from the what-are-you-made-of dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Cosmos:
"Astronomers have made the first direct capture of a spectrum of light from a planet outside the Solar System and are deciphering its composition. The light was snared from a giant planet that orbits a bright young star called HR 8799 about 130 light-years from Earth, said the European Southern Observatory (ESO). ... The find is important, because hidden within a light spectrum are clues about the relative amounts of different elements in the planet's atmosphere. 'The features observed in the spectrum are not compatible with current theoretical models,' said co-author Wolfgang Brandner. 'We need to take into account a more detailed description of the atmospheric dust clouds, or accept that the atmosphere has a different chemical composition from that previously assumed.' The result represents a milestone in the search for life elsewhere in the universe, said the ESO. Until now, astronomers have been able to get only an indirect light sample from an exoplanet, as worlds beyond our Solar System are called. They do this by measuring the spectrum of a star twice — while an orbiting exoplanet passes near to the front of it, and again while the planet is directly behind it. The planet's spectrum is thus calculated by subtracting one light sample from another."
josquint writes: ""We took it to around a dozen Best Buy Geek Squads and asked them to perform simple tasks, like installing iTunes. Most places were fine, sometimes doing the job right on the counter, sometimes even for free.
Then we caught one well-seasoned Geek Squad Agent copying personal and pornographic images and video from our computer to his company-issued thumb drive"
Also see the Log files and the confession!.
It really makes you wonder what else is copied off customers' computers. Porn may be the least of their worries, when you consider personal, financial data or passwords stored on many people's computers."
r_accorsi writes: It is certainly true that world's basic infrastructures would collapse in case computers shutdown unexpectedly, thereby putting the whole humanity in danger, at least in certain regions. As computers are to-date responsible for keeping such services (and after all ourselves) alive, code is the ultimative matter. I would like to know which (classes of) lines of code are the key for our survival.
Johan Louwers writes: "Robots will crawl tubes in a short while to investigate power cables running in the tubes to make sure they are still undamaged or in need for a repair. The Robotic Cable Inspection System is developed by Alexander Mamishev a assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington.
Making use infrared thermal analysis and acoustic partial discharge analysis the robot will be checking mile after mile of cable while crawling his way in the tubes."
from the but-not-a-minute-earlier dept.
mozzwald writes "This New Year's Eve, at midnight on the dot, hundreds of millions of pages of U.S. government secrets will be revealed. Or at least they'll no longer be official secrets — it may actually take months or more for the National Archives and Records Administration to make those pages available for public consumption."