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Submission + - Galileo Launch Failure caused by Frozen Propellant Line (spaceflight101.com)

advid.net writes: Commission investigating the circumstances of the Galileo launch failure found that a frozen Hydrazine line caused fuel starvation for 18mn on two attitude control thrusters.

As a result of the incorrect initial attitude during barbecue operations, Fregat did not achieve the proper orientation for the second burn, pointing its thrust vector in an erroneous direction leading to the off-target insertion of the two Galileo satellites.

It remains to be answered why the attitude discrepancies that originated in the first 38 minutes of the mission were not detected by the onboard computer or teams on the ground watching over the vehicle in real time.

It is also unknown whether it is a standard design on Fregat to mount the cold Helium line in close proximity to the Hydrazine pipeline or whether the lines got bundled by accident.


Submission + - European Space Agency picks site for first comet landing in November

An anonymous reader writes: Europe's Rosetta mission, which aims to land on a comet later this year, has identified what it thinks is the safest place to touch down. From the article: "Scientists and engineers have spent weeks studying the 4km-wide "ice mountain" known as 67P, looking for a location they can place a small robot. They have chosen what they hope is a relatively smooth region on the smaller of the comet's two lobes. But the team is under no illusions as to how difficult the task will be. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, currently sweeping through space some 440 million km from Earth, is highly irregular in shape. Its surface terrain is marked by deep depressions and towering cliffs. Even the apparently flat surfaces contain potentially hazardous boulders and fractures. Avoiding all of these dangers will require a good slice of luck as well as careful planning.

Submission + - How IKEA turn to CG for its catalog - only 25% of pics are real (cgsociety.org) 1

advid.net writes: Have you ever wondered why the furniture look so beautiful in the catalog, but not that much once in your home?

In the IKEA catalog 75% of the pictures are computer generated, only 25% are shots of real scenes with real products.

CG Society interviewed Martin Enthed and his team about how they managed to switch from traditional shooting to CG:

[...] the real turning point for us was when, in 2009, they called us and said, “You have to stop using CG. I’ve got 200 product images and they’re just terrible. You guys need to practice more.” So we looked at all the images they said weren’t good enough and the two or three they said were great, and the ones they didn’t like were photography and the good ones were all CG!

The article stress many advantages CG have over traditional shooting, and points out that even the kitchen, the most expensive shooting, has its layout localized to the targeted country (big white sink or small stainless sink, more drawers, ...).

Submission + - 4chan Imposes DMCA Policy

davidshenba writes: In the wake of leaked private photos of celebrities, 4chan has added Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown policy to its rules and policies. Under this new policy, the site will remove any notified and verified "infringement". It is not clear how effective this could be and how 4chan is going to handle the inflow of notifications or restrict the contents provided by users.

Submission + - California passes law mandating smartphone kill switch

alphadogg writes: Smartphones sold in California will soon be required to have a kill switch that lets users remotely lock them and wipe them of data in the event they are lost or stolen. The demand is the result of a new law, http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/... into effect on Monday, that applies to phones manufactured after July 1, 2015, and sold in the state. While its legal reach does not extend beyond the state’s borders, the inefficiency of producing phones solely for California means the kill switch is expected to be adopted by phone makers on handsets sold across the U.S. and around the world.

Submission + - Sydney University creates waves with investment ban on coal (smh.com.au)

mdsolar writes: The University of Sydney has become the first institution of its type in Australia to halt further investments in coalmining, a move likely to send ripples through the funds industry.

On Monday, the university said it had halted investments in Whitehaven Coal, the miner developing the controversial Maules Creek open-cut coalmine, which is the largest such project in the country.

As part of a review being undertaken by the Mercer Group, however, Sydney University told Fairfax Media the bar on investments extended beyond Whitehaven.

"The university has issued an instruction to its Australian equities managers to make no further investments in the coal and consumable fuels subsector of the ASX," a spokeswoman for the university said.

The institution is yet to decide what to do with existing coal investments in its $1 billion portfolio, although divestment of its $900,000 holding in Whitehaven is one of "various options" being considered, she said.

The spokeswoman declined to detail the reason for stopping purchases of coal stocks, which other companies are affected and when the halt kicked in.

The current consultation "over our investment in coal and consumable fuels is part of our ongoing review to ensure we meet our responsibilities to students, staff and donors", the spokeswoman said.

Submission + - Software Combines Thousands of Online Images Into One That Represents Them All (gizmag.com) 1

Zothecula writes: If you're trying to find out what the common features of tabby cats are, a Google image search will likely yield more results than you'd ever have the time or inclination to look over. New software created at the University of California, Berkeley, however, is designed to make such quests considerably easier. Known as AverageExplorer, it searches out thousands of images of a given subject, then amalgamates them into one composite "average" image.

Submission + - Machine Vision Reveals Previously Unknown Influences Between Great Artists

KentuckyFC writes: Art experts look for influences between great masters by studying the artist’s use of space, texture, form, shape, colour and so on. They may also consider the subject matter, brushstrokes, meaning, historical context and myriad other factors. So it's easy to imagine that today's primitive machine vision techniques have little to add. Not so. Using a new technique for classifying objects in images, a team of computer scientists and art experts have compared more than 1700 paintings from over 60 artists dating from the early 15th century to the late 20 the century. They've developed an algorithm that has used these classifications to find many well known influences between artists, such as the well known influence of Pablo Picasso and George Braque on the Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, the influence of the French romantic Delacroix on the French impressionist Bazille, the Norwegian painter Munch’s influence on the German painter Beckmann and Degas’ influence on Caillebotte. But the algorithm also discovered connections that art historians have never noticed (judge the comparisons for yourself). In particular, the algorithm points out that Norman Rockwell’s Shuffleton’s Barber Shop painted in 1950 is remarkably similar to Frederic Bazille’s Studio 9 Rue de la Condamine painted 80 years before.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Can some of us get together and rebuild this community? 21

wbr1 writes: It seems abundantly clear now that Dice and the SlashBeta designers do not care one whit about the community here. They do not care about rolling in crapware into sourceforge installers. In short, the only thing that talks to them is money and stupid ideas.

Granted, it takes cash to run sites like these, but they were fine before. The question is, do some of you here want to band together, get whatever is available of slashcode and rebuild this community somewhere else? We can try to make it as it once was, a haven of geeky knowledge and frosty piss, delivered free of charge in a clean community moderated format.

Submission + - Avatar - an open-source operating system for the Internet with privacy built-in (avatar.ai)

zer0point writes: A new project aiming to help people to communicate and share more securely without sacrificing user experience or privacy. Avatar runs on top of Avatar Network which is a decentralize, anonymous p2p network based on the Phantom protocol. Users can send messages either inside Avatar Network, or to other social networks like Facebook or Twitter, store/share any data and access popular internet services with few clicks. The project is currently looking for architecture/security experts to help audit the protocol designs.

Submission + - Predator Drone Sends North Dakota Man to Jail (suasnews.com)

An anonymous reader writes: What do you say to a drone that makes an arrest?

“Book him, Predator?”

This was no joke for a North Dakota farmer who has the dubious honor of being the first American sentenced to prison with the assistance of a Predator drone. Rodney Brossart was sentenced to three years in prison, of which all but six months was suspended, for a June 2011 incident in which police attempted to arrest him over his failure to return three cows from a neighboring farm that had strayed on to his property.

Submission + - Neural Net Learns Breakout By Watching The Game On Screen--Then Thrashes Humans (medium.com)

KentuckyFC writes: A curious thing about video games is that computers have never been very good at playing them like humans--by looking at a monitor and judging actions accordingly using. Sure, they're pretty good if they have direct access to the program itself but "hand-to-eye-co-ordination" has never been their thing. But now our superiority in this area is coming to an end. A team of AI specialists in London have created a neural network that learns to play games simply by looking at the RGB output from the console. And they've tested it successfully on a number of games from the legendary Atari 2600 system from the 1980s. The method is relatively straightforward. To simplify the visual part of the problem, the system down-samples the Atari's 128-colour, 210x160 pixel image to create an 84x84 grayscale version. Then it simply practices repeatedly to learn what to do. That's time consuming but fairly simple since at any instant in time during a game, a player can choose from a finite set actions that the game allows: move to the left, move to the right, fire and so on. So the task for any player—human or otherwise—is to choose an action at each point in the game that maximises the eventual score. The researchers say that after learning Atari classics such as Breakout and Pong, the neural net can then thrash expert human players. However, the neural net still struggles to match average human performance in games such as Seaquest, Q*bert and, most important of all, Space Invaders. So there's hope for us yet...just not for very much longer.

Submission + - Big Buck Bunny in 4K, 60 fps and 3D-stereo (renderfarming.net)

An anonymous reader writes: Blender Foundation open movie projects like Sintel and Tears of Steel have been mentioned on Slashdot in the recent years. Now an old-timer, their open movie Big Buck Bunny from 2008, has been getting a make-over in a new release:

The entire movie has been recreated in 3D stereo with a resolution of 4K (3840x2160) at 60fps.

It took years to rework the movie because the original Big Buck Bunny was created for 2D. Most of the scenes had to be modified to work well in 3D stereo. Furthermore, the original movie was made for cinemas and was 24fps; a lot of changes to the animations had to be made to get the correct results.

The creator of the reworked version explains about it on BlenderNation where he also talks about the fact that the entire movie was rendered via an online collaborative renderfarm, BURP, where volunteers provided spare CPU cycles to make it happen.

If you want to see how your computer measures up to playing 4K content in 60 fps you can download the reworked movie from the official homepage — lower resolutions are also available.

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