Forgot your password?

+ - Octogenarian locksmith wins 2014 Technobrain Space Elevator competition

Submitted by ygslash
ygslash (893445) writes "Ishai Zimmerman, a locksmith in his 80's, won first prize in the 2014 Technobrain Space Elevator competition at the Technion in Haifa. The final round of the competition was attended by Russian engineer Yuri Artsutanov, who first published the idea of a space elevator in 1960 based on a concept of 19th century rocket science founder Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. In this year's competition, participants were required to build a climber that could ascend a 25 meter vertical rope at high speed and then lift a capsule attached to the bottom of the rope, without using any combustion energy. Zimmerman's winning entry was based on an electric screw motor used in the manufacture of plastic pipes."

Comment: Re:As both a sound guy and a salesperson (Score 1) 299

by sichbo (#46092527) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: An Open Source PC Music Studio?
Just wanted to say thanks for the Studio One suggestion. Having been out of the music recording loop since 2000 this /. question piqued my interest around what's available these days.. and that particular suggestion looks like a good fit for getting back into composing/recording on Windows.

+ - Memo to Parents and Society: Teen Social Media "Addiction" is Your Fault->

Submitted by FuzzNugget
FuzzNugget (2840687) writes "Wired presents a this damning perspective on so-called social media addiction...

If kids can’t socialize, who should parents blame? Simple: They should blame themselves. This is the argument advanced in It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, by Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd. Boyd ... has spent a decade interviewing hundreds of teens about their online lives. What she has found, over and over, is that teenagers would love to socialize face-to-face with their friends. But adult society won’t let them. “Teens aren’t addicted to social media. They’re addicted to each other,” Boyd says. “They’re not allowed to hang out the way you and I did, so they’ve moved it online.

It’s true. As a teenager in the early ’80s I could roam pretty widely with my friends, as long as we were back by dark. Over the next three decades, the media began delivering a metronomic diet of horrifying but rare child-abduction stories, and parents shortened the leash on their kids. Politicians warned of incipient waves of youth wilding and superpredators (neither of which emerged). Municipalities crafted anti-loitering laws and curfews to keep young people from congregating alone. New neighborhoods had fewer public spaces. Crime rates plummeted, but moral panic soared. Meanwhile, increased competition to get into college meant well-off parents began heavily scheduling their kids’ after-school lives.


Link to Original Source

+ - Developing games on and for Linux/SteamOS-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "With the release of SteamOS developing video game engines for Linux is a subject with increasing interest. Developing games on and for Linux/SteamOS is a lightweight reading and an initiation guide on the tools, pros and cons of Linux as a platform for developing game engines. This article evolves around OpenGL and drivers, CPU and GPU profiling, compilers, build systems, IDEs, debuggers, platform abstraction layers and other."
Link to Original Source

+ - Windows chief struggles to explain the consumer value proposition of Windows-> 2

Submitted by mattydread23
mattydread23 (2793761) writes "Microsoft's new Windows chief Terry Myerson gave a presentation to financial analysts today, and one asked him a very good question: When I see all these mobile Windows devices — phones, tablets, convertibles — in Best Buy, why should I want one? What's the consumer value proposition of Windows devices? His struggle to answer the question shows that there may not BE a good answer. Back when Windows was all we had, we used it for everything. Now, a lot of functions — communication, gaming, web browsing — can be served by other platforms better, cheaper, or both. This is a tough question, but one Microsoft has to solve if the Windows brand is to remain relevant."
Link to Original Source

+ - File-Sharing Site Was Actually an Anti-Piracy Honeypot->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The administrator of file-sharing site UploaderTalk shocked and enraged his userbase a few days ago when he revealed that the site was nothing more than a honeypot set up by a company called Nuke Piracy. The main purpose of the site had been to gather data on its users. The administrator said, 'I collected info on file hosts, web hosts, websites. I suckered shitloads of you. I built a history, got the trust of some very important people in the warez scene collecting information and data all the time.' Nobody knows what Nuke Piracy is going to do with the data, but it seems reasonable to expect lawsuits and the further investigation of any services the users discussed. His very public betrayal is likely meant to sow discord and distrust among the groups responsible for distributing pirated files."
Link to Original Source

+ - Physicists Discover Geometry Underlying Particle Physics->

Submitted by Lee_Dailey
Lee_Dailey (622542) writes "Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.

“This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,” said Andrew Hodges, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University who has been following the work."

Link to Original Source

+ - Windows Store In-App Ad Revenue Plummets->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "One of the hooks Microsoft has used to get developers to build apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 has been pubCenter, an ad network that's easy to add to apps and provides revenue back to publishers. But many developers found that on April 1 that revenue abruptly dropped by an order of magnitude, with most potential ad impressions going unsold; one developer reported only 160,000 ads served to 60 million requests, a fill rate of less than 0.3%. Since many of the ads before April 1 had been for Bing, this may be a sign that Microsoft is no longer willing to subsidize its developers — and that advertisers aren't that interested in buying ads in Windows 8 apps."
Link to Original Source

+ - Programmer Interrupted->

Submitted by gameweld
gameweld (215362) writes "Some key findings from a study of 10,000 programming sessions recorded from 86 programmers using Eclipse and Visual Studio:
A programmer takes between 10-15 minutes to start editing code after resuming work from an interruption.
When interrupted during an edit of a method, only 10% of times did a programmer resume work in less than a minute.
A programmer is likely to get just one uninterrupted 2-hour session in a day."

Link to Original Source

+ - Radical new Space drive-> 2

Submitted by Noctis-Kaban
Noctis-Kaban (2758815) writes "Scientists in China have built and tested a radical new space drive. Although the thrust it produces may not be enough to lift your mobile phone, it looks like it could radically change the satellite industry. Satellites are just the start: with superconducting components, this technology could generate the thrust to drive everything from deep space probes to flying cars. And it all started with a British engineer whose invention was ignored and ridiculed in his home country."
Link to Original Source

+ - How Your Ears Do Math Better Than Mathematicians ->

Submitted by
pigrabbitbear writes "The assumption was that ears use something akin to a Fourier transformation. A Fourier transform, named after the French mathematician who also identified the Greenhouse Effect, is essentially when a sound wave is stretched way out until its details are revealed. In more mathy terms, you take a signal, which is a mathematical function of time--a mechanical thing of air molecules traveling through space--and turn it into an array, or series of different frequencies. The Fourier transform is found all over science, and not just sound.

The transformation is done through what's called an "integration" of the original, mechanical function of time. (If you've taken calculus, you should remember integration.) Basically, this is taking that function and recovering information from it by mathematically slicing it up into tiny bits. It's pretty neat. This, it turns out, is how we get meaning (words, music, whatever) from sound (that big wave in the ocean). Or so scientists have thought.

Turns out this might not be quite the case. Researchers at Rockefeller University devised an experiment to test the limit of this kind of analysis via Fourier transformation.

Rockefeller researchers, Jacob Oppenheim and Marcelo Magnasco, took a group of 12 composers and musicians and tested them to see if they could analyze a sound beyond the uncertainty limit of Fourier analysis. And guess what? They busted it down. "Our subjects often exceeded the uncertainty limit, sometimes by more than tenfold, mostly through remarkable timing acuity," the authors write in Physical Review Letters."

Link to Original Source

+ - Will 787 battery redesign work?->

Submitted by
" rel="nofollow">SternisheFan writes "The Wall Street Journal's Peter Cohan reports on MIT's Don Sadoway's recomendations:

When he looked at photographs of the 787s lithium-ion battery, he saw that it is actually eight notebook sized batteries all packed next to each other in a closed box. This means that only the batteries on the ends have any hope of venting the heat they generate. The other six batteries just heat each other up since they can’t release their heat outside the box.

Sadoway did not have access to investigators’ details, however, based on what he saw, he urged Boeing to create vents within the box so the batteries could dissipate heat.

He also argued that Boeing should put temperature sensors on each of the eight batteries and implement a “system of forced airflow” inside the box to help assure that the temperature of each battery would stay below a threshold level.

Sadoway estimated that these changes to the design of the lithium-ion battery would add to its cost. Instead of $1,000 per battery, the cost might rise to $2,000. But that cost would be “peanuts” compared to the $207 million retail price of the 787.

And reports out Thursday suggest that Boeing engineers are thinking about a redesign of the 787s lithium-ion batteries that appear to reflect Sadoway’s ideas.

For example, The Wall Street Journal reports that Boeing is “looking at increasing the separation between cells in the lithium-ion batteries to reduce the potential hazards from heat or fire spreading within the batteries and adding enhanced heat-sensors.”

These ideas are consistent with Sadoway’s approach. For example, physically separating each of the cells would make it easier to vent the heat that each one generates. And the idea of enhanced heat sensors could mean that Boeing could implement a battery control system that would sense if the cells’ temperature was rising above a threshold level and take action to stop the batteries for burning up.

The Journal also reports that Boeing is also “considering ways to keep cells more rigid, preventing them from shifting under certain conditions and interfering with electronics.”

And a report from Thursday’s New York Times suggests that Boeing is working on working “more solid containment cases and better venting mechanisms in the event of overheating.” This sounds like an improvement. However, unless Boeing can stop the problem of thermal runaway – a chemical reaction in which a rising temperature causes progressively hotter temperatures — the 787s will not be safe.

But the Times reports that Boeing has a Plan B — tasking engineers to use more conventional batteries in case regulators banned the lithium-ion ones. And the alternatives they consider should include the one that Sadoway recommended — a safer, but less powerful Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery.

Sadoway reckoned that this NiMH battery would have to be 50% heavier — perhaps 37 more pounds — representing 0.01% of the 787s 502,500 pound weight in order to deliver sufficient current to the 787.

As Sadoway suggested, using a new battery would require Boeing to order Thales, the French company that makes the 787s electrical system part of which controls the lithium-ion battery, to develop a new control system that would work for the NiMH battery. Sadoway thinks that could take a year to design, build, test, and make safe to fly. Based on Sadoway’s insights on the 787 battery, perhaps he should be heading up the team that is working on this problem.

However, it is easier to solve the technical problem of how to power the 787 than it is to change the actions and culture of Boeing — the company that managed to convince regulators and customers that its flawed lithium-ion batteries made the 787 safe to fly."

Link to Original Source

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter