Slashback tonight brings some clarifications, and updates to previous Slashdot stories including: a victory for evolution in Kansas, the Stardust Program launched, Lego Mindstorms goes live, continued backlash on the new E3, Archimedes gets a webcast, another Dell bursts into flame, and a possible RIAA silver bullet Read on for details.
A Victory for Evolution in Kansas. SatanicPuppy writes "Yesterday, elections in Kansas saw four of six pro-Creationism school board members replaced by pro-Evolution candidates in a one issue election. Interestingly, it didn't go by party lines; at least one of the conservative Republicans who supported Creationism failed to make it past their party primary. Ken Willard and John Bacon are the two remaining pro-Creationism incumbents."
Stardust Program Launched. lee1 writes "Anyone with an internet connection now has the the chance to find microscopic grains of dust from beyond the solar system. The project, called Stardust@home, is patterned on projects like SETI@home. But rather than exploiting idle processor time, it will ask volunteers to search through millions of microscope images on their computer screens, exploiting spare time in general as well as ego: 'People get very competitive,' explains the project director. The first volunteer to spot an actual interstellar dust grain will get to name it and will be listed as a co-author on any resulting research papers. The images come from a NASA project called Stardust, whose primary mission was to collect samples of dust from the tail of Comet Wild 2, but might also have captured some interstellar dust that could reveal the physics of the stars that produced it. To minimize false positives and to ensure that all the grains are found, each participant will go through an online training and testing process before starting their search. They will be scored on how well they distinguish real dust grain impacts from fakes."
Lego Mindstorms goes live. MicroBerto writes "As of August 1, 2006, the next generation of Lego Mindstorms is now available for sale in North America. Mindstorms NXT is a robotics toolset that allows you to build and program robots for various purposes. It combines the power of the Lego technic building system and an all new intuitive software environment powered by National Instruments LabVIEW."
Continued backlash on the new E3. Anonymous Howard writes "Angry Gamer reacts badly to the news of the Electronic Entertainment Expo's demise. They see it as a major blow for small game developers who are having enough of a hard time getting noticed by press and retailers as it is. From the article: 'This is a win only for the EAs, Sonys and IGNs of the world. Everyone else has to fend for themselves.' It seems like the days of smaller developers getting noticed by 'drive by traffic' at E3 are over." Relatedly The Escapist Lounge has an interview with the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences president, Joseph Olin, on what is actually happening to E3. As Joseph Olin responds: 'So it's going to take a couple of months until the world knows what the scope of E3 2007 will be, and how it will be structured. The opportunity to make material changes to improve it shouldn't be snap judgments. The rhetorical question I might pose is: "You know you have a problem. You know you need to make changes. How do you make changes and convey it and announce it, and to whom, and when?" There's never a good time. Whenever you make significant change, there's no way to introduce that change without detractors. The challenge is that without being able to announce the exact implementation of change it leaves that gray area for ignorance to fill the void.'"
Archimedes gets a webcast. jd writes "Some time ago, Slashdot covered the story of the rediscovery of several lost writings of Archimedes by means of X-Ray fluorescence. Well, they're still scanning the book and at 11pm GMT (4pm PDT) on August 4th will be putting on a live webcast as they scan and interpret pages not seen by human eyes for over a thousand years."
Another Dell bursts into flame. starwindsurfer writes "A Dell laptop's battery caught on fire in a company's IT department this week, burning a hole right through the casing. Nearby techs used fire extinguishers to put out the blaze. Employee Henrik took pictures to document the affair and uploaded them to the Toms Hardware message boards. From the writeup: 'The police department showed up. The entire lower floor was allowed to leave early and as we stood there in front of the building we simply couldn't resist... we jokingly called the engineer a terrorist as he was being asked a few questions by the friendly officer.'"
An RIAA silver bullet? Chris Fairman writes "TechDirt is running a story about how the RIAA seems to be dropping cases where the defense includes (or hinges on) an IP address as the means to identify the source of criminal activity. Essentially the defense argues that all an IP address can prove is who was paying for the net access at a particular time. Having a wide open WiFi router on your network seems to be currently the most effective means of getting the RIAA to drop all charges. Essentially the activity originating from one IP, only proves that illegal file sharing behavior is coming from one network, and not necessarily from any one specific computer or user. More importantly, it seems that the legal system is beginning to catch on to more complex technology concepts. Such concepts play a large part in how future legal cases are argued, and contribute ultimately to the foundation of complex technology legal precedents."