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Submission + - How pentaquarks may lead to the discovery of new fundamental physics

StartsWithABang writes: Over 100 years ago, Rutherford's gold foil experiment discovered the atomic nucleus. At higher energies, we can split that nucleus apart into protons and neutrons, and at still higher ones, into individual quarks and gluons. But these quarks and gluons can combine in amazing ways: not just into mesons and baryons, but into exotic states like tetraquarks, pentaquarks and even glueballs. As the LHC brings these states from theory to reality, here's what we're poised to learn, and probe, by pushing the limits of quantum chromodynamics.

Comment Re:This is funny. (Score 3, Insightful) 550 550

Well the moron mods are out in force.

Yep, I can see that. What the hell happened to you, Slashdot? I leave for a couple years, 'cause I've been busy, and now you're giving this opportunist a Q&A? Not only that, but throwing her softball questions so she can push her professional victim schtick, and downvoting people who point this out?

This is just sad.

Comment Re:straight from the OMFG NO dept (Score 1) 364 364

Hopefully.

Personally, the only reason I watched sometimes was Kari Byron. I'll keep an eye on what she does next.

I do wish Hyneman and Savage luck. I like them, really, just not enough to actively follow what they do. If they come up with something interesting and get people talking, I'll check it out. But I feel the Mythbusters are about to bust the myth that people will watch a programme that lets go of their young and winsome cast members.

Comment Re:Crash and colonise (Score 1) 233 233

Oh yes, mineshafts, I love that one, let's do that as well, sign me up. What's the required men to women ratio, again, doc?

So what you're saying is, it would be (1) more boring than ISS, and (2) quite a bit more dangerous. I'm sure both are true - discovery and exploration have always been very risky, and this would be unprecedented so I'm sure it won't be a walk in the park. I'm not sure, but I don't think it would be boring and dangerous enough to be impossible. I am sure, though, that that hasn't stopped us before.

A colony on Mars won't be self-sufficient for a very long time, even if they get their water from the planet, and produce their own oxygen and grow their vegetables and stuff. It may take a century or more, if we ever manage to have factories there, to produce parts and things they'll need. But to use your own words: "It would take infinitely long if you never start."

What I don't get is why you seem to assume that it's one thing or the other. It seems to me that you're implying that, if we send a manned mission to Mars, we won't develop better technology here. We can do both. It could be that we will solve the transport issue before we solve self-sufficiency away from Earth, or it can happen the other way around, I don't think you, me, or anyone else can predict now how it'll play out. So predicating the solution of a hard problem on solving another first, that may be less or maybe much more difficult, does seem a tad self-defeating. Especially when I don't see a hard dependency, both problems can be tackled at the same time, without waiting.

Anyroad, gotta get to work. Some quick notes I thought of while reading your post, that I have no time now to edit into a proper reply:
* You get used to email, really, and you don't need low latency to stay in touch with friends, and get movies and videogames. Or, radical notion here, books.
* It could be that very earthly jobs, like in the military or law enforcement or what you have, are riskier anyway, it's not as if we don't take risks every day (we as a species, I mean.. felt embarrassed and a bit ashamed about that "we", from the comfort of my safe living room).
* It's not about repopulating Earth, it's about survival of the species by any means necessary, even if it means evolving to live elsewhere and that we can't go back. Mars is certainly harder than Earth, it probably won't be viable, but we'll want to try other places eventually. Out there, away from the solar system. And hey, we have to start somewhere, and Mars seems easy enough. Considering.
* Good luck with PETA letting you send a couple monkeys. Mark me words, it'll be easier to send humans anyway. Heh.
* To the AC asking why should we care... that doesn't even deserve an answer. We'll get extinct one day, guaranteed, but we're going to go down fighting, because that's who we are. Humanity ftw.

Laters.

Comment Re:Crash and colonise (Score 2) 233 233

Um. Alright. I wasn't really commenting on Tito's plan, but rather on MichaelSmith's notion of a one-way trip, at the start of this thread (which, btw, has been proposed, seriously). But sure, let's get serious if you want.

I do see a point in sending meatbags to Mars. Not for the sake of a flyby, or that joke about the flag, but ultimately to attempt to live in Mars for extended periods of time. Staying in Mars, in some sort of habitat, establish a permanent presence in another planet. I think achieving this should be considered a more pressing issue than it actually seems to be. I'll come back to this in a minute. But a flyby may be useful, to assess what exactly it takes to get there.

First though, I'm not sure you've got your numbers right. Valeri Polyakov stayed 14 months aboard that tin can, Mir. Sergei Krikalev (who's spent 800+ days in space) stayed 10 months while the USSR dissolved. Aleksandr Kaleri has spent almost as long - he was in the ISS couple years ago (and the man is 56 btw). And so on. Now of course there have been side effects, both physiological and psychological, but, to my knowledge none incapacitating, and none permanente in the long-term. So I'm not quite sure, when you say "Humans cannot sit in a tin can for two years and retain sanity", what are you basing this opinion on? I'm not an expert, but given these numbers, well. To me, it sounds very hard alright, but not impossible, or even unrealistic.

You also said, "We already had ground simulations of the flight, and they were generally unsatisfactory". Could you elaborate? I only know of Mars-500, an experiment conducted by a few years ago where they isolated a crew to simulate a trip to Mars. I recall they all completed the experiment, no one went bonkers aboard and started killing the others, really. I seem to recall there were issues concerning lack of sleep, which of course is serious and needs addressing. It may be part of the reason why ISS astronauts take sleeping pills now. In any case, experiments like Mars-500, valuable as they are, can't simulate microgravity or what I think will be the worst issue, radiation. So I do see a point in those lab rats in a tin can, harsh as the whole notion is.

I hear you on that part about research, that's always a necessity. But I don't think there's a reason why it must be one or the other, we could have a manned mission *and* research into new technologies. Thing is, and again I may be misinformed, but I don't think we're even close to develop technology that could cut the flight time substantially. I mean, we don't even have the science, the theoretical groundwork, on which to base such a technology. Travel to Mars in a day or two, you say? Come on, man, get real. That's going to take a very, very long time to achieve, and I don't think we should wait that long.

The reason why I see this is a pressing matter is: I think it's paramount for us, as a species, to hedge our bets, as it were. To make living in another planet, if not economical or practical, at least feasible. Because we don't know when the next Chixculub rock is going to hit, we don't know when we'll face a pandemic that wipes life on Earth, it can happen any time. And I think it would be immensely valuable to know that such a scenario wouldn't necessarily mean the extinction of the species.

Comment Re:Crash and colonise (Score 2) 233 233

I think the point is, if you're going to put people on a rocket and shoot them to Mars, in the understanding that, no matter what happens, they're going to die there, won't ever see Earth again, it might just be easier to find takers, and generally to sell this idea to the public, if you aim for 60+ aged who already lived their lives here.

I know people that age who are still in great shape, and maybe some would be willing to set off for one last adventure. Who knows. Tough one, that.

Mars

Dennis Tito's 2018 Mars Mission To Be Manned 233 233

Last Thursday, we discussed news that millionaire Dennis Tito was planning a private mission to Mars in 2018, but details were sparse. Now, reader RocketAcademy writes that Tito has provided more information about the tip, and that he intends the mission to be manned: "Dennis Tito, the first citizen space explorer to visit the International Space Station, has created the Inspiration Mars Foundation to raise funds for an even more dramatic mission: a human flyby of the planet Mars. Tito, a former JPL rocket scientist who later founded the investment firm Wilshire Associates, proposes to send two Americans — a man and a woman — on a 501-day roundtrip mission which would launch on January 5, 2018. Technical details of the mission can be found in a feasibility analysis (PDF), which Tito is scheduled to present at the IEEE Aerospace Conference in March. Former NASA flight surgeon Dr. Jonathon Clark, who is developing innovative ways of dealing with radiation exposure during the mission, called the flight 'an Apollo 8 moment for the next generation.'"
Crime

Submission + - Naked scammers blackmail men on web->

innocent_white_lamb writes: Police in Singapore have received many reports of a blackmail ring that uses attractive women to seduce men via webcam/chat. "They would commence a webcam conversation with the victims and initiate cybersex by undressing themselves first before persuading the male victims to appear nude or perform sexual acts in front of the webcams", according to the Singapore Police Force. The victim then received an email and/or phone call demanding $50,000.
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Idle

Submission + - Borat used for Patent prior art->

Kurofuneparry writes: "Rarely does patent law meet pop culture so hilariously. But it gets to a more important point: An invention cannot be patented if there has been a public disclosure of said invention prior to the date of filing." Not exactly a tech patent, but it does comically display the kind of prior art searches that are often being done so poorly in the tech industry by the over-burdened patent office. After talking about how a "scrotal support garment" patent is invalidated by the Borat movie, the article also mentions a case involving Apple last year as well as a case in which the Bible was used for prior art.
Link to Original Source
Windows

Microsoft Windows, On a Mainframe 422 422

coondoggie writes with an excerpt from Network World: "Software that for the first time lets users run native copies of the Windows operating systems on a mainframe will be introduced Friday by data center automation vendor Mantissa. The company's z/VOS software is a CMS application that runs on IBM's z/VM and creates a foundation for Intel-based operating systems. Users only need a desktop appliance running Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) client, which is the same technology used to attach to Windows running on Terminal Server or Citrix-based servers. Users will be able to connect to their virtual and fully functional Windows environments without any knowledge that the operating system and the applications are executing on the mainframe and not the desktop."
Portables

Lenovo's New ThinkPad Has 2 LCD Screens, Weighs 11 Pounds 194 194

ericatcw writes "With many users now used to having multiple monitors at home or work, you had to figure someone would try to offer a 'desktop replacement' laptop that offered the same. Lenovo is the first. Its new W700ds laptop will offer a 10.6 inch LCD screen in addition to the 17-inch primary display. The W700ds also sports a quad-core Intel Core 2 CPU, up to almost 1 TB of storage, and an Nvidia Quadro mobile chip with up to 128 cores. A Lenovo exec called this souped-up version of the normally buttoned-down-for-business ThinkPads the 'nitro-burning drag racer of ThinkPads.' There is even a Wacom digitizer pad and pen for graphic artists, who are expected to be the target market, along with photographers and other creative types who are willing to trade shoulder-aching bulk (11 pounds) and price (minimum of $3,600) for productivity enhancements." At the other end of the laptop size spectrum, Dell recently announced plans to launch a rival to the MacBook Air. Called "Adamo," it is supposedly "thinner than the MacBook Air," though further details will have to wait for the Computer Electronics Show in early January.
The Internet

The Wackiest Technology Tales of 2008 97 97

coondoggie writes "Despite the daily drumbeat of new and improved hardware or software, the tech industry isn't all bits and bytes. Some interesting things happen along the way too. Like floating data centers, space geekonauts, shape shifting robots and weird bedfellows (like Microsoft and Jerry Seinfeld). What we include here is an example of what we thought were the best, slightly off-center stories of 2008."
Medicine

Visual Hallucinations Are a Normal Grief Reaction 550 550

Hugh Pickens writes "Vaughn Bell has written an interesting essay at Scientific American about grief hallucinations. This phenomenon is a normal reaction to bereavement that is rarely discussed, although researchers now know that hallucinations are more likely during times of stress. Mourning seems to be a time when hallucinations are particularly common, to the point where feeling the presence of the deceased is the norm rather than the exception. A study by Agneta Grimby at the University of Goteborg found that over 80 percent of elderly people experience hallucinations associated with their dead partner one month after bereavement, as if their perception had yet to catch up with the knowledge of their beloved's passing. It's not unusual for people who have lost a partner to clearly see or hear the person about the house, and sometimes even converse with them at length. 'Despite the fact that hallucinations are one of the most common reactions to loss, they have barely been investigated and we know little more about them. Like sorrow itself, we seem a little uncomfortable with it, unwilling to broach the subject,' writes Bell. 'We often fall back on the cultural catch all of the "ghost" while the reality is, in many ways, more profound.' "

Comment Re:Mine was certainly cruel to us (Score 1) 727 727

What's wrong with learning Java?

I'm not being a jerk here, I want to know why you think it was so bad.

Look, any programming tool requiring 50M of virtual memory to run Hello World is just wrong. And don't say peep about memory being cheap and such -- I'm talking wrong on general principle. Morally wrong.

Yes yes, I am being a jerk here. But I do dislike Java. With intensity.

I think there's nothing wrong with learning java as long as you get some real experience with C/C++ and assembler before you graduate so that you understand what the high level languages are doing for you behind the scenes (character arrays, memory allocation, pointers, for starters).

Slight disclaimer: I did assembler in college, and C on an OpenVMS VAX (isn't government work awesome?) prior to becoming a java developer.

After that stuff, Java is easy.

All kidding aside, I think Java as a learning language is not a bad choice. Yeah it makes you sloppy with resources, but it makes you write clean code, which is more important. Much like Pascal, it forces good coding practices on you by making it hard if not impossible to avoid adopting them.

However, I think J2EE, or whatever it's called these days, is pedagogically toxic. It encourages that sort of hazy understanding of how and why your app runs at all... no really, look at them kids deal with problems: by checking every available checkbox and option until behavior changes. And I don't blame them: those Java frameworks are so huge and convoluted it's just impossible to completely understand them, so you end up debugging by trial and error. Or copying and pasting snippets and hoping for the best.

I don't think I'm being biased here, I honestly think that's not a very good way to learn this trade.

My mother is a fish. - William Faulkner

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