Google Pulls Plug On Programming For the Masses
thisisauniqueid, could you ping my email address? Thanks.
Queen Elizabeth Sets a Code-Breaking Challenge
Basically it's a two-bit finite state machine and a pair of lookup tables.
"Can you list all the 16 countries of which her majesty is the queen?"
Amar Bose To Donate Company To M.I.T.
True story: An elderly gentleman walked into an electronics store in Toronto looking to buy speakers. The salesman showed him a couple of different models. The customer pointed at another set on the shelves and asked about them. The salesman said "Oh, those are Bose, they're crap." The customer was Amar Bose.
Endeavour Launch Delayed For At Least 48 Hours
Sorry, your facts are reversed. NASA's budget is $17 billion. China's space budget is $1.3 billion. Russia's space budget is $2.4 billion.
For eight times the money, the US manages to reach approximate parity with the Russians. This is the result of the badly designed Space Shuttle program which over its lifetime has cost $1.5 billion per launch.
Looking forward, SpaceX is on track to cut US launch costs by a factor of ten. That will make the US the #1 place to launch rockets -- for the first time since the 1970s.
Apple Sues Samsung Over Galaxy Phones and Tablets
Here's what the predecessor of the iPad looked like, it was called the PADD:
Rectangular with rounded corners.
X-37B Robotic Space Plane Returns To Earth
I agree completely that the X-37 makes no apparent sense. The only argument I can come up with is that returning is just a nice side effect of its real purpose: inclination changes. Chaning altitude and period and phase is all relatively easy with onboard thrusters (and X-37 has an orbital maneuvering engine almost as big as the Space Shuttle's). But the amount of thurst needed to change oribal inclination from, say equatorial to ISS, is vast. I calculated it recently as being equivalent to the delta-v provided by an earth to LEO launch.
What X-37 might be capable of is dipping into the atmosphere, banking, then thrusting back up to orbit. That's exactly what the Air Force's previous space plane was designed to do, the Dyna-soar. Once one has this capability, returning from orbit to a runway landing is a freebie since you already have the wings.
The recently concluded X-37 test flight did not show an inclination change. But look for it on a future flight. This would allow extreme flexability in imaging enemy action at completely unpredictable times.
International Effort Brings an Open Standard For Docking In Space
Docking of course is just the first step. One also needs agreement on the atmosphere. American spacecraft (Apollo, Skylab) used 100% oxygen at 5 psi. Soviet spacecraft (Soyuz, Salut, Mir) used 20% oxygen 80% nitrogen at 14.7 psi. Neither side could change this easilly. Thus even though Apollo and Soyuz were able to physically dock in 1975, they had to use an airlock between the two spacecraft. Otherwise the cosmonauts would have gotten the bends from decompression and Apollo could have ruptured from overpressure.
Fortunately this is no longer much of an issue. As a result of the Apollo 1 fire and the deaths of Grissom, White and Chaffee, American spacecraft (starting with the Space Shuttle) adopted the Soviet approach.
Robot Warriors Will Get a Guide To Ethics
Even in a battlefield devoid of both enemy and non-combatants, when to shoot or not can be extremely difficult. Consider the case (which occurred in Iraq) where one group of soldiers are fired upon by another group from the same side. Yes, that's a tragic blue-on-blue action. But the interesting question is what should the soldiers on the receiving end do? Assuming communications aren't working, do they:
a) Sit back and get slaughtered.
b) Fire back and take out the aggressors.
One consideration is the size of the forces involved. Another consideration is the importance of the missions each side is involved in.
Making a robot handle these cases would be interesting.
Where Have All the Pagers Gone?
When carrying a pager for one of Google's farms I occasionally get messages from unknown numbers saying things like "WHERES THE STUFF YOU DIDNT SHOW". So obviously some people still use them.
I'm sometimes tempted to text back "Double dumbass on you" or something else inflammatory -- then sit back and watch the 6 o'clock news. But that would be evil.
Stanford To Offer Free CS and Robotics Courses
Their two different beasts.
Totally agreed. I see that someone learned his homonyms via an online course.
I concur. Someone learned their vocabulary via an online course. Their/There/They're are homophones (same sound). Polish/polish and read/read are homographs (same spelling). Bank/bank and stalk/stalk are homonyms (same sound and same spelling). Homonyms are both homographs and homophones.
I attended my university linguistics courses in person.