Slashdot's 15th anniversary by getting together with other Slashdot readers in person. In the Tampa Bay part of Florida, a small and humble meeting was sponsored by an open source company called Fextel at their St. Petersburg HQ. The catering was excellent, and it was a fun group of 12 or so who showed up, about half of whom knew each other from the Suncoast Linux Users Group (SLUG). So we had good food and good people. What else did we need? Remote control helicopter battles, of course! In retrospect, we now believe remote helicopters crashing into each other should be required at any event with a Slashdot theme. We may may just be saying this because we live someplace where the NFL won't let us watch any home games, so we are more entertainment-deprived than most Americans. Then again, maybe helicopter wars are just plain cooler than watching football, and the USA should have fewer NFL games and more Slashdot-based parties.
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concealment writes in with a story about a man who has been crowned the world's happiest. "Tibetan monk and molecular geneticist Matthieu Ricard is the happiest man in the world according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin. The 66-year-old's brain produces a level of gamma waves — those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory — never before reported in neuroscience. The scans showed that when meditating on compassion, Ricard's brain produces a level of gamma waves — those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory — 'never reported before in the neuroscience literature,' Davidson said. The scans also showed excessive activity in his brain's left pre-frontal cortex compared to its right counterpart, giving him an abnormally large capacity for happiness and a reduced propensity towards negativity, researchers believe."
Damien1972 writes "If you suffer from acute arachnophobia, this is the perfect Halloween discovery for you: a spider expert has discovered nine new species of arboreal tarantulas in Brazil. Although tarantula diversity is highest in the Amazon rain-forest, the new species are all found in lesser-known Brazilian ecosystems like the Atlantic Forest and the cerrado."
scibri writes "Once a Tyrannosaurus took down a Triceratops, how did it go about eating it? By looking at the bite marks on Triceratops fossils, a group of paleontologists have pieced together the steps, and created an illustrated guide. Step one? Pull off the head."
sciencehabit writes "Science Magazine has crowned the winner of its annual 'Dance Your Ph.D.' contest. Scientists from around the globe are invited to submit videos of themselves interpreting their graduate theses in dance form. The results are often hilarious--and highly entertaining--and this year is no exception. This year's winner is Peter Liddicoat, a materials scientist at the University of Sydney in Australia, whose 'Evolution of nanostructural architecture in 7000 series aluminum alloys during strengthening by age-hardening and severe plastic deformation' is interpreted as a performance that employs juggling, clowning, and a big dance number—representing the crystal lattices that he studies with atomic microscopy."
fangmcgee writes "Reno-based First Warning Systems is working on a new bra that could detect if you are developing breast cancer. Integrated sensors and a data controller regularly monitor your breasts and can watch for irregularities which may signal the growth of tumors. Tests so far are showing that the bra is far superior and may be able to detect cancerous growth up to 6 years sooner than self-exams or mammograms."
First time accepted submitter madcarrots writes "The Red Bull Stratos space jump is about to take place. The balloon is filling up and launch is expected around 10 AM MDT. Check out the live feed of the inflation process... it's beautiful!" After some delays it looks like the jump is finally going to happen. UPDATE: The jump was a success. Baumgartner is on the ground and apparently fine.
If you are a seafood lover and wish that you could eat more fish raised on pig feces, your dreams are coming true. Due to fierce competition in the Chinese tilapia industry, farmers are increasingly switching to feces instead of commercial feed. From the article: "At Chen Qiang’s tilapia farm in Yangjiang city in China’s Guangdong province, which borders Hong Kong, Chen feeds fish partly with feces from hundreds of pigs and geese. That practice is dangerous for American consumers, says Michael Doyle, director of the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety. 'The manure the Chinese use to feed fish is frequently contaminated with microbes like salmonella,' says Doyle, who has studied foodborne diseases in China."
Curseyoukhan writes "With its economy struggling, New Zealand hopes to cash in on 'The Hobbit' by turning it into actual cash. The nation is releasing special commemorative coins depicting characters from J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved book. The coin release coincides with the premiere of the first installment in Peter Jackson's film adaptation of the book. It is also part of a publicity campaign aimed to rebrand the country '100 percent Middle Earth.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The details of a Canadian spying case are coming to light, including the method of copying the sensitive data from the 'secured' computer linking five countries and the Russian handlers: Copy Data into Notepad; Save File to Floppy Drive; USB Key; ???; Profit! For $3000/mo in prepaid credit cards and wire transfers."
SchrodingerZ writes "PETA, the same group that last November protested Mario for 'wearing fur,' has condemned the Pokémon media franchise and video game series. In light of the recent release of Pokemon Black and White Versions 2, the activist group is protesting that the Pokemon game series 'paints a rosy picture of what amounts to thinly veiled animal abuse.' As many of us know Pokemon is about young children who capture wild animals for the sole purpose of having them battle in non-fatal sparing matches. 'Much like animals in the real world, Pokémon are treated as unfeeling objects and used for such things as human entertainment and as subjects in experiments. The way that Pokémon are stuffed into pokéballs is similar to how circuses chain elephants inside railroad cars and let them out only to perform confusing and often painful tricks that were taught using sharp steel-tipped bullhooks and electric shock prods,' says a statement from the group. Ironically within Pokemon B/W 2 there an organization known as Team Plasma , which deals with taking Pokemon and retuning them to the wild. PETA is so up in arms that they have even created an anti-pokemon parody game in which you play as an escaped Pokemon battling your trainer. I recommend trying it, just for the laughs."
An anonymous reader writes "cHTeMeLe is a board game about writing HTML5 code. In cHTeMeLe, players endorse their favorite web browser (Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, or IE) and then score points by correctly laying out HTML tags, while also trying to bug or crash their opponents' code. From the article: 'Despite cHTeMeLe's technical theme, its developers claim you don't need any web programming experience to play. The game takes web design standards and boils them down into game rules that even children can learn. To help less technical players keep everything straight, the tag cards use syntax highlighting that different parts of code have unique colors — just like an Integrated Developer Environment. No one is going to completely pick up HTML5 purely by playing cHTeMeLe, but it does have some educational value for understanding basic tags and how they fit together.'"
theodp writes "File this one under it-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time. The Filter digital agency decided to show off their Steve Jobs spirit on the first anniversary of Jobs' death by declaring Friday Steve Jobs dress-up day. But where things really took a turn for the worse was in Seattle, where Filter employees took it to the local Apple Store where they formed a Flash Mob of Steve Jobs dress-alikes dancing Gangnam Style. Hey, even our best of intentions sometimes go awry."
jones_supa writes "Since August, beekeepers around the town of Ribeauville in the region of Alsace, France have seen their bees starting to produce honey in an odd blue or green color. Mystified, the beekeepers embarked on an investigation and discovered that a biogas plant 4 km away has been processing waste from a plant producing colorful M&M candies. Subsequently the bees had been carrying the waste to their nests. Agrivalor, the company operating the biogas plant, said it had tried to address the problem after being notified of it by the beekeepers. 'We discovered the problem at the same time they did. We quickly put in place a procedure to stop it,' told Philippe Meinrad, co-manager of Agrivalor."
mikejuk writes "Next time you're dreaming up ways to make the users of your apps feel loved and wanted, think a little more wildly. How about giving them an actual hug? That's what MIT researchers Melissa Chow and her colleagues Andy Payne and Phil Seaton at MIT have come up with — a jacket that hugs the wearer when one of their friends 'likes' one of their posts on Facebook. The Like-A-Hug vest is described as receiving a signal when a Facebook friend 'likes' a post, then fills with air to give the wearer the sensation of being hugged."