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Submission + - McDonald's Re-Engineers Straw Using Fibonacci Formula To Let You Enjoy Shamrock (techtimes.com)

schwit1 writes:

According to the company, the straw will have to deliver the chocolate and mint flavor in equal ratio whenever you take a sip. It appears that the traditional straw is incapable of such feat, so JACE and NK Labs were brought in.

"It was a puzzling assignment but one with an ambitious goal," Seth Newburg, principal engineer and managing partner at NK Labs, stated. "From a physics perspective, it's actually quite difficult to deliver a proportional amount of both chocolate and mint flavors with each sip."

The engineers were able to develop the Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawal (the STRAW), which is claimed to be capable of showcasing the marvel of fluid dynamics. It is a J-shaped affair that was built with the help of the Fibonacci sequence, an integer sequence attributed to the mathematical genius Leonardo Fibonacci.

Don't get too excited McDonalds ordered only 2,000 of the STRAWs. "Mathematics is the language of nature."

Submission + - A massive lake of molten carbon the size of Mexico is discovered under the US (dailymail.co.uk)

schwit1 writes: Situated under western US, 217 miles (350km) beneath the Earth's surface. Scientists used world's largest array of seismic sensors to map area. Melting carbon covers an area of 700,000 sq miles (1.8 million sq km). Upper mantle could contain up to 100 trillion metric tonnes of melted carbon. Its discovery challenges what researchers have assumed about how much carbon is trapped inside the planet.

Submission + - At the End, Obama Administration Gave NSA Broad New Powers (pjmedia.com) 1

Tulsa_Time writes: This story, from the Jan. 12, 2017, edition of the New York Times, was little-remarked upon at the time, but suddenly has taken on far greater significance in light of current events:

In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.

Submission + - Astronomers discover 60 new planets including 'super Earth' (nypost.com)

schwit1 writes:

An international team of astronomers has found 60 new planets orbiting stars close to Earth’s solar system, including a rocky “super Earth.”

The experts also found evidence of an additional 54 planets, bringing the potential discovery of new worlds to 114.

One planet in particular, Gliese 411b, has been generating plenty of attention. Described as a “hot super Earth with a rocky surface,” Gliese 411b is located in the fourth-nearest star system to the Sun, making it the third-nearest planetary system to the Sun, according to the U.K.’s University of Hertfordshire, which participated in the research. Gliese 411b (also known as GJ 411b or Lalande 21185) orbits the star Gliese 411 (or GJ 411).

Despite the “super Earth” label, Dr. Mikko Tuomi from University of Hertfordshire’s Centre for Astrophysics told Fox News that Gliese 411b is too hot for life to exist on its surface.


Submission + - Nearly 56,000 bridges called structurally deficient (usatoday.com)

schwit1 writes:

More than one in four bridges (173,919) are at least 50 years old and have never had major reconstruction work, according to the ARTBA analysis. State transportation officials have identified 13,000 bridges along interstates that need replacement, widening or major reconstruction, according to the group.

“America’s highway network is woefully underperforming,” said Alison Premo Black, the group’s chief economics who conducted the analysis. “It is outdated, overused, underfunded and in desperate need of modernization.”


Submission + - United States has slipped to its lowest level in rankings of economic Freedom (thehill.com)

schwit1 writes: In the latest report, the U.S. ranks 17th out of 180 countries with an economic freedom score of 75.1 out of 100. Last year, the U.S. ranked number 11.

Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand topped the list, with respective scores of 89.8, 88.6 and 83.7. Other countries that placed ahead of the U.S. included Canada, Taiwan and Britain, among others.

The Heritage report said countries with scores between 80-100 are considered economically “free,” while countries scores between 70-79.9 are considered “mostly free.”

Are we now the "Land of the mostly free"?

Submission + - Human Gene Editing Receives Science Panel's Support (nytimes.com)

schwit1 writes: An influential science advisory group formed by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine on Tuesday lent its support to a once-unthinkable proposition: the modification of human embryos to create genetic traits that can be passed down to future generations.

This type of human gene editing has long been seen as an ethical minefield. Researchers fear that the techniques used to prevent genetic diseases might also be used to enhance intelligence, for example, or to create people physically suited to particular tasks, like serving as soldiers.

The advisory group endorsed only alterations designed to prevent babies from acquiring genes known to cause “serious diseases and disability,” and only when there is no “reasonable alternative.” The report provides an explicit rationale for genetic research that the federal government has avoided supporting until now, although the work is being pursued in countries like Sweden and China.

Submission + - Sex Offenders Are Still Locked up After Serving Their Time. Why? (realclearinvestigations.com)

schwit1 writes:

Some 20 states have civil commitment programs for people deemed sexually violent predators. Records show that more than 5,000 Americans are being held this way nationwide. Those numbers have roughly doubled over the previous decade or so, as judges, governors and state legislators have reacted to public concern about violent sexual crimes.

Civil confinement lies at the fraught intersection of crime, sex, and politics, in which sexual crimes, and just the possibility of sexual crimes, are treated differently from other offenses. Murderers, armed robbers, drunken hit-and-run drivers, insider traders, and other criminals are released when their prison sentences have been served.

States operating these programs defend them as necessary to protect the public, especially children, against dangerous sexual predators. The Supreme Court has upheld them, ruling that as long as they are narrowly tailored, with their “clients” subject to regular reviews, they serve a legitimate public interest in keeping potential dangerous offenders off the streets.

But critics of civil commitment argue that men are being locked away (and almost all of the detainees are men), often effectively for life, on the basis of subjective predictions of what a former sex offender might do in the future. They assert that this is a flagrant violation of the 14th Amendment’s requirement that no person shall be deprived of his freedom without “due process of law.”

Recidivism rates for sex offenders are typically lower than for people who commit other types of felonies. But statistics don’t matter when politicians and judges are trying to mollify the mob.

Submission + - Google's New AI Has Learned to Become "Highly Aggressive" in Stressful Situation (sciencealert.com)

schwit1 writes: Late last year, famed physicist Stephen Hawking issued a warning that the continued advancement of artificial intelligence will either be "the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity".

We've all seen the Terminator movies, and the apocalyptic nightmare that the self-aware AI system, Skynet, wrought upon humanity, and now results from recent behaviour tests of Google's new DeepMind AI system are making it clear just how careful we need to be when building the robots of the future.

In tests late last year, Google's DeepMind AI system demonstrated an ability to learn independently from its own memory, and beat the world's best Go players at their own game.

It's since been figuring out how to seamlessly mimic a human voice.

Now, researchers have been testing its willingness to cooperate with others, and have revealed that when DeepMind feels like it's about to lose, it opts for "highly aggressive" strategies to ensure that it comes out on top.

Submission + - India to launch 104 satellites in record mission (phys.org)

schwit1 writes: India hopes to make history by launching a record 104 satellites from a single rocket Wednesday as its famously frugal space agency looks to zoom ahead in the commercial space race.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle would be carrying a 714 kilogram main satellite for earth observation and 103 smaller "nano satellites" which would weigh a combined 664 kilograms.

Nearly all of the nano satellites are from other countries, including Israel, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and 96 from United States, said the state-run ISRO.

If successful, India will set a world record as the first country to launch the most satellites in one go, surpassing Russia which launched 39 satellites in a single mission in June 2014.

Submission + - WSU Submits $100 Receipt as Evidence of "Concrete Harm" From Trump Order

theodp writes: As Trump's Executive Order on immigration awaits a vote on en banc rehearing, the Washington State Office of the Attorney General has notified the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that it has filed two additional declarations "concerning concrete harm to Washington’s universities". In his affidavit, Asif Chaudhry, VP for International Programs at Washington State University begins, "One student in WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, who is from Iran, was registered for an academic conference in Canada scheduled to take place February 5 — 8, 2017. His WSU department paid for the conference. The receipt, made out to his department chair, is attached as Exhibit A. The department also planned to cover his travel expenses. Due to the executive order, the student was unable to attend the conference." Per Exhibit A, the dollar amount of the loss to WSU was a whopping $100. Chaudhry adds that WSU will also be harmed if it has to forego an incremental $15K or so in tuition and fees from international students over that ponied up by WA residents. Boosting the ranks of international students, WSU explains, "is an essential step in the Drive to 25, the university’s commitment to achieving recognition as one of the nation’s top 25 public research universities by 2030" (WSU President Kirk Schulz suggested the initiative will also make WSU grads more attractive to Microsoft).

Submission + - How beer brewed 5,000 years ago in China tastes today (thestreet.com)

schwit1 writes: Stanford University students have recreated a Chinese beer using a recipe that dates back 5,000 years.

The beer “looked like porridge and tasted sweeter and fruitier than the clear, bitter beers of today”, said Li Liu, a professor in Chinese archaeology, was quoted by the university as saying.

Last spring, Liu and her team of researchers were carrying out excavation work at the Mijiaya site in Shaanxi province and found two pits containing remnants of pottery used to make beer, including funnels, pots and amphorae. The pits dated to between 3400BC and 2900BC, in the late Yangshao era.

They found a yellowish residue on the remains of the items, including traces of yam, lily root and barley.

The finding suggests that the Mijiaya site was home to China’s earliest brewery.

Submission + - Nanorods Emit and Detect Light, Could Lead to Displays That Communicate via Li-F (ieee.org)

schwit1 writes: Ever since 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, quantum dots have been in a market struggle to displace light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as a backlight source for liquid crystal displays (LCDs).

Now an advance by a team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute in South Korea and Dow Chemical may turn the display market on its head by eliminating the need for backlights in LCD devices. They have produced a LED pixel out of nanorods capable of both emitting and detecting light.

Submission + - The Man Who Broke Ticketmaster

Jason Koebler writes: The scourge of ticket bots and the immorality of the shady ticket scalpers using them is conventional wisdom that's so ingrained in the public consciousness and so politically safe that a law to ban automated ticket bots passed both houses of Congress unanimously late last year, in part thanks to a high-profile public relations campaign spearheaded by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.
But no one actually involved in the ticket scalping industry thinks that banning bots will do much to slow down the secondary market. Seven years after his Los Angeles office was raided by shotgun-wielding FBI agents, Ken Lowson, the man who invented ticket bots, and how he built a scalping empire that broke Ticketmaster for a decade.

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