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Comment Re:Elementary OS (Score 4, Interesting) 510

I second elementaryOS. It is very neat and clean UI and sensible defaults (most of the time). It is based on Ubuntu, so your have excellent package support. I have seen it working over 90% of the time with just default installation.

Some Linux veterans may feel a bit crippled since it has very limited customization options, but for newbies, and those who don't intend to fiddle with the system, but just use it, it is the best I have seen in a long time.

Submission + - Fed-up with windows and mac shananigans

joseph Kramer writes: i've been lurking here for years and seen many recommendations for a linux flavor that works. what i'm really looking for is linux that works without constant under-the-hood tweaking(ala early win flavors,3.1, 95/98).
Does such an OS exist? I'm familiar with mac since tiger and windows since it was just another dos program.
(for the record i am not a IT tech), i just need something to work with the mechanical equipment it controls.
any recommendations?

Submission + - An Unexpected New Lung Function Has Been Found - They Make Blood (sciencealert.com) 1

schwit1 writes: Researchers have discovered that the lungs play a far more complex role in mammalian bodies than we thought, with new evidence revealing that they don't just facilitate respiration — they also play a key role in blood production.

In experiments involving mice, the team found that they produce more than 10 million platelets (tiny blood cells) per hour, equating to the majority of platelets in the animals' circulation. This goes against the decades-long assumption that bone marrow produces all of our blood components.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco also discovered a previously unknown pool of blood stem cells that makes this happen inside the lung tissue — cells that were incorrectly assumed to mainly reside in bone marrow.

"This finding definitely suggests a more sophisticated view of the lungs — that they're not just for respiration, but also a key partner in formation of crucial aspects of the blood," says one of the researchers, Mark R. Looney.

Submission + - Foreign Students Say U.S. High School Classes Are Absurdly Easy (the-american-interest.com)

schwit1 writes: When the Brookings Institution’s Brown Center on Education Policy surveyed foreign exchange students studying in the U.S. in 2001, it found that they thought that American education was a cake walk compared to secondary education in their home countries. And when it conducted the survey again in 2016, it found that exchange students thought that U.S. education was even less challenging than before.

Comment Re: survey (Score 4, Informative) 83

I don't know what the survey compared it to. But I did a quick test with the same result.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... (a resized version was used)

Input Image: ../zayapa.jpg JPEG 1608x949 1608x949+0+0 8-bit sRGB 1.097MB 0.000u 0:00.000
Output Image: zayapa.jpg[1] JPEG 1608x949 1608x949+0+0 8-bit sRGB 641KB 0.000u 0:00.000

Only "gotcha" is:

$ time guetzli ../zayapa.jpg zayapa.jpg

real 5m39.725s
user 5m35.340s
sys 0m4.188s

It is a relatively low-end Pentium processor, but still over 5 minutes to compress a 1MB image is too high.


Facebook Says It's Not Secretly Recording You (fb.com) 148

An anonymous reader writes: In 2014 Facebook introduced a feature which can use your phone's microphone to identify songs you're listening to -- but "we don't record your conversations," they're reminding users. A mass communication professor at the University of South Florida tried discussing specific topics near her phone, then discovered Facebook appeared to be showing ads related to what she'd said. Though she wasn't convinced there was a link, the Independent newspaper reported that "The claim chimes with anecdotal reports online that the site appears to show ads for things that people have mentioned in passing."

An official statement Thursday reiterated that "Facebook does not use your phone's microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed." But another news site sees these concerns as a reminder of all the permissions users routinely grant to their apps. "Go into your phone's application settings and you'll see a whole list of what an app like Facebook has access to: your camera, your location, your contacts, and, yes, your microphone too. How about this for a warning? By downloading Facebook you give the app 'permission to record audio at any time without your confirmation.' Tom's Guide security editor Paul Wagenseil says Facebook can...listen to your conversations...but it would be illegal to do so."

Meanwhile, the FBI "can neither confirm nor deny" that it's ever tapped an Amazon Echo device.

Comment Re:That came in at a pretty steep angle (Score 0) 206

The reason is simpler, actually. The stage has significant horizontal velocity because it is coming back from too far away. There is a boost back burn right after MECO which reverses the direction the stage is going. It is not practical to move it horizontally at that speed while keeping it vertically straight (too much wind resistance can break the stage). So it has to lose both horizontal and vertical velocity at the exact moment of touch down, while straightening up at the same time. Straightening and stabilization of the rocket is done by a combination of reaction control thrusters, grid fins, and the landing burn of the central engine. The points you raise are also valid of course.

Comment Re:Hero worship comes in all sizes (Score 4, Insightful) 273

If you and I are given the same resources as Jobs, could we have created a Mac or iPhone? Jobs' greatness is not because he was a great inventor (though media simplifies it to that). But it is the ability to put all the resource available to him to realize a dream. I say this even though I am not a fan of Jobs or Apple. Quite the opposite.

Same applies to Musk. Of course he was utilizing government subsidy as much as possible for Solar City and Tesla. Of course Falcon 9 and Dragon received significant government funding. But most of his competitors have the same resources available to them to even larger extent. Why weren't they able to produce a product that is as successful? It is in the ability to dream, and put together what he has to realize it.

Comment Toughest part in transition (Score 3, Interesting) 125

I have been a programmer for all of my career, and had management roles in the past 10 years to varying degrees. Over this period, I have also mentored other technical team members in transitioning to management roles. The toughest part of that process is in learning the ability to delegate. This is especially tough for talented programmers.

You often feel that it is easier for you to do a particular task yourself rather than delegating. It may be true that you might finish the work in tenth of the time it takes someone else to do, and you may be spending more time in explaining it to others. But at some point you have to stop doing it, start trusting others to deliver, and don't meddle with their work too often. Once you learn how to do it, you are well on your way to becoming a successful manager.

Submission + - Petition to Restore NASA Commercial Crew Funding

Sivaraj writes: US Senate has decided underfund the NASA Commercial Crew program by $344 million. The program has already been delayed significantly in the past years due to lack of funding. Most of these funds are being diverted to Space Launch System (SLS). SLS program is way overfunded, and NASA has stated clearly that they don't have any means of using those additional funds. Commercial crew program is likely to be delayed by years if not funded sufficiently. There is a change.org petition ongoing to restore that funding.

Submission + - An origami paper-based bacteria-powered battery

jan_jes writes: Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding created by Akira Yoshizawa, which can be used to create beautiful birds, frogs and other small sculptures.

Last Year a team of engineers from MIT and Harvard has developed an origami flat-pack Robot[youtube.com] which can fold itself and crawl away without any human intervention.

But now a Binghamton University engineer says this technique can be applied to building batteries, too. The battery generates power from microbial respiration, delivering enough energy to run a paper-based biosensor with nothing more than a drop of bacteria-containing liquid. This method should be especially useful to anyone working in remote areas with limited resources. The total cost of this potentially game-changing device is "Five cents".

Comment Re:Factor of 10 (Score 1) 77

Get real man. Shuttle might have cost a bit higher due to politics, but it was never going to be cheap - just as SLS is not going to be cheap. Shuttle should have been abandoned at least in 1986 when they realised that they forgot to put a launch abort system on it.

Over its lifetime, it has cost $209B. That is over $1.5B for each flight.

Hmm... may be it will look cheaper by 2025 when you are spending over $10B on each launch of SLS (It is expected to cost $41B for 4 flights by that time). Hopefully someone would have mercy and kill it before then.

Comment Re:How is this a shuttle? (Score 4, Informative) 77

ISRO never called it a shuttle. It has always been refered to as technology demonstrator (RLV-TD). Current experiment is termed RLV-TD HEX (Hypersonic flight Experiment). The ultimate aim is to develop an RLV named Avatar, which was originally announced over 17 years ago.

This particluar test flight should not be compared to US space shuttle. Better comparison would be X-43A or X51-A Waverider. As these have defence applications, the projects had been running between NASA and DARPA. Similarly, India's Avatar programme has also been shuttling between ISRO and DRDO (Defence Research & Development Organization).

The main feature of Avatar concept is an air breathing Scramjet engine. So far there hasn't been any great success in developing Scramjet engine. The longest one fired for 15 seconds on second flight of X-51A, while its first flight didn't run scramjet. India is nowhere near developing Scramjet in immediate future. But the current flight will test some preliminary technologies related to that project, specifically hypersonic reentry. I don't think this particular vehicle has any propulsion. Even the next two experiments planned on the series (LEX and REX) are planned without any rocket propulsion, but will use turbofan engine for landing. Actual powered flight would be on the SPEX, which will use Scramjet (Source: http://isp.justthe80.com/launc...

Current test is a 100 crore INR (about 16 million USD) experiment. I am happy that ISRO is doing something to take this promising technology further. It may take another 20 years before actually seeing a scramjet engine in action, but that is ok. I would consider it as my tax money well spent.

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