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Exomoon Detection Technique Could Greatly Expand Potential Habitable Systems 66

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the larry-ellison-to-buy-exomoon dept.
Luminary Crush (109477) writes Most of the detected exoplanets thus far have been gas giants which aren't great candidates for life as we know it. However, many of those planets are in fact in the star's habitable zone and could have moons with conditions more favorable. Until now, methods to detect the moons of such gas giants have been elusive, but researchers at the University of Texas, Arlington have discovered a way to detect the interaction of a moon's ionosphere with the parent gas giant from studies of Jupiter's moon Io. The search for 'Pandora' has begun.

Comment: If it's as easy as that "Turing Test" was... (Score 1) 285

by Quinn_Inuit (#47421653) Attached to: The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

...then all the computer will have to do is string together a series of random English words till it puts together something that sounds like a short story written by a Hungarian first-grader for whom English is a second language.

I don't care what they call the test. It's useless if the grading rubric is rigged to allow any idiot to write something that passes. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go see if I can talk ELIZA into writing me something that would function as an epistolary novel.

Comment: Google's not stupid (Score 4, Insightful) 583

by Quinn_Inuit (#47106629) Attached to: Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel
If you take the set of people who might be willing to buy a self-driving car (a set underrepresented on /.), few of them are going to want to do it if they're on the hook for whatever the car does. If that's the case, you might as well drive yourself. Google doesn't want that, either, and just put out a statement to that effect. My guess is that they're going to try to get the relevant laws changed, but, in the meantime, what better way to protect your users from liability than to make it impossible for them to have had any control of the vehicle?

Comment: Re:WhatsApp is not evidence of a bubble (Score 1) 154

by Quinn_Inuit (#47090051) Attached to: Agree or Disagree: We are in another tech bubble.
I think this is an excellent point. The current state of affairs lacks the massive public exuberance of the tech bubble or the real estate bubble. Remember what Joe Kennedy (Sr.) said about knowing it was time to cash out when the shoeshine boy had hot stock tips? I'm not hearing hot stock tips from the modern equivalent of shoeshine boys right now, not like I was about real estate ca. 2004 or tech ca. 1999. Plus, gold is too high. How can we have a proper bubble if a lot of the "air" is still elsewhere?

Comment: Re:Not really much here (Score 2) 258

by Quinn_Inuit (#46988215) Attached to: What Caused a 1300-Year Deep Freeze?
Does anyone find it weird that they looked and found 26/29 just happened to be dated incorrectly? I'm assuming that different groups dated the sites originally (depending on who excavated them), and then this group comes in and discovers that they're almost all mis-dated in ways that support their hypothesis. That strikes me as amazingly convenient.

Comment: Re:As someone currently dealing with athlete's foo (Score 1) 63

by Quinn_Inuit (#46504517) Attached to: Friendly Fungus Protects Our Mouths From Invaders
My allergist isn't a big fan of zinc pyrithione. Selenium sulfide shampoos, OTOH, have worked far better for my seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp (also possibly caused by a fungus...specifically, a normal member of the skin ecosystem that gets out of control on some people) than zinc pyrithione ever did. I've noticed it works even better when used in concert with a prescription topical steroid. You want to absolutely minimize use of the steroid, but the one-two punch is strong enough that I can get away with only using the steroid once a month.

Comment: Failure condition? (Score 2) 846

by Quinn_Inuit (#46012701) Attached to: Global-Warming Skepticism Hits 6-Year High
I understand that one can't just cherry-pick a period of low temperature growth and claim "LOL n0 w4rmZ!", but when the period picked runs through the present, I think it's reasonable to start asking when it becomes long enough to force a re-evaluation of the relevant theories. I'm not claiming that it's long enough now, but I'm curious if anyone knows at what point a failure condition is triggered in the major relevant documents, e.g. the IPCC AR4 or 5.

Comment: Lagrange Points (Score 2) 143

by Quinn_Inuit (#45924311) Attached to: Mars One Studying How To Maintain Communications With Mars 24/7
Just throw a few communication satellites in the Earth-Sun L3 and L4/L5 (or both, for redundancy) points and finish developing that interplanetary internet protocol for them, then call it a day. This really should be trivial with existing tech, once the protocol is finished and if someone wants to fund the rocket launches. Seriously, if we can do the STEREO mission, we can do this.

Employee Morale Is Suffering At the NSA 841

Posted by samzenpus
from the turn-that-frown-upside-down dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Ellen Nakashima reports at the Washington Post that morale has taken a hit at the National Security Agency in the wake of controversy over the agency's surveillance activities and officials are dismayed that President Obama has not visited the agency to show his support. 'It is not clear whether or when Obama might travel the 23 miles up the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to visit Fort Meade, the NSA's headquarters in Maryland,' writes Nakashima, 'but agency employees are privately voicing frustration at what they perceive as White House ambivalence amid the pounding the agency has taken from critics.' Though Obama has asserted that the NSA's collection of virtually all Americans' phone records is lawful and has saved lives, the administration has not endorsed legislation that would codify it. And his recent statements suggest Obama thinks some of the NSA's activities should be constrained. 'The agency, from top to bottom, leadership to rank and file, feels that it is had no support from the White House even though it's been carrying out publicly approved intelligence missions,' says Joel Brenner, NSA inspector general from 2002 to 2006. 'They feel they've been hung out to dry, and they're right.' Former officials note how President George W. Bush paid a visit to the NSA in January 2006, in the wake of revelations by the New York Times that the agency engaged in a counterterrorism program of warrantless surveillance on U.S. soil beginning after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. 'Bush came out and spoke to the workforce, and the effect on morale was tremendous,' Brenner said. 'There's been nothing like that from this White House.' Morale is 'bad overall' says another former NSA official. 'It's become very public and very personal. Literally, neighbors are asking people, 'Why are you spying on Grandma?'"

Comment: So from 10% to 12% of GDP? (Score 4, Informative) 634

by Quinn_Inuit (#45160825) Attached to: British NHS May Soon No Longer Offer Free Care
And that's assuming no GDP growth during that time. Actual GDP percentage will probably remain constant or rise only slightly. As a resident of a country (the USA) that spends more like 17% of its GDP on health care for outcomes that are no better (and arguably worse), I still think the UK is getting a great deal. Citations:

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