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


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Submission + - Graphene conducts electricity ten times better than expected ( 1

ananyo writes: Physicists have produced nanoribbons of graphene — the single-atom-thick carbon — that conduct electrons better than theory predicted even for the most idealized form of the material. The finding could help graphene realize its promise in high-end electronics, where researchers have long hoped it could outperform traditional materials such as silicon.
In graphene, electrons can move faster than in any other material at room temperature. But techniques that cut sheets of graphene into the narrow ribbons needed to form wires of a nano-scale circuit leave ragged edges, which disrupt the electron flow. Now a team led by physicist Walt de Heer at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta has made ribbons that conduct electric charges for more than 10 micrometres without meeting resistance — 1,000 times farther than in typical graphene nanoribbons. The ribbons made by de Heer's team in fact conduct electrons ten times better than standard theories of electron transport they should, say the authors.

Submission + - Can't Quit Smoking? Try Blaming Neanderthals ( 1

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Humans might have Neanderthals to thank for our smoking addictions, our Type II diabetes, and things like Crohn’s disease, lupus, and our hair types, according to a new genetic analysis by researchers at Harvard University.

We’ve long known that humans and Neanderthals share at least some genetic material—recent estimates put it at about 2 percent—but the Harvard University analysis, published Wednesday in Nature , tells us exactly what we share, something that has only become possible because of new, high-quality genome sequencing. By studying the genetic variability in 846 non-African people, 176 people from sub-Saharan Africa, and the complete genome of a 50,000-year-old Neanderthal, Sriram Sankararaman and his team were able to trace certain alleles from Neanderthals into present-day humans.

The findings are utterly fascinating. The alleles that modern, non-African humans (sub-Saharan Africans are believed to share very little DNA with Neanderthals) share with Neanderthals are associated with things such as nicotine addiction, Type II diabetes, and a host of other diseases.

Submission + - We need to speak out against the TPP ( 1

sticks_us writes: Lobbyists and officials from twelve countries, including the US, are currently bickering over the details of this massive international "free trade" treaty. They are creating the TPP to strongly promote Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and enforce draconian copyright law, which will hinder free software development.

Submission + - Building out a Fibre optic home network

bfldworker writes: I am trying to future proof my home network. I currently have my network wired up with CAT6e. And while that is fast enough for me right now I want to be anle to future proof my network with Fibre Optic.

Where can I find a guide on how to install and setup all the equipment I need as well as the do's and don't in building this out.

I know it won't. be cheap when it is compared to traditional wiring.

Submission + - Bank & Gov't Agency coordination, "To keep you safe" ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: New details have surfaced regarding the surveillance protocols used by Bank of America to keep tabs on social activists. Last year, Anonymous hacktivists published 14 gigabytes of private emails and spreadsheets which revealed that Bank of America was monitoring social media and other online services used by activists for basic communication. This time however, information about the bankâ(TM)s recent surveillance activities were obtained legally through a public records request by a single petitioner. The newly published documents reveal a coordinated effort by Bank of America, the Washington State Patrol (WSP), and federal counterterrorism agencies, to monitor activists as they prepared for a public demonstration in Olympia, Wash. Over 230 people originally signed up to attend the âoeMillion Mask Marchâ event, which was organized by the Anonymous movement and took place on November 5, 2013.

Queue the refrain: "If you have nothing to hide..."

Submission + - Anonymous hacks MIT website on anniversary of Aaron Swartz suicide (

hypnosec writes: Anonymous is at it again and has defaced the Cogeneration project page of MIT on the anniversary of Aaron Swartz suicide. The project’s webpage is still defaced as of this writing and carries the title “THE DAY WE FIGHT BACK”. This day exactly a year ago Aaron Swartz committed suicide in New York city, which his family believes was because of MIT and an overzealous Department of Justice prosecution. Anonymous defaced the website as a part of Operation Last Resort, which is in retaliation for the suicide. “We decided to hack MIT again in 2014 on the anniversary with a second tribute to Aaron Swartz #TheDayWefightback”, read a tweet from OpLastResort.

Submission + - Scott Cleland: Google's Robots And Creeping Militarization (

An anonymous reader writes: The Daily Caller has an opinion piece by Scott Cleland, "Google CEO Larry Page has rapidly positioned Google to become an indispensable U.S. military contractor. Google recently purchased Boston Dynamics, a robotics pioneer that produces amazing humanoid robots for the U.S. Defense Department. This development invites attention to Google’s broader military contracting ambitions — especially since Boston Dynamics is the eighth robotics company that Google has bought in the last six months. Just like drones are the future of air warfare, humanoid robots and self-driving vehicles will be the future of ground warfare according to U.S. defense plans. There are many other reasons why the U.S. military is on path to become Google’s single largest customer. Likewise these reasons indicate Google has a closer working relationship with the NSA than it acknowledges publicly."

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Why don't companies validate emails? (

SirDrinksAlot writes: Why don't all companies validate emails? It seems like a pretty basic piece of security, especially if credit cards are involved. So this is a pretty big pet peeve of mine. I have a fairly plain GMail address which get's a lot of misdirected or typoed email. It's something I generally just deal with or try to deal with it appropriately. I may be wearing out the "Report Spam" button. However recently somebody got a shiny new Kindle for Christmas and they created a new Kindle/Amazon account with my email address. Amazon didn't validate the email address and let this person create an account and start making purchases. I tried to report this to Amazon Support but they were unreceptive that this was some kind of problem. I explained it's my email address and somebody else made an Amazon account using it and there's NO validation. The very next day I receive an email from Amazon saying GMail made the mistake and I should talk to them. I'm not sure how GMail is going to fix Amazon's accounts. After talking to 4 people and a manager my issue is unresolved.
I've explained that I can go into Amazon and hit the password reset button and own this account. Worse of all what if this person has a credit card on the account? There's a lot of damage somebody can do with the account in that case. Yet after a lot of attempts to solve the problem Amazon still insists it's not their problem.
The email from

Unfortunately, this is an issue that will need to be resolved by Google. We would normally be able to temporarily disable your account in order to sort out the email issues, as these issues can be caused by typos on another person's side. However, as this is not an email typo issue, we will not be able to resolve this issue ourselves. Samantha L

How would my fellow Slashdotters solve this issue? There must be some terms of service preventing me from resetting and closing the account. Since this is my email address does that mean it's my account and COULD just close it?

Submission + - Why JavaScript Shouldn't Be Your First Programming Language ( 1

itwbennett writes: A recurring point that JavaScript evangelists make is that it’s the easiest language to get up and running with. They cite the ability to start developing using nothing more than notepad. They mention the lack of the need for a compiler. They tout the global support for the language (any web browser). Finally, they talk about how easy the language itself is to make progress in for a beginner. All valid points. But if you want a career in software development, don't start with JavaScript, advises Matthew Mombrea, who compares a JavaScript coder looking for a software development job to a bicycle racer who wants to be a race car driver.

Submission + - Experiments Reveal That Deformed Rubber Sheet Is Not Like Spacetime ( 1

KentuckyFC writes: General relativity is mathematically challenging and yet widely appreciated by the public. This state of affairs is almost entirely the result of one the most famous analogies in science: that the warping of spacetime to produce gravity is like the deformation of a rubber sheet by a central mass. Now physicists have tested this idea theoretically and experimentally and say it doesn't hold water. It turns out that a marble rolling on deformed rubber sheet does not follow the same trajectory as a planet orbiting a star and that the marble's equations of motion lead to a strangely twisted version of Kepler's third law of planetary motion. And experiments with a real marble rolling on a spandex sheet show that the mass of the sheet itself creates a distortion that further complicates matters. Indeed, the physicists say that a rubber sheet deformed by a central mass can never produce the same motion of planet orbiting a star in spacetime. So the analogy is fundamentally flawed. Shame!

Submission + - Australian team working on engines without piston rings

JabrTheHut writes: An Australian team is seeking funding for bringing an interesting idea to market: cylinder engines without piston rings. The idea is to use small groves that create a pressure wave that acts as a seal for the piston, eliminating the piston ring and the associated friction. Engines will then run cooler, can be more energy efficient and may even burn fuel more efficiently, at least according to the story at Mind you, they haven't even built a working prototype yet. If it works I'd love to fit this into an older car...

Submission + - CES: Laser headlights edge closer to real-world highways

jeffb (2.718) writes: Audi will display laser-headlight technology on a concept car at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, joining BMW, whose plug-in hybrid should reach production in 2014. A November article on describes the technology in more detail. This approach does not scan or project a "laser beam" from the car; instead, it uses blue lasers as highly efficient light emitters, and focuses their light onto a yellow phosphor, producing an extremely intense and compact white light source and then forming that light into a conventional headlamp beam. The beam isn't coherent or point-sourced, so it won't produce the "speckling" interference effects of direct laser illumination, and it won't pose specular-reflection hazards. It's just a very bright and very well-controlled beam of normal white light.

HOWEVER, if multi-watt blue laser emitters go into mass production for the automotive market, it's likely to drive down their prices in other applications — for example, grey-market multi-watt "laser pointers". If you're looking for a tool to burn holes in the tires of drivers who offend you, this technology may indirectly help to fulfill your wish.

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