Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment The real study is here... (Score 2) 117

The study described in the web page accessible from the login-protected link (which is not the primary source) has been published on the Journal of the American Medical Association: (protected too, but at least is the real thing).
Here the AMA news release about the results, sufficiently informative:

Comment Re:stupid (Score 1) 848

While in principle you could be right, fact is that a country relying on nuclear energy like USA is the greatest producer of CO2 in the world (per capita). While Italy is not the best in this sense, still produces less than half (per capita) comparing to USA. So, it is difficult to directly relate nuclear energy usage to better environmental impact and global warming.

Comment Progress may have different directions (Score 1) 848

I'm one of those that voted against going back to nuclear (because we already closed our few plants years ago).
Progress is not a single, straight line in one direction. In particular, believing that your own direction is the only one is slightly arrogant. So is the original post.
There is room for research and development in many different technologies, and you should be glad someone other will try other ways, because differentiation is more productive than dependence on one single technology.
Since activating a new power source (whatever kind) needs enormous long-term investments, it is correct to ask taxpayers in which direction to invest. Here we have sun and wind, supposedly to last a little bit more than some year. We already have more than 5 Gwatts of solar plants (~ 5 nuclear plants), for which great investments have been made in the last years that is better to exploit even more.
Last, if in some parts of Italy (e.g., Naples) is hard to manage regular garbage, I prefer not to investigate our ability of managing nuclear debris.


Submission + - U2 Manager Says ISPs are Decimating the Music Biz (

Mark.JUK writes: Paul McGuinness, the well known manager of popular music band U2, has attacked broadband internet providers (ISPs) around the world for "decimating the music industry" by profiting off the availability of FREE unlawful copyright file sharing (P2P) activity. McGuinness told ISPs around the world that the "free-music bonanza has got to stop". However the remarks also demonstrated a distinct lack of knowledge regarding how ISPs work. Far from making a profit, many broadband providers actually suffer a significant financial detriment in order to support bandwidth hungry customers whom often eat more than their fair share. Consumer broadband is, after all, a shared service.

Submission + - Take a deep breath - why the world is running out (

jamie writes: "The U.S. National Helium Reserve stores a billion cubic meters, half the world supply of helium, in an old natural gasfield. The array of pipes and mines runs 200 miles from Texas to Kansas. In the name of deficit reduction, we're selling it all off for cheap. Physics professor and Nobel laureate Robert Richardson says: 'In 1996, the US Congress decided to sell off the strategic reserve and the consequence was that the market was swelled with cheap helium because its price was not determined by the market. The motivation was to sell it all by 2015. The basic problem is that helium is too cheap. The Earth is 4.7 billion years old and it has taken that long to accumulate our helium reserves, which we will dissipate in about 100 years. One generation does not have the right to determine availability for ever.' Another view is The Impact of Selling the Federal Helium Reserve, the government study from 10 years ago that suggested the government's price would end up being over market value by 25% — but cautioned that this was based on the assumption that demand would grow slowly, and urged periodic reviews of the state of the industry."

Submission + - Cars A Hacking Risk, Too (

RedEaredSlider writes: Worrying about whether your Web browser could get hacked was bad enough, but now people might have to think about their cars, too.

Wade Trappe, associate director of WINlab at Rutgers University, looked at tire pressure monitoring systems that are installed on many late-model cars. The system operates wirelessly, sending data about tire pressure to a computer in the car that alerts the driver when the pressure in the tire is too low or too high.

With a relatively simple set-up — the equipment was all bought off-the-shelf — Trappe said he was able to reverse-engineer the protocols used to send the data to the car's on board computer. He was also able to spoof the signal, fooling the car into thinking that the tire pressure was different from what the monitors reported.The transmissions were in the clear — there is no encryption of the data.


National Park Service Says Tech Is Enabling Stupidity 635

theodp writes "The National Park Service is finding technology to be a double-edged sword. While new technologies can and do save lives, the NPS is also finding that unseasoned hikers and campers are now boldly going where they never would have gone before, counting on cellphones, GPS, and SPOT devices to bail them out if they get into trouble. Last fall, a group of hikers in the Grand Canyon called in rescue helicopters three times by pressing the emergency button on their satellite location device. When rangers arrived the second time, the hikers complained that their water supply tasted salty. 'Because of having that electronic device, people have an expectation that they can do something stupid and be rescued,' said a spokeswoman for Grand Teton National Park. 'Every once in a while we get a call from someone who has gone to the top of a peak, the weather has turned and they are confused about how to get down and they want someone to personally escort them. The answer is that you are up there for the night.'"

Submission + - Look For AI, Not Aliens (

krou writes: Writing in Acta Astronautica, Seti astronomer Seth Shostak argues that we should be looking for 'sentient machines' rather than biological life. In an interview with the BBC, he said, "If you look at the timescales for the development of technology, at some point you invent radio and then you go on the air and then we have a chance of finding you. But within a few hundred years of inventing radio — at least if we're any example — you invent thinking machines; we're probably going to do that in this century. So you've invented your successors and only for a few hundred years are you... a 'biological' intelligence." As a result, he says "we could spend at least a few percent of our time... looking in the directions that are maybe not the most attractive in terms of biological intelligence but maybe where sentient machines are hanging out."
Open Source

Open Source OCR That Makes Searchable PDFs 133

An anonymous reader writes "In my job all of our multifunction copiers scan to PDF but many of our users want and expect those PDFs to be text searchable. I looked around for software that would create text searchable pdfs but most are very expensive and I couldn't find any that were open source (free). I did find some open source packages like CuneiForm and Exactimage that could in theory do the job, but they were hard to install and difficult to set up and use over a network. Then I stumbled upon WatchOCR. This is a Live CD distro that can easily create a server on your network that provides an OCR service using watched folders. Now all my scanners scan to a watched folder, WatchOCR picks up those files and OCRs them, and then spits them out into another folder. It uses CuneiForm and ExactImage but it is all configured and ready to deploy. It can even be remotely managed via the Web interface. Hope this proves helpful to someone else who has this same situation."

Slashdot Top Deals

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982