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


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Submission + - What Happened to Winter?

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "This year the temperature in Minneapolis didn't fall to zero degrees until January 12, the daytime high in Rapid City, South Dakota hit a record-setting 71 on January 5, and just a couple of days before New Year's, visitors to Park City, Utah, skied on man-made snow and dined al fresco — without their parkas — as Eryn Brown reports that a combination of factors has trapped winter's cold air over Canada and Alaska, making for unseasonably warm weather in the Lower 48 and creating disappointment for outdoor enthusiasts who revelled in last year’s snow. "The talk across the whole country has been, 'Where has winter been?'" says Dale Eck, who runs the global forecast center at the Weather Channel in Atlanta. The culprit is a mercurial weather pattern called the Arctic oscillation. André Viau, a climatologist at the University of Ottawa, describes the polar jet stream as similar to a ribbon that snakes across the continent, at the intersection of the colder air in the north and the warmer air that’s farther south. When the Artic oscillation is weak, or negative, the ribbon buckles, allowing colder Arctic air to penetrate farther south. This season, however, the oscillation has been almost exclusively positive. Strong polar winds have pulled the ribbon of the jet stream so taut, “it’s been almost straight,” says Viau, preventing Arctic air from escaping southward. Last week, the strength of the oscillation finally relaxed, moving first to neutral and then to negative, allowing dense Arctic air to flow south and bring the first bone-chilling temperatures of the winter south. But even with the recent dip, it’s possible this winter will go on record as one of our warmest says Canadian climatologist David Phillips. "Memories of this winter will be quite something: short and mild.”"
The Military

Submission + - North Korea forces US reconnaissance plane to land ( 2

ToBeDecided writes: A US military reconessaince plane was reportedly forced to perform an emergency landing during a major military exercise near the North Korean border in March. As revealed by the South Korean defense ministry, a strong signal transmitted from the north disrupted GPS in the area surrounding the position of the RC-7B aircraft. Without information about their position, the pilots were forced to abort their mission and return to South Korea.
This leaves the question whether the US military would be able to perform operations in North Korea given how fragile their equipment seems to be.

Submission + - SPAM: iPhone in "coma mode"

An anonymous reader writes: BBC Watchdog has a report on iphone's latest problem: coma mode! iPhone fans have been calling the problem 'coma mode' and when it happens the phone won't receive calls or emails. It becomes useless until the user puts it through a 'hard reboot', similar to shutting down and restarting a desk top computer when it crashes. But even worse, because this happens when the screen is locked, leaving it blank, the unlucky ones experiencing the problem don't know it's in 'coma mode' until they pick up the phone to check. They could go for hours without realising the phone's stopped working.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Evolving Java Without Changing the Language

twofishy writes: Java is often criticsed for the slow pace of its evoloution. Whilst the argument is often overplayed (Java has been through 4 major revision since C++ was last updated) anything that encourages langauge experimentation within Java is posotive provided it can be done in a way that doesn't impact the langauge directly. InfoQ has an interesting article which examines three alternative techniques that allow this – DSLs, the Java 6 annotation processor, and moving the default place for adding syntactic sugar from the language to the IDE.

12M Digit Prime Number Sets Record, Nets $100,000 232

coondoggie writes "A 12-million-digit prime number, the largest such number ever discovered, has landed a voluntary math research group a $100,000 prize from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The number, known as a Mersenne prime, is the 45th known Mersenne prime, written shorthand as 2 to the power of 43,112,609, minus 1 . A Mersenne number is a positive integer that is one less than a power of two, the group stated. The computing project called the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) made the discovery on a computer at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Mathematics Department."

Submission + - How the Moon produces its own water (

Matt_dk writes: The Moon is a big sponge that absorbs electrically charged particles given out by the Sun. These particles interact with the oxygen present in some dust grains on the lunar surface, producing water. This discovery, made by the ESA-ISRO instrument SARA onboard the Indian Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter, confirms how water is likely being created on the lunar surface. It also gives scientists an ingenious new way to take images of the Moon and any other airless body in the Solar System.

Submission + - apple releases new final cut software ( 1

metasoft writes: "apple today released the newest version of the final cut software, final cut pro 7, including the newest versions of all affiliated software, including:
1. final cut pro 7
2. motion 4
3. soundtrack pro 3
4. color 1.5
5. compressor 3.5

this is a breakthrough for all video editors, as the final cut studio pro is, by far, one of the most advanced systems available to the average mac users. one wonders how microsoft movie maker plans to combat this(microsoft seems to be on a streak of trying to beat their competitors)."


Submission + - Translate Atom to RDF using Java technology

IndioMan writes: How can you translate an Atom document into a distinct document that follows the RDF specification? The answer: Java technology. Learn how Java with the StAX API make it easy to parse an Atom feed and translate it into an RDF document that you can then use to provide semantic-specific feeds.
Technology (Apple)

Submission + - Apple Issues Firmware Upgrade For MacBook Pro (

Lucas123 writes: "After declining comment on an apparent downgrade to the serial ATA hard drive interface in its new MacBook Pros, from 3Gbps to 1.5Gbps, Apple today issued a firmware upgrade to fix a problem reported by "a small number of customers" using drives based on the latest SATA specification. Apple warned that it has not shipped drives operating at the higher-speed specification, saying, "While this update allows drives to use transfer rates greater than 1.5Gbit/sec, Apple has not qualified or offered these drives for Mac notebooks and their use is unsupported.""

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