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Astrophysicists Build Realistic Virtual Universe 129

sciencehabit writes "In the most detailed effort yet, astrophysicists and cosmologists have modeled the evolution of the universe right down to the formation of individual galaxies. The results of the mammoth computer simulation neatly match multiple astronomical observations, ranging from the distribution of galaxies in massive galaxy clusters to the amounts of neutral hydrogen gas in galaxies large and small (abstract). The findings once again neatly confirm cosmologists' standard theory of the basic ingredients of the universe and how it evolved—a result that may disappoint researchers hoping for new puzzles to solve."

Comment Re:Boeing is going to put people in space? (Score 1) 74

Cool! Thanks.

The Volksrocket project does look really fascinating, but there's not much about it. The Wikipedia entry calls it a "planned project", as cited in the linked "Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition"(!) article, and says (uncited) that it was tested through 1991, and reached 34km altitude at burnout (citation Omni article, which is not online, bah!) with no hint that it was capable of in-flight relight or that controlled descent was tested.

Googling for more info is a bit all over the place. The VolksRocket Project claims 3 successful flights, but has no information on the flights, and says it was powered by 1 AJ-10, contradicting the Wikipedia article which says it used 4 LR101s.

Are you aware of a better/more direct link to how far they got with the controlled-descent stage of testing?

Comment Re:Boeing is going to put people in space? (Score 1) 74

Really? Wow. Could you please provide a link or reference citation to the extraordinarily detailed documents describing the data obtained from the 50+ year-old R&D in flying rocket booster stages back to sea-level for a controlled powered landing, so they can be refuelled and reused with minimal-to-none teardown/rebuilding? Or the 50+ year-old R&D into combining a capsule launch escape system with a means of powered descent and soft-landing on land, removing the need for parachutes (except as emergency backup) or ocean recovery, which could also be used to land on Luna or Mars?

Comment "The Power of Nanoparticles"? (Score 3, Interesting) 56

Really? As if all nano-scale particles have some kind of magical properties? (On top of those relating to branding and getting hits on your press-release?)

From TFA:

Silica nanoparticles (SiO2NP) with radius of about 50 nm (Supporting Information, Figure S3) were synthesized by the Stöber method and applied as a solution in deionized water at concentration of 30 wt% (pH 8.5) or, when indicated, as a powder. Iron oxide Fe2O3 nanoparticles (Fe2O3NP) were purchased from Alfa Aeser, stabilized by citric acid, peptized, and used in aqueous solution in milli-Q water at 42 gL-1

That's not nanotech, that's fucking chemistry.

I doubt that should even count as your basic type-IV nanomaterials or type-V biopolymer nanotech. There's nothing "nano" to see here except for the 18th-century tech known as "molecules", and it's certainly not worthy of 61 separate uses of "nano-" words in the paper.

No wonder any discussion around "real" nanotechnology (i.e. atomically precise manufacturing - the technology the word was invented to describe) is so damn confusing.


Why Buy Microsoft Milk When the Google Cow Is Free? 409

theodp writes "Touring a high school with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt informed students they're eating Google 'dog food' because Microsoft's costs money. 'Why would we use Google Docs over like Microsoft Word?' a teacher asked the class. 'Because it's free!' exclaimed a grinning Schmidt. 'Schmidt's comment,' writes GeekWire's Blair Hanley Frank, 'highlights one of the risks Microsoft faces in the academic world. While Microsoft has started offering schools incentives to use Office 365, including free licenses for their pupils, the company is under greater pressure from its competitors. As more schools like Chicago's face budget shortfalls, free and discounted products from companies like Google and Apple, especially when attached to financial assistance, start looking better and better.' Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis said she'd rather see companies pay more in taxes and fund schools that way, rather than relying on their charity or free software."

Controversial Torrent Streaming App 'Popcorn Time' Shuts Down, Then Gets Reborn 199

An anonymous reader writes "A piece of software called 'Popcorn Time' drew a lot of attention last week for encapsulating movie torrents within a slick, stream-based UI that made watching pirated films as easy as firing up Netflix. The app ran into trouble a few days ago when it was pulled from its hosting provider, Mega, and now Popcorn Time's creators say they're shutting it down altogether. They say it was mainly an experiment: 'Piracy is not a people problem. It's a service problem. A problem created by an industry that portrays innovation as a threat to their antique recipe to collect value. It seems to everyone that they just don't care. But people do. We've shown that people will risk fines, lawsuits and whatever consequences that may come just to be able to watch a recent movie in slippers. Just to get the kind of experience they deserve.' However, the software itself isn't a complete loss — the project is being picked up by the founder of a torrent site, and he says development will continue."

Comment Re:Obligatory (Score 2) 314

The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation" warning light.

If only! Then Microsoft would finally start catching up with Unix, which got there first (as always):

Ken Thompson has an automobile which he helped design. Unlike most automobiles, it has neither speedometer, nor gas gauge, nor any of the other numerous idiot lights which plague the modern driver. Rather, if the driver makes a mistake, a giant “?” lights up in the center of the dashboard. “The experienced driver,” says Thompson, “will usually know what’s wrong.”

-- The Unix Haters Handbook, Chapter 2 (p.17)


Does Crime Leave a Genetic Trace? 160

gallifreyan99 writes "Scientists have spent decades trying to understand and fix social problems like violence and alcoholism, usually focusing on the poor and disadvantaged. But now a small band of researchers is claiming that biology plays a vitally important role — because trauma can change you at a genetic level that gets passed on to kids, grandkids, and perhaps even beyond." Part of the research involved testing the effect of stress on the genetics of mice. A number of mice were subjected to stressful situations and then allowed to raise their children. The children, when later subjected to stress, were more vulnerable to it than normal mice (for example, they would stop struggling in a potentially fatal situation earlier than 'happy' mice). This was expected. What's interesting is that when those children were later bred with normal mice, and that third generation was raised by normal mice (so that parental neglect wasn't a factor), they still showed the same vulnerability to stress. A subsequent generation showed the same.

Comment Re:Why so low a commonality? (Score 2) 202

Yup, given that I've read elsewhere that we share about 90% of our genome with fricking cows - all that data for building animal cells, and vertebras, and hearts, and livers, and kidneys, and mammary glands, and hair, and eyes, and nerves, and skin, etc..., having only 20% of the Neanderthal genome in common with us is setting off my bullshit alarm big time.

Comment Re:Wrong answer. Switch file formats first, then a (Score 4, Informative) 273

Actually, now I've read the article, that's what the Minister is saying. Move to open formats first.

That will make it possible to switch software later, if they choose to. But even if the government doesn't, it will allow the people they work with to use their own choice of software, and prevents lock-in. Using MS Office becomes a choice, and can be selected (or dropped) on its merits, rather than being suffered out of necessity.

It's the BBC article and the /. summary which try to make it look like this is purely about switching software.

Comment Wrong answer. Switch file formats first, then apps (Score 5, Insightful) 273

I want to see a greater range of software used, so civil servants have access to the information they need and can get their work done without having to buy a particular brand of software.

In that case, you want to first switch your mandated file format from MS's doc(x)/xls(x) to ODF's odt/ods. Then you can use MS Office, or switch to a new (possibly open-source, possibly even Free Software) office suite as you prefer.

Open Source

UK Government May Switch from MS Office to Open Source 273

New submitter Karashur sends this report from The Guardian: "Ministers are looking at saving tens of millions of pounds a year by abandoning expensive software produced by firms such as Microsoft. Some £200m has been spent by the public sector on the computer giant's Office suite alone since 2010. The Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude believes a significant proportion of that outlay could be cut by switching to free 'open-source' software, such as OpenOffice, or Google Docs. 'I want to see a greater range of software used, so civil servants have access to the information they need and can get their work done without having to buy a particular brand of software. In the first instance, this will help departments to do something as simple as share documents with each other more easily. But it will also make it easier for the public to use and share government information.'"

Comment Re:Lots of services? Why? (Score 1) 158

By having separate services, they're kept in their own process memory space, so no memory-surfing hackery can jump into another database instance.

So SQL Server is so badly written that an application - already in a separate process - causing the DB to perform unexpected memory accesses and read/write random memory is an expected exploitable attack? Fuuuuuuuu.....

You might install a 2000, 2005, 2008, 2008 R2, and 2012 instance all on the same machine.

Hmmmmm....., I can see how this might be useful on a beefy test server that does automatic builds and regression tests of your entire source tree across your entire range of supported dependencies. I think it's a pretty rare use-case, and probably not that likely to apply to the original poster, but OK.

each instance generates three separate folders

The datadir is a (possibly junctioned/redirected) subdirectory of the binary installation directory? That's... interesting. And the pathname includes the SQL server version? Doesn't that make upgrading even more of a pain?

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