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Mosquitos Have Little Trouble Flying in the Rain 186

sciencehabit writes with an interesting article about the (surprisingly not well studied) effects of rain on flying insects. From the article: "When a raindrop hits a mosquito, it's the equivalent of one of us being slammed into by a bus. And yet the bug will survive and keep flying. That's the conclusion of a team of engineers and biologists, which used a combination of real-time video and sophisticated math to demonstrate that the light insect's rugged construction allows the mosquito to shrug off the onslaught of even the largest raindrop. The findings offer little aid in controlling the pest but could help engineers improve the design of tiny flying robots." Bats, unfortunately, aren't so lucky: "...these furry fliers need about twice as much energy to power through the rain compared with dry conditions."

Aussie Government Brings Back Piracy Talks 114

joshgnosis writes "The Australian Attorney-General's department is set to hold a closed-door meeting with internet service providers, film lobby groups and consumer groups over proposals to reduce piracy on Thursday. The meetings were at a stalemate after sources said that neither the ISPs or the film groups could see eye to eye on the best proposal but the department confirmed that the meetings will go ahead and will this time include consumer advocate groups, who were previously excluded from the meetings."

Boeing Hydrogen Powered Drone First Flight 160

garymortimer writes with news of the test flight of a hydrogen powered UAV. From the article: "Phantom Eye's innovative and environmentally responsible liquid-hydrogen propulsion system will allow the aircraft to stay on station for up to four days while providing persistent monitoring over large areas at a ceiling of up to 65,000 feet, creating only water as a byproduct. The demonstrator, with its 150-foot wingspan, is capable of carrying a 450-pound payload."

Chinese Censors Accidentally Block Shanghai Index 345

New submitter Vulcan195 writes "Now this is amusing in so many ways ... Today (June 4, 1989 ... i.e. 6/4/89) is the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. Naturally, the Chinese Censors were working overtime to block anything that made remote or oblique references to that event. Well, sometime during the day the Shanghai Composite Index dropped by 64.89 points; You can guess what happened next."

KDE Announces 4.9 Beta1 and Testing Initiative 134

jrepin writes "KDE released the first beta for its version 4.9 of Workspaces, Applications, and Development Platform. With API, dependency and feature freezes in place, the KDE team's focus is now on fixing bugs and further polishing new and old functionality. Highlights of 4.9 include, but are not limited to: Qt Quick in Plasma Workspaces, many improvements in Dolphin file manager, deeper integration of Activities, and many performance improvements. The KDE Community is committed to improving quality substantially with a new program that starts with the 4.9 releases. The 4.9 beta releases are the first phase of a testing process that involves volunteers called 'Beta Testers.' They will receive training, test the two beta releases and report issues through KDE Bugzilla." I was recently forced into installing GNOME 3 (who knew printing required removing GNOME 2); after trying for a while to get Sawfish working again in the deprecated fallback mode, I gave up and tried KDE again. I have to say that I was surprised: KDE 4.5 was unpolished and painful to use whereas 4.7 is pretty slick. With the GNOME 3 developers catering to some seemingly mythical user, it's nice to see the other major desktop using user feedback to make design decisions.

The Link Between Genius and Insanity 402

An anonymous reader writes in a story about the link between certain mental illnesses and high intelligence. "Genius and insanity may actually go together, according to scientists who found that mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are often found in highly creative and intelligent people. The link is being investigated by a group of scientists who had all suffered some form of mental disorder. Bipolar sufferer Kay Redfield Jamison, a clinical psychologist and professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said that findings of some 20 or 30 scientific studies confirms the idea of the 'tortured genius' or 'mad scientist.'"

MIT Professor Pushes the Envelope of 3D Art and Manufacturing 58

kkleiner writes "Professor at MIT Neri Oxman's creations are demonstrating the powerful combination of 3D printing and new design algorithms inspired from nature. Just as a computer printer makes copies of 2D images, 3D printers have copied an impressive variety of objects, such as robots, chairs, prosthetics, kidneys, and jaw bones, to mention a few. But Oxman and her colleagues are discovering new design and engineering principles that will help to mature 3D printing into a technology capable of producing complex and beautiful structures impossible by other manufacturing techniques."

Researchers Find Methods For Bypassing Google's Bouncer Android Security 79

Trailrunner7 writes "Google's Android platform has become the most popular mobile operating system both among consumers and malware writers, and the company earlier this year introduced the Bouncer system to look for malicious apps in the Google Play market. Bouncer, which checks for malicious apps and known malware, is a good first step, but as new work from researchers Jon Oberheide and Charlie Miller shows, it can be bypassed quite easily and in ways that will be difficult for Google to address in the long term. Oberheide and Miller, both well-known for their work on mobile security, went into their research without much detailed knowledge of how the Bouncer system works. Google has said little publicly about its capabilities, preferring not to give attackers any insights into the system's inner workings. So Oberheide and Miller looked at it as a challenge, an exercise to see how much they could deduce about Bouncer from the outside, and, as it turns out, the inside."
Data Storage

NoSQL Document Storage Benefits and Drawbacks 96

Nerval's Lobster writes "NoSQL databases sometimes feature a concept called document storage, a way of storing data that differs in radical ways from the means available to traditional relational SQL databases. But what does 'document storage' actually mean, and what are its implications for developers and other IT pros? This SlashBI article focuses on MongoDB; the techniques utilized here are similar in other document-based databases."

NASA Gets Two Military Spy Telescopes For Astronomy 237

First time accepted submitter SomePgmr writes "The U.S. government's secret space program has decided to give NASA two telescopes as big as, and even more powerful than, the Hubble Space Telescope. Designed for surveillance, the telescopes from the National Reconnaissance Office were no longer needed for spy missions and can now be used to study the heavens."

Book Review: Elemental Design Patterns 129

jkauzlar writes "Believe it or not, it's been 18 years since Design Patterns by Gamma, et al, first began to hit the desks of programmers world-wide. This was a work of undeniable influence and usefulness, but there is criticism however that pattern-abuse has lead to over-architected software. This failure is perhaps due to wide-spread use of patterns as templates instead of understanding their underlying 'grammar' of this language such that it may be applied gracefully to the problem at hand. What's been missing until now is a sufficiently authoritative study of design patterns at this 'grammatical' level of abstraction. Jason McC. Smith, through a surprisingly captivating series of analytic twists and turns, has developed a theory of Elemental Design Patterns that may yet rejuvenate this aging topic." Keep reading for the rest of Joe's review.
The Military

Artist's Catcopter Causes a Stir 360

derekmead writes "I'm not sure that Dutch artist Bart Jansen had political commentary in mind when he created the Orvillecopter — combining a stuffed cat with a quadrotor, and naming it after Orville Wright — but indeed it's art, whose meaning will lie in the eye of the beholder. And for those that say stitching up a dead animal around the guts of a helicopter and flying it around is 'sick,' what of the massive drone industry, which, more than just producing a symbol, actually is creating flying death?"

Xbox Second Screen Announced 125

kodiaktau writes "Microsoft has announced a feature called SmartGlass that provides a new set of features when viewing media on mobile or PC devices. Sources say that it will provide context focused advertising/product placement as well as metadata about the media you are currently viewing. Additionally the interface allows you to store viewing data and share between your desktop and mobile devices to continue viewing content between devices. From the article: 'SmartGlass also allows you to view the web on an Xbox 360 using Internet Explorer. The tablet or phone becomes the keyboard and you can easily browse web pages without having a physical keyboard in the living room.'"
Social Networks

Online Social Networks Can Be Tipped By Less Than 1% of Their Population 125

An anonymous reader writes "A new algorithm developed by researchers at West Point seems to break new ground for viral marketing practices in online social networks. Assuming a trend or behavior that spreads in an online social network based on the classic 'tipping' model from sociology (based on the work of Thomas Schelling and Mark Granovetter), the new West Point algorithm can find a set of individuals in the network that can initiate a social cascade – a progressive series of 'tipping' incidents — which leads to everyone in the social network adopting the new behavior. The good news for viral marketers is that this set of individuals is often very small – a sample of the Friendster social network can be influenced when only 0.8% of the initial population is seeded. The trick is finding the seed set. The algorithm is described in a paper to be presented later this summer at the prestigious IEEE ASONAM conference."

Report Says Schools Need 100Mbps Per 1,000 Users 292

alphadogg writes "American schools need mega-broadband networks — and they need them soon, a new report says. Specifically, U.S. educational institutions will need networks that deliver broadband performance of 100Mbps for every 1,000 students and staff members in time for the 2014-15 school year. That's the conclusion reached by the State Educational Technology Directors Association. Why the need for speed? For one thing, more and more schools are using online textbooks and collaboration tools, said Christine Fox, director of educational leadership and research at SETDA. Broadband access must be 'ubiquitous' and 'robust,' she said, adding that schools should think of broadband as a 'necessary utility,' not as an add-on. The report, called 'The Broadband Imperative,' further suggests that schools should upgrade their networks to support speeds of 1Gbps per 1,000 users in five years."