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Comment Re:First programming course? At Stanford?? (Score 2) 255 255

As someone who has taught classes at top universities (although not Stanford), I just have to say that the answer to this question is a resounding *yes*! In the time since computers because a thing that "everyone can do" (and not just geeks), users have become significantly less geeky. I'm a scientists and I was shocked at the number of incoming *PhD* students who have close to zero programming experience. I'm a crap programmer, but have the basic skills to hack together what I need. A lot of the students I've taught (as well as grad students who were slightly-younger contemporaries of me) had shockingly little (sometimes no) programming experience.

Comment Re:So their measurement of the Hubble constant is (Score 1) 102 102

It's also possible that this galaxy is not totally in the Hubble Flow. In other words, it might be pulled around by other nearby galaxies/galaxy clusters. All galaxies are affected by this to some extent, but with nearby galaxies (like this one), these gravitationally-caused velocities can be significant compared to the Hubble expansion-caused velocities.

Comment Re:Great Experimental Idea (Score 1) 102 102

The trouble is that these galaxies aren't that far away (despite the article summary says). They're quite a bit further away than the previous measurements of water masers, but you still need to use Type Ia supernovae to actually get to the distances where this discussion gets interesting. The cool thing about the water masers is that they might allow us to get out a bit further without using another "rung" on the distance ladder, but there is no way that they are going to replace the (much, much more distant) Type Ia supernovae.

Handhelds

Submission + - Have Wii seen the end of the mouse?

Triple Sec writes: Tech that could put the keyboard and mouse out of service has surfaced in Britain. According to silicon.com, BT has demoed a USB-based device that enables a user to manipulate a tablet PC or laptop to 'move the cursor, view maps, surf the net or turn the pages of a digital book'. The motion-sensitive device apparently works in a similar way to the Nintendo Wii controllers.

"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce

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