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Science

There Is a Finite Limit On How Long Intelligence Can Exist In Our Universe 204

Posted by timothy
from the never-outlives-the-ballot-box dept.
StartsWithABang writes: The heat death of the Universe is the idea that increasing entropy will eventually cause the Universe to arrive at a uniformly, maximally disordered state. Every piece of evidence we have points towards our unfortunate, inevitable trending towards that end, with every burning star, every gravitational merger, and even every breath we, ourselves, take. Yet even while we head towards this fate, it may be possible for intelligence in an artificial form to continue in the Universe for an extraordinarily long time: possibly for as long as a googol years, but not quite indefinitely. Eventually, it all must end.
Science

The Case For a Muon Collider Succeeding the LHC Just Got Stronger 51

Posted by timothy
from the other-people's-money dept.
StartsWithABang writes: If you strike the upper atmosphere with a cosmic ray, you produce a whole host of particles, including muons. Despite having a mean lifetime of just 2.2 microseconds, and the speed of light being 300,000 km/s, those muons can reach the ground! That's a distance of 100 kilometers traveled, despite a non-relativistic estimate of just 660 meters. If we apply that same principle to particle accelerators, we discover an amazing possibility: the ability to create a collider with the cleanliness and precision of electron-positron colliders but the high energies of proton colliders. All we need to do is build a muon collider. A pipe dream and the stuff of science fiction just 20 years ago, recent advances have this on the brink of becoming reality, with a legitimate possibility that a muon-antimuon collider will be the LHC's successor.
Chrome

Chrome For Android Is Now Almost Entirely Open Source 51

Posted by Soulskill
from the strong-work dept.
jones_supa writes: After lots of work by Chrome for Android team and a huge change, Chrome for Android is now almost entirely open source, a Google engineer announced in Reddit. Over 100,000 lines of code, including Chrome's entire user interface layer, has been made public, allowing anyone with the inclination to do so to look at, modify, and build the browser from source. Licensing restrictions prevent certain media codecs, plugins and Google service features form being included, hence the "almost." This is on par with the open source Chromium browser that is available on the desktop.
Government

The Body Cam Hacker Who Schooled the Police 159

Posted by Soulskill
from the watching-the-watchers dept.
New submitter Cuillere writes: In the fall of 2014, a hacker demanded the Seattle Police Department release all of their body and dash cam video footage, prompting chaos within the institution. Although it was a legal request per Washington state's disclosure laws, Seattle's PD wasn't prepared to handle the repercussions of divulging such sensitive material — and so much of it. The request involved 360 TB of data spread across 1.6 million recordings over 6 years. All recordings had to be manually reviewed and redacted to cut out "children, medical or mental health incidents, confidential informants, or victims or bystanders who did not want to be recorded," so fulfilling the request was simply not within the department's capabilities. Thus, they took a different strategy: they hired the hacker and put him to work on developing an automated redaction system. "Their vision is of an officer simply docking her body cam at the end of a shift. The footage would then be automatically uploaded to storage, either locally or in the cloud, over-redacted for privacy and posted online for everyone to see within a day."
Space

Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone 236

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-my-asteroid-insurance-business-is-thriving dept.
StartsWithABang writes: When it comes to risk assessment, there's one type that humans are notoriously bad at: the very low-frequency but high-consequence risks and rewards. It's why so many of us are so eager to play the lottery, and simultaneously why we're catastrophically afraid of ebola and plane crashes, when we're far more likely to die from something mundane, like getting hit by a truck. One of the examples where science and this type of fear-based fallacy intersect is the science of asteroid strikes. With all we know about asteroids today, here's the actual risk to humanity, and it's much lower than anyone cares to admit.

+ - Biologist creates self-healing concrete->

Submitted by Mr.Intel
Mr.Intel writes: No matter how carefully it is mixed or reinforced, all concrete eventually cracks, and under some conditions, those cracks can lead to collapse. "The problem with cracks in concrete is leakage," explains professor Henk Jonkers, of Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands. "If you have cracks, water comes through — in your basements, in a parking garage. Secondly, if this water gets to the steel reinforcements — in concrete we have all these steel rebars — if they corrode, the structure collapses."

But Jonkers has come up with an entirely new way of giving concrete a longer life. "We have invented bioconcrete — that's concrete that heals itself using bacteria," he says.

Link to Original Source

Comment: Encrypted External Drive in a Fire Safe (Score 4, Informative) 251

by Mr.Intel (#48915991) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?
Personally, I have three external hard drives encrypted with TrueCrypt that I rotate and keep in a fire safe at an offsite building. I rotate them monthly. Cost is a little high, but it fast, easy and convenient for me. Your circumstances are likely different enough that you will need a different approach. But generally, my archive set is large (3+TB) and sensitive (taxes, bank statements, account numbers, passwords, etc) so this solution works best for me.

Comment: Get a free upgrade or a free replacement (Score 5, Interesting) 450

According to one article you can call them to complain and get a free upgrade to the version you need or send a scan of your receipt to H&R Block and get a free version of Tax Cut that has all the forms. Personally, I prefer the former so Intuit knows they have an unhappy customer serious enough to call them on these shenanigans.
Movies

Warner Brothers Announces 10 New DC Comics Movies 187

Posted by samzenpus
from the crisis-on-infinite-theaters dept.
wired_parrot writes After being criticized for being slow to respond to Marvel's string of blockbuster superhero movies, Warner Brothers finally announced their plan for DC comic universe movie franchise. Yesterday at their annual shareholder meeting, WB announced 10 DC comics movies. The studio has unveiled an ambitious schedule that features two Justice League films, plus standalone titles for Wonder Woman, Flash, Shazam (Captain Marvel), Green Lantern, Cyborg and even Aquaman. Also announced were plans for 3 Lego movies and a three-part Harry Potter spinoff.

Comment: Re:Emma Watson is full of it (Score 1) 590

by Mr.Intel (#47992939) Attached to: Emma Watson Leaked Photo Threat Was a Plot To Attack 4chan
That was exactly my thought. My wife is a "tenured" high school science teacher with a master's degree. The school district publishes their salary chart and there are salary adjustments for years of service, education and nothing else. You can get side jobs like coaching or sponsoring an organization, but gender just isn't on there. Seems like most salary analysis is flawed in fundamental ways.
Space

Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light 347

Posted by Soulskill
from the fault-is-not-in-our-stars-but-in-ourselves dept.
KentuckyFC writes: In the early hours of the morning on 24 February 1987, a neutrino detector deep beneath Mont Blanc in northern Italy picked up a sudden burst of neutrinos. Three hours later, neutrino detectors at two other locations picked up a second burst. These turned out to have been produced by the collapse of the core of a star in the Large Magellanic Cloud that orbits our galaxy. And sure enough, some 4.7 hours after this, astronomers noticed the tell-tale brightening of a blue supergiant in that region, as it became a supernova, now known as SN1987a. But why the delay of 7.7 hours from the first burst of neutrinos to the arrival of the photons? Astrophysicists soon realized that since neutrinos rarely interact with ordinary matter, they can escape from the star's core immediately. By contrast, photons have to diffuse through the star, a process that would have delayed them by about 3 hours. That accounts for some of the delay but what of the rest? Now one physicist has the answer: the speed of light through space requires a correction.

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