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Submission + - Daling with your advisor 1

warrior_s writes: I think there are many graduate students as well as professors who read slashdot on regular basis. My question is about honesty of professors in academia.
What can a (new/junior) graduate student do when his advisor his passing on his work as the work of the more senior graduate student or a postdoc. I understand that senior graduate students are in need of good academic publications. But passing a junior student's work as someone else's work in unacceptable.
On the other hand, a junior student needs the help of faculty later on when he will be graduating. So, it is difficult to oppose this injustice. Specially in this economy, when just leaving the school is not an option for all. And changing the advisor (especially the one who is highly reputed in academia) is not seen as good thing in the department.
How can one deal with such advisors?

Bloomberg Accidentally Publishes Jobs' Obituary On News Wire Screenshot-sm 6

Thousands of corporate clients received a story, marked "Hold for release - Do not use," from Bloomberg business news wire Wednesday afternoon. The story was the Steve Jobs obituary. The obituary was published "momentarily" after an update from a reporter and was "immediately deleted," Bloomberg said. Details of friends and colleagues of the Apple founder to be contacted by Bloomberg in the event of his death were also published. That story again, Steve Jobs *not* dead at 53.

Submission + - Programming as a part of a science education? 1

An anonymous reader writes: I'm a fairly new physics professor at a well-ranked, medium-sized, 4-year public undergraduate university. When I arrived, I was surprised to discover there were no computer programming requirements for our majors. This has led to a series of fairly animated faculty curriculum conversations, driven by the question: to what extent should computer programming be a part of an undergraduate science education (in particular, physics)? This is a surprising line of questioning to me because in my career (dominated by research), I've never seriously even questioned the need. If you are a physics major, you learn to program. The exact language isn't so important as is flow control, file handling, basic methods/technique, basic resource management, and troubleshooting. The methods learned in any language can then be ported over to just about any numerical or scientific computational problem. End of story. But I'm discovering the faculty are somewhat divided on the topic. There is even a bizarre camp that actually acknowledges the need for computer programming, but turns my "any language" argument on its head to advocate the students do "scientific programming" using Excel because it is "easy," ubiquitous, and students are familiar with it. They argue Excel is "surprisingly powerful" with flow control and allows you to focus on the science rather than syntax. I must admit that when I hear such arguments I cannot have a rational discussion and my blood nearly boils. In principle, as a spreadsheet with simple flow control in combination with visual basic capabilities, Excel can do many things at the cartoon level we care about scientifically. But I'm not interested in giving students toys, rather tools. As a scientist raised on a heavy diet of open source software and computational physics, I'll hang my head in shame and cry myself to sleep every night if our majors start proudly putting Excel down on their resumes. However, in the scientific spirit, perhaps I'm missing something. So I ask Slashdot, to what extent do you feel computer programming should be a part of an undergraduate science education? As a followup, if computing is important, what languages and software would best serve the student? If there are physics majors out there, what computing/programming requirements does your department have? My university is in the US, but how is this handled in other parts of the world?

Feed Science Daily: Nuclear 'Eye' Reveals That Napoleon Was Not Poisoned, Although Arsenic Levels Hi (

Arsenic poisoning did not kill Napoleon in Saint Helena, as affirmed by a new meticulous examination. The examination produced some surprising results. There were no significant differences in arsenic levels between when Napoleon was a boy and during his final days in Saint Helena. Another surprising finding was that the level of arsenic in all of the hair samples from 200 years ago is 100 times greater than the average level detected in samples from persons living today. At the beginning of the 19th people evidently ingested arsenic that was present in the environment in quantities that are currently considered as dangerous.


Submission + - Secret Scientology documents published (

hansguckindieluft writes: reports:
The internet group Anonymous that recently declared war on Scientology has published documents and instruction videos (Link to the german newssite with downloads (in english)) reserved for high ranking Scientologists. This has reportedly been made possible by the hack of a scientology server a week ago.
Translated from german:
"The documents include handbooks for the highest OT-levels that normally require investments of hundreds of thousands of dollars into scientology"
"Furthermore CD's for selfindoctrination at 900$ a piece have been 'liberated'"
"Other 'hot stuff' are the OECs (Organization Executive Courses). That tell Org-leaders how to keep, acquire and financially exploit followers"

Other documents contained in the download bear titles like "All about radiation", "Child Dianetics", "The OT Levels" (800 pages), "The Axioms of Scientology" (6 pages), "Advanced Procedures and Axioms" (58p).


Submission + - Gibson Introduces Robot Guitar

Migraineman writes: Gibson has introduced it's auto-tuning Robot version of the classic Les Paul guitar. The volume knob has been updated with eleventeen functions, including multi-color tuning status LEDs. An NiMH battery lives in the guitar body. The CPU and motor-driven tuning pegs are integrated into the headstock. There's not much technical meat at Gibson's flash-encumbered website, but this Design News article gives some decent insight into the inner workings. The PDF manual is also available. Gibson has done a remarkable job integrating the additional features without tarnishing the classic visual appear. For example, the guitar strings are used to send power and telemetry from the body to the tuning head. Oh, and the MSRP for this beauty is $2499.

Submission + - Electromagnetic bots swarm together

holy_calamity writes: New Scientist reports on an ambitious research project at Carnegie Mellon aiming to create programmable robotic matter, dubbed 'claytronics'. So far they have demonstrated some neat robots that connect, move, communicate and share power in groups using electromagnetic or electrostatic forces. In the long term the project's leader says he'll be done when 'you won't know if you're shaking hands with me or a claytronics copy of me.'"

Journal Journal: Stem cell treatment for brittle bones in the womb

The extraordinary results of an in utero stem cell treatment could lead to a new treatment for babies with brittle bones, as well as a range of other disabling conditions, according to a maternal-fetal medicine researcher, now based at The University of Queensland (UQ). Action Medical Research has announced the outcomes of an Imperial College London study, conducted by a team led by Professor Nicholas Fisk, that could lead to a s

Submission + - SPAM: Identifying a face from a single picture

Roland Piquepaille writes: "Law enforcement officers around the world can be happy today. A computer scientist and PhD candidate from the Umeå University in Sweden has developed algorithms that give a computer the possibility of recognizing a face, even if only one picture exists in the database used to identify criminals or suspects. The software can synthesize other images of a single face using various angles, light conditions or facial expressions. This means that at a security control, a police officer should be able to compare an image taken by a surveillance camera with all the variants of the images contained in their databases. This is at the same time brilliant and frightening. But read more for an analysis of the 174-page PhD dissertation."
PC Games (Games)

2007 Mod of the Year Winners 34

intenscia writes "The 2007 Mod of the Year Awards players choice winners have been announced, capping off a great year in gaming. This year titles which were influenced by the War in Iraq fared well, with Half-Life 2, Battlefield 2 and the GPL'd ID Tech 3 engine polling strongly in the indie games and released mods categories. Crysis mods, though still in the early stages of development, did well in the best upcoming category as indie developers attention shifts to some of the next-gen engines."

Submission + - Blogger Censored, Detained and Interrogated by FBI (

EverStoned writes: "Rob, author and owner of a TypePad blog, found that one of his posts was being repeatedly censored by an IP address owned by the Department of Homeland Security. The next day, he was detained and interrogated by the FBI for writing about Al-Queda, explosive chemistry and for criticizing HR1955, the new "Homegrown Terrorism" bill. He has written an email detailing his experience."

Submission + - Student outed for hate speech in course evaluation ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: A University of Georgia student was recently punished for remarks he made in two separate, supposedly anonymous, course evaluations. The University hired a handwriting expert to determine the identity of the student and subsequently required him to write an essay on how his remarks offended the LGBT community and also required him to undergo sensitivity training. Can a public institution say something is anonymous and then turn around and say its not? The New York Times ethicist thinks they can't.
The Internet

Submission + - Researchers Prove Everybody Loves an Underdog

Active Seti writes: "Everybody loves an underdog: Texans at the Alamo, the Greeks at Thermopylae, Apple Computer in the 1980's and 90's, or Rocky Balboa. Those who are viewed as disadvantaged arouse our sense of fairness and justice — principles that matter to most people. Researchers also found that people tend to believe that underdogs put forth more effort than top-dogs. Although favorable evaluations disappear when underdog status no longer applies, politicians and computers can still get a lot of mileage out of underdog status as when Apple aired it's original 1984 ads — ads that have recently been copied by political campaigns. The original paper shows the methodology (pdf) used to test the premise."

Submission + - 2008 DOE science funding bill wrought with cuts

DoubleBeta writes: "With the release of the FY 2008 omnibus energy funding bill, basic U.S. science is taking a huge hit. The office of science overall received $503.7M less than the administration requested. The U.S. contribution to ITER has been zeroed. High energy physics took a hit of $63.5M, killing both the NOvA project and U.S. R&D efforts on the International Linear Collider (ILC) project. The budget put forth for ILC merely covers what has already been spent for FY 2008. In response, layoffs at major national labs such as SLAC and Fermilab are inevitable. In response, senators Durbin, Obama, and representative Biggert are calling on the administration for a response. The APS has a response, and the AIP has a good analysis of the numbers."

Submission + - Arthur C Clarke's 90th Birthday Wish List 1

Hugh Pickens writes: "British science-fiction author, inventor, and futurist Arthur C Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, celebrates his 90th birthday today and has marked it by releasing a video on YouTube. In the nine-minute message, recorded at his home in Sri Lanka, Clarke makes three wishes: First, he would like evidence of extraterrestrial life. 'I have always believed that we are not alone in the universe,' he says. 'But we are still waiting for ETs to call us — or give us some kind of a sign.' Clarke's second wish concerns global warming: 'I would like to see us kick our addiction to oil and adopt clean energy sources. For more than a decade, I've been monitoring various new energy experiments, but they have yet to produce commercial scale results.' His third wish concerns his home: 'I've been living in Sri Lanka for 50 years and, half that time, I've been a sad witness to the bitter conflict that divides my adopted country. I dearly wish to see lasting peace established in Sri Lanka as soon as possible.'"

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