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Submission + - Sci-Hub, a site with open and pirated scientific papers 1

lpress writes: Sci-Hub is a Russian site that seeks to remove barriers to science by providing access to pirated copies of scientific papers. It was established in 2011 by Russian neuroscientist Alexandra Elbakyan, who could not afford papers she needed for her research and it now claims to have links to 48 million pirated and open papers. I tried it out and found some papers and not others, but it provides an alternative for researchers who cannot afford access to paid journals. After visiting this site, one cannot help thinking of the case of Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide as a result of prosecution for his attempt to free scientific literature.

Submission + - The graffiti inside Apollo 11

schwit1 writes: An effort to create a 3D model of the inside of the Apollo 11 capsule on display at the National Air & Space Museum has revealed previously undocumented notes and scribbles that the astronauts put on the capsule's walls.

Needell and his team also decided that they would provide access to the lower equipment bay, the area located below the astronauts' seats, which housed the ship's navigation sextant, telescope and computer. "No one from the Smithsonian, as far I knew — not as long as I've been the curator for 20 years, has ever been below there to document the conditions or any of the aspects of the lower equipment bay," said Needell. "We've been able to sort of see above the seats, but that's about all."

So, for the first time, the curators removed from the lower bay the large bag that held the Apollo 11 crew's pressure garment assemblies — in other words, their spacesuits — as well as several helmet bags and a checklist pocket that command module pilot Michael Collins used while orbiting the moon alone.

And then they saw it, the literal writing on the wall.

They have located at least one post-landing image that shows some of the writing, which indicates that in 1969 no one considered this important enough to note. Then the capsule was put on display, and no one was allowed in it for decades.

Submission + - New metallic glass creates potential for smart windows

frank249 writes: A B.C. engineering lab has created metal-coated glass that transmits up to 10 per cent more light than conventional glass and opens the door to windows that function as electronics. The most immediate use of the technology is to create windows that can be programmed to absorb or reflect heat, depending on the needs of a building’s occupants. Adding electronic control to windows will allow you to change the amount of light and heat passing through to more effectively use the energy provided by the sun naturally,

Lead investigator Kenneth Chau credit films like Iron Man or Star Trek with providing them inspiration. “There is a dream that we can make glass smarter,” he said. “These films give us concepts to strive for; the hard work is uncovering the science to make it happen.” All those hours spent watching Star Trek are now starting to look like a “pretty good investment,” he said.

The results were published this week in the journal Scientific Reports.

Submission + - Checking in with Andrew Ng at Baidu's Blooming Silicon Valley Research Lab (ieee.org)

Tekla Perry writes: Andrew Ng, founder of the Google Brain project and Coursera and now chief scientist for Baidu, discusses Baidu's approach to autonomous vehicles (focus on known routes, not every possibility), language translation (a single machine learning algorithm to tackle both English and Mandarin), the university vs corporate research experience, and Baidu's Silicon Valley hiring plans

Submission + - Adblock Plus wants to know why you're blocking ads (!) (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: Adblock Plus has been in the headlines quite a lot recently. Adblocking is certainly popular, but the company needs to strike a balance between keeping users happy, and maintaining a good relationship with advertisers. The Acceptable Ads program is part of this, but at its second #CampDavid session there have been some further ideas about the future of adblocking.

There was talk about what should be viewed as an 'acceptable ad', and an Acceptable Ads Committee will oversee this. But the discussion between Adblock Plus and advertisers brought up an important question: just why do people install adblockers?

Comment The point at which weapons prohibitions fails (Score 1) 211

Prohibitions against everything from the MAOB to the rifle have been tried at one time or another. The three that have stuck are chemical, biological, and (mostly) nuclear. Why just these three out of all the way we have of killing each-other? Why is white phosphorous still used but Sarin isn't? It's not because one is more horrible. It's because one is prohibitively expensive and dangerous to "safely" develop, use and transport. Why moab and not nuke? because one is prohibitively expensive and dangerous to develop, use and transport. And why landmines but not smallpox? It's not the number of civilian casualties.

There will come a time when fully automated weapons systems are less expensive to deploy, and safer for one's own side, than a soldier. We already have some fully automated weapons systems out there, for example those guarding the Korean DMZ. But when that day comes no prohibition will prevent widespread deployment of fully autonomous weapons.

Submission + - UCL Scientists Push 1.125Tbps Through a Single Coherent Optical Receiver

Mark.JUK writes: A team of researchers working in the Optical Networks Group at the University College London in England claim to have achieved the "greatest information rate ever recorded using a single [coherent optical] receiver", which was able to handle a record data speed of 1.125 Terabits per second (Tbps). The result, which required a 15 sub-carrier 8GBd DP-256QAM super-channel (15 channels of data) and total bandwidth of 121.5GHz, represents an increase of 12.5% relative to the previous record (1Tbps). Now they just need to test it using some long fibre optic cable because optical signals tend to become distorted when they travel over thousands of kilometres.

Submission + - One-to-many screensharing with proxy and server-side recording

spadadot writes: I am looking for an open-source solution to allow a user to share his screen in read-only mode with 50+ viewers. For obvious reasons related to bandwidth management, NAT traversals, etc. the video stream must be relayed by a central server. Finally, the central server must also be able to record the video stream to a file. Bonus points if the presenter can share only one of his screens or a portion of a screen and if it is multi-platform on both sides. Has anyone already tried it? Was it build on top of VNC? WebRTC?

Comment The future is coming (Score 1) 1

People claiming cryonics is impossible have three real lines of reasoning.

1: Hope hurts. Death has always been inevitable. When something is both undesirable and inevitable, people convince themselves it's what they wanted all along. "Who wants to live forever?" they'll say. But ask them whether they want life-saving surgery and you'll hear their real desires. It sucks to see loved ones go to sleep and never wake up. It's hard to accept our brothers, our mothers, our children, and ourselves will one day no longer exist. And one coping mechanism is to pretend it's better to be dead.

2: Ludditism. It has always been this way, and there's no reason to change. Death was good enough for my mother, for my grandmother, and for her mother and it's good enough for me. Extended life has been promised by hucksters throughout the ages, so it's always a scam. If it doesn't exist, it can't be invented. This is similar to number 1, but the emotional investment isn't in accepting death, but in accepting a state of technology not as good as the world we imagine. It's the same reason people claim(ed) strong AI, flight, the radio, nuclear power, fusion power, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and exponential technological improvement cannot happen. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying these things are inevitable. I'm saying there's no decent reason to say they're impossible. It's trendy and comfortable to dismiss amazing possibilities. As people discard wishful thinking they accidentally discard hope.

3: Humans are special. It's comforting and ego building to believe there's a soul or a unique form of machinery in the human brain. Too sophisticated for religion? just say "quantum". Whether by mystical energy, supernatural entities, or areas of research not yet reached it means to have a brain is to have something that transcends the known rules of the universe.

In these ways we cling to a comforting, stable worldview by refusing to ask how things could be better. These are the shackles we don.

Submission + - Senate Passes Bill Making Internet Tax Ban Permanent (consumerist.com)

kheldan writes: Nearly two decades ago, Congress passed the first Internet Tax Freedom Act, establishing that — with a handful of grandfathered exceptions — local, state, and federal governments couldn’t impose taxes on Internet access. Problem is, that law has had to be renewed over and over, each time with an expiration date. But today, the U.S. Senate finally passed a piece of legislation that would make the tax ban permanent.

Submission + - In Budapest, You Can Now Use Bitcoin To Pay Your Taxi Driver! - Bitcoin News Cha (bitcoinnewschannel.com)

Bitcoin News Channel writes: Budabest Taxi has just partnered with Coinpay to enable taxi drivers all over Budabest accept bitcoin payments. Although bitcoin is not rather popular in Hungary, the new partnership will allow cryptocurrency enthusiasts use their favorite currency to pay for their trips the next time they decide to hire a cab.

Submission + - Even Einstein doubted his gravitational waves (astronomy.com)

Flash Modin writes: In 1936, twenty years after Albert Einstein introduced the concept, the great physicist took another look at his math and came to a surprising conclusion. “Together with a young collaborator, I arrived at the interesting result that gravitational waves do not exist, though they had been assumed a certainty to the first approximation,” he wrote in a letter to friend Max Born. Interestingly, his research denouncing gravitational waves was rejected by Physical Review Letters, the journal that just published proof of their existence. The story shows that even when Einstein's wrong, it's because he was already right the first time.

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