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Submission + - Scala Team Wins ERC Grant

mvar writes: The Scala research group at EPFL is excited to announce that they have won a 5 year European Research Grant of over 2.3 million Euros to tackle the "Popular Parallel Programming" challenge. This means that the Scala team will nearly double in size to pursue a truly promising way for industry to harness the parallel processing power of the ever increasing number of cores available on each chip.

Submission + - Europe Set For a Space "Revolution" in 2011

mvar writes: Europe is set for a space "revolution" in 2011 when two new types of rocket join its launch pad in French Guiana, European Space Agency (ESA) boss Jean-Jacques Dordain said on Friday. ESA's Ariane 5 heavy launcher is to be joined at Kourou this year by a tried-and-tested workhorse of space, Russia's medium-sized Soyuz, and by a new European-designed rocket, Vega, for small payloads. "2011 will be the year of the launchers," Dordain said at a press conference at ESA headquarters. "We will go from having one launcher to having three. It will transform our capacity."

Submission + - Firefox Overtakes IE Usage In Europe (

krou writes: According to StatCounter, the month of December saw the first time where IE usage in Europe was knocked off the top spot by Firefox. Firefox usage sat at 38.11%, with IE sitting at 37.52%. Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter, stated that "This appears to be happening because Google's Chrome is stealing share from Internet Explorer while Firefox is mainly maintaining its existing share." Google Chrome was in 3rd place with 14.58% of market share.

Submission + - Solar-Power Produced Liquid Fuel to Replace Oil?

FordPrefect276709 writes: ETH Life announced [] (Google translated — original in german) today researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) successfully tested a new reactor to convert solar energy to liquid fuel. According to the original article [] in science, a solar cavity-receiver reactor was used to combine the oxygen uptake and release capacity of cerium oxide and facile catalysis at elevated temperatures to thermochemically dissociate CO2 and H2O, yielding CO and H2, respectively. Stable and rapid generation of fuel was demonstrated over 500 cycles. The combination of CO and H2 is commonly referred to as syngas and is a precursor of gasoline, kerosene and other liquid fuels.
The prototype reactor was tested using a radiation intensity that corresponds to the force of 1,500 suns. While the conversion efficiency of solar power to fuel "only" amounted to a mere 0.8 percent, this is two orders of magnitude better than before and an efficiency of 19 percent could theoretically be expected. Research will take another ten years until we see solar power plants to produce versatile fuels — but this would be well in time to replace oil. Are deserts the next oil fields...?

Comment Re:Oh, snap! (Score 2, Interesting) 486

>That is why we don't have computer-piloted cars/planes/etc.

planes? sure??

on modern planes the pilots mainly program the FMS (flight management system) and talk to the human controllers and human passengers...

the flying itself - and avoiding a ton of human errors during this - is mainly done by computers. actually including for example virtually all of the landing process. heck, most pilots get a little distressed, if they have to do a manual approach, as they lack the routine.

of course, they'd take the blame for any incident (compare to Turkish Airlines Flight 1951. bottom line is the computer grounded the plane, as it was trying to land it well before the airport, because of a defective altitude sensor. guilty? not Boeing, but the two pilots not noticing the wrong behavior of the computer.

the same would apply for the car controlling bot. a driver in charge is still mandatory. they take the blame for those 500 accidents - but still the major part of the 10k will be avoided.

assisting systems in cars will be increasing significantly over the next decade.


Obama Outlines Bold Space Policy ... But No Moon 455

The Bad Astronomer writes "In front of a mostly enthusiastic audience at NASA's Kennedy Space Center today, President Obama outlined a bold, new space policy. It's a change from his previous policy; the Constellation rockets are still dead, but a new heavy-lift rocket system is funded. He specifically talked of manned asteroid and Mars missions, but also stated there would be no return to the Moon. This is a major step in the right direction, but still needs some tweaking."

Woman Claims Wii Fit Caused Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome 380

Amanda Flowers always liked her Wii Fit but now she can't get enough of it. Amanda claims a fall from her balance board damaged a nerve and has left her suffering from persistent sexual arousal syndrome. From the article: "The catering worker said: 'It began as a twinge down below before surging through my body. Sometimes it built up into a trembling orgasm.' A doctor diagnosed her with persistent sexual arousal syndrome due to a damaged nerve."

Iceland Volcano's Ash Grounds European Air Travel 283

Ch_Omega writes "From the article at CBSNews: 'An ash-spewing volcano in Iceland emptied the skies of aircraft across much of northern Europe on Thursday, grounding planes on a scale unseen since the 9/11 terror attacks. British air space shut down, silencing the trans-Atlantic hub of Heathrow and stranding tens of thousands of passengers around the world. Aviation officials said it was not clear when it would be safe enough to fly again and said it was the first time in living memory that an ash cloud had brought one of the world's most congested airspaces to a standstill.'" The BBC says "Safety group Eurocontrol said the problem could persist for 48 hours," and the Deccan Herald describes some of the effects on the ground in the volcano's home turf: "In Iceland, hundreds of people are fleeing rising floodwaters as the volcano under the glacier Eyjafjallajokull erupted yesterday again, for a second time in less than a month."

Comment Extend from Error Message to (other) UI (Score 1) 951

I very much fancy the idea with different icons for different error messages. It does improve the recognition of 'something special going on', as I can say from some pretty small samples where I could test that.

Two downsides remained:
a) Users DID (as they reported later) recognize a special message ('with that picture of a puppy') being presented. But they did not get the message at all (reading - understanding - correcting the problem wasn't improved)
b) The more different icons got involved, the more people just got confused. They just thought of the application as 'a little bit' funny

What got me better results is incorporating the error message into the actual working ui. Think of red boxes around fields that are not properly filled. Say if they break something while entering some customer data, let the whole customer data form turn angry-red or mildly-orange - or maybe just parts.

Highlight broken parts where they should go and fix something. They would only do it, if it got some value for them. If they are responsible for a customer telephone number to be correct, they'd care about a red phone number field. Otherwise they wouldn't.

If they want to go online with their wi-fi, they will care about a red wi-fi icon.

So my advice: Don't distract with (unrelated) icons, pictures or error messages as a whole. You already got their attention on the subject that matters to them. Tell them in an easy and intuitive pattern (traffic light color) if that's ok or not.

Always remember: They care about their work, not about the inner feelings of your app!

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