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Submission + - There is a finite limit on how long intelligence can exist in our Universe 1

StartsWithABang writes: The heat death of the Universe is the idea that increasing entropy will eventually cause the Universe to arrive at a uniformly, maximally disordered state. Every piece of evidence we have points towards our unfortunate, inevitable trending towards that end, with every burning star, every gravitational merger, and even every breath we, ourselves, take. Yet even while we head towards this fate, it may be possible for intelligence in an artificial form to continue in the Universe for an extraordinarily long time: possibly for as long as a googol years, but not quite indefinitely. Eventually, it all must end.
United States

Submission + - High Tech Research Moving from US to China

Hugh Pickens writes: "The NY Times reports that American companies like Applied Materials are moving their research facilities and engineers to China as the country develops a high-tech economy that increasingly competes directly with the United States. Applied Materials set up its latest solar research labs in China after estimating that China would be producing two-thirds of the world’s solar panels by the end of this year and their chief technology officer, Mark R. Pinto, is the first CTO of a major American tech company to move to China. “We’re obviously not giving up on the US,” says Pinto. “China needs more electricity. It’s as simple as that.” Western companies are also attracted to China’s huge reservoirs of cheap, highly skilled engineers and the subsidies offered by many Chinese cities and regions, particularly for green energy companies. Applied Materials decided to build their new $250 million research facility in Xi’an after the city government sold them a 75-year land lease at a deep discount and is reimbursing the company for roughly a quarter of the lab complex’s operating costs for five years. Pinto says that researchers from the United States and Europe have to be ready to move to China if they want to do cutting-edge work on solar manufacturing because the new Applied Materials complex here is the only research center that can fit an entire solar panel assembly line. “This opening represents a critical breakthrough for the photovoltaic industry and China and a tremendous benefit to our customers,” says Applied Materials CEO Mike Splinter. “Establishing this center in China is an integral part of Applied’s global strategy and an important step toward the industrialization of the global solar industry.”"
Patents

Submission + - Seven patent lawsuits you should know about (itworld.com)

jfruhlinger writes: They may not be as high profile as Apple vs. Android, but all of these lawsuits reveal something about our weird and broken tech patent system. From a case squabbling over damages for a patent that expired years ago to a move to use patents the way the Feds used tax evasion against Capone, here are seven patent lawsuits of interest.

Feed Schneier: CCTV Cameras (schneier.com)

Pervasive security cameras don't substantially reduce crime. There are exceptions, of course, and that's what gets the press. Most famously, CCTV cameras helped catch James Bulger's murderers in 1993. And earlier this year, they helped convict Steve Wright of murdering five women in the Ipswich area. But these are the well-publicised exceptions. Overall, CCTV cameras aren't very effective. This fact...

America's Robot Army 139

Popular Mechanics explores the increasing level of reliance the US military has when it comes to robotic assistance. In the last few years, robot drones have reached an all-new level of sophistication, with several models already deployed in the field. Now, the next generation of robot helpers is nearing the end of its test phase. PM offers up a preview of what we could expect to see in the field within the next five years. "The MULE (Multifunction Utility/Logistics and Equipment) is roughly the size of a Humvee, but it has a trick worthy of monster truck rallies. Each of its six wheels is mounted on an articulated leg, allowing the robot to clamber up obstacles that other cars would simply bump against ... Barely a year old, the prototype is a product of the Army's Unmanned Ground Vehicle program, which began in 2001. It has yet to fire a single bullet or missile, or even be fitted with a weapon. Here at the test track it's loaded down with rucksacks and boxes, two squads' worth of equipment."
Quickies

Submission + - Where do you look for (full-time) jobs?

An anonymous reader writes: I find myself thinking about finding a new job but not seeing too many opportunities. The last time I did this, I mostly used craigslist, though I also browsed 37signals, 43folders, CrunchBoard, GigaOM, Joel On Software, Slashdot and The Daily WTF. I am also aware of CareerBuilder, Dice and monster but have found that they offer very few interesting opportunities and most positions tend to be contract. I used to have more than a hundred jobs to skim through each day but now I'm frequently seeing ten or fewer. It's possible there are just fewer jobs available but I suspect a lot of companies have just found new listing sites. What resources are you using when searching for full-time jobs (not contract)?
The Courts

Submission + - Has RIAA expert Jacobson contradicted himself? (blogspot.com) 1

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "A year and five months after examining the defendant's hard drive in UMG v. Lindor, the RIAA's "expert" witness, Dr. Doug Jacobson, has issued a "supplemental report" which appears to contradict his earlier "reports" alluding to the hard drive inspection. In view of the superb job the Slashdot community and the Groklaw community did in helping first to prepare for, and then to vet, Jacobson's deposition, I humbly submit for your learned review the now three (3) versions of the "expert's" opinions based on the hard drive, for your analysis. As with almost all federal litigation documents nowadays, they are, unfortunately, in *pdf format: (a) December 19, 2006, declaration; (b) unsigned October 25, 2006, report, awaiting approval from RIAA lawyers; and (c) December 15, 2007, version. The initial observations of commentators on my blog are located here."
Security

Submission + - Should We Rebuild America with Minneapolis Bridge? (popularmechanics.com) 2

mattnyc99 writes: The tragic collapse last night in Minneapolis of a truss bridge—one that the U.S. Dept. of Transportation found "structurally deficient" two years ago—raises an important issue beyond just the engineering of one single span. As national security expert Stephen Flynn pleads in an op-ed on American infrastructure in the wake of yesterday's disaster, "The blind eye that taxpayers and our elected officials have been turning to the imperative of maintaining and upgrading the critical foundations that underpin our lives is irrational and reckless." Do we need to start spending to rebuild America?
Power

Submission + - Idea for a new service

s0rk writes: "After having read submissions and articles here on slashdot about the subject of geek loneliness. I would like to suggest that, just as slashdot has added a jobs section (used to be Dice and Hotjobs), maybe slashdot can help all those lonely geeks out there, by adding a geek match making service? I would think that slashdot would be better at helping those that visit this site. What do the readers of slashdot think?"
Privacy

Submission + - What's so bad about RealID? (blogspot.com)

CKnight writes: "What are the real and perceived negatives of a National ID system and do they so far outweigh the obvious benefits that the concept deserves the cold reception that it receives?"
Graphics

Submission + - R. "Doc" Baily's Rendering Engine "SPO

Hovelander writes: "Over a year has passed since the death of visionary CGI artist Richard "Doc" Baily, the man behind the visuals in movies such as "Solaris", "Tron", and "Fight Club". His custom particle rendering "SPORE" software that helped create some of those visions resides in the hands of a few, if any, and is most definitely in danger of being lost to time or powers that will exploit the software for their own limited gain. How is it this groundbreaking code has not been allowed out now that its genius creator has passed? Baily states: "...the workings of my system are so different from polygonal, nurby, volume or scanline renderings that i literally had to unlearn a lot of concepts that are inherent in "traditional" CG systems which I've been using for close to 30 years." The man seemed to have been a rebel that Hollywood tolerated on his terms and his work may well be lost to the rich and connected. By all appearances he would have wanted his baby to keep evolving and actively creating. Who is holding this code up and out of our hands?"
Businesses

Submission + - Start an IT career at age 40? 2

An anonymous reader writes: How viable is it to start an IT career at age 40? I have heard there is a lot of age bias in the IT industry. I have a science degree and programming experience, and I think IT would be more interesting and higher paying. Anybody have any hints on getting your foot in the door? How bad is the age bias and will it make a career too difficult to maintain? (I have heard of 40-year-olds losing their job and taking years to get a new one in the IT industry)

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