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

The Military

New Medal Designed To Honor Cyber Soldiers 230

Posted by samzenpus
from the achievement-unlocked dept.
bios10h writes "The Boston Globe writes that the Pentagon is creating a new medal to honor cyber soldiers. '[The] troops who launch the drone strikes and direct the cyber-attacks that can kill or disable an enemy may never set foot in the combat zone. Now their battlefield contributions may be recognized with the first new combat-related medal to be created in decades. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Wednesday that the Pentagon is creating a medal that can be awarded to troops who have a direct impact on combat operations, but do it well away from any combat zone.'"
Programming

Can You Do the Regular Expression Crossword? 115

Posted by samzenpus
from the game-time dept.
mikejuk writes "Programmers often say that regular expressions are fun ... but now they can be a whole lot of fun in a completely new way. Want to try your hand at a regular expression crossword? The idea is simple enough — create a crossword style puzzle with regular expressions are the 'clues.' In case you don't know what a regular expression is — it is a way of specifying what characters are allowed using wild-card characters and more. For example a dot matches any single character, an * any number of characters and so on. The regular expression crossword is more a sort of Sudoku puzzle than crossword however because the clues determine the pattern that the entries in a row have to satisfy. It also has to use a hexagonal grid to provide three regular expressions to control each entry. This particular regular expression crossword(pdf) was part of this year's MIT Mystery Hunt. This annual event is crammed with a collection of very difficult problems and the regular expression crossword, created by Dan Gulotta from an idea by Palmer Mebane, was just a small part of the whole — and yes there is a solution."
Earth

Oil Dispersants Used During Gulf Spill Degrade Slowly In Cold Water 61

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-to-bring-out-the-oil-dispersant-dispersants dept.
MTorrice writes "During the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, clean up crews applied millions of liters of dispersants to break up the oil. At the time, the public and some scientists worried about the environmental effects of the chemicals, in particular how long they would last in the deep sea. According to a new Environmental Protection Agency study, the key active ingredient in the dispersants degrades very rapidly under conditions similar to those found at the Gulf surface during the spill. Meanwhile, in the much colder temperatures found in the deep sea, the breakdown is quite slow. The chemicals' persistence at deep-sea and Arctic temperatures suggests more research is needed on their toxicity, the researchers say."
Earth

Scientist Removed From EPA Panel Due To Industry Opposition 105

Posted by Soulskill
from the let-the-market-decide dept.
Beeftopia writes "The relationship between regulator and regulated is once again called into question as industry pressure leads to a scientist's removal from an EPA regulatory panel. From the article: 'In 2007, when Deborah Rice was appointed chair of an Environmental Protection Agency panel assessing the safety levels of flame retardants, she arrived as a respected Maine toxicologist with no ties to industry. Yet the EPA removed Rice from the panel after an intense push by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), an industry lobbying group that accused her of bias. Her supposed conflict of interest? She had publicly raised questions about the safety of a flame retardant under EPA review.'"
China

NASA: Huge Freshwater Loss In the Middle East 228

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the should-have-used-six-sigma dept.
dstates writes with news from NASA about the state of available water in the Middle East. From the NASA article: "'GRACE data show an alarming rate of decrease in total water storage in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins, which currently have the second fastest rate of groundwater storage loss on Earth, after India,' said Jay Famiglietti, principal investigator of the study and a hydrologist and professor at UC Irvine. 'The rate was especially striking after the 2007 drought. Meanwhile, demand for freshwater continues to rise, and the region does not coordinate its water management because of different interpretations of international laws.'" dstates adds: "Water is a huge global security issue. To understand the middle east, you need to understand that the Golan Heights provides a significant amount of the water used in Israel. Focusing on conflicts and politics means that huge volumes of valuable water are being wasted in the Middle East, and this will only exacerbate future conflicts. Water is a serious issue between India and China. And then there is Africa. U.S. food exports are in effect exporting irrigation water drawn from the Ogallala aquifer. Fracking trades water for energy, and lack of water limits fracking in many parts of th world. Think about it."
Java

Oracle Open Sourcing JavaFX, Including iOS and Android Ports 105

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the don't-tell-larry dept.
hypnosec writes "Oracle is going to open source JavaFX ports for Android and iOS soon as a part of its efforts to open source the framework. JavaFX, destined to replace Swing GUI library as the default method to develop graphical user interfaces, is a framework used to develop cross-platform rich Internet applications. The ports for iOS and Android are based on an 'unreleased version of JavaSE Embedded for iOS/Android.' Oracle's Richard Bair revealed that the 'first bits and pieces' for JavaFX for iOS should probably be out sometime next week. The rest of the release will be scheduled along with the release of Prism (the next-generation toolkit). Oracle is going to keep javafx-font proprietary, but Bair has said developers are already working toward an open source native replacement of the component through the OpenJFX list."
Businesses

Comcast Buys Out GE's Remaining 49% Stake In NBC 149

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the no-conflict-of-interest-here dept.
Bob the Super Hamste writes "On Tuesday Comcast announced that it would accelerate its acquisition of NBCUniversal and purchase the remaining 49% owned by GE for $16.7 billion. Previously GE and Comcast were expected to operate NBCUniversal jointly until mid 2014 with Comcast having the option to extend that out until 2018. So far there are not details on when the deal with be completed but the article indicates that Comcast's complete acquisition of NBCUniversal will be completed years earlier that initially thought."
The Media

PeerJ, A New Open Access Megajournal Launches 61

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the tim-oreilly-super-hero dept.
Mirk writes "Academic researchers want to make their papers open access for the world to read. If they use traditional publishers like Elsevier, Springer or Taylor & Francis, they'll be charged $3000 to bring their work out from behind the paywall. But PeerJ, a new megajournal launched today and funded by Tim O'Reilly, publishes open access articles for $99. That's not done by cutting corners: the editorial process is thorough, and they use rigorous peer-review. The cost savings come from running lean and mean on a born-digital system. The initial batch of 30 papers includes one on a Penn and Teller trick and one on the long necks of dinosaurs." $99 entitles you to publish an article a year, for life. $300 nets you unlimited articles published per year.
Opera

Opera Picks Up Webkit Engine 314

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the proprietary-software-dies dept.
New submitter nthitz writes "Opera has announced that they will be dropping their rendering engine Presto, in favor of Webkit. This knocks the number of major rendering engines down to three. Opera will also be adopting the Chromium V8 Javascript engine. The news coincides with their announcement of 300 million users. '300 million marks the first lap, but the race goes on,' says Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software. 'On the final stretch up to 300 million users, we have experienced the fastest acceleration in user growth we have ever seen. Now, we are shifting into the next gear to claim a bigger piece of the pie in the smartphone market.'" They've already submitted patches to improve multi-column layouts even.
Earth

Obama Proposes 'Meaningful Progress' On Climate Change 583

Posted by Soulskill
from the climate-change-is-change-we-can-believe-in dept.
astroengine writes "President Barack Obama called for 'meaningful progress' on tackling climate change in his State of the Union speech in Washington, DC on Tuesday night. While acknowledging that 'no single event makes a trend,' the President noted that the United States had been buffeted by extreme weather events that in many cases encapsulated the predictions of climate scientists. 'But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods — all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science — and act before it's too late,' Obama added." Other significant statements from Obama's speech: 34,000 troops coming back from Afghanistan over the next year; new gun regulations "deserve a vote"; rewards for schools that focus on STEM education; increases in tech research; a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9.00/hr and tie it to inflation; and a proposal to use oil and gas revenues to fund a move away from oil and gas,
Open Source

DIY Web-Controlled Robot That Takes 1 Hour To Build 56

Posted by Soulskill
from the make-it-crash-from-afar dept.
fixpert writes "We hooked up Pinoccio (an Open Source, wireless Arduino-compatible microcontroller) to a Pololu 3pi Robot to create an unmanned rover that can be driven via the Web. We posted a quick video where you can see us driving our Web Rover in Nevada all the way from Brazil. We used the iPhone's built-in accelerometer as a super-intuitive interface for driving the bot. You can read all about the project — how we built it, what you need to make your own (including source code), and a simulator of the accelerometer interface that you can play with. We're hoping to make Pinoccio the perfect platform for Software Developers to learn how to hack on DIY hardware."
Education

Missouri Legislation Redefines Science, Pushes Intelligent Design 813

Posted by Soulskill
from the pi-is-exactly-3 dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Ars reports on new legislation in the Missouri House of Representatives which is seeking equal time in the classroom for Intelligent Design, and to redefine science itself. You can read the text of the bill online. It uses over 600 words to describe Intelligent Design. Scientific theory, the bill says, is 'an inferred explanation of incompletely understood phenomena about the physical universe based on limited knowledge, whose components are data, logic, and faith-based philosophy.' It would require that 'If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a course of study, biological evolution and biological intelligent design shall be taught.' The legislation's references to 'scientific theory' and 'scientific law' make it clear the writers don't have the slightest idea how science actually works. It also has this odd line near the end: 'If biological intelligent design is taught, any proposed identity of the intelligence responsible for earth's biology shall be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation and teachers shall not question, survey, or otherwise influence student belief in a nonverifiable identity within a science course.'"
Businesses

Tesla Motors Battles the New York Times 700

Posted by Soulskill
from the musk-faces-krugman-in-single-combat dept.
redletterdave writes "Days after the New York Times released a brutal review of Tesla's electric Model S sedan, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has fired back, claiming the Times article was completely bogus and misleading. In the article in question, Times writer John Broder took the Tesla Model S on a test drive from Washington to Boston, stopping at various service plazas in Delaware and Connecticut well within the projected 265-mile range of the car, as rated by the EPA. However, Broder's Tesla Model S, despite a heftier 85 kilowatt-hour battery for an extra 100 miles of range in 'ideal conditions,' died shortly before reaching its final destination. Broder blames the cold weather and heating issues for his abridged trip; Musk, however, claims the driver did not follow Tesla's instructions, which is why his trip was cut so short. 'We've taken great pains to ensure that the car works very well in the cold, which is why we're so incensed by this ridiculous article,' Musk said."
Cloud

Which Cloud System Is the Most Open? 70

Posted by Soulskill
from the does-a-silver-lining-need-gaps-to-be-open dept.
1sockchuck writes "In a landscape with dueling open clouds, which is the most open? Cloud software specialist Eucalyptus sees pushing boundaries of openness as an opportunity. 'We're extending our open model into professional services,' said CEO Marten Mickos. 'Anyone can look at the source code, training material, documents that go around the code, everything. We realize that our competitors will look at it, but we're happy to offer it to the world in order to better the product.' The open cloud arena is becoming more competitive with the growth of OpenStack, CloudStack and OpenNebula, 'There are a number of reasons we are making this shift, but the most important one is culture,' Eucalyptus said in a blog post. 'If we truly are an open source company, does it make sense for us to develop closed-source intellectual property, tightly control access to that information, and use it primarily as a way to drive direct business unit revenue?' What lies ahead in the Open Cloud Wars?"
Canada

Canadian Internet Surveillance Bill Could Come Back In New Form 30

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-is-not-even-my-true-form dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced yesterday that the government will not be proceeding with Bill C-30, the lawful access/Internet surveillance legislation. Yet despite the celebration of the Canadian Internet community, Michael Geist notes that the law could return. On the same day the government put the bill out its misery, it introduced Bill C-55 on warrantless wiretapping. Although the bill is ostensibly a response to last year's R v. Tse decision from the Supreme Court of Canada, much of the bill is lifted directly from Bill C-30. Moreover, there will be other ways to revive the more troublesome Internet surveillance provisions. Christopher Parsons points to lawful intercept requirements in the forthcoming spectrum auction, while many others have discussed Bill C-12, which includes provisions that encourage personal information disclosure without court oversight. Of course, cynics might also point to the 2007 pledge from then-Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day to not introduce mandatory disclosure of personal information without a warrant. That position was dropped soon after a new minister took over the portfolio."

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