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+ - Warner Brothers announce slew of DC comics movies->

Submitted by wired_parrot
wired_parrot (768394) writes "After being criticized for being slow to respond to Marvel's string of blockbuster superhero movies, Warner Brothers finally announced their plan for DC comic universe movie franchise. Yesterday at their annual shareholder meeting, WB announced 10 DC comics movies. The studio has unveiled an ambitious schedule that features two Justice League films, plus standalone titles for Wonder Woman, Flash, Shazam (Captain Marvel), Green Lantern, Cyborg and even Aquaman. Also announced were plans for 3 Lego movies and a three-part Harry Potter spinoff."
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+ - Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon May Hide Subsurface Ocean->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "With its heavily cratered, geologically dead surface, Saturn's moon Mimas was considered to be scientifically boring. But appearances can be deceiving. Using data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, new research shows something strange inside Mimas that is causing the moon to sway as it orbits around the ringed gas giant. Computer models point to two possibilities. First is that Mimas, which is about 250 miles in diameter, has an oblong or football-shaped core, a clue that the moon may have formed inside Saturn’s ice rings. The second option is that Mimas has a global ocean located 16 miles to 19 miles beneath its icy crust."
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Comment: Re:Reasonable (Score 1) 144

by wired_parrot (#48140271) Attached to: Google Rejects 58% of "Right To Be Forgotten" Requests

Before this ruling Google ignored that line and treated everyone to the joy of living forever with the consequences of their actions without ever being able to make good. After this ruling, Google are forced to apply some basis for allowing some people to move on.

The problem is European politicians abdicated their responsibility to set clear guidelines for this ruling and left it up to Google to determine who does or doesn't live with the consequences of their actions. If the courts or legislators had set clear standards for applying this rule - such as specifying a period of time, say 7 years, after which records are to be forgotten, I'd be fine with it. As it is, this enormous power is in the hands of individual search companies, each applying their own differing standards. There's no clear framework for the victim of a crime to appeal against a criminal who wants to be forgotten, for example. These are decisions to be made by the courts and by the people through their legislators, not by a private company.

+ - First man to walk in space reveals how mission nearly ended in disaster->

Submitted by wired_parrot
wired_parrot (768394) writes "Nearly fifty years after the first spacewalk by soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, he's given a rare interview to the BBC revealing how the mission very nearly ended in disaster. Minutes after he stepped into space, Leonov realised his suit had inflated like a balloon, preventing him from getting back inside. Later on, the cosmonauts narrowly avoided being obliterated in a huge fireball when oxygen levels soared inside the craft. And on the way back to Earth, the crew was exposed to enormous G-forces, landing hundreds of kilometres off target in a remote corner of Siberia populated by wolves and bears."
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Comment: Re:Practice colony in Antarctica first? (Score 1) 269

by wired_parrot (#48103603) Attached to: MIT Study Finds Fault With Mars One Colony Concept

And despite all those advantages in Antarctica, we've only be able to establish seasonal colonies in the continent, and those have been entirely dependent on re-supply from outside for almost all their basic needs. And in Antarctica resupply is a infinitesimal fraction of a cost of what it would be in Mars.

Prove to me that we can establish a permanent, self-sufficient settlement in Antarctica first, and then we can consider Mars.

Comment: Plane + car, not flying car (Score 4, Insightful) 151

by wired_parrot (#48098783) Attached to: The flying car I'd like in my garage first:

Flying cars are a terrible compromise by design. They're woefully underperforming as airplanes, and have terrible handling as cars. The additional mechanical complication of having a car and airplane in the same design means additional points of failure and reduced reliability. And finally, they're more expensive than buying a separate car and plane. The Terrafugia sells for more than a quarter of a million. One could buy a Cessna and a luxury sports car for a lot less, and still have money leftover for round-trip fare to the local airport on a daily basis for that price.

So, no, I'd rather have a separate car and plane rather than plunking money on a poor compromise.

Comment: Re:The water wars are coming (Score 3, Interesting) 151

by wired_parrot (#48038933) Attached to: Aral Sea Basin Almost Completely Dry

Not to be too contrarian, but before we declare this an unmitigated disaster, shouldn't the cost of the destruction of the Aral sea be measured against the benefits of provided by the water that used to flow into it?

The soviet scientists involved with the water diversion were aware that the Aral sea would eventually dry up. In fact, the decline in sea level was observable from the very beginning. It is true the lake drying up was an intended and foreseen consequence.

However, what was unforeseen were the ecological consequences of the lake drying up, that has turned the dry lake bed into a salt desert where dust storms kicking up toxic sediments are a common occurrence. Without a large body of water to moderate the weather, nearby communities now experience hotter summers and colder winters. In effect, one desert has been traded for another.

And while diverting water for agricultural uses might be beneficial, most of the canals used for the diversion are not properly lined, experiencing significant water wastage during transport. And most of this water is being used for water-intensive crops like cotton and rice. Were good irrigation practices used, and if more suitable crops that required less water were used instead, it is likely only a fraction of the water would be needed. It also has to be kept in mind that the economic benefits agricultural irrigation has brought has to be balanced the economic loss resulting from the loss of fishery in the area,loss of tourism (some of the villages were once seaside resorts), and economic hardship resulting from the ecological changes to the landscape

Comment: Re:Mars has no magnetosphere (Score 2) 549

by wired_parrot (#48036359) Attached to: Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

You could colonize a million people in Antarctica for a fraction of the cost of sending a million people to Mars. Unlike Mars, water and air are abundant in Antarctica, and the earth's magnetic field would provide protection from solar radiation. Transportation, not having to deal with leaving a gravity well, would be infinitely cheaper. And there is the possibility of finding oil and coal deposits in Antarctica, something very unlikely to happen in Mars. There would be issues of international law regarding ownership of the southern continent, but then the same issues exist for Mars.

Yet, despite this infinitely easier environment to survive in Antarctica, we've never managed more than seasonal colonies entirely dependent on resupply from the mainland, most of these bases clustered in edge of the continent where they are easily accessible, and none of them having permanent inhabitants. Once we manage to establish a permanent, self-sustaining settlement in the heart of the Antarctic Plateau, then we can discuss establishing a settlement on Mars.

+ - Facebook facing exodus of users to new social network->

Submitted by wired_parrot
wired_parrot (768394) writes "Despite criticisms of its privacy policy and intrusive advertising, Facebook has managed to retain its users and maintain its spot as the top social network. Now, however, it appears that a new social network has exploded in popularity with a large numbers of Facebook users migrating over. The move appears to be spearheaded by artists, performers, and the LGBT community, dissatisfied with Facebook's policy on using real names. Ello, as the new social network is called, promises a pro-privacy stand and to remain ad-free, a claim it emphasizes in its manifesto. Can Ello succeed in dethroning Facebook?"
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+ - Mystery Signal Could be Dark Matter Hint in ISS Detector->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "Analysis of 41 billion cosmic rays striking the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer particle detector aboard the International Space Station shows an unknown phenomena that is “consistent with a dark matter particle” known as a neutralino, researchers announced Thursday. Key to the hunt is the ratio of positrons to electrons and so far the evidence from AMS points in the direction of dark matter. The smoking gun scientists look for is a rise in the ratio of positrons to electrons, followed by a dramatic fall — the telltale sign of dark matter annihilating the Milky Way’s halo, which lies beyond its central disk of stars and dust. However, “we have not found the definitive proof of dark matter,” AMS lead researcher Samuel Ting, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and CERN in Switzerland, wrote in an email to Discovery News. “Whereas all the AMS results point in the right direction, we still need to measure how quickly the positron fraction falls off at the highest energies in order to rule out astrophysical sources such as pulsars.” But still, this new finding is a tantalizing step in the dark matter direction."
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+ - Alice Is Killing Trolls But Patent Lawyers Will Strike Back

Submitted by snydeq
snydeq (1272828) writes "The wheels of justice spin slowly, but they seem finally to be running software patents out of town, writes Simon Phipps in his analysis of how Alice Corp. v CLS Bank is becoming a landmark decision for patent cases in the U.S. 'In case after case, the Court of Appeals is using Alice to resolve patent appeals. In each case so far, the Court of Appeals has found the software patents in question to be invalid. ... As PatentlyO points out, the Alice effect is even reaching to lower courts, saving the Court of Appeals from having to strike down patent findings on appeal.' Although the patent industry broadly speaking sees the Alice verdict as a death knell for patents, some expect Alice to turn software patents into 'draftsmen's art because as you and I have seen over the years, every time there's a court ruling it just means that you have to word the patent claims differently.'"

Comment: It's just simple economics (Score 5, Insightful) 112

by wired_parrot (#47926921) Attached to: A DC-10 Passenger Plane Is Perfect At Fighting Wildfires

But some designs defy obsolescence

This isn't about obsolescence or a design that stands the test of time. This is about simple economics. The main reason airliners phase out old airplanes is that their operating costs are too high - their older engines are too fuel consuming compared to newer designs, and may not meet newer noise regulations for most commercial airports. Maintenance also becomes difficult to source with no new spare parts being produced.

Fire fighting aircraft fly under a different set of economics. They fly short flights, and only seasonally, so their fuel expenses are a smaller proportion of their expenses. They don't have to worry about noise regulations, because they don't fly out of commercial airports. And an older model that was produced in large volumes like the DC-10 means there is a large source of cheap junkyard parts to maintain these aircraft.

This isn't about the DC-10 being a good or bad design - it's just simple economics. What's expensive for a commercial airliner can be economical for a fire-fighting operation.

Comment: Re:Stupid (Score 4, Insightful) 561

by wired_parrot (#47663015) Attached to: Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White

Problem is you are considered RACIST for suggesting they get a better education and not follow the ghetto culture.

It is racist to apply broad stereotypes to a class of people. The black people applying for those Apple jobs are college graduates, most likely coming from a middle-class background. The average black applicant has as much in common with the "inner-city ghetto culture", as you call it, as the average white applicant has in common with "white trailer-park trash".

Comment: It's about ensuring fairness in hiring (Score 1) 561

by wired_parrot (#47662759) Attached to: Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White

There's a lot of misunderstanding here about these statistics. The purpose of releasing these numbers isn't to institute a "quota" system - it's to show that there is fairness in your hiring practice. The biggest criticism here appears to be that one can only hire the talent that is available, whatever race they may be. I agree with this - and if you're hiring practice is fair and open, the demographics of the hirees should closely match the talent pool from which you're hiring from. And for a large enough company (Apple, Google, Yahoo, etc.), the statistical deviation from that mean should be small. Incidentally, in my jurisdiction statistics like these are used to monitor hiring practices and ensure that no discrimination or hidden bias is occurring.

Apple's numbers appear to show a fair hiring practice, as their numbers at a glance match the applicant pools. For example, 10% of US college graduates are black, according to the US census survey, which closely matches their 9% of black non-tech workers. Google's and Yahoo's numbers, on the other hand, showed only 1% of non-tech workers as black. The implication from those numbers is that while the average black college graduate has an equal chance with his white counterpart of getting a job at Apple, he is 10x less likely to obtain a job at Google or Yahoo. That is where the cause for concern arises.

Comment: Re:How much have they spent already? (Score 1) 92

by wired_parrot (#47606137) Attached to: Australia Rebooting Search For MH370
The money isn't being wasted. The search for the plane is creating a detailed oceanographic survey of the Indian ocean in an area of the sea that is not well explored. Even if the plane is never found, I'd say the sonar survey of the ocean bottom that will result from this search will be worth the money spent.

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