There are two reasons you have to switch of your electronic devices during takeoff/landing: first, the electronic interference, which is not considered a problem anymore these days. The second, more unknown, reason is that they do not want you to listen to music so that you can hear the safety announcements. I am not talking about the usual 'live-vest is stored under your seat' story that everyone has heard 100 times, but instructions to evacuate in case of real emergencies. Since these emergencies happen mostly during the first and last few minutes of a flight, they want you to pay full attention. Source: close friend is instructor for flight crews.
With $3B at stake, that would be pretty risky poker play for Facebook. If Facebook knows it is a boondoggle, it is likely that SnapChat's owners know it too, so their best action would be to take the money and run.
I watched the webcast live. The qualification of the upgraded Falcon 9 seemed to have gone very well, with payloads deployed in nominal orbits. They were also supposed to do some first tests for recovering the first stage. The only thing that I could find was that the second of two burns after separation sent it into a spin, after which it crash-landed in the ocean. Anyone has some more news about that?
I remember seeing a presentation by these guys when they were probably still a recent startup company at Twente University, must have been around 15 years ago. Their sensor is build with MEMS technology and consists of 2 or 3 tiny wires (maybe 1x200 micron) that are suspended over a valley etched out of a silicon wafer. When these wires are heated up, a sideways airflow will cause tiny difference in temperature between the wires that can be read out by measuring the resistance. At the time, their target application was low-cost microphones for use in mobile telephones. IIRC, the sensitivity of this sensor had a sensitivity that rolls off as 1/f inherent to the involved physics and they were struggling with the noise at high frequencies in the reconstructed sound. Looking at their website, the sensor still looks exactly the same. Assuming no major breakthrough (I could imagine they lowered the noise by a factor 10 meanwhile, but not that they solved the 1/f problem), I guess the major change now is that they can do more fancy signal conditioning with a DSP in real time. Too bad they went for the military market, but I guess that is a way to slap a few 10-Euro sensors together and sell them as a 10kEuro package. Does anyone know what could be done with these direction sensitive flow-sensors that cannot be done with a phased-array of conventional microphones?
Only when assuming a free and functioning economy with no collusion between insurance companies.
Maybe an even more important point they contributed is a large community. Cannonical took many years to build that up by marketing, providing infrastructure (forums, launchpad) and hand-picking the various pieces software that makes an distribution of things that work well together. This has several advantages: First, more users means more testing, more bug-reports and more people that can help you in a forum. Secondly, a large community means they created a critical mass to pressure hardware vendors to release drivers and companies like skype and adobe to release and maintain linux versions. No matter what they will do (go to slow, go to fast, screw up the odd sound drivers, try to make some money on the side), people will keep bitching about everything they do. I use Ubuntu because I like to bet on the winning horse: I know that my bugs will be fixed quicker if I stay with (one of the few) biggest distributions and I have a bigger chance that my hardware/software is supported. They might be the evil/non-ideal solution for now, but in the short turn it is more important to do make a strong block against Apple/Microsoft then to be as pure as possible. I can always switch to some better distribution later when linux as a whole has achieved world domination.
The only problem in this case is that it will be impossible to tow the refloated ship to India or some other country where they have a liberal view on labour safety. As far as I know, it will be towed to one of the nearby big harbours (Genua, Livorno or Civitavecchia?). I don't know how they will do the actual dismantling there.
Next versions: Lollypop, M&M/Mars, Nougat, , . Seems that Google's marketing department has already posted this question disguised as a mother.
This is the millionth time we see a post on Slashdot about people falling victim to a patent troll. If this is not yet done somewhere, someone should really make a wiki to meticulously document all these small cases, so that the next time you talk to a politician, you can show them the real damage of the current patent system.
I know about all the religious arguments pro or against whitespace as syntax. Personally, I am a happy user of python and I actually like the forced indentation, YMMV. But please slashdot, why do you screw up the indentation when the inventor of a whitespace-as-syntax-language gives a code example? This will be too easy for anyone arguing against the use whitespace of syntax.
Relevant XKCD here.
Long haul fiber optical signals are amplified using optical amplification these days. Basically, a small section of fiber is doped with some fluorescent molecules, which are pumped with a different color of light generated by a laser diode. The data never leaves the fiber. I guess the only way to intercept the data is to physically cut the fiber and slice in your secret box. This will be noticed.
Yes, you probably need to cut them. Go read about single-mode fibers: most of the light is contained in a guided mode inside the ~10 micrometer core of the fiber, while its amplitude decays exponentially inside the 125 micrometer diameter cladding, so no light reaches the outer surface of the fiber.
I presume that in the old days, they used electrical signals along those lines. With modern-day fiber-optic cables, you would have to cut open the cable, physically cut each fiber and splice in your secret device on the bottom of the ocean. With fibers currently porting more than one color of light and cables containing hundreds of fibers, you would probably need to leave several racks full of equipment to tap everything.
That was my thought too, but apparently they do exist already with magnetic bearings, for example this one. But problems with gyros/reaction wheels seem an old problem, wasn't Hubble stranded once for a few months with not enough gyros?