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Computer Scientist Parachutes From 135,908 Feet, Breaking Record 175

An anonymous reader writes: The NY Times reports that Alan Eustace, a computer scientist and senior VP at Google, has successfully broken the record for highest freefall jump, set by Felix Baumgartner in 2012. "For a little over two hours, the balloon ascended at speeds up to 1,600 feet per minute to an altitude of 135,908 feet, more than 25 miles. Mr. Eustace dangled underneath in a specially designed spacesuit with an elaborate life-support system. He returned to earth just 15 minutes after starting his fall. ... Mr. Eustace cut himself loose from the balloon with the aid of a small explosive device and plummeted toward the earth at a speeds that peaked at more than 800 miles per hour, setting off a small sonic boom heard by observers on the ground. ... His technical team had designed a carbon-fiber attachment that kept him from becoming entangled in the main parachute before it opened. About four-and-a-half minutes into his flight, he opened the main parachute and glided to a landing 70 miles from the launch site."

Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon 366

An anonymous reader writes: Stephen Hsu, a professor in theoretical physics at Michigan State University, has an article discussing the genetic underpinnings of intelligence, and how our understanding of it will eventually lead to smarter children. Researchers have detected genes that influence cognitive ability, but the effect of any one gene is very small — less than 1 IQ point at best. Genetically modifying such genes is unlikely to happen any time soon, but our ability to analyze an embryo's genome is becoming quick and cheap. As we isolate more and more genes that affect intelligence, this means prospective parents will soon be able to analyze a batch of zygotes and figure out which ones are likely to be the smartest. Hsu says a batch of 10 zygotes will probably have an IQ range of 15 points or more. As our understanding of intelligence genetics grows, that range will only expand. He adds, "The corresponding ethical issues are complex and deserve serious attention in what may be a relatively short interval before these capabilities become a reality."

Submission + - AeroVelo Aims to Build World's Fastest Bike (

Zothecula writes: Following its Sikorsky Prize-winning Atlas helicopter, Canada's AeroVelo now aims to set a new human-powered speed record during September's World Human-Powered Speed Challenge in Battle Mountain, Nevada, with a high speed bicycle named Eta. The current record stands at 83.1 mph (133.8 km/h), and was set at the event last year by a Dutch team of students with the VeloX3 bike.

Submission + - Radiohead's Thom Yorke pulls Spotify albums ( 1

rpopescu writes: Thom Yorke of Radiohead fame has pulled his solo album "Eraser" (as well as music made as Atoms for Peace) from the music streaming service Spotify, as a protest at how much it pays the artists. Read on the BBC website for his and producer Nigel Godrich's comments.

Comment Re:Question (Score 1) 780

Man On Pink Corner:
> How many people reading this intentionally pay more tax than they are strictly required to?

Strict requirements in society are the lowest common denominator, the thin line that separates a normal person from a sociopath.
They are not what one should aim for, but merely the required minimum for the notion of society to exist.
Progress is not achieved by doing as little as possible, by staying a shade away from illegality, by hiding unethical behaviour behind the imperfection of the law.
Imagine that every mom & pop shop out there did what Google does (and the far too many other corporations guilty of this).
This is a sad farce, and they're fucking everyone - not just the people they "avoid" paying those taxes to, but also every other business that hasn't got the means or the will to engage in the same tax avoidance scheme.

Comment Re:The Brain is Plastic (Score 1) 317

>>    Is that why so many over 50 demand handholding for the most basic tasks?  I'm talkin REAL BASIC stuff here.  Tasks they somehow manage to do themselves anyway if no handholding is available?
>>    And here I was thinking it was just their massive entitlement mentality.

Pray tell, what part of the programming world does your experience apply to? Thanks.

Comment Re:This article says nothing (Score 1) 243

Hardly an insightful comment at all - sounds more like winy and mean. Pay close attention to the timeline: the advice from Steve Jobs, at the time it came, was foresight. Comments like the above are hindsight at best, merely stating what the situation currently is. Well, guess again, since this is about the time before the situation was _created_.

Photographers, You're Being Replaced By Software 282

Mrs. Grundy writes "CGI software, even open-source software like Blender, continues to improve in quality, speed and ease-of-use. Photographer Mark Meyer wonders how long it will be before large segments of the photography industry are replaced by software and become the latest casualty to fall to outsourcing. Some imagery once the domain of photographers has already moved to CGI. Is any segment of the photography market safe? Will we soon accept digital renderings in places where we used to expect photographs?"
The Almighty Buck

Are Rich People Less Moral? 1040

sciencehabit writes "New research suggests that the upper classes are more likely to behave dishonorably than those lower on the economic spectrum. The rich are more likely to cheat, steal, and even disobey traffic laws than those with less money and power (abstract). Curiously, in one experiment, Prius drivers also behaved badly, regardless of their wealth."

Steve Jobs Awarded Posthumous Grammy 176

An anonymous reader writes "Recognizing Steve Jobs's immense contribution to music, he was the recipient of the Grammy Trustees Award at the Grammy's this past Sunday. The award is handed out annually to 'individuals who, during their careers in music, have made significant contributions, other than performance, to the field of recording.'" Eddy Cue, head of iTunes, accepted the Grammy in place of Jobs.

Comment Re:Novel? (Score 1) 30

Why would it need to be novel?!

This is about repairing a historically significant computer, not cheap internet publicity stunts. What sort of ignorant voted that comment "informative"?

The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.