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


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Submission + - Japanese firm showcases 'touchable' 3-D technology (

skade88 writes: Unveiling technology that generates touchable 3-D imagery, developers said Monday objects that only exist in the virtual world could be manipulated as if they were real.

Officials of Miraisens, a high-tech firm based outside Tokyo, said the technology, which can be used to improve the gaming experience or allow someone to physically shape objects that exist only on a computer, will soon be available for purchase.

“Touching is an important part of human communication, but until now virtual reality has lacked it,” Chief Executive Natsuo Koda said.

“This technology will give you a sense that you can touch objects in the 3-D world,” said Koda, a former virtual reality researcher for Sony Corp.

It works by fooling the brain, blending what the eye sees with different patterns of vibration created by a small fingertip device, said Norio Nakamura, the inventor of so-called 3D-Haptics Technology and chief technical officer at the firm.

In one demonstration of a prototype head-mounted display, the company showed how the wearer can feel resistance by pushing virtual buttons.

Submission + - Linus Torvalds on insults: Respect should be earned ( 1

sfcrazy writes: During DebConf 2014 an attendee asked Linus about his ‘insults’ mentioning one of the episodes involving Kay Sievers of systemd where Linus said, “Who the f*ck does idiotic things like that? How did they noty die as babies, considering that they were likely too stupid to find a tit to suck on?” Unlike commercial companies where a boss can fire an employee for messing things up, Linus doesn’t have that luxury. It’s an open source project; he can’t fire people. One of the ways Linus can express his frustration when some top developer breaks something is through harsh words on mailing lists, which he says is kind of hyperbole and joke. Linus also said that he is abrasive and he likes arguements.

The attendee then said he was not talking about Linus being abrasive but about respecting orthers.

There was a loud applause. Linus said, “I don’t respect people unless I think they deserve the respect. There are people who think that respect is something that should be given, and I happen to be one of the people who is perfectly happy saying no respect should be earned. And without being earned, you don’t get it. It’s really that simple.”

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 + - US Issues 30-Year Eagle-Killing Permits To Wind Industry

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Lindsay Abrams reports at Salon that in an attempt to encourage the growth of wind power, the Obama administration has announced that it is offering wind farms 30 years of leeway to kill and harm bald and golden eagles. The new regulations, which were requested by the wind industry, will provide companies that seek a permit with legal protection, preventing them from having to pay penalties for eagle deaths. An investigation by the Associated Press earlier this year documented the illegal killing of eagles around wind farms, the Obama administration's reluctance to prosecute such cases and its willingness to help keep the scope of the eagle deaths secret. President Obama has championed the pollution-free energy, nearly doubling America's wind power in his first term as a way to tackle global warming. Scientists say wind farms in 10 states have killed at least 85 eagles since 1997, with most deaths occurring between 2008 and 2012, as the industry was greatly expanding. Most deaths — 79 — were golden eagles that struck wind turbines. However the scientists said their figure is likely to be "substantially" underestimated, since companies report eagle deaths voluntarily and only a fraction of those included in their total were discovered during searches for dead birds by wind-energy companies. The National Audubon Society said it would challenge the decision. ”Instead of balancing the need for conservation and renewable energy, Interior wrote the wind industry a blank check,” says Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold. "It’s outrageous that the government is sanctioning the killing of America’s symbol, the Bald Eagle."

Submission + - Apple to bring 2,000 manufacturing jobs to Arizona (

skade88 writes: Apple Inc. (AAPL)said it’s opening a new plant in Mesa,Arizona, that will create 2,000 jobs to make components for its products, part of a push by the world’s most valuable company to boost manufacturing in the U.S.

Submission + - Google makes Quantum physics Minecraft mod (

skade88 writes: "We built the Quantum A.I. Lab to explore the potential of quantum computing, and figure out what questions we should be asking," says the the Lab Team ina post on Google+. "One question is clear," the post reads. "Where will future quantum computer scientists come from? Our best guess:Minecraft." Millions of kids aren't just digging caves in Minecraft, they say, but are building assembly lines, space shuttles, and evenprogrammable computers. The mod is an effort to get these same kids thinking about physics in a playful new way.

Submission + - Gamers solve decade old HIV puzzle in ten days ( 2

twocows writes: From the article: "Scientists from Washington University have been struggling for the past decade to decipher the complex structure of a enzyme that exhibits AIDS-like behavior, and which might hold a critical role in building a cure for the disease. Gamers playing spatial game Foldit have managed to collectively determine the enzyme’s structure in ten days."

Submission + - Oracle VM Virtualbox 4.3 announced with multi-touch user interface

rjmarvin writes: Oracle today announced general availability of of VM Virtualbox 4.3 with additional device and platform support, enhanced networking capabilities enabling developers to virtualize modern post-PC era operating system features while maintaining compatibility with legacy operating systems.

Submission + - Is it time for Slashdotters to get involved?

hdryder writes: I dont know about the rest of you fellow US citizens, but I think it is time for us nerds to make ourselves heard in the halls of Congress – especially about this Government shutdown. When our elected officials are reading Dr. Seuss rather than dealing with the urgent needs of our country, — well I for one think we can only improve things by getting involved. I just spent the last hour writing my Congress members. So I ask Slashdotters – is it time you do the same?

Submission + - US Now Produces More Oil and Gas Than Russia and Saudi Arabia

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Claudia Assis writes that the US will end 2013 as the world’s largest producer of petroleum and natural gas, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia with the Energy Information Administration estimating that combined US petroleum and gas production this year will hit 50 quadrillion British thermal units, or 25 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, outproducing Russia by 5 quadrillion Btu. Most of the new oil was coming from the western states. Oil production in Texas has more than doubled since 2010. In North Dakota, it has tripled, and Oklahoma, New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah have also shown steep rises in oil production over the same three years, according to EIA data. Tapping shale rock for oil and gas has fueled the US boom, while Russia has struggled to keep up its output. "This is a remarkable turn of events," says Adam Sieminski, head of the US Energy Information Administration. "This is a new era of thinking about market conditions, and opportunities created by these conditions, that you wouldn't in a million years have dreamed about." But even optimists in the US concede that the shale boom's longevity could hinge on commodity prices, government regulations and public support, the last of which could be problematic. A poll last month by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that opposition to increased use of fracking rose to 49% from 38% in the previous six months. "It is not a supply question anymore," says Ken Hersh. "It is about demand and the cost of production. Those are the two drivers."

Submission + - Could IBM's Watson Put Google in Jeopardy? 1

theodp writes: Over at Wired, Vashant Dhar poses a provocative question: What If IBM’s Watson Dethroned the King of Search? "If IBM did search," Dhar writes, "Watson would do much better than Google on the tough problems and they could still resort to a simple PageRank-like algorithm as a last resort. Which means there would be no reason for anyone to start their searches on Google. All the search traffic that makes Google seemingly invincible now could begin to shrink over time." Mixing supercomputers with a scalable architecture of massive amounts of simple processors and storage, Dhar surmises, would provide a formidable combination of a machine that can remember, know, and think. And because the costs of switching from Google search would not be prohibitive for most, the company is much more vulnerable to disruption. "The only question," Dhar concludes, "is whether it [IBM] wants to try and dethrone Google from its perch. That’s one answer Watson can’t provide."

Submission + - Tropical Storm Karen poised to hit US Gulf Coast this weekend (

skade88 writes: Tropical Storm Karen has formed in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm is expected strengthen into a hurricane late Friday or Early Saturday. Karen is expected to make landfall along the Alabama and Florida coast early Sunday morning. Eastern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida are under a hurricane watch. Now is the time to stock up on Food (for your family and your pets), medical supplies and water if you plan to ride out the storm. If you plan to evacuate be sure to leave early enough so you are not caught in your vehicle when the storm impacts your route.

Submission + - Shots fired at US Capital (

skade88 writes: The United States Capital has been put on lock down after shots were fired. Reports indicate a policeman was injured.

Slashdot Top Deals

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.