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4-Billion-Pixel Panorama View From Curiosity Rover 101

SternisheFan points out that there is a great new panorama made from shots from the Curiosity Rover. "Sweep your gaze around Gale Crater on Mars, where NASA's Curiosity rover is currently exploring, with this 4-billion-pixel panorama stitched together from 295 images. ...The entire image stretches 90,000 by 45,000 pixels and uses pictures taken by the rover's two MastCams. The best way to enjoy it is to go into fullscreen mode and slowly soak up the scenery — from the distant high edges of the crater to the enormous and looming Mount Sharp, the rover's eventual destination."

Comment Re:'Bout time (Score 1) 917

This thing's only been out for a month!! at least give them some time to do their own testing, which they did!

Yeah, that whole concept of testing a product before you release it is so passe! You can't expect them to figure out these things until at least a month after release. Those unappreciative customers have been so unreasonable and demanding!

*rolls eyes*

Comment Re:Fucking moronic (Score 1) 212

So you think that MS wants to get in the middle of deciding what messages would go out? Setting aside the implementation cost, why would they want to touch such a PR nightmare? I can just see the headlines now: "Mother say that MS refused to send out alert on her missing toddler!"

No, MS will either just refuse to do it at all, or they'll hand over the reins to NY authorities. Once they open the door to messages going out then they're stuck in the same PR trap even if they try to set rules. The NY people will eventually break the rules, and if MS then decides to pull the plug then they get a bunch of bad publicity.

There's absolutely no reason for MS to get involved in this cluster-fuck unless NY pays them a bunch of money. Then the question becomes whether the money could be better spent elsewhere. In this case I think the answer would be a resounding yes.

Comment Re:Fucking moronic (Score 2, Insightful) 212

If this was only used for *real* emergencies, then you'd be right. Unfortunately, the bar for what constitutes an emergency will be constantly lowered until they're sending out alerts for the most inane crap imaginable.

For example, my wife works for a major university. After 9/11 they decided to create an alert system to keep employees and their loved ones informed in the event of major emergencies. The system was intended for things like terror attacks, earthquakes, tornadoes, alien invasion etc. My wife signed me up so that I'd get a text message when ever they issued an alert. At first, I'd get a text every few months as they periodically tested the system. Then they decided to use the system to warn people about violent crime anywhere near the campus. Then it was power outages. Pretty soon it was building maintenance issues. Now if someone on campus gets a hangnail, I receive a text message keeping me informed. It is indeed fucking moronic.

This NY system will start out the same way, and end up the same way. People will be getting alerts because of a traffic accident half way across the fucking state. People will hate it, and turn it off if they can, thus totally defeating the original purpose. If they can't turn it off, they'll totally ignore it and quickly dismiss the message without reading it, once again totally defeating the original purpose. It's a bad idea. There are plenty of other ways to inform people in the event of an emergency. This is just stupid and will be waste of money and effort.


Sequoia Voting Systems Source Code Released 406

Mokurai sends a heads-up about Sequoia Voting Systems, which seems to have inadvertently released the SQL code for its voting databases. The existence of such code appears to violate Federal voting law: "Sequoia blew it on a public records response. ... They appear... to have just vandalized the data as valid databases by stripping the MS-SQL header data off, assuming that would stop us cold. They were wrong. The Linux 'strings' command was able to peel it apart. Nedit was able to digest 800-MB text files. What was revealed was thousands of lines of MS-SQL source code that appears to control or at least influence the logical flow of the election, in violation of a bunch of clauses in the FEC voting system rulebook banning interpreted code, machine modified code and mandating hash checks of voting system code." The code is all available for study or download, "the first time the innards of a US voting system can be downloaded and discussed publicly with no NDAs or court-ordered secrecy," notes Jim March of the Election Defense Alliance. Dig in and analyze.

Comment Medical Staff were a big part of the problem (Score 4, Interesting) 383

Along with the usability issues with the design of the Therac-25 it's obvious that the attitude of the medical staff contributed greatly to the problem. Patients complained of being burned, but their complaints were essentially ignored. Meanwhile, they were sent back for multiple treatments. Overwhelming evidence of radiation burns was ignored or given only cursory investigation because medical personal or manufacturer reps claimed that it was impossible for the Therac-25 to be responsible for the burns.

Comment Re:Lake Wobegon Effect - Possibly but... (Score 1) 520

While there probably is some LW effect here, I suspect that the Slashdot population probably has a better sense of direction then the average population. I think that geeks often pay more attention to the details of their surroundings and they also have the ability to create and hold a mental model of their surroundings in their minds.

I'm one of those that answered in the astounding category. My sense of direction is better than everyone I know with the possible exception of my father. I can only remember really being lost once in my life (I'm 48), and that was in heavily forested, mountainous terrain that was criss-crossed by unmarked logging roads. Despite almost always being able to find my way, I'm horrible at giving directions because it's difficult to describe the subtle cues that I use to navigate. In many cases I'm not even consciously aware of the clues, so I can't describe them.

Comment Re:Gamer keyboard! (Score 2, Insightful) 212

I agree that for a game that is purely driving or flying that joysticks or wheels would be better. However, there are many games (FPSs for example) that incorporate driving or flying as some small part of the game, but the bulk of the game is better controlled with a mouse and keyboard. This could potentially improve those driving/flying games sequences.

Comment Re:This system is already in place! (Score 2, Interesting) 411

While they don't currently monitor your mileage with some kind of device, they don't exactly just take your word for it. You're asked for you odometer reading, and the mileage you expect to drive. While you could lie about odometer reading, if it's grossly off and you make a claim they'll find out what the odometer really reads when the car goes into the shop. At that point I guess they could deny the claim based on your false statement on the application / renewal form.

Yes, I know this is far from fool proof. You could tamper with the odometer, get the shop to report the wrong number, switch insurance frequently and give low mileage to the new company in anticipation of driving lots of miles etc. etc. However, I imagine it discourages many potential scammers.

Insurance is expensive in CA and many people do try scams to avoid paying high rates. It's always a gamble though. For instance many people register their car at the parents address back home in Iowa or where ever. This gets them cheaper insurance rates and cheaper registration; however, when they make a claim the insurance company often figures it out and denies the claim. Similarly with the mileage, you could lie about lower mileage to get cheaper rates, but you're gambling that you won't have a claim and/or that they won't catch you. If you end having to pay a few thousand in repair bills out of your own pocket, that offsets saving a few hundred a year pretty quickly.


Bethesda Speaks On Gamebryo Engine, Final Fallout 3 DLC 101

PsxMeUP writes "Game Observer conducted an interview with Ashley Cheng, Production Director at Bethesda. He answered questions about the Gamebryo engine, why they prefer it over other engines and the advantages it presented while making Fallout 3. Cheng also talks a bit about what inspired their designers while making Fallout 3 and what is in store for the PS3. Apparently, much of the team has read Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which inspired the look and story of Fallout 3. Bethesda, according to Cheng, will never create a game like Final Fantasy because the Gamebryo engine is better at handling 'open ended worlds ripe for exploration.'" Meanwhile, Bethesda's Jeff Gardiner spoke recently about the game's fifth and final DLC release, Mothership Zeta, which finds players aboard an alien spaceship in orbit. He said, "The player will have a handful of tasty alien technologies to play with. There are new fire arms and melee weapons, which will comprise the most powerful weaponry in the game."

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