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Mt. Fuji Volcano In 'Critical State' After Quakes

Anonymous Coward writes | about 4 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Mount Fuji, in addition to being a picturesque landmark and an important part of Japanese culture, is also an active volcano. Its last eruption was just over 400 years ago, but its location — where the Eurasian, Pacific, and Philippine tectonic plates meet — mean it will always have potential for eruption. A new study has examined the pressures around Mount Fuji in the wake of several recent earthquakes, including the magnitude 9 tremor that unleashed the destructive tsunami in 2011. The researchers now say the volcano is in a "critical state." According to the study's lead author, "The volcanic regions are the ones where the fluids trapped in the rock – boiling water, gas, liquid magma, which cause an eruption when they rise to the surface – exert the greatest pressure. The seismic waves add to this pressure, causing even more disturbance." They have no way of predicting when an eruption might happen, but the potential seems greater than ever."
Link to Original Source

Australian Electoral Commission refuses to release vote counting source code

angry tapir (1463043) writes | about 4 months ago

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angry tapir (1463043) writes "The Australian Electoral Commission has been fighting a freedom of information request to reveal the source code of the software it uses to calculate votes in elections for Australia's upper house of parliament. Not only has the AEC refused an FOI request for the source code, but it has also refused an order from the Senate directing that the source code be produced. Apparently releasing the code could "leave the voting system open to hacking or manipulation"."
Link to Original Source

Is the Software Renaissance Ending?

Anonymous Coward writes | about 4 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Writer and former software engineer Matt Gemmell adds his voice to the discussion about writing code as a profession. Gemmell worries that the latest "software Renaissance," which was precipitated by the explosion of mobile devices, is drawing to a close. "Small shops are closing. Three-person companies are dropping back to sole proprietorships all over the place. Products are being acquired every week, usually just for their development teams, and then discarded. The implacable, crushing wheels of industry, slow to move because of their size, have at last arrived on the frontier. Our frontier, or at least yours now. I've relinquished my claim." He also pointed out the cumulative and intractable harm being done by software patents, walled-garden app stores, an increasingly crowded market, and race-to-the-bottom pricing. He says that while the available tools make it a fantastic time to develop software, actually being a developer may be less sustainable than ever."
Link to Original Source

Apple and IBM announce partnership to bring iOS + Cloud services to enterprises

jmcbain (1233044) writes | about 4 months ago

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jmcbain (1233044) writes "According to an article on Recode, Apple and IBM have announced a major partnership to bring mobile services to enterprise customers. "The deal calls for IBM and Apple to develop more than 100 industry-specific applications that will run on the iPhone and iPad. Apple will add a new class of service to its AppleCare program and support aimed at enterprise customers. IBM will also begin to sell iPhones and iPads to its corporate customers and will devote more than 100,000 people, including consultants and software developers, to the effort. Enterprise applications will in many cases run on IBM’s cloud infrastructure or on private clouds that it has built for its customers. Data for those applications will co-exist with personal data like photos and personal email that will run on Apple’s iCloud and other cloud services.""

Pseudonyms Now Allowed On Google+

Anonymous Coward writes | about 4 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "When Google+ launched, it received criticism across the internet for requiring that users register with their real names. Now, Google has finally relented and removed all restrictions on what usernames people are allowed to use. "We know you've been calling for this change for a while. We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today's change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be.""
Link to Original Source

Here's a way to store energy. In bags. Of Air. Underwater.

IMissAlexChilton (3748631) writes | about 4 months ago

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IMissAlexChilton (3748631) writes "As described in IEEE Spectrum: Canadian startup Hydrostor thinks it has a solution to offshore wind power's intermittency problem: giant underwater bags. "Using electricity from Toronto Hydro’s grid to run a compressor, it will fill the bags with air. Later, when the utility needs electricity, the air will be emptied from the bags and run through a turboexpander." This will be the world’s first commercial facility for underwater compressed-air energy storage. To be sure, though, you'll need an awful lot of air-filled energy bags to back up a large wind farm. Disclosure: I am the author of the Spectrum article and a staff editor for same."

The Search for a Fifth Force of Nature

Jonathan Salinas (3748663) writes | about 4 months ago

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Jonathan Salinas (3748663) writes "They're really beginning to consider killing SUSY because they are seeing that it has produced no concrete experimental evidence when it should have already. This sounds like quite the farce of force, but at least it's opening a path to the next step in uncovering the truth.

From the article: http://www.bbc.com/news/scienc...
"According to the simplest versions of the theory, supersymmetric particles should have been discovered at the LHC by now...Next year will be an important year for SUSY. The LHC will be smashing atoms together at almost twice the energy it did in its first run. Even those who are still strong advocates of SUSY, such as Cern's revered professor of theoretical physics, John Ellis, agree that if LHC scientists do not find super particles in the LHC's second run, it might be time for the hospital patient to be moved to the mortuary.

One of the alternative models being considered is the composite Higgs theory: "The composite Higgs theory also solves the fine tuning problem, albeit less elegantly and, just as with SUSY, there is no experimental evidence for it. It supposes that the Higgs is not a fundamental particle, but is instead made up of other fundamental particles bound together by a hitherto unseen fifth force of nature. This is similar to what is already known to happen with the strong nuclear force, which binds quarks together to produce nuclear particles like protons and neutrons.""

Link to Original Source

Sony Forgets to Pay for Domain, Hilarity Ensues

Dragoness Eclectic (244826) writes | about 4 months ago

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Dragoness Eclectic (244826) writes "Early Tuesday, gamers woke up to find out that they couldn't log in to any Sony Online Entertainment games--no Everquest, no Planetside 2, none of them. Oddly, the forums where company reps might have posted some explanation weren't reachable, either.

A bit of journalistic investigation by EQ2Wire came across the explanation: SOE forgot to renew the domain registration on SonyOnline.net, the hidden domain that holds all their nameservers. Oops! After 7 weeks of non-payment post-expiration, NetworkSolutions reclaimed the domain, sending all access to Sony's games into an internet black hole this morning. Sony has since paid up, but it takes a while for DNS changes to propagate around the world. SOE's president, John Smedley, has admitted that the expiration notices were being sent to an "unread email" address. Good job, guys."

Link to Original Source

Marvel's New Thor Will Be A Woman

Anonymous Coward writes | about 4 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Marvel Comics has announced that Thor, the thunder god whose story has been told in comic books, movies, and TV shows since the 1960s, will fall from grace, and no longer be able to wield his hammer Mjolnir. A brand new female character will take up the name Thor and continue the series. Jason Aaron, the series writer, said, "This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before." Marvel's Wil Moss added, "The new Thor continues Marvel's proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn't a temporary female substitute — she's now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy!""
Link to Original Source

Telcos move net neutrality to fight to congress

Presto Vivace (882157) writes | about 4 months ago

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Presto Vivace (882157) writes "Public Knowledge Warns of Net Neutrality-Targeted Amendment

Public Knowledge is rallying its supporters after learning that some House members plan to try and add an amendment to H.R. 5016, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act to block funding of FCC network neutrality rules. H.R. 5016 is the bill that keeps funding the government and whose failure to pass can shut it down. The White House has already said it opposed the existing FCC budget cuts and threatened a veto of a bill it says politicized the budget process.

Public Knowledge is asking citizens to tell congress to stop meddling with net neutrality. In a way this is a good sign. It is an indication that the telcos think that they will lose at the FCC."

Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For An Answer

RevWaldo (1186281) writes | about 4 months ago

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RevWaldo (1186281) writes "The Verge and other sources post how AOL's Ryan Block ultimately succeeded in cancelling his Comcast account over the phone, but not before the customer service representative pressed him for eight solid minutes (audio) to explain his reasoning for leaving "the number one provider of TV and internet service in the country" in a manner that would cause a character in Glengarry Glen Ross to blanch. Comcast has as of now issued an apology."

Harvesting energy from humidity - Water droplets can charge Cellphones.

rtoz (2530056) writes | about 4 months ago

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rtoz (2530056) writes "Last year, MIT researchers discovered that when water droplets spontaneously jump away from superhydrophobic surfaces during condensation, they can gain electric charge in the process. Now, the same team has demonstrated that this process can generate small amounts of electricity that might be used to power electronic devices.

This approach could lead to devices to charge cellphones or other electronics using just the humidity in the air. As a side benefit, the system could also produce clean water.

The device itself could be simple, consisting of a series of interleaved flat metal plates.

A cube measuring about 50 centimeters on a side — about the size of a typical camping cooler — could be sufficient to fully charge a cellphone in about 12 hours. While that may seem slow, people in remote areas may have few alternatives."

Mozilla Releases Mozjpeg 2.0, Facebook Backs The JPEG Encoder With $60,000

Anonymous Coward writes | about 4 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla today announced the release of mozjpeg version 2.0. The JPEG encoder is now capable of reducing the size of both baseline and progressive JPEGs by 5 percent on average (compared to those produced by the standard JPEG library libjpeg-turbo upon which mozjpeg is based). Mozilla today also revealed that Facebook is testing mozjpeg 2.0 to see whether it can be used to improve the compression of images on Facebook.com. The company has even donated $60,000 to contribute to the ongoing development of the technology."

Would Microsoft really cut its QA department?

colinneagle (2544914) writes | about 4 months ago

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colinneagle (2544914) writes "Bloomberg reports that Nadella is making changes to the engineering organization and that QA testers may feel the ax. The publication attributes to him the notion that "it often makes sense to have the developers test and fix bugs instead of a separate team of testers."

This would be an incredible move if it's true, because it would fly in the face of more than 30 years of development processes. The whole premise of Agile development is based on building one small piece, test, test, test, add another feature, test, test, test, rinse, repeat. You don't let programmers debug their code for the same reason you don't let writers be their own editor; you need fresh eyes to see what the other person might not.

Microsoft does use a different technique for development. Rather than straight QA people, it uses what it called Software Developer Engineer Test, or SDET, who create software that identifies bugs and fixes them when possible. There is still a layer of human intervention for harder-to-find bugs, but the process does automate testing.

Might Microsoft be bold enough to cut QA for its software products and increase its automated testing processes? Or is this just a nightmare scenario that has cropped up amid Microsoft layoff rumors?"

Link to Original Source

White House won't back Tesla's Direct Sales Initiative

neanderslob (1207704) writes | about 4 months ago

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neanderslob (1207704) writes "Last Friday, the whitehouse rejected a whitehouse.gov petition to "allow Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states." The rejection, written by Dan Utech, stated: "as you know, laws regulating auto sales are issues that have traditionally sat with lawmakers at the state level." The letter went on to defend the administration by citing their initiatives "in promoting vehicle efficiency."

In response, Tesla is firing back, blasting the whitehouse for a lack of leadership on the issue and stating:

"138,469 people signed the petition asking the White House to allow Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states. More than a year later, at 7.30pm EST on Friday as most of America prepared for the weekend, the White House released its disappointing response to those people. Rather than seize an opportunity to promote innovation and support the first successful American car company to be started in more than a century, the White House issued a response that was even more timid than its rejection of a petition to begin construction of a Death Star,"O’Connell said. "Instead of showing the sort of leadership exhibited by senior officials at the Federal Trade Commission who declared their support for consumer freedom of choice, the White House merely passed the buck to Congress and trumpeted its advances in promoting vehicle efficiency. Given the economic and environmental principles at stake, we would have hoped for stronger leadership and more action."

"
Link to Original Source

Breaches Exposed 22.8 Million Personal Records Of New Yorkers

Anonymous Coward writes | about 4 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a new report examining the growing number, complexity, and costs of data breaches in the New York State. The report reveals that the number of reported data security breaches in New York more than tripled between 2006 and 2013. In that same period, 22.8 million personal records of New Yorkers have been exposed in nearly 5,000 data breaches, which have cost the public and private sectors in New York upward of $1.37 billion in 2013. The demand on secondary markets for stolen information remains robust. Freshly acquired stolen credit card numbers can fetch up to $45 per record, while other types of personal information, such as Social Security numbers and online account information, can command even higher prices."

Court Fines French Blogger $3,400 For Her Negative Review Of Local Restaurant

Anonymous Coward writes | about 4 months ago

1

An anonymous reader writes "Here's yet another business that, when confronted with a negative review, thought to itself, "Why not deter EVEN MORE potential patrons from ever considering setting foot in our establishment?" There are many ways to react to criticism, and Il Giardino, an Italian restaurant located in France, opted for "catastrophic."

        A food blogger in France has been fined 1500 euros ($2,040 USD) for writing a negative review of a restaurant. According to Arret Sur Images (translated), Caroline Doudet wrote an unflattering review of Il Giardino, an Italian restaurant in Cap-Ferret, France in August of 2013 on her blog Les Chroniques Culturelles. She was brought to court six months later by the restaurant.

Doudet's review is actually a blog post, one that would require readers to do a little digging to get past the normal review sites. As far as I can tell from the translation, Doudet portrayed the lousy service she encountered in a far more humorous fashion than most negative reviews, all the while clearly pointing out the deficiencies she encountered.

So, rather than address the issues, or simply disregard the single voice complaining about the three waitpersons apparently needed to acquire a single round of beverages (not to mention quality issues with the food [and service] past that point), Il Giardino decided to make its mégot mal a full-blown legal affair."

Link to Original Source

OpenWRT 14.07 RC1 Supports Native IPv6, Procd Init System

Anonymous Coward writes | about 4 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Release Candidate One of OpenWRT 14.07 "Barrier Breaker" is released. Big for this tiny embedded Linux distribution for routers in 14.07 is native IPv6 support and the procd init system integration. The native IPv6 support is with the RA and DHCPv6+PD client and server support plus other changes. Procd is OpenWRT's new preinit, init, hotplug, and event system."
Link to Original Source

Flying trucks - where VTOL rotors meet army motors

Dimetrodon (2714071) writes | about 4 months ago

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Dimetrodon (2714071) writes "Flying trucks as a solution to logistic nightmares is a project that has lit up the eyes of tech luminaries like DARPA, Piasecki and LM Skunk Works to name a few. As one impressive technology demonstrator takes its maiden flight and others take shape, how do their capabilities compare, and can they really hope to improve on heavy lift helicopters?"
Link to Original Source

Google's Chrome browser tough on your laptop's battery

Presto Vivace (882157) writes | about 4 months ago

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Presto Vivace (882157) writes "Google's Chrome Web Browser Is Killing Your Laptop Battery

There is a problem with Google Chrome on Microsoft Windows that is potentially very bad news for laptop users. It can drastically affect battery life, and even slow down your computer.

So, why is Chrome eating through your battery quicker than other internet browsers? The problem is down to something called the “system clock tick rate”. This is something that Windows uses internally that you won’t hear about unless you go looking. What Chrome does, as soon as it is opened, is set the rate to 1.000ms. The idle, under Windows, should be 15.625ms. The numbers are a bit confusing, but it’s what’s happening that matters here rather than the figures themselves.

"

Google's Project Zero Aims to Make the Internet A Safer Place for All

DavidGilbert99 (2607235) writes | about 4 months ago

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DavidGilbert99 (2607235) writes "Google has announced Project Zero, a group of security experts who will hunt down security flaws in all software which touches the internet. Among the group is a 24-year-old called George Hotz who shot to fame in 2007 when he was the first to unlock the iPhone before reverse engineering the PlayStation 3."
Link to Original Source

The last three months were the hottest quarter on record

NatasRevol (731260) writes | about 4 months ago

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NatasRevol (731260) writes "The last three months were collectively the warmest ever experienced since record-keeping began in the late 1800s. http://www.slate.com/blogs/fut...

Taken as a whole, the just-finished three-month period was about 0.68 degrees Celsius (1.22 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th-century average. That may not sound like much, but the added warmth has been enough to provide a nudge to a litany of weather and climate events worldwide. Arctic sea ice is trending near record lows for this time of year, abnormally warm ocean water helped spawn the earliest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall in North Carolina, and a rash of heat waves have plagued cities from India to California to the Middle East.

Also, it puts to bed the supposed 'fact' that there's been a pause in temperature increase the last 17 years. Raw data here shows it's still increasing. http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gist..."

Microsoft Smartwatch Will Tell You When to Put on Sunscreen

rofkool (3603105) writes | about 4 months ago

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rofkool (3603105) writes "Microsoft is to launch a smartwatch featuring a wide-range of biometric features, including blood-glucose monitors and UV sensors.

Details of the device were revealed by IBTimes UK, citing sources close to the matter. Previous rumours about the smartwatch being cross-platform compatible were also confirmed.

The new sensors will mean that the Microsoft smartwatch, expected to launch later this year, will be able to warn users when ultraviolet levels are high and there is a risk of skin damage.

The blood-glucose monitor will be of particular benefit to sufferers of diabetes, who currently rely on intrusive and unwieldy equipment to keep a check on their sugar levels."

Your Personal Data Is On Your Phone -- In The Form Of Bacteria

jfruh (300774) writes | about 4 months ago

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jfruh (300774) writes "Yes, we all know that we have a lot of personally identifying information on our phones that maybe we shouldn't. But even if our data is locked down and encrypted, we're all leaving biological footprints on our phones, which are basically extensions of our personal bacterial ecosystem. A study has concluded that phones could be a less invasive source of information in studying individual microbiomes than current techniques."
Link to Original Source

The Placebo Effect occurs with Computer Applications too

vrml (3027321) writes | about 4 months ago

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vrml (3027321) writes "In medicine, it is well-known that sugar pills sometimes produce the same effects as real drugs (Placebo Effect). But could that happen with computers too? Can it be that the things a computer application claims to do are “all in our mind” and the app is actually a sham? The first scientific study of the Placebo Effect in computing, just published by the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies , gives an affirmative answer. The experiment considered affective computing, that is those fancy applications that claim to know user’s emotions by detecting physiological parameters with sensors. Researchers took two well-known affective computing systems and used them to control in real-time the state of an avatar that looked more and more nervous as users’ stress level increased, and more and more relaxed as it decreased. But they also considered a third system in which, unbeknown to users, the sensors were disconnected from the computer and the avatar state was controlled by a random stream of physiological data instead of the real user’s data. Results show that participants believed that the sham application was able to display their stress level. Even worse, only one of the two (costly) affective computing systems produced better results than the placebo. This suggests that evaluations of such novel computer applications should include also a placebo condition, as it is routinely done in medicine but not yet in computer science."

Google and Samsung Team up to develop Thread Protocol for Connected Devices

rtoz (2530056) writes | about 4 months ago

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rtoz (2530056) writes "Seven companies including Google's Nest Labs, Samsung and ARM announced that they've joined forces to form Thread Group and develop Thread, a new IP-based wireless networking protocol.

Unlike many existing technologies or IoT approaches, Thread is not an application protocol or a connectivity platform for many types of disparate networks. Thread is an IPv6 networking protocol built on open standards, designed for low-power 802.15.4 mesh networks. Existing popular application protocols and IoT platforms can run over Thread networks. A version of Thread is already being used successfully in Nest products today.

The Thread Group is open to new members and offers two tiers of membership, Sponsor and Contributor.

Few days back, Thread Group member Samsung joined with Intel to form another group named as "open interconnect consortium" (OIC)

AllSeen Alliance is another group led by Qualcomm, and microsoft is member of this group.

Apple is working on its own framework named as "HomeKit" for connecting household devices."

Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

mrspoonsi (2955715) writes | about 4 months ago

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mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "Microsoft Corp is planning its biggest round of job cuts in five years as the software maker looks to integrate Nokia Oyj's handset unit, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the company's plans. The reductions, expected to be announced as soon as this week, could be in the Nokia unit and the parts of Microsoft that overlap with that business, as well as in marketing and engineering, Bloomberg reported. The restructuring may end up being the biggest in Microsoft history, topping the 5,800 jobs cut in 2009, the report said."

Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?

Anonymous Coward writes | about 4 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "My niece, who is graduating from high school, has asked me for some career advice. Since I work in data processing, my first thought was to recommend a degree course in computer science or computer engineering. However, after reading books by Jeremy Rifkin (The Third Industrial Revolution) and Ray Kurzweil (How to Create a Mind), I now wonder whether a career in information technology is actually better than, say, becoming a lawyer or a construction worker. While the two authors differ in their political persuasions (Rifkin is a Green leftist and Kurzweil is a Libertarian transhumanist), both foresee an increasingly automated future where most of humanity would become either jobless or underemployed by the middle of the century. While robots take over the production of consumer hardware, Big Data algorithms like the ones used by Google and IBM appear to be displacing even white collar tech workers. How long before the only ones left on the payroll are the few "rockstar" programmers and administrators needed to maintain the system? Besides politics and drug dealing, what jobs are really future-proof? Wouldn't it be better if my niece took a course in the Arts, since creativity is looking to be one of humanity's final frontiers against the inevitable Rise of the Machines?"

Brazil Nut Effect Explains Mystery Of The Boulder-Strewn Surfaces Of Asteroids

KentuckyFC (1144503) writes | about 4 months ago

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KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "When Japan’s Hayabusa spacecraft gently manoeuvred into a parking orbit around the asteroid Itokawa in September 2005, it conducted a comprehensive photographic survey, the most detailed ever taken of an asteroid. This survey revealed that Itokawa is covered in large boulders that look like ejecta from craters in other parts of the asteroid. But when astronomers added up the total volume of these boulders, it turned out to be greater than the volume of the craters there were supposed to have come from. Other asteroids also show a similarly skewed distribution of large boulders. That has caused some significant head-scratching among astronomers who are at a loss to explain where the boulders come from. Now an international team has solved the mystery. They say the boulders float to the surface of asteroids in an astrophysical example of the Brazil nut effect. This is the long observed phenomenon in which shaking a mixture of big and small particles causes the larger ones to rise to the top. That's because the shaking creates gaps beneath the large particles that small particles fall into. The result is that the large particles float. The team simulated the shaking effect that collisions between asteroids would produce and say that these vibrations would cause large boulders to float to the surface in a few hours, finally explaining why asteroids have such boulder-strewn surfaces. Problem solved!"

Led by Nest, 'Thread' Might be Most Promising IoT Initiative Yet

Anonymous Coward writes | about 4 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Nest, Big Ass Fans, Yale door locks, ARM, Freescale, Samsung and Silicon Labs launch the Thread Group, a standards initiative for using 6LoWPAN-based network technology with mesh capabilities optimized for home automation. Because it blends IPv6 with low-power 802.15.4 radios, a layer of security, peer-to-peer communications and other special sauce for whole-house connectivity, Thread looks extremely promising in an increasingly crowded field. Plus, millions of units are enabled products are already deployed by way of Nest's little-known Weave technology."
Link to Original Source

The Latest Climate Change Denial Fact Twisting

bizwriter (1064470) writes | about 4 months ago

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bizwriter (1064470) writes "A new report from libertarian think tank Heartland Institute claims that new government data debunks the concept of global climate change. However, an examination of the full data and some critical consideration shows that the organization, whether unintentionally or deliberately, has inaccurately characterized and misrepresented the information and what it shows."
Link to Original Source

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