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Submission + - Source of Pioneer space probe deceleration anomaly found. (ieee.org)

deathcow writes: After forty years, a fresh perspective on old Pioneer data leads to new conclusions as to why the Pioneer probes are decelerating. Many theories to the slowing probes have persisted over the years — was it gravity? some type of unforeseen radiation? dark matter?

Thanks to the data backup preservation efforts of a NASA Ames Research engineer, mountains of old telemetry data were still available for studying this curious anomaly.

Comment My own medical device software mistake. (Score 4, Interesting) 86

I wrote all the "C" code which controlled a robotic bone lengthening device. (Read up on the ilizarov procedure.) At the most basic, it is used to make your legs or arms longer, a tiny bit per day, just over an inch per month of growth. The doctors would break the bone, after having installed an external mechanical frame holding you together. They would slowly lengthen the mechanical frame by 1mm every day. They would use wrenches and do it four times a day, 1/4mm per lengthening. Our machine would do it once per minute (growing your bone at 604 nanometers additional length per minute.) I used a table in ROM of how many pulses to do, how often. A couple of the entries were wrong and resulted in the wrong amount of bone lengthening.

Comment Re:Strong enough to make cables for Space elevator (Score 1) 345

> What will it be transmuted into?

We can run out of a material even though it is still firmly trapped in Earths gravity well. For example the element Bismuth (which is only twice as common as gold abundance wise) is used in large amounts in Pepto Bismol. Once this is eaten and excreted, it really becomes unrecoverable again.


Submission + - Do Violent Games Hinder Empathy Development? (industrygamers.com)

donniebaseball23 writes: Although there's yet to be a study that conclusively proves a direct causal relationship between video game violence and real-life violence, psychologists are continuing to examine the effect violent media can have on children. A new study by Simmons College Communications Professor Edward T. Vieira, Jr., Ph.D. and published in the 2011 spring/summer edition of the Journal of Children and Media, notes that violent video game exposure can actually hinder a child's moral development, reports IndustryGamers. "Certainly not every child who continues to play violent video games is going to go out and perpetrate a violent act, but the research suggests that children — particularly boys — who are frequently exposed to these violent games are absorbing a sanitized message of 'no consequences for violence' from this play behavior," said Vieira.

Comment Re:Most overpriced? (Score 1) 103

> Costs them more to bill you for the text message than they likely spend delivering it.

Yes, but only if you ignore the costs of -- Cell towers. Antennas. Radios. Packet Control Units. Amplifiers. Receivers. Transcoders. Mobile Switching Centers. Private Lines over SONET rings. Fiber optics equipment. Racks of GSM base station blades. Switch software licenses and support contracts to people like Ericsson. WAP headcount licenses. Software licenses. More software licenses. And also the salaries of network engineers, cellular engineers, trunking engineers, traffic analysts, operations staff, support engineers, and some management costs in there as well.

Comment Stats The Cellular Provider Sees (Score 2, Informative) 114

At least, this is what I see working with SNMP data coming off dumps from the cellular base transceiver stations attached to our towers.

Every 15 minutes, every GSM handset measures the perceived strength of the tower signal it is using, this is reported to the tower, and we record them all. Also every 15 minutes, the strength of the handset signal, from the perspective of the tower is sampled and recorded.

These readings go into buckets, for example if a reading showed a -78 dbm signal, it goes in the -78dbm bucket. Before long, a histogram can be generated with the datain the buckets, and we can see typical distribution for receive performance - for both handsets and the tower. Different towers have very different "signatures" in this data.

You may go around sampling receive performance, (which would be interesting) but I don't think you'll be able to map how well the cellular system is receiving from you.

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