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4-Billion-Pixel Panorama View From Curiosity Rover 101

SternisheFan points out that there is a great new panorama made from shots from the Curiosity Rover. "Sweep your gaze around Gale Crater on Mars, where NASA's Curiosity rover is currently exploring, with this 4-billion-pixel panorama stitched together from 295 images. ...The entire image stretches 90,000 by 45,000 pixels and uses pictures taken by the rover's two MastCams. The best way to enjoy it is to go into fullscreen mode and slowly soak up the scenery — from the distant high edges of the crater to the enormous and looming Mount Sharp, the rover's eventual destination."

GNOME 3.8 Released Featuring New "Classic" Mode 267

Hot on the heels of the Gtk+ 3.8 release comes GNOME 3.8. There are a few general UI improvements, but the highlight for many is the new Classic mode that replaces fallback. Instead of using code based on the old GNOME panel, Classic emulates the feel of GNOME 2 through Shell extensions (just like Linux Mint's Cinnamon interface). From the release notes: "Classic mode is a new feature for those people who prefer a more traditional desktop experience. Built entirely from GNOME 3 technologies, it adds a number of features such as an application menu, a places menu and a window switcher along the bottom of the screen. Each of these features can be used individually or in combination with other GNOME extensions."

Comment Re:Psychoacoustics and perceptual coding (Score 1) 361

> If you take three electronically produced 15kHz tones, one a sine wave, one a sawtooth wave, and one a square wave, that teenager can tell the difference between them.

That statement doesn't fit into my understanding how sound works and how humans hear. I'd be very interested to see a double-blind test where this is demonstrated, and not due to an error in the sampling process.

The thing that makes a tone a sine, sawtooth, or square wave is the presence or absence of harmonics. The first harmonic above the fundamental on a 15kHz tone would be 30kHz - inaudible. All any human (even with hearing up to 25kHz) can hear with any of these three tones is the 15kHz fundamental: a sine wave.

The parts of the shape you lose by sampling at 44.1kHz are the parts that make up the harmonics: 30kHz, 45kHz, 60kHz, 75kHz, etc. Since no human will ever hear those frequencies, they are OK to discard in order to sample at 44.1kHz. There will be a difference to the wave shape, but it will be *completely* inaudible to any human being. (Bats would notice it, though.)

All any person would ever hear in any of those three waves is a 15kHz sine, so all you need to record in this case is that frequency (unless you're planning to slow down/pitch shift the recording by several octaves, or play it for bats, or something).

Open Source

Open-Source Mini Sub Can Be Made On the Cheap 62

An anonymous reader writes "Eric Stackpole is a NASA engineer and avid outdoorsman. He is the chief designer of a cheap, portable underwater ROV that could change the way we explore our oceans. And he wants to make it so cheap and easy to build that anyone can do it. The device in question is the OpenROV, a small, lasercut contraption powered by several C-cells, a small, cheap computer and a webcam. Right now the price per vehicle is around $500-$600, As with all open source hardware projects, further development will likely drastically reduce the price. Or you can buy a kit for $750 and support the project, once the Kickstarter gets going."

"The Avis WIZARD decides if you get to drive a car. Your head won't touch the pillow of a Sheraton unless their computer says it's okay." -- Arthur Miller