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Comment: Journal Articles (Score 1) 233

by braindrainbahrain (#47947251) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

I am late to the party here, but want to leave one last tidbit: read astronomy journal articles. Many you will not understand, many, you will understand the language, but not the math (especially articles, they omit many many steps since they are so short), but ultimately, you will understand some, and understand the data they took to arrive at a conclusion, and maybe even question the data, the measurement, or the data processing. Maybe even enough to contact the authors and ask for clarification, or suggest alternate methods. At this point, you are doing astronomy. One added bonus to being a college student: Awesome libraries that can access all these journals at no cost to you (except your tuition of course).

Some suggestions for more hands on stuff:

Kewl book: Exoplanet Observing For Amateurs, by Bruce Gary (free! courtesy of the author)

edX Courses: They actually teach from journal articles! Math is at the high school level.

Citizen Science projects:

Find Exoplanets
Dicover and measure KBOs

Age? Phooey on that. Upon completing my 2nd M.S. degree in my mid 50's, I got letters of recommendation for PhD school (which I chose not to pursue).

+ - Intelsat is 50 years old->

Submitted by braindrainbahrain
braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "Now a private company, The International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium, aka Intelsat, is 50 years old this year. Created as an international organization with as many as 80 countries signing on, its mission was to bring “nations, and ultimately the world, together through communication and video” using new cutting edge space technology. The organization “bought people around the world to one organization with a common goal in an almost utopian concept”. “It looked like the United Nations”, said one member.

Satellite technology was in its infancy and the people at Intelsat had to make it all work. “We were doing something new; there was almost no precedent You were able to get bright people with a bag of tools but no experience”.

In our present day, accustomed as we are to instant news and communications worldwide, we forget the astonishment of people seeing things unfold in real time half a world away. The phrase “live via satellite” preceded broadcasts such as the 1969 moon landings and the 1978 World Cup. Intelsat even linked the White House and the Kremlin by the infamous hot line."

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Space

The Exoplanets That Never Were 31

Posted by samzenpus
from the planetary-false-positive dept.
StartsWithABang writes In 1992, scientists discovered the first planets orbiting a star other than our Sun. The pulsar PSR B1257+12 was discovered to have its own planetary system, and since then, exoplanet discoveries have exploded. But before that, in 1963, decades of research led to the much-anticipated publication and announcement of an exoplanet discovered around Barnard's star, the second-closest star system to Earth. Unfortunately, it turned out to be spurious, and it took years to uncover, an amazing story which is only now fully coming to light.
Government

Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist 499

Posted by samzenpus
from the skeletons-in-the-closet dept.
sciencehabit writes Valerie Barr was a tenured professor of computer science at Union College in Schenectady, New York, with a national reputation for her work improving computing education and attracting more women and minorities into the field. But federal investigators say that Barr lied during a routine background check about her affiliations with a domestic terrorist group that had ties to the two organizations to which she had belonged in the early 1980s. On 27 August, NSF said that her 'dishonest conduct' compelled them to cancel her temporary assignment immediately, at the end of the first of what was expected to be a 2-year stint. Colleagues who decry Barr's fate worry that the incident could make other scientists think twice about coming to work for NSF. In addition, Barr's case offers a rare glimpse into the practices of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), an obscure agency within the White House that wields vast power over the entire federal bureaucracy through its authority to vet recently hired workers.

+ - Quebec Man Sentenced to 60 Days for Watching 'Hentai' Anime->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "On Monday, the Quebec City courthouse sentenced a 54-year-old former private security guard to 60 days in prison for watching what was described as "Japanese child-porn cartoons known as hentai." Regis Tremblay acknowledged watching the material while manning the ammunition depot at the Canadian Force Base Valcartier in January 2012. He cited "curiosity" as the reason.

The prosecution said that investigators recovered 210 "hentai" files from a hard drive, as well as 501 web addresses from Tremblay's browser history. Crown prosecutor Nathalie Leroux argued, "Whether it's a cartoon image or a photograph, any representation of underage people's genitals is illegal under the Criminal Code."

Quebec court judge Bernard Lemieux sentenced Tremblay to 60 days in prison. As a result of his conviction, Tremblay must register as a sex offender for 10 years."

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+ - Hidden Archeology of Stonehenge Revealed in New Geophysical Map->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Utilizing a comprehensive array of remote sensing technology and non-invasive geophysical survey equipment, researchers working on the site of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England have revealed hundreds of previously unknown features buried deep beneath the ground as part of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project. The finds include images of dwellings from the Bronze and Iron Ages as well as details of buried Roman settlements never before seen."
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Math

Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life 211

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-credit-to-the-genesis-device dept.
KentuckyFC writes: Most research into the origin of life focuses on the messy business of chemistry, on the nature of self-replicating molecules and on the behavior of autocatalytic reactions. Now one theorist says the properties of information also place important limits on how life must have evolved, without getting bogged down in the biochemical details. The new approach uses information theory to highlight a key property that distinguishes living from non-living systems: their ability to store information and replicate it almost indefinitely. A measure of this how much these systems differ from a state of maximum entropy or thermodynamic equilibrium. The new approach is to create a mathematical model of these informational differences and use it to make predictions about how likely it is to find self-replicating molecules in an artificial life system called Avida. And interestingly, the predictions closely match what researchers have found in practice. The bottom line is that according to information theory, environments favorable to life are unlikely to be unusual.

+ - Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Most research into the origin of life focuses on the messy business of chemistry, on the nature of self-replicating molecules and on the behaviour autocatalytic reactions. Now one theorist says that the properties of information also place important limits on how life must have evolved, without getting bogged down in the biochemical details. The new approach uses information theory to highlight a key property that distinguishes living from non-living systems: their ability to store information and replicate it almost indefinitely. A measure of this is by how much these systems differ from a state of maximum entropy or thermodynamic equilibrium. The new approach is to create a mathematical model of these informational differences and to use it make predictions about how likely it is to find self-replicating molecules in an artificial life system called Avida used to study evolutionary biology. And interestingly, the predictions closely match what researchers have found in practice. The bottom line is that according to information theory, environments favourable to life are unlikely to be unusual."

Comment: How well does xkcd work in book form? (Score 1) 169

It's an honest question. I've seen many of these on the web over the years but some of the (IMHO) better ones use the web in some clever way, use long contiguous panels, or feature odd page layouts (3099 panels anyone?). How well does xkcd translate to book form?

+ - How Facebook could accidentally make its engineers into military targets-> 1

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Adam Henshke and Patrick Lin write that because of a lack of clear rules for cyberwarfare, technology workers could find themselves fair game in enemy attacks and counterattacks. 'If they participate in military cyberoperations—intentionally or not—employees at Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Sprint, AT&T, Vodaphone, and many other companies may find themselves considered “civilians directly participating in hostilities” and therefore legitimate targets of war, according to the legal definitions of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols.' This is a fascinating read about the myriad questions that cybersecurity raises--among them: Would nations ever target Google engineers if a cyberattack was launched with gmail? Could a company be justified in launching it's own military operations if it were under cyberattack from a hostile country? Great read."
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+ - New Game Sharpens Secure Coding Skills

Submitted by dinscott
dinscott (1951608) writes "Game of Hacks, a game for software developers and security professionals, presents players with vulnerable pieces of code and challenges them to identify the application layer vulnerability as quickly as possible and even has a 2-player mode allowing developers to battle head-to-head. Additionally , developers can add their own questions and vulnerable code to the game, in any programming language highlighting any vulnerabilities, meaning that the game’s scope grows as more users join. The game is available for desktop, tablet and mobile."

+ - Fears that Japanese Anime Producer Studio Ghibli May be Shutting Down ->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The hugely influential and popular animation studio might have made its last film following confirmation it is taking a break in production.

The studio, responsible for classics such as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke, is said to be considering its future following the retirement of it Hayao Miyazaki and box office failure of its most recent films.

Toshio Suzuki, the general manager of Studio Ghibli, told Japanese television: "On what to do with Studio Ghibli's future, it is by no means impossible to keep producing [movies] forever.

"However, we will take a brief pause to consider where to go from here.""

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