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

 



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Japan

Submission + - Is there a silver bullet for reactor meltdowns? 1

Aku Head writes: In the context of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, what if you could cover the overheating nuclear fuel with liquid aluminum? Aluminum is a good conductor of heat so that you could spray the aluminum with sea water to avoid melting. Would this solve the problems of decay heat and hydrogen generation? What if you alloyed the aluminum with neutron poisons such as hafnium or cadmium? Any other suggestions of something that you could cover the nuclear plant with to mitigate the problem?
Firefox

Submission + - Firefox Is Lagging Behind, Firefox Co-Founder says (techcrunch.com)

sopssa writes: "Firefox's Co-Founder Blake Ross is skeptical about the future of Firefox. He says that "the Mozilla Organization has gradually reverted back to its old ways of being too timid, passive and consensus-driven to release breakthrough products quickly." Within the past year Chrome has been steadily increasing its marketshare along with the other WebKit based browsers like Safari. Meanwhile Mozilla's CEO says that while it's more competitive than ever, they're looking forward to their mobile version of Firefox. "Clearly, both are annoyed at what has happened to their former renegade web browser. — But, by many accounts, Firefox is no longer considered to be the light, open alternative it once was.""
Google

Google Adds Scripting Capabilities To Google Docs 58

snydeq writes "Google will add scripting capabilities to Google Docs, allowing organizations to customize their online applications and automate tasks. Google plans to sign up about 1,000 customers over the next few weeks to test the feature, called Google Apps Script. It will be tested initially in Google Spreadsheets and extended to other Google Docs applications over time. The company isn't saying yet when Apps Script — which is based on JavaScript with object-based extensions added by Google — will be widely available. Google Docs users can already apply to try it out."
Businesses

YouTube Muting, Removing Videos Involving Warner Music 202

notseamus writes "In the past few days, YouTube has started muting videos uploaded by users that use 'unauthorized copyrighted music' in response to Warner Music's threat over royalties, and so far appears to target only Warner Music related videos. Ars Technica also reports that after three DMCA notices YouTube will remove a user account, even when it appears to be fair use. Kevin Lee has had video essays — which he believes are fair use — removed from YouTube, and his account disabled before he could file a counter notice."
Patents

20+ Companies Sued Over OS Permissions Patent 282

freemywrld writes "According to the article on Ars Technica, Microsoft, Symantec and 20 other companies are being sued over patents covering 'systems for governing application and data permissions, as well as ensuring application integrity.' The patents were granted in the 90's to the Information Protection and Authentication of Texas (IPAT). From the article: 'A response from any of the defendants is still forthcoming, and it is unclear whether the authentication and permissions systems that IPAT's patent describes are precluded by prior art. Even if IPAT has a leg to stand on in court, however, it certainly didn't take the easy route to recovering any damages by suing 22 companies.'"
Supercomputing

Roland Piquepaille Dies 288

overheardinpdx writes "I'm sad to report that longtime HPC technology pundit Roland Piquepaille (rpiquepa) died this past Tuesday. Many of you may know of him through his blog, his submissions to Slashdot, and his many years of software visualization work at SGI and Cray Research. I worked with Roland 20 years ago at Cray, where we both wrote tech stories for the company newsletter. With his focus on how new technologies modify our way of life, Roland was really doing Slashdot-type reporting before there was a World Wide Web. Rest in peace, Roland. You will be missed." The notice of Roland's passing was posted on the Cray Research alumni group on Linked-In by Matthias Fouquet-Lapar. There will be a ceremony on Monday Jan. 12, at 10:30 am Paris time, at Père Lachaise.
Education

Cornell University FPGA Class Projects for 2008 112

Matt writes "The new crop of Cornell University ECE 5760 projects are now online. Some really cool projects, as well as the previous two years' worth of projects." Since it's mid-December, many other schools, too, have either just let out or are about to; can you point to any other online collections of cool technical projects?
Space

1.4 Billion Pixel Camera To Watch For Asteroids 138

SpaceSlug writes "The world's largest digital camera is to be used to keep an eye out for asteroids heading towards Earth. The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) has been built by researchers at MIT's Lincoln Lab. At its heart is a 1.4 billion pixel (or 1400 megapixel) camera that will scan the night sky looking for rogue near-Earth objects from atop Mount Haleakala in Maui Island, Hawaii. The system uses something called an orthogonal transfer CCD to remove atmospheric blur from images."
Upgrades

NVIDIA Makes First 4GB Graphics Card 292

Frogger writes to tell us NVIDIA has released what they are calling the most powerful graphics card in history. With 4GB of graphics memory and 240 CUDA-programmable parallel cores, this monster sure packs a punch, although, with a $3,500 price tag, it certainly should. Big-spenders can rejoice at a new shiny, and the rest of us can be happy with the inevitable price shift in the more reasonable models.
Google

StarOffice Dropped From Google Pack 135

Barence writes "Sun's StarOffice suite has been mysteriously dropped from the Google Pack of free software. The office suite has been axed without any warning or explanation on the Google site. Is Google trying to drive more people towards its own online suite of office applications? Or has it been stung into action by Steve Ballmer's recent comment that Microsoft Office faces stronger competition from StarOffice than it does Google Docs and Spreadsheet?"
Media

After 4 Years, HydrogenAudio Opens New 128kbps Listening Test 267

kwanbis writes "After more than four years, a new MP3@128kbps listening test is finally open at HydrogenAudio.org! The featured encoders are: LAME 3.97, LAME 3.98.2, iTunes 8.0.1.11, Fraunhofer IIS mp3surround CL v1.5, and Helix v5.1 2005.08.09. The low anchor is l3enc 0.99a. The purpose of this test is to find out which popular MP3 VBR encoder outputs the best quality on bitrates around 128 kbps. All encoders experienced major or minor updates that should improve audio quality or encoding speed, and we have a totally new encoder on board. Note that you do not have to test all samples — it is a great help even if you test one or two. The test is scheduled to end on November 22nd, 2008."
Medicine

German Doctor Cures an HIV Patient With a Bone Marrow Transplant 639

reporter writes "HIV is the virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Until now, HIV has no cure and has led to the deaths of over 25 million people. However, a possible cure has appeared. Dr. Gero Hutter, a brilliant physician in Germany, replaced the bone marrow of an HIV patient with the bone marrow of a donor who has natural immunity to HIV. The new bone marrow in the patient then produced immune-system cells that are immune to HIV. Being unable to hijack any immune cell, the HIV has simply disappeared. The patient has been free of HIV for about 2 years. Some physicians at UCLA have developed a similar therapy and plan to commercialize it."
Space

Very Large Telescope Captures New 27-Megapixel Deep Field 131

xyz writes "European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope has captured the deepest ground based U-band image of the universe yet. The image contains more than 27 million pixels and is the result of 55 hours of observations with the VIMOS instrument. 'Galaxies were detected that are a billion times fainter than the unaided eye can see and over a range of colours not directly observable by the eye. This deep image has been essential to the discovery of a large number of new galaxies that are so far away that they are seen as they were when the Universe was only 2 billion years old.'"
The Courts

NYCL Responds to RIAA Accusations 231

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "You may recall that when the RIAA decided to run away with its tail between its legs in the long running Brooklyn case against a home health aide who has never used a computer, UMG v. Lindor, it decided to take some parting shots at the defendant and NewYorkCountryLawyer, asking for 'discovery sanctions,' and blaming them for its inability to prove its case. Today NYCL gave them his response, accusing the RIAA lawyers of persistent misstatements of fact (PDF) throughout their motion papers, and of flouting the rules and misstating the law (PDF). Although the RIAA's motion papers took a number of shots at NYCL's copyright law blog, 'Recording Industry vs. The People,' NYCL confined his response on that subject to a single footnote."
Moon

Chandrayaan Enters Lunar Orbit 111

William Robinson writes "After an 18-day journey, Chandrayaan-1, the moon mission of India, has entered Lunar orbit. The maneuver was described as crucial and critical by scientists, who pointed out that at least 30 per cent of similar moon missions had failed at this juncture, resulting in spacecraft lost to outer space. The lunar orbit insertion placed Chandrayaan-1 in an elliptical orbit with its nearest point 400 to 500 kilometers away from the moon, and the farthest, 7,500 kilometers. By November 15, the spacecraft is expected to be orbiting the moon at a distance of 100 kilometers and sending back data and images (the camera was tested with shots looking back at Earth). The Chandrayaan-1 is also scheduled to send a probe to the moon's surface."

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