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Gecko Feet Inspire Hand-Held Spider-Man Paddles

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the wall-crawler dept.

The Military 64

ygslash (893445) writes DARPA is developing hand-held paddles that can be used to scale vertical walls. The adhesion technology employed in the paddles is based on Van der Waals force, inspired by the feet of certain species of geckos known for their excellent climbing ability. In a recent test, a man weighing almost 100 kg (220 lbs) and carrying a heavy pack that added about 23 kg (50 lbs) of additional weight, was able to scale a vertical glass wall almost 8 m (25 ft) high using the paddles. However, the paddles are reported to be 'not battlefield-ready yet.'

Human Blood Substitute Could Help Meet Donor Blood Shortfall

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the blood-2.0 dept.

Medicine 172

Zothecula (1870348) writes According to the World Health Organization, over 107 million blood donations are collected around the globe every year, most of which goes on to help save lives. However, while the need for blood is global, much of that which is donated is not accessible to many who need it, such as those in developing countries. And of the blood donated in industrialized countries, the amount often falls short of requirements. To help address this imbalance, scientists at the University of Essex are developing an artificial blood substitute. It would be able to be stored at room temperatures for up to two years, which would allow it to be distributed worldwide without the need for refrigeration and make it immediately accessible at the site of natural disasters.

Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the take-me-to-your-leader dept.

Space 686

First time accepted submitter sayhem (1842674) writes Various explanations for why we don't see aliens have been proposed—perhaps interstellar travel is impossible or maybe civilizations are always self-destructive. But with every new discovery of a potentially habitable planet, the Fermi Paradox becomes increasingly mysterious. There could be hundreds of millions of potentially habitable worlds in the Milky Way alone. This impression is only reinforced by the recent discovery of a "Mega-Earth," a rocky planet 17 times more massive than the Earth but with only a thin atmosphere. Previously, it was thought that worlds this large would hold onto an atmosphere so thick that their surfaces would experience uninhabitable temperatures and pressures. But if this isn't true, there is a whole new category of potentially habitable real estate in the cosmos.

TweetDeck Hacked

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the have-a-heart dept.

Security 19

redletterdave (2493036) writes TweetDeck, Twitter's tool for real-time tracking and engagement of posts, was found to be vulnerable to cross-site scripting (XSS), a type of computer vulnerability commonly found in web applications that allows hackers to inject script into webpages to access user accounts and important security information. As a result of the hack, a tweet with an emoticon heart is being shared more than 38,000 times — automatically.

Behind the Great Firewall: What It's Really Like To Log On From China

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the crack-in-the-wall dept.

Censorship 90

alphadogg (971356) writes China makes headlines every other week for its censorship of the Internet, but few people outside the country know what it's like to live with those access controls, or how to get around them. This IDG News Service writer has lived in China for close to six years and censorship has been a near constant, lurking in the background ready to "harmonize" the Web and throw a wrench in his online viewing. It's been especially evident this month. Google's services, which don't follow the strict censorship rules, are currently blocked. How long that will last is unknown, but it coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests earlier this month — an event the Chinese government wants no one to remember.

A Scientist Is Growing Asparagus In Meteorites To Prepare Us For Space Farming

Soulskill posted about a month and a half ago | from the maybe-you-could-grow-some-bacon-while-you're-at-it dept.

Space 59

Jason Koebler writes: For those of us without a green thumb, growing even the most hardy plants in perfect conditions can seem impossible. How about trying to grow plants on a meteorite? Well, at least one scientist is doing it, with moderate levels of success. "People have been talking about terraforming, but what I'm trying to do is give some concrete evidence that it's possible to do this, that it's possible to grow in extraterrestrial materials," Michael Mautner, one of the world's only "astroecologists" said. "What I've found is that a range of microorganisms—bacteria, fungi, and even asparagus and potato plants—can survive with the nutrients that are in extraterrestrial materials."

Physical Media: Down, But Maybe Not Out

Soulskill posted about a month and a half ago | from the my-collection-of-AOL-CDs-will-appreciate-nicely dept.

DRM 116

jfruh writes: "For many tech-savvy folks, it may come as surprise that physical media like DVD and Blu-Ray still generate more movie revenue than streaming services. But PriceWaterhouse Coopers is predicting that the the lines will cross in 2017 as physical media sales and rentals decline; already, fully half of those revenues come from supermarket Redbox kiosks. Still, there are signs that physical media won't vanish entirely, including the obsessive needs of collectors and the music industry's increasing suspicions of digital sales."

A Quadcopter Development Platform (Video)

Roblimo posted about a month and a half ago | from the up-up-and-away-in-my-beautiful-quadcopter dept.

Technology 30

Not everybody at a Maker Fair (or even Faire) is there to get kickstarted or to make a billion of whatever it is they're displaying. Ned Danyliw is one of the non-kickstarter people: an electrical engineering student displaying a quadcopter development platform he hopes can bring the cost of a quadcopter prototype down to $50 or so, or about the same price as a toy quadcopter. You can follow Ned's work step by step and see all the code at his blog, Burnt Transistors. (Alternate Video Link)

Bloomberg Testing Productivity App For Oculus Rift

Soulskill posted about a month and a half ago | from the pay-your-bills-with-virtual-reality dept.

Displays 38

Nerval's Lobster writes: So far, the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset has found its most widespread use in gaming. But as the device rises in prominence, more companies are testing its capabilities as a work tool. Bloomberg is one of those companies, having designed software that allows Oculus-equipped traders and financial pros to view dozens of virtual "screens," each one packed with data. The platform is clearly aimed at those Masters of the Universe who stack their real-world desks with four, six or eight screens—the better to take the pulse of the markets. Think of it as a traditional Bloomberg terminal on steroids. "This is a mockup of how virtual reality can be applied in the workplace," Nick Peck, a Bloomberg employee responsible for creating the software, told Quartz. "I really wanted to explore how virtual reality could solve one of the most basic problems we hear about: limited screen real estate." A virtual-reality Bloomberg terminal isn't the only practical application proposed by Oculus Rift users: earlier this year, the Norwegian Armed Services began testing whether the hardware could be used to drive tanks, on the supposition that off-the-shelf cameras and a headset built for virtual gaming could prove cheaper than custom-built military equipment.

Amazon Dispute Now Making Movies Harder To Order

Soulskill posted about a month and a half ago | from the one-retailer-to-rule-them-all dept.

Businesses 210

trazom28 writes: Hachette books aren't the only products that are now harder to order on Amazon — the online retailer is going after movies, too. Amazon has turned off the preorder function for DVDs of prominent Warner Bros. films as it seeks to raise pressure on the company during negotiations. The Lego Movie, for example, is listed as "currently unavailable" on Amazon. Set for release in the home video marketplace on June 17, there is no option to place a preorder."

Ellipto: a DIY Fitness Tracker and Dashboard In 70 Lines

Soulskill posted about a month and a half ago | from the health-by-hacking dept.

Hardware Hacking 32

New submitter InternetOfJim writes: "This is one of the most fun weekend projects I've done in a while — a fitness tracker for my elliptical trainer. But the real agenda was to figure out how lazy I could be via web services (Keen IO and Brace IO) and development platforms (Electric Imp). Quite lazy, as it turns out. I wound up with a working device and a nice realtime dashboard with no soldering, no backend to manage, and surprisingly little original code needed beyond the sensing and power conserving parts of the firmware and a little javascript to customize the dashboard."

New Permission System Could Make Android Much Less Secure

Soulskill posted about a month and a half ago | from the this-app-is-requesting-permission-to-shock-you-with-a-tazer dept.

Android 249

capedgirardeau writes: An update to the Google Play store now groups app permissions into collections of related permissions, making them much less fine grained and potentially misleading for users. For example, the SMS permissions group would allow an app access to both reading and sending SMS messages. The problem is that once an app has access to the group of permissions, it can make use of any of the allowed actions at any time without ever informing the user. As Google explains: "It's a good idea to review permissions groups before downloading an app. Once you've allowed an app to access a permissions group, the app may use any of the individual permissions that are part of that group. You won't need to manually approve individual permissions updates that belong to a permissions group you've already accepted."

HP Unveils 'The Machine,' a New Computer Architecture

Soulskill posted about a month and a half ago | from the generic-names-are-all-the-rage dept.

HP 257

pacopico writes: HP Labs is trying to make a comeback. According to Businessweek, HP is building something called The Machine. It's a type of computer architecture that will use memristors for memory and silicon photonics for interconnects. Their plan is to ship within the next few years. As for The Machine's software, HP plans to build a new operating system to run on the novel hardware. The new computer is meant to solve a coming crisis due to limitations around DRAM and Flash. About three-quarters of HP Labs personnel are working on this project.

House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

Unknown Lamer posted about a month and a half ago | from the first-time-for-everything dept.

United States 932

An anonymous reader writes "For the first time in United States political history, the House Majority Leader has been defeated in his primary election. Long time Republican congressman and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated by 10 percentage points in the Virginia primary by Republican Tea Party challenger Dave Brat. This shocking defeat is likely to upset the political balance of power in the United States for years to come."

Interviews: Ask Andrew "bunnie" Huang About Hardware and Hacking

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.

Hardware Hacking 58

samzenpus (5) writes Andrew "bunnie" Huang holds a Ph.D in electrical engineering from MIT and is one of the most famous hardware and software hackers in the world. He is a contributing writer for MAKE magazine, and has worked on a number of projects ranging from autonomous robotic submarines to peel-and-stick electronics. We recently covered one of his latest projects, an open source hardware laptop called Novena which features entirely NDA-free components. Bunnie has agreed to take a break from his work and hack away at any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.

Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin

Unknown Lamer posted about a month and a half ago | from the libertarian-fantasies dept.

EU 507

Graculus (3653645) writes with news that, as threatened, cab drivers in several European cities mounted a protest against Uber today. From the article: "Uber Technologies Inc., the car-sharing service that's rankling cabbies across the U.S., is fighting its biggest protest yet from European drivers who say the smartphone application threatens their livelihoods. Traffic snarled in parts of Madrid and Paris today, with a total of more than 30,000 taxi and limo drivers from London to Berlin blocking tourist centers and shopping districts. They are asking regulators to apply tougher rules on San Francisco-based Uber, whose software allows customers to order a ride from drivers who don't need licenses that can cost 200,000 euros ($270,000) apiece." The Guardian covered the London protest, which ended peacefully 3 p.m..

Project Un1c0rn Wants To Be the Google For Lazy Security Flaws

Unknown Lamer posted about a month and a half ago | from the always-blame-wordpress dept.

Security 43

Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Following broad security scares like that caused by the Heartbleed bug, it can be frustratingly difficult to find out if a site you use often still has gaping flaws. But a little known community of software developers is trying to change that, by creating a searchable, public index of websites with known security issues. Think of Project Un1c0rn as a Google for site security. Launched on May 15th, the site's creators say that so far it has indexed 59,000 websites and counting. The goal, according to its founders, is to document open leaks caused by the Heartbleed bug, as well as 'access to users' databases' in Mongo DB and MySQL. According to the developers, those three types of vulnerabilities are most widespread because they rely on commonly used tools. For example, Mongo databases are used by popular sites like LinkedIn, Expedia, and SourceForge, while MySQL powers applications such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, and are even used by Twitter, Google and Facebook."

Latin America Exhausts IPv4 Addresses

Unknown Lamer posted about a month and a half ago | from the bofh-excuse-#666-internet-ran-out-of-addresses dept.

The Internet 197

An anonymous reader writes "LACNIC, the regional Internet registry for Latin America and the Caribbean, considers its IPv4 address pool exhausted, because it is down to less than a quarter of an /8, roughly 4 million IPv4 addresses which are reserved for facilitating transitioning mechanisms. Half of those addresses will be assigned on a first come, first served basis, but no more than 1024 addresses per organization every 6 six months. Allocations from the last 2 million addresses will be a maximum of 1024 addresses total per organization. To maintain connectivity, it is now indispensable to make the switch to IPv6. LACNIC's CEO expressed his concern that many operators and companies still haven't taken the steps needed to duly address this circumstance. The RIRs for Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America have all imposed similar limitations on IPv4 assignments when they also crossed their local exhaustion thresholds. As of now, only AfriNIC is not in address exhaustion mode." Joining North America, and Europe/the Middle East/Central Asia.

Killing Zombies In VR With the Latest Version of Project Holodeck At E3 2014

Unknown Lamer posted about a month and a half ago | from the why-bother-with-the-real-world dept.

Displays 23

muterobert (2927951) writes with an update on the full immersion VR system from Project Holodeck (now renamed Survios). The system combines an Oculus DK2 with external sensors to make a fully immersive 8x'8' space "Ben Lang from Road to VR goes hands on and heads in with virtual reality technology company Survios' newest version of untethered VR system 'Prime 3'. He moves around the virtual space, holding and reloading weapons as you would in real life. 'At one point while playing, I was wielding the shotgun with two hands, with the table of weapons was on my right side. Several zombies were approaching and I needed a bit more fire power. I dropped the shotgun, reached over with my right hand to grab the tommy gun off the table, then virtually tossed it from my right hand to my left hand (because I'm a lefty), then pulled my pistol out of the holster with my right hand and continued to shoot both weapons.'" The article has a video, and it almost makes me think it's what being in the metaverse would be like.

Civilization V Officially Available On Linux For SteamOS

Unknown Lamer posted about a month and a half ago | from the what's-wrong-with-freeciv dept.

Linux 93

jrepin (667425) writes "Aspyr Media, in partnership with 2K and Firaxis Games, announced that the critically acclaimed Sid Meier's Civilization V, and all available expansion packs and downloadable content, is now available on Linux for SteamOS. The title includes Steam Play support. This release of Sid Meier's Civilization V on Linux targets SteamOS and features support for Valve's upcoming Steam Controller."

Apple To Be Investigated By the EU Over Tax Affairs

Unknown Lamer posted about a month and a half ago | from the coffers-running-dry dept.

EU 155

mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "The European Commission is to open a formal investigation into Apple, Starbucks and Fiat in relation to tax arrangements with three EU countries. The firms' arrangements with Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg will be investigated. Announcing the move, tax commissioner Algirdas Semeta said that 'fair tax competition is essential.' Last year, a US Senate investigation accused Ireland of giving special tax treatment to Apple. The European Commission will look at whether the companies' tax affairs breach EU rules on state aid. Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said: 'In the current context of tight public budgets, it is particularly important that large multinationals pay their fair share of taxes.' Countries in Europe cannot allow certain firms to pay less tax than they should, Mr Almunia added."

Toyota Investigating Hovercars

Soulskill posted about a month and a half ago | from the would-go-great-on-michigan's-pockmarked-roads dept.

Transportation 186

cartechboy writes: Remember back in the day when we all thought we'd be driving flying cars in the future? Well that clearly didn't happen, though it still might in the future. But somewhere inside Toyota there's a team of engineers who think hover cars might be a thing, and apparently there's a project underway at one of Toyota's "most advanced" research and development areas. We aren't talking Jetson's flying car, more like a car that merely hovers "a little bit away" from the road. Probably a few inches, with the aim to reduce road friction. With no wings or ridiculous speed, this is probably no simple process. No one really knows how long Toyota has been working on the idea, or how far along it is. Basically, don't expect flying Priuses any time soon...

There's No Wind Chill On Mars

Soulskill posted about a month and a half ago | from the it's-not-the-cold,-it's-the-aridity dept.

Mars 110

sciencehabit writes: Even though daytime temperatures in the tropics of Mars can be about –20C, a summer afternoon there might feel about the same as an average winter day in southern England or Minneapolis. That's because there's virtually no wind chill on the Red Planet, according to a new study — the first to give an accurate sense of what it might feel like to spend a day walking about on our celestial neighbor. "I hadn't really thought about this before, but I'm not surprised," says Maurice Bluestein, a biomedical engineer and wind chill expert recently retired from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. The new findings, he says, "will be useful, as people planning to colonize Mars need to know what they're getting themselves into."

Geothermal Heat Contributing To West Antarctic Ice Sheet Melting

Soulskill posted about a month and a half ago | from the i-blame-the-schools dept.

Earth 387

bricko sends this news from The University of Texas at Austin: Thwaites Glacier, the large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is not only being eroded by the ocean, it's being melted from below by geothermal heat, researchers at the Institute for Geophysics at The University of Texas at Austin (UTIG) report in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings significantly change the understanding of conditions beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, where accurate information has previously been unobtainable. The Thwaites Glacier has been the focus of considerable attention in recent weeks as other groups of researchers found the glacier is on the way to collapse, but more data and computer modeling are needed to determine when the collapse will begin in earnest and at what rate the sea level will increase as it proceeds. The new observations by UTIG will greatly inform these ice sheet modeling efforts.

Biodegradable Fibers As Strong As Steel Made From Wood Cellulose

Soulskill posted about a month and a half ago | from the wood-is-the-new-steel dept.

Science 82

Zothecula writes "A team of researchers working at Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology claim to have developed a way to make cellulose fibers stronger than steel on a strength-to-weight basis. In what is touted as a world first, the team from the institute's Wallenberg Wood Science Center claim that the new fiber could be used as a biodegradable replacement for many filament materials made today from imperishable substances such as fiberglass, plastic, and metal. And all this from a substance that requires only water, wood cellulose, and common table salt to create it. The full academic paper is available from Nature Communications."

Alienware Swaps SteamOS For Windows

Soulskill posted about a month and a half ago | from the missing-the-train dept.

Linux Business 173

An anonymous reader writes "Valve left many OEMs hanging when they delayed Steam machines until sometime next year to work out their controller issues. Many of these companies excitedly showed off new Steam machine hardware that they cannot ship, so Alienware has been the first to re-purpose its Debian-based Steam machine to be a Windows-based Steam machine bundled with an Xbox controller. While Windows 8.x has not been particularly well-received it does support a lot more games than Linux and when configured to boot straight into Steam Big Picture mode the influence of the underlying OS is visible only in the larger game library."

Cisco Opposes Net Neutrality

Soulskill posted about a month and a half ago | from the noted-and-filed dept.

Networking 337

angry tapir writes: All bits running over the Internet are not equal and should not be treated that way by broadband providers, despite net neutrality advocates' calls for traffic neutral regulations, Cisco Systems has said. Some Web-based applications, including rapidly growing video services, home health monitoring and public safety apps, will demand priority access to the network, while others, like most Web browsing and email, may live with slight delays, said Jeff Campbell, Cisco's vice president for government and community relations. "Different bits do matter differently. We need to ensure that we have a system that allows this to occur."

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