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Comment Re:No thanks. (Score 2) 95

Um, insulin pumps have been around for about 30 years, and very common for the past 15. They're already a huge improvement over injections. This level of "artificial pancreas", though, not so much. The glucose sensing technology, though dramatically improved from its debut a decade ago, is still primitive: it uses interstitial glucose, and lags behind actual blood glucose, requiring regular calibration with fingersticks. Combine that lag with the fact that a non-diabetic pancreas starts producing insulin even before food hits the bloodstream, and it's impossible for the system to react to food in a timely way. Worse than that, though, is the fact that insulin effectiveness isn't constant. It's less effective when you're eating a lot of fat, and it's more effective when you're exercising (and for some time after). Just measuring glucose levels isn't enough to tell the system how to react. Maybe eventually they'll manage to combine this with enough other sensors to actually be a real artificial pancreas, but I think that's a lot farther off, and we'll probably have effective islet cell transplants without immune rejection by then.

The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots 391

Jason Koebler writes: If and when we finally encounter aliens, they probably won't look like little green men, or spiny insectoids. It's likely they won't be biological creatures at all, but rather, advanced robots that outstrip our intelligence in every conceivable way. Susan Schneider, a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, joins a handful of astronomers, including Seth Shostak, director of NASA's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, NASA Astrobiologist Paul Davies, and Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology Stephen Dick in espousing the view that the dominant intelligence in the cosmos is probably artificial. In her paper "Alien Minds," written for a forthcoming NASA publication, Schneider describes why alien life forms are likely to be synthetic, and how such creatures might think.

Graphene: Fast, Strong, Cheap, and Impossible To Use 187

An anonymous reader writes: We keep hearing about the revolutionary properties of graphene, an atom-thick sheet of carbon whose physical characteristics hold a great deal of promise — if we can figure out good ways to produce it and use it. The New Yorker has a lengthy profile of graphene and its discoverer, Andre Geim, as well as one of the physicists leading a big chunk of the bleeding-edge graphene research, James Tour.

Quoting: "[S]cientists are still trying to devise a cost-effective way to produce graphene at scale. Companies like Samsung use a method pioneered at the University of Texas, in which they heat copper foil to eighteen hundred degrees Fahrenheit in a low vacuum, and introduce methane gas, which causes graphene to "grow" as an atom-thick sheet on both sides of the copper—much as frost crystals "grow" on a windowpane. They then use acids to etch away the copper. The resulting graphene is invisible to the naked eye and too fragile to touch with anything but instruments designed for microelectronics. The process is slow, exacting, and too expensive for all but the largest companies to afford. ... Nearly every scientist I spoke with suggested that graphene lends itself especially well to hype."
The Military

How Governments Are Getting Around the UN's Ban On Blinding Laser Weapons 180

Lasrick writes Despite the UN's 1995 Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons, the world is moving closer to laser weapons in both military and law enforcement situations that can cause temporary and even permanent blindness. Military-funded research in this area continues to be conducted by the Optical Radiation Bioeffects and Safety program, and already "dazzlers" have been in use in Afghanistan. Domestic versions of these weapons are intended for use by law enforcement agencies and in theory cause motion-sickness type illness but not blindness. "But something bright enough to dazzle at 300 meters can cause permanent eye damage at 50 meters, and these devices can be set to deliver a narrow (and more intense) beam."
Classic Games (Games)

Raspberry Pi Gameboy 60

An anonymous reader writes: An enterprising hacker took on a project to rebuild a broken Gameboy using emulation software, a Raspberry Pi, and a few other easily-obtainable parts. The result: success! The hacker has posted a detailed walkthrough explaining all of the challenges and how they were solved. "Using a Dremel, I cut out a most of the battery compartment as well as some posts that on the case for the LCD that would no longer be needed. Doing so, the Pi sits flush with the back of the DMG case. ... The screen was the first challenge. The screen runs off 12V out of the box which wouldn't work with the USB battery pack. The USB battery pack is rated at 5V, 1000mAH so the goal was go modify the screen to allow it to run at 5V. ... I finally got it to work by removing the power converter chip as well as soldering a jumper between the + power in and the resister on the top right."

MIT May Have Just Solved All Your Data Center Network Lag Issues 83

alphadogg (971356) writes A group of MIT researchers say they've invented a new technology that should all but eliminate queue length in data center networking. The technology will be fully described in a paper presented at the annual conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication. According to MIT, the paper will detail a system — dubbed Fastpass — that uses a centralized arbiter to analyze network traffic holistically and make routing decisions based on that analysis, in contrast to the more decentralized protocols common today. Experimentation done in Facebook data centers shows that a Fastpass arbiter with just eight cores can be used to manage a network transmitting 2.2 terabits of data per second, according to the researchers.

Quad Lasers Deliver Fast, Earth-Based Internet To the Moon 131

A joint project involving NASA and MIT researchers had demonstrated technology last year that could supply a lunar colony with broadband via lasers ("faster Internet access than many U.S. homes get") and has already demonstrated its worth in communications with spacecraft. From ComputerWorld's article: "The Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) kicked off last September with the launch of NASA's LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer), a research satellite [formerly] orbiting the moon. NASA built a laser communications module into LADEE for use in the high-speed wireless experiment. LLCD has already proved itself, transmitting data from LADEE to Earth at 622Mbps (bits per second) and in the other direction at 19.44Mbps, according to MIT. It beat the fastest-ever radio communication to the moon by a factor of 4,800." Communicating at such distances means overcoming various challenges; one of the biggest is the variability in Earth's atmosphere. The LLCD didn't try to power through the atmosphere at only one spot, therefore, but used four separate beams in the New Mexico desert, each aimed "through a different column of air, where the light-bending effects of the atmosphere are slightly different. That increased the chance that at least one of the beams would reach the receiver on the LADEE. Test results [were] promising, according to MIT, with the 384,633-kilometer optical link providing error-free performance in both darkness and bright sunlight, through partly transparent thin clouds, and through atmospheric turbulence that affected signal power." At the CLEO: 2014 conference in June, researchers will provide a comprehensive explanation of how it worked.
United States

US Officials Cut Estimate of Recoverable Monterey Shale Oil By 96% 411

First time accepted submitter steam_cannon (1881500) writes "The U.S. Energy Information Administration ( is planning to release a major 96% reserve downgrade to the amount of oil and gas recoverable from the Monterey Shale formation, one of the largest oil/gas reserves in the United States. After several years of intensified exploration the Monterey oil shale play seems to have much less recoverable oil and gas then previously hoped. This is due to multiple factors such as the more complex rippled geology of the shale and over-hyped recovery estimates by investors. By official estimates the Monterey Shale formation makes up 2/3 of the shale reserves in the US and by some estimates 1/3 of all crude reserves in the US. Not a drop in the bucket. Next Month the will be announcing cutting it's estimates for Monterey by 96%. That's a huge blow to the US energy portfolio, trillions of dollars, oil and gas the US might have used for itself or exported. Presently the White House is evaluating making changes to US oil export restrictions so this downgrade may result in changes to US energy policy. As well as have a significant impact on US economy and the economy of California."

Comment Re:now I never looked into it (Score 1) 420

So don't take a bath, get a 1.5 gpm showerhead, don't leave the water running while brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, etc. It will also rapidly become worthwhile to get a high efficiency clothes washer and dishwasher. Seriously, I live in a water-rich area, and even I do a lot of these things, so I don't think it will be too difficult for people to manage when they have a serious incentive to do so.

Big Bang's Smoking Gun Found 269

astroengine writes "For the first time, scientists have found direct evidence of the expansion of the universe, a previously theoretical event that took place a fraction of a second after the Big Bang explosion nearly 14 billion years ago. The clue is encoded in the primordial cosmic microwave background radiation that continues to spread through space to this day. Scientists found and measured a key polarization, or orientation, of the microwaves caused by gravitational waves, which are miniature ripples in the fabric of space. Gravitational waves, proposed by Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity nearly 100 years ago but never before proven, are believed to have originated in the Big Bang explosion and then been amplified by the universe's inflation. 'Detecting this signal is one of the most important goals in cosmology today,' lead researcher John Kovac, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said in a statement."

Comment Depends on how you count. (Score 1) 177

I became a regular employee of the company I work for just this week, making me the newest in one sense.

I've been contracting for them since 2009, which would put me in the middle of the pack.

I started working for the company that merged into this one way back in 2003, and I'm the only one who used to work for that company still left, as well as having been at one or the other longer than most employees of the current company.

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You can bring any calculator you like to the midterm, as long as it doesn't dim the lights when you turn it on. -- Hepler, Systems Design 182