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Spectrum of Light Captured From Distant World 32

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Cosmos: "Astronomers have made the first direct capture of a spectrum of light from a planet outside the Solar System and are deciphering its composition. The light was snared from a giant planet that orbits a bright young star called HR 8799 about 130 light-years from Earth, said the European Southern Observatory (ESO). ... The find is important, because hidden within a light spectrum are clues about the relative amounts of different elements in the planet's atmosphere. 'The features observed in the spectrum are not compatible with current theoretical models,' said co-author Wolfgang Brandner. 'We need to take into account a more detailed description of the atmospheric dust clouds, or accept that the atmosphere has a different chemical composition from that previously assumed.' The result represents a milestone in the search for life elsewhere in the universe, said the ESO. Until now, astronomers have been able to get only an indirect light sample from an exoplanet, as worlds beyond our Solar System are called. They do this by measuring the spectrum of a star twice — while an orbiting exoplanet passes near to the front of it, and again while the planet is directly behind it. The planet's spectrum is thus calculated by subtracting one light sample from another."

Comment cell phone. (Score 1) 1092

The only solution to this problem is to have the subject transmit its coordinates to a server. Your "small, unobtrusive device" then becomes a combination of GPS receiver and cell phone. There is no other option. The software used is largely irrelevant.

THUS, you are best served in this case by getting her a cell phone and teaching her what to do if she gets lost. Preferably a cellphone that already has some of these features available.

I have implemented such a system myself for my company, although for vehicle location rather than people. We use off-the-shelf USB dongles on a laptop, and we have a client app on the laptop that "phones home" every few seconds with the updated positions. A server side app allows plotting points on the map (research Google Maps or Microsoft Virtual Earth). It's very neat, and I'm sure its exactly what you want for your daughter... but since you would want her carrying around a "small device" rather than a laptop anyway, you're looking at a cellphone.


Twenty Years of Dijkstra's Cruelty 727

WatersOfOblivion writes "Twenty years ago today, Edsger Dijkstra, the greatest computer scientist to never own a computer, hand wrote and distributed 'On the Cruelty of Really Teaching Computer Science' (PDF), discussing the then-current state of Computer Science education. Twenty years later, does what he said still hold true? I know it is not the case where I went to school, but have most schools corrected course and are now being necessarily cruel to their Computer Science students?" Bonus: Dijkstra's handwriting.

Ballmer "Interested" In Open Source Browser Engine 410

Da Massive writes "'Why is IE still relevant and why is it worth spending money on rendering engines when there are open source ones available that can respond to changes in Web standards faster?,' asked a young developer to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in Sydney yesterday. 'That's cheeky, but a good question, but cheeky,' Ballmer said. Then came the startling revelation that Microsoft may also adopt an open source browser engine. 'Open source is interesting,' he said. 'Apple has embraced Webkit and we may look at that, but we will continue to build extensions for IE 8.'"

A Robot To Destroy Breast Cancer Cells 81

Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers at the University of Maryland are developing a robot able to detect and destroy breast cancer cells in a single session. After a tumor is located on an MRI, the robot will perform a biopsy of the breast while the patient is inside the scanner. 'If the biopsy displays cancerous cells, the robot will then insert a probe into the breast until it reaches the tumor. The probe will then burn the cancer cells until they are destroyed.' This looks great, but the researchers have only built a prototype. After they refine this robot, they'll need to go through clinical trials and obtain FDA approval. So this is not a robot that will appear on the medical market before several years."

Comment Re:Maybe Steve Jobs should be interrogated by Bria (Score 1) 367

Apple Corps distributes music. Apple Computers now distributes music, so there is market overlap. That's a serious undermining of Apple Corps' trademark, and the impact is far from negligible. You, for example, don't seem to know about Apple Corps. There's no way anybody talking about Apple Music is going to think of the Beatles' company anymore. Apple computer has stolen the name.

What had Apple Corps' done in the last 20 years to earn any recognition whatsoever? Apple Computer is being taken advantage of due to a triviality. And if it were "Microsoft Corporation" vs some "Microsoft Music" company, I'd feel the same way.

I mean, look at their place holder web page! If they were a company of any merit whatsoever, there'd be something to see there.

Everybody knows that Apple Computer is synonymous with iTunes. No one thinks that they sign any bands. No one gives a shit about Apple Corps, and only hears about them when they sue. They didn't win a name change in the first battle, so should have waived any rights to battle over future name-related damages.

The rule on staying alive as a program manager is to give 'em a number or give 'em a date, but never give 'em both at once.