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Massive Exoplanet Evolved In Extreme 4-Star System

slashdot - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 00:53
astroengine writes "For only the second time, an exoplanet living with an expansive family of four stars has been revealed. The exoplanet, which is a huge gaseous world 10 times the mass of Jupiter, was previously known to occupy a 3-star system, but a fourth star (a red dwarf) has now been found, revealing quadruple star systems possessing planets are more common than we thought. "About four percent of solar-type stars are in quadruple systems, which is up from previous estimates because observational techniques are steadily improving," said co-author Andrei Tokovinin of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. The whole 4-star family is collectively known as 30 Ari, located some 136 light-years from Earth — in our interstellar backyard. The exoplanet orbits the primary star of the system once every 335 days. The primary star has a new-found binary partner (which the exoplanet does not orbit) and this pair are locked in an orbital dance with a secondary binary, separated by a distance of 1,670 astronomical unit (AU), where 1 AU is the average distance between the Earth and sun.

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White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

slashdot - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 00:09
sciencehabit writes The U.S. House of Representatives could vote as early as this week to approve two controversial, Republican-backed bills that would change how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses science and scientific advice to inform its policies. Many Democrats, scientific organizations, and environmental groups are pushing back, calling the bills thinly veiled attempts to weaken future regulations and favor industry. White House advisers announced that they will recommend that President Barack Obama veto the bills if they reach his desk in their current form.

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Paul Allen Helps Find Sunken Japanese WWII Battleship Musashi Off Philippines

slashdot - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 23:25
mpicpp writes with news about the discovery of a sunken Japanese battleship by Paul Allen and a team of researchers. Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen and his research team have found a massive Japanese World War II battleship off the Philippines near where it sank more than 70 years ago, his representatives said Wednesday. The apparent discovery of the wreckage of the Musashi, one of the largest battleships in history, comes as the world marks the 70th anniversary of the war's end. Allen and the team aboard his superyacht M/Y Octopus found the ship on Sunday, more than eight years after their search began, Allen's publicity agency Edelman said in a statement. Detailed images captured by a high-definition camera mounted on the underwater probe confirmed the wreckage as that of the Musashi, it said. Japanese experts said they were eager to study the images to try to confirm the ship's identity. Allen's team found the battleship in the Sibuyan Sea, using an autonomous underwater vehicle in its third dive after narrowing down the search area using detailed undersea topographical data and other locator devices, the statement said. "The Musashi is truly an engineering marvel and as an engineer at heart, I have a deep appreciation for the technology and effort that went into its construction," Allen said.

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New Wolfenstein Game Announced: The Old Blood

slashdot - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 22:42
jones_supa writes Last year, Wolfenstein: The New Order was well received, and showed that old school shooters still can do extremely well in the current market and actually be a lot of fun. Now, Bethesda Softworks is already announcing a standalone prequel to The New Order, called Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. It's back to the roots for B.J. Blazkowicz, and you embark on a perilous journey "deep within Bavaria", with the goal of infiltrating the Castle Wolfenstein. Just like last years' game, The Old Blood has been developed by Swedish company MachineGames on the same platform including id Tech 5 engine. The release date is May 5th and the game will be available for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

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SpaceX's Challenge Against Blue Origins' Patent Fails To Take Off

slashdot - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 21:50
speedplane writes As was previously discussed on Slashdot, back in September SpaceX challenged a patent owned by Blue Origin. The technology concerned landing rockets at sea. Yesterday, the judges in the case issued their opinion stating that they are unable to initiate review of the patent on the grounds brought by SpaceX. Although at first glance this would appear to be a Blue Origin win, looking closer, the judges explained that Blue Origin's patent lacks sufficient disclosure, effectively stating that the patent is invalid, but not on the specific grounds brought by SpaceX: "Because claim 14 lacks adequate structural support for some of the means-plus-function limitations, it is not amenable to construction. And without ascertaining the breadth of claim 14, we cannot undertake the necessary factual inquiry for evaluating obviousness with respect to differences between the claimed subject matter and the prior art." If SpaceX wants to move forward against Blue Origin, this opinion bodes well for them, but they will need to take their case in front of a different court.

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<em>Star Trek</em> Fans Told To Stop "Spocking" Canadian $5 Bill

slashdot - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 21:26
bellwould writes The Toronto Sun is reporting that Bank of Canada executives are urging Star Trek fans to stop altering Wilfred Laurier's face on the Canadian $5 bill to look like Spock. Although not illegal to draw on the bills, a Bank of Canada spokesperson points out that the markings may reduce effectiveness of the security features or worse, the money may not be accepted.

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Drones Underwater, Drones on Wheels (Video)

slashdot - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 21:07
Rocky Mountain Unmanned Systems seems to be primarily in the business of selling aerial 'copter drones ranging in price from sub-$100 up into $1000s. But there they were at the 2015 CES (Consumer Electronics Show), showing off a submarine drone and a wheeled drone. These products don't seem to be on the company's website or even on their Facebook page quite yet. Jon McBride, the person manning their CES booth, told Timothy these products would be around soon, as in February. But it looks like a bit of extra patience is in order, although you can contact Jon through the company's Facebook page (his suggestion) if you have an urgent need for an underwater or wheeled drone for your business or government agency -- or even just for fun.

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New Zealand Spied On Nearly Two Dozen Pacific Countries

slashdot - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 20:20
An anonymous reader writes New documents from Edward Snowden indicate New Zealand undertook "full take" interception of communications from Pacific nations and forwarded the data to the NSA. The data, collected by New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau, was then fed into the NSA's XKeyscore search engine to allow analysts to trawl for intelligence. The New Zealand link helped flesh out the NSA's ambitions to intercept communications globally.

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Microsoft Convinced That Windows 10 Will Be Its Smartphone Breakthrough

slashdot - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 19:37
jfruh (300774) writes "At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, handset manufacturers are making all the right noises about support for Windows 10, which will run on both ARM- and Intel-based phones and provide an experience very much like the desktop. But much of the same buzz surrounded Windows 8 and Windows 7 Phone. In fact, Microsoft has tried and repeatedly failed to take the mobile space by storm."

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Demand For Linux Skills Rising This Year

slashdot - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 18:54
Nerval's Lobster writes This year is shaping up as a really good one for Linux, at least on the jobs front. According to a new report (PDF) from The Linux Foundation and Dice, nearly all surveyed hiring managers want to recruit Linux professionals within the next six months, with 44 percent of them indicating they're more likely to hire a candidate with Linux certification over one who does not. Forty-two percent of hiring managers say that experience in OpenStack and CloudStack will have a major impact on their hiring decisions, while 23 percent report security is a sought-after area of expertise and 19 percent are looking for Linux-skilled people with Software-Defined Networking skills. Ninety-seven percent of hiring managers report they will bring on Linux talent relative to other skills areas in the next six months.

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Treadmill Performance Predicts Mortality

slashdot - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 10:08
An anonymous reader writes: Cardiologists from Johns Hopkins have published an analysis of exercise data that strongly links a patient's performance on a treadmill to their risk of dying. Using data from stress tests of over 58,000 people, they report: "[A]mong people of the same age and gender, fitness level as measured by METs and peak heart rate reached during exercise were the greatest indicators of death risk. Fitness level was the single most powerful predictor of death and survival, even after researchers accounted for other important variables such as diabetes and family history of premature death — a finding that underscores the profound importance of heart and lung fitness, the investigators say." The scoring system is from -200 to +200. People scoring between -100 and 0 face an 11% risk of dying in the next decade. People scoring between -200 and -100 face a 38% risk of death within the next decade. People scoring above zero face only a 3% chance or less.

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Schneier: Either Everyone Is Cyber-secure Or No One Is

slashdot - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 07:12
Presto Vivace sends a new essay from Bruce Schneier called "The Democratization of Cyberattack. Quoting: When I was working with the Guardian on the Snowden documents, the one top-secret program the NSA desperately did not want us to expose was QUANTUM. This is the NSA's program for what is called packet injection--basically, a technology that allows the agency to hack into computers.Turns out, though, that the NSA was not alone in its use of this technology. The Chinese government uses packet injection to attack computers. The cyberweapons manufacturer Hacking Team sells packet injection technology to any government willing to pay for it. Criminals use it. And there are hacker tools that give the capability to individuals as well. ... We can't choose a world where the U.S. gets to spy but China doesn't, or even a world where governments get to spy and criminals don't. We need to choose, as a matter of policy, communications systems that are secure for all users, or ones that are vulnerable to all attackers. It's security or surveillance.

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Lost City Discovered In Honduran Rain Forest

slashdot - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 06:01
jones_supa writes: An expedition to Honduras has emerged from the jungle with the discovery of a previously unknown culture's lost city. The team was led to the remote, uninhabited region by long-standing rumors that it was the site of a storied "White City," also referred to in legend as the "City of the Monkey God." Archaeologists surveyed and mapped extensive plazas, earthworks, mounds, and an earthen pyramid belonging to a culture that thrived a thousand years ago, and then vanished. The team also discovered a remarkable cache of stone sculptures that had lain untouched since the city was abandoned. The objects were documented but left unexcavated. To protect the site from looters, its location is not being revealed.

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The US's First Offshore Wind Farm Will Cut Local Power Prices By 40%

slashdot - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 05:07
merbs writes: The U.S. is finally getting its first offshore wind farm. Deepwater Wind has announced that its Block Island project has been fully financed, passed the permitting process, and will begin putting "steel in water" this summer. For local residents, that means a 40% drop in electricity rates. The company has secured $290 million in financing, with funding from the likes of Key Bank and France's Société Générale, in part on the strength of its long-term power purchase agreement with US utility National Grid. Block Island has thus surpassed the much-publicized Cape Wind project, long touted as "the nation's first offshore wind farm," but that has been stalled out for over a decade in Massachusetts, held up by a tangle of clean power foes, regulatory and financing woes, and Cape Cod homeowners afraid it'd ruin the view.

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Has the Supreme Court Made Patent Reform Legislation Unnecessary?

slashdot - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 03:03
An anonymous reader writes: As Congress gears up again to seriously consider patent litigation abuse—starting with the introduction of H.R. 9 (the "Innovation Act") last month—opponents of reform are arguing that recent Supreme Court cases have addressed concerns. Give the decisions time to work their way through the system, they assert. A recent hearing on the subject before a U.S. House Judiciary Committee (HJC) Subcommittee shined some light on the matter. And, as HJC Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a long-time leader in Internet and intellectual property issues, put it succinctly in his opening remarks: "We've heard this before, and though I believe that the Court has taken several positive steps in the right direction, their decisions can't take the place of a clear, updated and modernized statute. In fact, many of the provisions in the Innovation Act do not necessarily lend themselves to being solved by case law, but by actual law—Congressional legislation."

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GitLab Acquires Gitorious

slashdot - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 01:02
New submitter sckirklan writes with news that code repository GitLab has purchased rival service Gitorious. Gitorious users are now able to import their projects into GitLab. They must do so by the end of May, because Gitorious will shut down on June 1st. Rolf Bjaanes, Gitorious CEO, gives some background on the reasons for the acquisition: “At Gitorious we saw more and more organizations adopting GitLab. Due to decreased income from on-premises customers, running the free Gitorious.org was no longer sustainable. GitLab was solving the same problem that we were, but was solving it better.” “This acquisition will accelerate the growth of GitLab. With more than 100,000 organizations using it, it is already the most used on-premise solution for Git repository management, and bringing Gitorious into the fold will significantly increase that footprint.” says Sytse Sijbrandij, GitLab CEO.

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AMD Enters Virtual Reality Fray With LiquidVR SDK At GDC

slashdot - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 00:21
MojoKid writes: AMD jumped into the virtual reality arena today by announcing that its new LiquidVR SDK will help developers customize VR content for AMD hardware. "The upcoming LiquidVR SDK makes a number of technologies available which help address obstacles in content, comfort and compatibility that together take the industry a major step closer to true, life-like presence across all VR games, applications, and experiences," AMD representatives said in a statement. Oculus is one of the VR companies that will be working with AMD's LiquidVR SDK, and likes what it's seen so far. "Achieving presence in a virtual world continues to be one of the most important elements to delivering amazing VR," said Brendan Iribe, CEO of Oculus. "We're excited to have AMD working with us on their part of the latency equation, introducing support for new features like asynchronous timewarp and late latching, and compatibility improvements that ensure that Oculus' users have a great experience on AMD hardware."

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Rosetta Photographs Its Own Shadow On Comet 67P/C-G

slashdot - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 00:00
mpicpp notes an image release from the European Space Agency showing the shadow of its Rosetta probe on the comet it's currently orbiting. The probe snapped the picture from a very low flyby — only six kilometers off the surface. The image has a resolution of 11cm/pixel. The shadow is fuzzy and somewhat larger than Rosetta itself, measuring approximately 20 x 50 metres. If the Sun were a point source, the shadow would be sharp and almost exactly the same size as Rosetta (approximately 2 x 32 m). However, even at 347 million km from 67P/C-G on 14 February, the Sun appeared as a disc about 0.2 degrees across (about 2.3 times smaller than on Earth), resulting in a fuzzy “penumbra” around the spacecraft’s shadow on the surface. In this scenario and with Rosetta 6 km above the surface, the penumbra effect adds roughly 20 metres to the spacecraft’s dimensions, and which is cast onto the tilted surface of the comet.

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Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

slashdot - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 23:38
itwbennett writes: A team of researchers in Sri Lanka set out to test whether common refactoring techniques resulted in measurable improvements in software quality, both externally (e.g., Is the code more maintainable?) and internally (e.g., Number of lines of code). Here's the short version of their findings: Refactoring doesn't make code easier to analyze or change (PDF); it doesn't make code run faster; and it doesn't result in lower resource utilization. But it may make code more maintainable.

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Former MLB Pitcher Doxes Internet Trolls, Delivers Real-World Consequences

slashdot - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 22:54
An anonymous reader writes: When Twitter trolls began posting obscene, sexually explicit comments about his teenage daughter, former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling responded by recording their comments and gathering personal information readily available to the public. He then doxxed two of them on his blog, resulting in one being suspended from his community college and the other being fired from his part-time job as a ticket seller for the New York Yankees. There were seven others in Curt's crosshairs, all college athletes, but although he hasn't publicly doxxed those individuals, he hints, "I found it rather funny at how quickly tone changed when I heard via email from a few athletes who'd been suspended by their coaches. Gone was the tough guy tweeter, replaced by the 'I'm so sorry' apology used by those only sorry because they got caught."

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