Cognitive Dissident writes "Discovery.com has an article on a new study using computer modeling to estimate the actual amount of flesh needed to cover the skeletons of dinosaurs. Based on a comparison with modern animals, it indicates that these animals could have weighed dramatically less than has been previously estimated. 'A huge Brachiosaur, once thought to weigh 176,370 pounds, is now believed to have weighed 50,706 pounds.' That's only about two-and-a-half times the weight of a modern African elephant. If other evidence can be reconciled with this, many estimates of the ecosystems dinosaurs lived in will also have to be revised."
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First time accepted submitter GCA10 writes "Forbes reports on the latest project of Google Fellow Sebastian Thrun (the proponent of self-driving cars.) He's moved on to education now, believing that conventional university teaching is way too costly, inefficient and ineffective to survive for long. So he started Udacity, which aims to deliver an online version of a master's degree for $100 per student. From the article: 'Udacity’s earliest course offerings have been free, and although Thrun eventually plans to charge something, he wants his tuition schedule to be shockingly low. Getting a master’s degree might cost just $100. After teaching his own artificial intelligence class at Stanford last year—and attracting 160,000 online signups—Thrun believes online formats can be far more effective than traditional classroom lectures. “So many people can be helped right now,” Thrun declares. “I see this as a mission.”'"
itwbennett writes "Your employer won't like it, but they can't stop you from discussing working conditions and compensation with your coworkers on social media. In his most recent social media memo, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Lafe Solomon said that in 6 of the 7 employers' social media policies he reviewed, he found violations of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, which allows employees to join labor unions and to discuss working conditions with each other."
InfiniteZero writes "Researchers agree that our immediate ancestors, the upright walking apes, arose in Africa. But the discovery of a new primate that lived about 37 million years ago in the ancient swamplands of Myanmar bolsters the idea that the deep primate family tree that gave rise to humans is rooted in Asia. If true, the discovery suggests that the ancestors of all monkeys, apes, and humans—known as the anthropoids—arose in Asia and made the arduous journey to the island continent of Africa almost 40 million years ago."
snydeq writes "After years of battling Linux as a competitive threat, Microsoft is now offering Linux-based operating systems on its Windows Azure cloud service. The Linux services will go live on Azure at 4 a.m. EDT on Thursday. At that time, the Azure portal will offer a number of Linux distributions, including Suse Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2, OpenSuse 12.01, CentOS 6.2 and Canonical Ubuntu 12.04. Azure users will be able to choose and deploy a Linux distribution from the Microsoft Windows Azure Image Gallery and be charged on an hourly pay-as-you-go basis."
lucky4udanny writes "My client says any software/website we develop for them should be supported with bug fixes forever, with no further compensation. We have generally supported our work for two months, to give the client adequate time for real-world testing, after which we charge by the hour for all support. How long should a company fix bugs without compensation in software they developed? What is the industry convention?"
An anonymous reader writes "Stainless Games has been fundraising for Carmageddon: Reincarnation, a modern day remake of the classic Carmageddon racing games, on Kickstarter for weeks. Stainless said that if they hit $600,000 in pledges before time runs out, they would commit themselves to creating a Linux port of the game, as well as a MacOS port. Today they made it official: the fundraising has come so close to netting $600K overall, with a few more hours left to go, that they are officially committing themselves to creating a Linux port of the new game. PC gamers will get to play Carmageddon 4 first, with a February 2013 release date. The MacOS & Linux versions will follow the PC version later in 2013."
sciencehabit writes "What if you could read much of your child's medical future while it was still in the womb? Taking a major step toward that goal, one fraught with therapeutic potential and ethical questions, scientists have now accurately predicted almost the whole genome of an unborn child by sequencing DNA from the mother's blood and DNA from the father's saliva (abstract)."
MojoKid writes "E3 is well underway in Los Angeles, and Microsoft has already made a major splash with its 'SmartGlass' technology, game demos, and its announcement that a Kinect-powered version of Internet Explorer will debut on the Xbox 360. This is a marked change from last year, when Kinect was the unquestioned centerpiece of Microsoft's display and the company's demos focused on how Kinect-powered games used your full body as a controller. Kinect is in the interesting position of having sold extremely well while failing to move the bar forward in any of the ways Microsoft projected in the run up to its launch. Scroll through the ratings on Kinect-required titles, and the percentages are abysmal. Kinect's biggest problem is rooted in ergonomics. Gamepads with buttons may be crude approximations of real life, but they're simple and intuitive. They're also flexible — a great many games have conditional scenarios that allow the same button to perform different functions depending on what's going on within the game. Pure Kinect games don't have a simple mechanism to incorporate these features, and there's no easy way around them. The motion-controller's most enduring features may ultimately be its capabilities outside the gaming sphere."
MassDosage writes "Having developed software for nearly fifteen years, I remember the dark days before testing was all the rage and the large number of bugs that had to be arduously found and fixed manually. The next step was nervously releasing the code without the safety net of a test bed and having no idea if one had introduced regressions or new bugs. When I first came across unit testing I ardently embraced it and am a huge fan of testing of various forms — from automated to smoke tests to performance and load tests to end user and exploratory testing. So it was with much enthusiasm that I picked up How Google Tests Software — written by some of the big names in testing at Google. I was hoping it would give me fresh insights into testing software at "Google Scale" as promised on the back cover, hopefully coupled with some innovative new techniques and tips. While partially succeeding on these fronts, the book as a whole didn't quite live up to my expectations and feels like a missed opportunity." Read below for the rest of MassDosage's review.
eldavojohn writes "Scientists have long been criticized of their inability to communicate complex ideas adequately to the rest of society. Similar to his questions on PBS' Scientific American Frontiers, actor Alan Alda wrote to the journal Science with a proposition called The Flame Challenge (PDF). Contestants would have to explain a flame to an eleven-year-old kid, and the entries would be judged by thousands of children across the country. The winner of The Flame Challenge is quantum physics grad student Ben Ames, whose animated video covers concepts like pyrolysis, chemiluminescence, oxidation and incandescence boiled into a humorous video, complete with song. Now they are asking children age 10-12 to suggest the next question for the Flame Challenge. Kids out there, what would you like scientists to explain?"
An anonymous reader writes "John Carmack, co-founder of id Software, is using his spare time to develop a modern virtual reality headset. After purchasing such a device last year, Carmack became frustrated with how slowly the technology has progressed over the past twenty years. So, he decided to push it forward himself. PCGamer reports that he's been showing off his prototype behind closed doors at E3 this year, and has an interview with him about the problems with VR and the technical challenges he needs to overcome. They even get a look at the prototype itself, which is currently held together with duct tape."
An anonymous reader writes "Slashdotters may remember the Solar Impulse — the world's first 100% solar-powered airplane — from last year when it made its public debut. Today the airplane made news again as it successfully completed the world's first solar-powered intercontinental flight — a pivotal step that paves the way for the plane's first trip around the world in 2014."
SomePgmr writes with this excerpt from an article at The Verge: "Thirty-one. That's the number of months it took Palm, Inc. to go from the darling of International CES 2009 to a mere shadow of itself, a nearly anonymous division inside the HP machine without a hardware program and without the confidence of its owners. Thirty-one months is just barely longer than a typical American mobile phone contract. Understanding exactly how Palm could drive itself into irrelevance in such a short period of time will forever be a subject of Valley lore."