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Data Storage

Military Bans Removable Media After WikiLeaks Disclosures 346

cgriffin21 writes "The Pentagon is taking matters into its own hands to prevent the occurrence of another WikiLeaks breach with removable media ban, preventing soldiers from using USB sticks, CDs or DVDs on any systems or servers. The directive prohibiting removable media followed the recent publication of more than 250,000 diplomatic cables, which were leaked to whistleblower Web site WikiLeaks at the end of last month by a military insider."

Carbon Nanotube Batteries Pack More Punch 163

cremeglace writes "Researchers at MIT have come up with a new way of making batteries from carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes are attractive materials for battery-making because of their high surface area, which can accept more positive ions and potentially last longer than conventional batteries. Instead of this design, the MIT researchers introduced something new — using chemically modified carbon nanotubes as the positive ion source themselves. For now, the new batteries can power only small devices, but if the method can be scaled up, the batteries may provide the power needed for applications like electric cars."

Why Being Wrong Makes Humans So Smart 311

Hugh Pickens sends in an excerpt in last week's Boston Globe from Kathryn Schulz's book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. "The more scientists understand about cognitive functioning, the more it becomes clear that our capacity to make mistakes is utterly inextricable from what makes the human brain so swift, adaptable, and intelligent. Rather than treating errors like the bedbugs of the intellect — an appalling and embarrassing nuisance we try to pretend out of existence — we need to recognize that human fallibility is part and parcel of human brilliance. Neuroscientists increasingly think that inductive reasoning undergirds virtually all of human cognition. Humans use inductive reasoning to learn language, organize the world into meaningful categories, and grasp the relationship between cause and effect. Thanks to inductive reasoning, we are able to form nearly instantaneous beliefs and take action accordingly. However, Schulz writes, 'The distinctive thing about inductive reasoning is that it generates conclusions that aren't necessarily true. They are, instead, probabilistically true — which means they are possibly false.' Schulz recommends that we respond to the mistakes (or putative mistakes) of those around us with empathy and generosity and demand that our business and political leaders acknowledge and redress their errors rather than ignoring or denying them. 'Once we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity, or evil intent, we can liberate ourselves from the impossible burden of trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition that we could be in error, without deeming ourselves idiotic or unworthy.'"
The Internet

Your Online Profile Actually Tells a Lot About You 272

An anonymous reader writes "Despite all the media reports that your Facebook profile is giving the wrong impression, a psychological study shows people really can understand your personality from your online profile. Turns out you're not giving the wrong impression with your profile; you're giving the right impression to the wrong people. You can actually learn more about someone's Agreeableness from their online profile than from a first date."

Submission + - Sun spot activity at a 1,000 year high

Burnhard writes: A new analysis shows that the Sun is more active now than it has been at anytime in the previous 1,000 years. Scientists based at the Institute for Astronomy in Zurich used ice cores from Greenland to construct a picture of our star's activity in the past. They say that over the last century the number of sunspots rose at the same time that the Earth's climate became steadily warmer.
The Internet

Submission + - Answer People in Online Discussions Visualized (

Marc Smith writes: ""Answer people", the folks who contribute most of the value in the Internet, are a small minority of all online users. Less than 2% of authors in Usenet newsgroups, a recent paper my co-authors and I (Howard T. Welser, Eric Gleave, Danyel Fisher and Marc Smith) have published in the Journal of Social Structure reports, are likely to be the helpful "answer person" type — authors who reply to many other people with brief replies. The paper Visualizing the Signatures of Social Roles in Online Discussion Groups contains social network visualizations of the ties created when authors reply to one another. These images highlight the difference between these helpful folks and other types of contributors. The findings may apply to other threaded discussions (maybe even Slashdot discussions!)."

Submission + - Scientists take step to making synthetic life (

xLittleP writes: Researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute claimed to accomplish the "First Bacterial Genome Transplantation Changing One Species to Another". This is seen by many as a breakthrough in the field of synthetic life, because it demonstrates the possibility of producing custom designed bacteria capable of producing biofuels from greenhouse gas. While this Rueters article is less optimistic, Craig Venter tells Edge, "This is a major advance in the field of synthetic genomics. We now know we can create a synthetic organism. It's not a question of 'if', or 'how', but 'when', and in this regard, think weeks and months, not years." Craig Venter, you may remember, was a pioneer in Shotgun Sequencing of the human genome at Celera Genomics, a private endeavor running parallel to the Human Genome Project.

Submission + - Hubble sees Night Shining Clouds (

illeism writes: NASA is reporting an interesting pheonmenon in the upper atmosphere — Night-Shining Clouds.

Very little is known about how these clouds form over the poles, why they are being seen more frequently and at lower latitudes than ever before, or why they have been growing brighter. AIM will observe two complete cloud seasons over both poles, documenting an entire life cycle of the shiny clouds for the first time.
"It is clear that these clouds are changing, a sign that a part of our atmosphere is changing and we do not understand how, why or what it means," stated AIM principal investigator James Russell III of Hampton University, Hampton, Va. "These observations suggest a connection with global change in the lower atmosphere and could represent an early warning that our Earth environment is being changed


Submission + - Modern brains have an ancient core (

LeadSongDog writes: Comparative genetics has revealed that the distinctive chemistry of our neurons evolved much earlier than anyone thought, even before the separation of vertebrates, flies and worms.

Submission + - Inflatable space station/hotel by 2015

An anonymous reader writes: An experimental spacecraft designed to test the viability of a hotel in space has been successfully sent into orbit. Bigelow Aerospace hopes to build a full-scale space hotel, dubbed Nautilus, which will link a series of inflatable modules together like a string of sausages. Genesis II the inflatable and flexible core of the spacecraft is a 15 ft (4.5m) inflatable module designed to expand to a diameter of 8ft (2.4m). Later this year it plans to launch another module, Galaxy, described as a halfway house to a human-habitable space module. Mr Bigelow is offering a $50m prize to anyone who can design a craft capable of carrying five people to a height of 400km (250 miles) before 2010.
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Cars on air

mAsterdam writes: Ideas to run vehicles and more specifically cars on air aren't new. Guy Negre's "zero pollution" (hm... how do they compress air?) car runs on compressed air.

In February, India's largest car company Tata Motors announced to have such cars produced by 2008; serious competition for NASA's car of the future . The car needs 300 liters of 300 bar compressed air on board to drive 200 km at 110 kmh (68 mph). The cars are to be produced locally. According to De Standaard (article in dutch) Jan Peetermans of Wommelgem plans to produce small MDI-based citycars out of glued together polyester and aluminium parts in Belgium by the end of next year. The cheapest model is expected to be priced at 4.000 Euro.

Submission + - Team claims synthetic life feat (

gertvs writes: According to the BBC scientists in the US say they have taken a major step towards producing life from scratch in the laboratory by having successfully transplanted an entire genome from one bacterium cell to another. This technique could possibly lead to the creation of 'designer' microbes producing fuel or help cleaning toxic waste. Others fear negative effects, e.g. that it could be used to create biological weapons.

Submission + - Technology Predicts Earthquakes (

newsblaze writes: "Japan's Meteorological agency distribution network connects to the Internet, sending a signal to activate a device that delivers a loud countdown of up to 20 seconds preceding the beginning of a tremor. The Agency is to begin the first warning broadcast on radio and television within four months and later this year starts sending to a new version of cell phones. In Shake, Rattle & Roll — Don`t Panic, Strasbaugh outlines how it works and notes that JEITA, Electronic Industries Association of Japan says there can be false alarms. As long as there aren't too many and people take notice, that will be OK. I know, wrong Quake, but how to classify this?"

Submission + - Cart Locking System Released as Open Source

An anonymous reader writes: Many slashdotters may have noticed that over the past few years it has become increasingly common to find supermarket and large retail store shopping carts equipped with "boots" designed to lock up if you try to take the cart outside of the store.

Now, someone has discovered through some clever analysis the signal used to both lock and unlock carts, and has designed a portable system that locks up all carts within 20 feet of the emitter! They have released the schematics, software, and detailed instructions for assembling the systems on Instructables, an online magazine dedicated to releasing howto's for everything from rat taxidermy to Shopping Cart EMPs under a Creative Commons License.

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