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Submission + - The Decay of the Atom Processor (

Phopojijo writes: "It is easy to pass judgment on the netbook form factor but the problem was always its processing ability — the form factor just inherited the blame by association. Low-voltage adaptations of mainstream architectures will soon collide against ARM and leave low-power x86 architectures with no legitimate room to exist: “Intel is likely to continue on with Atom in computers, but only because it will be easy to offer the fruits of its smartphone endeavors in desktop and laptop PCs. There’s no particular reason for Intel to kill it but – in regards to laptops and desktops – there’s no reason for Intel to make it better.”"

Submission + - Pigeons may 'hear' magnetic fields (

ananyo writes: Individual neurons in birds' brains can relay crucial information about Earth’s magnetic field, possibly providing the animals with an ‘internal GPS’.
Pigeons’ remarkable navigational feats have long been pegged to the birds’ ability to sense magnetic fields, but pinning down how they do so has frustrated scientists for years. Work published in Science (abstract) shows that individual cells seem to encode information on a magnetic field’s direction, intensity and polarity. The work also suggests that these signals come from a part of the inner ear called the lagena, further complicating matters for researchers in the field.
The Science paper comes just days after a report in Nature (abstract) revealed that cells in pigeons' upper beaks, previously thought to be magnetoreceptors, are actually immune cells called macrophages.


Submission + - Asteroid mining company? (

DrHeasley writes: "Virtually all of the gold, platinum and other precious metals present in the earth's crust are the results of meteor impacts. According to a press release today, Ross Perot, Google Founders Larry Paige and Eric Schmidt and “visionary” Peter H. Diamandis are forming a new company to explore and harvest asteroid resources."
Open Source

Submission + - Scientists Can Recreate Brain 'Flow' State in Lab; You too, soon ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: A small software startup called “GoFlow”, a company that is making a DIY opensource kit for tDCS. tDCS, in case you are wondering, stands for “transcranial Direct Current Stimulation".
Tennis players report it, expert video game players know it well. It is a state in which you are utterly focused on the task, one in which you learn faster and perform better. All with the flip of a switch.

GoFlow is attempting to build a $99.00 device that can be comfortably worn while doing whatever it is you do...


Submission + - 'Huge' water resource exists under Africa ( 2

gambit3 writes: Scientists say the notoriously dry continent of Africa is sitting on a vast reservoir of groundwater. They argue that the total volume of water in aquifers underground is 100 times the amount found on the surface.
Across Africa more than 300 million people are said not to have access to safe drinking water.
Freshwater rivers and lakes are subject to seasonal floods and droughts that can limit their availability for people and for agriculture. At present only 5% of arable land is irrigated.


Submission + - Whistleblower: NSA has all of your email (

mspohr writes: From DemocracyNow!
National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney reveals he believes domestic surveillance has become more expansive under President Obama than President George W. Bush. He estimates the NSA has assembled 20 trillion "transactions" — phone calls, emails and other forms of data — from Americans. This likely includes copies of almost all of the emails sent and received from most people living in the United States. Binney talks about Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and challenges NSA Director Keith Alexander’s assertion that the NSA is not intercepting information about U.S. citizens.

First Person Shooters (Games)

Unreal Tournament 3 "Titan Pack" Expansion Coming In March 67

An anonymous reader writes with news that Unreal Tournament 3 will be getting a free expansion called Titan Pack on March 5th. It will contain a variety of new maps, and two new game modes: Greed and Betrayal. There will also be new weapons, deployables, and achievements. IGN's preview of the expansion mentions a few more improvements, such as an improved voting system and client-side demo recording for the PC version. Quoting: "... the most obvious addition to the series is the new Titan. As you play through the game, killing enemies, completing goals and generally avoiding damage, you'll build up your Titan meter. Once it fills up, you can instantly mutate into a 15' tall Titan. The Titan has massive health, a decent shield belt and can fire homing rockets. Oh, and he can also pound the ground to knock back any enemies that get too close. In short, the Titan is a real game changer."

Experts Say To Switch Browsers In Light of IE Vulnerability 455

It appears that the exploit in IE briefly mentioned a few days ago is causing a serious reaction: SteveAU writes "Microsoft has begun flooding media outlets with information advising users to switch to an alternate browser while a serious security flaw is being patched. The flaw, which affects all versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer, is manifested via malware and has infected over 6,000 sites thus far. Microsoft states: 'The vulnerability exists as an invalid pointer reference in the data-binding function of Internet Explorer. When data binding is enabled (which is the default state), it is possible under certain conditions for an object to be released without updating the array length, leaving the potential to access the deleted object's memory space. This can cause Internet Explorer to exit unexpectedly, in a state that is exploitable.'" According to the BBC report, though, Microsoft itself is only asking that users be "vigilant while it investigated and prepared an emergency patch"; it's outside experts who say to dump IE (at least for now).

Update: 12/16 21:11 GMT by KD : Microsoft will issue an emergency critical update for IE tomorrow.
Classic Games (Games)

Adventure Game Interfaces and Puzzle Theory 149

MarkN writes "It seems like whenever broad topics of game design are discussed on Slashdot, a few people bring up examples of Adventure Games, possibly owing to the age and interests of our members. I'd be interested to hear the community's thoughts on a piece I wrote on Adventure Games, talking about the evolution they underwent in terms of interfaces, and how the choice of interface affects some aspects of the puzzles and design. My basic premise is that an Adventure Game is an exercise in abstract puzzle solving — you could represent the same game with a parser or a point and click interface and still have the same underlying puzzle structure, and required player actions. What the interface does affect is how the player specifies those actions. Point and click games typically have a bare handful of verbs compared to parser games, where the player is forced to describe the desired interaction much more precisely in a way that doesn't lend itself to brute force fiddling. It's a point Yahtzee has made in the past; he went so far as to design a modern graphic adventure game with a parser input to demonstrate its potential." Read on for the rest of MarkN's comments.

In Japan, a Billboard That Watches You 133

An anonymous reader writes "At a Tokyo railway station above a flat-panel display hawking DVDs and books sits a small camera hooked up to some image processing software. When trials begin in January the camera will scan travelers to see how many of them are taking note of the panel, in part of a technology test being run by NTT Communications. It doesn't seek to identify individuals, but it will attempt to figure out how many of the people standing in front of an advertisement are actually looking at it. A second camera, which wasn't fitted at the station but will be when tests begin next month, will take care of estimating how many people are in front of the ad, whether they are looking at it or not."

Submission + - A New Theory of Everything?

goatherder writes: The Telegraph is running a story about a new Unified Theory of Physics. Garrett Lisi has presented a paper called "An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything" which unifies the Standard Model with gravity — without using string theory. The trick was to use E8 geometry which you may remember from an earlier Slashdot article. Lisi's theory predicts 20 new particles which he hopes might turn up in the Large Hadron Collider.

Submission + - Surfer stuns physicists with theory of everything ( 1

j823777 writes: GARRETT LISI is an unlikely individual to be staking a claim for a theory of everything. He has no university affiliation and spends most of the year surfing in Hawaii. In winter, he heads to the mountains near Lake Tahoe, California, to teach snowboarding. Until recently, physics was not much more than a hobby.

That hasn't stopped some leading physicists sitting up and taking notice after Lisi made his theory public on the physics pre-print archive this week ( By analysing the most elegant and intricate pattern known to mathematics, Lisi has uncovered a relationship underlying all the universe's particles and forces, including gravity — or so he hopes. Lee Smolin at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, describes Lisi's work as "fabulous". "It is one of the most compelling unification models I've seen in many, many years," he says.

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