Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Nine Posts, Seven of Which are ACs... (Score 1) 17

by InfiniteLoopCounter (#49319029) Attached to: Rosetta Spacecraft Makes Nitrogen Discovery On Comet

I know what you mean and I wish people were more active in talking about these things. However, the people who organise the public engagement aren't really that good and there is a sense that the missions are going only ever so slowly forwards.

Whenever we get a picture from Mars it is in black and white with "color correction" when they have a perfectly good colour camera on-board and a sunset is taken. Here in the article we have a relatively dull picture with lots of writing that can't easily be read embedded into it. I think people would be more inclined to comment if it was more apparent what this is all about and exactly how this discovery is an incremental improvement in our understanding of the early solar system formation. (Maybe with a link to something like The History of the Earth for those new to this topic)

The other thing that makes me a little unhappy with the Rosetta mission is the Philae lander being the "poster child" for solar panel success. Of course the thing landed in a cavity and promptly lost all its ability to make new power. Even the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity used nuclear thermal power to make sure the solar panels would still be able to work without problems. This kind of political interference wasn't needed I don't think.

That all said, yes, it is great that the Rosetta mission is achieving things we haven't done before and is a testament to human endeavour.

+ - Winston Churchill's Scientists

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Nicola Davis writes at The Guardian that a new exhibition at London’s Science Museum tiitled Churchill’s Scientists aims to explore how a climate that mingled necessity with ambition spurred British scientists to forge ahead in fields as diverse as drug-discovery and operational research, paving the way for a further flurry of postwar progress in disciplines from neurology to radio astronomy. Churchill "was very unusual in that he was a politician from a grand Victorian family who was also interested in new technology and science,” says Andrew Nahum. “That was quite remarkable at the time.” An avid reader of Charles Darwin and HG Wells, Churchill also wrote science-inspired articles himself and fostered an environment where the brightest scientists could build ground-breaking machines, such as the Bernard Lovell telescope, and make world-changing discoveries, in molecular genetics, radio astronomy, nuclear power, nerve and brain function and robotics. “During the war the question was never, 'How much will it cost?’ It was, 'Can we do it and how soon can we have it?’ This left a heritage of extreme ambition and a lot of talented people who were keen to see what it could provide."

According to Cambridge Historian Richard Toye, Churchill was a “closet science-fiction fan” who borrowed the lines for one of his most famous speeches from H. G. Wells — to depict the rise of Hitler's Germany. "It's a bit like Tony Blair borrowing phrases from Star Trek or Doctor Who," says Toye. A close friend of Wells, Churchill said that The Time Machine was “one of the books I would like to take with me to Purgatory”. Wells and Churchill met in 1902 and several times thereafter, and kept in touch in person and by letter until Wells' death in 1946. "We need to remember that there was a time when Churchill was a radical liberal who believed these things," Toye adds. "Wells is often seen as a socialist, but he also saw himself as a liberal, and he saw Churchill as someone whose views were moving in the right direction.""

Comment: Re:Fact (Score 1) 300

As one of the YouTube comments say it is a little known phenomenon called a coronal cavity .

At high temperatures the protons and electrons in hydrogen move so fast they aren't bound to each other any more and form a plasma. Both have charges (negative for the electron and positive for the proton) and any moving charge will create a part of a magnetic field. Magnetic fields in turn deflect other moving charges and when you have so many particles flying around fast in all directions that are bound together in a loose sphere shape by gravity on the edge there will be some interesting effects.

I don't think coronal cavities are well understood, but are thought to have a connection to coronal mass ejections, which are pretty much what the name suggests. More computing power would be helpful in studying models of the sun with so many particles and better mass distributions and magnetic field geometry from satellites. Maybe then we could really understand what these things really are in detail.

+ - 2014 - Hottest Year on Record->

Submitted by Layzej
Layzej (1976930) writes "Data from three major climate-tracking groups agree: The combined land and ocean surface temperatures hit new highs this year, according to the United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United Kingdom's Met Office and the World Meteorological Association.

If December's figures are at least 0.76 degrees Fahrenheit (0.42 degrees Celsius) higher than the 20th century average, 2014 will beat the warmest years on record, NOAA said this month. The January-through-November period has already been noted as the warmest 11-month period in the past 135 years, according to NOAA's November Global Climate Report. Scientific American reports on five places that will help push 2014 into the global warming record books."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:What a (almost) complete waste (Score 1) 156

And the extra money saved could go to such worthy causes as hiring more lawyers or programs that stimulate banker bonuses?

To many people here the only important thing that we do, apart from keeping things going, is to explore and understand more than we did before. None of this really costs that much compared to other things budget-wise (e.g. about a quarter of NASA's yearly budget is what the Walton's who own Walmart get for sitting on their asses ~$4B USD).

Space is the next frontier. Compare this to the times when sail ships were used to travel vast distances to map far away land masses. You could image people asking why would anyone sail for long times on perilous voyages only to map the southern skies or survey animal & plant populations. Now we enjoy the benefits of this in the Western world and surely we should venture forward again with our surplus prosperity, lest we become lazy and ignorant.

Comment: Re:too many words (Score 1) 45

by InfiniteLoopCounter (#48541629) Attached to: A Common Logic To Seeing Cats and the Cosmos

Of course! How do you solve the problem of identifying digital representations of cats? Imagine identifying a single cat in a box. Then 2 cats in a larger box, etc. and you can identify in such a way any arbitrary cat configuration in the universe via machine learning. Genius.

Err... except how do you tell if the cat is alive or dead?

Comment: Re:Umm... (Score 2) 590

by InfiniteLoopCounter (#47461199) Attached to: Marvel's New Thor Will Be a Woman

Yeah. It happened last time Thor misplaced the hammer too.

**Thor has lost the hammer to a giant, Thrym**

"What is the way?" said Thor. "But no matter what it is, tell me of it and I shall do as thou dost say."

"Then," said laughing Loki, "I am to take you to Jötunheim as a bride for Thrym. Thou art to go in bridal dress and veil, in Freya's veil and bridal dress."

"What! I dress in woman's garb?" shouted Thor.

"Yea, Thor, and wear a veil over your head and a garland of flowers upon it."

"I--I wear a garland of flowers?"

"And rings upon thy fingers. And a bunch of housekeeper's keys in thy girdle."

"Cease thy mockery, Loki," said Thor roughly, "or I shall shake thee."

"It is no mockery. Thou wilt have to do this to win Miölnir back for the defence of Asgard. Thrym will take no other recompense than Freya. I would mock him by bringing thee to him in Freya's veil and dress. When thou art in his hall and he asks thee to join hands with him, say thou wilt not until he puts Miölnir into thy hands. Then when thy mighty hammer is in thy holding thou canst deal with him and with all in his hall. And I shall be with thee as thy bridesmaid! O sweet, sweet maiden Thor!"

"Loki," said Thor, "thou didst devise all this to mock me. I in a bridal dress! I with a bride's veil upon me! The Dwellers in Asgard will never cease to laugh at me."

"Yea," said Loki, "but there will never be laughter again in Asgard unless thou art able to bring back the hammer that thine unwatchfulness lost."

"True," said Thor unhappily, "and is this, thinkst

thou, Loki, the only way to win back Miölnir from Thrym?"

"It is the only way, O Thor," said the cunning Loki.

Loki is to blame for all this.


Security At Nuclear Facilities: Danger Likely Lurks From Within 72

Posted by Soulskill
from the only-trust-people-who-don't-work-there dept.
mdsolar (1045926) sends this excerpt from the Stanford Report: "Insider threats are the most serious challenge confronting nuclear facilities in today's world, a Stanford political scientist says. In every case of theft of nuclear materials where the circumstances of the theft are known, the perpetrators were either insiders or had help from insiders, according to Scott Sagan and his co-author, Matthew Bunn of Harvard University, in a research paper published this month by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 'Given that the other cases involve bulk material stolen covertly without anyone being aware the material was missing, there is every reason to believe that they were perpetrated by insiders as well,' they wrote. And theft is not the only danger facing facility operators; sabotage is a risk as well ... While there have been sabotage attempts in the United States and elsewhere against nuclear facilities conducted by insiders, the truth may be hard to decipher in an industry shrouded in security, [Sagan] said. The most recent known example occurred in 2012 – an apparent insider sabotage of a diesel generator at the San Onofre nuclear facility in California. Arguably the most spectacular incident happened at South Africa's Koeberg nuclear power plant (then under construction) in South Africa in 1982 when someone detonated explosives directly on a nuclear reactor."

Comment: Re:Well the way things are going internationally.. (Score 1) 176

by InfiniteLoopCounter (#46846321) Attached to: SpaceX Files Suit Against US Air Force

You would rather than the country you live in be on the shit list of the U.S. government as opposed to being on a list of supporters?

This argument is often raised, but Haiti and Cuba are countries that make you stop and think about it. Haiti received government support from the U.S. and it not doing well by any measure. Cuba has had an embargo with the U.S., Bay of Pigs, etc. and is doing relatively okay for it in comparison.

Now I like the U.S. and respect it for holding to its principles as a country, but there are a couple of supporting countries that have had their countries pretty well screwed over.

365 Days of drinking Lo-Cal beer. = 1 Lite-year