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+ - First Evidence of Extrasolar Planets Discovered In 1917

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Earth's closest white dwarf is called van Maanen 2 and sits 14 light years from here. It was discovered by the Dutch astronomer Adriaan van Maanen in 1917, but it was initially hard to classify. That's because its spectra contains lots of heavy elements alongside hydrogen and helium, the usual components of a white dwarf photosphere. In recent years, astronomers have discovered many white dwarfs with similar spectra and shown that the heavy elements come from asteroids raining down onto the surface of the stars. It turns out that all these white dwarfs are orbited by a large planet and an asteroid belt. As the planet orbits, it perturbs the rocky belt causing asteroids to collide and spiral in towards their parent star. This process is so common that astronomers now use the heavy element spectra as a marker for the presence of extrasolar planets. And a re-analysis of van Maanen's work shows that, in hindsight, he was the first to discover the tell-tale signature of extrasolar planets almost a century ago."

+ - High-altitude drones are the future of Internet broadband->

Submitted by mwagner
mwagner (413143) writes "Skynet is coming. But not like in the movie: The future of communications is high-altitude solar-powered drones, flying 13 miles above the ground, running microwave wireless equipment, delivering broadband to the whole planet. This technology will replace satellites, fiber, and copper, and fundamentally change the broadband industry. Call it Skynet, after the antagonist in the Terminator movies. It's coming in about 20 years — the same amount of time between Arthur C. Clarke's predicting the geosynchronous satellite and their reality as a commercial business. "Several important technology milestones need to be reached along the way. The drones that will make up Skynet have a lot more in common with satellites than the flippy-flappy helicopter drone thingies that the popular press is fixated on right now. They’re really effing BIG, for one thing. And, like satellites, they go up, and stay up, pretty much indefinitely. For that to happen, we need two things: lighter, higher-capacity wireless gear; and reliable, hyper-efficient solar tech.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Broadband boost: testing lab, consortium to foster 1G over copper->

Submitted by alphadogg
alphadogg (971356) writes "(Sorry, earlier sub mistakenly said 100G, not 1G, which is correct)

"The emerging standards for boosting last-mile broadband connections took a step forward this week with the establishment of a formal testing lab, plans for interoperability tests and the formation of an industry consortium at the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab. could give service providers a cheaper alternative to fiber for connecting to homes and businesses. The news about the 1Gbps technology was revealed at the Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam.""

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+ - Programming-Language Innovation Is Dead: Witness the rebirth with... Java?

Submitted by Peter Joh
Peter Joh (3886347) writes "Yes, there’s been a lot of stealing of features between languages (for example, closures), but for the past 15 years, programming-language development now moves in baby steps rather than the man-sized leaps of the days of yore. One ambitious, open-source organization called Project Hierarchy is trying to push things forward with a simple idea: take what we developers work with the most, data, and add it directly into a language (in this case, Java). Hierarchy is not just some JSON ripoff, the Java language has actually been fused with the database (called a NoDB, the successor to NoSQL). They believe it’s the final evolution of the database, and are reaching out to the dev community to donate to their recently launched Kickstarter campaign to help them continue what they started."

Comment: I've Never Understood The Appeal (Score 1) 304

by jdschulteis (#48097723) Attached to: The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

I despise the clicky, springy sound and the activation force is higher than I like.

In college, there were some terminals with Hall-effect keyboards that I liked, wish I could remember the model.

The Amiga 1000 keyboard was pretty good but the action was a little too light.

I'd take a Sun Type 5 over a Model M any day.

Comment: Re:And Java fail again (Score 1) 349

by jdschulteis (#48060963) Attached to: Possible Reason Behind Version Hop to Windows 10: Compatibility

Because only Java attracts bad programmers? Or is it simply observation bias? Certainly Java is not the only language which can give you the OS name.

Probably one bad programmer made the mistake of checking against "Windows 9" and assuming a match meant Windows 95 or 98, published the code, and then a bunch of other bad programmers copied the mistake.

Comment: Re:Surprisingly (Score 1) 142

by jdschulteis (#48043489) Attached to: Boeing Told To Replace Cockpit Screens Affected By Wi-Fi

Where? Common sense dictates not forcing the airlines to replace screens on 1,300 aircraft just because someone can't go without internet for any meaningful amount of time.

Think about how easy it would be for someone with malicious intent to bring aboard a jammer disguised as a legit electronic device. Cockpit electronics need to be hardened against interference regardless.

Comment: Re:What is the net effect? (Score 1) 907

by aprentic (#47997741) Attached to: Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

If subprime auto lending is really so profitable why aren't there more people doing it?
Given the small amounts of money that are involved any tiny bank or hedge fund could get into. At the prices you're talking about even a small investment club could make these loans.
I suggest it's because the risks are much higher than you assume they are.
Take your first example. How much do you think it costs to repossess a car? Of course there are legal fees and court fees. Then you have to pay a guy to go and get the car to some holding area (which you also have to pay for). Then you need to arrange to sell it and unless the bank is going to open it's own used car lot (which costs money) they need to pay someone to sell it for them (which costs money).
Finally how much do you think the bank can get for a car that's, in theory, worth $4000. I'm guessing it's less than $4000.

Also, if a bank repossess a car and somehow manages to sell it for more than the outstanding value of the loan plus expenses they don't get to keep the difference.

Comment: What is the net effect? (Score 4, Interesting) 907

by aprentic (#47994431) Attached to: Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

It would be interesting to see what the net effect of these devices is.

Did it just move a bunch of people from the category of "You can have a car loan and if you don't pay we will go through a long process to repossess your car." to "You can have a car loan but we can shut it off as soon as you miss a payment."
Or did it move people from the category of "You don't get a car loan at all." to "You can have a car loan but we can shut it off as soon as you miss a payment."

I suspect it's both but it would be interesting to know what happens in aggregate.

Comment: What will you do for me? (Score 1) 479

by aprentic (#47978861) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

That's the question every employer is asking themselves about you.
They may not ask you directly but that's what they're trying to find out so you need to be able to answer it.
Keep in mind that the things that you are best at providing may not be the things that all or most companies need.

Start by figuring out what you can bring to the table and then look for companies that need that.
In my experience the thing that a PhD shows is that you can successfully complete a research project on your own. If you want to leverage that then you need to find a company that is trying to get research done. This doesn't need to be academic type research but it really only makes sense to hire research experts if you're doing something new.

While many programming jobs require you to be smart you don't necessarily need to be able to find new ways of doing things. In fact, finding a new way of doing something is usually pretty stupid since chances are pretty good that someone else already figured out a way to do whatever it is well enough that it's not worth wasting time finding a new way to do it.
But sometimes there isn't a good solution to a problem and if you find a company that is trying to solve a problem like that they'll be more likely to want to hire someone with a track record of being able to solve problems that they can't look up the answer to.

My idea of roughing it turning the air conditioner too low.