wisebabo (638845) writes "If Sir Isaac Newton weren't already dead and in Heaven, I'm sure this would make him die and go there.
Here (scroll down to the GIF, please) is a time-lapse sequence taken by Cassini at Saturn of a small (okay tiny) moon "Prometheus" pulling out streamers of dust from the nearby ring over and over again. For eternity. (Or at least tens of millions of years). While the sequence only shows one such event, a quick glance at a larger scale (scroll to the top, please) shows that it is doing so repeatedly. L i k e c l o c k w o r k.
wisebabo (638845) writes "By now many of you may have seen the video of the drones (custom made?) air delivering sushi at a London restaurant. I was most impressed by the load carrying capacity (it looks like 4 "mini" rice burgers) and would love to see the control interface (it looks like it's using an iPad) as well as know what are the maintenance requirements (do they automatically land and dock/recharge themselves?).
Anyway, I'm thinking that with easy to use control software there are lots of cool marginally useful tasks a drone could do (walk your very small dog, feed the goldfish, water some cactus or bonsai trees, chase crows and yes bring you beer). Since the requirements for these jobs are likely to vary considerably (while the basic airframe may be roughly the same I can imagine all sorts of camera attachments, grippers, cargo holders), it would be great if one could design and make one of these things largely (not including motors and electronics) at home. Are hobbyist 3D printers (less than $3K) up to the task? Is the plastic material strong enough for the kinds of modest* loads one could expect? Would it take a lot of work to make critical surfaces (fan blades) aerodynamically smooth or just a little sand paper? If, I mean WHEN, they crash and break, would the cost of reprinting parts be reasonable?
I heard that a company has come out with a 3D printer that makes much more accurate prints using the laser-on-liquid method of stereolithography (and is currently being sued for patent infringement!). I also heard that someone is making "an operating system" for drones that might reduce the difficulty of writing software for these things. (I've heard it'll be expensive, hope he'll license it more cheaply for non-commercial uses). I assume that current drones could be controlled by something like the arduino computer, is it light enough? Are the electric motors and batteries pretty standard? If true and these things come to pass, could I conceivably make my own drone at home?
Of course, until there's a thriving community of people passing designs around, it'll probably be best to take an existing drone (like the Parrot AR) and first build replacement parts (what's the best way to make high precision small scale 3D scans?) and then modify it. With even this basic capability there would be many things people could try, like would it be better to have bigger but slower turning blades? More blades? Fewer? How about being able to transition to a winged flying mode for greater range? What about landing gear, recharging hookups? More sophisticated users could try modeling the aerodynamics and basic structure of the drone to improve performance, handling, payload capacity. How about making a version of the "flying bird drone" that Speed Racer had with his Mach 5?
Anyway, I have one last reason why I'd like to be able to print out (most of) a drone at home. I live in Vietnam and getting anything unusual/rare/special like spare parts for a drone takes a lot of time/money/bribery. I figure it might be better to get one good 3D printer into the country than waiting weeks every time I needed to get a spare/modified part. (I'll stockpile the feedstocks).
So what's possible now (or in the next year) and what items have I left out? GPS, cellphone module, cameras, lights, antennas, microphones/speakers for sonar? Grappling hooks? Tasers? Mace? Does anyone know the bandwidth requirements for remotely controlling/watching a video feed? (the phone network here is only 3G). How about a high bandwidth laser comm link? How about powering it via microwaves or lasers?
(Of course there are even more problematic applications that can be addressed with printing a drone at home especially if it can carry a grenade or carry a 3D printed gun!) but I won't go there now. On a side note, are drones legal to be used in paintball? Can one team use drones for surveillance or dropping/firing paint bombs/weapons? Could another team fight back using drones in aerial dogfights? Since they are so fragile and expensive for the average gamer I imagine a laser target scheme could be used where it would register a hit. You could have your own mini-arms race!)
*If the plastic is really strong, I'd love to think about making an underwater drone for exploring some of the reefs in S.E. Asia!" top
Samsung, the "great imitator" (and that's in a GOOD way)
wisebabo (638845) writes "Here's an article that looks at the Samsung-Apple battle from a Korean point of view. Yes, Samsung may be an "imitator" but it's a GREAT one. As a commentor notes, look what happened to those companies (Nokia, Motorola, RIM) that didn't imitate the iPhone, they got crushed. That wouldn't be acceptable for the "national champion" that Samsung is. At least Samsung survived, thrived and now is set to dominate the smartphone market with the Galaxy IV release after the iPhone 5.
Anyway, if so, be careful for what you wish for. A world where the winners are not innovators but rather "fast executioners"; this may lead us to technological stasis. Imagine if Samsung were able to copy DOS, we'd still be typing on C: prompts! (Admittedly the systems would be very cheap and fast).
An interesting note is just like the article mentions, my Korean friends cannot believe there would be an impartial jury (what with the trial occurring in Apple's hometown and the alleged technical incompetence of the jurors). On the other hand, my American friends find it surprising that the Korean judges presiding over Korean case might be biased (despite Samsung contributing a FIFTH of the entire economy and the CEO and underlings being convicted and imprisoned on bribery and corruption charges).
wisebabo (638845) writes "Sheesh what an engineering nightmare! To put all this together without a starting "blueprint" (unlike the Europeans) must be a real pain. Fortunately, if there's one thing those guys have it's money (and we have quite the arms bazaar they can spend it on).
Too bad Israel won't be a part of this missile shield. They could really use the information collected by the radars and sensors in these countries as the missiles fly by.
Very gradually, Ronald Reagan's dream of a "Star Wars" missile shield seems to be taking place. Of course it is only good against very primitive attackers who will likely only be able to launch by ones or twos and has required the consistent funding of billions of dollars a year for decades but hey, it's a start. Maybe if the Russians (and Chinese?) promise not to upgrade their systems, we'll be there in another 30 years." Link to Original Source top
wisebabo (638845) writes "This newly "discovered" (manufactured) material is the lightest ever created. It weighs only.2mg/cm^3.
What this means a giant "plate" of this stuff 1 km x 1 km by 1 meter thick weighing 200 metric tons could be launched by one (or maybe two) Falcon Heavy.
Aerogels have proven stopping power for hypervelocity fragments, the were used on NASAs Stardust and Genesis probes to capture particles impacting at many kilometers/second. True these particles were microscopic but this "plate" (oriented perpendicular to the direction of motion) would be a meter thick. While obviously incapable of stopping large objects, it would be ideal for stopping (or slowing which is just as good because they would de-orbit) small objects like paint flecks or even things like bolts. I contend these are the most dangerous space junk objects because it is economically infeasible to track down and catch them due to their sheer numbers.
Anyway, what really makes this (more) practical now, in addition to its light weight the material is highly compressible. From TFA: "by a factor of a thousand, only to spring back to its original size. So it could actually be squeezed into the payload bay of a Falcon and presumably pop out.
All you have to do is add a guidance system, solar panels, and ion drive to compensate for atmospheric drag, solar pressure, momentum loss from impacts and to change orbit to go after more stuff!
Oh and you've got to figure out how to make a square kilometer of this stuff at an affordable price.
wisebabo (638845) writes "My friends in the field (academic working in A.I. and computational linguistics researcher at the NSA) says that the big stumbling block to A.I. now is not software (which is what I thought) but just that our machines are just so power hungry (electric power not ambition or at least not yet). When you think of something like Watson or the google search engine, you realize that is comprised of thousands of machines running millions of processes consuming megawatts of power. Compare that to the very slow but very many processes running on the human brain which uses maybe 100 watts.
Anyway, this advance which will hopefully someday reduce the power requirements of our machines back a factor of a million or so. If not, we may be relegated to the kind of super machines depicted in science fiction stories like Stanislaw Lem in "imaginary Magnitude". This story which I consider perhaps the most thought provoking one I've ever read is the conversation with a super-intelligent machines with his human tenders about another ULTRA-intelligent machine. (You try writing the dialogue where one of the characters is supposedly vastly more intelligent than any human in history).
Anyway, if this power consumption problem isn't solved, Lem posits that super A.I.s of the distant future will require the power of entire planets with oceans for cooling. The ultimate limit is reached when the machines orbit just at the edges of black holes and use their infinite capacity to absorb heat to perform calculations at the theoretical limit.
Hmm... doesn't make me feel so bad that my iPad is a little warm.
(Hey David, remember to activate the "backdoor" on your system BEFORE you put it online. I want to be able to turn off the killbots by just saying my name!)" Link to Original Source top
Project 1640: A telescope that sees exo-planets directly
wisebabo (638845) writes "A telescope has been created that basically very very precisely blocks out the light of a star so that the reflected light of any planets orbiting it can be imaged. As the article states, this is like looking for a firefly next to a searchlight from a thousand miles away. Once the planet's light is isolated it can be examined to see, for example, to see if the air is breathable (has oxygen, an indicator of Life).
Considering that until recently the plan was to spend a few decades and more than a few billion dollars trying to develop and successfully launch the Terrestrial Planet Finder into deep space, I think this is GOOD NEWS.
Here's how it works: The core of this technical advance is the coordinated operation of: the world's most advanced adaptive optics system, built at Caltech and JPL, which can manipulate light by applying more than 7 million active mirror deformations per second with a precision level better than 1 nanometerâ€"about 100 times smaller than a typical bacterium; a coronagraph, built at the Museum, which optically dims the star but not other celestial objects in the field of view; a spectrograph built by a team from the Museum and Cambridge University that records the images of other solar systems in a rainbow of colors simultaneously; and a specialized wavefront sensor built by a team at JPL that is imbedded in the coronagraph and senses imperfections in the light path at a precision of a nanometer
Anyway, two questions: 1) So when will we know if Pandora exists? 2) Why wasn't this named "Project 1492"?" Link to Original Source top
wisebabo (638845) writes "Since I don't pretend to understand how they do it (it uses fast refresh LCDs and powerful GPUs to reproduce holograms?) please follow the link and look at the video released by the MIT news office.
Look, I have no ties whatsoever to the natural gas industry (or any other industry, I'm retired!) but this study shows the natural gas is a good way to reduce our use of fossil fuels that produce much higher levels of CO2. We need to buy some time before we can get to a (almost) carbon free future, as I suspected, this study shows natural gas will really help us get there!
For Americans, this gives us the added double bonus of keeping the jobs and money we spend 1) at home and 2) out of the hands of people (terrorists) who want to kill us. (That's the main reason why I don't drive an SUV). Talk about a win-win-win situation.
(Yes there are environmental downsides to fracking but they are not major, largely occur in rural areas, can be largely mitigated. Nothing is free but this is still better than almost all the alternatives except maybe cold fusion.)" Link to Original Source top
wisebabo (638845) writes "Of course they'll still be restricted to the equestrian events (ha ha).
One wonders if they'll be allowed to do the same in say horse or dog racing. It'll then just come down to the ability of the jockeys I guess (or training).
I wonder why they don't make all Olympic athletes use the same exact "equipment" as their competitors. That would get rid of situations like with those super efficient swimsuits that were banned. Of course they really should return to the spirit of the original Games and compete NAKED. That would really improve ratings! (But it would make the winter games rather hazardous.)
When do you think cloning ATHELETES will become legal? That's something I wouldn't put past the old USSR/East European Block. Remember the "women" atheletes they sent?" Link to Original Source top
"Time Crystal" could allow computer to outlive universe
wisebabo (638845) writes "Soooo... Scientists think they can make a crystal that is symmetric not just in space but in time. This evidentially might allow them to make a computer that could outlive the universe.
While I am not sure if my AppleCare warranty could be extended to cover such a long period, I AM sure that I don't understand this at all. I am also sure that there could be some other "interesting" applications with a device where you can interchange the words "space" and "time". Any space-time symmetry experts care to chime in?
Maybe this will allow the "Singularity" optimists to survive the heat death of the universe. (But maybe it won't help against the "Big-Rip")." Link to Original Source top
Good news everyone! Eradication close for the guinea worm!
wisebabo (638845) writes "Here's a horrific disease that's almost been eradicated (down from a few million cases a few decades ago to just FIVE.)
Kudos to the four U.S. presidents, amongst others, who championed this effort and to the Gates foundation for (partially) bankrolling it.
(Don't ask me why my iPad suddenly gets articles from the future. (This one's July 15 2012!). I think I shouldn't have left it near the superconducting magnets at the LHC when the found that Higgs thing)." Link to Original Source top
wisebabo (638845) writes "Ok, I'm not really sure if this fits the exact definition of "phase change", I mean wouldn't it have to change from solid to liquid or something (not entirely bad on some girls I know). Still the basic idea is sound, you cool it off first then when you get hot it absorbs your heat by changing state. Then to reuse it you just cool it off again (thus reverting the state change).
Don't know how much heat it absorbs or for how long or at what rate but these guys are MITers so I figure it might be practical. Also don't know if it's machine washable or the final cost (it's on kickstarter). Sorry! Feeling lazy today (always).
I've always wondered about this kinda technology ever since I heard of a proposal to keep people warm in a house with microwaves; NOT by warming the house and everyone in it but by using the microwaves to heat up JUST the people in it (who are largely water). It would be seemingly much more efficient, no? Well this shirt seems to be just like that, don't cool off an entire building or car but just the person!
wisebabo (638845) writes "I think it was Newton who said that if you knew the position and velocity of every particle in the universe, you could predict the future down to the effect the flutter of a sparrows wing would have on the weather.
Aside from quantum indeterminacy (which of course he knew nothing about) and questions of free will, it is clear we are a long long way from getting even close to the theoretical limits of prediction. Still here's something that, to me, is very impressive.
Some researchers manage to track raindrops (or snowflakes) in front of a light and, IN REAL TIME, change the beam so that they are not illuminated! Voila! Drastically reduced glare! Obvious application for driving cars in inclement weather etc.
I'm hoping that we're entering a new age where computers (and cheap sensors) have become so powerful as to make possible a whole host of "magical" (like Arthur C. Clarke predicted) applications. So life will rapidly get better and better until the Singularity.:) Or Robot Apocalypse.:(" Link to Original Source top
Kepler data analysis: Earthlike worlds "extremely rare"
While this isn't quite what the author of "Rare Earth" said (I think he thought complex life was unlikely, not that the planets themselves were rare), it's still not good.
Anyway, maybe James Cameron was right on basing Pandora on a moon around a gas giant (in this study, plenty of gas giants are in the habitable zone). Here's to our blue-skinned Nav'i overlords!" Link to Original Source top
wisebabo (638845) writes "Because of the falling prices of natural gas (due to the discovery, and exploitation) of shale gas reserves in the U.S, by fracking) carbon emissions were reduced.
In my book, this is (almost) completely a win-win. Jobs, money, infrastructure and technology are being invested in the U.S., often in communities that need it most (rural poor) rather than going to countries who's people hate our guts. Hopefully our president won't have to "bow down to a Saudi King" and he won't have to apologize for our armed forces burning Korans because we won't be there.
Yes, there is some "minor" (and, as an Californian big earthquake survivor I do mean minor) seismic activity and water supplies may get contaminated but the benefits to the country (and the communities!) outweigh this. (Water, while it should never be wasted, is not particularly scarce in this part of the country, it isnt a desert). And it will help tide us over till we get to a true carbon-neutral economy!
wisebabo (638845) writes "Ok, I'm a pretty liberal guy who's written on slashdot quite a few times about how the evidence seems to support 1) global warming 2) that's man-made and 3) that it's going to be big enough (more than 2 degrees c) to cause problems.
Then I came across and read (all 58 pages!) this presentation made by a noted skeptic to the British Parliament. He agrees with 1 + 2 but not 3.
It comes down (I think he claims) to one simple fact; doubling of CO2 levels BY ITSELF will only raise temperatures by 1 degree (he says all the models use that), it is the positive feedback from other things in these models (like evaporation) that causes temperatures to soar. He says that these models are wrong on this point and that, in fact, the data shows negative feedback.
After looking a bit around the Internet, including the 4th IPCC report, I couldn't find anything to directly refute this. So realizing that slashdot is the repository of all accessible human knowledge, I was wondering if there was someone out there who could succinctly tell me why he's wrong about the feedback being negative. Or why he's wrong in some other more important way. Or what I got wrong from reading his paper. I'm hoping slashdot will shed some light (not heat, ha ha) on the subject.
Anyway, if I've been wrong all this time about global warming, my apologies! I'll treat my brother (a real skeptic, he bought me that Michael Chrichton book, the one which had the climate guys driving Prius's killing skeptics with darts from poisonous tree frogs!) to a nice dinner.
I still think he's probably wrong; I think most climatologists disagree with him. But science is not a popularity contest, if he's right against most everyone else (like the guy who predicted quasicrystals) I hope he's proven right and wins the Nobel (just like that other guy did)!" Link to Original Source top
wisebabo (638845) writes "It turns out that it's more energy efficient for squid to FLY through the AIR than swim through water.
So how long until these evolve into flying face huggers? If they're as mean and as big as humboldt squid, we're screwed.
(Maybe on an alien world, where the atmosphere is thicker and maybe gravity less, could these squid evolve into a true jet propelled species? Of course their gills would have to evolve to lungs but that's been done)." Link to Original Source top
wisebabo (638845) writes "So they're going to release FULL details of how to make this? Time to whip up my bio-reactor!
Ok, so this easily transmissible human to human virus (as predicted by ferret models) *only* has a lethality of 50% but that should be enough to collapse civilization. At least it'll help cut down on global warming.
Still that doesn't compare with that (smallpox?) variant which had an almost 100% fatality rate. I remember that one was suppressed pretty fast. I guess they think this one isn't nearly as dangerous which i would agree with except for the fact that it is AIRBORNE TRANSMISSIBLE (it's based on the Flu!). Boy is sneezing going to be a real conversation killer!
Seems like we've solved the Fermi Paradox; once a species has figured out to make or modify self-replicating nano bots (like viruses), they'll inevitably make one that will in one way or another wipe them out.
wisebabo writes | more than 11 years ago
Saw this article on http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/technology/AP-Microsoft-Hackers.html. Seems there's a chance (a very small one to be sure) that Microsoft may be facing a 2.2 Trillion dollar fine. That's right Trillion with a "T".