OakDragon writes: Microsoft has tamped down the earth on XP's grave, steering Internet Explorer toward the nursing home, and trying to get everyone agreeing that Windows 10 is a bright up-and-comer. But in the Paris airport of Orly, a system called DECOR — which helps air traffic controllers relay weather information to pilots — is running on Windows 3.1. That program suffered a glitch recently that grounded planes for some time. The airport actually runs on a variety of old systems, including Windows XP and UNIX. Maintenance is a problem. There are only three people in Paris that work on DECOR issues, and one of them is retiring soon. Hardware is also an issue. "Sometimes we have to go rummaging on eBay to replace certain parts," said Fiacre. "In any case, these machines were not designed to keep working for more than 20 years."
OakDragon writes: The cold waters of Earth’s deep ocean have not warmed measurably since 2005, according to a new NASA study, leaving unsolved the mystery of why global warming appears to have slowed in recent years.
Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, analyzed satellite and direct ocean temperature data from 2005 to 2013 and found the ocean abyss below 1.24 miles (1,995 meters) has not warmed measurably. Study coauthor Josh Willis of JPL said these findings do not throw suspicion on climate change itself.
OakDragon writes: A Franklin, Tennessee man has been indicted for his attempt to blackmail Mitt Romney. Michael Mancil Brown allegedly claimed his intent to release some of Romney's pre-2010 tax documents unless one million dollars was converted to Bitcoins and deposited into an account which he specified. Demand letters were sent to Republican and Democrat Party offices in Tennessee, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers (whom he claimed to have stolen the documents from). Pricewaterhouse Coopers denies that he ever obtained such documents. Brown was also attempting to "sell" the documents to others (presumably the Democrats or other interested parties) for the same amount. And yes, he was apparently well aware of the Dr. Evil reference.
OakDragon writes: "A newly discovered species of spider — apparently of the genus Cyclosa — has been discovered in the Peruvian Amazon. The spider builds an elaborate decoy out of web, twigs, and other scraps, that appears to be a much larger spider. The spider will even cause the decoy to move, marionette-style, by shaking the web."
OakDragon writes: "Kickstarter has introduced some more stringent guidelines and requirements specifically for the Hardware and Product Design categories. These new requirements are laid out in a blog post called "Kickstarter Is Not a Store." Simulations will now be prohibited. Video cannot show a proposed product, action, etc. — only a real product and what it does at the time. Product renderings and other simulated illustrations also will not be sufficient — the project creator will have to have photographs of a real prototype."
OakDragon writes: "For the first time, scientists have used neutrinos – the exotic fundamental particles that routinely pass right through Earth – to send a message through the ground.
Because neutrinos so rarely interact with other particles, they are extremely difficult to detect. The detector, called Minerva, contains layers of different materials, including carbon, lead and iron. As the neutrinos pass through it, occasionally a neutrino will collide head-on with the nucleus of one of these atoms, creating other particles that are visible to the detector."
OakDragon writes: For those who are used to watching Family Guy, Glee, or The Simpsons online the day after the shows appear on TV, get ready to be mad. Fox and Hulu will be putting new shows behind a paywall for 8 days, starting August 15th. However, Hulu Plus subscribers won't have to pay — and neither will those who prove they are cable or dish subscribers. The latter authenticate DISH Network customers at first, but "other cable and satellite providers will be 'coming soon.'"
OakDragon writes: "In 2007, Mark Helprin wrote what he thought was a mildly controversial opinion on an esoteric in the New York Times: he was in favor of strengthening copyright laws in order for authors to better protect their work. Within a week, there were hundreds of thousands of blog posts and comments criticizing his stance. A recent Wall Street Journal quotes his opinion: 'manifestation of the collective versus the individual, of central direction versus local decision, of concentrated powers versus dispersed powers, of the large corporation versus the sole proprietor, of the combine versus the artists, of the industrialist versus the smallholder.'"
OakDragon writes: Using gravitational microlensing, astronomers have discovered a planetary system that is roughly analogous to our own Solar system's relationship between the Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn. The star, OGLE-2006-BLG-109L, is about half the mass of our Sun, but the planets found are closer to it, hence the "scaled-down" description. Gravitational microlensing has turned up a handful of planets previously, but this is the first time conditions were just right to show the existence of smaller planets.
OakDragon writes: "Move over Amazon.com and Microsoft: Cracked.com (remember "Cracked?" It's back, in web form) presents their picks for the ten most ridiculous patents, including an "animal toy" that we might call "a stick.""
OakDragon writes: Ron Paul's main support springs from the Internet. I suspect many Slashdot regulars support him (at least among those the support Republicans). But could some of his supporters be, let's say, less than human? Some researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham say that a flurry of emails supporting Paul is the work of botnets. The Wired story says:
Some participants in the online political world have long suspected Paul's technically sophisticated fan base of manipulating online tools and polls to boost the appearance of a wide base of support.
OakDragon writes: "Twenty years after its obituary was written, the cassette tape is stubbornly clinging to life. Even though their production has plummeted from the early 90s, the last cassette maker in North America — Lenco-PMC — claims their factory will produce 22 million cassettes per year for the next several years. The market for cassettes now? Audio books for the blind (where Braille labels on CDs intefere with the slot-fed players), court recordings, and religious recordings."