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+ - Could we abort a manned mission to Mars?

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "The next great leap in human spaceflight is a manned mission to a world within our Solar System: most likely Mars. But if something went wrong along the journey — at launch, close to Earth, or en route — whether biological or mechanical, would there be any way to return to Earth? A fun (and sobering) look at what the limits of physics and technology allow at present."

+ - Astrophysicists Use Apollo Seismic Array To Hunt for Gravitational Waves

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Back in the 1970s, the astronauts from Apollos 12. 14. 15 and 16 set up an array of seismometers on the lunar surface to listen for moonquakes. This array sent back data until 1977 when NASA switched it off. Now astrophysicists are using this lunar seismic data in the hunt for gravitational waves. The idea is that gravitational waves must squeeze and stretch the Moon as they pass by and that at certain resonant frequencies, this could trigger the kind of seismic groans that the array ought to have picked up. However, the data shows no evidence of activity at the relevant frequencies. That's important because it has allowed astronomers to put the strongest limits yet on the strength of gravitational waves in this part of the universe. Earlier this year, the same team used a similar approach with terrestrial seismic data to strengthen the existing limits by 9 orders of magnitude. The lunar data betters this by yet another order of magnitude because there is no noise from sources such as oceans, the atmosphere and plate tectonics. The work shows that good science on gravitational waves can be done without spending the hundreds of millions of dollars for bespoke gravitational wave detectors, such as LIGO, which have yet to find any evidence of the waves either."

+ - Consumer Reports: New iPhones Not As Bendy As Believed->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Over the past several days, we've been hearing reports about some amount of users noticing that their brand new iPhone 6 Plus is bending in their pockets. The pictures and videos shown so far have kicked off an investigation, and Consumer Reports has done one of the more scientific tests so far. They found that the iPhone 6 Plus takes 90 pounds of pressure before it permanently deforms. The normal iPhone 6 took even less: 70 lbs. They tested other phones as well: HTC One (M8): 70 lbs, LG G3: 130 lbs, iPhone 5: 130 lbs, Samsung Galaxy Note 3: 150 lbs. The Verge also did a report on how Apple torture-tests its devices before shipping them. Apple's standard is about 55 lbs of pressure, though it does so thousands of times before looking for bends. One analysis suggests that Apple's testing procedure only puts pressure on the middle of the phone, which doesn't sufficiently evaluate the weakened area where holes have been created for volume buttons. Consumer Reports' test presses on the middle of the device as well."
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Comment: Re:Don't put PhD in the resume (Score 1) 471

by darenw (#47980179) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

Interesting, since my own choice was the opposite. I was in grad school aiming for a PhD, but left because I prefer industry. Real-world problem solving, making stuff, satisfying markets, saving/improving lives or making something so someone else can save/improve lives, and earning good money but not in a way that scares off potential employers during a job hunt. Haven't written an academic paper in a long time, just internal technical reports.

My resume says "Graduate studies in Physics at $UNIVERSITY" or similar (I change wording every so often). Happily, I have several good job prospects at the moment. Life with a not-quite PhD is good.

+ - The Ruinous Results Of Our Botched Understanding Of 'Science'-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry writes at The Week, "If you ask most people what science is, they will give you an answer that looks a lot like Aristotelian "science" — i.e., the exact opposite of what modern science actually is. Capital-S Science is the pursuit of capital-T Truth. And science is something that cannot possibly be understood by mere mortals. It delivers wonders. It has high priests. It has an ideology that must be obeyed. This leads us astray. ... Countless academic disciplines have been wrecked by professors' urges to look "more scientific" by, like a cargo cult, adopting the externals of Baconian science (math, impenetrable jargon, peer-reviewed journals) without the substance and hoping it will produce better knowledge. ... This is how you get people asserting that "science" commands this or that public policy decision, even though with very few exceptions, almost none of the policy options we as a polity have have been tested through experiment (or can be). People think that a study that uses statistical wizardry to show correlations between two things is "scientific" because it uses high school math and was done by someone in a university building, except that, correctly speaking, it is not. ... This is how you get the phenomenon ... thinking science has made God irrelevant, even though, by definition, religion concerns the ultimate causes of things and, again, by definition, science cannot tell you about them. ... It also means that for all our bleating about "science" we live in an astonishingly unscientific and anti-scientific society. We have plenty of anti-science people, but most of our "pro-science" people are really pro-magic (and therefore anti-science). ""
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+ - Psychologist's study finds the old adage "Happy Wife, Happy Life" is true->

Submitted by tomhath
tomhath (637240) writes ""When men felt willing to express their anger or frustration, women took that as a sign that their partners were investing in the relationship, the study found. For most women studied, this translated into a sense of security or happiness for the women.

Men, by contrast, commonly expressed more fulfillment after their female partners expressed to them that they were fulfilled and satisfied in their relationships.

While the study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, ultimately found that happiness stems from a willingness to try and understand whatever emotion one’s partner is feeling, men tend to disengage when negatively aroused, while women tend to engage and want to discuss the problem.""

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+ - Fork Of systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A boycott of systemd and other backlash around systemd's feature-creep has led to the creation of Uselessd, a new init daemon. Uselessd is a fork of systemd 208 that strips away functionality considered irrelevant to an init system like the systemd journal and udev. Uselessd also adds in functionality not accepted in upstream systemd like support for alternative C libraries (namely uClibc and musl) and it's even being ported to BSD."
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+ - NY Magistrate: Legal Papers Can Be Server Via Facebook->

Submitted by Wylde Stile
Wylde Stile (731120) writes "A Staten Island, NY family court support magistrate allowed a man to serve his ex-wife via Facebook. The man tried to serve the woman in person and via mail, but the woman moved with no forwarding address. The children would not return his calls so he has no way to get the address. The magistrate decided that in-person and mail would not work

The ex-wife maintains an active Facebook account. She even liked some photos on the current wife Facebook page days before the ruling. The magistrate conclude that the ex-wife could be served through Facebook."

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+ - Ask Slashdot: Alternate software for use on smartboards?

Submitted by SmarterThanMe
SmarterThanMe (1679358) writes "Teacher here, you can call me Mr. SmarterThanMe. I have a fancy smartboard installed in my room. Smartboards allow me to show students a whole range of other stuff other than just whatever I'm writing. I can prepare instructions and activities before the lesson and just move through the boards. I can pull up some students' work and display it through the projector. I can bring up some stimulus for use in a writing task. So much better than blackboards.

Except the software that comes bundled with this particular brand of smartboard is ridiculously clunky. Without naming this particular piece of software, and highlighting it's shortfalls, has anyone got any suggestions on alternatives (open source or otherwise)?

The main features that I'd like are:
  • Handwriting recognition
  • The ability to make and use templates
  • Grids or guides or *something* to be able to teach measurement

I have gold star stickers for any good suggestions. Thanks in advance."

+ - Face it, Tesla's going to win in every state 1

Submitted by cartechboy
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Unless you've been in a coma for a while you're aware that many dealer associations have been causing headaches for Tesla in multiple states. The reason? They are scared. Tesla's new, different, and shaking up the ridiculously old way of doing things. But the thing is, Tesla keeps winning. Now Ward's commenter Jim Ziegler, president of Ziegler Supersystems in Atlanta, wrote an opinion piece that basically says Tesla's going to prevail in every state against dealer lawsuits. He says Tesla's basically busy defending what are nuisance suits. This leads to the question of whether there will be some sort of sweeping federal action in Tesla's favor."

+ - Rambus' tiny diffractive camera adds eyes to any digital device->

Submitted by LeDopore
LeDopore (898286) writes "Patrick Thibodeau from Computerworld writes about a technology I'm developing:

There's a type of camera technology emerging with a view of the world similar to what a honey bee sees. The images appear blurry and hazy, but if you're a bee, good enough for finding flowers and people to sting.

We use a spiral diffraction grating plus computation instead of a lens, which lets us shrink our sensor much smaller than any sane conventional optical system. The grating is only 200 microns in diameter, and the whole sensor can be made using only standard CMOS techniques, meaning it will cost only a trivial amount to add low-resolution eyes to any digital device."
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+ - Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police-> 4

Submitted by SternisheFan
SternisheFan (2529412) writes "By Craig Timberg September 17 at 9:51 PM
Apple said Wednesday night that it is making it impossible for the company to turn over data from most iPhones or iPads to police — even when they have a search warrant — taking a hard new line as tech companies attempt to blunt allegations that they have too readily participated in government efforts to collect user data.

The move, announced with the publication of a new privacy policy tied to the release of Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 8, amounts to an engineering solution to a legal dilemma: Rather than comply with binding court orders, Apple has reworked its latest encryption in a way that makes it almost impossible for the company – or anyone else but the device’s owner – to gain access to the vast troves of user data typically stored on smartphones or tablet computers.

The key is the encryption that Apple mobile devices automatically put in place when a user selects a passcode, making it difficult for anyone who lacks that passcode to access the information within, including photos, e-mails, recordings or other documents. Apple once kept possession of encryption keys that unlocked devices for legally binding police requests, but will no longer do so for iOS8, it said in a new guide for law enforcement.

“Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data,” Apple said on its Web site. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”"

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Comment: Take a Hint from Atoms (Score 1) 819

by darenw (#47847933) Attached to: 3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

One thing they haven't tried yet is hexagonal packing. Any physicist, chemist or minerologist can tell you hexagonal is denser packing than rectangles.

Even better, pack in those passengers in three dimensions, Face Centered Cubic lattices and all that. Of course, this works best for spherical passengers.

+ - IT Jobs Take Summer Swan Dive 1

Submitted by snydeq
snydeq (1272828) writes "The IT job hiring bump earlier this year wasn't sustained in July and August, when numbers slumped considerably, InfoWorld reports. 'So much for the light at the end of the IT jobs tunnel. According to job data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as analyzed by Janco Associates, the IT professional job market has all but lost the head of steam it built up earlier this year. A mere 3,400 IT jobs were added in August, down from 4,600 added for July and way down from the 13,800 added in April of this year. Overall, IT hiring in 2014 got off to a weak start, then surged, only to stumble again.' Anybody out there finding the IT job market discouraging of late and care to share their experiences?"

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