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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transportation

Collin Graver and his Wooden Bicycle (Video) 71

Posted by Roblimo
from the we'll-stick-to-our-metal-bikes-for-the-moment-thank-you dept.
This is not a practical bike. "Even on smooth pavement, your vision goes blurry because you're vibrating so hard," Collin said to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter back in 2012 when he was only 15 -- and already building wooden bicycles. Collin's wooden bikes are far from the first ones. Wikipedia says, "The first bicycles recorded, known variously as velocipedes, dandy horses, or hobby horses, were constructed from wood, starting in 1817." And not all wooden bicycles made today are as crude as Collin's. A Portland (OR) company called Renovo makes competition-quality hardwood bicycle frames -- for as little as $2200, and a bunch more for a complete bike with all its hardware fitted and ready to roll.

Of course, while it might be sensible to buy a Renovo product if you want a wood-framed bike to Race Across America, you won't improve your woodworking skills the way Collin's projects have improved his to the point where he's made a nice-looking pair of wood-framed sunglasses described in his WOOD YOU? SHOULD YOU? blog. (Alternate Video Link)
Science

Interviews: Ask Malcolm Gladwell a Question 111

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.
Malcolm Gladwell is a speaker, author, and staff writer for The New Yorker since 1996. Gladwell's writing often focuses on research in the social sciences and the unexpected connections or theories made from such research. His books: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Outliers: The Story of Success, and David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants are all New York Times best sellers. Malcolm has agreed to give us some of his time to answer any question you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.
Math

Big Talk About Small Samples 246

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: My last article garnered some objections from readers saying that the sample sizes were too small to draw meaningful conclusions. (36 out of 47 survey-takers, or 77%, said that a picture of a black woman breast-feeding was inappropriate; while in a different group, 38 out of 54 survey-takers, or 70%, said that a picture of a white woman breast-feeding was inappropriate in the same context.) My conclusion was that, even on the basis of a relatively small sample, the evidence was strongly against a "huge" gap in the rates at which the surveyed population would consider the two pictures to be inappropriate. I stand by that, but it's worth presenting the math to support that conclusion, because I think the surveys are valuable tools when you understand what you can and cannot demonstrate with a small sample. (Basically, a small sample can present only weak evidence as to what the population average is, but you can confidently demonstrate what it is not.) Keep reading to see what Bennett has to say.
Build

Maker Joe is a 'Maker' Sculptor (Video) 16

Posted by Roblimo
from the I-sculpt,-therefore-I-am dept.
Joe Gilmore was showing some of his work at Maker Faire Atlanta when Timothy Lord pointed his camera at him. Joe may never create a Mars colony or build the tallest skyscraper in North America, but what he does is fun to the point of whimsy, and seems to bring smiles to a lot of faces. (Alternate Video Link)
Build

HYREL 3-D Printers Were Developed by 3-D Printer Users (Video) 55

Posted by Roblimo
from the we-aren't-going-to-excited-by-a-printer-again-until-we-see-a-4d-one dept.
HYREL 3-D had a display Timothy spotted at last month's Maker Faire Atlanta. They're not trying to hustle Kickstarter donors; they exceeded their $50,000 goal by over $100,000. Their main pitch was (and still is) that they are making high-reliability 3-D printers that can run many hours without breaking. Project spokesperson Daniel Hutchison says he and other people he knows who were making prototypes and short-run parts in the Atlanta area were continually disappointed by the poor reliability of available 3-D printers, which is why they decided to make their own. Open Source? Somewhat, partially, kind of... but they have a bunch of proprietary secret sauce in their software, too. Daniel goes into this in more detail in the video, so there's no need for us to repeat his words when you can hear them (or read them in the transcript) for yourself. (Alternate Video Link)
Science

Interviews: Ask Rachel Sussman About Photography and the Oldest Living Things 35

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.
samzenpus writes Rachel Sussman is a photographer whose work covers the junction of art, science, and philosophy. Perhaps her most famous work is the "Oldest Living Things in the World" project. Working with biologists, she traveled all over the world to find and photograph organisms that are 2,000 years old and older. Sussman gave a TED talk highlighting parts of the project including a clonal colony of quaking aspen 80,000-years-old and 2,000-year-old brain coral off Tobago's coast. Rachel has agreed to put down her camera and answer any questions you may have about photography or any of her projects. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.
Privacy

Interviews: Ask Executive Director Andrew Lewman About Tor and Privacy 61

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.
samzenpus writes Andrew Lewman wears many hats: biologist, advocate against domestic violence, programmer, Executive Director of the Tor project and a member of the board of directors. He works to preserve the right to speak and read freely online by fighting laws and technology that threaten anonymity. Just how hard that has become is much clearer now that the NSA's interest in Tor has become public. Andrew has agreed to give us some of his time and answer any questions you might have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.
Education

Interviews: Ask Robert Ballard About Ocean Exploration 40

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.
samzenpus writes A former Navy officer and a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, Robert Ballard is one of the most famous ocean explorers in the world. He is best known for his discoveries of hydrothermal vents, the Titanic, and the German battleship the Bismarck. Ballard is the "Explorer-in-Residence" for the National Geographic Society. He works extensively on exploration through telepresence capabilities and distance learning programs including the JASON Project, which reaches more than 1 million students. His latest work involves the Ocean Exploration Trust, the organization that manages his exploration ship the E/V Nautilus. The ship carries with it two ROVs named Hercules and Argus that explore the seafloor in real-time online. Dr. Ballard has just concluded the 2014 season and has agreed to answer your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.
The Internet

LibraryBox is an Open Source Server That Runs on Low-Cost Hardware (Video) 47

Posted by Roblimo
from the share-thousands-of-books-no-matter-how-far-you-are-out-in-the-boonies dept.
The world is full of wireless servers -- or at least some of it is. There are still many places, including parts of the United States, where you can have all the laptops, smart phones, and other wireless-capable devices you want, but there's no server that caters to them. Enter LibraryBox. It's open source and it runs on a variety of low-cost, low-power hardware. The project's website calls it "portable private digital distribution."

A lot of people obviously like this project and wish it well. LibraryBox ran a Kickstarter campaign in 2013, hoping for $3000, and raised $33,119. But today's interviewee, Jason Griffey, can explain his project better than we can, so please watch the video (or read the transcript) if you want to learn more about LibraryBox -- including the story behind the project's name. (Alternate Video Link)
Sci-Fi

Michelle Sleeper Creates 'Gaming, Comics, and Pop Culture Based Props' 35

Posted by Roblimo
from the add-one-part-3-d-printing-to-three-parts-imagination-and-you're-good-to-go dept.
If you go to a sci-fi or gaming convention you'll see people in exotic "character" costumes, often holding exotic props, with some of the most popular being futuristic firearm mockups of one sort or another. Who makes all these cool fannish items? A whole bunch of artists and artisans, including Michelle Sleeper (who says she got tired of jokes about her name many years ago). She's not only one of these artisans, but is also a committed 3-D printer user, since 3-D printing is how she forms a high percentage of her props (with the word "props" being used here in the theatrical rather than the nautical sense). To keep up with what Michelle is making, you should check her blog. One of her most interesting posts, titled Atlanta Mini Maker Faire: On missing deadlines, failure, and triage, is about preparing for the event where Timothy Lord met and interviewed Michelle.

Even if gamer gatherings and SF conventions aren't your thing, the interview (along with the links above) gives a nice glimpse into the life of an independent artisan who uses technology to create a lot of her art. (Alternate Video Link)
Books

Interviews: Ask Warren Ellis a Question 58

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.
samzenpus writes "Warren Ellis is an acclaimed British author of comics, novels, and television who is well known for his sociocultural commentary. The movies Red and Iron Man 3 are based on his graphic novels. In addition to numerous other comic titles, he started a personal favorite, Transmetropolitan. Ellis has written for Vice, Wired UK, and Reuters on technological and cultural matters, and is co-writing a video project called Wastelanders with Joss Whedon. Warren has agreed to give us some of his time to answer any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post."
Technology

Remote Vision Through a Virtual Reality Headset (Video) 44

Posted by Roblimo
from the it-looks-much-better-over-there-than-it-does-here dept.
Add some material-handling devices and you'd have software-controlled Waldos, first described by Robert A. Heinlein in the 1942 short story titled Waldo. So while the idea of a pair of artificial eyes you control by moving your head (while looking at the area around the artificial eyes, even if it's in orbit), sounds like futuristic fun, especially if you use an Oculus Virtual Reality device instead of an LED screen, it not only hasn't caught up with science fiction, but is a fair ways behind science fact. Still, the idea of being able to control a vision system deep under the sea or in orbit around Saturn is certainly interesting in and of itself. (Alternate Video Link)
Build

A Low Cost, Open Source Geiger Counter (Video) 46

Posted by Roblimo
from the be-sure-to-take-one-of-these-on-your-next-trip-to-chernobyl dept.
Sawaiz Syed's LinkedIn page says he's a "Hardware Developer at GSU [Georgia State University], Department of Physics." That's a great workplace for someone who designs low cost radiation detectors that can be air-dropped into an area where there has been a nuclear accident (or a nuclear attack; or a nuclear terrorist act) and read remotely by a flying drone or a robot ground vehicle. This isn't Sawaiz's only project; it's just the one Timothy asked him about most at the recent Maker Faire Atlanta. (Alternate Video Link)
Build

The Bogus Batoid Submarine is Wooden, not Yellow (Video) 44

Posted by Roblimo
from the some-people-build-ornithopters-and-some-build-machines-that-flap-their-wings-underwater dept.
This is a "wet" submarine. It doesn't try to keep water out. You wear SCUBA gear while pedaling it. And yes, it is powered by a person pushing pedals. That motion, through a drive train, makes manta-style wings flap. This explains the name, since rays are Batoids, and this sub is a fake Batoid, not a real one. It's a beautiful piece of work, and Martin Plazyk is obviously proud to show it off. He and his father, Bruce, operate as Faux Fish Technologies. Follow that link and you'll see many photos, along with a nice selection of videos showing their creations not just in static above-water displays, but in their natural (underwater) element. Meanwhile, here on Slashdot, Martin tells how Faux Fish subs are made. (Alternate Video Link)
Businesses

An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man 342

Posted by timothy
from the that-trick's-not-so-weird dept.
Any gathering of 65,000 people in the desert is going to require some major infrastructure to maintain health and sanity. At Burning Man, some of that infrastructure is devoted to a supply chain for ice. Writes Bennett Haselton, The lines for ice bags at Burning Man could be cut from an hour long at peak times, to about five minutes, by making one small... Well, read the description below of how they do things now, and see if the same suggested change occurs to you. I'm curious whether it's the kind of idea that is more obvious to students of computer science who think algorithmically, or if it's something that could occur to anyone. Read on for the rest; Bennett's idea for better triage may bring to mind a lot of other queuing situations and ways that time spent waiting in line could be more efficiently employed.
Social Networks

Eggcyte is Making a Pocket-Sized Personal Web Server (Video) 94

Posted by Roblimo
from the my-data-belongs-to-me-and-no-one-else dept.
Eggcyte has been working on this for two years. It's on Kickstarter now; a personal server you can use to share music, video, text, and just about anything else without resorting to cloud-based services where one weak password can put your private celebrity photos (you are a celebrity, right?) into the wrong hands. If you suddenly decide you don't want to share the information on your Egg any more, turn it off. If you suddenly have something new to share, like a video you just shot of the Loch Ness Monster capturing an alien spaceship, you can connect your Egg to the Internet anywhere you find a wireless access point. The main thing, say the Eggcyte people, is that your data is yours and should stay that way. Facebook and other cloud-based "sharing" companies use your data to learn about you. Here in the U.S. their primary purpose may be to show you ads for things you might want to buy. In more repressive countries, cloud-based sharing services may use your private data in ways that could be hazardous to your health. Of course, our government people would never keep track of what we post on Twitter and other online services... or would they? (Alternate Video Link)
Patents

Interviews: Ask Florian Mueller About Software Patents and Copyrights 187

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.
Florian Mueller is a blogger, software developer and former consultant who writes about software patents and copyright issues on his FOSSPatents blog. In 2004 he founded the NoSoftwarePatents campaign, and has written about Microsoft's multi-billion-dollar Android patent licensing business and Google's appeal of Oracle's Android-Java copyright case to the Supreme Court. Florian has agreed to give us some of his time in order to answer your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.
Privacy

The Correct Response To Photo Hack Victim-Blamers 622

Posted by samzenpus
from the who's-to-blame dept.
Bennett Haselton writes As commenters continue to blame Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities for allowing their nude photos to be stolen, there is only one rebuttal to the victim-blaming which actually makes sense: that for the celebrities taking their nude selfies, the probable benefits of their actions outweighed the probable negatives. Most of the other rebuttals being offered, are logically incoherent, and, as such, are not likely to change the minds of the victim-blamers. Read below to see what Bennett has to say.
Build

Liking Analog Meters Doesn't Make You a Luddite (Video) 155

Posted by Roblimo
from the let's-not-forget-nixie-tubes dept.
Chris Gordon works for a high-technology company, but he likes analog meters better than digital readouts. In this video, he shows off a bank of old-fashioned meters that display data acquired from digital sources. He says he's no Luddite; that he just prefers getting his data in analog form -- which gets a little harder every year because hardly any new analog meters are being manufactured. (Alternate Video Link)

"It's ten o'clock... Do you know where your AI programs are?" -- Peter Oakley

Working...