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Journal SPAM: Digital Astrophotography - Review

In the 80's there were a series of commercials for Reeses Peanut Butter Cups that revolved around the theme of accidental meetings between chocolate and peanut butter. The individuals would realize that the two tastes that they loved separately were even better together. Two great loves for many card carrying geeks are digital photography and astronomy. "


Submission + - Mystery container found on beach (Scotland)

solitas writes: "Experts are trying to identify a huge metal container that has been washed up on a beach in the Western Isles."

The tank, which is 27m tall standing upright, has no markings and is thought to have fallen from a ship before being washed up on the west of Benbecula.

Considering the wide range of experiences and occupations of Slashdotters, maybe someone here has an idea?

Submission + - Sex with Robots?

unixluv writes: "Are we nearing a future that includes having sex with robots ala Bladerunner? Some seem to think so. David Levy has caused a stir with his book 'Love and Sex with Robots'. More discussions have followed with an interview with the author. Maybe we should find a better term than sex robot or replicant? How about RealDoll? These and these are not your dad's blowup dolls."
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Best motherboards with large RAM capacity? 1

cortex writes: "I routinely need to analyze large datasets (principally using Matlab). I recently "upgraded" to 64-bit Vista so that I can access larger amounts of RAM. I know that various Linux distros have had 64-bit support for years. I also typically use Intel motherboards for their reliability, but currently Intel's desktop motherboards only support 8GB of RAM and their server motherboards are too expensive. Can anyone relate their experiences with working with Vista or Linux machines running with large RAM (>8GB). What is the best motherboard (Intel or AMD) and OS combination for workstation applications in terms of cost and reliability?"

Long Live Closed-Source Software? 676

EvilRyry writes "In an article for Discover Magazine, Jaron Lanier writes about his belief that open source produces nothing interesting because of a hide-bound mentality. 'Open wisdom-of-crowds software movements have become influential, but they haven't promoted the kind of radical creativity I love most in computer science. If anything, they've been hindrances. Some of the youngest, brightest minds have been trapped in a 1970s intellectual framework because they are hypnotized into accepting old software designs as if they were facts of nature. Linux is a superbly polished copy of an antique, shinier than the original, perhaps, but still defined by it.'"

Submission + - what is the perfect coder's chair?

DragonTHC writes: "I am faced with sitting for long periods of time to do the majority of my work as a consultant. It seems that truly ergonomic chairs cost more than $700 these days. What kind of office chair should I get that will save my back and keep me from getting the DVTs in my legs? What chairs are out there that I can afford on my small budget up to $300? What do other coders spend their lives sitting in?"

Submission + - Mars Rover Investigates Steamy Martian Past (

Riding with Robots writes: "The robotic geologist Spirit, now scurrying to reach a safe haven before the harsh Martian winter sets in, has found signs that explorers say point to hot springs or fumaroles in the Red Planet's distant past. That possibility is not only interesting geologically, but potentially biologically, since those kinds of environments on Earth teem with microbial life. Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, Opportunity continues its descent into a deep crater, where it has found other clues about the ancient waters of Mars."

Submission + - The New Grinch?

theodp writes: "The NYT reports there's a new Grinch in town — relatives pushing eco-friendly gifts for Christmas like energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs and carbon offsets. To help the little ones get with the program, FAO Schwarz offers the new children's book When Santa Turned Green (gift wrap optional), with its tale of Santa's struggle to save The North Pole from a global warming meltdown."

Submission + - NYTimes Editorial Says Science Is a Religion ( 1

jeffporcaro writes: Paul Davies writes a guest editorial in the NYTimes (sorry, but that's where it is) in which he shares his opinion that science is no better/no different than religion, since it forces its adherents to take items on faith. Examples he gives of faith-based science include our belief that the laws of physics will not change tomorrow and the idea that there are multiple universes — both are non-falsifiable and therefore no better than religious faith. Similarly, the fact that fundamental concepts are not fully explained (Why are the laws that regulate motion the way that they are? Who/what made them that way?) proves to him that science is based on a faulty, "deeply anti-rational" foundation. See here for full story.

UN Says Tasers Are a Form of Torture 816

The use of Tasers "causes acute pain, constituting a form of torture," the UN's Committee Against Torture said. "In certain cases, they can even cause death, as has been shown by reliable studies and recent real-life events." Three men — all in their early 20s — died from after tasering in the United States this week, days after a Polish man died at Vancouver airport after being tasered by Canadian police. There have been 17 deaths in Canada following the use of Tasers since they were approved for use, and 275 deaths in the US. "According to Amnesty International, coroners have listed the Taser jolt as a contributing factor in more than 30 of those deaths."

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