more Gmail users and perhaps even all users and the company will look into the possibility of providing the same security for Google Docs and Google Calendar. Google said it was not using HTTPS by default because it could slow down users' computers. "Your computer has to do extra work to decrypt all that data, and encrypted data doesn't travel across the internet as efficiently as unencrypted data. That's why we leave the choice up to you." Other providers including Yahoo, Microsoft, MySpace and Facebook — generally offer HTTPS when users are logging in to protect passwords, but do not make the security feature available more broadly. "Users of Microsoft Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Facebook and MySpace are also vulnerable to these attacks. Worst of all, these firms do not offer their customers any form of protection. Google at least offers its tech savvy customers a strong degree of protection from snooping attacks.""

DNA Bar Coding Finds Mislabeled Sushi 285

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that Kate Stoeckle and Louisa Strauss, who graduated this year from the Trinity School in Manhattan, took on a freelance science project to check 60 samples of seafood using a simplified genetic fingerprinting technique called DNA Bar Coding to see whether the fish New Yorkers buy is what they think they are getting, and found that one-fourth of the fish samples with identifiable DNA were mislabeled: A piece of sushi sold as the luxury treat white tuna turned out to be Mozambique tilapia, a much cheaper fish that is often raised by farming. Roe supposedly from flying fish was actually from smelt." (More below.)

Comment Re:This means what? (Score 1) 638

Even if you get an app working, chances are it will break with every update. How do you sell that to someone? "Here is this new cool operating system, and here is the guy you're going to have to employ to configure every single windows-based application you want to try out...Oh, and no guarantees, he may not be able to get it to work."
Guess what? Don't upgrade. That's just not smart. I know of ZERO companies who installed Windows Vista the day it came out on their production servers, and if anyone does the same with Wine, bad things can happen. Quite frankly Wine is understaffed for the purposes of recreating a whole operating system, but your argument of "These two secret apps don't work and never will" doesn't really hold much water. Even "These two secret apps don't work because...blah blah blah" would be better. "It dont work" is NOT a valid technical issue. And adding references to shit does't exactly make you more credible.

Slashdot Top Deals

Nothing makes a person more productive than the last minute.