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Transportation

Judge Rules In Favor of Volkswagen and Silences Scientist 254

sl4shd0rk writes "Samsung-is-not-as-cool-as-Apple Judge Colin Birss, rules in favor of Volkswagon to ban Flavio Garcia, a computer scientist, from revealing details about 'Wirelessly Lockpicking a Vehicle Immobiliser' at USENIX in August. Volkswagen says the flaw could allow someone to 'break the security and steal a car' so it is justifiable grounds for blocking Flavio's paper. No word yet on how soon Volkswagen will have a patch."
Idle

Researchers Crown Buddhist Monk the World's Happiest Man 348

concealment writes in with a story about a man who has been crowned the world's happiest. "Tibetan monk and molecular geneticist Matthieu Ricard is the happiest man in the world according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin. The 66-year-old's brain produces a level of gamma waves — those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory — never before reported in neuroscience. The scans showed that when meditating on compassion, Ricard's brain produces a level of gamma waves — those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory — 'never reported before in the neuroscience literature,' Davidson said. The scans also showed excessive activity in his brain's left pre-frontal cortex compared to its right counterpart, giving him an abnormally large capacity for happiness and a reduced propensity towards negativity, researchers believe."
Earth

Scientists Link Deep Wells To Deadly Spanish Quake 118

Meshach writes "Research has suggested that human activity triggered an earthquake in Spain that killed nine and injured over three hundred. Drilling deeper and deeper wells to water crops over the past 50 years were identified as the culprit by scientist who examined satellite images of the area. It was noted that even without the strain caused by water extraction, a quake would likely have occurred at some point in the area but the extra stress of pumping vast amounts of water from a nearby aquifer may have been enough to trigger a quake at that particular time and place."
Government

Prince of Sealand Dies At 91 218

jdavidb writes "46 years ago, occupying an abandoned WWII platform off the coast of Britain, Paddy Roy Bates declared independence, naming himself Prince of the Principality of Sealand. Today, Bates has passed away at 91. Long time Slashdot readers will remember Sealand as the site of HavenCo, an unsuccessful data warehousing company that tried to operate from Sealand outside the reach of larger nations' legal structures. They may also remember plans that the Pirate Bay had at one time to buy Sealand. Bates had moved to a care home a few years ago, naming his son Michael Regent of Sealand."
Earth

East Texas Getting Compressed Air Energy Storage Plant 248

First time accepted submitter transporter_ii writes "A compressed air energy storage (CAES) plant was first built in Germany in 1978, but East Texas will be the site of one of the world's first modern CAES plants. How does it work? A CAES power generation facility uses electric motor-driven compressors (generated by natural gas generators) to inject air into an underground storage cavern and later releases the compressed air to turn turbines and generate electricity back onto the grid, according to the plants owner. The location near Palestine, Texas was selected because of its large salt dome, which will be used to store the compressed air. The plant is estimated to cost $350 million-plus, and will create about 20 to 25 permanent jobs."
Communications

Murdoch Voicemail Hacking Story 'Ain't Over Yet' 113

lee317 writes "Reuters is reporting that Rupert Murdoch's headache over the alleged phone hacking by his News Corp's reporters could be small compared to what is ahead. So far, around 20 public figures who believe their voicemail messages were intercepted by journalists at the popular News of the World tabloid are suing News International, the UK newspaper arm of News Corp. After a public apology from the newspaper aimed at 'put(ting) this problem into a box,' a UK judge eluded to the fact that civil cases against the firm could run into next year at least."
Power

Students Build 2752 MPG Hypermiling Vehicle 233

MikeChino sends along this awe-inspiring excerpt: "Think claims of electric vehicles that get over 200 MPG are impressive? Try this on for size: a group of mechanical engineering students at Cal Poly have developed a vehicle that can get up to 2752.3 MPG — and it doesn't even use batteries. The Cal Poly Supermileage Team's wondercar, dubbed the Black Widow, has been under construction since 2005. The 96 pound car has three wheels, a drag coefficient of 0.12, a top speed of 30 MPH, and a modified 3 horsepower Honda 50cc four-stroke engine. It originally clocked in at 861 MPG and has been continuously tweaked to achieve the mileage we see today." It's not quite as street-worthy, though, as Volkswagen's 235 MPG One-Liter concept. Updated 20:01 GMT: The Cal Poly car's earlier incarnation achieved 861 MPG, not MPH; corrected above.
Businesses

Diskeeper Accused of Scientology Indoctrination 779

touretzky writes "Two ex-employees have sued Diskeeper Corporation in Los Angeles Superior Court after being fired, alleging that the company makes Scientology training a mandatory condition of employment (complaint, PDF). Diskeeper founder and CEO Craig Jensen is a high-level, publicly avowed Scientologist who has given millions to his Church. Diskeeper's surprising response to the lawsuit (PDF) appears to be that religious instruction in a place of employment is protected by the First Amendment." The blogger at RealityBasedCommunity.net believes that the legal mechanism that Diskeeper is using to advance this argument ("motion to strike") is inappropriate and will be disallowed, but that the company will eventually be permitted to present its novel legal theory.
Math

Florence Nightingale, Statistical Graphics Pioneer 204

Science News has a fascinating look at an under-appreciated corner of the career of Florence Nightingale — as an innovator in the use of statistical graphics to argue for social change. Nightingale returned from the Crimean War a heroine in the eyes of the British citizenry, for the soldiers' lives she had saved. But she came to appreciate that the way to save far more lives was to reform attitudes in the military about sanitation. Under the tutelage of William Farr, who had just invented the field of medical statistics, she compiled overwhelming evidence (in the form of an 830-page report) of the need for change. "As impressive as her statistics were, Nightingale worried that Queen Victoria's eyes would glaze over as she scanned the tables. So Nightingale devised clever ways of presenting the information in charts. Statistics had been presented using graphics only a few times previously, and perhaps never to persuade people of the need for social change."

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