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Sci-Fi

Submission + - Star Wars Fans ask NASA to Build a Hyperdrive (csmonitor.com) 2

pickens writes: The Christian Science Monitor reports that fans and filmmakers at the Star Wars Celebration V convention in Florida have asked NASA representatives to develop a hyperdrive that can transport astronauts through space at light speed. "The idea of spending six months traveling to Mars doesn't seem very exciting," says Gary Kurtz, producer of the original "Star Wars" in 1977 and its first sequel, "The Empire Strikes Back." Turns out some NASA employees want the same thing. "We need better propulsion systems. Right now I'd say that would be the one invention that would really help us out a lot," says Joseph Tellado, a logistics manager for the International Space Station. "I believe 'Star Wars' and NASA have a lot in common," adds Tellado. "We're looking to the future. NASA is like the first stepping stone to ultimately get to that 'Star Wars' level."
Music

LEGO Rock Band Confirmed 98

SailorSpork writes to tell us that the rumored LEGO Rock Band has been confirmed, and it's set to be released later this year. The game is being developed for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and DS. The press release lists the first five songs selected for the game, and says players will "work their way through local venues, stadiums and fantasy locations on Earth and beyond, that mimic the imaginative settings that the LEGO world offers. Also continuing the LEGO 'build-and-play' gaming experience, players will be able to create their own LEGO Rock Band style as they customize their minifigure avatars, band and entourage, including roadies, managers and crew." A new page on the Xbox website provides more (slightly odd) details: "Play killer riffs to destroy a giant robot, summon a storm, and demolish a skyscraper using the power of rock!"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Comic Sans, Font of Ill Will 503

Kelson writes "The Wall Street Journal profiles Vincent Connare, designer of the web's most-hated font, Comic Sans. Not surprisingly, the font's origins go back to Microsoft Bob, where he saw a talking dog speaking in Times New Roman. Connare pulled out Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns for reference, and created the comic book-style font over the next week. 'Mr. Connare has looked on, alternately amused and mortified, as Comic Sans has spread from a software project at Microsoft Corp. 15 years ago to grade-school fliers and holiday newsletters, Disney ads and Beanie Baby tags, business emails, street signs, Bibles, porn sites, gravestones and hospital posters about bowel cancer. ... The jolly typeface has spawned the Ban Comic Sans movement, nearly a decade old but stronger now than ever, thanks to the Web."
Image

Cutting Steel With Flaming Bacon Weapons Screenshot-sm 73

Ed Pegg writes "Theo Gray demonstrates the Bacon Lance, a flaming meatsword that can cut through steel. Yes, with some ordinary bacon, and some pure oxygen, it's possible to cut through security doors. Form the article, 'I recently committed myself to the goal, before the weekend was out, of creating a device entirely from bacon and using it to cut a steel pan in half. My initial attempts were failures, but I knew success was within reach when I was able to ignite and melt the pan using seven beef sticks and a cucumber.' This comes out right after his profusely illustrated book of science experiments, Mad Science."

Vista Post-SP2 Is the Safest OS On the Planet 1010

pkluss noted Kevin Turner, COO of Microsoft making the proclamation that "Vista today, post-Service Pack 2, which is now in the marketplace, is the safest, most reliable OS we've ever built. It's also the most secure OS on the planet, including Linux and open source and Apple Leopard. It's the safest and most secure OS on the planet today."
Windows

Windows 95 Almost Autodetected Floppy Disks 334

bonch writes "Windows 95 almost shipped with a technique for detecting whether a floppy disk was inserted without spinning up the drive. Microsoft's floppy driver developer discovered a sequence of commands that detected a disk without spinup — unfortunately, unspecified behavior in the floppy hardware specification meant that half the drives worked one way and half the other, each giving opposite results for the detection routine. Microsoft considered a dialog prompting the user to insert a disk to 'train' the routine, but the idea was scrapped."
Space

Cold War Standoff Over ISS Toilet 417

Hugh Pickens writes "The International Space Station, once a place where astronauts would share food and facilities, is said to be embroiled in a Cold War-like stand-off after a Russian cosmonaut complained he is no longer allowed to use a US toilet or the US gym machine. Gennady Padalka, a veteran Russian cosmonaut, says that space officials from Russia, the United States and other countries now require cosmonauts and astronauts to eat their own food and follow stringent rules on access to other facilities, including lavatories. Padalka, who will be the station's next commander, says the arguments date back to 2003, when Russia started charging other space agencies for the resources used by their astronauts and other partners in space station responded in kind. 'Cosmonauts are above the ongoing squabble, no matter what officials decide,' says Padalka. 'We are grown-up, well-educated and good-mannered people and can use our own brains to create normal relationship. It's politicians and bureaucrats who can't reach agreement, not us, cosmonauts and astronauts.' While sharing food in the past helped the crew feel like a team, the new rules oblige Russian cosmonauts and US astronauts to eat their own food. 'They also recommend us to only use national toilets,' says Padalka. 'What is going on has an adverse effect on our work.'"
Image

Battlestar Galactica Hosted At the UN Screenshot-sm 252

TheDopp writes "The United Nations hosted the cast and crew of Battlestar Galactica Tuesday evening in New York. Clips of the show were shown as discussion points during the event, touching on the morality of Suicide Bombers in war, Abortion and the use of torture on enemies of the state. At one point during the event an attendee mentions 'the "Old Man" launched into a passionate speech about casting off the idea of race as a cultural determinant, and said we were one race, the human race. His voice echoed throughout the chamber growing louder until — I kid you not — he was yelling, "So Say We All," and the crowd answered right back. Hell, even I yelled it, I was in the fraking United Nations with Adama, the gods themselves could not have stopped this moment.' The full video of the event is located on the UN website."
Math

March 14th Officially Becomes National Pi Day 321

whitefox writes "The scoop from CNet is that 'The US House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a resolution introduced two days earlier that designates March 14, 2009 (3/14, get it?) as National Pi Day. It urges schools to take the opportunity to teach their students about Pi and "engage them about the study of mathematics."' The resolution is available online. I doubt it'll ever become a national holiday, but the Pi string in the article is pretty cool in a nerdy sort of way."
Internet Explorer

Microsoft Says IE Faster Than Chrome and Firefox 532

An anonymous reader writes "According to its own speed tests, Microsoft's Internet Explorer loads most websites faster than both Chrome and Firefox when looking at the top 25 websites on the Internet. 'As you can see, IE8 outperforms Firefox 3.05 and Chrome 1.0 in loading 12 websites, Chrome 1.0 places second by loading nine sites first, and Firefox brings up the rear by loading four sites faster than the other two browsers. Also, in case you missed it, IE loads mozilla.com faster than Firefox, and Firefox loads microsoft.com faster than IE, just for kicks.'"
United States

DHS To Use Body Odor As a Lie Detector 206

The US Department of Homeland Security is studying lies, damned lies, and smells. They hope to prove that human body odor could be used to tell when people are lying. The department says they are already "conducting experiments in deceptive behavior and collecting human odor samples" and that the research it hopes to fund "will consist primarily of the analysis and study of the human odor samples collected to determine if a deception indicator can be found."

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