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Comment: Re: paper strips, not ticker tape/cards (Score 1) 117

by ekrock (#35371828) Attached to: UK Controllers Say Air Traffic System 'Not Safe'

They're not talking about "ticker tape" or punchcards. I'm no expert on ATC technology, but I recall reading an article about a fiasco in which the US FAA hired IBM (IIRC) to try to create a digital ATC system, the effort failed, and they killed the entire project after spending $1B. Apparently, the old analog method involved having a physical piece of paper for each flight that was placed on a physical representation of the flight path, and somehow the paper helped them avoid collisions.

Earth

First Measurement of Magnetic Field In Earth's Core 34

Posted by timothy
from the best-place-to-try-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A University of California, Berkeley, geophysicist has made the first-ever measurement of the strength of the magnetic field inside Earth's core, 1,800 miles underground. The magnetic field strength is 25 Gauss, or 50 times stronger than the magnetic field at the surface that makes compass needles align north-south. Though this number is in the middle of the range geophysicists predict, it puts constraints on the identity of the heat sources in the core that keep the internal dynamo running to maintain this magnetic field."
Space

X-37B Robotic Space Plane Returns To Earth 55

Posted by Soulskill
from the down-to-earth dept.
Kozar_The_Malignant writes "The secretive X-37B robotic space plane has returned to Earth after a seven-month mission. This was the vehicle's first flight. Looking like a cross between a Predator Drone and the Space Shuttle, it landed at Vandenberg AFB in California, which was to have been the military's shuttle launch facility. Speculation is that the X-37B is an orbital spy platform."
PlayStation (Games)

USAF Unveils Supercomputer Made of 1,760 PS3s 163

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-for-the-gusto dept.
digitaldc writes with this excerpt from Gamasutra: "The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has connected 1,760 PlayStation 3 systems together to create what the organization is calling the fastest interactive computer in the entire Defense Department. The Condor Cluster, as the group of systems is known, also includes 168 separate graphical processing units and 84 coordinating servers in a parallel array capable of performing 500 trillion floating point operations per second (500 TFLOPS), according to AFRL Director of High Power Computing Mark Barnell."

Comment: Re:Mars Need Women... (Score 1) 561

by ekrock (#34265742) Attached to: Would You Take a One-Way Ticket To Mars?

For starters, I suspect that someone who spends years 0-18 in a low-gravity environment (38% of Earth's) will wind up with lower bone density and muscle mass and would have problems when transported back to a higher-gravity environment like Earth. Loosely speaking, they'd probably wind up only half as strong as they needed to be. It might be possible to prevent brittle bones with Vitamin D supplementation and techniques like requiring them to spend part of each day on a vibrating platform, which has been proposed for prevention of brittle bones on Earth in children who don't get exercise and drink lots of carbonated beverages that bind to calcium. They could also work out a LOT with resistance training to try to make themselves stronger. But I wouldn't bet on this all working out smoothly. Once a Martian, always a Martian is my guess ...

Comment: don't rewrite textbooks in Comic Sans just yet ... (Score 2, Interesting) 175

by ekrock (#33994974) Attached to: Hard-to-Read Fonts Improve Learning

There are a few more questions to answer. (1) How long did subjects spend reading the Comic Sans documents vs. the Arial documents? If they spent more time reading the Comic Sans documents, that could explain the difference. (2) If they spent longer reading the Comic Sans versions, what was their net learning productivity after factoring the additional time in? (3) Could novelty explain the effect by obtaining greater attention? If we reprinted all textbooks in Comic Sans and similar fonts from hell, would the effect go away? (4) What would be the effect on children of a childhood spent reading books in Comic Sans? Would they be willing to put up with reading if all their books were printed in fonts designed to slow and torment the reader?

The only way you'll get my Arial is by prying it out of my cold, dead hands!!!

The invention and proliferation of Comic Sans was essentially an accident. This study takes "unintended consequences" to a whole new level!

+ - SPAM: Is your company the next BP or PG&E?

Submitted by ekrock
ekrock (736908) writes "Will your company, product, or project have a major disaster like the BP gulf oil spill, the PG&E gas pipeline explosion, or the Heartland Payment Systems credit card security breach? Have you made the right amount of effort and spent the right amount of money to identify and prevent events that have a low probability of occurring but a high impact if they happen? And how do you know what’s the right amount? The blog entry discusses ways product and project managers can reduce the risk of catastrophic failures and the problem of low probability events with high impact."
Link to Original Source
Science

Your Feces Is a Wonderland of Viruses 211

Posted by timothy
from the and-so-can-you dept.
sciencehabit writes "Thanks to an anlaysis of fecal samples from four sets of Missouri-born female identical twins and their mothers, researchers have concluded that human guts harbor viruses as unique as the people they inhabit; the viral lineup differs even between identical twins. Even more surprising? These viruses may be doing good work inside of us."

Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don't add up.

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