Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×
Power

Submission + - First Acoustic Black Hole Created In A BEC (technologyreview.com) 1

KentuckyFC writes: "One of the many curious properties of Bose Einstein Condensates (BECs) is that the flow of sound through them is governed by the same equations that describe how light is bent by a gravitational field. Now a group of Israeli physicists have exploited this idea to create an acoustic black hole in a BEC. The team created a supersonic flow of atoms within the BEC, a flow that prevents any phonon caught in it from making headway. The region where the flow changes from subsonic to supersonic is an event horizon because any phonon unlucky enough to stray into the supersonic region can never escape. But the real prize is not the acoustic black hole itself but what it makes possible: the first observation of Hawking radiation. Quantum mechanics predicts that pairs of phonon with opposite momentum ought to be constantly springing in and out of existence in a BEC. Were one of the pair to stray across the event horizon into the supersonic region, it could never escape. However, the other would be free to go on its way. This stream of phononic radiation away from an acoustic black hole would be the first observation of Hawking radiation. The team haven't got that far yet but it can't be long now before either they or their numerous competitors make this leap."
Censorship

The Slippery Legal Slope of Cartoon Porn 933

BenFenner writes "Two out of the three Virginia judges involved with Dwight Whorley's case say cartoon images depicting sex acts with children are considered child pornography in the United States. Judge Paul V. Niemeyer noted the PROTECT Act of 2003, clearly states that 'it is not a required element of any offense under this section that the minor depicted actually exists.'"
Media

Django 1.0 Released 104

jgomo3 writes "Finally, the stable version 1.0 of Django (one of the most popular free Python based frameworks) has been released. Explained in the project blog, this achievement was in part due to the great users and developers community of the Django project, and recall the big effort with numbers like 4000 commits and 2000 bugs fixed since last stable version. Django is 'The Web framework for perfectionists with deadlines.' You can dive in by reading the overview."
Google

Google Updates Chrome's Terms of Service 318

centuren writes "In response to the reaction to Chrome's terms of service, Google has truncated the offending Section 11, apologizing for the oversight. The new Section 11 contains only the first sentence included in their Universal Terms of Service, now stating: 'You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.'"
Privacy

Adam Savage Revises Claim of Lawyer-Bullying On RFID Show 301

Nick writes "A few weeks ago a video of a talk given by Adam Savage of the television show MythBusters spread across the internet (including a mention on Slashdot.) On the video, Savage stated that the show was unable to produce an episode about previously known RFID vulnerabilities due to a conference call to Texas Instruments that unexpectedly included several credit card companies' legal counsel. TI (via a spokesperson talking with cnet.com) stated that only one lawyer was on the call and that the majority of the people on the call were product managers from the Smart Card Alliance (SCA) invited by TI to speak. Then Savage (via a Discovery Communications statement) reaffirmed that he was not on the call himself and that the decision was not made by Discovery or their advertising sales department but rather MythBuster's production company, Beyond Productions."
Robotics

Stanford's "Autonomous" Helicopters Learn 90

An anonymous reader writes "Stanford computer scientists have developed an artificial intelligence system that enables robotic helicopters to teach themselves to fly difficult stunts by 'watching' other helicopters perform the same maneuvers. The result is an autonomous helicopter that can perform a complete airshow of complex tricks on its own. The stunts are 'by far the most difficult aerobatic maneuvers flown by any computer controlled helicopter,' said Andrew Ng, the professor directing the research of graduate students Pieter Abbeel, Adam Coates, Timothy Hunter and Morgan Quigley. The dazzling airshow is an important demonstration of 'apprenticeship learning,' in which robots learn by observing an expert, rather than by having software engineers peck away at their keyboards in an attempt to write instructions from scratch.'" The title of the linked article uses the term "autonomous," but that's somewhat misleading. The copters can't fly on their own, but rather can duplicate complex maneuvers learned from a human pilot.
Science

"Perfect" Mirrors Cast For LSST 114

eldavojohn writes "The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (which was partially funded by Gates & Co.) announced a world record casting for its single-piece primary and tertiary mirror blanks, cast at the University of Arizona. From the announcement: 'The Mirror Lab team opened the furnace for a close-up look at the cooled 51,900-pound mirror blank, which consists of an outer 27.5-foot diameter (8.4-meter) primary mirror and an inner 16.5-foot (5-meter) third mirror cast in one mold. It is the first time a combined primary and tertiary mirror has been produced on such a large scale.'"
Security

Submission + - California's wireless road tolls easily hackable

An anonymous reader writes: Nate Lawson, a researcher at RootLabs, has found a way to clone the wireless transponders used by the Bay Area FasTrak road toll system. This means you can copy the ID of another driver onto your own device and, as a result, travel for free while others foot the bill. Lawson also raises the interesting of using the FasTrak system to create false alibis, by overwriting one's own ID onto another driver's device before committing a crime. Luckily, Lawson wasn't sued before he could reveal his research, unlike those pesky MIT students.
Science

Researchers Find Color In Fossils 77

Science News has a look at the latest paleontological fashion: what may be the remains of pigment in fossilized feathers 100 million years old. The material in question is believed to be black melanin, on the evidence of its similarity in scanning-microscope images to the modern pigment. The researchers are hopeful of identifying other varieties of melanin, which provide red or yellow coloration; and also possibly of spotting fossilized nanostructures of melanin that create iridescent patterns in some modern animals.
Privacy

Israel Moves Toward a National Biometric Database 476

An anonymous reader writes "Israeli's government has approved the creation of a biometric database which would contain fingerprints and facial photos of all Israeli citizens. If the bill becomes law — and it is at an early stage — the biometric information of each citizen would be embedded in their passport and national ID card. Israeli citizens would be required by law to submit to biometric testing upon request by government employees, soldiers, and policemen, so that their biometric info can be compared to the info embedded in their ID card / passport. The declared purpose of the bill is to combat forgery of passports and ID cards, and also to aid identification 'in cases of a mass disaster.' The bill was approved over objections from civil rights groups and the Israeli Bar. The article notes that no other democratic country has a comprehensive biometric database of all citizens."
Graphics

MIT Artificial Vision Researchers Assemble 16-GPU Machine 121

lindik writes "As part of their research efforts aimed at building real-time human-level artificial vision systems inspired by the brain, MIT graduate student Nicolas Pinto and principal investigators David Cox (Rowland Institute at Harvard) and James DiCarlo (McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT) recently assembled an impressive 16-GPU 'monster' composed of 8x9800gx2s donated by NVIDIA. The high-throughput method they promote can also use other ubiquitous technologies like IBM's Cell Broadband Engine processor (included in Sony's Playstation 3) or Amazon's Elastic Cloud Computing services. Interestingly, the team is also involved in the PetaVision project on the Roadrunner, the world's fastest supercomputer."
Bug

Amazon Explains Why S3 Went Down 114

Angostura writes "Amazon has provided a decent write-up of the problems that caused its S3 storage service to fail for around 8 hours last Sunday. It providers a timeline of events, the immediate action take to fix it (they pulled the big red switch) and what the company is doing to prevent re-occurrence. In summary: A random bit got flipped in one of the server state messages that the S3 machines continuously pass back and forth. There was no checksum on these messages, and the erroneous information was propagated across the cloud, causing so much inter-server chatter that no customer work got done."
Microsoft

Microsoft's Decade-old Patent On Tree-view Mode! 183

BhaKi writes "Remember the Tree-View mode in many file management applications? It's shocking to know that this omnipresent feature was patented by Microsoft back in 1995 (granted in 1997). I'm not very sure about the implications, though. The patent is so general that it can be related to many things from tree-mode to virtual filesystems. Check out claim no. 3 of the patent for the most clear part."
Earth

Thirst For Coltan Fueling African Conflict 252

MetaPhyzx writes "According to an article put forth by the Toward Freedom website, the metallic ore known as columbite-tantalite or coltan for short is fueling conflict in central Africa. The relevance to us who read news for geeks: Coltan is in quite a few consumer electronics; the article references the Sony Playstation series." As reader fahrvergnugen points out in the comments below, there's reason to more than doubt the currency of the claims in the above-linked article, as outlined in a post at Joystiq.

Slashdot Top Deals

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Arthur C. Clarke

Working...