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Submission + - Microsoft gives Office 365 a major upgrade (networkworld.com)

Miche67 writes: As part of the July 2016 update to Office 365, Microsoft is adding several features across the board — Word, PowerPoint and Outlook.

Word, however, is getting the biggest new features — Researcher and Editor — to improve your writing.

As its name implies, Researcher is designed to help the user find reliable sources of information by using the Bing Knowledge Graph to search for sources, and it will properly cite them in the Word document.

[Editor] builds on the already-existing spellchecker and thesaurus to offer suggestions on how to improve your overall writing. In addition to the wavy red line under a misspelled word and the wavy blue line under bad grammar, there will be a gold line for writing style.

The new features are expected to be available later this year.

Submission + - SPAM: Class of Large but Very Dim Galaxies Discovered

schwit1 writes: Astronomers have now detected and measured a new class of large but very dim galaxy that previously was not expected to exist.

‘Ultradiffuse’ galaxies came to attention only last year, after Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and Roberto Abraham of the University of Toronto in Canada built an array of sensitive telephoto lenses named Dragonfly. The astronomers and their colleagues observed the Coma galaxy cluster 101 megaparsecs (330 million light years) away and detected 47 faint smudges.

“They can’t be real,” van Dokkum recalls thinking when he first saw the galaxies on his laptop computer. But their distribution in space matched that of the cluster’s other galaxies, indicating that they were true members. Since then, hundreds more of these galaxies have turned up in the Coma cluster and elsewhere.

Ultradiffuse galaxies are large like the Milky Way — which is much bigger than most — but they glow as dimly as mere dwarf galaxies. It’s as though a city as big as London emitted as little light as Kalamazoo, Michigan.

More significantly, they have now found that these dim galaxies can be as big and as massive as the biggest bright galaxies, suggesting that there are a lot more stars and mass hidden out there and unseen than anyone had previously predicted.

Submission + - Fact checking the DNC email hack

Presto Vivace writes: NSA Whistleblower: Not So Fast On Claims Russia Behind DNC Email Hack

they have not listed intruders or attempted intrusions to the DNC site. I suspect that’s because they did a quick and dirty look for known attacks. Of course, this brings up another question; if it’s a know attack, why did the DNC not have software to stop it? You can tell from the network log who is going into a site. I used that on networks that I had. I looked to see who came into my LAN, where they went, how long they stayed and what they did while in my network.

Further, if you needed to, you could trace back approaches through other servers etc. Trace Route and Trace Watch are good examples of monitoring software that help do these things. Others of course exist probably the best are in NSA/GCHQ and the other Five Eyes countries. But, these countries have no monopoly on smart people that could do similar detection software.

Question is do they want to fix the problems with existing protection software. If the DNC and OPM are examples, then obviously, they don’t care to fix weakness probably because the want to use these weaknesses to their own advantage.

Submission + - Frontier Teams With AT&T To Block Google Fiber Access To Utility Poles (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Frontier submitted a court filing last week supporting ATT's efforts to sue local governments in Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky to stop a new ordinance designed to give Google Fiber and similar companies access to utility poles. They're concerned the ordinances will spread to other states. Frontier's filing said, "the issues raised by the case may have important implications for Frontier's business and may impact the development of law in jurisdictions throughout the country where Frontier operates." The ordinance in Louisville lets companies like Google Fiber install wires even if ATT doesn't respond to requests or rejects requests to attach lines. Companies don't have to notify ATT when they want to move ATT's wires to make room for their own wires, assuming the work won't cause customer outages. ATT claims that the ordinance lets competitors "seize ATT's property." Frontier is urging the court to consider the nationwide implications of upholding Louisville's ordinance, saying Louisville's rule "is unprecedented" because "it drastically expands the rights of third parties to use privately owned utility poles, giving non-owners unfettered access to [a] utility's property without the [...] utility in some cases even having knowledge that such third-party intrusion on its facilities is occurring." Frontier said companies should be required to negotiation access with the owners if they didn't pay to install the utility poles. They urged the court to deny Louisville Metro's motion to dismiss ATT's complaint.

Submission + - Portable DVD player found in wreckage of fatal Tesla Model S crash (bgr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Yesterday, word broke that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) was looking into a Florida incident involving a Tesla Model S that crashed into a tractor-trailer this past May, tragically killing the driver of the Tesla. What prompted the NHSTA’s interest in the matter is that the Model S had Tesla’s Autopilot software activated at the time of the accident.

As a result, the agency indicated that the crash “calls for an examination of the design and performance of any driving aids in use at the time of the crash.”

In the wake of the fatal accident, there have been a number of interesting developments. Tesla, for one, issued a lengthy blogpost addressing the matter. Additionally, the driver of the tractor-trailer issued a statement to the Associated Press wherein he said that the Model S driver wasn’t paying attention to the road because he was watching a movie.

In light of that, Reuters is now reporting that the Florida Highway Patrol found a portable DVD player in the wreckage of the Model S.

“There was a portable DVD player in the vehicle,” Sergeant Kim Montes confirmed to Reuters in an interview.

Submission + - Google Searches For 'VR Porn' Increase 10,000% (vrtalk.com)

Bob768 writes: Over the last 20 months, with the rise of virtual reality technology, the number of Google searches for the phrase 'VR Porn' have soared nearly 10,000%. The leading country for these searches is Norway.

Submission + - Why Did The Stars Wars And Star Trek Worlds Turn Out So Differently?

HughPickens.com writes: In the Star Trek world there is virtual reality, personal replicators, powerful weapons, and, it seems, a very high standard of living for most of humanity while in Star Wars there is widespread slavery, lots of people seem to live at subsistence, and eventually much of the galaxy falls under the Jedi Reign of Terror. Why the difference? Tyler Cowen writes about some of the factors differentiating the world of Star Wars from that of Star Trek: 1) The armed forces in Star Trek seem broadly representative of society. Compare Uhura, Chekhov, and Sulu to the Imperial Storm troopers. 2) Captains Kirk and Picard do not descend into true power madness, unlike various Sith leaders and corrupted Jedi Knights. 3) In Star Trek, any starship can lay waste to a planet, whereas in Star Wars there is a single, centralized Death Star and no way to oppose it, implying stronger checks and balances in the world of Star Trek. 4) Star Trek embraces egalitarianism, namely that all humans consider themselves part of the same broader species. There is no special group comparable to the Jedi or the Sith, with special powers in their blood. 5) Star Trek replicators are sufficiently powerful it seems slavery is highly inefficient in that world.

Submission + - The physics and technological anatomy of fireworks

StartsWithABang writes: When gunpowder was first invented more than 1,000 years ago by mixing activated carbon (charcoal), sulfur and potassium nitrate together, its first major application was to the development of fireworks. By combining four simple elements – a launch, a fuse, a burst charge and ignitable stars – the most spectacular explosive shows could be produced. Yet the design of each stage only works with the proper understanding of the science behind it, and in particular, of the physics underlying it all. To get the right height, shape, size and color for your firework, you have to master each component of each stage. And yet, the science enables us to do exactly that!

Submission + - Stop bashing GMO food, say 109 Nobel laureates (nytimes.com) 3

ArmoredDragon writes: GMO has been somewhat of a controversial issue given that groups such as Greenpeace have lobbied hard against the technology. However a recent NY Times piece which details the opinion of 109 Nobel laureates who have offered their support of GMO:

“Scientific and regulatory agencies around the world have repeatedly and consistently found crops and foods improved through biotechnology to be as safe as, if not safer than those derived from any other method of production,” the group of laureates wrote. “There has never been a single confirmed case of a negative health outcome for humans or animals from their consumption. Their environmental impacts have been shown repeatedly to be less damaging to the environment, and a boon to global biodiversity.”

As an echo to that comment, one of the key benefits of GMO is increased crop yield, which means a reduced need for deforestation to make way for farmland. GMO food such as Golden Rice, which improves the micronutrient content of rice, and Low Acrylamide Spuds, which are potatoes engineered to have reduced carcinogen content compared to their natural counterparts, can possibly solve many health problems that are inherent with consuming non-GMO produce. And for those concerned about patent related issues, many of these patents have recently expired, which means anybody can freely grow them and sell the seeds without the need to pay any royalties.

Comment Happened in Texas too (Score 1) 187

Texas did this for many years, but got called out for it when it became clear that there were some transactions with the US Navy, using the dried blood samples for research. They were sued and had to eventually destroy 5 million samples

An article in Pediatrics from 2011, hosted at the US National Institute of Health, says that many states are still doing similar shady things with newborn blood samples, and that some don't even need to inform parents about how the samples are used after the initial testing is done.

Comment Re:MUCH easier. (Score 1) 239

Even more to the point, if the car has to take into account death vs injury, it may actually "prefer" to hit people in safer vehicles. If the safe car is hit, it's 10% likely the occupants will die, whereas if the unsafe car is hit, it's 90% likely the occupant will die. Aim for the safe car to minimize the risk of killing people...

It's like a penalty for owning a safer vehicle.

Comment Re:What "challenge of learning"?? (Score 1) 141

We mechanical engineers called those "Baby Statics" :) They actually taught a subset of sum(F)=sum(m*a) to the civil engineers that got rid of all that useless m and a business. All forces summed to zero, and that's how they liked it!

No judgement on you, though. My EE knowledge goes just about far enough to remember V=I*R, and my greatest software achievements have manifested themselves in MS Excel VBA scripts!

Congrats to you for expanding your knowledge and stepping into the messy world of physics!

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