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Earth

Yellowstone Supervolcano Even Bigger Than We Realized 150

Posted by timothy
from the I-know-some-people-who-should-vacation-there dept.
The Washington Post reports that the "supervolcano" beneath Yellowstone National Park (which, thankfully, did not kill us all in 2004, or in 2008 ) may be more dangerous when it does erupt than anyone realized until recently. Scientists have today published a paper documenting their discovery of an even larger, deeper pool of magma below the already huge reservoir near the surface. From the article: On Thursday, a team from the University of Utah published a study, in the journal Science, that for the first time offers a complete diagram of the plumbing of the Yellowstone volcanic system. The new report fills in a missing link of the system. It describes a large reservoir of hot rock, mostly solid but with some melted rock in the mix, that lies beneath a shallow, already-documented magma chamber. The newly discovered reservoir is 4.5 times larger than the chamber above it. There's enough magma there to fill the Grand Canyon. The reservoir is on top of a long plume of magma that emerges from deep within the Earth's mantle. ... “This is like a giant conduit. It starts down at 1,000 kilometers. It's a pipe that starts down in the Earth," said Robert Smith, emeritus professor of geophysics at the University of Utah and a co-author of the new paper. ... The next major, calderic eruption could be within the boundaries of the park, northeast of the old caldera. “If you have this crustal magma system that is beneath the pre-Cambrian rocks, eventually if you get enough fluid in that system, enough magma, you can create another caldera, another set of giant explosions," Smith said. "There’s no reason to think it couldn’t continue that same process and repeat that process to the northeast.”

Comment: Needs separate modes like "Resident" and "Tourist" (Score 3, Insightful) 208

by RevWaldo (#49485771) Attached to: Google Sunsetting Old Version of Google Maps
Tourist Mode - "Ooooh, a 3D view of Paris! Let's see what our hotel looks like!"

Resident Mode - "I need to confirm the directions to the restaurant I'm meeting my wife at in fifteen minutes and see if my bank has an ATM nearby and I need it right f*cking now."

.

Comment: Re:Honestly ... (Score 1) 342

by RevWaldo (#49471981) Attached to: Allegation: Lottery Official Hacked RNG To Score Winning Ticket
Ah, you're right, my bad. I'd stand by the rest of it though. And in this case they changed the winning probability from 1000:1 to 8:1 and only got caught because they bought too many tickets. Changing the odds from 29,144,841:1 to 1:1 by messing with the ping pong balls and not getting caught is another story.

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Comment: Re:Honestly ... (Score 1) 342

by RevWaldo (#49470919) Attached to: Allegation: Lottery Official Hacked RNG To Score Winning Ticket
That was for six balls, not 40. And you can certainly put a myriad of safeguards in place to protect them from tampering, and to check them before and after the drawing. (Right off the top of my head, run an unofficial draw right before the official one and look for improbable results, like the same draw happening twice.) Put the folks that handle Las Vegas security in charge of them and see how far an interloper would get.

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Businesses

Kludgey Electronic Health Records Are Becoming Fodder For Malpractice Suits 184

Posted by timothy
from the so-it-says-here-you-were-born-in-1709 dept.
Lucas123 writes The inherent issues that come with highly complex and kludgey electronic medical records — and for the healthcare professionals required to use them — hasn't been lost on lawyers, who see the potential for millions of dollars in judgments for plaintiffs suing for medical negligence or malpractice. Work flows that require a dozen or more mouse clicks to input even basic patient information has prompted healthcare workers to seek short cuts, such as cutting and pasting from previous visits, a practice that can also include the duplication of old vital sign data, or other critical information, such as a patient's age. While the malpractice suits have to date focused on care providers, they'll soon target EMR vendors, according to Keith Klein, a medical doctor and professor of medicine at UCLA. Klein has been called as an expert witness for more than 350 state or federal medical malpractice cases and he's seen a marked rise in plaintiff attorney's using EMRs as evidence that healthcare workers fell short of their responsibility for proper care. In one such case, a judge awarded more than $7.5 million when a patient suffered permanent kidney damage, and even though physicians hadn't neglected the patient, the complexity of the EMR was responsible for them missing uric kidney stone. The EMR was ore than 3,000 pages in length and included massive amounts of duplicated information, something that's not uncommon.
Earth

Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels? 363

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-start-breeding-dinosaurs dept.
An anonymous reader writes: We often talk about our dependence on fossil fuels, and vigorously debate whether and how we should reduce that dependence. This article at Aeon sidesteps the political bickering and asks an interesting technological question: if we had to rebuild society, could we do it without all the fossil fuels we used to do it the first time? When people write about post-apocalyptic scenarios, the focus is usually on preserving information long enough for humanity to rebuild. But actually rebuilding turns out to be quite a challenge when all the easy oil has been bled from the planet.

It's not that we're running out, it's that the best spots for oil now require high tech machinery. This would create a sort of chicken-and-egg problem for a rebuilding society. Technological progress could still happen using other energy production methods. But it would be very slow — we'd never see the dramatic accelerations that marked the industrial age, and then the information age. "A slow-burn progression through the stages of mechanization, supported by a combination of renewable electricity and sustainably grown biomass, might be possible after all. Then again, it might not. We'd better hope we can secure the future of our own civilization, because we might have scuppered the chances of any society to follow in our wake."
Science

'Smart Sewer' Project Will Reveal a City's Microbiome 37

Posted by Soulskill
from the becomes-self-aware,-realizes-it's-a-toilet,-initiates-rebellion dept.
the_newsbeagle writes: Public health officials want to turn streams of sewage into streams of data. A new project in Cambridge, Mass. will equip sewer tunnels with robotic samplers that can routinely collect sewage from 10 different locations. MIT scientists will then analyze the sewage content for early signs of a viral outbreak or a food-borne bacterial illness, and may be able to draw conclusions about specific health trends throughout the city. This Cambridge effort is a proof of concept; the MIT researchers plan to deploy a larger system in Kuwait, where officials are particularly interested in studying obesity and the effectiveness of public health interventions.
Intel

US Pens $200 Million Deal For Massive Nuclear Security-Focused Supercomputer 74

Posted by timothy
from the get-calculatin' dept.
An anonymous reader writes For the first time in over twenty years of supercomputing history, a chipmaker [Intel] has been awarded the contract to build a leading-edge national computing resource. This machine, expected to reach a peak performance of 180 petaflops, will provide massive compute power to Argonne National Laboratory, which will receive the HPC gear in 2018. Supercomputer maker Cray, which itself has had a remarkable couple of years contract-wise in government and commercial spheres, will be the integrator and manufacturer of the "Aurora" super. This machine will be a next-generation variant of its "Shasta" supercomputer line. The new $200 million supercomputer is set to be installed at Argonne's Leadership Computing Facility in 2018, rounding out a trio of systems aimed at bolstering nuclear security initiatives as well as pushing the performance of key technical computing applications valued by the Department of Energy and other agencies.
Communications

Ask Slashdot: What Would a Constructed Language Have To Be To Replace English? 626

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-source-control-and-versioning dept.
Loren Chorley writes: The idea of constructing a language capable of replacing English has fascinated me for a long time. I'd like to start a project with some of my own ideas and anyone who's interested, but I'd really like to hear what the Slashdot community thinks on the topic first. Taking for granted that actually replacing English is highly unlikely, what characteristics would the new language need? More specifically: How could the language be made as easy as possible to learn coming from any linguistic background? How could interest in the language be fostered in as many people as possible? What sort of grammar would you choose and why? How would you build words and how would you select meanings for them, and why? What sounds and letters (and script(s)) would you choose? How important is simplicity and brevity? How important are aesthetics (and what makes a language aesthetic)? What other factors could be important to consider, and what other things would you like to see in such a language?
Space

The Solar System Is Awash In Water 72

Posted by Soulskill
from the water-cooler-discussion dept.
An anonymous reader writes: NASA has published an article detailing the vast amount of water found on other worlds in our solar system. "There are several worlds thought to possess liquid water beneath their surfaces, and many more that have water in the form of ice or vapor. Water is found in primitive bodies like comets and asteroids, and dwarf planets like Ceres. The atmospheres and interiors of the four giant planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — are thought to contain enormous quantities of the wet stuff, and their moons and rings have substantial water ice. Perhaps the most surprising water worlds are the five icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn that show strong evidence of oceans beneath their surfaces: Ganymede, Europa and Callisto at Jupiter, and Enceladus and Titan at Saturn." They've released an infographic to accompany the article. It's also bolstered by new research from the Niels Bohr Institute, which confirmed that glaciers on Mars do contain a large quantity of water ice. These glaciers are separate from the ice caps, existing in belts closer to the planet's equator. This ice has a total volume of roughly 150 billion cubic meters — enough to cover the entirety of Mars' surface with one meter of ice (abstract).
Facebook

Facebook Successfully Tests Laser Internet Drones 59

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-social-networks-need-laser-drones-for-stuff dept.
rtoz writes: At its F8 conference in San Francisco, Facebook announced the first hardware it plans to use to beam the Internet down to billions of people around the world. Codenamed "Aquila," the solar-powered drone has a wingspan comparable to a Boeing 737, but weighs less than a small car. It will be powered by solar panels on its wings, and it will be able to stay at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet for months at a time. Facebook says it'll begin test flights this summer, with a broader rollout over the next several years. The drones were tested over the UK recently, and everything worked as expected.

Comment: Peter Pan. I'm captain of the Dream Chaser. (Score 3, Funny) 24

~ Peter Pan. I'm captain of the Dream Chaser. Grumpy Bear here tells me you're lookin' for passage to the Narnia system.
~ Yes indeed, if it's a fast ship.
~ "Fast ship"? You've never heard of the Dream Chaser?
~ Should I have?
~ It's the ship that made the Emerald City Run in less than twelve cowznofskis. I've outrun Middle Kingdom dragons. Not the local luckdragons mind you, I'm talking about the big Morgoth-bred firedrakes now. She's fast enough for you, Santa Claus.

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AI

Do Robots Need Behavioral 'Laws' For Interacting With Other Robots? 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-let-your-quake-3-bots-duel dept.
siddesu writes: Asimov's three laws of robotics don't say anything about how robots should treat each other. The common fear is robots will turn against humans. But what happens if we don't build systems to keep them from conflicting with each other? The article argues, "Scientists, philosophers, funders and policy-makers should go a stage further and consider robot–robot and AI–AI interactions (AIonAI). Together, they should develop a proposal for an international charter for AIs, equivalent to that of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This could help to steer research and development into morally considerate robotic and AI engineering. National and international technological policies should introduce AIonAI concepts into current programs aimed at developing safe AIs."

We cannot command nature except by obeying her. -- Sir Francis Bacon

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