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+ - Colin Pillinger dies 1

Submitted by Smivs
Smivs (1197859) writes "The BBC report that planetary scientist Professor Colin Pillinger, best known for his involvement in Britain's Beagle 2 Mars mission, has died aged 70.
Prof Pillinger was the driving force behind the ultimately doomed Mars lander, and was awarded a CBE in 2003.
His spokesman said he suffered a brain haemorrhage at his home in Cambridge and later died in hospital."
Science

Polar Vortex Sends Life-Threatening Freeze To US 684

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-bit-chilly dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Reuters reports that the Midwestern United States is shivering through the region's lowest temperatures in twenty years as forecasters warn that life-threatening cold is heading eastward as a polar vortex of freezing Arctic weather sweeps across the United States. 'The coldest temperatures in almost two decades will spread into the northern and central U.S. today behind an arctic cold front,' says the National Weather Service. 'Combined with gusty winds, these temperatures will result in life-threatening wind chill values as low as 60 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit/minus 51 degrees Celsius).' The coldest temperature reported in the lower 48 states on Sunday was minus 40 F (-40 C) in the towns of Babbitt and Embarrass, Minnesota. Meteorologists warn that the wind-chill factor could make it feel twice as cold, causing frostbite to exposed parts of the body within minutes. Eleven people have already died in weather-related incidents in the past week, including a 71-year-old woman with Alzheimer's who wandered from her home in upstate New York and was found frozen to death only 100m away. Polar vortexes occur seasonally at the North Pole, and their formation resembles that of hurricanes in more tropical regions: fast-moving winds build up around a calm center. Unlike a hurricane, these are frigid polar winds, circling the Arctic at more than 100 miles per hour. The spinning winds typically trap this cold air in the Arctic. But the problem comes when the polar vortex weakens or splits apart, essentially flinging these cold wind patterns out of the Arctic and into our backyards. 'All the ingredients are there for a near-record or historic cold outbreak,' says meteorologist Ryan Maue. 'If you're under 40, you've not seen this stuff before.'"

+ - Most silent movies have now been lost 4

Submitted by Smivs
Smivs (1197859) writes "Of the nearly 11,000 silent films made between 1912 and 1930, only 14% still exist in their original format, Library of Congress research has found.
  And 11% of those that survive only exist as foreign versions or on lower-quality formats, meaning an original 20th century art form has all but disappeared.
  Silent films were at their peak between in the early part of the century when — before network radio or television — going to the cinema was the most popular form of entertainment.
  Famous films now considered lost include Cleopatra from 1917, The Great Gatsby from 1926, Lon Chaney's London After Midnight from 1927, and The Patriot from 1928.
  Librarian of Congress James Billington says "The loss of American silent-era feature films constitutes an alarming and irretrievable loss to our nation's cultural record.""

Comment: Re:Autopilots (Score 2) 722

by Smivs (#45245207) Attached to: Google: Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than You
Well up to a point. The comparison is with 'normal' drivers, American drivers at that. As far as I know driver training in the US is fairly basic compared to many countries, and TFA doesn't actually mention 'professionally trained' drivers at all unlike the /. summary. I would contest that a 'real' advanced driver, say a UK police Class 1 driving certificate holder, will out-perform a robot any day, not because they are quicker to react but because the skills and experience they have gathered over years of dedicated training and practice would give them the ability to predict problems and prevent incidents, rather than relying on their robotically quick response times to cope with a developing problem the advanced human driver would have already avoided.

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