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NASA

Hubble Discovers a Fast-Aging Star Nicknamed "Nasty 1" 29

An anonymous reader writes: Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, Astronomers have uncovered surprising new clues about a large, rapidly aging star whose behavior has never been seen before. The star is so strange in fact that astronomers have nicknamed it "Nasty 1," a play on its catalog name of NaSt1. Wolf-Rayet stars like NaSt1 are typically large, rapidly evolving stellar bodies that form by shedding their hydrogen-filled outer layers quickly, exposing a bright hot, helium-burning core. Nasty 1 is unique because it contains a disk like structure. "We were excited to see this disk-like structure because it may be evidence for a Wolf-Rayet star forming from a binary interaction," said Jon Mauerhan of UC Berkeley, lead author on the new Nasty 1 paper. "There are very few examples in the galaxy of this process in action because this phase is short-lived, perhaps lasting only a hundred thousand years, while the timescale over which a resulting disk is visible could be only ten thousand years or less."
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Image Organization? 259

Wycliffe writes Like many people, I am starting to get a huge collection of digital photos from family vacations, etc. I am looking for some software that allows me to rate/tag my own photos in a quick way. I really don't want to spend the time tagging a bunch of photos and then be locked into a single piece of software, so what is the best software to help organize and tag photos so that I can quickly find highlights without being locked into that software for life? I would prefer open source to prevent lock-in and also prefer Linux but could do Windows if necessary.
Programming

Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Often-Run Piece of Code -- Ever? 533

Hugo Villeneuve writes "What piece of code, in a non-assembler format, has been run the most often, ever, on this planet? By 'most often,' I mean the highest number of executions, regardless of CPU type. For the code in question, let's set a lower limit of 3 consecutive lines. For example, is it:
  • A UNIX kernel context switch?
  • A SHA2 algorithm for Bitcoin mining on an ASIC?
  • A scientific calculation running on a supercomputer?
  • A 'for-loop' inside on an obscure microcontroller that runs on all GE appliance since the '60s?"
Software

Ask Slashdot: Most Secure Browser In an Age of Surveillance? 391

An anonymous reader writes "With the discovery that the NSA may be gathering extensive amounts of data, and the evidence suggesting makers of some of the most popular browsers may be in on the action, I am more than a little wary of which web browser to use. Thus, I pose a question to the community: is there a 'most secure' browser in terms of avoiding personal data collection? Assuming we all know by know how to 'safely' browse the internet (don't click on that ad offering to free your computer of infections) what can the lay person do have a modicum of protection, or at least peace of mind?"
Data Storage

New Technique For Optical Storage Claims 1 Petabyte On a Single DVD 182

melios writes "Using a two-light-beam method a company claims to have overcome Abbe's Law to dramatically increase the storage density for optical media, to the 9 nm scale. From the article: 'The technique is also cost-effective and portable, as only conventional optical and laser elements are used, and allows for the development of optical data storage with long life and low energy consumption, which could be an ideal platform for a Big Data centre.'"
Science

Artificial Skin Sensitivity Rivals That of Human Skin 29

New submitter hebbosome writes "Researchers at Georgia Tech have provided a glimpse of a future full of highly-sensitive robots. Their nanoelectronic pressure sensors, comparable in sensitivity to human skin, are made out of new type of vertical transistor (abstract). 'In Wang’s nanowire transistors, the gate traditionally used in electronics is eliminated. Instead, the current flowing through the nanowires is controlled by the electrical charge generated when strain or force applied is to the transistors.' 'The arrays include more than 8,000 functioning piezotronic transistors, each of which can independently produce an electronic controlling signal when placed under mechanical strain.' They could immediately be used in human-machine interfaces for capturing electronic signatures, and, down the road, in robots and prosthetics."
Security

Online Ads Are More Dangerous Than Porn, Cisco Says 110

wiredmikey writes "The popular belief is that security risks increase as the user engages in riskier and shadier behavior online, but that apparently isn't the case, Cisco found in its 2013 Annual Security report. It can be more dangerous to click on an online advertisement than an adult content site these days, according to Cisco. For example, users clicking on online ads were 182 times more likely to wind up getting infected with malware than if they'd surfed over to an adult content site, Cisco said. The highest concentration of online security targets do not target pornography, pharmaceutical, or gambling sites as much as they affect legitimate sites such as search engines, online retailers, and social media. Users are 21 times more likely to get hit with malware from online shopping sites and 27 more times likely with a search engine than if they'd gone to a counterfeit software site, according to Cisco's report (PDF). There is an overwhelming perception that people get compromised for 'going to dumb sites,' Mary Landesman, senior security researcher at Cisco, told SecurityWeek."
The Internet

How To Hug a Chicken Via the Internet 96

the_newsbeagle writes "Adrian Cheok, a professor of electrical engineering in Japan, wants to invent a "multisensory Internet" that will transmit not just information, but also experiences. To usher in this new age, he started by building a haptic system that enabled him to send a hug to a chicken via the Internet. Next came the 'huggy pajama' project, which allowed distant parents to send their kid a goodnight squeeze. Lately he's begun working on sending a taste over the internet with his 'digital lollypop' project."
Microsoft

Nokia Claims a Memory Card Slot Would Have "Defiled" New Phone 371

nk497 writes "Nokia unveiled its flagship Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 handset today, but it doesn't feature an SD card slot. There's a reason why: Nokia's designers didn't want to 'defile' the design. 'We started with the premise that we wanted an uncompromised physical form,' executive vice president Kevin Shields, said. 'To put an SD card slot in it would have defiled it.' He said most people don't use the storage in their phone, although the Nokia Lumia 820, which has only 8GB of storage, does include a micro-SD card slot behind its removable cover, which Shields claims doesn't compromise the design."
Science

'Smart Fingertips' Pave Way For Virtual Sensations 69

sciencehabit writes "Imagine feeling like you're lifting a 50-kilogram weight just by pulling at thin air. That's just one of the possible applications of new 'smart fingertips' created by a team of nanoengineers. The electronic fingers mold to the shape of the hand, and so far the researchers have shown that they can transmit electric signals to the skin. The team hopes to one day incorporate the devices into a smart glove that creates virtual sensations, fooling the brain into feeling everything from texture to temperature."
Graphics

How Much Detail Is Too Much For Games? 201

jones_supa writes "Gamasutra editor Eric Schwarz gives thought to the constantly increasing amount of graphical detail in computer games. He notes how the cues leading the player can be hindered too much if they drown in the surroundings, making it harder for the game to hint whether the player is making progress. Consistent visual language helps to categorize various objects, making their meaning more obvious. Paths through the game world can be difficult to read simply due to dense vegetation. For some cases 'obfuscation through detail' can also actually work really well. Schwarz challenges us to ponder how the amount of detail makes a game either more or less enjoyable."
Space

Florida GoogleX Team Offers To Send Your DNA To the Moon For a Price 55

First time accepted submitter Udigs writes "You might have heard of the Google LunarX Prize. It's a competition where private, often non-profit organizations race to build a vehicle capable of completing a short mission on the moon. But one of the problems facing these private teams is the issue of raising money to make the trip. However, one Florida team is taking an interesting approach: they are offering to send your DNA to the moon for a price. For the inclined, they've started a kickstarter page."
Communications

Ask Slashdot: Skype Setup For Toddler's Room? 302

New submitter mmmmdave writes "My parents love to Skype with my kid. My kid loves to mash laptop buttons and drool on the screen. And because we don't want to spend forty minutes every night holding the laptop outside of baby arms' length, we're looking to build some sort of wall-mounted monitor + webcam thingy. I'm sure there's a much cheaper option than sticking an iPad on the wall; what's more, non-touchscreen is probably better, so my daughter can't hang up the calls. Any ideas?"
Science

How Accurate Were Leonardo Da Vinci's Anatomy Drawings? 108

antdude writes "BBC News answers how accurate were Leonardo da Vinci's anatomy drawings — 'During his lifetime, Leonardo made thousands of pages of notes and drawings on the human body. He wanted to understand how the body was composed and how it worked. But at his death in 1519, his great treatise on the body was incomplete and his scientific papers were unpublished. Based on what survives, clinical anatomists believe that Leonardo's anatomical work was hundreds of years ahead of its time, and in some respects it can still help us understand the body today. So how do these drawings, sketched more than 500 years ago, compare to what digital imaging technology can tell us today?'"
IT

Ask Slashdot: How To Give IT Presentations That Aren't Boring? 291

Dmitri Baughman writes "I'm the IT guy at a small software development company of about 100 employees. Everyone is technically inclined, with disciplines in development, QA, and PM areas. As part of a monthly knowledge-sharing meeting, I've been asked to give a 30-minute presentation about our computing and networking infrastructure. I manage a pretty typical environment, so I'm not sure how to present the information in a fun and engaging way. I think network diagrams and bandwidth usage charts would make anyone's eyes glaze over! Any ideas for holding everyone's interest?"

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