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Space

Helium Depleted, Herschel Space Telescope Mission Ends 204

Posted by timothy
from the say-goodbye-in-a-squeaky-voice dept.
AmiMoJo writes "The billion-euro Herschel observatory has run out of the liquid helium needed to keep its instruments and detectors at their ultra-low functioning temperature. This equipment has now warmed, meaning the telescope cannot see the sky. Its 3.5m mirror and three state-of-the-art instruments made it the most powerful observatory of its kind ever put in space, but astronomers always knew the helium store onboard would be a time-limiting factor." Reader etash points to a collection of some infrared imagery that Herschel collected.
Media

Roku Finally Gets a 2D Menu System 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-look dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Many of us have griped for years about Roku's retro one-dimensional user interface. Finally, in conjunction with the release of the new Roku 3 model, the Linux-based media streaming player is getting a two-dimensional facelift, making it quicker and easier to access favorite channels and find new ones. Current Roku users, who will now begin suffering from UI-envy, will be glad to learn that Roku plans to push out a firmware update next month to many earlier models, including the Roku LT, Roku HD (model 2500R), Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD, Roku 2 XS, and Roku Streaming Stick. A short demo of the new 2D Roku menu system is available in this YouTube video."
Science

Bees Communicate With Electric Fields 133

Posted by samzenpus
from the buzz-of-buzzing dept.
sciencehabit writes "The electric fields that build up on honey bees as they fly, flutter their wings, or rub body parts together may allow the insects to talk to each other, a new study suggests. Tests show that the electric fields, which can be quite strong, deflect the bees' antennae, which, in turn, provide signals to the brain through specialized organs at their bases. Antenna deflections induced by an electrically charged honey bee wing are about 10 times the size of those that would be caused by airflow from the wing fluttering at the same distance—a sign that electrical fields could be an important signal."
Java

Everything About Java 8 233

Posted by Soulskill
from the building-a-new-generation-of-security-holes dept.
New submitter reygahnci writes "I found a comprehensive summary of the developer-facing changes coming in Java 8 including: improvements to interfaces, functional interfaces, lambdas, functions, streams, parallels, date/time improvements, and more. The article includes example code with realistic examples of use as well as explaining the reasoning behind some of the choices made by the developers who are working on Java 8."

Comment: MySQL in-memory speed (Score 5, Interesting) 168

by Amadodd (#39064377) Attached to: Oracle Claims Dramatic MySQL Performance Improvements
Slightly off-topic, but I recently had the oppurtunity to test the speed of a MySQL in-memory database. I have some frequently queried read-only data that simply would not handle the load in MS SQL and was looking for an in-memory solution. MySQL provided the simplest implementation - simply tell the table to use memory storage and configure the server to allow the amount of data you want to host (~250MB in this case). You also have to remember to reload the data from normal InnoDB tables every time you restart the server. I used the same table structures, keys indexes and stored procedures (almost the same) to query the data and linked it through MS SQL so that my applications never new the difference. On exactly the same hardware the speed increase was at least 50X over MS SQL.
Image

Supersizing the "Last Supper" 98

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-meal-fit-for-a-king-of-kings dept.
gandhi_2 writes "A pair of sibling scholars compared 52 artists' renditions of 'The Last Supper', and found that the size of the meal painted had grown through the years. Over the last millennium they found that entrees had increased by 70%, bread by 23%, and plate size by 65.6%. Their findings were published in the International Journal of Obesity. From the article: 'The apostles depicted during the Middle Ages appear to be the ascetics they are said to have been. But by 1498, when Leonardo da Vinci completed his masterpiece, the party was more lavishly fed. Almost a century later, the Mannerist painter Jacobo Tintoretto piled the food on the apostles' plates still higher.'"
Government

Bill To Ban All Salt In Restaurant Cooking 794

Posted by timothy
from the too-stupid-to-live-as-long-as-possible dept.
lord_rotorooter writes "Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn, introduced a bill that would ruin restaurant food and baked goods as we know them. The measure (if passed) would ban the use of all forms of salt in the preparation and cooking of food for all restaurants or bakeries. While the use of too much salt can contribute to health problems, the complete banning of salt would have negative impacts on food chemistry. Not only does salt enhance flavor, it controls bacteria, slows yeast activity and strengthens dough by tightening gluten. Salt also inhibits the growth of microbes that spoil cheese."
Image

The 10 Most Absurd Scientific Papers 127

Posted by samzenpus
from the burning-potential-of-fire dept.
Lanxon writes "It's true: 'Effects of cocaine on honeybee dance behavior,' 'Fellatio by fruit bats prolongs copulation time,' and 'Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull?' are all genuine scientific research papers, and all were genuinely published in journals or similar publications. Wired's presentation of a collection of the most bizarrely-named research papers contains seven other gems, including one about naval fluff and another published in The Journal of Sex Research."
Books

Puzzle In xkcd Book Finally Cracked 90

Posted by kdawson
from the be-there-or-be-somewhere-else dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After a little over five months of pondering, xkcd fans have cracked a puzzle hidden inside Randall Munroe's recent book xkcd: volume 0. Here is the start of the thread on the xkcd forums; and here is the post revealing the final message (a latitude and longitude plus a date and time)."
Java

After Learning Java Syntax, What Next? 293

Posted by timothy
from the nice-hot-bath dept.
Niris writes "I'm currently taking a course called Advanced Java Programming, which is using the text book Absolute Java, 4th edition, by Walter Savitch. As I work at night as a security guard in the middle of nowhere, I've had enough time to read through the entire course part of the book, finish all eleven chapter quizzes, and do all of the assignments within a month, so all that's left is a group assignment that won't be ready until late April. I'm trying to figure out what else to read that's Java related aside from the usual 'This is how to create a tree. This is recursion. This is how to implement an interface and make an anonymous object,' and wanted to see what Slashdotters have to suggest. So far I'm looking at reading Beginning Algorithms, by Simon Harris and James Ross."
Science

Antarctic's First Plane, Found In Ice 110

Posted by timothy
from the ice-tractor-cometh dept.
Arvisp writes "In 1912 Australian explorer Douglas Mawson planned to fly over the southern pole. His lost plane has now been found. The plane – the first off the Vickers production line in Britain – was built in 1911, only eight years after the Wright brothers executed the first powered flight. For the past three years, a team of Australian explorers has been engaged in a fruitless search for the aircraft, last seen in 1975. Then on Friday, a carpenter with the team, Mark Farrell, struck gold: wandering along the icy shore near the team's camp, he noticed large fragments of metal sitting among the rocks, just a few inches beneath the water."

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