Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


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 + - Very Very Bright Comet in 2013!! (

An anonymous reader writes: Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) will get to within 0.012AU of the Sun (extremely close) at the end of November 2013 and then to ~0.4AU from Earth at the beginning of January 2014! According to its orbit, this comet might become a naked-eye object in the period November 2013 — January 2014. And it might reach a negative magnitude at the end of November 2013.

Submission + - Was a fifth giant planet ejected from the Solar Sy (

Retired Spy writes: We all know that the solar system has always had four giant planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus. Now it's claimed that it's likely to have held to a fifth giant planet that got thrown out.

Read more:


Submission + - For Mac developers, Armageddon comes tomorrow (

kdawson writes: David Gewirtz's blog post over at ZDNet warns of an imminent price collapse for traditional Mac applications, starting tomorrow when the Mac App Store opens. The larger questions: what will Mac price plunges of 90%-95% mean for the PC software market? For the Mac's market share? Quoting: 'The Mac software market is about as old-school as you get. Developers have been creating, shipping, and selling products through traditional channels and at traditional price points for decades. ... Mac software has historically been priced on a parity with other desktop software. That means small products are about $20. Utilities run in the $50-60 range. Games in the $50 range. Productivity packages and creative tools in the hundreds, and specialty software — well, the sky's the limit. Tomorrow, the sky will fall. Tomorrow, the iOS developers move in and the traditional Mac developers better stick their heads between their legs and kiss those price points goodbye.'

Submission + - 'Secret' Space Plane to Land Friday (

digitaldc writes: The U.S. Air Force's clandestine X-37B space plane will glide back to Earth as soon as Friday and land on a concrete runway in California, the military announced Tuesday.
The X-37B spacecraft, also called the Orbital Test Vehicle, has been circling Earth since April 22 conducting classified tests and technology demonstrations while under the watchful eye of amateur observers on the ground.
The two-paragraph statement issued by the 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg Air Force Base says the "exact landing date and time will depend on technical and weather considerations," but it is expected between Friday and Monday.
Preparations for the landing are underway at Vandenberg, the statement said


Submission + - NASA: 2,000lb heart of telescope goes extreme (

coondoggie writes: NASA engineers say they have achieved previously unheard of feat: Create from scratch about 900 components that can survive more than six and a half times the force of gravity, fit in a seven foot-long carlike body that weighs almost 2,000lbs and survive -411 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures.

Submission + - Rube Goldberg and the Strangeness of Electricity

Hugh Pickens writes: "Alexis Madrigal has written a very interesting essay in the Atlantic about the popular response of people in the 19th century to the development of the electric power industry. Before electricity, basically every factory had to run a bit like a Rube Goldberg machine, transmitting power from a water wheel or a steam engine to the machines of a manufactory but with the development of electric turbines and motors the public believed engineers were tapping mysterious, invisible forces with almost supernatural powers for mischief. "Think about it," writes Madrigal. "You've got a wire and you've got a magnet. Switch on the current — which you can't see and have no intuitive way to know exists — and suddenly the wire begins to rotate around the magnet. You can reverse the process, too. Rotate the magnet around the wire and it generates a current that can be turned into light, heat, or power." And that brings us back to Rube Goldberg, a cartoonist who was was shockingly popular in his heyday and whose popularity closely parallels the rise of electrification in America. "I think Goldberg's drawings reminded his contemporaries of a time when they could understand the world's industrial processes just by looking. No matter how absurd his work was, anyone could trace the reactions involved," writes Madrigal. "People like to complain that they can't understand modern cars because of all the fancy parts and electronic doo-dads in them now, but we lost that ability for most things long ago. ""

Submission + - DNA of Cocoa Bean Tree Sequenced (

" rel="nofollow">dido writes: "Scientists backed by chocolate makers Mars and Hershey have announced that they have completed sequencing the genome of the cocoa bean plant. “This will help guarantee a sustainable future for cocoa for the farmers, the consumers and Mars Inc.,” Howard-Yana Shapiro, the head of plant research at Mars, said in an interview. Another goal of the project is to ensure the genetic data was available for all to use without intellectual property restrictions. Those gaining access to the data on the group’s web site have to agree not to patent anything, like specific genes, from their findings."

Submission + - Study finds association between Autism and wealth ( 1

SpuriousLogic writes: Upper-income parents are more likely to have children with autism, according to a University of Wisconsin-Madison study.

Upper-income parents are more likely to have children with autism, according to a University of Wisconsin-Madison study. The findings suggest either the genetics or the lifestyles of wealthier people predispose their children to autism.

Researchers have spent decades trying to untangle the factors that cause autism. Since the 1940s, scientists noticed wealthier and more educated families had children with the disorder, said Maureen Durkin, a University of Wisconsin-Madison epidemiologist and lead author of the study.

But while some U.S. studies found a link, others done in Scandinavia found no connection between autism and social class, Durkin said. Yet those countries also have social safety nets and universal health care, so rich and poor alike can get to the doctor's office for a diagnosis of autism. That led some researchers to pursue whether there were differences in rates of diagnosis in the U.S., rather than rates of the underlying disorder.

The findings were published in PLoS One.

Submission + - Fastest Net Service in U.S. Coming to Chattanooga (

s122604 writes: From the article "In the global race to see who can offer the fastest Internet service, an unlikely challenger has emerged: Chattanooga, Tenn. The city-owned utility, EPB, plans to announce on Monday that by the end of this year it will offer ultra-high-speed Internet service of up to one gigabit a second."

If one were to ask what city in the US would be the first to a gigabit, I doubt many would have answered "Chattanooga". Note, its also a municipal utility, in the south, were fears of "creeping socialism" allegedly run deep.

The Internet

Submission + - Chattanooga: Fastest Internet in the U.S.? (

tetrahedrassface writes: The fastest internet service in the United States went live yesterday when the City of Chattanooga became the first metropolitan area to offer speeds of one-gigabit-per-second internet upload and download to the general public. The speeds are roughly 250 times greater than the U.S average, and more costly too, weighing in at 350.00 dollars per month. From the article: 'Chattanooga's announcement comes at a time when the United States is focused on broadband speeds. The Federal Communication Commission in March announced a plan to try to speed up U.S. internet connections, which reports say are woefully slower than those in some other countries."

Submission + - Funds Dwindle to Dismantle Old Nuclear Plants

Hugh Pickens writes: "The Associated Press reports that the companies that own almost half the nation's nuclear reactors are not setting aside enough money to dismantle the reactors so many plants may sit idle for decades posing safety and security risks as a result. The shortfalls in funding have been caused by huge losses in the stock market that have devastated the companies' savings and by the soaring costs of decommissioning. Owners of 19 nuclear plants have won approval to idle their reactors for as long as 60 years, presumably enough time to allow investments to recover and eventually pay for dismantling the plants and removing radioactive material. But mothballing nuclear reactors or shutting them down inadequately presents the risk that radioactive waste could leak from abandoned plants into ground water or be released into the air, and spent nuclear fuel rods could be stolen by terrorists. "No one at the NRC wants to acknowledge what is absolutely obvious to us, that the funds are inadequate and that the industry has bare assets," said Arnold Gundersen, a retired nuclear engineer and decommissioning expert. The NRC has contacted 18 nuclear power plants to clarify how the companies will address the recent economic downturn's effects on funds to decommission reactors in the future but some analysts worry the utility companies that own nuclear plants might not even exist in six decades. "Our concern is that they'll just walk away from it," said Jim Riccio, a Greenpeace nuclear policy analyst. "It's like a sitting time bomb. The notion that you can just walk away from these sites and everything will be hunky-dory is just not true.""

Submission + - Free Spirit: Stuck Between a Rock and a Soft Place ( 1

Dave Bullock writes: "NASA's Spirit rover is stuck in a pile of silty sand and high-centerd on a rock millions of miles away on the surface of Mars. Here on Earth, JPL is working on getting the rover unstuck. They've built a giant sandbox, filled it with simulated Martian soil and driven in a near duplicate rover which is also now stuck. I took a few trips to JPL and photographed NASA's attempts to free Spirit for"

Submission + - Blue M&Ms can lessen the damage from spinal in

SydShamino writes: Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have found that the dye used in blue M&Ms and other foods can, when given to a patient shortly after a spinal injury, minimizing secondary damage caused by the body when it kills off nearby healthy cells. Given that 85% of spinal injury patients are currently untreated (and some doctors don't trust the treatment given to the other 15%), a relatively safe treatment like this could help preserve some function for thousands of patients. The best part? In lab rats the subjects given the treatment turn blue.

Submission + - Where is everybody? Fermi's Paradox Revisited. (

Snowmit writes: "In a sweeping review of the literature around Fermi's Paradox, Milan M. Cirkovic argues that the fact that the question remains unanswered indicates that there must be some unresolved flaw in the current scientific understanding of our place in the universe. The paper is extremely fun to read, covering concepts such as self-replicating death-probes, galactic engineering projects, the importance of Jupiter in stellar safety, the inefficiency of stars as an energy source, the likelihood of the Cambrian explosion, the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and why the SETI program might not be such a waste after all.

From the abstract:

We review Fermi's paradox (or the "Great Silence" problem), not only arguably the oldest and crucial problem for the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (SETI), but also a conundrum of profound scientific, philosophical and cultural importance. By a simple analysis of observation selection effects, the correct resolution of Fermi's paradox is certain to tell us something about the future of humanity ... Somewhat paradoxically, it seems that the class of (neo)catastrophic hypotheses gives, on balance, the strongest justification for guarded optimism regarding our current and near-future SETI efforts.

It's long but it's worth it. The giga-scale thinking involved in Fermi's paradox is a breath of fresh air and a great antidote to spending too much time worrying about whatever tiny little details make up your tiny little life."

The Internet

Submission + - When do you read Slashdot articles?

gimre writes: A poll about when do people read new Slashdot articles. Options could be something like:
- firehose
- immediately after it appears
- the next day
- once a week
- 'I just read the comments'
- others...

I personally like to wait at least a couple of hours for the news to get a bit olders because of the slashdot effect on many sites. I also like the articles to 'pile up' a bit.

Slashdot Top Deals

We don't know who it was that discovered water, but we're pretty sure that it wasn't a fish. -- Marshall McLuhan