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Comment Re:Sucked out of an airplane? Not likely (Score 1) 286

But they never tested anything like an exploding iPad or laptop. They were specifically testing shooting holes in a plane with a gun.

In fact they also tested blowing up a window with explosives, and then blowing out the side of the plane with a very large explosive. They still concluded that modern planes are very structurally sound and that it would suck for the person sitting next to the explosives, but everyone else will just get a bunch of air rushing past. Also covered in the more extreme scenario of a spacecraft decompressing in zero atmosphere by Kyle Hill of Because Science.

Comment Replacing the open source tools and websites (Score 2) 76

providing a rules compendium, character builder, digital character sheets, and more

I'm hoping it will have a free tier, at least for players (I would be OK with only the DM having to pay, but only a very small fee.) If it's too expensive, we'll all just go back to the free options floating around. PCGen for charater sheets and overlays, d20 SRD for the rules, classes, monsters and items, and our imaginations for the rest.

Comment Who copied whom? (Score 1) 62

Facebook Live has "masks" now (think Snapchat's Lenses).

More like Skype, Windows Live Messenger, and a half dozen other video chat clients I can think of? Snapchat didn't do it first (or even best.)

Instagram has geostickers (like Snapchat's location-aware stickers.)

More like the stickers available in every photo editor since the 90s? (Why is location-aware a feature - you're telling me it's a good thing that I can't use a sticker if I'm not in a specific physical location?)

WhatsApp has "Status" (think Snapchat Stories). Instagram has "Stories" (think ... Snapchat stories).

You mean like a Twitter feed, or heck even Facebook's Timeline view?

The latest fruit of Facebook's labours is Messenger Day -- "a way for you to share these photos and videos -- as they happen -- by adding to your Messenger Day, where many of your friends can view and reply to them". It's Snapchat Stories. Again.

More like your Facebook Timeline, but from Messenger.

Seriously, Snapchat is not the originator of these ideas, their only differentiator is that their stuff is auto-deleted after a given time. In fact you could easily argue the reverse, that Snapchat stories last 24 hours because they're trying to copy Twitter feeds, FB timelines, LinkedIn, etc.

Comment Re:Oversight (Score 1) 858

And anyway, due to civil service rules they can't be fired.

I mean, what is the DoE afraid of?

They wouldn't need to fire those employees and contractors, just assign them to different research. The new team wants to find out who has conducted research that agrees with Climate Change, and move them out so they won't generate any more results supporting that position. Then they'll assign the funding to researchers seeking to disprove Climate Change models so the department produces results and reports supporting the new team's position on that topic.

Comment Why only "dozens" of sites? (Score 1) 258

These gauges, located at more than a dozen sites across the Northern Hemisphere

That doesn't sound right, surely they can use the data from more stations than that? Canada has 125+ years worth of tide and water level data from thousands of stations, maybe NASA should talk to them? It's free to download per water level station, or you can submit a request for the full dataset. (Disclosure: I worked for a time with the team that processes incoming marine data and digitizes historical log books.)

Comment Bigger but with less thrust? (Score 4, Interesting) 79

The rocket, named after the first American to reach orbit, is bigger than Elon Musk's Falcon Heavy rocket ... Combined, the BE-4s should provide 3.85 million pounds of thrust, according to Bezos. That's ... slightly less than the 5 million pounds SpaceX's Falcon Heavy can pull off.

Wait, so the rocket will be bigger, with less thrust? That doesn't sound like an improvement to me. Or do they just mean taller (there are diagrams in the article), but it will somehow manage to have lower mass and so get a better thrust to weight ratio?

Comment Slashdot summary isn't great, it's "DDoS decades" (Score 4, Informative) 74

The summary isn't great, it seems to contradict itself a couple of times. If the site "erased all digital records of attacks that customers launched between Sept. 2012 ... and the end of March 2016", then how do you have data for "the past two years"? I skimmed the whole article and didn't find an answer to that one, my best guess is that they meant the attack data itself was erased, but the service requests, chat logs, etc that Krebs references were not erased.

Regarding the "operating for decades" vs "Sept. 2012 (when the service first came online)", it's because Krebs is writing about the aggregate amount of time wasted by the DDoS. He calls it "DDoS seconds" which he then rolls up to years. He is not suggesting the service has been operating for decades, but rather that in the past 5 years the service has caused the equivalent of decades worth of service disruption. (So if 30 hosts are disrupted for 2 hour, that's 60 hours of downtime total, or "DDoS 2.5 days", even though the DDoS attacks only lasted 2 hours and ran in parallel.)

The most interesting part of the article is that subscribing to the DDoS service was only $30/month. That sounds cheaper than paying for DDoS protection/mitigation services, and makes me wonder if vDOS will change their service into a protection racket (pay us to be on our "protected" list so other members can't DDoS you.)

Comment Re:My PCP has a "scribe!" (Score 1) 326

Because people keep demanding that it gets cheaper so that tape gets sent off to India where it's transcribed by someone that barely speaks english.

Not true. Medical transcriptionists need to have a vast understanding of medical terminology, have to turn around transcriptions usually same day, and their transcriptions are reviewed by the doctors. Any outsourced contract that didn't provide above 90% accuracy would be cancelled by the hospital.

My sister in law and her mother are both medical transcriptionists for a company based out of Toronto (Canada). The pay isn't great, but the hours are somewhat flexible and they work from home. They're able to work from home because the recordings are all digital these days. The recordings go on to the server, tagged with the doctor's name and a session id of some sort. The transcriptionists pick it up from the queue, and type it in as they listen to it. They have an SLA with a minimum turn around time for transcriptions, based on the type of recording and duration (eg: transcriptions from a podiatrist might be fairly short and straightforward, while those from doctors in emerge or ICU might vary wildly in length and complexity.)

FYI - it's not easy work at all. Many doctors have different accents or don't dictate clearly, use different terminology or abbreviations, etc, and there are often many names for each drug (eg: acetaminophen is the generic drug, also called paracetamol, which might have 200 trade name variants such as Tylenol.) Hospitals have to pay licensing fees to companies that maintain drug information databases for them, such as Vigilance. Transcriptionists often run over the same recording multiple times to figure out exactly what was said, and have an open voice chat to each other to discuss anything they're unsure of. As a last resort they can send it back to the doctor to re-dictate, but you can see how that would be frowned upon.

Comment Would be used for in-game cheating (Score 2) 20

this new tool requires a developer to integrate up to a couple hundred lines of code to give players the ability to pause their game, move around the environment

Developers won't do that integration work because it will enable cheating in many games.

  • - Playing a FPS and unsure what's around that corner? Pause and move over there to see what's lurking.
  • - Playing a puzzler and want to get a different perspective on the puzzle? Pause and move around it until to get a different perspective.
  • - Playing a dungeon crawler and not sure where to go next? Pause and move around so you can find the traps, baddies, dead ends or loot.

Submission + - Documents Show How Russia's Troll Army Hit America (buzzfeed.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The documents show instructions provided to the commenters that detail the workload expected of them. On an average working day, the Russians are to post on news articles 50 times. Each blogger is to maintain six Facebook accounts publishing at least three posts a day and discussing the news in groups at least twice a day. By the end of the first month, they are expected to have won 500 subscribers and get at least five posts on each item a day. On Twitter, the bloggers are expected to manage 10 accounts with up to 2,000 followers and tweet 50 times a day.

They are to post messages along themes called “American Dream” and “I Love Russia.” The archetypes for the accounts are called Handkerchief, Gay Turtle, The Ghost of Marius the Giraffe, Left Breast, Black Breast, and Ass, for reasons that are not immediately clear.

According to the documents, which are attached to several hundred emails sent to the project’s leader, Igor Osadchy, the effort was launched in April and is led by a firm called the Internet Research Agency. It’s based in a Saint Petersburg suburb, and the documents say it employs hundreds of people across Russia who promote Putin in comments on Russian blogs.

Submission + - Extreme Galactic 'Rainstorm' Feeds Monster Black Hole (seeker.com)

astroengine writes: The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile has, for the first time, spotted million solar mass clouds of cold, dense molecular gas condense inside the Abell 2597 galaxy cluster, around one billion light-years from Earth. These massive clouds are now speeding their way toward a supermassive black hole, providing some compelling evidence as to how the monster black holes in the centers of galaxies get so incredibly big.

Submission + - Astronomers used network science to explain star formation (phys.org)

An anonymous reader writes: For the first time, scientists have used methods of network science to solve a fundamental astrophysical problem — explaining the so-called "stellar initial mass function", a distribution of stars by mass in galaxies and star clusters. Andrei Klishin (MIT/U.Mich) and Igor Chilingarian (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA/Moscow State University) described star formation using the "preferential attachment" aka "rich get richer" formalism.

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