An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Low-Tech Magazine: "Both the velomobile and the electric bicycle increase the limited range of the cyclist — the former optimises aerodynamics and ergonomics, while the latter assists muscle power with an electric motor fuelled by a battery. The electric velomobile combines both approaches, and so maximises the range of the cyclist — so much so that it is able to replace most, if not all, automobile trips. A quarter of the existent wind turbines in the U.S. would suffice to power as many electric velomobiles as there are Americans." One thing I wish was included in the article — worth reading for the photos alone! — is a chart with prices and worldwide availability for more of the vehicles mentioned. They do mention, though, that the eWAW ("the Ferrari of the velomobiles") costs 7790 Euro.
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
An anonymous reader writes "Dragonfly BSD recently announced the release of version 3.2 of their operating system. Improvements include: USB4BSD, a second-generation USB stack; merging of a GSoC project to provide CPU topology awareness to the scheduler, giving a nice boost for hyperthreading Intel CPUs; and last but not least, a new largely rewritten scheduler. Some background is in order for the last one. PostgreSQL 9.3 will move from SysV shared memory to mmap for its shared memory needs. It turned out that the switch much hurts its performance on the BSDs. Matthew Dillon was fast to respond with a search for bottlenecks and got the performance up to par with Linux."
An anonymous reader writes "Apple today posted its second Samsung apology to its UK website, complying with requests by the UK Court of Appeal to say its original apology was inaccurate and link to a new statement. As users on Hacker News and Reddit point out, however, Apple modified its website recently to ensure the message is never displayed without visitors having to scroll down to the bottom first."
snydeq writes "Facebook has said that it will soon open source Prism, an internal project that supports geographically distributed Hadoop data stores, thereby removing the limits on Hadoop's capacity to crunch data. 'The problem is that Hadoop must confine data to one physical data center location. Although Hadoop is a batch processing system, it's tightly coupled, and it will not tolerate more than a few milliseconds delay among servers in a Hadoop cluster. With Prism, a logical abstraction layer is added so that a Hadoop cluster can run across multiple data centers, effectively removing limits on capacity.'"
hessian writes "Scholars who study the role of media in society say no long-term studies have been done that adequately show how and if student attention span has changed because of the use of digital technology. But there is mounting indirect evidence that constant use of technology can affect behavior, particularly in developing brains, because of heavy stimulation and rapid shifts in attention."
Zothecula writes "Embattled photovoltaic solar power manufacturer Amonix announced on Tuesday that it has broken the solar module efficiency record, becoming the first manufacturer to convert more than a third of incoming light energy into electricity – a goal once branded 'one third of a sun' in a Department of Energy initiative. The Amonix module clocked an efficiency rating of 33.5 percent."
First time accepted submitter TheUnFounded writes "A site that I administer was recently 'held hostage' for the vast sum of $800. We were contacted by a guy (who was, it turns out, in Lebanon), who told us that he had been asked to perform a DDoS on our site by a competitor, and that they were paying him $600. He then said for $800, he would basically go away. Not a vast sum, but we weren't going to pay just because he said he 'could' do something. Within 5 minutes, our site was down. The owner of the company negotiated with the guy, and he stopped his attack after receiving $400. A small price to pay to get the site online in our case. But obviously we want to come up with a solution that'll allow us to deal with these kinds of attacks in the future. While the site was down, I contacted our hosting company, Rackspace. They proceeded to tell me that they have 'DDoS mitigation services,' but they cost $6,000 if your site is under attack at the time you use the service. Once the attack was over, the price dropped to $1500. (Nice touch there Rackspace, so much for Fanatical support; price gouging at its worst). So, obviously, I'm looking for alternative solutions for DDoS mitigation. I'm considering CloudFlare as an option; does anyone have any other suggestions or thoughts on the matter?"
An anonymous reader writes "El Reg reports that two employees at a Verizon store in Florida are facing charges after making copies of a woman's naked pictures while helping her transfer data from an old phone to a new one. The two employees later offered to show the pictures to another customer, but the customer happened to be the woman's friend. The woman and her friend filed a police report. The police quickly got a warrant to search the store and found copies of the pictures on multiple devices there. One of the employees, Gregory Lampert, was arrested and charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor. The other employee, Joshua Stuart, is no longer in Florida, but will face charges if he comes back."
An anonymous reader writes "Erik Voorhees blogs for bitinstant.com: 'On Oct 29, 2012, the European Central Bank (ECB) released an official (and very nicely prepared) report called "Virtual Currency Schemes (PDF)." The 55-page report looks at several facets of what virtual currencies are, how they're being used, and what they can do. As it happens, the term "Bitcoin" appears 183 times. In fact, roughly a quarter of the whole report is specifically dedicated to Bitcoin and it's probably a safe assumption that Bitcoin's growth over the past year was the catalyst for producing this study in the first place. The report from the ECB concludes, in part: Virtual currencies fall within central banks' responsibility due to their characteristics, and Virtual currencies could have a "negative impact on the reputation of central banks."' Could this be the first step toward regulation of the digital currency?"
SternisheFan writes with an update to a story from earlier this year about a lawsuit in which David Coppedge alleged he was fired from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for his advocacy of Intelligent Design. Now, a judge has ruled that Coppedge was legitimately dismissed for performance reasons. From the article: "n 2009, he apparently got a bit aggressive about promoting these ideas at work, leading one employee to complain. The resulting investigation found that he had also aggressively promoted his opinion on California's gay marriage ban, and had attempted to get JPL's holiday party renamed to 'Christmas party.' ... Coppedge was warned about his behavior at work, but he felt it was an infringement of his religious freedom, so he sued. Shortly after, as part of a set of cutbacks on the Cassini staff, he was fired. In court, Coppedge and his lawyer portrayed him as being targeted for promoting an idea that is, to put it mildly, not popular with scientists. But JPL's legal team introduced evidence that his aggressive promotion of it at work was part of a pattern of bad interactions with his fellow employees that dated back at least five years earlier."
An anonymous reader writes "Security firm Kaspersky has released its latest IT Threat Evolution report. There were some interesting findings in the report, as always, but the most interesting thing that stuck out was all the way at the bottom: 'Microsoft products no longer feature among the Top 10 products with vulnerabilities. This is because the automatic updates mechanism has now been well developed in recent versions of Windows OS.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Open source is no longer relegated to the discount software vendor that serves cash-strapped startups. In enterprise software development these days, open source is not only immensely valuable, but increasingly crucial to stay competitive in releasing high quality software at regular intervals in a world where technology is changing so fast and every edge matters. Today, rolling your own logging package instead of using something like log4j is as silly as trying to build your own web server instead of using Apache httpd was 10 years ago. Still, there are other components like guava that are less well known, but are currently making a name for themselves as libraries that can take the solution you are building to the next level of sophistication and quality. Just knowing they exist — and knowing where they fit — can help you design and build better software at a lower cost. In addition to conducting a traditional build versus buy analysis, it's critical to think about the maintenance and support story surrounding an open source package. This article lists some things to consider and questions to ponder."
sfcrazy writes "Linus Torvalds has never been a big fan of Gnome owing [to] its extreme simplicity. Even Gnome 3.x failed to impress the father of the Linux kernel. He has now given KDE a try after a long time. Linus using your software is double edged sword, especially if Linus doesn't like it — get ready for the harshest, yet the most honest and useful criticism. Interestingly, Linus has so far liked KDE, and for one simple reason: 'But ah, the ability to configure things. And I have wobbly windows again.' This should make KDE developers a bit happier." Evidently, Linus didn't get the message that desktop UIs for Linux don't matter any more, since he keeps acting like they do.
theshowmecanuck writes with this snippet from Canada's National Post: "Days after the remote B.C. archipelago of Haida Gwaii emerged virtually unscathed from Canada's second-strongest earthquake, locals discovered that the shifting earth had mysteriously switched off a centuries-old hot spring considered sacred by the Haida. ... A Parks Canada inspection party set out to investigate and stepped ashore to find that the island's three main hot spring pools, which once bubbled with water as warm as 77 Celsius, were bone dry. "Not even a small puddle," said Mr. Gladstone. Surrounding rocks, once warm to the touch, were cold." The earthquake measured 7.7 on the Richter scale."
New submitter vencs writes "China has successfully tested its second stealth fighter, a smaller, twin-engine jet that military analysts said could potentially allow it to one day fly missions from an aircraft carrier. Military analysts said the new jet's design suggested the People's Liberation Army might use it to arm and escort aircraft carriers like the Liaoning, which was officially deployed last month. Andrei Chang, editor-in-chief of Kanwa Asian Defense Monthly, said the new prototype appears to have borrowed features from the U.S. Air Force's twin-engine F-22 and U.S. Navy's single-engine F-35C."