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Comment NASA Facilities (Score 3, Interesting) 80

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory attracts 45,000 visitors at their semi-annual open house (disclaimer: I work there). (limited now to 15,000 / event).

They have museums, exhibits, etc. The Space Flight Simulator and Space Flight Operations Facility are historical monuments. SFOF is the hub of all incoming data from the Deep Space Network ... and essentially every bit of information passed from remote probes to humankind.

Submission + - Autonomous Robot Live Tweets Tropical Storm Iselle (

An anonymous reader writes: "While residents of the Big Island of Hawaii prepared for the possible threat of Hurricane Iselle and Hurricane Julio — two storms that could've marked a meteorological phenomenon "unprecedented in modern hurricane records" by both directly hitting the Hawaiian Islands — one robot helped people across the world stay informed through Twitter.

You can tweet the Wave Glider — a robot that uses the surface wave motion and solar power to propel itself forward through the ocean collecting data, created by Liquid Robotics — and it will reply back with information regarding its current surroundings off the coast of the Big Island."

Submission + - "Super Secure" Silent Circle Blackphone Rooted Within Five Minutes (

An anonymous reader writes: Hubris. That's the only way to describe what has happened at DEF CON 22 in Las Vegas. The Blackphone, which was supposed to be the securest of the secure when it comes to Android devices, just got rooted within five minutes by Justin Case (@TeamAndIRC ) at the event tonight. And it seems Blackphone just fell victim to their own boastful pride.

Submission + - Do Dark Matter and Dark Energy cast doubt on the Big Bang?

StartsWithABang writes: Back in the 1960s, after the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background, the Big Bang reigned supreme as the only game in town. But back then, we also assumed that what we consider as "normal matter" — i.e., protons, neutrons and electrons — was, along with photons and neutrinos, the only stuff that made up the Universe. But the last 50 years have shown us that dark matter and dark energy actually make up 95% of the energy composition of our cosmos. Given that, is there any wiggle room to possibly invalidate the Big Bang?

Submission + - Experimental Drug Compound Found to Reverse Effects of Alzheimer's in Mice (

Zothecula writes: While there has been progress made in the fight against Alzheimer's, our understanding of the dispiriting disease remains somewhat limited, with a definitive cure yet to be found. The latest development comes at the hands of researchers from Yale's School of Medicine, who have discovered a new drug compound shown to reverse the effects of Alzheimer's in mice.

Comment Re:Competition Sucks (Score 4, Informative) 507

all ridesharing transportation partners carry best-in-class commercial insurance coverage in the event of an accident.

Also, their coverage is considerably higher (in dollar amount) than commercial taxis in major cities. Uber provides this for their drivers. The drivers do not need to purchase this.


Submission + - States demanding live GIS for their Transportation Asset Management systems. (

An anonymous reader writes: Maps which are well designed representations of important road data are increasingly being used for displaying facts that lead to better decisions. This is especially true of the way State DOTs are adapting their GIS assets for visualization and decision making. For example GIS data templates can show congested bottlenecks, infrastructure weaknesses (aging or over capacity bridges), artifact displays can show further details that indicate solutions to such problems. Data visualization solutions are the key to using the significant mass of data assets available to State DOTs.

State Departments of Transportation (DOT) are adapting their Geographic Information System (GIS) assets for better visualization and project decision making. They are using GIS data templates to direct their investments by finding congestion, bottlenecks, aging infrastructure, and needed mass transit routes.

With the complexity of modern project planning, State DOTs now demand web based GIS editing software. They have built their own where the vendor options have proved lacking. The breadth of stakeholders and regulators for transportation projects has brought a requirement to annotate data with user friendly cross platform tools. No longer can GIS systems stay in the hands of a small elite group using esoteric interfaces. GIS is now out in the field on mobile platforms. Users demand that their GPS locators be used to find their location on the map so they can annotate in real time on their tablet devices the issues they see in front of them.

DOT Transportation Asset Management (TAM) frameworks have traditionally been database and document based and have required adaptation for visual GIS data. Now live data feeds and reports need to added to the mix. Most TAM programs to date have been developed internally because of a lack of vendor support. This represents a massive duplication of effort between the states and between different agencies within each state. Worse yet this risks confusion in the data models for interstate or even intrastate projects. Despite these challenges agencies are pressing ahead with advanced 3D visualizations, asset display layers, statistical and comparative modules. Software is being adapted from all sources just to keep up with their pressing needs.

(This article was prepared by the transportation support team at Telegenisys, Inc. Telegenisys provides large scale data entry for State DOTs. Call us toll free at 800-510-9053 or email us at or visit our website )

Submission + - Human Blood Substitute Could Help Meet Donor Blood Shortfall (

Zothecula writes: According to the World Health Organization, over 107 million blood donations are collected around the globe every year, most of which goes on to help save lives. However, while the need for blood is global, much of that which is donated is not accessible to many who need it, such as those in developing countries. And of the blood donated in industrialized countries, the amount often falls short of requirements. To help address this imbalance, scientists at the University of Essex are developing an artificial blood substitute. It would be able to be stored at room temperatures for up to two years, which would allow it to be distributed worldwide without the need for refrigeration and make it immediately accessible at the site of natural disasters.

Submission + - HP Just Unveiled The Machine - A New Type of Computer (

pacopico writes: HP Labs is trying to make a comeback. According to Businessweek, HP is building something called The Machine. It's a type of server that will use memristors for memory and silicon photonics for interconnects and ship possibly by 2017 (good luck). As for The Machine's software, HP plans to build three open source operating systems, including a new one from scratch and its own versions of Linux and Android. The new computer is meant to solve a coming crisis due to limitations around DRAM and Flash. About three-quarters of HP Labs personnel are working on this project.

Submission + - Killing Zombies in VR with the Latest Version of Project Holodeck at E3 2014 (

muterobert writes: Ben Lang from Road to VR goes hands on and heads in with virtual reality technology company Survios' newest version of untethered VR system 'Prime 3'. He moves around the virtual space, holding and reloading weapons as you would in real life.

"At one point while playing, I was wielding the shotgun with two hands, with the table of weapons was on my right side. Several zombies were approaching and I needed a bit more fire power. I dropped the shotgun, reached over with my right hand to grab the tommy gun off the table, then virtually tossed it from my right hand to my left hand (because I’m a lefty), then pulled my pistol out of the holster with my right hand and continued to shoot both weapons."

Comment The experiment was a disaster for both parties. (Score 1) 264

You might want to take note of the following quote from the article, which I completely agree with.

He now recommends keeping the same GPA measure, but perhaps using the adjusted GPA to distinguish students with a special mark or honor so that graduate schools and employers know the student stood out.

In my opinion, school is primarily for education. If you learn all of the material satisfactorily, then you have earned an A. If you want impose some sorting (to distinguish certain students), provide limited access to undergraduate research and project-based courses which have an internal application process or require extra work. Don't expect to put everyone in the same bucket and have them naturally separate any more.

In my second opinion, this is the new norm, and we shouldn't be trying to focus on fixing the big "inflation" (degree inflation, tuition inflation, grade inflation)., which is necessarily a backwards-facing perspective.

Comment Re:More ripping off the taxpayer (Score 5, Insightful) 379

I know!
  • How dare they take research dollars and research new technologies?
  • How dare they follow through with successful research by *forming a business in the U.S. of A.* the very country that funded the research.
  • How dare they take advantage of NSF-funded programs to transfer successful research to US-based businesses? It's almost like they (congress, policymakers, and business) wanted this to happen.
  • How dare they use a volunteer-based peer review system to verify the findings and disseminate the results?
  • Finally, how dare they use the NSF-mandated Data magagement plan to make all data available to the public and other researchers? Clearly they are trying to dupe us all now!

Source: NSF funded researcher. Disclaimer: NSF-funded researcher.

Comment I can comment only at the University level (Score 1) 605

First, I'd say you can always find some schools where it is easier to get A's than it was. But it probably isn't a trend.

Second, if it is a trend, do not blame the teachers. This is an administrators' issue. At my University (where I teach and TA), there is a huge push to increase graduation rates. Sounds great, since graduation rate is a huge problem where diversity is high and support is low. Unfortunately, the easiest way to get X students / year is to "lower the bar."

However, the teachers always fight back against this. In general, the average graduating student with a decent GPA is in fact a good representation of what we want a student to look like. So, thanks in part to the tenure system (in which curmudgeonly teachers can't be ousted by angry administrators), we still have high standards for our honor students.

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