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

 



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Mozilla

Submission + - More Antarctic dinosaurs 2

RockDoctor writes: The highly respected palaeontology journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica has published its December number for free access on the web, with the headline paper concerning new discoveries of dinosaurs from Antarctica.

The first major part of these discoveries were made as isolated bones of a sauropod (a relative of the well-known Brontosaurus) which were associated with a theropod (ancestor or cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex). These specimens were discovered at an altitude of 4100m, above the Beardmore Glacier in the TransAntarctic Mountains in 1991. Further field work during the following 13 years produced more material, seemingly from the same specimens and allowed more accurate description of the sauropod and it's naming as Glacialisaurus hammeri (the reason for the genus name is obvious ; Professor Hammer lead the field expeditions under "extremely difficult conditions"). The herbivore was some 25ft long and weighed-in at 4~6 tonnes ; at the time of life, the area was between 55 and 65 degrees south, suggesting a climate similar to the Falkland Islands or Tierra del Fuego.

The popular conception of dinosaurs as slow-moving, cold-blooded animals has long been challenged by such finds of high-latitude dinosaurs. One would expect the mainstream news sites (Slashdot included) to pick up on this publication as further evidence that the dinosaurs were much more diverse than that. After all, the only significant land animals in present-day Antarctica are penguins ; penguins are birds ; birds are dinosaurs (for any meaningful use of "birds", "are" and "dinosaurs") ; so one could make a good case that Antarctica IS the continent which has been dominated by dinosaurs for the last 200 million years. Quoth the penguin : "we don't need no steenkin' furry Mammalia on this here continent!"
However, since Antarctica is probably the most Linux-laden continent on the planet, and Antarctica is also the "dinosaur continent" (as I've just argued), then some FUD-merchant is going to make the false deduction that this means Linux is a dinosaur, instead of the correct deduction that dinosaurs are really well adapted to their extreme environments.

For the editors : Why is this under Topic:Mozilla? Because it's the closest match available in the list of topics — theropod and all that jazz.
Music

Submission + - Canadian Songwriters Call For Legalized P2P

An anonymous reader writes: Michael Geist is reporting that the Songwriters Association of Canada is calling for the complete legalization of peer-to-peer music file sharing. The SAC proposal envisions a monthly $5 ISP charge in return for unlimited access to music online.
Space

Submission + - First Evidence of Another Universe? 2

blamanj writes: Three months ago, astronomers announced the discovery of a large hole at the edge of our universe. Now, Dr. Laura Mersini-Houghton thinks she knows what that means. (Subscription req'd at New Scientist site, there's also an overview here.) According to string theory, there are many universes besides our own. Her team says that smaller universes are positioned at the edge of our universe, and because of gravitational interactions, they can be observed, and they're willing to make a prediction. The recently discovered void is in the northern hemisphere. They contend another one will be found in the southern hemisphere.
Patents

Submission + - In defense of software patents (ipocracy.com)

pieterh writes: "Patent advocates, large successful businesses, and politicians are so enthusiastic about the patenting of software that it's hard to accept arguments from people like the FFII who claim that the software industry simply does not need software patents and would be far better off without them. In this new article I explain why software patents are necessary, and in the sake of fairness I'll look at the other side of each argument. Here is the Defense of Software Patents. I report, you decide."
Biotech

Journal Journal: Adult brain cells are movers and shakers

It's a general belief that the circuitry of young brains has robust flexibility but eventually gets "hard-wired" in adulthood. As Johns Hopkins researchers and their colleagues report in the Nov. 8 issue of Neuron, however, adult neurons aren't quite as rigidly glued in place as we suspect.
Announcements

Submission + - New Record Superconductor Discovered

Dean Edmonds writes: "Superconductors.org is reporting a new record for high-temperature superconductivity. The new material shows both resistive and Meissner transitions around 175K (-98C), 25 degrees higher than the previous record holder. To put that in perspective, the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 184K (-89C) at Vostok Station, so we're getting close to 'room temperature' superconductors, just so long as the room is in Antarctica."
Printer

Submission + - Open-Source 3D Printer Lets Users Make Anything (popularmechanics.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Picture a 3D inkjet printer that deposits droplets of plastic, layer by layer, gradually building up an object of any shape. Fabbers have been around for two decades, but they've always been the pricey playthings of high-tech labs — and could only use a single material. A Fab at Home kit costs around $2400 and allows users to print anything from Hors d'Oeuvres to flashlights.
The Military

Submission + - The real Mother Of All Bombs - 46 years ago today (wikipedia.org)

vaporland writes: "Tsar Bomba is the Western name for the RDS-220, the largest, most powerful weapon ever detonated.

The bomb was tested on October 30, 1961, in an archipelago in the Arctic Sea. Developed by the Soviet Union, the bomb had a yield of about 50 megatons. Its detonation released energy equivalent to approximately 1% of the power output of the Sun. The device was scaled down from its original design of 100 megatons to reduce the resulting nuclear fallout.

The detonation of Tsar Bomba qualifies as being the single most powerful device ever utilized throughout the history of humanity."

Patents

Submission + - The real problem with the US Patent system (washingtonpost.com)

Pachooka-san writes: Saw this article in the Washington Post. IANAPE (I am not a Patent Examiner), but from long discussions with one, it touches on the real patent problem — the quotas that Patent Examiners must meet. They have no effective quality standards, only production standards, so many applications get only cursory review, just so the PE can keep up the grueling pace. The USPTO is the only government agency that can and does lay you off if your productivity drops below 85% of the standard for your civil service grade. A Primary PE has to process 5 new and 5 old applications every 2 weeks (that's 8 hours each, folks). The best part — that 28-box application mentioned in the article? — it gets the PE the same credit as the smallest application — how many of those 28 boxes do you think even got opened?
Linux Business

Submission + - Ankh 2 : A Linux-Port if 250 Pre-orders (ixsoft.de)

Anonymous Coward writes: "IxSoft, a german online retailer specialized in selling Linux software, offers a Pre-Order campaign for the port of Ankh 2, an adventure game currently available on Windows. According to IxSoft, RuneSoft demands at least 250 pre-order through the IxSoft Web Shop, before porting this game to Linux. The aim of this campaign is to make Ankh 2 for Linux profitable. The campaign will end October, 31st If it is succesful, the port should be finished before christmas"
Software

Submission + - Ubuntu 7.10 is available 1

VincenzoRomano writes: "The latest releases of Ubuntu for desktop and server are available today for download. This release brings together the best of free and open source software delivered on a stable, easy to use and learn platform. Read the press releases or download it now.
Among all other news, this new version should have a better support for the hardware and a deeper compatibility with Windows (provided that you are willing to).
Of course also the siblings have been updated, namely KUbuntu (but still not using KDE 4), EdUbuntu and XUbuntu."
Linux Business

Submission + - First Review Of Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon

kaos07 writes: In anticipation of [URL="http://www.ubuntu.com"]Ubuntu[/URL] 7.10's release on Thursday, Wired has a [URL="http://www.wired.com/software/softwarereviews/news/2007/10/ubuntu_gutsy"]review[/URL] review which walks through the installation and some basic features such as music and video playback, as well as the new 3D desktop. Once again, it appears that the Ubuntu team and community have succeeded in creating a simple yet feature-rich OS which is accessible to all computer users and is a direct competitor to Mac OS X and Windows Vista.
Communications

Submission + - Scientists deliver God helmet (sciam.com)

prostoalex writes: "Scientific American is reporting on scientific work done to map the euphoric religious feelings with the areas of the brain responsible for producing those experiences. As a result, it's now quite possible to experience proximity to God (or Universe for those in the audience who stick to atheism) via a special helmet: "In a series of studies conducted over the past several decades, Persinger and his team have trained their device on the temporal lobes of hundreds of people. In doing so, the researchers induced in most of them the experience of a sensed presence — a feeling that someone (or a spirit) is in the room when no one, in fact, is — or of a profound state of cosmic bliss that reveals a universal truth. During the three-minute bursts of stimulation, the affected subjects translated this perception of the divine into their own cultural and religious language — terming it God, Buddha, a benevolent presence or the wonder of the universe.""
United States

Submission + - Changes to U.S. Naturalization Test

necro81 writes: After a gathering input from scholars, historians, liberal and conservative think tanks, and immigration groups, the questions on the U.S. Naturalization test have been revised. Each permanent resident in the U.S. seeking to become a naturalized citizen must satisfactoraly answer 6 of 10 randomly selected questions about the structure of government and U.S. history. Out is the question that asked who said "Give me liberty, or give me death" (Patrick Henry). In are the questions: What did Susan B. Anthony do? and What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful? Current and hopeful U.S. citizens: how would you do?

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