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Submission + - The Bicycle Problem That Nearly Broke Mathematics (whowhatwhereis.info)

jarodhk writes: Together, the researchers went on to crack a century-old debate about what allows a bicycle without a rider to balance itself, publishing in Proceedings of the Royal Society and Science. They have sought to inject a new level of science into the US$50-billion global cycling industry, one that has relied more on intuition and experience than on hard mathematics. Their findings could spur some much needed innovation—perhaps helping designers to create a new generation of pedal and electric bikes that are more stable and safer to ride. Insights from bicycles also have the potential to transfer to other fields, such as prosthetics and robotics.

Submission + - Globalization Considered Harmful

theodp writes: In the wake of Brexit, the NY Times reported earlier this month that President Obama will need his oratory powers to sell globalization. Asked to explain his strategy to reverse growing sentiment over globalization, President Obama responded, "The question is not whether or not there's going to be an international global economy. There is one." Still, the President acknowledged, "Ordinary people who have concerns about trade have a legitimate gripe about globalization, because the fact is that as the global economy is integrated, what we've seen are trend lines across the advanced economies of growing inequality and stagnant wages, and a smaller and smaller share of overall productivity and growth going to workers, and a larger portion going to the top 1 percent. And that's a real problem. Because if that continues, the social cohesion and political consensus needed for liberal market economies starts breaking down." The disconnect between theory and reality is at the heart of Ross Hartshorn's Globalization Considered Harmful. "There is a word for people who are opposed to the globalized economy, and it isn't 'xenophobe' or 'racist'," he writes. "It's 'protectionist'. For some time now, it's been thrown around as an insult, as if there were something wrong with protecting people. There was a similar trick played in the U.S. with the word 'liberal', where conservatives used it as an insult long enough that candidates on the left started to avoid describing themselves as liberal. But there is nothing wrong with protecting people, and there is everything wrong with globalization. Globalization isn't about respecting other people's culture, or treating everyone fairly regardless of their race. Globalization is about each country specializing in just one part of a normal, healthy, diverse economy, and then treating anyone whose talents aren't suited to that part of the economy, as if they were defective and in need a handout rather than a job. I think it is time for people who don't like what globalization has done, to start using the word 'protectionist' to describe themselves. I am a protectionist; I think there is nothing wrong with protecting people. The backlash against globalization isn't the problem. Globalization is the problem."

Submission + - New Study Shows Why Big Pharma Hates Medical Marijuana

HughPickens.com writes: Christopher Ingraham writes in the Washington Post that a new study shows that painkiller abuse and overdose are significantly lower in states with medical marijuana laws and that when medical marijuana is available, pain patients are increasingly choosing pot over powerful and deadly prescription narcotics. The researchers found that, in the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law. The drops were quite significant: In medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication. But most strikingly, the typical physician in a medical-marijuana state prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers in a given year. As a sanity check, the Bradfords ran a similar analysis on drug categories that pot typically is not recommended for — blood thinners, anti-viral drugs and antibiotics. And on those drugs, they found no changes in prescribing patterns after the passage of marijuana laws.

The tanking numbers for painkiller prescriptions in medical marijuana states are likely to cause some concern among pharmaceutical companies. These painkiller drug companies have long been at the forefront of opposition to marijuana reform, funding research by anti-pot academics and funneling dollars to groups, such as the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, that oppose marijuana legalization. Cost-savings alone are not a sufficient justification for implementing a medical-marijuana program. The bottom line is better health, and the Bradfords' research shows promising evidence that medical-marijuana users are finding plant-based relief for conditions that otherwise would have required a pill to treat. "Our findings and existing clinical literature imply that patients respond to medical marijuana legislation as if there are clinical benefits to the drug, which adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that the Schedule 1 status of marijuana is outdated."

Submission + - How (and why) FreeDOS keeps DOS alive (computerworld.com.au)

An anonymous reader writes: ComputerWorld Australia has a long interview with Jim Hall, the developer behind FreeDOS, talking about how and why FreeDOS keeps DOS alive, the history of FreeDOS and the upcoming FreeDOS 1.2 release. No major changes are planned in the next version. “The next version of FreeDOS won’t be multitasking, it won’t be 32-bit, it won’t run on ARM,” Hall said. “FreeDOS is still intended for Intel and Intel-compatible computers. You should still be able to run FreeDOS on your old 486 or old Pentium PC to play classic DOS games, run legacy business programs, and support embedded development.” New in the 1.2 release is an updated installer and some different packages. Good to see our favorite small OS still around.

Submission + - Sega Saturn's DRM Cracked Almost 23 Years After Launch (gamasutra.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Sega Saturn's DRM has finally been cracked after it hit store shelves nearly 23 years ago in November 1994. Engineer James Laird-Wah first set forth to break through the console's copy protection in an attempt to harness its chiptune capabilities. Laird-Wah has, however, developed a way to run games and other software from a USB stick in the process. Since disc drive failure is a common fault with the game console, his method circumvents the disc drive altogether, instead reworking the Video CD Slot so it can take games stored on a USB stick and run them directly through the Saturn's CD Block. "This is now at the point where, not only can it boot and run games, I've finished just recently putting in audio support, so it can play audio tracks," explained Laird-Wah, speaking to YouTuber debuglive. "For the time being, I possess the only Saturn in the world that's capable of writing files to a USB stick. There's actually, for developers of home-brew, the ability to read and write files on the USB stick that's attached to the device.

Submission + - Attacking Ransomware By Watching The Filesystem (phys.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Ransomware — what hackers use to encrypt your computer files and demand money in exchange for freeing those contents — is an exploding global problem with few solutions, but a team of University of Florida researchers says it has developed a way to stop it dead in its tracks.

The answer, they say, lies not in keeping it out of a computer but rather in confronting it once it's there and, counterintuitively, actually letting it lock up a few files before clamping down on it.

"Our system is more of an early-warning system. It doesn't prevent the ransomware from starting ... it prevents the ransomware from completing its task ... so you lose only a couple of pictures or a couple of documents rather than everything that's on your hard drive, and it relieves you of the burden of having to pay the ransom," said Nolen Scaife, a UF doctoral student and founding member of UF's Florida Institute for Cybersecurity Research.
Scaife is part of the team that has come up with the ransomware solution, which it calls CryptoDrop.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-e...

Submission + - In Dallas: The first use of a robot by law enforcement to kill

Submission + - GCHQ employee who leaked memo prior to Iraq war comments on Chilcot (theguardian.com)

Bruce66423 writes: A woman who revealed an extraordinary memo from the NSA asking for intelligence to bully UN security council members records her story, and argues that the Chilcot report — which has reviewed the history of the UK's involvement in the Iraq war — failed to look under this stone, which would have revealed more scandal. She was sacked and charged for her behaviour, but the prosecutors climbed down.

Submission + - UEFI 0-day "ThinkPwn" expands to affect HP and Gigabyte in addition to Lenovo (threatpost.com)

Submission + - The Languages Which Almost Became CSS (eager.io)

zackbloom writes: In fact, it has been a constant source of delight for me over the past year to get to continually tell hordes (literally) of people who want to – strap yourselves in, here it comes – control what their documents look like in ways that would be trivial in TeX, Microsoft Word, and every other common text processing environment: “Sorry, you’re screwed.”

— Marc Andreessen 1994

Submission + - Mozilla Releases First Build Of Servo, Its Next-Generation Browser Engine

An anonymous reader writes: As promised, Mozilla has released the first Nightly build of Servo, its new browser engine. This is the first tech demo of Servo, which Jack Moffitt, Servo project lead at Mozilla, described to us a few months ago as “a next-generation browser engine focused on performance and robustness.” Packages for macOS and Linux are available to download from here: Servo Developer Preview Downloads. Mozilla promises that Windows and Android packages will be available "soon." And because this is Mozilla, you can check out all the code yourself over on GitHub.

Submission + - Why Did The Stars Wars And Star Trek Worlds Turn Out So Differently?

HughPickens.com writes: In the Star Trek world there is virtual reality, personal replicators, powerful weapons, and, it seems, a very high standard of living for most of humanity while in Star Wars there is widespread slavery, lots of people seem to live at subsistence, and eventually much of the galaxy falls under the Jedi Reign of Terror. Why the difference? Tyler Cowen writes about some of the factors differentiating the world of Star Wars from that of Star Trek: 1) The armed forces in Star Trek seem broadly representative of society. Compare Uhura, Chekhov, and Sulu to the Imperial Storm troopers. 2) Captains Kirk and Picard do not descend into true power madness, unlike various Sith leaders and corrupted Jedi Knights. 3) In Star Trek, any starship can lay waste to a planet, whereas in Star Wars there is a single, centralized Death Star and no way to oppose it, implying stronger checks and balances in the world of Star Trek. 4) Star Trek embraces egalitarianism, namely that all humans consider themselves part of the same broader species. There is no special group comparable to the Jedi or the Sith, with special powers in their blood. 5) Star Trek replicators are sufficiently powerful it seems slavery is highly inefficient in that world.

Submission + - US Regulators Investigating Tesla Over Use of Automated System Linked To Crash (cnbc.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Thursday it is opening a preliminary investigation into 25,000 Tesla Motors Model S cars after a fatal crash involving a vehicle using the "Autopilot" mode. The agency said the crash came in a 2015 Model S operating with automated driving systems engaged, and "calls for an examination of the design and performance of any driving aids in use at the time of the crash." It is the first step before the agency could seek to order a recall if it believed the vehicles were unsafe. Tesla said Thursday the death was "the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated," while a fatality happens once every 60 million miles worldwide. The electric automaker said it "informed NHTSA about the incident immediately after it occurred." The May crash occurred when a tractor trailer drove across a divided highway, where a Tesla in autopilot mode was driving. The Model S passed under the tractor trailer, and the bottom of the trailer hit the Tesla vehicle's windshield.

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