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


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Submission + - Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) Ges Legit? ( 6

sycodon writes: From TFA

A growing cadre of scientists now suspect that Pons and Fleischmann’s observations were the result not of fusion but of more plausible physical processes. Some are even cautiously optimistic that those processes could be exploited to generate abundant amounts of clean energy. “There’s enough evidence that says we need to look at this,” says Joseph Zawodny, a physicist at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia.

"...if LENRs could be proved and tamed—a very big if—the effect could be transformative. Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist at NASA Langley, wrote in an online article that LENRs could potentially satisfy the world’s energy needs at a quarter the cost of coal. "


Submission + - Economically, tar sands is energy junk. Economics of fossil fuels ( 1

__aaqpaq9254 writes: This interview with Thomas Homer-Dixon punctures holes in several fallacies regarding the economics of tar sands, natural gas, and other fossil fuels. For example: "Bitumen in Canada’s oil sands is, frankly, energy junk. The energy return-on-investment is about 4:1. Compare that with Texas in the 1930s, where the energy return on investment was around 100:1." Much more information on the incredible rate of decline of shale gas wells, etc. Great piece.

Submission + - The Rise of Chemophobia in the News (

eldavojohn writes: American news outlets like The New York Times seem to thrive on chemophobia — consumer fear of the ambiguous concept of 'chemicals.' As a result, Pulitzer-prize winning science writer Deborah Blum has decided to call out New York Times journalist Nicholas Kirstof for his secondary crusade (she notes he is an admirable journalist in other realms) against chemicals. She's quick to point out the absurdity of fearing chemicals like Hydrogen which could be a puzzler considering its integral role played in live-giving water as well as life-destroying hydrogen cyanide. Another example is O2 versus O3. Blum calls upon journalists to be more specific, to avoid the use of vague terms like 'toxin' let alone 'chemical' and instead inform the public with lengthy chemical names like perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) instead of omitting the actual culprit altogether. Kristof has, of course, resorted to calling makers of these specific compounds "Big Chem" and Blum chastises his poorly researched reporting along with chemophobic lingo. Chemists of Slashdot, have you found reporting on "chemicals" to be as poor as Blum alleges or is this no more erroneous than any scare tactic used to move newspapers and garner eyeballs?

Submission + - Billionaire-Backed Space Venture Planetary Resources to be Unveiled April 24 (

zrbyte writes: An audacious new private space exploration company backed by billionaire investors and filmmaker-turned-explorer James Cameron will unveil its master plan "to help ensure humanity's prosperity" on Tuesday, April 24.

While details of the company, called Planetary Resources, Inc., and its mission are still under wraps, officials with the enterprise did state that "the company will overlay two critical sectors — space exploration and natural resources — to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP," according to media alert sent to reporters today (April 18).


Submission + - DNA nanorobot halts growth of cancer cells (

ananyo writes: DNA origami, a technique for making structures from DNA, has been used to build devices that can seek out and potentially destroy cancer cells ( The nanorobots use a similar system to cells in the immune system to engage with receptors on the outside of cells. The barrel-shaped devices, each about 35 nanometres in diameter, contain 12 sites on the inside for attaching payload molecules and two positions on the outside for attaching aptamers, short nucleotide strands with special sequences for recognizing molecules on the target cell (abstract The aptamers act as clasps: once both have found their target, they spring open the device to release the payload. The researchers tested six combinations of aptamer locks, each of which were designed to target different types of cancer cells in culture. Those designed to hit a leukaemia cell could pick that cell out of a mixture of cell types then release their payload — in this case, an antibody — to stop the cells from growing. The researchers designed the structure of the nanorobots using open-source software, called Cadnano.

Submission + - Bitcoin used for real to trade in narcotics (

An anonymous reader writes: A story on Aljazeera tells how bitcoin is used to pay for cocaine, marijuana and other drugs at a website called `dark web. Who said bitcoin is not used in the real world?

Submission + - Virus used boost nano-solar cell efficiency (

fergus07 writes: Last year, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced that they had successfully used carbon nanotubes for "funneling" and concentrating electrons in photovoltaic cells – promising smaller solar cells producing as much or more electricity than conventional cells. Now the conversion efficiency of these cells has been significantly boosted by using a virus to better align the nanotubes.

Submission + - 20 Myths about Yuri Gagarin's Mission

An anonymous reader writes: 50 years ago today, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to enter orbit. That's a fact. Here are some things that are not facts: He was picked for the mission due to his peasant origins; his capsule contained a self-destruct button; he was later assassinated; and the whole damn mission was a hoax.
GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - GNU GPL DMCA Violation? - Enchanted Keyfinder ( 4

sag47 writes: Currently Enchanted Keyfinder, which is a fork of Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder, is under attack with a "DMCA counternotification".

On February 8th, 2011 an email was received stating:

After taking down Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder from sourceforge few months ago it is now again available:

As owner of MJB KeyFinder project I request removal of this project from sourceforge, according to GPL it is owner's choice to decide whether to leave it open-source or not."

End of email.

I am the guy who forked the project. I downloaded the Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder sources when they were licensed under GNU GPL (I still have them) before the project was sold and close-sourced. I created a fork and re-released a new project also based on the GNU GPL v3 license.

I'd like everyone's opinion on this: Am I still within my right as a FOSS developer? I mean LibreOffice forked from Open Office and Icinga forked from Nagios. I need help spreading the word about this so please help me.

How is this a DMCA violation?

Sam Gleske


Submission + - Arkansas gets Fracked (

Quantus347 writes: The New York Times (2/6, A18, Robertson) examines the "phenomenon that has come to be called the Guy earthquake swarm," in the "town of 563 about an hour north of Little Rock." People there "have had to learn to live with earthquakes," although the exact cause not clear, but some point to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that began after "gas companies arrived, part of a sort of rush in Arkansas to drill for gas in a geological formation called the Fayetteville shale." The Times says seismic events in the area predate the gas companies' activity, but "since the early fall, there have been thousands, none of them very large." Residents "described a boom followed by a quick, alarming shift, a sensation one man compared to watching the camera dive off a cliff in an Imax movie. Some say they have felt dozens, others only four or five, and still others say they have only heard them." The Times points out that "researchers with the Arkansas Geological Survey say that while there is no discernible link between earthquakes and gas production, there is 'strong temporal and spatial' evidence for a relationship between these quakes and the injection wells."

And here I though California was the place that was so "Fracked" it was going to destroy itself in an earthquake.


Submission + - Research Grows Nanolasers on Chips (

eldavojohn writes: We've all wanted processors with frickin' lasers on them so scientists at UC Berkeley devised a way to 'grow' the nanolasers that could lead to on-chip photonics compatible with CMOS technology used to make current integrated circuits. Particularly exciting about this research is that it integrates the fabrication of III-V devices into our existing infrastructures. From the article, 'Once the nanopillar was made, the researchers showed that it could generate near infrared laser light – a wavelength of about 950 nanometers – at room temperature. The hexagonal geometry dictated by the crystal structure of the nanopillars creates a new, efficient, light-trapping optical cavity. Light circulates up and down the structure in a helical fashion and amplifies via this optical feedback mechanism.' The principal investigator of the research said it has the 'potential to catalyze an optoelectronics revolution in computing, communications, displays and optical signal processing.' This research was funded by DARPA and the DoD.
Desktops (Apple)

Submission + - Portal 2 PS3 comes with Steam & PC/Mac version (

UgLyPuNk writes: What he’s referring to is the debut of Steam functioning on any next generation console. The new services will be bundled up with the PS3 version of Portal 2, including persistent cloud-based storage of PS3 saved games, as well as cross-platform play and chat (PC/Mac vs. PS3) for multiplayer games and if that wasn’t enough, if you buy Portal 2 for the PS3, you’ll unlock a Steam Play copy of the game for PC and Mac, just by linking your PSN and Steam accounts.

Submission + - Cloning experts to bring mammoth back to life (

Tomahawk writes: The woolly mammoth, extinct for thousands of years, could be brought back to life in four years through cloning.

Previous efforts in the 1990s to recover the crucial part of cells from mammoths found in the Siberian permafrost failed because they were badly damaged by the extreme cold. But a new technique has overcome that hurdle.

Akira Iritani, a professor at Japan's Kyoto University, is resuming his campaign to resurrect the species that died out 5,000 years ago.

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