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Submission + - Nobody builds reactors for fun anymore (

stox writes: “The fundamental problem of the nuclear industry is not reactor safety, not waste disposal, not the dangers of nuclear proliferation, real though all these problems are. The fundamental problem of the industry is that nobody any longer has any fun building reactors.Sometime between 1960 and 1970 the fun went out of the business. The adventurers, the experimenters, the inventors, were driven out, and the accountants and managers took control. The accountants and managers decided that it was not cost effective to let bright people play with weird reactors. So the weird reactors disappeared and with them the chance of any radical improvement beyond our existing systems. We are left with a very small number of reactor types, each of them frozen into a huge bureaucratic organization, each of them in various ways technically unsatisfactory, each of them less safe than many possible alternative designs which have been discarded. Nobody builds reactors for fun anymore. The spirit of the little red schoolhouse is dead. That, in my opinion, is what went wrong with nuclear power.”

Submission + - Insight on FBI hacking team ops from Washington Post (

krakman writes: A very interesting story on how the background to how the FBI can investigate and get details from computers over the net, without knowing anything about the computer location. Not from some conspiracy rag, but Washington Post regarding FBI "network investigative techniques":

"The man who called himself “Mo” had dark hair, a foreign accent and — if the pictures he e-mailed to federal investigators could be believed — an Iranian military uniform. When he made a series of threats to detonate bombs at universities and airports across a wide swath of the United States last year, police had to scramble every time.

Mo remained elusive for months, communicating via e-mail, video chat and an Internet-based phone service without revealing his true identity or location, court documents show. So with no house to search or telephone to tap, investigators turned to a new kind of surveillance tool delivered over the Internet." ...

Submission + - How a Bitcoin Transaction Actually Works (

An anonymous reader writes: Michael Nielsen has written a detailed article describing the nuts and bolts of a Bitcoin transaction. He builds the concepts from the ground up, starting with a basic, no-frills digital currency. He then examines it for flaws and tweaks the currency to patch up areas where we run into technical or security problems. Eventually, he ends up with Bitcoin, and explains how a transaction works. It's an interesting, technical read; much more in-depth than any explanation I've heard. Here's a brief snippet from a walkthrough of the transaction data: 'One thing to note about the input is that there’s nothing explicitly specifying how many bitcoins from the previous transaction should be spent in this transaction. In fact, all the bitcoins from the n=0th output of the previous transaction are spent. So, for example, if the n=0th output of the earlier transaction was 2 bitcoins, then 2 bitcoins will be spent in this transaction. This seems like an inconvenient restriction – like trying to buy bread with a 20 dollar note, and not being able to break the note down. The solution, of course, is to have a mechanism for providing change. This can be done using transactions with multiple inputs and outputs...'

Submission + - Stackoverflow and Github visualized as cities (

An anonymous reader writes: Ekisto is an interactive network visualization of three online communities: StackOverflow, Github and Friendfeed. Ekisto tries to map our online habitats using graph algorithms and the city as a metaphor. A graph layout algorithm arranges users in 2D space based on their similarity. Cosine similarity is computed based on the users' network (Friendfeed), collaborate, watch, fork and follow relationships (Github), or based on the tags of posts contributed by users (StackOverflow). The height of each user represents the normalized value of the user's Pagerank (Github, Friendfeed) or their reputation points (StackOverflow).

Submission + - Physicist Peter Higgs: No University Would Employ Me Today (

An anonymous reader writes: Peter Higgs, the physicist who laid the groundwork for the discovery of the Higgs boson, and winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics, says he doubts any university would give him a job today. Higgs says universities wouldn't consider him productive enough; though the papers he published were important and of high quality, he didn't have the volume necessary for serious consideration in today's competitive employment environment. 'He doubts a similar breakthrough could be achieved in today's academic culture, because of the expectations on academics to collaborate and keep churning out papers. He said: "It's difficult to imagine how I would ever have enough peace and quiet in the present sort of climate to do what I did in 1964." Speaking to the Guardian en route to Stockholm to receive the 2013 Nobel prize for science, Higgs, 84, said he would almost certainly have been sacked had he not been nominated for the Nobel in 1980.' His comments highlight the absurdity of the current system for finding researchers in academia. How many researchers of Higgs' caliber have been turned down for similar reasons?

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Best FLOSS iTunes Replacement in 2013? 1

cs80 writes: I've been looking high and low for a decent, open-source, cross-platform audio player that can import an existing iTunes library and sort my files based on their ID3 tags.
Nightingale, with its iTunes-like interface, would have been the obvious answer, but its file organization feature was pulled for being too buggy. What open-source audio player did you migrate to after dumping iTunes?

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