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+ - Cosmologists Find Eleven Runaway Galaxies

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Discovery News reports that 11 homeless galaxies have been identified by Igor Chilingarian, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and Moscow State University, and his fellow astronomers. "The 11 runaway galaxies were found by chance while Chilingarian and co-investigator Ivan Zolotukhin, of the L’Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planetologie and Moscow State University, were scouring publicly-available data (via the Virtual Observatory) from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the GALEX satellite for compact elliptical galaxies."

+ - Seeing Buildings Shake With Software ->

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk writes: In 2012 a team from MIT CSAIL discovered that you could get motion magnification by applying filtering algorithms to the color changes of individual pixels. The method didn't track movement directly, but instead used the color changes that result from the movement.
Now another MIT team has attempted to put the technique to use in monitoring structures — to directly see the vibrations in buildings, bridges and other constructions. Currently such monitoring involves instrumenting the building with accelerometers. This is expensive and doesn't generally give a complete "picture" of what is happening to the building. It would be much simpler to point a video camera at the building and use motion magnification software to really see the vibrations and this is exactly what the team are trying out. Yes you can see the building move — in real time — and it seems to be a good match to what traditional monitoring methods say is happening.
The next stage is to use the method to monitor MIT's Green Building, the Zakim Bridge and the John Hancock Tower in Boston. I wonder if they will put up a monitor to allow people in the buildings, or passing over the bridge, to see just how much they move! It could be an unnerving experience.

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+ - Intel Showcases RealSense 3D Camera Applications And Technologies In New York->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid writes: Intel gathered a number of its OEM and software partners together in New York City recently to showcase the latest innovations that the company's RealSense 3D camera technology can enable. From new interactive gaming experiences to video collaboration, 3D mapping and gesture controls, Intel's front-facing RealSense technology holds promise that could someday reinvent how we interact with PCs. The F200 RealSense camera module itself integrates a depth sensor and a full color 1080p HD camera together with standard technologies like dual array mics, but with an SDK, on-board processing engine and 3rd party software that can allow the camera module to sense numerous environmental variables, much more like a human does. In the demos that were shown, RealSense was used to create an accurate 3D map of a face, in a matter of seconds, track gestures and respond to voice commands, allow touch-free interaction in a game, and remove backgrounds from a video feed in real-time, for more efficient video conferencing and collaboration.
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+ - In New AI Benchmark, Computer Takes on Four Top Professional Poker Players

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com writes: Stephen Jordan reports at the National Monitor that four of the world’s greatest poker players are going into battle against a computer program that researchers are calling Claudico in the “Brains Vs. Artificial Intelligence” competition at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. The pros — Doug Polk, Dong Kim, Bjorn Li and Jason Les — will receive appearance fees derived from a prize purse of $100,000 donated by Microsoft Research and by Rivers Casino. Claudico, the first machine program to play heads-up no-limit Texas Hold’em against top human players, will play nearly 20,000 hands with each human poker player over the next two weeks. “Poker is now a benchmark for artificial intelligence research, just as chess once was. It’s a game of exceeding complexity that requires a machine to make decisions based on incomplete and often misleading information, thanks to bluffing, slow play and other decoys,” says Tuomas Sandholm, developer of the program. “And to win, the machine has to out-smart its human opponents.” In total, that will be 1,500 hands played per day until May 8, with just one day off to allow the real-life players to rest.

An earlier version of the software called Tartanian 7 {PDF) was successful in winning the heads-up, no-limit Texas Hold’em category against other computers in July, but Sandholm says that does not necessarily mean it will be able to defeat a human in the complex game. “I think it’s a 50-50 proposition,” says Sandholm. “My strategy will change more so than when playing against human players,” says competitor Doug Polk, widely considered the world’s best player of Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold’em, with total live tournament earnings of more than $3.6 million. “I think there will be less hand reading so to speak, and less mind games. In some ways I think it will be nice as I can focus on playing a more pure game, and not have to worry about if he thinks that I think, etc.”

+ - Obama unveils 6-year-old report on NSA surveillance->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: With debate gearing up over the coming expiration of the Patriot Act surveillance law, the Obama administration on Saturday unveiled a 6-year-old report examining the once-secret program to collect information on Americans' calls and emails.

They found that while many senior intelligence officials believe the program filled a gap by increasing access to international communications, others including FBI agents, CIA analysts and managers "had difficulty evaluating the precise contribution of the PSP to counterterrorism efforts because it was most often viewed as one source among many available analytic and intelligence-gathering tools in these efforts."

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+ - Debian 8 Jessie released->

Submitted by linuxscreenshot
linuxscreenshot writes: After almost 24 months of constant development the Debian project is proud to present its new stable version 8 (code name Jessie), which will be supported for the next 5 years thanks to the combined work of the Debian Security team and of the Debian Long Term Support team. Jessie ships with a new default init system, systemd. The systemd suite provides many exciting features such as faster boot times, cgroups for services, and the possibility of isolating part of the services. The sysvinit init system is still available in Jessie. Screenshots and a screencast is available.
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+ - Random generator parodies vapid startup websites->

Submitted by alphadogg
alphadogg writes: A pair of Georgia Tech computer science students have created a Random Startup Website Generator http://tiffzhang.com/startup/ that spits out a different jargon-laden startup website every time you click on the URL. Mike Bradley and Tiffany Zhang's random startup website generator "serves as a parody of startups that have websites full of vague praise and little information about their actual business, often because they have little to show in that regard."
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+ - Top scientists start to examine fiddled global warming figures-> 1

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: Last month, we are told, the world enjoyed " its hottest March since records began in 1880 ". This year, according to "US government scientists", already bids to outrank 2014 as "the hottest ever". The figures from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) were based, like all the other three official surface temperature records on which the world's scientists and politicians rely, on data compiled from a network of weather stations by NOAA's Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN).

But here there is a puzzle. These temperature records are not the only ones with official status. The other two, Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) and the University of Alabama (UAH), are based on a quite different method of measuring temperature data, by satellites. And these, as they have increasingly done in recent years, give a strikingly different picture. Neither shows last month as anything like the hottest March on record, any more than they showed 2014 as "the hottest year ever".


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+ - Tiny robots climb walls carrying more than 100 times their weight->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: Mighty things come in small packages. The little robots in this video can haul things that weigh over 100 times more than themselves.

The super-strong bots — built by mechanical engineers at Stanford — will be presented next month at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Seattle, Washington.

The secret is in the adhesives on the robots' feet. Their design is inspired by geckos, which have climbing skills that are legendary in the animal kingdom. The adhesives are covered in minute rubber spikes that grip firmly onto the wall as the robot climbs. When pressure is applied, the spikes bend, increasing their surface area and thus their stickiness. When the robot picks its foot back up, the spikes straighten out again and detach easily.

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+ - Think Tanks: How a Bill [Gates Agenda] Becomes a Law

Submitted by theodp
theodp writes: The NY Times' Eric Lipton was just awarded a 2015 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting that shed light on how foreign powers buy influence at think tanks. So, it probably bears mentioning that Microsoft's 'two-pronged' National Talent Strategy to increase K-12 CS education and the number of H-1B visas — which is on the verge of being codified into laws by the President and lawmakers — was hatched at an influential Microsoft and Gates Foundation-backed think tank mentioned in Lipton's reporting, the Brookings Institution. In 2012, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings hosted a forum on STEM education and immigration reforms, where fabricating a crisis was discussed as a strategy to succeed with Microsoft's agenda where earlier lobbying attempts by Bill Gates and Microsoft had failed. "So, Brad [Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith]," asked the Brookings Institution's Darrell West at the event, "you're the only [one] who mentioned this topic of making the problem bigger. So, we galvanize action by really producing a crisis, I take it?" "Yeah," Smith replied (video). And, with the help of nonprofit organizations like Code.org and FWD.us that were founded shortly thereafter, a national K-12 CS and tech immigration crisis was indeed created. Last December, as Microsoft-backed Code.org 'taught President Obama to code' at a White House event to kick off the nations's Hour of Code (as a top Microsoft lobbyist looked on), Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was also in D.C. publicly lobbying for high-skilled immigration and privately meeting with White House officials on undisclosed matters. And that, kids, is How a Bill [Gates Agenda] Becomes a Law!

+ - Giant Survival Ball Will Help Explorer Survive a Year on an Iceberg

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com writes: Ben Yeager writes in Outside Magazine that Italian explorer Alex Bellini plans to travel to Greenland’s west coast, pick an iceberg, and live on it for a year as it melts out in the Atlantic. But it is a precarious idea. Bellini will be completely isolated, and his adopted dwelling is liable to roll or fall apart at any moment, thrusting him into the icy sea or crushing him under hundreds of tons of ice. His solution: an indestructible survival capsule built by an aeronautics company that specializes in tsunami-proof escape pods. " I knew since the beginning I needed to minimize the risk. An iceberg can flip over, and those events can be catastrophic.” Bellini plans to use a lightweight, indestructible floating capsules, or “personal safety systems" made from aircraft-grade aluminum in what’s called a continuous monocoque structure, an interlocking frame of aluminum spars that evenly distribute force, underneath a brightly painted and highly visible aluminum shell. The inner frame can be stationary or mounted on roller balls so it rotates, allowing the passengers to remain upright at all times.

Aeronautical engineer Julian Sharpe, founder of Survival Capsule, got the idea for his capsules after the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. He believes fewer people would have died had some sort of escape pod existed. Sharpe hopes the products will be universal—in schools, retirement homes, and private residences, anywhere there is severe weather. The product appeals to Bellini because it’s strong enough to survive a storm at sea or getting crushed between two icebergs. Bellini will spend almost all of his time in the capsule with the hatch closed, which will pose major challenges because he'll have to stay active without venturing out onto a slippery, unstable iceberg. If it flips, he’ll have no time to react. “Any step away from [the iceberg] will be in unknown territory,” says Bellini. “You want to stretch your body. But then you risk your life.”

+ - Pirate Bay Blockade Censors CloudFlare Customers-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: The blockade of the Pirate Bay by UK ISPs is causing trouble for CloudFlare customers. Several websites have been inadvertently blocked by Sky because a Pirate Bay proxy is hosted behind the same IP-addresses. In a response, CloudFlare threatened to disconnect the proxy site from its network.

Like any form of censorship web blockades can sometime lead to overblocking, targeting perfectly legitimate websites by mistake.

This is also happening in the UK where Sky’s blocking technology is inadvertently blocking sites that have nothing to do with piracy.

Link to Original Source

+ - Cops leaned me over 18th floor balcony to get my password->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: If you want access to encrypted data on a drug dealer's digital device, you might try to break the crypto—or you might just try to break the man.

According to testimony from a police corruption trial currently roiling the city of Philadelphia, officers from an undercover drug squad took the latter route back in November 2007. After arresting their suspect, Michael Cascioli, in the hallway outside his 18th floor apartment, the officers took Cascioli back inside. Although they lacked a search warrant, the cops searched Cascioli's rooms anyway. According to a federal indictment (PDF), the officers "repeatedly assaulted and threatened [Cascioli] during the search to obtain information about the location of money, drugs, and drug suppliers."

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+ - Cloud computing infinite bullshit->

Submitted by KingofGnG
KingofGnG writes: Cloud platforms go off-line almost regularly, and it matters little that the infrastructure is needed to manage applications and data in real time or that the affected provider is a hi-tech giant. Sooner or later all the remote servers vanish in a sorrowful cloud, and the user is left with his frustration for having entrusted his own business or digital life to someone who is only interested in turning them into profits.
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+ - 11-Year-Old Taken From Mother For Defending Her Need For Medicinal Cannabis->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: This is the story of an 11-year-old boy who bravely defended his mom's use of cannabis oil during an anti-drug program at his school. His mother suffers from Crohn's disease and uses cannabis oil to treat her symptoms. If she lived here in Colorado, or any of the other 23 states enlightened enough to permit adults to use a plant for medical purposes, her son (who obviously loves his mom enough to defend her in class) would still be with her.

This is just the latest example of bureaucrats who think they know best doing untold damage for no good reason. They are the ones who should be charged with abuse and neglect. Absolutely horrifying. From Reason :

Yesterday Shona Banda, the Kansas medical marijuana activist whose home was searched after her 11-year-old son challenged anti-pot propaganda at school, failed to regain custody of the boy, who is now under the control of Child Protective Services (CPS). "I am not giving up," Banda said after yesterday's family court hearing. "I will get him, and I am not going to stop until I do."



The Garden City Police Department, which conducted the search of Banda's home, insists that the state-sanctioned kidnapping is in the boy's best interest. "The most important thing here is the child's well-being," said Capt. Randy Ralston. "That is why it is a priority for us, just because of the danger to the child."

Yes, snatching away a young child from his mother because she uses a plant to treat a disease is clearly in the boy's best interest. What a monumental moron this guy is.

Banda uses cannabis oil to treat the symptoms of Crohn's disease, a fact that she openly discusses. But Kansas is not one of the 23 states that recognize marijuana as a medicine, so all use of cannabis is equally illegal there. Ralston emphasizes that "the items taken from the residence were within easy reach of the child," although he cites no evidence that the boy was actually endangered by his mother's medicine.



Banda has not been formally accused of any crimes yet. Ralston says the charges could include possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, misdemeanor or felony possession of drug paraphernalia, and child endangerment. Making cannabis oil also seems to qualify as manufacturing a controlled substance, a "drug severity level 1 felony" punishable by a prison sentence as long as 17 years.

The fact that it is even conceivable for her to be locked up for 17 years for this tells you all you need to know about American "justice," but if you need more evidence:

Radley Balko over at the Washington Post also covered this despicable situation. Here's an excerpt:

He also said the initial anti-drug program was put on entirely by the school â" the police had no involvement. At that event Banda's son apparently contradicted some of the claims made about marijuana. The school then contacted the child protection agency, which then contacted the police.

The absurdity here of course is that a woman could lose her custody of her child for therapeutically using a drug that's legal for recreational use an hour to the west. It seems safe to say that the amount of the drug she had in her home was an amount consistent with personal use. (If she had been distributing, she'd almost certainly have been charged by now.)

Of course, this doesn't stop the CPS for continuing to hold the child.

This boy was defending his mother's use of a drug that helps her deal with an awful condition. Because he stuck up for his mother, the state arrested her and ripped him away from her. Even if he is eventually returned to his mother (as he ought to be), the school, the town, and the state of Kansas have already done a lot more damage to this kid than Banda's use of pot to treat her Crohn's disease ever could.

Exactly, and that's the key point.

Banda's supporters have now set up a legal defense fund page for her at Go Fund Me.

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