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Submission + - Jill Stein Pledges to Grant Edward Snowden a Full Pardon (

An anonymous reader writes: Edward Snowden, America’s #1 fugitive, would not only get a full pardon under a Jill Stein administration, but would get a promotion to one of the highest levels of government.

“[Snowden] has done an incredible service to our country at great cost to himself for having to live away from his family, his friends, his job, his network, to basically live as an expatriate,” Stein said during a livestreamed town hall with supporters on her Facebook page.

“I would say not only bring Snowden back, but bring him into my administration as a member of the Cabinet, because we need people who are part of our national security administration who are really, very patriotic,” Stein continued. “If we’re really going to protect American security, we also have to protect our Constitutional rights, and that includes our right to privacy.”

Submission + - How to hack slasdot ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: There is an easy way to censor submissions from slashdot users. Go into their account and select submissions. Mark the last month of submissions as spam using the tagging box and the slashcode will close down that users submission privileges. Do this to anyone with whom you disagree so that slashdot can become news for nobodies.

Submission + - What's the smallest biggest number you can think of?

serviscope_minor writes: If you think exponentials, factorials or even Ackermann's function grow fast, then you're thinking too small. For truly huge, but well defined, numbers, you need to enter the realm of non computability.

The Busy Beaver function BB(n) is the largest number of steps that an n state Turing machine will run for when fed with a blank tape excluding non halting programs. It grows faster than any computable series but starts off as the rather pedestrian 1, 6, 21, 107. By BB(7) it reaches at least 10^10^10^10^10^7 and at some point becomes non computable. It must be non computable because if it wasn't, you could run a program for BB(N+extra states needed to encode the initial tape state)+1 steps, and if it gets that far then you know it never halts, so you've solved the Halting Problem. So, at some point it must transition from numbers that can be computed to ones that can't be.

And now there's some new and rather interesting insight into that which essentially reduces the problem to code golf or the International Obfuscated Turing Code Contest (as if there is any other sort). Imagine you have an axiomatic system, say ZFC (which underlies almost all of modern maths), and you know you can't prove it's consistent (you can't). If you write a program that systematically evaluates and tests hypothesis based on the axioms, you can't prove it will halt or not since that's equivalent to proving consistency.

This insight and first upper bound is the program proving that BB(7918) is noncomputable comes from this new paper. It turns out that writing a ZFC axiom evaluator directly in a Turing machine is rather tricky and long winded, so the authors wrote a small interpreter for a higher level language then wrote the axiom evaluator in that. Now finding a smaller uncomputably larger number is a question of writing even smaller programs which attempt to compute undecidable things. Think you can do better? A good starting point would probably be the existing code on github.

(I hope I've got the explanation at least half way right!)

Submission + - Greenpeace Leaks Big Part of Secret TTIP Documents (

An anonymous reader writes: The environmental group Greenpeace has obtained 248 pages of classified documents from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade talks. The group warns EU standards on the environment and public health risk being undermined by compromises with the US, specifically that US corporations may erode Europe's consumer protections. The TTIP would "harmonize regulations across a huge range of business sectors, providing a boost to exporters on both sides of the Atlantic," writes the BBC. "I am simply not in the business of lowering standards," said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem in her blog, after the Greenpeace leak was published. Meanwhile, Greenpeace EU director Jorgo Riss said, "These leaked documents confirm what we have been saying for a long time: TTIP would put corporations at the center of policy-making, to the detriment of environment and public health."

Submission + - Scientists are developing the world's biggest wind turbine (

An anonymous reader writes: Efforts to increase wind power mean that turbine blades are getting bigger and bigger. But a new design in the works takes the idea to levels most people can barely imagine: Blades up to 656.2 feet long — more than two football fields. Today's longest blades are 262.5 feet. The blades at Imperial County's Ocotillo wind farm, which sends electricity to San Diego, are 173.9 feet long. "We call it the extreme scale," Eric Loth, a University of Virginia professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, said of the planned mega-blades. "There's nothing like it."

Submission + - The U.S. Is Projected To Lead The World in New Solar Installations This Year (

Lucas123 writes: The U.S. solar market is expected to grow 120% this year" with 16GW of new solar power, more than double the record-breaking 7.3GW installed in 2015. The total operating solar PV capacity in the U.S. is expected to reach 25.6 gigawatts (billion watts or GW) of direct current (DC) by the end of the year, according to GTM Research's U.S. Solar Market Insight Report 2015 Year in Review. When accounting for all projects (both distributed and centralized), solar accounted for 29.4% of new electric generating capacity installed in the U.S. in 2015, exceeding the total for natural gas for the first time and it will put the U.S. ahead of all other nations with regard to new solar installations for 2016.

Submission + - Mathematicians Discover Prime Conspiracy (

An anonymous reader writes: Two mathematicians have uncovered a simple, previously unnoticed property of prime numbers — those numbers that are divisible only by 1 and themselves. Prime numbers, it seems, have decided preferences about the final digits of the primes that immediately follow them.

Among the first billion prime numbers, for instance, a prime ending in 9 is almost 65 percent more likely to be followed by a prime ending in 1 than another prime ending in 9. In a paper posted online today, Kannan Soundararajan and Robert Lemke Oliver of Stanford University present both numerical and theoretical evidence that prime numbers repel other would-be primes that end in the same digit, and have varied predilections for being followed by primes ending in the other possible final digits.

“We’ve been studying primes for a long time, and no one spotted this before,” said Andrew Granville, a number theorist at the University of Montreal and University College London. “It’s crazy.”

Submission + - German Scientists Successfully Teleport Classical Information (

An anonymous reader writes: Using a series of laser beams, a pair of German scientists teleported information without the transfer or matter of energy. "Elementary particles such as electrons and light particles exist per se in a spatially delocalized state," Alexander Szameit, a professor at the University of Jena, explained in a press release. Classical information is coupled using a process called "entanglement." "As can be done with the physical states of elementary particles, the properties of light beans can also be entangled," said research Marco Ornigotti. "You link the information you would like to transmit to a particular property of the light." Researchers used polarization to encode information within a laser beam, enabling the teleportation of information instantly and in its entirety without loss of time. Whereas quantum information and quantum systems describe particle properties that are inferred, classical information describes physical properties directly measured.

Submission + - Weather vs. Climate ( 2

mspohr writes: There is an ongoing debate about attributing any given weather event to climate change. Some people say you cannot attribute any specific weather to climate change; others say that climate affects all weather.
This thorny subject has been taken up by no less that the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. They have issued a report: "Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change (2016)"
It turns out that you can attribute some weather directly to climate change!
From the report: "A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concludes it is now possible to estimate the influence of climate change on some types of extreme events. The science of extreme event attribution has advanced rapidly in recent years, giving new insight to the ways that human-caused climate change can influence the magnitude or frequency of some extreme weather events. This report examines the current state of science of extreme weather attribution, and identifies ways to move the science forward to improve attribution capabilities."
Different types of weather events have different probabilities of attribution:
"Confidence is strongest in attributing types of extreme events that are influenced by climate change through a well-understood physical mechanism, such as, the more frequent heat waves that are closely connected to human-caused global temperature increases, the report finds. Confidence is lower for other types of events, such as hurricanes, whose relationship to climate change is more complex and less understood at present."
You can read the entire report online at the linked site.

Submission + - Israeli 10th-grade girl discovers new geometry theorem 2

An anonymous reader writes: Tamar Barbi, a 10th grade student living in Hod Hasharon, Israel, discovered that the theorem she was using to solve one of the problems on her geometry homework didn't actually exist. With the help of her teacher and mathematicians, she wrote up a proof for the theorem, which helps provide new and more elegant proofs for many other mathematical theorems.

Submission + - Fukushima 5 years on (

AmiMoJo writes: Today is 5 years since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was damaged by an earthquake and tsunami, leading to a series of meltdowns. Nearly half a million people were evacuated at the time, with 100,000 still unable to return to their homes. The government has set a goal of 20mSv/year before people are allowed to live in affected areas again, and while progress is being made hotspots are still a problem in many areas. Reconstruction has been largely waiting for decontamination to be completed, allowing homes and businesses to fall into ruin. Those who do wish to return find their communities gutted, with essential services and jobs gone. Meanwhile, engineers are still unable to determine exactly what happened at Daiichi, particularly what saved reactor 2's pressure vessel from exploding.

Submission + - Newly discovered bacteria can eat plastic bottles (

walterbyrd writes: A team of Japanese scientists has found a species of bacteria that eats the type of plastic found in most disposable water bottles.

The discovery, published Thursday in the journal Science, could lead to new methods to manage the more than 50 million tons of this particular type of plastic produced globally each year.

Submission + - 2015's electricity retirements: 80 percent coal plants (

AmiMoJo writes: In the US, electricity demand is growing very slowly, which means that capacity additions don't have to exceed retirements by much in order to keep the grid functioning. Tracking the comings and goings from the electric grid can help provide a picture of the country's changing energy mix. The Energy Information Administration, which provides data on the US' electric grid, says 18GW of capacity were retired this past year, more than 80 percent of it coal-fired. More than 27GW of utility-scale projects will replace that this year. Note that much of the new generating hardware is wind and solar, but the plants being replaced often had low capacity factors due to their age and high pollutant output.

Submission + - The Mystery of Fast Radio Bursts Gets Weirder: They Repeat (

An anonymous reader writes: Fast radio bursts are high energy pulses lasting a few milliseconds that are thought to originate from beyond the galaxy. Until recently, the generally accepted hypothesis was that the bursts were the result of neutron stars or black holes merging. Recent analysis of data from the Arecibo Observatory found fast radio bursts that repeated instead of being one time events. The data suggest the origins of these repeat fast radio bursts are young neutron stars evolving rather than the merging of older neutron stars.

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