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+ - Are Gamma Ray Bursts Keeping Life From Developing In The Universe? 2

Submitted by rossgneumann
rossgneumann (3901661) writes "The universe might be a radiation-scorched, lifeless place after all. Just as soon as a planet, save for a relative handful of well-sheltered rocks, becomes life-harboring and friendly, it gets nuked back to a barren wasteland. This is one conclusion of a new paper examining the likely prevalence of gamma-ray burst (GRB) events throughout the Milky Way and universe at-large, particularly of the sort—long gamma-ray bursts or LGRBs—that could strip away a planet's protective ozone layer and blast its inhabitants with very high-energy photons."

+ - Should Disney Credit the Late Randy Pausch for its Hour of Code Tutorial?

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Tens of millions of kids across the nation will take to school computers this week to participate in the 2014 Hour of Code. In this year's signature tutorial, kids will be introduced to coding concepts through exercises like using Google's Blockly to make Disney Frozen Princess Anna ice skate in a square. If this strikes you as familiar, it could be that you've seen this Disney movie before. In The Last Lecture, the late CMU CS professor Randy Pausch displays a programmable cartoon ice skater from an Alice Project tutorial as he explains how the project's novel approach to programming could stealthily teach tens of millions of kids to code (YouTube) [by making characters skate in a square, for example]. "To the extent that you can live on in something," said Pausch, "I will live on in Alice." He added, "I, like Moses, get to see the promised land, but I won’t get to set foot in it. And that’s OK, because I can see it. And the vision is clear. Millions of kids having fun while learning something hard. That’s pretty cool. I can deal with that as a legacy." So considering the similarities, and that Pausch spent sabbaticals at Walt Disney Imagineering (Disney even sells The Last Lecture ), isn't it kind of surprising that neither Disney nor Code.org mentioned Pausch or Alice in their announcements of the flagship Hour of Code tutorial? Is this a case of the left Disney hand not knowing what the right is doing?"

+ - Pluto-Bound spacecraft ends hibernation to start mission

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "NASA's New Horizons spacecraft awoke from hibernation on Saturday and sent a radio confirmation that it had successfully turned itself back on one and a half hours later. The spacecraft has been travelling for nine years across the solar system towards its destination, Pluto. From the article: "In 2006, with New Horizons already on its way, Pluto was stripped of its title as the ninth planet in the solar system and became a dwarf planet, of which more than 1,000 have since been discovered in the Kuiper Belt. With New Horizons approaching Pluto's doorstep, scientists are eager for their first close-up look at this unexplored domain.""

+ - Long time Debian developer Tollef Fog Heen resigns from Systemd maintainer team->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Debian developer Tollef Fog Heen submitted his resignation to the Debian Systemd package maintainters team mailing list today (Sun. Nov. 16th, 2014). In his brief post, he praises the team, but claims that he cannot continue to contribute due to the "load of continued attacks...becoming just too much." Presumably, he is referring to the heated and, at times, even vitriolic criticism of Debian's adoption of Systemd as the default init system for its upcoming Jessie release from commenters inside and outside of the Debian community. Currently, it is not known if Tollef will cease contributing to Debian altogether. A message from his twitter feed, https://twitter.com/tfheen/sta..., indicates that he may blog about his departure in the near future."
Link to Original Source

+ - Why Net Neutrality is a Big Deal for Small Business->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Why is everybody yelling about net neutrality, and why now Actually, it’s a very big deal for small businesses with an online presence, and the Federal Communications Commission may have added fuel to the fire by sending confusing messages about its regulatory intentions."
Link to Original Source

+ - Ask Slashdot: Female STEM members, are you offended by the shirt?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I was talking to a female friend who is currently enrolled in Princeton for something regarding physics, light, and black holes. (Note: I am not trying to trivialize what she's doing. I just don't understand *anything* she's talking about. Think I, Robot, where the doctor is talking tech to Will Smith and he has a blank look. That's me.)
I asked her whether or not a single guy wearing a friend's shirt would deter her from her career, and she said no.
So I want to ask the female STEM people here whether you were offended by the shirt or not."

Comment: Re:ShirtStorm (Score 1) 337

by tloh (#48393453) Attached to: Philae's Batteries Have Drained; Comet Lander Sleeps

You're not wrong. But Please! Get over it people! Your teachers lied. Santa Claus isn't real. Your parents had sex. Your children will have sex. Let's just get our heads out of our asses and be grown ups about this. Space exploration and science literacy has nothing to do with dubious fashion sense. Why don't I see outrage over the fact that Kim Kardashian doesn't know her amino acids from her Armani hand bags or whatever.

Comment: Question for sequencing expert. (Score 4, Interesting) 128

by tloh (#48209439) Attached to: Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals

How accurate is it for the media to say a "complete" genome was sequenced? I know a little molecular biology and have been lead to believe that certain types of DNA, (centromeres, telomeres, other such regions with lots of repetitive sequences or "fragile sites") are very hard to sequence reliably. Are these "swept under the rug" in a "complete" sequence? Perhaps a related question, how are non-coding regulatory portions of chromosomes handled in whole genome analysis?

Comment: Re:so...... (Score 4, Insightful) 352

by tloh (#48165289) Attached to: White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

I won't speculate on the intentions of OC. But bringing up oil does raise a very legitimate item of concern. For much of the 20th century, petroleum has been the critical resource that drove or enabled much of our civilization and technical infrastructure. If we are going to look skyward, we have *GOT* to start thinking differently about the resource(s) that we are going to use. Unless big oil is willing to shell out the cash for researching the exploration and mining of hydrocarbons in the Jovian system, our government has got to step up and look at what we need to power space travel on an industrial scale.

Comment: Re:Tricky proposition (Score 1) 64

by tloh (#47914305) Attached to: Funding Tech For Government, Instead of Tech For Industry

I don't think we're talking about the same things. Post-9/11, plenty of cool things have been done by talented IT professionals for the government in the name of national security. If it was desired badly enough, it was made to happen. I don't think cultural differences was much of an impediment that got us to the point we are today.

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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