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Astronomers Solve Puzzle of the Mountains That Fell From Space 51

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the just-a-crashed-ring-station dept.
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Iapetus, Saturn's third largest moon, was first photographed by the Cassini spacecraft on 31 December 2004. The images created something of a stir. Clearly visible was a narrow, steep ridge of mountains that stretch almost halfway around the moon's equator. The question that has since puzzled astronomers is how this mountain range got there. Now evidence is mounting that this mountain range is not the result of tectonic or volcanic activity, like mountain ranges on other planets. Instead, astronomers are increasingly convinced that this mountain range fell from space. The latest evidence is a study of the shape of the mountains using 3-D images generated from Cassini data. They show that the angle of the mountainsides is close to the angle of repose, that's the greatest angle that a granular material can form before it landslides. That's not proof but it certainly consistent with this exotic formation theory. So how might this have happened?

Astronomers think that early in its life, Iapetus must have been hit by another moon, sending huge volumes of ejecta into orbit. Some of this condensed into a new moon that escaped into space. However, the rest formed an unstable ring that gradually spiraled in towards the moon, eventually depositing the material in a narrow ridge around the equator. Cassini's next encounter with Iapetus will be in 2015 which should give astronomers another chance to study the strangest mountain range in the Solar System."

Double Take: Condoleezza Rice As Dropbox's Newest Board Member 313

Posted by timothy
from the describe-your-conversation-with-the-inquisition dept.
Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State under George W. Bush, and defender of Bush-era (and onward) policies about surveillance by wiretapping and other means, has landed at an interesting place: she's just become a part of the small board at Dropbox. TechDirt calls the appointment "tone deaf," and writes "At a time when people around the globe are increasingly worried about American tech firms having too close a connection to the intelligence community, a move like this seems like a huge public relations disaster. While Rice may be perfectly qualified to hold the role and to help Dropbox with the issues it needs help with, it's hard not to believe that there would be others with less baggage who could handle the job just as well." Some people are doing more than looking for an alternative for themselves, too, as a result.

Comment: Re:The theoretical & practical hurdles of 3D p (Score 1) 143

by ndrw (#46687943) Attached to: A Bid To Take 3D Printing Mainstream

I'm not sure you're entirely correct here. I think you're right that "average" people won't be able to do good 3D design, but I'm seeing more and more gallery sites open with very interesting 3D models available for free. I think there's a good analogy to the early computer industry. We had very few users that weren't power users, because it was a pain to learn. But then, more and more people created interesting software and the hardware advanced and it became cheaper and easier to get involved (thanks to shareware, freeware, hardware clones, etc.), and now we've got these crazy pocket computers with amazing apps for $.99. I think 3D printing and production may follow a similar adoption model, we're just in the early-adopter, hobbyist, hardcore geek phase now.

Comment: Matches User Behaviour (Score 1) 75

by ndrw (#46615103) Attached to: <em>Ultima Online</em> Devs Building Player-Run MMORPG

I think this idea really matches what I see in a lot of young gamers now. If you've spent any time on Minecraft lately, you'll find a tremendous diversity of play styles and server types. Having a professionally produced, nicely scaling MMORPG that the players can bring their creativity to, could provide a nice market for them.


What If the Next Presidential Limo Was a Tesla? 330

Posted by timothy
from the anything-that'll-turn-into-a-pumpkin-please dept.
cartechboy writes "The presidential limo is known as "The Beast," and it's getting to be about that time where it's replaced. Currently The Beast is a General Motors creation with a Cadillac badge, but what if the next presidential limo was a Tesla? Stick with me here. The Beast is a massive vehicle, which means there would be plenty of room in the structure to have a long battery pack a la Model S. Plus, it could use the upcoming Model X's all-wheel-drive system. Tesla's air suspension would keep it from encountering high-centering issues. There could even be a charging port on both the front and back so a battery truck could hook up while driving, like in-flight refueling. Obviously the battery pack would need to have extra protection so it wouldn't have any issues with road debris, but that's a minor issue. Tesla is an American company, and that's a requirement for The Beast. So is it that far fetched to think the next presidential limo could be a Tesla?"

Levitating and Manipulating Objects With Sound 59

Posted by Soulskill
from the learn-how-to-juggle-without-using-your-hands dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Researchers at the University of Tokyo have published a paper and video describing a technique that is explicitly not an anti-gravity system, and doesn't pretend to be, but looks very much like one. 'The essence of levitation is the countervailing of gravity,' according to the provocative opening of a paper published Dec. 14 on the Cornell University science-publishing site that describes a way to not only raise an object into the air, but maneuver it in three dimensions using only standing waves of ultrasound. Since the mid-1970s, researchers have been able to levitate small objects using focused beams of high-frequency sound that bounce off a flat surface and create a wave of pressure that pushes the object into the air. But they couldn't cause an object to float, and they couldn't move it around in any direction other than up or down. The University of Tokyo team led by Yoichi Ochiai built a system that could raise small particles, water droplets and even 'small creatures' off a flat surface and zoom them around within an open, cubical area about 21 inches on each side. The system uses four sets of phased arrays – speakers producing focused beams of sound at around 40kHz – to create waves of ultrasonic force on every side of the object rather than just one. The force produced by each of the four ultrasound sources can be changed – and the force on the object manipulated – using the same techniques utilized by older systems. Coordinating the frequencies and force of ultrasound arrays on four sides, however, creates a consistent focal point for the force from each. By keeping frequency changes in sync, the system creates a 'bubble' within which the force from all four sources is consistent no matter where within the target area the focus is directed."

Comment: Re:Working and Listening are Mutually Exclusive (Score 1) 262

by ndrw (#45294619) Attached to: Do You Need Headphones While Working?

I feel very similar, but for me, it's not just the lyrics, but whether or not I have chosen the songs. If I've chosen the songs and know the lyrics and what's happening, I can totally ignore them. If someone else is play music, it distracts me because I'm trying to figure it out or understand it.


Silent Circle, Lavabit Unite For 'Dark Mail' Encrypted Email Project 195

Posted by timothy
from the it's-so-spooky dept.
angry tapir writes "Two privacy-focused email providers have launched the Dark Mail Alliance, a project to engineer an email system with robust defenses against spying. Silent Circle and Lavabit abruptly halted their encrypted email services in August, saying they could no longer guarantee email would remain private after court actions against Lavabit, reportedly an email provider for NSA leaker Edward Snowden."

Comment: Paid to Program? Know Business or Accounting (Score 1) 167

by ndrw (#45148081) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: As a Programmer/Geek, Should I Learn Business?

Look, if you want to get paid to program, you're going to need to know something about the business or organization you work in. In a ton of cases, that means knowing some accounting, organizational structure, and the actual goals of the business. For anyone who can actually program, that should be too hard.

Center meeting at 4pm in 2C-543.