xPsi writes: "In the sprit of the recent slashdot discussion about the 1968 Mechanix Illustrated article '40 Years in the Future', augmenting a short thread on the subject, anyone else care to make good faith estimates of what life will be like in 2048? As these things go, the 1968 predictions seem quirky and quaint, occasionally non sequitur, with some modest measure of prescience. Although honest efforts at multi-decade futuristic predictions aren't so trendy today as they were 40 years ago, can we do any better? Besides, perhaps we slashdotters are best qualified to provide some media outlet in 2048 a public record of predictions to drag out and make fun of when the time comes."
ParanoidForumUser writes: Some popular forum packages (e.g. phpBB, etc.) have a default user registration process that involves sending a confirmation email to the user with the username and password in plain text in the body of the email (with a stark format like 'user: blah, password: foo'). Sometimes the registration process does not indicate the password you choose will sent in plain text nor does it encourage you to change the password after logging in the first time (where usually the password change itself is NOT emailed to you). Like many users, I have a library of different passwords of different levels of security I can use at will. Nevertheless, I find it very frustrating to select a carefully constructed password from my "good password" stack, thinking the site is secure, only to have it emailed to me in plain text anyway; while registering, I would certainly use a different password if I knew they were going to email it back to me. I'm not a security specialist, but this default user registration method strikes me as a generally bad security policy even for an internet forum since I (and I assumed most of the world) don't regard email as secure. When I've pointed out this issue (gently) to webmasters, the reaction has been strangely defensive and hostile. Here's one recent response from an irritated webmaster: 'So the emails should be mailed back encrypted? What are you talking about? Many sites do this without a problem. Especially when doing password recovery. I don't understand the problem.' So I ask the weighty expertise of slashdot: am I being overly cautious and old fashioned, or is sending plain text forum registration passwords in an email a security problem?
xPsi writes: "Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, researchers have recently discovered that the galactic halo has two distinct components which rotate in opposite directions. From the article 'The main galactic disk, home to our sun, rotates at an average speed of 500,000 mph. Surrounding the disk is what's now called the inner halo. It orbits in the same direction at about 50,000 mph. The outer halo, a sparsely populated region, spins in the opposite direction at roughly 100,000 mph.' This discovery provides some insight into how galaxies, ours in particular, are formed."
xPsi writes: Brian May, the guitarist for the legendary rock band Queen (age 60), finally decided to submit his Ph.D. thesis in astrophysics entitled 'Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud.' From TFA: 'May was studying astrophysics at Imperial College when he formed Queen with singer Freddie Mercury and drummer Roger Taylor in 1970. He dropped his doctorate research into interstellar dust as the band met with increasing success.' Call me crazy, but 30-something years might be a record for a Ph.D. 'time to completion'; better late than never. And, hey, if this whole Rock-n-Roll thing doesn't pan out, at least he'll have something to fall back on...Congratulations soon-to-be Dr. May.