Slashdot

Calculations by Tetsuya Hara and his colleagues at Kyoto Sangyo University in Japan show that a surprisingly large amount of life-bearing material ended up not on the Moon and Mars, as might be expected, but the Jovian moon Europa and the Saturnian moon Enceladus also received tons of life-bearing rock from earth. Even more amazingly, calculations suggest that most Earth ejecta ended up in interstellar space and some has probably already arrived at Earth-like exoplanets orbiting other stars. Hara estimates that about a thousand Earth-rocks from this event would have made the trip to Gliese 581, a red dwarf some 20 light years away that is thought to have a super-Earth orbiting at the edge of the habitable zone,

Calculations by Tetsuya Hara and his colleagues at Kyoto Sangyo University in Japan show that a surprisingly large amount of life-bearing material ended up not on the Moon and Mars, as might be expected, but the Jovian moon Europa and the Saturnian moon Enceladus also received tons of life-bearing rock from earth. Even more amazingly, calculations suggest that most Earth ejecta ended up in interstellar space and some has probably already arrived at Earth-like exoplanets orbiting other stars. Hara estimates that about a thousand Earth-rocks from this event would have made the trip to Gliese 581, a red dwarf some 20 light years away that is thought to have a super-Earth orbiting at the edge of the habitable zone,
Scientists Study Trajectories of Life-Bearing Earth Meteorites - Slashdot

AI Takes On Pac-Man

AI takes on Pac-Man - well, in fact it plays both sides. An annual competition challenges participants to write Java programs to control Pac-Man or the ghosts. It might not be chess, but it pits machine against machine, with algorithms going head-to-head as the AI ghosts try and eat AI Pac-Man.”

From AI Takes On Pac-Man

Reminds me of core wars. But the use of pac man is really nice.

Draft Horses Used To Lay Fiber-Optic Cable

"In Vermont, FairPoint Communications has enlisted draft horses to help lay fiber-optic cable in remote locations. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin has pledged to bring bring broadband to every last mile by 2013, including many remote areas that have been neglected in the past. Private companies have been unwilling to invest in the expensive infrastructure needed to reach these areas. However, Vermont’s congressional delegation helped to secure $410 million in federal money earmarked for broadband development and Vermont has partnered with private companies, like FairPoint, to bring high-speed Internet access to all Vermonters.


From Slashdot


Amazing.

VB6 to rise from dead as Open Source to eat brains of new generation of programmers

“Microsoft told a group of MVPs today at Tech-Ed that it plans to take Visual Basic 6 open source and will release the source code on CodePlex. A source at the event said that Microsoft is planning to release only the VB6 language on codeplex - not Visual Studio or related tools.”

From VB6 to rise from dead as Open Source to eat brains of new generation of programmers


That should have been the headline. VB is awful. Basic is a relic of the 70s and has no place as a programming language, not even as an introductory language.

80% Improvement In Solar Cell Efficiency

An anonymous reader writes “Chemistry researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory say they’ve improved the efficiency of typical solar cells by a whopping 80% by creating a 3-D nanocone-based solar cell platform. The technology tackles the problem of poor transport of charges generated by solar photons. These charges - ‘negative electrons and positive holes’ - typically become trapped by defects in bulk materials and degrade performance. ‘We designed the three-dimensional structure to provide an intrinsic electric field distribution that promotes efficient charge transport and high efficiency in converting energy from sunlight into electricity.’ Bottom line, they say, is they’ve boosted the light-to-power conversion efficiency of photovoltaics by 80 percent.”

From Slashdot

Last Typewriter Factory in the World Shuts Its Doors

Indian typewriter manufacturer Godrej and Boyce stopped production today after 60 years. The company’s general manager, Milind Dukle, says, “We are not getting many orders now. From the early 2000s onwards, computers started dominating. All the manufacturers of office typewriters stopped production, except us.”


From Last Typewriter Factory in the World Shuts Its Doors


Wow, there was still a typewriter factory?

Blade Runner Sequels and Prequels Happening

"The iconic science fiction film Blade Runner, based on Philip K. Dick’s book and directed by Ridley Scott, will be followed up with sequels and prequels soon. Alcon Entertainment is in final discussions to secure film, TV and franchise rights. They are in the early stages of sorting out how to proceed and were not sure if Ridley Scott would be involved.”


From Slashdot

Anyone think this is a good idea? Or that the movies won’t be crap? Cough cough matrix trilogy cough cough Godfather part 3 cough cough.

Scientists Invent World's First Anti-Laser

"Two scientists at Yale University have built the laser’s first doppelganger: the anti-laser. While a conventional laser emits a constant beam of light in one direction, the anti-laser simply does the opposite. It takes that same steady light stream and interacts with it in such a way that it absorbs and cancels out the light. And scientists hope the strange creation could help the fight against cancer. A. Douglas Stone, one of the two researchers behind the project, said he came up with the idea for a "nega-laser" when working with equations for a random laser with his partner in crime, Hui Cao. “I figured, if we just somehow illuminated the cavity, and replaced the gain medium with something that tends to absorb light, we could essentially reverse the process,” Stone said. Oh, that makes sense.”

From Scientists Invent World’s First Anti-Laser - Slashdot

I don’t even think this is a common sci-fi technology.

Sharks Seen Swimming Down Australian Streets

As if the flood waters weren’t bad enough for the people of Queensland, it now appears that there are sharks swimming in the streets. Two bull sharks were spotted swimming past a McDonald's in the city of Goodna, Butcher Steve Bateman saw another making its way past his shop on Williams street. Ipswich councillor for the Goodna region Paul Tully said: “It would have swam several kilometres in from the river, across Evan Marginson Park and the motorway. It's definitely a first for Goodna, to have a shark in the main street.”


From Sharks Seen Swimming Down Australian Streets

Now stop complaining about the snow.

Does Hybrid Clone Lizard taste like Chicken?

A lizard long served on the menu in the Mekong Delta has recently caught the attention of scientists when it was noted that all animals in the species appeared identical as well as female. The species appears to be a hybrid of two other species (like a mule or liger). But the curious thing is that this hybrid isn’t sterile - it reproduces asexually.


From Does Hybrid Clone Lizard taste like Chicken?


Interesting. But does it taste like cloned chicken?

Oracle To Monetize Java VM

jtotheh writes “According to the Register, Oracle is going to make two tiers of Java Virtual Machine - a free one and a premium paid one. ‘Adam Messinger, Oracle vice president of development, told QCon that Oracle plans to offer a “premium” edition of the JDK in addition to the open-source JDK. Both, it seems, will be based on a converged JRockit VM and the Hotspot JVM from Sun Microsystems. The converged JVM will be released under the OpenJDK project. … Messinger didn’t explain how the premium JVM would differ to the free version, but the premium edition will likely see performance tuning and tie-ins to Oracle’s middleware.’”


From Oracle To Monetize Java VM

Everyone was expecting this.

Texas Supreme Court Cites Mr. Spock

An anonymous reader writes “We always knew that Spock was wise and would probably make a pretty good judge, so perhaps it’s a good thing to see the Texas Supreme Court citing Spock in a recent ruling, noting his wisdom in stating that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”“
Read more of this story at Slashdot.

From Texas Supreme Court Cites Mr. Spock


Wow, and with a straight face no less

Slashdot on The Science of Truthiness

"Researchers at Indiana University have just launched Truthy.indiana.edu, which they humbly declare ‘a sophisticated new Twitter-based research tool that combines data mining, social network analysis and crowdsourcing to uncover deceptive tactics and misinformation leading up to the Nov. 2 elections.’ According to their FAQ, they define ‘truthy’ thus: ‘A truthy meme relies on deceptive tactics to represent misinformation as fact. The Truthy system uses Truthy to refer to activities such as political smear campaigns, astroturfing, and other social pollution.”


From Slashdot Science Story | The Science of Truthiness


Via Slashdot. Finally someone is getting to the bottom of Truthiness.

Maya Miscalculation

boombaard writes “News is spreading quickly here that scientists writing in a popular science periodical (Dutch) have debunked the 2012 date (google translation linked) featuring so prominently in doomsday predictions/speculation across the web. On 2012-12-21, the sun will appear where you would normally be able to see the ‘galactic equator’ of the Milky Way; an occurrence deemed special because it happens ‘only’ once every 25.800 years, on the winter solstice. However, even if you ignore the fact that there is no actual galactic equator, just an observed one, and that the visual effect is pretty much the same for an entire decade surrounding that date, there are major problems with the way the Maya Calendar is being read by doomsday prophets.” I wonder what Amazon’s return policy on a box full of 3 doomsday wolves shirts is?
From Slashdot More snark and math geeking here

Google Mows With Goats

“Google’s Mountain View headquarters has fields that need to be kept clear of fire hazards. This year instead of mowing them, they took a low-carbon approach: they hired a herd of goats to eat the grass for a week. ‘It costs us about the same as mowing, and goats are a lot cuter to watch than lawn mowers,’ wrote Dan Hoffman.”
From Slashdot | Google Mows With Goats

I’m going to start a Rent a Panda service where you can rent a giant panda to come to your home and eat any bamboo you have growing in your yard. I bet people will plant bamboo just to be able to rent a panda to eat it.

Journalist Test Drives The Pain Ray Gun

The Silent Guardian is essentially (even though the creators prefer you not refer to it as such) a ray gun, emitting a focused beam of radiation similar to your microwave tuned to a specific frequency to stimulate human nerve endings.
From Slashdot | Journalist Test Drives The Pain Ray Gun

Ray gun? When the police started using stun guns, it was supposed to lower the number of shootings. Regardless of if that’s true; it lead to a lot of people being stunned or tazered. A ray gun will eventually be in the hands of the police. And I imagine that this will be used to zap crowds of protesters.

octosquid

A unique creature that’s been dubbed an ‘octosquid’ with eight arms and a squid-like mantle, was discovered off Hawaii. The creature, of a previously unknown species, was trapped in the net covering a 3,000 foot-deep intake tube for the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority. From the article: ‘The octosquid was pulled to the surface, along with three rattail fish and half a dozen satellite jellyfish, and stayed alive for three days. According to War, the lab usually checks its filters once a month, but this time, it put a plankton net in one of the filters and checked it two weeks later.
Slashdot | Half-Squid, Half-Octopus Discovered Off of Hawaii

There has been a lack of odd Cephalopod news this year. This more than makes up for it.

SCO Bankruptcy "Imminent, Inevitable"

After I saw this on slashdot, I was really happy. Slashdot | SCO Bankruptcy “Imminent, Inevitable”

Not sure how many have had the unfortunate experience in having to deal with SCO, but in the Pre-Linux era I worked with SCO Unix and SCO Xenix. The software was fine. The company was run by people who had nothing but contempt and hostility for their customers. They would gladly sell you and OS and a RDBMS server and neglect to mention that the you would need to install TCP/IP as an add in before the RDBMS would work.

At the time I was doing C/C++ programming of telco systems that used Dialogic hardware. A point release upgrade to fix a minor bug also introduced a serious bug in the Dailogic driver. SCO refused to admit this fact. Dailogic support had to start warning customers not to install that patch. Quietly. They didn’t want to anger the goblins that ran SCO. We wasted half a year sorting out the mess. I used to joke about burning them to the ground and salting the earth so nothing could grow there again.

Once Linux was good enough (and even when it wasn’t) SCO started to hemorrhage customers. People were willing to put up with buggy software and informal support options just to avoid dealing with SCO. So good bye and good riddance.

Republican Aide Tries to Hire Hackers

A sample from the conversation: ‘Jericho: First, let’s be clear. You are soliciting me to break the law and hack into a computer across state lines. That is a federal offense and multiple felonies. Obviously I can’t trust anyone and everyone that mails such a request, you might be an FBI agent, right? So, I need three things to make this happen: 1. A picture of a squirrel or pigeon on your campus. One close-up, one with background that shows buildings, a sign, or something to indicate you are standing on the campus. 2. The information I mentioned so I can find the records once I get into the database. 3. Some idea of what I get for all my trouble.
From Slashdot

From the everything I know about computers I learned by watching the Matrix department. By the way, if you’re going to hire someone to commit a crime in order to boost your GPA at Texas Christian University, I’m guessing that there is really simple reason why your grades weren’t that high to begin with.

the departure of the hyper-enthusiasts

The Java hyper-enthusiasts have left the building, leaving a significant contingent of Java programmers behind, blinking in the bright lights without the constant drumbeat of boosterism.
From The departure of the hyper-enthusiasts

Not sure why the departure of the self tittled cool kids makes any difference for the legions of Java programmers that have keep in mind such things as deadlines, support and user expectations when they choose what tools to use. As it is, Java’s tool support keeps getting better. Sure, Ruby is cool. And there are some really nice Ruby tools out there. But it isn’t better enough to make switching worth it.