×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

When did you learn how to code?

astroengine Late bloomer... (3 comments)

I was 23 when I was confronted with an unforeseen component of my PhD that required me to adapt an old FORTRAN 77 (!) program. The learning curve was steep, and from that moment on I truly appreciated the need for coding to be taught at an early age. Up until that point my university (UK) only offered optional classes on programming. It should be an essential part of education well before university level. It's like any language; the earlier you learn it, the more fluent you become.

about a year ago
top

I go through keyboards ...

astroengine Letter erosion (341 comments)

When "A" wears away, it's time for a new keyboard, typically.

about a year and a half ago
top

Superflares Found on Sun-like Stars

astroengine Correct version (1 comments)

A previous submission on the same topic was posted accidentally with the incorrect URL. This is the correct version. Apologies!

about 2 years ago
top

Near-Earth Asteroid Discovered Via Crowdsourcing

astroengine Re:Automate (21 comments)

It is automated, but only to a point. FTA: "...the telescope scans the sky automatically, looking for any errant chunks of space rock. When an asteroid candidate is identified, the data must be reviewed by a human before the discovery is made."

more than 2 years ago
top

Poll: Would you take a one way ticket to Mars?

astroengine Choice 1, but only if.... (1 comments)

...I know there are Martian microbes. Nothing like ending your life as fertilizer.

more than 3 years ago
top

NYT claims Slashdot losing relevance in social web

astroengine Re:Losing referred traffic... (3 comments)

Very true -- my stats will attest to that. A massive Digg spike = thousands of visitors who can't be bothered to read the title. A modest surge in Slashdot traffic = a steady flow of visitors over a longer period who read the title, first sentence (shocker!), first paragraph, and (dare I say it?) the whole article, taking several minutes to do so.

more than 3 years ago
top

NYT claims Slashdot losing relevance in social web

astroengine Not on my watch (3 comments)

As a publisher myself, this article pretty much contradicts my experience with Slashdot. True, traffic can be variable, but there's a thriving community here that understands what sci-tech news actually IS. Also, if an article goes popular on /., I find many of the mainstream sites pick the story up from here. If I want to read endless articles about Facebook's latest privacy conundrum or get my daily dose of lolcats, then I'd pop over to Digg. Slashdot isn't the same model as the "other" social media sites, and it may not be relevant to many, it is certainly relevant to a huge number of sci-tech-savvy contributors.

more than 3 years ago
top

Pizza Lovers Suffer Data Breach From Hell

astroengine It's a concern... (164 comments)

I'd hate it if half of New Zealand knew how much pizza I eat.

more than 3 years ago
top

Wikimedia Foundation receives $2m Google grant

astroengine But is it sustainable? (3 comments)

Sure, it's awesome Wikipedia is getting sizable grants, donations and gifts, but how long can the foundation be sustained in this way? Wikipedia, despite its flaws, has become a permanent feature of the web, but it seems there is always a campaign to raise more funds... perhaps Google ads will be the future.

more than 4 years ago
top

Pluto — a Complex and Changing World

astroengine Because... (191 comments)

...planets have surfaces. Pluto has a surface, therefore it's a planet.

more than 4 years ago
top

AAAS reaffirms position on climate change

astroengine But the deniers will keep rumbling (1 comments)

It's great to finally see the big organizations taking on "Climategate", but unfortunately, this whole scenario will continue to be harked by global warming deniers because, quite franky, screaming "conspiracy" is all they've got.

more than 4 years ago
top

Beamed Space Solar Power Plant To Open In 2016?

astroengine Wouldn't it be cheaper if... (512 comments)

...a company sold roof tiles with embedded solar panels, market them as 'green', get government tax breaks for anyone participating in the scheme, feed the power collected into the national grid... and *tada* we can collect more energy than a space solar satellite. It's safer, more practical, cheaper and certainly less stupid than thinking space solar is going to become a reality by 2016...

more than 4 years ago
top

'Stoned wallabies make crop circles'

astroengine Wallaby hoaxers (1 comments)

The same way most crop circles are made, then.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

top

Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

astroengine astroengine writes  |  2 days ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "About 500 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus lives a star, which, though smaller and redder than the sun, has a planet that may look awfully familiar. With a diameter just 10 percent bigger than Earth’s, the newly found world is the first of its size found basking in the benign temperature region around a parent star where water, if it exists, could pool in liquid form. Scientists on the hunt for Earth's twin are focused on worlds that could support liquid surface water, which may be necessary to brew the chemistry of life. "Kepler-186f is significant because it is the first exoplanet that is the same temperature and the same size (well, ALMOST!) as the Earth,” David Charbonneau, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, wrote in an email to Discovery News. "Previously, the exoplanet most like Earth was Kepler-62f, but Kepler-186f is significantly smaller. Now we can point to a star and say, ‘There lies an Earth-like planet.’”"
Link to Original Source
top

Saturn May Have Given Birth to a Baby Moon

astroengine astroengine writes  |  5 days ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "NASA’s Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft has imaged something peculiar on the outermost edge of the gas giant’s A-ring. A bright knot, or arc, has been spotted 20 percent brighter than the surrounding ring material and astronomers are interpreting it as a gravitational disturbance caused by a tiny moon. “We have not seen anything like this before,” said Carl Murray of Queen Mary University of London. “We may be looking at the act of birth, where this object is just leaving the rings and heading off to be a moon in its own right.”"
Link to Original Source
top

Pluto May Have Deep Seas and Ancient Tectonic Faults

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about a week ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "In July 2015 we get our first close look at the dwarf planet Pluto and its moon, Charon — a fact that has scientists hypothesizing more than ever about what we might see there. One of the latest ideas put forward is that perhaps the collision that likely formed Pluto and Charon heated the interior of Pluto enough to give it an internal liquid water ocean, which also gave the small world a short-lived plate tectonics system, like that of Earth."
Link to Original Source
top

Rover Curiosity Discovers 'Australia' on Mars

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about two weeks ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has begun science operations in a new area of study nicknamed “the Kimberly” after the Western Australian region. But in a new image uploaded to the Mars Science Laboratory raw image archive, it seems “the Kimberly” is a little more Australian than mission managers originally thought. As spotted by @CoUdErMaNn on Twitter, Curiosity’s Navcam photographed a rather interesting-looking rock formation just in front of the rover. The rock, which appears to have been formed through some erosion process, will likely fascinate geologists for some time. But at first glance the rock also appears to take the shape of Australia."
Link to Original Source
top

Saturn's Moon Enceladus Has Underground Ocean

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about two weeks ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "Gravity measurements made with the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft indicate the small moon Enceladus has an ocean sandwiched between its rocky core and icy shell, a finding that raises the prospects of a niche for life beyond Earth. The Cassini data shows the body of water, which is in the moon’s southern hemisphere, must be as large or larger than Lake Superior and sitting on top of the moon’s rocky core at a depth of about 31 miles. "The ocean may extend halfway or more toward the equator in every direction," said planetary scientist David Stevenson, with the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena."
Link to Original Source
top

Small World Discovered Far Beyond Pluto

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about three weeks ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "After a decade of searching, astronomers have found a second dwarf-like planet far beyond Pluto and its Kuiper Belt cousins, a presumed no-man’s land that may turn out to be anything but. How Sedna, which was discovered in 2003, and its newly found neighbor, designated 2012 VP 2113 by the Minor Planet Center, came to settle in orbits so far from the sun is a mystery. Sedna comes no closer than about 76 times as far from the sun as Earth, or 76 astronomical units. The most distant leg of its 11,400-year orbit is about 1,000 astronomical units. Newly found VP 2113’s closest approach to the sun is about 80 astronomical units and its greatest distance is 452 astronomical units. The small world is roughly 280 miles (450 kilometers) wide, less than half the estimated diameter of Sedna."
Link to Original Source
top

First Asteroid Discovered Sporting a Ring System

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about three weeks ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "When you think of a celestial ring system, the beautiful ringed planet Saturn will likely jump to mind. But for the first time astronomers have discovered that ring systems aren’t exclusive to planetary bodies — asteroids can have them too. Announced on Wednesday, astronomers using several observatories in South America, including the ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile, have discovered that distant asteroid Chariklo possesses two distinct rings. Chariklo, which is approximately 250 kilometers (155 miles) wide, is the largest space rock in a class of asteroids known as Centaurs that orbit between Saturn and Uranus in the outer solar system. “We weren’t looking for a ring and didn’t think small bodies like Chariklo had them at all, so the discovery — and the amazing amount of detail we saw in the system — came as a complete surprise!” said lead researcher Felipe Braga-Ribas, of the Observatório Nacional and MCTI, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil."
Link to Original Source
top

Lasers to Solve the Black Hole Information Paradox?

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about three weeks ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "In an effort to help solve the black hole information paradox that has immersed theoretical physics in an ocean of soul searching for the past two years, two researchers have thrown their hats into the ring with a novel solution: Lasers. Technically, we’re not talking about the little flashy devices you use to keep your cat entertained, we’re talking about the underlying physics that produces laser light and applying it to information that falls into a black hole. According to two researchers who published a paper earlier this month to the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity, the secret to sidestepping the black hole information paradox (and, by extension, the "firewall" hypothesis that was recently argued against by Stephen Hawking) lies in stimulated emission of radiation (the underlying physics that generates laser light) at the event horizon that is distinct from Hawking radiation, but preserves information as matter falls into a black hole."
Link to Original Source
top

Big Bang's Smoking Gun Found

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about a month ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "For the first time, scientists have found direct evidence of the expansion of the universe, a previously theoretical event that took place a fraction of a second after the Big Bang explosion nearly 14 billion years ago. The clue is encoded in the primordial cosmic microwave background radiation that continues to spread through space to this day. Scientists found and measured a key polarization, or orientation, of the microwaves caused by gravitational waves, which are miniature ripples in the fabric of space. Gravitational waves, proposed by Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity nearly 100 years ago but never before proven, are believed to have originated in the Big Bang explosion and then been amplified by the universe’s inflation. “Detecting this signal is one of the most important goals in cosmology today,” lead researcher John Kovac, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said in a statement."
Link to Original Source
top

Mars Rover Opportunity Faces New Threat: Budget Ax

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about a month ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "NASA’s baseline budget for the year beginning Oct. 1 pulls the plug on the 10-year-old Mars rover Opportunity, newly released details of the agency’s fiscal 2015 spending plan show. The plan, which requires Congressional approval, also anticipates ending the orbiting Mars Odyssey mission on Sept. 30, 2016. “There are pressures all over the place,” NASA’s planetary science division director Jim Green said during an advisory council committee teleconference call on Wednesday."
Link to Original Source
top

Monster Rare Yellow Hypergiant Star Discovered

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about a month ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "A gargantuan star, measuring 1,300 times the size of our sun, has been uncovered 12,000 light-years from Earth — it is one of the ten biggest stars known to exist in our galaxy. The yellow hypergiant even dwarfs the famous stellar heavyweight Betelgeuse by 50 percent. While its hulking mass may be impressive, astronomers have also realized that HR 5171 is a double star with a smaller stellar sibling physically touching the surface of the larger star as they orbit one another. “The new observations also showed that this star has a very close binary partner, which was a real surprise,” said Olivier Chesneau, of the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur in Nice, France. “The two stars are so close that they touch and the whole system resembles a gigantic peanut."
Link to Original Source
top

Impact Crater Origin of Mars Meteorites Discovered

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about a month and a half ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "Out of the thousands of craters scarring the face of Mars, one has emerged as the likely source of most of the Martian meteorites that have been recovered on Earth, a new study shows. Researchers pinpoint Mojave Crater, a 34 mile (55 kilometer) wide basin on the planet’s equator, as the origin of the so-called “shergottites” meteorites, a family that includes about 75 percent of the roughly 150 known Martian meteorites. The crater is located slightly north and east of Meridian Planum, where NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity landed in January 2004."
Link to Original Source
top

Hubble Witnesses Mysterious Breakup of Asteroid

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about a month and a half ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "Hubble has observed some weird things since it was launched in 1990, but this is probably one of the strangest. In September 2013, the Catalina and Pan-STARRS sky surveys spotted a mysterious object in the asteroid belt, a region of rocky debris that occupy the space between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Follow-up observations by the Keck Observatory in Hawaii resolved three separate objects within the fuzzy cloud. It was so strange that Hubble mission managers decided to use the space telescope to get a closer look. And what they saw has baffled and thrilled astronomers in equal measure. “This is a really bizarre thing to observe — we’ve never seen anything like it before,” said co-author Jessica Agarwal of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Germany. “The break-up could have many different causes, but the Hubble observations are detailed enough that we can actually pinpoint the process responsible.”"
Link to Original Source
top

Ancient Chinese Mummies Discovered in Cheesy Afterlife

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about 2 months ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "The world's oldest cheese has been found on the necks and chests of perfectly preserved mummies buried in China's desert sand. Dating back as early as 1615 B.C., the lumps of yellowish organic material have provided direct evidence for the oldest known dairy fermentation method. The individuals were likely buried with the cheese so they could savor it in the afterlife. Although cheese-making is known from sites in northern Europe as early as the 6th millennium B.C. and was common in Egypt and Mesopotamia in 3rd millennium B.C., until now no remains of ancient cheeses had been found."
Link to Original Source
top

Kepler's Alien World Count Skyrockets

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about 2 months ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "The number planets beyond the solar system took a giant leap thanks to a new technique that verifies candidate planets found by NASA’s Kepler space telescope in batches rather than one-by-one. The new method adds 715 planets to Kepler’s list of confirmed planets, which previously totaled 246, scientists said Wednesday. Combined with other telescopes’ finds, the overall exoplanet headcount now reaches nearly 1,700. "By moving ... to statistical studies in a 'big data' fashion, Kepler has showcased the diversity and types of planets present in our galaxy," astronomer Sara Seager, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in an email to Discovery News."
Link to Original Source
top

SpaceX Falcon Rocket to Test Precision Landing Legs

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about 2 months ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "Space Exploration Technologies is installing landing legs on its next Falcon 9 rocket, part of an ongoing quest to develop boosters that fly themselves back to the launch site for reuse. For the upcoming demonstration, scheduled for March 16, the Falcon 9’s first stage will splash down, as usual, in the ocean after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This time, however, SpaceX hopes to cushion the rocket’s destructive impact into the Atlantic Ocean by restarting the Falcon 9’s engine and extending landing legs that will be attached to the booster’s aft section. The goal is a soft touchdown on the water."
Link to Original Source
top

1 in 4 Americans Don't Know Earth Orbits the Sun. Yes, Really.

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about 2 months ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "Dear Science Communication Professionals: We have a problem. Earlier this month, the Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham creationism “debate” received a disproportionate amount of press coverage. Considering that there really is no debate to be had when it comes to the science of evolution, for bad or for worse, Nye faced a hostile audience at the Creationist Museum in Kentucky. He hoped to score some scientific points against Ham’s literal translation of the Bible and his absurd assertion that the world was created in 6 days and that the universe is 6,000 years old. And then, today, the National Science Foundation (NSF) delivered news of a pretty shocking poll result: around one in four Americans (yes, that's 25 percent) are unaware that the Earth orbits the sun. Let’s repeat that: One in four Americans — that represents one quarter of the population — when asked probably the most basic question in science (except, perhaps, “Is the Earth flat?” Hint: No.), got the answer incorrect. Suddenly I realized why the Nye vs. Ham debate was so popular."
Link to Original Source
top

Curiosity Dominates Mars Dune, Drives Into Dingo Gap

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about 2 months ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "On Thursday at 3:41 p.m. EST (20:41 UTC), Mars rover Curiosity beamed back a photo from its rear hazard avoidance camera (Hazcam). In the shot we see wheel tracks in the downward slope of the dune bridging “Dingo Gap” with the peak of Curiosity’s eventual goal, Mount Sharp, on the horizon. This can mean only one thing; the one-ton robot has successfully conquered its first Mars dune! “Over the dune and through the gap we go. Image looking back at our tracks across the Dingo Gap dune,” Mars Science Laboratory mission manager Noah Warner, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif, said in a Twitter update on Thursday."
Link to Original Source
top

Curiosity Has Breached 'Dingo Gap' Mars Dune's Crest

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about 2 months ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "On Tuesday at precisely 12:55 p.m. EST (17:55 UTC), Mars rover Curiosity successfully breached the crest of the dune in “Dingo Gap.” The 1 meter-high dune stands between the rover and a smoother route to the mission’s next science target. The timestamps on the raw imagery suggests the short drive up the sandy slope took around 25 minutes, where it appears to have paused at the dune's apex."
Link to Original Source
top

Weird Asteroid Itokawa Has a Dual Personality

astroengine astroengine writes  |  about 2 months ago

astroengine (1577233) writes "We care about how asteroids are made, in large part because if one were aiming to smash into us, we’d like to know what we can do about it. The structure of asteroids is also a matter of scientific curiosity, as it tells us a bit about the formation and evolution in our solar system. That is why it is so exciting that the most recent very delicate observations of asteroid 25143 Itokawa reveal some of its secrets. 25143 Itokawa is a relatively small near-Earth asteroid that was visited by the Japanese Habayusa spacecraft in 2005. It has also been monitored by Stephen Lowry of the University of Kent and his colleagues over a twelve year span with the 3.58 meter New Technology Telescope in La Silla, Chile. In that time span, Itokawa has made five near approaches to Earth. And what did they find? The asteroid is composed of two lobes of different densities, suggesting that Itokawa is in fact a merged binary."
Link to Original Source

Journals

astroengine has no journal entries.

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...