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Comment Re:why do stable chances increase the likelyhood? (Score 1) 575

You misunderstand natural selection. Reproductive rates drive natural selection, not the environment per se: i.e., members of a species produce more offspring than can survive (in the local environment, which, it is important to remember, includes other species filling ecological niches that "crowd" the species under investigation). It doesn't matter what the environment is if species produce too few descendants.

Comment Re:Moving east? (Score 2, Insightful) 346

I've also read postulations that glaciers were not caused by 'ice ages' per se, so much as they were the remains of the north pole ice cap after a shift. I can't find the link right now to the information I found truly interesting (correlation of past poles with existing glaciers) but there's a fair amount of info out there about it. (Some people are correlating it with 2012/doomsday, so be forewarned.)

Oh good grief. TFA is about movement of the magnetic north pole. This has nothing whatever to do with the axis of rotation of the Earth, or its axial tilt. A wandering magnetic pole isn't going to cause glaciers, or probably any other climatic effect for that matter. A useless compass is about the maximum inconvenience you're likely to encounter. I suspect this "fair amount of info" about glaciation you're referring to is found on the same web sites as the 2012 apocalyptic garbage you seem to believe.

Comment Re:Prior art? Try 1991 (Score 1) 106

There are, of course MUD's far older than that which were persistent worlds.

Yes, MUDs are c.1986 or so. However, the patent in question specifies 3D graphics, so MUDs per se are not prior art. They should be...I mean, I am sure I am not the only one reading Slashdot who frittered away thousands of hours on Epic and Bigboy at the end of the 80s, and more than once thinking "I wonder if there's a way for this kind of game to have graphics?" That idea probably occurred to huge numbers of MUD nerds a huge number of times. It can hardly be called an original idea by the time 2000 rolled around.


Stretchable, Flexible, Transparent Nanotube Speakers 76

An anonymous reader writes "Chinese researchers have realised that a sheet of nanotubes behaves like a speaker when you send an audio current through it. The technology opens the way for a range of new versatile speaker systems. A video shows the speakers in action — some are stretched, one has even been sewn into a flag."

Experimental Magnetic Shield Against Cosmic Rays 199

stiller writes "British scientists from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory have developed an experimental set-up in which a $20 magnet is used to deflect solar-wind-like radiation." Reader Dersaidin points out a slightly more enthusiastic article at Universe Today which emphasizes the possibilities of systems based on this phenomenon to protect astronauts during solar storms, writing "It's a good start. Hopefully, later versions will be able to protect spaceships from energy weapons. A beam from the LHC can melt a 500kg block of copper. Shields, check. Energy weapons, check. Now we just need a viable interstellar drive, and an energy source to power it all."

WV Voters Say Machines Are Switching Votes 900

An anonymous reader writes "Three Putnam County voters say electronic voting machines changed their votes from Democrats to Republicans when they cast early ballots last week. This is the second West Virginia county where voters have reported this problem. Last week, three voters in Jackson County told The Charleston Gazette their electronic vote for 'Barack Obama' kept flipping to 'John McCain.'"

Is Ubuntu Getting Slower? 544

An anonymous reader writes "Phoronix has a new article where they provide Ubuntu 7.04, 7.10, 8.04, and 8.10 benchmarks and had ran many tests. In that article, when using an Intel notebook they witness major slowdowns in different areas and ask the question, Is Ubuntu getting slower? From the article: 'A number of significant kernel changes had went on between these Ubuntu Linux releases including the Completely Fair Scheduler, the SLUB allocator, tickless kernel support, etc. We had also repeated many of these tests to confirm we were not experiencing a performance fluke or other issue (even though the Phoronix Test Suite carries out each test in a completely automated and repeatable fashion) but nothing had changed. Ubuntu 7.04 was certainly the Feisty Fawn for performance, but based upon these results perhaps it would be better to call Ubuntu 7.10 the Gooey Gibbon, 8.04 the Hungover Heron, and 8.10 the Idling Ibex.'"

Indian Moon Mission Launched 305

hackerdownunder writes "India's maiden lunar mission (Chandrayaan-1) got off to a flying start today. Describing the launch as 'perfect and precise,' the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), G Madhavan Nair, said that it would be 14 days before the satellite would enter into lunar orbit. Chandrayaan carries eleven payloads: five designed and developed in India, three from the European Space Agency, one from Bulgaria and two from NASA."
Star Wars Prequels

LucasArts, Bioware Announce Star Wars MMO 346

LucasArts and Bioware held a press conference today to confirm what has been suspected for a long time: they're working on a Star Wars MMO. It will be called Star Wars: The Old Republic, and it will be a continuation of the Knights of the Old Republic franchise. Further coverage is available at Gamespot, and IGN has some of the concept art. An official website for the game was launched as well. "According to the game's official announcement, Star Wars: The Old Republic is set thousands of years before the rise of Darth Vader, with the galaxy divided by war between the Empire and the Sith. That's about 300 years after the events of KotOR, a time frame that, according to Zeschuk, 'is completely unexplored in the lore.' Players can take the role of either a Jedi, a Sith or other classic Star Wars characters -- and, as perhaps can be expected from BioWare, Muzyka says story will be a major component, underlying and driving all of the player's actions."

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