Submission + - NASA Readies Big Announcement on Possible Alien Life (infosurhoy.com) 1

schwit1 writes: NASA has announced a press conference for Thursday and is expected to confirm a major discovery about life beyond earth.

The announcement will be made by the team of scientists who have been studying the several thousand planets discovered by the Kepler space telescope. Kepler is the most successful planet-hunting probe in history, having identified more than 2500 planets with another 2000 candidates that still need to be studied.

Kepler has found several planets orbiting their star in the so-called "Goldilocks Zone," where it is warm enough for liquid water to flow. The announcement may be related to one of those planets.

In issuing the release on the press conference, NASA pointed to a new way of analyzing data from Kepler.

The team at the Kepler Space Telescope has been searching for extra-terrestrial life since 2009, and now they have found something spell bounding. In the course of time, the telescope has found many Earth-sized planets on the habitable zone, and researchers believe that some of them have the possibility to support life. According to NASA officials, this startling discovery was made using machine learning supported by Google.

“The discovery was made by researchers using machine learning from Google. Machine learning is an approach to artificial intelligence, and demonstrates new ways of analyzing Kepler data,” wrote NASA officials in a recently released press release.


Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Explaining Elegance 1

Grady Martin writes: Note: Please accept my apologies for the original's bland title.

I disrespect people who describe their work in highfalutin terms, as doing so is often an attempt to hide meaninglessness. This mindset bites me in the ass, however, when describing my own work--as programming solutions to problems is little more than codifying what just about anyone can perceive through intuition. Case in point: Home for the holidays, I was asked about recent accomplishments and attempted to explain the process of producing compact visualizations of branched undo/redo histories. Responses ranged from, "Well, duh," to, "I can already do that in Word."

The comment on Word, I can appreciate. (A hammer only sees nails.) It's the "duh" that I want to address, because of course an elegant solution seem obvious after the fact: Such is the nature of elegance itself.

Does anyone have advice on making elegance sound impressive?

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Explaining Programming to Laymen

Grady Martin writes: I disrespect people who describe their work in highfalutin terms, as doing so is often an attempt to hide meaninglessness. This mindset bites me in the ass, however, when describing my own work--as programming solutions to problems is little more than codifying what just about anyone can perceive through intuition. Case in point: Home for the holidays, I was asked about recent accomplishments and attempted to explain the process of producing compact visualizations of branched undo/redo histories. Responses ranged from, "Well, duh," to, "I can already do that in Word."

The comment on Word, I can appreciate. (A hammer only sees nails.) It's the "duh" that I want to address, because of course an elegant solution seem obvious after the fact: Such is the nature of elegance itself.

Does anyone have advice on making elegance sound impressive?

Submission + - What are some of the best avenues to retrain someone in IT 2

An anonymous reader writes: I was recently hired to manage the IT for a medium sized company. Over the last thirty years or so, the department eventually came to have about five IT "gofers", which eventually got whittled down to just two as the company was losing more and more.

The company got saved and is doing a lot better thanks to some good management and restructuring, but these people have literally been here their entire "career" and are now near retirement. Quite honestly, they do not have any experience other than reinstalling Windows, binding something to the domain and the occasional driver installation and are more than willing to admit this. Given many people are now using Mac and most servers/workstations running Linux, they have literally lost complete control over the company, with most of these machines sitting around completely unmanaged.

Firing these people is nearly impossible, they have a lot of goodwill within other departments, they have quite literally worked there for more than 60 years combined and I've been tasked with attempting to retrain these people in the next 6 months.

Given they still have to do work (imaging computers and fixing basic issues), what are the best ways of retraining people into basic network, Windows, Mac, Linux, and "cloud" first-level helpdesk support.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What Is Your View On UFO Sightings? Real Or Not?

dryriver writes: UFOs sightings have been reported in their tens of thousands over the last decades. In the past, some have seen flying cigar-shaped craft (blimps?), some flying triangles, some more rounded looking flying saucers. Often the apparent spacecraft does something improbable like standing completely still in the sky and then shooting off to somewhere at an incredible speed. Some sightings are just lights or light formations flying around or dancing around in the night sky — which could be military aircraft like helicopters and F16s training at night. There seem to be people who genuinely see stuff that is hard to explain, people who fake UFO sightings, photos and videos for profit to keep the "UFO industry" of websites, radio shows and magazines afloat, and yet others that think a regular airplane flying at night with its lights on is a UFO. What is your view on all this? Are we being visited from outer space? Is it prototype aircraft that look like UFOs to the untrained eye? Was some 190 IQ inventor-prankster having fun with quadcopter drones with colored lights 4 decades before quadcopters became a thing (hey... tons of people have created fake crop-circles in the past)? Where do all these supposed UFO sightings and reports come from? Did events like the famous "Battle Of Los Angeles" actually happen? And do you find any UFO reports credible at all?

Submission + - Daimler Tore Apart a Rented Tesla to Learn Its Secrets Then Tried to Return It (roadandtrack.com)

schwit1 writes: If you’re a car company trying to build a better car than your competitor, often you’ll want to pick up one of your competitor’s cars to see just how good they are. Maybe you'll just test it, or maybe you'll even disassemble in order to learn their secrets.

It seems like Mercedes’ parent company Daimler didn’t think this strategy all the way through. According to a report published in German magazine Der Spiegel, Daimler picked up a Tesla Model X to put through the paces. Only the Model X in question was rented, not bought, and the car's owners are left paying thousands of dollars in repair costs.

Bavarian couple Manfred van Rinsum and Monika Kindlein often rent out their three Teslas for extra income, using rental company Sixt. When Sixt reached out to them to rent their Model X to an unknown party for seven weeks, the couple didn’t think anything of it.

It was only after they got their car back heavily damaged that the couple started trying to figure out what happened. According to Der Spiegel, the car had been disassembled and screwed back together, as well as being put through several extreme tests, including heat and vibrations.

All together, an appraiser estimated that the Tesla sustained around $20,000 in damages thanks to Daimler. Van Rinsum wrote an invoice to the company for over $100,000, adding in expenses due to lost income while the car was being repaired and a fee for breaking the rental contract, which forbids testing and disassembly.

Submission + - Amazon drivers forced to deliver 200 parcels a day with no time for toilet break (mirror.co.uk)

schwit1 writes: I hopped in a white van to spend a day with one driver and experience first-hand the intolerable pressures they face from “impossible” schedules.

Many routinely exceed the legal maximum shift of 11 hours and finish their days dead on their feet.

Yet they have so little time for food or toilet stops they snatch hurried meals on the run and urinate into plastic bottles they keep in their vans.

Many claim they are employed in a way that means they have no rights to holiday or sickness pay.

And some say they take home as little as £160 for a five-day week amid conditions described by one lawyer as “almost Dickensian”.

Submission + - The reason to use Devuan is hard calculated costs (ungleich.ch)

walterbyrd writes: While I am writing here in flowery words, the reason to use Devuan is hard calculated costs. We are a small team at ungleich and we simply don't have the time to fix problems caused by systemd on a daily basis. This is even without calculating the security risks that come with systemd. Our objective is to create a great, easy-to-use platform for VM hosting, not to walk a tightrope.

Yes, you read right: what the Devuan developers are doing is creating stability. Think about it not in a few repeating systemd bugs or about the insecurity caused by a huge, monolithic piece of software running with root privileges. Why do people favor Linux on servers over Windows? It is very easy: people don't use Windows, because it is too complex, too error prone and not suitable as a stable basis. Read it again. This is exactly what systemd introduces into Linux: error prone complexity and instability.

With systemd the main advantage to use Linux is obsolete.

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