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Mars

Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity 549

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-send-them-to-saturn-instead dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Elon Musk's ambitions for SpaceX keep getting bigger. First he wanted to make the trip to Mars affordable, then he wanted to establish a city-sized colony, and now he's got his eye on the future of humanity. Musk says we need a million people on Mars to form a "sustainable, genetically diverse civilization" that can survive as humanity's insurance policy. He continued, "Even at a million, you're really assuming an incredible amount of productivity per person, because you would need to recreate the entire industrial base on Mars. You would need to mine and refine all of these different materials, in a much more difficult environment than Earth. There would be no trees growing. There would be no oxygen or nitrogen that are just there. No oil." How fast could we do it? Within a century, once the spacecraft reusability problem is solved. "Excluding organic growth, if you could take 100 people at a time, you would need 10,000 trips to get to a million people. But you would also need a lot of cargo to support those people. In fact, your cargo to person ratio is going to be quite high. It would probably be 10 cargo trips for every human trip, so more like 100,000 trips. And we're talking 100,000 trips of a giant spaceship."
Encryption

FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous 354

Posted by samzenpus
from the lock-it-down dept.
An anonymous reader writes The FBI is concerned about moves by Apple and Google to include encryption on smartphones. "I like and believe very much that we should have to obtain a warrant from an independent judge to be able to take the contents," FBI Director James Comey told reporters. "What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law." From the article: "Comey cited child-kidnapping and terrorism cases as two examples of situations where quick access by authorities to information on cellphones can save lives. Comey did not cite specific past cases that would have been more difficult for the FBI to investigate under the new policies, which only involve physical access to a suspect's or victim's phone when the owner is unable or unwilling to unlock it for authorities."
Technology

Italian Researchers Demonstrate 'Powerloader' Suit 57

Posted by Soulskill
from the training-provided-by-sigourney-weaver dept.
Sockatume writes "Researchers in Italy have demonstrated a powered exoskeleton that can lift 50kg with each hand, as demonstrated in a video with the BBC. The 'body extender' from the Perceptual Robotics Laboratory of the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Pisa has been developed for applications like disaster relief, and is just one of many strength-augmenting systems being developed for use in rescue, military, and medical applications. Neither the researchers nor the BBC make the comparison to the Powerloader in the movie Aliens — but come on, look at it."
United Kingdom

UK MPs: Google Blocks Child Abuse Images, It Should Block Piracy Too 348

Posted by timothy
from the blacklist-provided-by-democracy dept.
nk497 writes "If Google can block child abuse images, it can also block piracy sites, according to a report from MPs, who said they were 'unimpressed' by Google's 'derisorily ineffective' efforts to battle online piracy, according to a Commons Select Committee report looking into protecting creative industries. John Whittingdale MP, the chair of the Committee — and also a non-executive director at Audio Network, an online music catalogue — noted that Google manages to remove other illegal content. 'Google and others already work with international law enforcement to block for example child porn from search results and it has provided no coherent, responsible reason why it can't do the same for illegal, pirated content,' he said."
Shark

South African Research Team Creates World's First Digital Laser 81

Posted by samzenpus
from the better-focus dept.
smi.james.th writes in with news about new laser technology developed in South Africa. "The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) announced in Pretoria on Tuesday that it had developed the world's first digital laser. 'I am always very cautious about using the term "breakthrough",' noted Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom. 'We scrutinized this very carefully before we said that this is really new! South African scientists are once again making noteworthy contributions to the world.'... A normal laser contains two mirrors, opposed to each other and at opposite ends of the instrument. One is highly reflective and the other is a curved, partially reflective mirror. In the digital laser, the curved mirror is replaced by a liquid crystal display (LCD) system. The LCD is connected to a computer and monitor."

Comment: Is that a serious question? (Score 1) 276

by CrazyBusError (#44110155) Attached to: Join COBOL's Next Generation
Try googling. :0)

Visual COBOL? Fujitsu did that - I have a demo disk from somewhere around 2001.

COBOL++? Well, OO COBOL has been in existence since 1996/7 that I'm aware of and doubtless from before that. Microfocus were the first to do it that I came across, but the above-mentioned fujitsu compiler also did OO.

Did you also know that COBOL.NET exists? Oh yes. Be afraid...
Biotech

Reversible Male Contraception With Gold Nanorods 160

Posted by timothy
from the pickup-lines-suggest-themselves dept.
MTorrice writes "Men's options for birth control have significant downsides: Condoms are not as effective as hormonal methods for women, and vasectomies require surgery and are irreversible. Doctors and scientists have for decades searched for more effective and desirable male contraception techniques. Researchers in China now propose a nonsurgical, reversible, and low-cost method. They show that infrared laser light heats up gold nanorods injected into mice testes, leading to reduced fertility (abstract) in the animals."

Comment: Re:Ding dong ... (Score 2) 539

by CrazyBusError (#43390241) Attached to: Margaret Thatcher Dies At 87

And of course, despite the damage she caused both the UK and the world at large, she will be given a state funeral...

You might want to try checking your facts before posting. Here's a hint: No she won't.

And of course, despite the damage she caused both the UK and the world at large, the Labour Party hacks will be out in force with nary a bad word to be said. (That's 'cause "New" Labour is just another party of capitalism, no longer socialism, if it ever was.)

She did some damage, she did some good (generally speaking, the ones who claim nothing beyond the damage are those who didn't suffer the three day working week and its ilk). Such is the way of politicians. She made some tough decision that had to be made, she made some bloody awful decisions that we are still feeling the repercussions of today.

In the end, she made a large impact on world politics exactly when a large impact was required. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I'm not sure what the world stage would be like now if we'd had one of the current spineless idiots in charge in the latter days of the cold war.

Comment: Re:I don't think there will be a shortage. (Score 2) 318

by CrazyBusError (#42882071) Attached to: COBOL Will Outlive Us All
Sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree with you. You can learn basic cobol in a week, sure. You can probably even learn all the useful keywords in a month, but almost certainly won't learn all their options or the best way to use them or the caveats of using some of them. You won't learn the various gotchas waiting in the wings when defining data structures either, whether in memory, or on disk.

A month might make you able to write fairly complex stuff, but it won't give you time to learn the best ways to write efficient fast code and COBOL, despite its apparent simplicity, is remarkably easy to write nasty (self modifying if you wish) resource-hogging evilness. If you're on mainframes, it'll be longer than that before you've figured the full intrigues of things like Expediter, or, if you're really unlucky, core dumps, which can be your only way to debug.

I've worked with COBOL since the mid 90s, so I'm still considered a noob in the field, but I've seen some horrors written by people with twice the experience I have and I've rarely seen *good* code written by people with anything less than a year of it on their CV.

Bear in mind also that most COBOL is mainframe still, so chances are that as well as the language itself, you're going to have to learn DB2, JCL, CICS and suchlike. Mainframe assembly will also likely crop up in your radar and in certain financial institutions, PL/1 - all linked into one big horrible mess. You might think you'll learn COBOL in a week, but almost no company using it for mission-critical stuff will let you within a mile of their production systems until you've a couple of years under your belt.

Comment: Re:"Stealthy" is misleading (Score 1) 451

by CrazyBusError (#42784675) Attached to: Apple Angers Mac Users With Silent Shutdown of Java 7
That may work now, but it certainly wasn't the case at the beginning of last week.

My other half has a remote desktop system so she can work from home if required that uses a java plugin. Last week, all of a sudden, it didn't work, with just a 'plugin inactive' message on screen. Clicking on that took you to software update, which showed no available updates, because this is on a Snow Leopard machine that there wasn't an update for yet.

There was no explanation of what was going on (plugins showed as allowed in the preferences pane) or whether it was an issue with the remote desktop provider or Apple, or anything. Somewhat frustrating and took me far longer than it needed to have done to sort, including raising a ticket with remote desktop software provider, which we now have to cancel.

I do like Apple hardware and software under most circumstances, but this wasn't one of their better moves.

There is no royal road to geometry. -- Euclid

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