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


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World's Oldest Rocks Found 254

Smivs writes "The BBC reports that Earth's most ancient rocks, with an age of 4.28 billion years, have been found on the shore of Hudson Bay, Canada. Writing in Science journal, a team reports finding that a sample of Nuvvuagittuq greenstone is 250 million years older than any rocks known. It may even hold evidence of activity by ancient life forms. If so, it would be the earliest evidence of life on Earth — but co-author Don Francis cautioned that this had not been established. 'The rocks contain a very special chemical signature — one that can only be found in rocks which are very, very old,' he said."

Comment Re:The "Ban" (Score 5, Informative) 538

That's not entirely true, it seems.
"Please do not continue to post theses thread or you account may be at risk of banning which in some cases would mean you would need to buy a new copy to play Spore."
The text is in red, and it looks like the post has been edited. It's a shame that Spore's forums won't let you see who made the edit, however. It would be nice if we could see, without a doubt, that it was edited by a moderator.

Submission + - Will a Solid State Drive notebook as a server do? 1

bogaboga writes: I am intimately involved in setting up a Debian based email system in a remote area where we'll be using solar energy to power our computers. When I took on the position of System Administrator, the blue print had been for a traditional Debian based "white box" as a server. With the advantages of flash based Solid State Drives (SSDs), I am inclined to replace the white box server with this type of notebook. I have read over the internet that these notebooks are more versatile and have between 25% to 30% better performance over hard drive based systems in various tests. Needless to say, if adopted, we will save on space, power, and have the advantage of a less noisy environment. I have also seen a video that appears to support these claims.

I'd like to know from slashdotters whether anyone has worked with such a system and whether it would be able to handle the workload involving receiving about 450 emails and sending about 200 on a daily basis. It will be doing some basic file storage as a samba server too. I have not yet selected which notebook to use and would very much appreciate some advice on this issue as well.

White House Email Follies 205

Presto Vivace forwards a link detailing a recent House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on the White House missing emails mess. David Gewirtz's report, carried in OutlookPower and DominoPower (in 6 parts, keep clicking), makes for scary reading. "If, in fact, the bulk of the White House email records are now stored in bundles of rotting PST files, all at or above their maximum safe load-level, that ain't good in a very big way... I object to using the inaccurate and inflated claim of excessive cost as a reason to avoid compliance with the Presidential Records Act."
The Internet

User-Generated Content Vs. Experts 210

Jay points out a Newsweek piece which suggests that the era of user-generated content is going to change in favor of fact-checking and more rigorous standards. The author points to Google's Knol and the "people-powered" search engine Mahalo as examples of the demand for more accurate information sharing. Quoting: "User-generated sites like Wikipedia, for all the stuff they get right, still find themselves in frequent dust-ups over inaccuracies, while community-posting boards like Craigslist have never been able to keep out scammers and frauds. Beyond performance, a series of miniscandals has called the whole "bring your own content" ethic into question. Last summer researchers in Palo Alto, Calif., uncovered secret elitism at Wikipedia when they found that 1 percent of the reference site's users make more than 50 percent of its edits. Perhaps more notoriously, four years ago a computer glitch revealed that's customer-written book reviews are often written by the book's author or a shill for the publisher. 'The wisdom of the crowds has peaked,' says Calacanis. 'Web 3.0 is taking what we've built in Web 2.0--the wisdom of the crowds--and putting an editorial layer on it of truly talented, compensated people to make the product more trusted and refined.'"

Powerful Optical Telescope Captures First Binocular Images 83

The Large Binocular Telescope consists of two 8.4-meter mirrors which function in tandem to provide resolution greater than that of the Hubble Telescope. The LBT's first "binocular" images were captured recently, marking the end to a long and laborious construction process. We previously discussed the LBT when images were captured from the first mirror to be installed. Quoting: "The LBT ... will combine light to produce the image sharpness equivalent to a single 22.8-meter (75-foot) telescope. 'To have a fully functioning binocular telescope is not only a time for celebration here at LBT, but also for the entire astronomy community,' UA Steward Observatory Director, Regents' Professor and LBT Corp. President Peter A. Strittmatter said. 'The images that this telescope will produce will be like none seen before. The power and clarity of this machine is in a class of its own. It will provide unmatched ability to peer into history, seeing the birth of the universe.'"
The Courts

Submission + - RIAA steers clear of colleges that resist 4

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that 22 institutions have been targeted in the RIAA's new round of attacks. I notice that the RIAA continues to steer clear of Harvard. Could it be because of this or this? And I notice it isn't serving any more subpoenas on the University of Oregon... could it be because of this or this? And I don't see any more subpoenas to College of William & Mary or George Washington University or University of South Florida of University of New Mexico. Could that have to do with this or this or this or this? There seems to be a pattern here. The RIAA is staying away from places where it might have a fight on their hands."

Submission + - GMail integrates AIM chat (

LeandroTLZ writes: "Google has started to roll out support for AOL Instant Messenger from within the GMail interface, running alongside the Jabber (Google Talk) network:

Today we are happy to tell you about a new feature we've started to roll out which will enable you to sign into your AIM account and chat with your AIM buddies right inside Gmail. When you log in to AIM through Gmail chat, your AOL buddies will appear in your chat list with friends from your Google Talk network, and you will see the yellow "running man" logo to the right of your AIM friends' screen names. To your AIM friends it will look like you are logged in to AIM as usual.

The Courts

Submission + - RIAA runs into trouble in Ohio 2

An anonymous reader writes: As the RIAA's war against college music sharers enters its tenth month, college students in Ohio are fighting back. At Ohio State University two John Does are fighting a single subpoena, while at Ohio University one student — who didn't respond to the RIAA's lawsuit for more than eight months — has escaped a default judgment. But Ohio hasn't been a total loss for the RIAA. More than 75 students at both schools have settled for at least $3,000 each and the RIAA's chief spokesman, Jonathan Lamy, is an Ohio U. grad.
The Internet

Submission + - EFF releases report of Comcast, Wireshark

andruk writes: The EFF has released a report detailing their analysis of Comcast's packet filtering of BitTorrent traffic. They also included a howto of how you can test your connection for TCP reset packets using Wireshark.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Geek Hygiene: An Oxymoron?

An anonymous reader writes: Geeks should smell fragrant — they'll get more babes! ;-) Here's an article full of hygiene knowledge you've always wanted to tell that loveable, but stinky Geek you know but never had the hutzpah to. Now, wikihow tells it to them for you. Good, basic info, something everyone should follow. Though, I'll add that people should always wash their clothes after one wearing; otherwise, yuck.
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Lemon Law for PC Games?

Monk writes: "Recently I purchased Gears of War from Gamestop, for the PC. I liked the Xbox version, but since I don't have an xbox, and instead I have decently powerful computer, I wanted to play it without buying a console system. The first time I played it, it crashed within 10 minutes. For the next hour, I couldn't play the game for more than 10 minutes without it crashing. It seems others have the same problem as me, after reading the Gears of War forum, so I wanted to take the game back and get my money back. There's no point in paying for a game that is unplayable. When I tried to take the game back, they would only exchange it for another copy. What do I do? Keep the game and wait for a patch? Throw it away and consider it a "loss"? Is there any legal help for consumers who buy software that doesn't work? Who do I blame? Microsoft for Vista? Nvidia? Epic? Or myself for buying a console port of a game?"

Submission + - Why Is There No Graphical Boot Loader For PC's?

tgbanshee writes: "I've been wondering why nobody has developed a nice graphical boot loader for Windows/Linux/BSD/etc that runs on regular PC hardware. GRUB and LILO offer a text based solution but they still look primitive even with an added background image. Apple's Boot Camp is a nice, simple boot loader that does what a boot loader should do, allow you to select an OS to boot from multiple OS's and looks good doing it. The only problem with it is it's restricted to Apple only hardware. If someone could come up with something similar to Boot Camp or something like Petitboot for the PS3 that runs on non-Apple PC hardware and is open source, I believe there would be a lot of development interest in it. Does anybody know of anything like this?"

Submission + - OLPC Give 1 Get 1 May Be Delayed

An anonymous reader writes: Reuters is reporting that Mary Lou Jepsen, chief technology officer for the One Laptop per Child Foundation, has said that because of production delays it would now be tough to fulfill overseas orders for the $188 laptop and also meet orders for the foundation's Give 1 Get 1 scheme for people in the United States and Canada.

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