Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


+ - Rosetta snaps a picture of its own shadow on the comet below->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "The ESA released an image Tuesday of the comet-orbiting Rosetta leaving a fleeting mark on the comet: its shadow. The space agency describes it as being "encircled in a wreath of light." It was a rare confluence of circumstances that enabled the image to exist as the sun, spacecraft and comet all came into alignment.

The shadow is diffuse, rather than sharp. The ESA explains this by noting, "If you were standing on the surface with Rosetta high above you, there would be no place in the shadow where the entire Sun would be blocked from view, which explains why there is no fully dark core to the shadow."

The image was taken during a close flyby of the comet on February 14, but the ESA just now brought it to the public's attention. Rosetta — which was launched back in 2004 and sent on a mission to approach and study Comet 67P — was at a distance of about 3.7 miles from the comet's surface at the time.

What's so intriguing about the shadow image is that it's something familiar happening in an alien place, 317 million miles away. We're all used to seeing our shadows here on Earth. Rosetta casting a shadow on a comet puts its epic space adventure into a more human perspective."

Link to Original Source

+ - A paralyzed woman flew an F-35 fighter jet in a simulator — using only her->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Over at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, also known as DARPA, there are some pretty amazing (and often top-secret) things going on. But one notable component of a DARPA project was revealed by a Defense Department official at a recent forum, and it is the stuff of science fiction movies.

According to DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar, a paralyzed woman was successfully able use her thoughts to control an F-35 and a single-engine Cessna in a flight simulator.

It's just the latest advance for one woman, 55-year-old Jan Scheuermann, who has been the subject of two years of groundbreaking neurosignaling research.

First, Scheuermann began by controlling a robotic arm and accomplishing tasks such as feeding herself a bar of chocolate and giving high fives and thumbs ups.

Then, researchers learned that — surprisingly — Scheuermann was able to control both right-hand and left-hand prosthetic arms with just the left motor cortex, which is typically responsible for controlling the right-hand side.

After that, Scheuermann decided she was up for a new challenge, according to Prabhakar.

"Jan decided that she wanted to try flying a Joint Strike Fighter simulator," Prabhakar said, prompting laughter from the crowd at the New America Foundation's Future of War forum. "So Jan got to fly in the simulator."

Unlike pilots who use the simulator technology for training, Scheuermann wasn't thinking about controlling the plane with a joystick. She thought about flying the plane itself — and it worked.

"In fact," Prabhakar noted, "for someone who's never flown — she's not a pilot in real life — she's in there flying a simulator directly from neurosignaling.""

Link to Original Source

+ - First Satellites With All-Electric Propulsion Call Home->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "The launch of two new communications satellites may not seem like news these days, but it is when they're the first satellites with all-electric propulsion. Boeing announced that the two 702SP small platform satellites, called ABS-3A and EUTELSAT 115 West B, that launched on Sunday evening are sending back signals to mission control as they power towards geosynchronous orbit under ion drive."
Link to Original Source

+ - Photo First: Light Captured as Both Particle and Wave->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "It’s one of those enduring Zen koans of science that we’ve all grown up with: Light behaves as both a particle and a wave—at the same time. Einstein taught us that, so we’re all generally on board, but to actually understand what it means would require several Ph.D.s and a thorough understanding of quantum physics.

What’s more, scientists have never been able to devise an experiment that documents light behaving as both a wave and a particle simultaneously. Until now.

That’s the contention of a team of Swiss and American researchers, who say they’ve succeeded in capturing the first-ever snapshot of light’s dual behavior. Using an advanced electron microscope – one of only two on the planet – at the EPFL labs in Switzerland, the team has generated a kind of quantum photograph of light behaving as both a particle and a wave.

The experiment involves firing laser light at a microscopic metallic nanowire, causing light to travel — as a wave — back and forth along the wire. When waves traveling in opposite directions meet, they form a “standing wave” that emits light itself — as particles. By shooting a stream of electrons close to the nanowire, the researchers were able to capture an image that simultaneously demonstrates both the wave-nature and particle-nature of light.

“This experiment demonstrates that, for the first time ever, we can film quantum mechanics — and its paradoxical nature — directly,” says lead researcher Fabrizio Carbone of EPFL, on the lab’s project page. The study is to be officially published this week in the journal Nature Communications."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:If you're in the United States, get a lawyer (Score 1) 229

Yes - this is always a sticky situation. "We" want to report the issue but have plenty of tales of people killing the messenger.

My very serious solution - print out all of the details on a sheet of paper. Pop it in an envelop, drive to the next town, and mail it in.

And use an older printer that doesn't put signature marks in the pixels. Or drive to a street, hike through the woods, to a payphone - and call them.

You've done your job and aren't involved. Of course - you've already exercised the bug - they do have the logs and can go looking to see if anybody ever tried this. But maybe they won't, or at least maybe just maybe won't find you.

You have a responsibility to keep it a secret.

Plan B is to talk loudly at a hacker convention and let somebody else "stumble" across it.

Comment: Re:Just y'know... reconnect them spinal nerves (Score 1) 209

by ripvlan (#49148535) Attached to: Surgeon: First Human Head Transplant May Be Just Two Years Away

I heard an interview with this surgeon on BBC this morning. He definitely is a glass half full person - nothing is impossible. No matter what difficulty the reporter asked was waved away with (in essence) "bah - that is a minor detail"

2 years? Snake-oil or real possibility?

Pragmatically there may be a few small hills to climb. My magic 8-ball says, "Unlikely."

But hey - we could be on the edge of a major breakthrough.

+ - Fighting Scams Targeting the Elderly With Old-School Tech->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Sharp is launching a pair of landline phones designed to counter a growing form of fraud in Japan that preys upon the elderly. The 'ore ore' ('it’s me, it’s me') fraudsters pretend to be grandchildren in an emergency and convince their victims to send money, generally via ATM. Sharp’s new phones are designed to alert seniors to the dangers of unknown callers. When potential victims receive that are not registered in the internal memory of Sharp's new phones, their LED bars glow red and the phones go into anti-scam mode. An automated message then tells the caller that the call is being recorded and asks for the caller to state his or her name before the call is answered."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:from a psychologist that has helped children gr (Score 1) 698

yes and....

Update family photos. Label who her (great--xxx) grandparents are. Take out that felt marker and write on the back of old photos. If you have siblings or cousins - they can help when she gets older. How many times have you been at a family event and somebody asks "who is that?" in some old photo. This allows for some history.

Also - I'd make it known to both my wife and children that it is okay to move on. That there may be somebody else in the future - and that is okay. That person will help guide in his own way - taking over where I left off. Not a replacement - but don't ignore that person simply because he isn't me (you).

Comment: Re:Sigh... Yet another scam (Score 1) 233

by ripvlan (#49067679) Attached to: Mars One: Final 100 Candidates Selected

Well - if they had the original 200k people to send on the mission -- maybe 40 would still be alive when the spaceship arrived.

As for financing - they plan to sell all of it as a Reality TV show. Here's an NPR writeup from 2013 "This one-way trip to Mars is brought to you by":

No new technology? Pretty sure there are several "known unknowns" that haven't been figured out. Gamma Ray protection tops the list. I remember one of the moon astronauts describing the strange flashes of light that they would see during the trip. Leaving earth's protection completely is expected to be even worse.

I remember hearing an interview on the radio with an "expert" after Prez Obama made his Mars declaration. This expert listed some absolutely fascinating problems, even basics, that still need to be solved. Some of the issues were things I wouldn't have thought of - ever. Wish I could find that interview - it was also on NPR but I can't remember which show.

Comment: I'm confused (Score 5, Funny) 132

by ripvlan (#49067489) Attached to: LG Exec Indicted Over Broken Samsung Washing Machine

Is he accused of damaging these AT the trade show or in a store? Or was LG buying the products and returning them to their secret lab to poke/prod them?

I guess I'd be mad if my flagship products failed at a trade show - only to find that somebody had put sand in the tank overnight.

This reminds me of an old Click & Clack episode where a caller had purchased a used VW...and while cleaning the trunk had found paperwork indicating the car was owned by the Chevy (Ford?) proving grounds. Tom & Ray assured the caller that some test driver was comparing the competition had driven the car to within an inch of it's life - and that the caller should either purchase the extended warranty or trade the car in ... now! They also suggested that the test driver had purposely left the evidence behind as a warning to future owners.

+ - Digging Pp Fraud in Medical Trials->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration holds a position of trust among citizens that few government agencies share. So when NYU professor Charles Seife found out the FDA was not forthcoming about misconduct in the scientific trials it oversees, he and his class set out to bring it to light. "For more than a decade, the FDA has shown a pattern of burying the details of misconduct. As a result, nobody ever finds out which data is bogus, which experiments are tainted, and which drugs might be on the market under false pretenses. The FDA has repeatedly hidden evidence of scientific fraud not just from the public, but also from its most trusted scientific advisers, even as they were deciding whether or not a new drug should be allowed on the market. Even a congressional panel investigating a case of fraud regarding a dangerous drug couldn't get forthright answers." Seife suggests the FDA is trapped into a co-dependent relationship with the pharmaceutical industry, and needs strong legislative support to end its bad behavior."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Tape off switches, Really? Simple answers.... (Score 1) 248

by ripvlan (#49050869) Attached to: Smart Homes Often Dumb, Never Simple

wait - knowing all of that is... simple? ;-)

My condo has a long corridor that opens to a living room... all without any light switches. So to walk through my house I have to turn the kitchen light on - walk across the room - turn on the stairwell light -- walk back turn off kitchen light... you get the picture (who designs this stuff?!)

I wanted to buy a wireless switch of some kind and make a three-way system. Adding a light switch to one wall is almost impossible. I looked at battery operated systems, wall-switch like devices, and others. I couldn't find anything that was slim, or could work with an existing lamp, or the costs were $100+.

A $5 nightlight that senses darkness is my automation solution to the problem. $0.02 per year electricity and I'm all set.

Comment: Re:It's like the medical field (Score 1) 809

by ripvlan (#49049619) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Portion of Developers Are Bad At What They Do?

I see where you're going with that thought. A pulmonary doctor probably wouldn't make a good heart surgeon. But should know what the heart is and some of the basics around it. Expert? no. That it exists? probably. What about the nervous system? or cancers across the whole body? Brain?

It comes down to what we consider the basics. I self studied cryptography enough to know that I don't know enough - those who hack think differently than I do. In this day and age would I expect developers of web based products to understand that security is important? yes. Know how to do it properly? no.

If security was extra important to me - I'd hire a few experts with varying roles and have them define the standards that other developers need to follow.

When I started (20+ years ago) I didn't know what a database was, or how to attach to it. Heck - HTML didn't exist yet. Now I'll bet I could give the best of them a run for the money. Cryptography? I know it exists - and would hire an expert. Could I learn it? Absolutely.

How much you payin' and when do I start?

The reason computer chips are so small is computers don't eat much.