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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Internet connectivity during power loss confirm (Score 1) 328

by Xandu (#35222522) Attached to: In case of a blackout, batteries etc. will give me ...

This recently also happened to me. I had previously tested that if I pulled the power to everything, I had the appropriate things in my house UPS'ed. But, much to my dismay, when the power in our area did go out for several hours, the internet only stayed up for about 15-20 before, I assume, the UPS on the equipment in the area gave out.


Wired Writer Disappears, Find Him and Make $5k 135

Posted by samzenpus
from the hiding-in-plain-sight dept.
carp3_noct3m writes "A freelance Wired magazine journalist has decided to see what it is like to disappear from normal life, all while staying on the grid. The catch, is that he is challenging anyone and everyone to find him, take a picture, and speak a special codeword to him. If you can do that, you can make 5000 dollars, which happens to come out of his paycheck for the article he'll be writing. Oh, and to top it all off, whoever finds him gets pictures and interviews in Wired. He has been posting to his Twitter, using TOR for internet, and the Wired website will be posting his credit card transactions."

+ - Physicist Mark Devlin on Tonight's Colbert Report->

Submitted by
mtruch writes "Tonight's guest on The Colbert Report will be University of Pennsylvania Astrophysicist Professor Mark Devlin. Prof. Devlin will be talking about BLAST (no stranger to slashdot), the balloon-borne telescope that flew from Arctic Sweden in 2005 and Antarctica in late 2006 with the first published results making headlines earlier this year. BLAST flys on a 35km altitude balloon observing light in the submillimeter which corresponds to the thermal glow of the most distant (earliest) galaxies as well as very early star formation within our own Galaxy. A documentary film was made about BLAST and the thrill and suspense of working on such a project (see the trailer)."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Up, up and away (Score 1) 58

by Xandu (#27645095) Attached to: Cornell Grad Students Go Ballooning (Again)

What would be really neat is an ATV downlink on UHF so we could watch it. I've always wanted to see the transition where the blue sky disappears.

Check out Cosmocam's YouTube feed. It's a project of the CSBF to allow people (mostly students) to interact with a camera aboard a high altitude balloon. In their case, the balloons can go much higher and longer than Cornell's. CSBF's balloons can reach 120,000 feet (37 km) and have flown for >50 days.

Comment: Re:Missing option: (Score 1) 913

by Xandu (#27629187) Attached to: To the extent there are taxes, I mostly favor ...

NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is an (entangling) alliance designed for the defense of northern Europe, originally against potential Soviet aggression. It could easily be argued that it serves no real purpose in today's world, but even if it does, it's hard to see why NATO itself should be involved in Afghanistan.

What? Huh? You should look up what NATO really is, and it should be clear why NATO is involved in Afghanistan. Hint: NATO is a treaty of common defense among member states ie. an attack on one is considered an attack on all.


+ - BLAST Detects Source of Missing Starlight->

Submitted by
Matthew Truch
Matthew Truch writes "The BLAST experiment (a high-altitude balloon-borne telescope that flew above Antarctica in 2006) finds that half the observed starlight in the Universe is emitted by dusty galaxies, most of it from galaxies very early in the Universe. From Devlin et al., published in today's Nature (subscription/payment required, also on the arXiv):

"Since the initial detection of the far-infrared background (FIRB), higher-resolution experiments have sought to decompose this integrated radiation into the contributions from individual galaxies. Here we report the results of an extragalactic survey at 250, 350 and 500 m. Combining our results at 500 m with those at 24 m, we determine that all of the FIRB comes from individual galaxies, with galaxies at z greater than or equal to 1.2 accounting for 70% of it. As expected, at the longest wavelengths the signal is dominated by ultraluminous galaxies at z > 1."

In a simulatneous data release, images taken by BLAST of our own galaxy reveal the clouds which are thought to be the very earliest stages of high-mass star formation. Pretty pictures, maps, and results are available on the BLAST webpage. A documentary film about BLAST is showing (for free, see the trailer) in Philadelphia on April 15th, with a week long theatrical release in New York in June, and a DVD available soon."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Uh.... this is YEARS old. (Score 4, Informative) 35

by Xandu (#26911049) Attached to: Distributed Project To Classify SDSS Galaxies

Heh, I'll bite. Actually, this is version 2 (which came out 2 days ago). The original Galaxy Zoo was launched in July 2007, and only classified galaxies as spiral or not. This is much more fine-grained and allows for significantly better research.

And seriously, 6 jobs in the last 18 months. C'mon!


+ - Distributed Project to Classify SDSS Galaxies->

Submitted by
Xandu writes "Be part of a human Beowulf by helping classify millions of galaxies from the SDSS at the Galaxy Zoo. From their about page:

Those involved are directly contributing to scientific research, while getting an opportunity to view the beautiful and varied galaxies that inhabit our universe. Why do we need people to do this, rather than just using a computer? The simple answer is that the human brain is much better at recognizing patterns than a computer. Galaxies are complicated objects that vary in appearance enormously, and yet in some ways they can be very similar. We could write a computer program to classify these galaxies, and many researchers have, but so far none have really done a good enough job. We have not been able to make computers 'see past' the complexity, to reliably identify the similarities that appear obvious to our eyes and brain. For now, and probably for some time yet, people do the best job of classifying galaxies.


Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Cant wait (Score 1) 136

by Xandu (#26797797) Attached to: The Herschel Telescope Close To Blast Off

If you'd like a preview, check out the results from BLAST (more results and even prettier pictures coming out very soon). Although it only has a 1.8 meter mirror, it has the same version of detectors that the SPIRE instrument on Herschel uses. To be cheaper and faster, BLAST flys on a high-altitude balloon platform. Slashdot has covered it in the past. And there's a documentary about BLAST as well (also covered by slashdot).

Disclaimer: I work on the BLAST project.

Comment: Re:Why not visible light? (Score 2, Informative) 136

by Xandu (#26797713) Attached to: The Herschel Telescope Close To Blast Off

True. But the oldest galaxies (what Herschel is mainly designed to look at) don't emit in the visible, even in their own (rest) frame. That's because the earliest galaxies are very dusty, and all this dust is opaque to the visible light. The stars are still there, glowing away, but their light is absorbed by this dust. This absorption heats the dust, warming it to 35K (give or take), which, as all things with non-zero temperature do, emits radiation like a blackbody. This light is then redshifted such that it's blackbody spectrum peaks in the submillimeter, which is what Herschel looks at.

Disclaimer: I work on BLAST, a balloon-borne experiment (cheaper than a satellite) which has detectors nearly identical to the ones of the SPIRE (main) instrument on Herschel.

Comment: Re:Cant wait (Score 1) 136

by Xandu (#26797603) Attached to: The Herschel Telescope Close To Blast Off

True, but JWST and Herschel are looking at vastly different wavelengths of light (mostly visible and near-IR as compared to submillimeter) so they really compliment each other. JWST is a replacement for Hubble in the truest sense of the word. The article is misleading in it's claim that Herschel is a replacement for Hubble.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle