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Earth

Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels 624

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-this-doesn't-mean-global-warming-isn't-real dept.
schwit1 writes Scientists have declared a new record has been set for the extent of Antarctic sea ice since records began. Satellite imagery reveals an area of about 20 million square kilometers covered by sea ice around the Antarctic continent. Jan Lieser from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) said the discovery was made two days ago. "Thirty-five years ago the first satellites went up which were reliably telling us what area, two dimensional area, of sea ice was covered and we've never seen that before, that much area."
Shark

Scientists Record Quantum Behavior of Electrons Via Laser Lights 33

Posted by samzenpus
from the spinning-lasers dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with news about a breakthrough in recording quantum behavior in electrons. A group of researchers has said that they have come up with a new method to record and control electron behavior at the quantum mechanical level. The research team, headed by the scientists at the University of Chicago, used laser lights in ultra-fast pulses for the experiment. The laser light controlled the quantum state of electrons. It contained inside nanoscale defects in a diamond. The researchers observed changes in that electron over a time period. They focused on the quantum mechanical property of electrons known as spin. Lead author David Awschalom, a molecular engineering professor at a university in Chicago, said, "These defects have attracted great interest of the scientists over the past decade. They provide a test-bed system for developing semiconductor quantum bits as well as nanoscale sensors."

Comment: Rust (Score 2) 57

by PCM2 (#47664645) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Corporate Open Source Policy?

Your comment about "pushing it to a platform like Github where it typically sits and rusts" is telling. What do you think will really change if you just shift when you push your code to Github?

In a nutshell, "if you build it, they will come" is a nice fantasy, nothing more.

Even very high-profile open source projects often have very few contributors outside of the companies that first created them.

And I don't think the problem is that these projects don't get community developers on board soon enough. Why would a hobbyist or other unpaid developer risk devoting time and resources to a project that is mostly vaporware?

The problem is that it's very difficult to get unaffiliated developers to commit to working on something -- especially business software -- when there's no real incentive other than "someday this may end up being a product that your company might decide to evaluate to see if it might be possible to use instead of the commercial alternative that it has already sunk capital into and has been using for the last five years."

Comment: Re:A truly smart person ... (Score 0) 391

by Maow (#47653543) Attached to: Is "Scorpion" Really a Genius?

Not true. I work with EE faculty, and a number of them can't seem to grasp the concept that the being a brilliant engineer doesn't automatically confer one with expertise in diverse other areas such as patent law, accounting, videography, etc.

I'll agree and add a couple more topics that engineers often make fools of them self in: politics and climate science.

And, to be fair, it's not just engineers that suffer this; it's any highly trained individual who lacks humility.

United States

Leaked Docs Show Spyware Used To Snoop On US Computers 135

Posted by timothy
from the who's-zoomin'-who dept.
Advocatus Diaboli writes Software created by the controversial UK-based Gamma Group International was used to spy on computers that appear to be located in the United States, the UK, Germany, Russia, Iran, and Bahrain, according to a leaked trove of documents analyzed by ProPublica. It's not clear whether the surveillance was conducted by governments or private entities. Customer e-mail addresses in the collection appeared to belong to a German surveillance company, an independent consultant in Dubai, the Bosnian and Hungarian Intelligence services, a Dutch law enforcement officer, and the Qatari government.

Comment: Re:Death bell tolling for thee.... (Score 1) 322

by PCM2 (#47524277) Attached to: Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

Sure. Here's a transcript of the earnings call. (You may need to register to read it.)

Nadella does say, early on in his prepared comments, that, "We will streamline the next version of Windows from three operating systems into one single converged operating system for screens of all sizes."

Later during the Q&A session, however, he was asked about how this "one version for all devices" would change the number of Windows SKUs that are available, and he said this:

Yes. My statement Heather was more to do with just even the engineering approach. The reality is that we actually did not have one Windows; we had multiple Windows operating systems inside of Microsoft. We had one for phone, one for tablets and PCs, one for Xbox, one for even embedded. So we had many, many of these efforts. So now we have one team with the layered architecture that enables us to in fact one for developers bring that collective opportunity with one store, one commerce system, one discoverability mechanism. It also allows us to scale the UI across all screen sizes; it allows us to create this notion of universal Windows apps and being coherent there.

So that’s what more I was referencing and our SKU strategy will remain by segment, we will have multiple SKUs for enterprises, we will have for OEM, we will have for end-users. And so we will – be disclosing and talking about our SKUs as we get further along, but this my statement was more to do with how we are bringing teams together to approach Windows as one ecosystem very differently than we ourselves have done in the past.

Lots of hedging in there. You don't need a single, converged OS to give developers "one store, one commerce system, one discoverability system." Those are all ancillary functions. A "team with the layered architecture" doesn't sound like every version of Windows is going to share the same layers. And clearly nothing about Windows is going to be simplified from the customer's perspective; there will still be six or eight SKUs, with each offering different benefits.

Rather, I take Nadella's comments to mean he's streamlining the OS engineering group so that the people working on each Windows platform work in tandem with the others and they all have similar goals, milestones, etc (good).

I also take it to mean that Microsoft will offer developers who are building so-called Modern apps a common set of APIs that will be available on the various form factors, so they eventually should only have to write their apps once and they will run on every kind of device. That sounds OK, but it's only going to be true for Windows Store apps -- and to achieve that, you don't need every device to be running an identical OS.

In other words, no Holy Grail here, but Microsoft is streamlining and rationalizing its OS engineering efforts, which makes good sense at this juncture.

Comment: Re:Death bell tolling for thee.... (Score 2) 322

by PCM2 (#47520513) Attached to: Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

They're not talking about the interface. They're talking about the underlying nuts-and-bolts stuff.

No, they're really more talking about the interface. The underlying nuts and bolts are already pretty much the same, in that Windows, Windows RT, and Windows Phone all share the same NT kernel. But above that there is plenty that's different from platform to platform. What Nadella wants to do is unify the development model and allow developers to create apps with UIs that react and readjust depending on the screen size of the device they're running on, much like how modern websites can support multiple screen sizes. All this talk about "one version of Windows" stems from a single, oversimplified comment Nadella made on the earnings call. When asked about it later, he completely backtracked and said there would not be any such thing.

Comment: Re:OK MS bashers. (Score 1) 322

by PCM2 (#47520497) Attached to: Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

I would hope this unification means that there will be suffice emulation built into windows that it will pick the kernel/libs/drivers required by the CPU arch, and userland apps can run in emulation (even if slowly) if they are compiled for the wrong proc. This would be a unified windows, that allows x86 and 64 bit apps run on ARM and vice versa (although the other direction is likely not as useful).

Unfortunately for you, the actual article says the exact opposite of the summary (so what else is new on /.?): Other than the kernel and the app development model, there will be no unified version of Windows. There will always be different flavors of Windows for different kinds of devices and even multiple SKUs of the same version of Windows for different markets (consumer, SMB, enterprise, etc.)

Power

People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use 710

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the just-build-a-few-nuclear-reactors dept.
schwit1 (797399) writes with news that a UK study has found that folks concerned about climate change don't do much to conserve power at home. From the article: Those who say they are concerned about the prospect of climate change consume more energy than those who say it is "too far into the future to worry about," the study commissioned by the Department for Energy and climate change found. That is in part due to age, as people over 65 are more frugal with electricity but much less concerned about global warming. However, even when pensioners are discounted, there is only a "weak trend" to show that people who profess to care about climate change do much to cut their energy use. The findings were based on the Household Electricity Survey, which closely monitored the electricity use and views of 250 families over a year. The report (PDF), by experts from Loughborough University and Cambridge Architectural Research, was commissioned and published by DECC. High power use doesn't have to be dirty: Replace coal, methane, and petroleum with nuclear, wind, solar, etc.

Comment: Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (Score 3, Informative) 178

by Maow (#47429875) Attached to: Peer Review Ring Broken - 60 Articles Retracted

1. I'm not interested in being brow beaten by some fool more interested in winning an argument then in addressing the argument.

If you're going to keep attempting an ad hominem then I'm going to simply not talk to you. And then what will you have accomplished? ...you're going to get asinine...

Jeez, pot meet kettle.

To top it off, he addressed your points quite well and it appears that it's you that seems intent upon winning an argument with your long-winded reply, which, of course, doesn't specifically and concretely address the issues raised by the person you're replying to.

Funding to reproduce coming from same institution? So they'll have half the money for original research then. And the suckers tasked with the reproduction won't be advancing their own careers under the Publish (original, ground breaking work) Or Perish model used today.

Like it was stated, in a fairly appropriate analogy, reproducing others' work is akin to re-writing a new software project - in software dev, it's a losing game.

In science it's important, but like in software dev, the boss isn't interested. And while the result may be beneficial, it's hard to convince people that it's a rewarding career move to play catch-up to others' work.

Having said all that, I think we all agree that reproducibility is important -- question is, how to go about it as the current system kinda disfavours it in all but the most important projects.

We need to implement specific, concrete changes -- having grad students do some of that is a good idea, but not sure if it'll completely solve the issue.

But laymen will at least understand what has and has not be verified. That is important. Science cannot be something only scientists understand any more then the law can be something only lawyers understand.

Laymen will never understand cutting edge science (unless they're quite keen on the topic at hand - a miniscule minority), and any layman that thinks they understand the law as well as lawyers generally get their arses handed to them should they attempt pro se representation.

Specialization in complex fields is natural.

Robotics

Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots 530

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the human-workers-sent-to-protein-bank dept.
redletterdave (2493036) writes The largest private employer in all of China and one of the biggest supply chain manufacturers in the world, Foxconn announced it will soon start using robots to help assemble devices at its several sprawling factories across China. Apple, one of Foxconn's biggest partners to help assemble its iPhones, iPads, will be the first company to use the new service. Foxconn said its new "Foxbots" will cost roughly $20,000 to $25,000 to make, but individually be able to build an average of 30,000 devices. According to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, the company will deploy 10,000 robots to its factories before expanding the rollout any further. He said the robots are currently in their "final testing phase."

Comment: Re:Can an "atheist company" refuse too? (Score 1) 1330

by PCM2 (#47356593) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

As for roads, most of them were made by private people and companies, long before government got involved.

I give him credit for not reminding you that he never even used the word "government." He said "society." You want rid of that, go live on some forgotten island in Indonesia and see how long you last. Until then, your attitude of "I've got mine, plus all the benefits society gives me as well, so fuck you, Jack" is not just selfish and stupid, it's completely morally bankrupt. You're a turd and you're really not worth anyone's breath.

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead

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