Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:Alternatives? (Score 1) 386

I tried and really didn't like Netvibes, but I have already switch to Awesome New Tab Page, an extension for Chrome. Loads of plugins like a gmail client, weather, RSS readers, all in a grid you can lay out yourself.

Takes a bit of work to copy your setup across computers though - the layout comes across if you're signed in to sync your plugins, but not the RSS feeds themselves.

Comment Re:NASA Has 2 Hubbles (Score 4, Funny) 237

Interesting you should say that, because it's basically her background. She was involved in the design and production of women's clothing before she worked at NASA. Basically, she'd design patterns then make dresses. She claims it is much easier to design patterns for spacecraft than women, they don't move as much and they aren't as picky.

Comment NASA Has 2 Hubbles (Score 5, Informative) 237

NASA has a fully functional copy of Hubble "sitting around" at Goddard Space Flight Center as well. If something goes wrong in space, fabrication of replacement components and the training of the astronauts that will fix it does not occur in space. It is invaluable to have an exact duplicate on the ground for this reason.

Interestingly, the total 2010 US Space budget was $64.6B. The entire rest of the world combined spent only $22.5B. NASA's 2010 budget was $18.7B. Many programs that people think are NASA projects are actually defense projects. For example, the GPS system is not included in NASA's budget, it's spearheaded by the Air Force Space Command, and comes out of the Defense budget.

Chances are the main satellites that these are duplicates for have been decommissioned, so these are no longer needed. I would guess they are actually two distinct but similar designs, and not two copies of the same design. I would assume NASA already determined that the risk of these satellites failing and NASA being incapable of fixing them is outweighed by the desire to have higher powered telescopes in space.

My mother has worked in the thermal blanket lab at Goddard for years. Several years ago, she got one of the engineers working on the James Webb Space Telescope to take her and I on a tour of the clean room where they are fabricating one of the core components, the micro-shutter array. The micro-shutter array is an array of 65,536 shutters on an area about the size of a postage stamp. We got to go into the clean room and see the entire process. It is very similar to the process used to fabricate semiconductors, and I think they were operating at about the 60nm level. The idea of the micro-shutter array is that each shutter can be independently operated to shut out interfering light sources, so that the telescope can look much further back in space and time for deep fields. These should be spectacular. Instead of imaging the entire shutter area as the Hubble does, JWST will be able to close all but one micro-shutter which should allow very long exposure times, and the ability to see extremely distant objects. More on the array at http://www.jwst.nasa.gov/microshutters.html.

Also, the Hubble is huge. It is a cylinder with a diameter of perhaps 15ft and a height of roughly 40ft. Pictures really don't do it justice, I had no appreciation for the size until I saw it. I know my mother did some of the thermal blanket fabrication (think the tin-foil looking stuff on the outside of spacecraft) for Servicing Mission 4. Disclaimer: This is a cross-post of something I wrote at Hacker News earlier today.


Can Machine Learning Replace Focus Groups? 93

itwbennett writes "In a blog post, Steve Hanov explains how 20 lines of code can outperform A/B testing. Using an example from one of his own sites, Hanov reports a green button outperformed orange and white buttons. Why don't people use this method? Because most don't understand or trust machine learning algorithms, mainstream tools don't support it, and maybe because bad design will sometimes win."

Comment Re:Good lord. (Score 5, Interesting) 191

The total 2010 US Space budget was $64.6B. The entire rest of the world combined spent only $22.5B, including military space spending. NASA, the US civilian space programs 2010 budget was $18.7B, 83% of the spending for the entire rest of the world. All of Europe spent a paltry $4.6B on the ESA. Where is the spending from these enlightened, long-sighted countries?

Consider this as well, many space projects aren't actually funded by NASA. For example, GPS is funded and operated by the Air Force Space Command. The United States is, by a massive margin, the country most invested in space exploration.


Robots Taught to Deceive 239

An anonymous reader found a story that starts "'We have developed algorithms that allow a robot to determine whether it should deceive a human or other intelligent machine and we have designed techniques that help the robot select the best deceptive strategy to reduce its chance of being discovered,' said Ronald Arkin, a Regents professor in the Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing."

US-Australia Tensions Rise Over Net Filter 169

daria42 writes "Tensions between the US Government and its counterpart in Australia appear to be rising over Australia's proposal to filter the internet for objectionable content. The US government has raised its concerns over what it sees as potential censorship directly with the Australian Government. However, last night, Australia's Communications Minister Stephen Conroy denied he had had any approach from US State Department officials."

Comment Re:I don't think anybody should pirate anything (Score 1) 214

But if the produced material sucks, you're stuck wasting your money on something that isn't any good.

Or in the alternative, you could allow investors to shoulder that risk, and in exchange be allowed the exclusive right to distribute and charge for the produced material. This way, if the game sucks, you don't have to spend any money on it. But if the game is good, you've got to give the investor some money to cover his cost, plus some to cover his risk, plus some to provide a return on his investment to encourage him to take the risk to begin with. Of course, if people could just copy it, the investor wouldn't be able to recoup the investment, so he wouldn't be able to do it. So maybe there could be some kind of law for that. But that kind of brings us full circle doesn't it.

So it looks like you fall into the category of naive. A little more.

Comment Re:I don't think anybody should pirate anything (Score 1) 214

How much did it cost to record an album in 1982 using equipment more powerful than a Fostex prosumer deck?

A hell of a lot more than it does today with a cheap Mac? Quality hasn't exactly gone up with falling costs and more amateurs.

Then explain shareware, and explain the whole free software movement.

How well do shareware games cope with piracy again? What was the last shareware game purchased by over five million people?

The free software movement works well for one and only one type of software, software used by programmers, in particular, library code. This includes things like operating systems, web browsers, programming languages, web servers, and other related code. My company has launched several open source projects, and we contribute code to open source projects that we use. The reason that we do this isn't some greater good bullshit, it's to externalize the continued development and maintenance cost of software that isn't core to our business. In other words, we'll only open source in house projects in the hopes that we'll generate some feature additions and bug fixes from the community. Along those same lines, we don't contribute bugfixes and feature additions back to help out a project. We do it because we want to get our changes merged into the head so we don't have to pay to maintain our own branch. You'll notice that it doesn't translate to entertainment.

You still haven't answered the question. What are you going to replace copyright with so that large projects are still undertaken? You're either stupid, ignorant, or naive if you think the answer is amateurs working for free.

Slashdot Top Deals

You will have many recoverable tape errors.