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Single Pixel Camera Takes Images Through Breast Tissue

Required Snark Dual Photography (35 comments)

Researchers from Stanford demonstrated in 2005 how to generate an image of a scene from the point of view of the light source instead of the camera. It's called dual photography, and has some similarities to the single pixel technique.

We present a novel photographic technique called dual photography, which exploits Helmholtz reciprocity to interchange the lights and cameras in a scene. With a video projector providing structured illumination, reciprocity permits us to generate pictures from the viewpoint of the projector, even though no camera was present at that location. The technique is completely image-based, requiring no knowledge of scene geometry or surface properties, and by its nature automatically includes all transport paths, including shadows, interreflections and caustics. In its simplest form, the technique can be used to take photographs without a camera; we demonstrate this by capturing a photograph using a projector and a photo-resistor. If the photo-resistor is replaced by a camera, we can produce a 4D dataset that allows for relighting with 2D incident illumination.

It exploits Helmholtz reciprocity to swap the camera view with the light view. If light is modeled as rays/photons, the path between the light source and a camera pixel is the same going from the light to the pixel, or the pixel to the light. Hence reciprocity.

2 hours ago
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WaveNET – the Floating, Flexible Wave Energy Generator

Required Snark Re:ah yea... (89 comments)

Yes, Mr. ShashDot Pundit. You're absolutely right.

You are so smart and they are so dumb. it's guaranteed that they spent no time doing any calculations about this. Every engineer they have has never even seen the ocean, only designed stuff on paper/computers in nice clean rooms. They've never run any simulations, or done any physical testing at all, because all engineers just know that complex new things always work perfectly the first time.

So just call them and talk to the receptionist, or send them an email and tell them about your brilliant insight. I'm sure that once they hear your detailed criticism it will bring their foolish scheme to a screeching halt. At the very least they will give up, or see the light and appoint you the head honcho. Only your fantastically sharp mind can save them.

Good luck with your new position.

2 days ago
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NSF Commits $16M To Build Cloud-Based and Data-Intensive Supercomputers

Required Snark Repuiblicans hate reality (28 comments)

To late. The Republican party has decided to legislate against reality already.

House Republicans pass bill forbidding scientists from advising the EPA on their own research :

H.R. 1422, which passed 229-191, would shake up the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board, placing restrictions on those pesky scientists and creating room for experts with overt financial ties to the industries affected by EPA regulations.

The bill is being framed as a play for transparency: Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, argued that the board’s current structure is problematic because it “excludes industry experts, but not officials for environmental advocacy groups.” The inclusion of industry experts, he said, would right this injustice.

But the White House, which threatened to veto the bill, said it would “negatively affect the appointment of experts and would weaken the scientific independence and integrity of the SAB.”

In what might be the most ridiculous aspect of the whole thing, the bill forbids scientific experts from participating in “advisory activities” that either directly or indirectly involve their own work. In case that wasn’t clear: experts would be forbidden from sharing their expertise in their own research — the bizarre assumption, apparently, being that having conducted peer-reviewed studies on a topic would constitute a conflict of interest. “In other words,” wrote Union of Concerned Scientists director Andrew A. Rosenberg in an editorial for RollCall, “academic scientists who know the most about a subject can’t weigh in, but experts paid by corporations who want to block regulations can.”

2 days ago
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The Schizophrenic Programmer Who Built an OS To Talk To God

Required Snark Re:Be Gentle With Him (449 comments)

You've got it backwards. For the most part those with serious schizophrenia (and other mental disorders) are not so much of a threat because they are so mentally disorganized.

The people who are the real problems are "normal", but use religion as an excuse for their bad behavior, or those who follow religion so blindly that they do bad things because of group pressure.

3 days ago
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Cameron Accuses Internet Companies Of Giving Terrorists Safe Haven

Required Snark Re:Its even worse than that (178 comments)

You're absolutely right.

England should immediately ban people from communicating with one another in any way, shape, manor or form. No talking, no writing, no sign language, no winks, nods, frowns or smiles.

No facial expression allowed, because the terrorists might win!!!

They need mandatory unisex berkas with built in sound proofing. That's how to protect western values of freedom, by wrapping everyone up in a shroud and making them shut the fuck up. That will show those radical scum they can't push England around. Freedom!

3 days ago
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Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist

Required Snark Re:eh (438 comments)

Bullshit.

In more detail, let me modify one of your key sentences: "what's good for the corrupt oligarchs may not be the same as what's good for the country." Fixed that for you.

Impoverishing US workers will not "juice the success of domestic tech companies which, in the long run, may actually be better for the U.S. as a whole". One that happens it will be hard as hell to bootstrap back to an overall high standard of living in the US. Just how stupid are you to even think that?

And then there is the issue that tech workers are just the latest group to be thrown under the bus in the name of short term greed.

Here's an example of how it's done. At one point construction and industrial jobs like meat packing were all unionized. Then the unions were broken and the jobs were filled by immigrant labor. That's why there are now large numbers of Spanish speaking non-documented workers in the Midwest, for example. It's not that native US workers are not good workers, it's that the employers don't want them because they want semi-slaves. They want workers who will put up with anything, including having their wages stolen or being maimed on the job and not being able to do anything about it.

For tech workers the plan is slightly more complex. First, offshore as many jobs as possible. Second, import as many non-citizen workers as possible. Third, flood the market with a bunch of severely under-trained "coders", like Zuckerberg and his co-conspirators are attempting with code.org. Having a vast army of unemployed makes anyone with a job completely fearful and willing to settle for crumbs.

So the US middle class is destroyed? Do you think that any of the rich care? Remember what Romney said during the election. He thinks that half of Americans are scum. As far as he and his ilk are concerned, if you don't do well it's all your fault. The reality is that he and his type profit from eliminating jobs in the US. They do well by making the rest of us do poorly, and they then have the gall to blame us for not being good enough.

I guess you think that you're immune, or perhaps you want to be a serf. You sure don't seem like someone who want to work and prosper in their own country. What's wrong with you?

3 days ago
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Raspberry Pi-Powered Body Illusion Lets You Experience Parkinson's

Required Snark There is a point to this (38 comments)

Event though the Slashdot Pundits are clueless about the utility of such a simulation, it has real significance.

There is nothing like having the experience of another persons problems to make you more thoughtful and sympathetic. Even if someone like Tyra Banks shallowly exploits homelessness for a day, the principle still holds.

For a real world example of how vicious someone can be about a disease like Parkinson's, just look at what Rush Limbaugh did to Michael J. Fox:

In October 2006 Limbaugh said Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, had exaggerated the effects of his affliction in political TV ad advocating for funding of stem cell research. Limbaugh said that Fox in the ad had been "shameless" in "moving all around and shaking", and Fox had not taken "his medication or he's acting, one of the two". Fox said "the irony of it is I was too medicated", adding that there was no way to predict how his symptoms would manifest. Limbaugh said he would apologize to Fox "bigley and hugely...if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act". In 2012, Fox said Limbaugh in 2006 had acted on "bullying instincts" when "he said I faked it. I didn't fake it", and said Limbaugh's goal was to have him marginalized and shut down for his stem cell stance.

I would bet that anyone who had the simulated experience would never make that kind of odious claim against someone else. For example if kids in school were exposed to the effect they would be a lot less inclined to make fun of people with tremors.

This is an example of how technology can change perceptions in positive ways.

3 days ago
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Attack of the One-Letter Programming Languages

Required Snark APL: A Programming Language (127 comments)

The article is shallow and dumb. It does not even mention the inventor of APL, Ken Iverson, even though two of the languages in the article are based on APL.

APL was not invented by IBM to be terse. It was invented by Iverson as a notation to describe array operations, and he published a book about it before he went to IBM.

This is just lazy journalism. The guy who wrote it got a stupiod idea, spent insufficient time doing research, wrote something trivial in even less time and screwed up his facts.

He gets an "I" for idiot.

3 days ago
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How the Pentagon's Robots Would Automate War

Required Snark It's the Mine Shaft Gap!!! (117 comments)

We've seen this before, both IRL and on film.

In the "news" (not in fact), there was a claimed missile gap between the US and the USSR. This blew up (pun intended) just before the Kennedy/Nixon presidential election, and helped Kennedy get elected. Kennedy blamed Nixon, who was Vice President during the previous Eisenhower administration, of being responsible for this failure.

In fact, the estimates about the number of Soviet ICBMs were grotesquely exaggerated.

The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) 11-10-57, issued in December 1957, predicted that the Soviets would "probably have a first operational capability with up to 10 prototype ICBMs" at "some time during the period from mid-1958 to mid-1959." After Nikita Khrushchev claimed to be producing them "like sausages", the numbers started to inflate. A similar report gathered only a few months later, NIE 11-5-58 released in August 1958, concluded that the USSR had "the technical and industrial capability ... to have an operational capability with 100 ICBMs" some time in 1960, and perhaps 500 ICBMs "some time in 1961, or at the latest in 1962."

In a widely syndicated article in 1959, Joseph Alsop even went so far as to describe "classified intelligence" as placing the Soviet missile count as high as 1,500 by 1963, while the US would have only 130 at that time.

It is known today that even the CIA's estimate was too high; the actual number of ICBMs, even including interim-use prototypes, was 4.

So they were claiming over a hundred in two years, while the real number at the time was four.

In Kubricks's film Dr. Strangelove, this was parodied as a mineshaft gap

Dr. Strangelove recommends that the President gather several hundred thousand people, with a high female-to-male ratio (10 to 1), to live in deep mineshafts where the radiation would not penetrate, and to then institute a breeding program to repopulate the Earth when the radiation has subsided. Turgidson warns that the Soviets will likely do the same, and worries about a "mineshaft gap". In the middle of this discussion, Dr. Strangelove miraculously rises from his wheelchair, takes a few small steps, and shouts, "Mein Führer! I can walk!".

So in a time of shrinking budgets, when a Pentagon general gets up on a podium and screams "were falling behind, we need more money NOW!!!", maybe you should examine his claims very carefully. The Pentagon is not exactly a disinterested party. There is a lot of recent history suggesting he might not be right.

4 days ago
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Nuclear Weapons Create Their Own Security Codes With Radiation

Required Snark Who is General Jack D. Ripper? (104 comments)

General Jack D. Ripper is a character in Stanly Kubrick's film Dr. Strangelove, a black comedy about nuclear holocaust. The character was played by Sterling Hayden.

Ripper gets WW III rolling:

United States Air Force Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) is commander of Burpelson Air Force Base, which houses the SAC 843rd Bomb Wing equipped with B-52 bombers. The 843rd is currently on airborne alert, in flight just hours from the Soviet border.

General Ripper orders his executive officer, Group Captain Lionel Mandrake of the UK Royal Air Force, to put the base on alert. Ripper also issues 'Wing Attack Plan R' to the patrolling aircraft, one of which is commanded by Major T. J. "King" Kong (Slim Pickens). All of the aircraft commence an attack flight on Russia, and set their radios to allow communications only through the CRM 114 discriminator, which is programmed to transmit only communications preceded by a secret three-letter code known only to General Ripper.

Mandrake discovers that no order for war has been issued by the Pentagon, and tries to stop Ripper, who locks them both in his office. Ripper tells Mandrake that he believes the Soviets have been using fluoridation of United States' water supplies to pollute the "precious bodily fluids" of Americans. Mandrake realizes that General Ripper is insane.

4 days ago
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Elon Musk Talks "X-Wing" Fins For Reusable Rockets, Seafaring Spaceport Drones

Required Snark Re:He's not just speculating (96 comments)

Hidden history. The original intent of the Space Shuttle was for both civilian/NASA and US Air Force use.

The crucial factor in the size and shape of the Shuttle orbiter was the requirement that it be able to accommodate the largest planned commercial and military satellites, and have over 1,000 mile cross-range recovery range to meet the requirement for classified USAF missions for a once-around abort from a launch to a polar orbit. The militarily specified 1,085 nm cross range requirement was one of the primary reasons for the Shuttle's large wings, compared to modern commercial designs with very minimal control surfaces and glide capability. Factors involved in opting for solid rockets and an expendable fuel tank included the desire of the Pentagon to obtain a high-capacity payload vehicle for satellite deployment, and the desire of the Nixon administration to reduce the costs of space exploration by developing a spacecraft with reusable components.

Of course the USAF then backed out on their commitment, and went with non-reusable launchers. From their point of view this had two very desirable characteristics: first, it kept the flow of funding/pork to the big existing aerospace companies (Boeing, Lockheed) and it also allowed Air Force personal to retire and go directly to work for those same companies. Between the self-serving political pork based decisions in Congress, and the self-serving revolving door in the military-industrial complex, the Space Shuttle didn't have a chance.

This left NASA with an intrinsically flawed design. With a reduced fleet size there were no economies of scale, and the platform never evolved. That's why it was never cost effective and took so long to refurbish between flights. Also, the screwed up design was the direct cause of both shuttle disasters. The SRBs and big wings with an external tank were the features that caused the accidents.

If NASA had not been forced to accommodate the Air Force requirements on a budget that was too small, they would have come up with a safe and cost-effective solution. They know how to do it right when there is not too much external interference. Almost every time there is a big screw up at NASA it's because decisions are imposed on them by politics.

5 days ago
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Spaceport America Loses $1.7 Million Due To Virgin Galactic Delays

Required Snark Re:Makes sense (46 comments)

Here's an in depth article specifically addressing this issue: Failure to Launch. It was published in March this year, five months before the Virgin Galactic crash. It painted a pretty grim picture then, so obviously things are even more dire now.

Some quotes.

In the absence of Galactic operations, the only passengers who have lifted off from Spaceport America are the cremated remains of people whose families have paid UP Aerospace to launch their dead loved ones on a final joyride.

Speaking about Richard Branson:

“What you have is one of the poorest states in the country and the taxpayers in this state subsidizing the business of a billionaire for the benefit of multimillionaires,” says Gessing.

The actual hub of commercial US space launch development is the Mohave Air and Space Port.

That facility recently released a promotional video calling itself “The Modern-Day Kitty Hawk,” and it may very well be right. Including Virgin Galactic, there are 17 commercial space companies using 19 rocket launch sites at Mojave. “It is the center of aerospace entrepreneurial development,” says Galactic CEO George Whitesides.

Even for Virgin Galactic, Mojave is where the jobs are.

Galactic job offerings announced via Twitter in the final months of 2013 were for nearly 50 positions to be based in Mojave, ranging from jobs like systems engineering lead to hydraulics systems engineer to propulsion test manager. In that same period only nine jobs to be based at Spaceport America were advertised, and those jobs were not lucrative engineering gigs but decidedly more menial positions like warehouse manager and diesel technician and manager of maintenance. ... But for every one job based at the New Mexico spaceport, there are still another five announced for Mojave.

The whole mess sounds a lot like the scam pulled by major league sports franchises: they get cities to build billion dollar stadiums, tax breaks that make it unlikely that the cities will ever directly make money from the team, and then hire a bunch of part time workers to run concessions. Not exactly high paying jobs that will fuel economic growth in the region.

It's another case of the ultra wealthy getting corporate welfare at the expense of people who really can't afford it. It doesn't much look like capitalism, it looks a lot more like a feudal lord starving the peasants to keep the castle in business.

5 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

Required Snark Personal experience as an employee (176 comments)

I will tell you how it works from the other side of the fence.

First, find some area with a high cool factor. Cool can be substituted for almost anything else, like management.

Find potential employees who are obsessed with your cool idea/company. There are two equally important characteristics that these people must have: they must be really smart, and they must be ready to do anything to make the cool happen.

Promise them two things: they will help change the world, and any sacrifice they make now will pay off in big bucks when you succeed. Pay them a moderately OK salary, but not anywhere near the high end. If pay ever comes up talk about cool, loyalty and payoffs in the indefinite future.

Work them until blood comes of their ears. If possible cater their meals, so they spend all their time either at work or with their co-workers. This keeps them from realizing that you are stealing their life. It helps if you can find single people, or couples where you hire both people. Social ties to non-employees just cause trouble.

Raise money, get customers, and go into panic mode. Take the people you have hired with no management experience and make them manage stuff. Don't hire professional managers because it is a waste of money and time. Also, if they know that you are making mistakes, they might challenge you and make the staff start wondering if you know what you are doing.

Pay yourself very well, but act humble. If the place is small, take people out to lunch or dinner a lot. It's tax deductible, and it makes them think you give a rat's ass about them.

Be a technical success at the cost of business failure. Over promise and deliver late, but show great technical chops. Make sure that everyone in your market area sees how good your results are, even if they are not economically viable.

Go out of business. Be apologetic to your employees about failing. Tell them they did a great job and it's not their fault. It helps if you have a partner you can blame.

This is all OK, because you got the big salary, so you can buy a house and have a new car, etc. You also have the intangible asset of having a high profile start up with high technical visibility.

Do it again as many times as you can. If you do it right you will have some workers, clients, and even investors who will follow you around and experience the cycle multiple times. Your net worth can go up and you can become respected in your field without ever running a successful business. It's called failing up. It's a very popular career path in both Silicon Valley and Hollywood.

5 days ago
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Molecular Clusters That Can Retain Charge Could Revolutionize Computer Memory

Required Snark Any discussion on the topic is useless (36 comments)

There is no content outside the pay wall that is useful.

What does a 'write-once-erase’ access model mean? For all we know, it means they can only write the data once, not more then once, and erase it without the ability to do any reads. That's one interpretation of those three words in that order.

Is there some way we can retroactively erase this from Slashdot? It's so broken it cannot be fixed.

Everyone leave this now and don't come back. It's the closest we can get to erasing it. That's what I'm doing. Now.

about a week ago
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Sweden Considers Adding "Sexism" Ratings To Video Games

Required Snark Re:Slashdot freaks out over $36,672 (641 comments)

Who just increased their numbers in the House and took over the Senate? Except for executive action, the Democrats have nothing for the next two years.

Mitch McConnell is already talking like he was elected President. The Republican right is already talking abut impeachment.

Your whining about "liburuls" controlling the US is a blend of propaganda and paranoid delusion. Turn off the Fox News, leave your parents basement and visit the real world.

about two weeks ago
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World's Youngest Microsoft Certificated Professional Is Five Years Old

Required Snark Re:Note to IT recruiters. (276 comments)

When will the 5 year old be replaced by a 1H-B because it's cheaper?

about two weeks ago
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Sweden Considers Adding "Sexism" Ratings To Video Games

Required Snark Slashdot freaks out over $36,672 (641 comments)

Ohh, scary scary. Some evil Swedish "librurls" want to take control of your dick. And they have an entire $36,672 in funding. I can see why you are taking it so seriously.

It's a real credible threat. They hate us for our freedom. Maybe we should fake some intelligence about weapons of mass destruction and invade their ass.

The market capitalization of Activision/Blizzard is $14 Billion. Take Two is $2 billion. Meanwhile someone is spending under $40K in Europe to do a study. How much impact can that possibly have?

Sweden is the Berkeley of Europe. They could ban all video games and it would make no discernible difference outside of Sweden. Just like Berkeley can pass laws on drugs or political asylum and it may or may not have any impact even inside the city limits. It's mostly posturing.

So why the freakout? It's clearly disproportionate. It gives the impression that there is a vast amount of insecurity, or maybe some unacknowledged internal guilt. It sure doesn't look like adult behavior under any circumstance,

about two weeks ago
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Billionaire Donors Lavish Millions On Code.org Crowdfunding Project

Required Snark Fucking bait and switch (84 comments)

The whole code.org thing always smelled fishy to me. When the "join the high paid software field with only six days/weeks/months of training" crap showed up I was even more befuddled. Nothing seemed to add up.

Now it all makes sense. These are cheap flashy diversions intended as distraction from the real agenda. They can claim they are supporting the future of STEM education in the US, and training those post K-12 to become employable in software. See, they are patriotic businessmen who love the US!!!

Meanwhile the real plan is to flood the market with unlimited foreign trained employees and drive technical salaries into the dirt. They won't be satisfied until technical talent is in the same range as minimum wage.

Before anyone screams that I'm crazy, that is exactly what happened in the visual effects industry. A combination of moving jobs offshore, lots of 1H-B visas, and a glut of under-trained people moved salaries for many into the under $25/hour range. No health insurance, and since everyone is a show hire, no job security. You don't like the unpaid 40% overtime? Go work at Starbucks.

By the way, that is not a theoretical circumstance. I know someone who used to do pretty well doing visual effects. Eventually he had to declare bankruptcy, and take jobs at both Starbucks and Target. When he finally got back into do effects he was making a third his previous salary. Since he is officially a "professional", he works at least 16 hours a week unpaid overtime. The job is six months, and at the first of the year he'll be pounding the pavement looking for something else. It's kind of like free lance indentured servitude.

If your think that your precious technical ass is immune to this, you deserve to end up sleeping in your car. The plan to screw you is in motion and all systems are go. The only question is what are you going to do about it.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Boing Using Accounting Tricks to Throttle SpaceX

Required Snark Required Snark writes  |  about 5 months ago

Required Snark (1702878) writes "Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put forth a proposal that all US launch providers must "be required to submit financial reports before transporting astronauts to the ISS." This would keep all the launch providers except Boeing /United Lauch Alliance from making manned ISI flights.

The reasoning:

At a hearing on May 1, Shelby said that “NASA is spending billions to help private companies develop a launch vehicle, but has little to no access to the books and records associated with its investment.”

The White House responded stating

their concern “about language that would seek to apply accounting requirements unsuitable for a firm, fixed-price acquisition.” The House said that changes made would “likely increasing the program’s cost and potentially delaying its schedule.”

As previously posted on Slashdot, loosing access to these motors could impact up to 31 scheduled missions.

So why is Senator Shelby siding with Boeing and the Russians?

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby today discussed important issues facing Alabama and the nation, including job growth, during his visit to the United Launch Alliance (ULA) production facility in Decatur, Ala., where ULA manufactures both Atlas and Delta launch vehicles.

...

“In light of sustained high unemployment rates, I am pleased that ULA employs hundreds of Alabamians and plans to hire dozens more producing the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle here in Decatur,” said Sen. Shelby. “These high-skilled workers assemble a unique national asset whose success currently underpins the very existence of our national security space program. ULA’s presence is welcome in Alabama. I appreciate the opportunity to have a conversation with the company’s workers and the citizens of Decatur to discuss our country’s deepest challenges and lay out a positive vision for the future.”

So Red White and Blue Senator Shelby has decided that jobs in his state and campaign contributions (a.k.a bribes) from Boeing are more important then access to space. He also seems to have forgotten the American values of free enterprise and technical innovation in favor of state sponsored entrenched interests in both the US (Boeing) and Russia (NPO Energomash).

I wonder what Shelby is doing on the Fourth of July?"

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Thick Chinese Smog is Harming Agriculture

Required Snark Required Snark writes  |  about 9 months ago

Required Snark (1702878) writes "The smog in China is so thick and pervasive that it is having a large scale negative impact on agricultural production.

Scientists say China's smog blocks natural light, thus slowing down the photosynthesis process necessary for plants to thrive.

...

He Dongxian, an associate professor with China Agricultural University's College of Water Resources and Civil Engineering, conducted experiments in Beijing over recent months which she says showed a drastic slowdown in the photosynthesis process.

As part of He's experiments, chili and tomato seeds, for example, took more than two months to sprout at a greenhouse farm in Beijing's Changping district, while the same outcome is typically achieved in 20 days under artificial light in a laboratory. Air pollutants adhere to greenhouse surfaces, reducing by half the amount of light available to the plants, she said.

Most seedlings at the farm were weak or sick, He told the Post. "They will be lucky to live at all."

If China's smog persists or intensifies, He warns, the country's food supply faces devastating consequences. "Now almost every farm is caught in a smog panic."

According to the story "much of north and central China — about one-seventh of the country — was also covered in smog last weekend", so the problem extends far beyond Beijing."
Link to Original Source

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San Francisco Rail Commuters Ignore Man Flashing Gun: One Killed

Required Snark Required Snark writes  |  about a year ago

Required Snark (1702878) writes "

The man drew the gun several times on the crowded San Francisco commuter train, with surveillance video showing him pointing it across the aisle without anyone noticing and then putting it back against his side, according to authorities.

The other passengers were so absorbed in their phones and tablets they didn't notice the gunman until he randomly shot and killed a university student, authorities said.

"These weren't concealed movements — the gun is very clear," District Attorney George Gascon said. "These people are in very close proximity with him, and nobody sees this. They're just so engrossed, texting and reading and whatnot. They're completely oblivious of their surroundings."'

The next time you are out in public, put in your ear buds, and zone out while connected online, just remember even though your mind has "left the building", you are still actually physically present..

Sometimes ignoring your surroundings is the wrong thing to do. In this case, everyone was so spaced out they were all sitting ducks.

So ask yourself: when was the last time I was so plugged in that I missed something big? Has anyone had a life threatening experience due to being on line at the wrong time?"

Link to Original Source

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Lockeed "Skunk Works" Announces Fusion Power Demo in Five Years

Required Snark Required Snark writes  |  about a year ago

Required Snark (1702878) writes "

At the recent Google “Solve for X” conference on February 7, Lockheed Martin's long-term R&D department (“Skunk Works”) announced they are working on a compact fusion reactor. With what seems a 4th generation prototype called "T4", the aerospace giant says to have developed a high beta configuration, which allows a compact reactor design and faster development timeline.

Public reactions describe the announcement of their activities on nuclear fusion remarkable, because Lockheed Martin doesn't usually make public announcements about Skunkwork projects unless they have a high degree of confidence in their chances of success. The developement timeline indicates plans to have a prototype 100-megawatt nuclear fusion machine of Lockheed Martin tested in 2017, and that a fully operational machine should be grid-ready ten years from now.

Some of the properties reported from the presentation:

  • A self-tuning feedback mechanism whereby the magnetic field increases the farther out that the plasma goes
  • Novel magnetic field configuration that has very few open field lines compared to tokamak design
  • Very "good arch curvature" of the field lines The system has a beta of about 1
  • System is working with D-T fuel

Although the presentation is short on details, Lockheed Skunk Words has a phenomenal track record, and they are putting their reputation of the line when they make this kind of announcement at a high profile Google event. A video of the presentation is here."
Link to Original Source

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The Unreasonable Effectiveness of C

Required Snark Required Snark writes  |  about 2 years ago

Required Snark (1702878) writes "Let the Language Wars Begin (Again). Damian Katz of CouchDB published a blog post entitled "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of C".

"For years I've tried my damnedest to get away from C. Too simple, too many details to manage, too old and crufty, too low level. I've had intense and torrid love affairs with Java, C++, and Erlang. I've built things I'm proud of with all of them, and yet each has broken my heart. They've made promises they couldn't keep, created cultures that focus on the wrong things, and made devastating tradeoffs that eventually make you suffer painfully. And I keep crawling back to C."

Among it's other virtues, he points out that it is a fantastic high level language that "makes it easy to reason about high level algorithms and low level hardware at the same time." It offers the best speed, debugging environment, consistency of execution, a uniform ABI, compatibility with other languages, and a fast build-test-debug cycle. It has many flaws, but as Katz says "Its flaws are very very well known, and this is a virtue. All languages and implementations have gotchas and hangups. C is just far more upfront about it."

So, Slashdot, is everything old new again?"

Link to Original Source
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High Frequency Trading: Far Worse then you Thought

Required Snark Required Snark writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Required Snark (1702878) writes "High Frequency Trading is a software engineering disaster, according to a study by the Chicago Federal Reserve. As reported at The Economic Populist, problems include:

Industry and regulatory groups have articulated best practices related to risk controls, but many firms fail to implement all the recommendations or rely on other firms in the trade cycle to catch an out-of-control algorithm or erroneous trade. In part, this is because applying risk controls before the start of a trade can slow down an order, and high-speed trading firms are often under enormous pressure to route their orders to the exchange quickly so as to capture a trade at the desired price.

Another area of concern is that some firms do not have stringent processes for the development, testing, and deployment of code used in their trading algorithms. For example, a few trading firms interviewed said they deploy new trading strategies quickly by tweaking old code and placing it into production in a matter of minutes.

Chicago Fed staff also found that out-of-control algorithms were more common than anticipated prior to the study and that there were no clear patterns as to their cause. Two of the four clearing BDs/FCMs, two-thirds of proprietary trading firms, and every exchange interviewed had experienced one or more errant algorithms.

To sum things up, the well being of the entire world economy is now in the hands of greedy, incompetent corrupt insiders who will do anything to achieve a profit. The regulators are all off on a permanent vacation. (The Federal Reserve does not regulate HFT.) What could possibly go wrong?"
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Former IBM Japan President Otoshi charged for taking up-skirt pictures

Required Snark Required Snark writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Required Snark (1702878) writes "Takuma Otoshi was the President of IBM Japan from 1999 to 2008, and had an ongoing senior adviser position until his recent arrest. According to Toyko police reports:

Police records say that around 8:00 AM on August 22nd, Ototshi was cited for violating Tokyo’s public nuisance ordinance by using his Apple iPod’s recording function to film up the skirt of a woman as she rode an escalator at the JR Yotsuya Station. A nearby male commuter is said to have witnessed what happened and told the station’s authorities. Investigators say once Otoshi’s iPod was checked, they found a number of incriminating pictures.

Does this mean that IBM endorses the IPod?"
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Hunters Shoot Down Drone of Animal Rights Group

Required Snark Required Snark writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Required Snark (1702878) writes "A remote control drone operated by an animal rights group was shot down in South Carolina by a group of thwarted hunters.
Steve Hindi, the group president said "his group was preparing to launch its Mikrokopter drone to video what he called a live pigeon shoot on Sunday when law enforcement officers and an attorney claiming to represent the privately-owned plantation near Ehrhardt tried to stop the aircraft from flying." After the shoot was halted, the drone was launched anyway, and at this point it was shot down. "Seconds after it hit the air, numerous shots rang out," Hindi said in the release. "As an act of revenge for us shutting down the pigeon slaughter, they had shot down our copter." "It is important to note how dangerous this was, as they were shooting toward and into a well-travelled highway," Hindi stated in the release."

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Sea water can cause uranium polution from fuel rod

Required Snark Required Snark writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Required Snark (1702878) writes "UC Davis researchers have found a mechanism where the sodium in sea water can cause uranium nano-particles to be released from nuclear reactor fuel rods. Normally the uranium oxide compounds composing the rods are very resistant to leaching into water. This could have serious consequences for the Fukushima disaster, since sea water was used for emergency cooling."
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