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+ - Strange Stars Pulse to the Golden Mean->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "What struck John Learned about the blinking of KIC 5520878, a bluish-white star 16,000 light-years away, was how artificial it seemed.

Learned, a neutrino physicist at the University of Hawaii, Mnoa, has a pet theory that super-advanced alien civilizations might send messages by tickling stars with neutrino beams, eliciting Morse code-like pulses. “It’s the sort of thing tenured senior professors can get away with,” he said. The pulsations of KIC 5520878, recorded recently by NASA’s Kepler telescope, suggested that the star might be so employed.

A “variable” star, KIC 5520878 brightens and dims in a six-hour cycle, seesawing between cool-and-clear and hot-and-opaque. Overlaying this rhythm is a second, subtler variation of unknown origin; this frequency interplays with the first to make some of the star’s pulses brighter than others. In the fluctuations, Learned had identified interesting and, he thought, possibly intelligent sequences, such as prime numbers (which have been floated as a conceivable basis of extraterrestrial communication). He then found hints that the star’s pulses were chaotic.

But when Learned mentioned his investigations to a colleague, William Ditto, last summer, Ditto was struck by the ratio of the two frequencies driving the star’s pulsations.

“I said, ‘Wait a minute, that’s the golden mean.’”"

Link to Original Source

+ - How many fundamental constants does it take to describe our Universe?

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "Our Universe is the way it is for two reasons: the initial conditions that it started off with, and the fundamental particles, interactions and laws that govern it. When it comes to the physical properties of everything that exists, we can ask ourselves how many fundamental, dimensionless constants or parameters it takes to give us a complete description of everything we observe. Surprisingly, the answer is 26 (not 42), and there are a few things that remain unexplained, even with all of them."

Comment: Re: Cataloging write-only archives (Score 1) 259

by Jake Dodgie (#48598641) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Image Organization?

Speak for your self, my emails go back to 1988 and even worse are in a propriator format - Outlook front end on Exchange backend, but odly enough I can get em on my OSX PC at home and my andriod phone when I'm anywhere else, don't bet on formats for important stuff going out of sytle any time soon.

Comment: Re:Will Microsoft ever learn? (Score 2, Insightful) 209

by Jake Dodgie (#48191829) Attached to: More Eye Candy Coming To Windows 10

This, This, this, I liked Aero, I had a PC that could run it, I like buttons that look like buttons that click whan you push em and have a bit o shiney hi-light.
I like translucent effects and stuff showing through.
Who really likes flat blah square windows with little indication as th who has focus and whats on top.

+ - Ask Slashdot: After TrueCrypt->

Submitted by TechForensics
TechForensics (944258) writes "(Resubmitted because was not identified as "Ask Slashdot"

We all know the TrueCrypt story-- a fine, effective encryption program beginning to achieve wide use. When you see how the national security agency modified this tool so they could easily overcome it, you'll probably understand why they don't complain about PGP anymore. The slip that showed what was happening was the information that NSA "were really ticked about TrueCrypt" either because they couldn't circumvent it or found it too difficult. From the standpoint of privacy advocates, NSA's dislike for TrueCrypt was evidence it was effective.

Next, NSA directly wrapped up the makers of TrueCrypt in legal webs that made them insert an NSA backdoor and forbade them from revealing it was there. It's only because of the cleverness of the TrueCrypt makers the world was able to determine for itself that TrueCrypt was now compromised. (Among other things, though formerly staunch privacy advocates, the makers discontinued development of TrueCrypt and recommended something like Microsoft Bitlocker, which no one with any sense believes could be NSA – hostile. It then became logically defensible, since NSA was not complaining about PGP or other encryption programs, to posit they had already been compromised.

This is the situation we have: all of the main are important encryption programs are compromised at least in use against the federal government. Whether NSA tools are made available to local law enforcement is not known. This all begs the question:

Does the public now have *any* encryption that works? Even if we can see the source code of the encryption algorithm the source code of the program employing that algorithm must be considered false. (TrueCrypt was the only program NSA complained about.) In the case of other software, it becomes believable the NSA has allowed to be published only source code that hides their changes, and the only way around that may be to check and compile the published code yourself. Half the public probably doesn't bother.

Okay, Slashdot, what do you think? Where do we stand? And what ought we to do about it?We all know the TrueCrypt story-- a fine, effective encryption program beginning to achieve wide use. When you see how the national security agency modified this tool so they could easily overcome it, you'll probably understand why they don't complain about PGP anymore. The slip that showed what was happening was the information that NSA "were really ticked about TrueCrypt" either because they couldn't circumvent it or found it too difficult. From the standpoint of privacy advocates, NSA's dislike for TrueCrypt was evidence it was effective.

Next, NSA directly wrapped up the makers of TrueCrypt in legal webs that made them insert an NSA backdoor and forbade them from revealing it was there. It's only because of the cleverness of the TrueCrypt makers the world was able to determine for itself that TrueCrypt was now compromised. (Among other things, though formerly staunch privacy advocates, the makers discontinued development of TrueCrypt and recommended something like Microsoft Bitlocker, which no one with any sense believes could be NSA–hostile. It then became logically defensible, since NSA was not complaining about PGP or other encryption programs, to posit they had already been vitiated.

This is the situation we have: all of the main or important encryption programs are compromised at least in use against the federal government. Whether NSA tools are made available to local law enforcement is not known. This all begs the question:

Does the public now have *any* encryption that works? Even if we can see the source code of the encryption algorithm the source code of the program employing that algorithm must be considered tainted. (TrueCrypt was the only program NSA complained about.) In the case of other software, it becomes believable the NSA has allowed to be published only source code that hides their changes, and the only way around that may be to check and compile the published code yourself. Half the public probably doesn't bother. (Would it not be possible for the NSA to create a second TrueCrypt that has the same hash value as the original?)

Okay, Slashdot, what do you think? Where do we stand? And what ought we to do about it?"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Just threw in random ST reference (Score 5, Informative) 133

by Jake Dodgie (#43857443) Attached to: Space Diving: Iron Man Meets Star Trek Suit In Development

Re just in case nobody want to read this they actually did a bit of research

From the article..
So where have we seen this before? If you are a Trekker, you will remember the scenes from 2009's Star Trek (The Future Begins) where James T. Kirk, Hikaru Sulu and Chief Engineer Olson performed a space dive to the Narada's drill platform. They jumped from a shuttle craft above planet Vulcan wearing high tech suits and used parachutes to land on the rig. “Super” Trekkers will also know about the space dive scene cut from the 1998 Star Trek Generations movie and the holodeck simulated "orbital skydiving" in Star Trek Voyager (Episode 5x03), also in 1998.

So more than just a headline reference to suck in the readers.

+ - Perpetual Motion Test Could Amend Theory of Time

Submitted by tocs
tocs (866673) writes "Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek wants to a build a perpetual motion machine . The concept uses Time Crystals, the idea that crystals can be extended into the fourth dimension, built of calcium ions to demonstrate the concept. If successful it might not lead to boundless energy but we could end up with machines that outlive the universe."

Comment: Vmware Player or Virtual Box (Score 1) 3

by Jake Dodgie (#41928487) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Which virtual machine software for a beginner

Vmware Player or Virtual Box are both good starting points on a Windows host, they are free and relatively easy to get started with and use.
Reliability wise they are fine but Virtual Box seems a bit slower and doesn't really give you an upgrade path like VMWares product line.
Unless you are looking to eventually upgrading to a MS Server 2008 based Hyper-V system I wouldn't bother starting off with Microsoft's Virtual-PC/XP-Mode product.

I have no experience with Xen, so can't comment on it, but I'm sure someones else will.

If you can't understand it, it is intuitively obvious.

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