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Submission + - Google Ready to Prove Quantum Computing

brindafella writes: Google is on the cusp of a milestone in the history of computing, hoping later in 2017 to test a representative "quantum chip" with a 49 qubit matrix that achieves “quantum supremacy”, meaning it can perform a particular calculation that’s beyond the reach of any conventional computer. The Google team already has a quantum chip with a 2x3 matrix of qubits. The Google team is led by Professor John Martinis of University of California, Santa Barbara.

Submission + - How Russia's next ISS module got contaminated (

schwit1 writes: Russia's next module for ISS, MLM or Nauka, has been delayed years because of the discovery of sawdust sized metal particles throughout the module's propulsion system. This article describes how this happened, showing the incredibly incompetence and bad quality control that caused it.

At the time, workers at Khrunichev were cutting pipelines and removing other components of the module's propulsion system, in order to reconfigure it from its original role as a backup to the Zarya FGB module into the MLM. For example, a set of six tanks, which would be used for refueling of the ISS during the FGB mission, were removed from the exterior of the spacecraft in order to make room for scientific instruments and for the attachment of the European Robotic Arm, ERA.

The official conclusion of the probe said that the contamination had stemmed from the "lack of methodological and technological support for the operations of cutting pipeline connections in the pneumatic and hydraulic system, PGS, which was needed to guarantee the meeting of requirements for ensuring the sterility of the internal cavities in the pipelines and system hardware." It is essentially bureaucratic speak for letting metallic dust formed during sawing off the lines pour into the interior of the remaining components.

According to one legend circulating at GKNPTs Khrunichev, the workers who were sawing off pipelines from the module thought they were dismantling the entire spacecraft for scrap. That story would sound completely unbelievable if not for other almost as incredible incidents of carelessness, poor quality control and incompetence within the industry in recent years, such as the installing navigation sensors on a Proton rocket in the upside down position or loading a Block DM-03 space tug on another Proton with too much propellant.

It is most revealing of the overall systemic problems within Russia's aerospace industry.

Submission + - Arachnophobia (Fear of Spiders) - What Part Sex Plays In It

brindafella writes: Women and girls have a greater dislike of spiders than men/boys. So, what is the place of sex hormones in arachnophobia? Researchers at the University of New South Wales (Australia) have studied anxiety responses to spiders and monthly cycles, and propose that spider exposure therapy can be scheduled when hormones will best allow it to succeed. "If we demonstrate that there are fluctuations in treatment response due to hormone levels it would certainly have big implications for how we should be treating women in the future," Dr Bronwyn Graham said.

Submission + - Second Opinion From Doctor Nets Different Diagnosis 88% Of Time, Study Finds ( 3

schwit1 writes: When it comes to treating a serious illness, two brains are better than one. A new study finds that nearly 9 in 10 people who go for a second opinion after seeing a doctor are likely to leave with a refined or new diagnosis from what they were first told.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic examined 286 patient records of individuals who had decided to consult a second opinion, hoping to determine whether being referred to a second specialist impacted one's likelihood of receiving an accurate diagnosis.

The study, conducted using records of patients referred to the Mayo Clinic's General Internal Medicine Division over a two-year period, ultimately found that when consulting a second opinion, the physician only confirmed the original diagnosis 12 percent of the time.

Among those with updated diagnoses, 66% received a refined or redefined diagnosis, while 21% were diagnosed with something completely different than what their first physician concluded.

Submission + - Delta Airlines cancels thousands of flights after crew-scheduling computer crash (

McGruber writes: Delta Airlines began cancelling thousands of its flights on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, blaming the resulting delays on thunderstorms at its Atlanta hub ( The airline still has not recovered as of Saturday, April 8 — already this morning, Delta has cancelled another 275 flights (

The resulting chaos at airports has been extensively documented in a flyertalk thread ( The thread contains pictures of people sleeping on airport floors, reports of 20-40 hour call wait times, and claims that Delta's crew-scheduling computers have crashed. In a thread at Airline Pilot Forums (, Delta employees are posting about waiting for work and not being called in.

Submission + - Public Crowd-sourcing Finds New Exoplanets

brindafella writes: A participant in a TV program "Stargazing Live" on Australia's ABC TV channel has found four planets closely orbiting a star, using an online database. Astrophysicist Dr Chris Lintott, the principal investigator of Zooniverse, reported on Thursday's show that four "super-Earth" planets had been identified in the data. They orbit closer to their star than Mercury does to our Sun. The person responsible for the find, Andrew Grey, is a mechanic by day and amateur astronomer in his spare time, and lives in the city of Darwin, Northern Territory. The data is sourced from NASA's Kepler Space Telescope. "Stargazing Live" host Professor Brian Cox said he could not be more excited about the discovery. "In the seven years I've been making Stargazing Live this is the most significant scientific discovery we've ever made. The results are astonishing."

Submission + - Mapping the brain functions of extinct animals

brindafella writes: How can scientists map the brain functions of an extinct animal? The technique is called diffusion tensor imaging, and it has recently mapped the preserved brains of two thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), extinct as of 1936 in Tasmania, the island state of Australia. Thylacine were the largest known carnivorous marsupial (pouched mammal) of modern times. Diffusion tensor imaging looks at how water diffuses inside parts of the brain. Using it with traditional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers mapped how molecules moved through the brain of the thylacine while it was alive to reveal the neural wiring of different brain regions. They tested the technique with a brain of a similar animal, a Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), preserved at about the same time, and the brain of a recently deceased Devil.

Submission + - SPAM: Progress MS-04 resupply mission to ISS - failure

brindafella writes: The Russian Progress MS-04 resupply mission to the International Space Station will not be arriving. It seems that the Stage 3 of the Soyuz rocket had a problem that caused around 2-3 minutes too little of boost to orbit. The mission components broke up at high altitude during an uncontrolled re-entry over the Republic of Tuva, about 2,000 kilometers east of the launch site in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. MS-04 was carrying "5,383 pounds (2,442 kilograms) of cargo, a figure encompassing 1,565 pounds (710 kilograms) of propellant to be pumped into the Zvezda module’s fuel tanks, 926 pounds (420 kilograms) of fresh water, 114 pounds (52 kilograms) of oxygen, and 2,777 pounds (1,260 pounds) of dry cargo", including a new Orlan spacesuit.

Comment My toaster is racist. (Score 1) 388

Office thermostats are sexist?

Have I a story for you!!!

I put white bread in my toaster and it does not like that; the toaster makes the bread come out a darker colour. I can even put wholemeal bread in, and that is not dark enough for the toaster. Even when I put some of the bread back in the toaster after it has done its thing, it comes out even darker still. My toaster is definitely racist.

Comment The possible long "O" Pron[o]unciation (Score 1) 57

The pronunciation of the Australian long "O" is easy.

Say 'fuel'. Now, drop the "ee-you-eh" sound and instead just say the "oo". It comes out as "F'yool".

Say "foot". Now, say it like "soot" (rather that "sort".)

Say "roof". Now, say it not like a dog saying "ruff", but with the "ooo" of "rooof".

Say "kangaroo". Now, say it without as "Kang-gar-Rooo" with the capitals meaning a bit more emphasis (aka "Em-far-siss", as opposed to "em-FAR-sis").

That takes you along the road to speaking "strine" (the local contraction for "Australian", as in "a- Stine").

an Aussie


THIS IS A RACIALLY OFFENSIVE THREAD. DELETE! This thread is being racially offensive to Australian Aboriginals ("abos" / "abbos" / "abo"). For Americans, think what "nigger" means in your culture. For Asians and people from the UK, think what "Pakki" means. For others, you probably have something equally offensive that makes you cringe, even if you use the term. Slashdot SHOULD remove this thread. Please (as a white Australian)

Comment This **is** a highly politicised post. (Score 1) 57

This **is** a highly politicised post. And, I will make **no** comment on the 'political' outcome of, or machinations behind, this legislation.

It takes only a few seconds to see that the prism / microscope / binoculars / rose-tinted-glasses through which this story has been passed is distorting the image spectacularly into a politically charged version of what ever is the truth.

For someone from Australia, as I am, it takes about 1/10 that time, at most.

The authors have used no restraint in being 'political' in their framing of the post.

The SlashDot editors have used scant / little judgement in editing the two contributors' stories into one biased story. "Shame, shame, shame!"

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