Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest

Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

Posted by timothy in News • View
Gud (78635) points to this story in the Washington Post about students having trouble with paying for both food and school. "I recall a number of these experiences from my time as grad student. I remember choosing between eating, living in bad neighborhoods, putting gas in the car, etc. Me and my fellow students still refer to ourselves as the 'starving grad students.' Today we laugh about these experiences because we all got good jobs that lifted us out of poverty, but not everyone is that fortunate. I wonder how many students are having hard time concentrating on their studies due to worrying where the next meal comes from. In the article I found the attitude of collage admins to the idea of meal plan point sharing, telling as how little they care about anything else but soak students & parents for fees and pester them later on with requests for donations. Last year I did the college tour for my first child, after reading the article, some of the comments I heard on that tour started making more sense. Like 'During exams you go to the dining hall in the morning, eat and study all day for one swipe' or 'One student is doing study on what happens when you live only on Ramen noodles!'

How common is 'food insecurity in college or high school'? What tricks can you share with current students?"

Well considering that..

By blahplusplus • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

... 80% of you in the US are competing over 5% of the money in the economy, you guys have no idea how unequal your society has become and you keep voting for more of getting screwed.

http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesa...

http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesa...

http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesa...

not poor

By BradMajors • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

If someone still owns a car and has a place to live they are not poor. I have know students so poor that they are homeless.

Grad school is voluntary...

By Assmasher • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

...if you don't have the means and/or resources necessary to live comfortably during that period AND you're not willing to make the sacrifices necessary otherwise - then don't go.

Seriously, wtf is up with people thinking that they should get everything they want all the time?

I'm not sure how common it is...

By fuzzyfuzzyfungus • Score: 3 • Thread
But it sounds like an absurd example of a false economy: Even at relatively cheap schools, the cost of running a student through is nontrivial. It seems like complete insanity to waste expensive instructional time on somebody who can't concentrate properly for want of a few dollars worth of calories. Nobody's interests are well served by that.

Cars are a luxury

By Citizen of Earth • Score: 3 • Thread

I remember choosing between eating, living in bad neighborhoods, putting gas in the car, etc.

A starving student with a car?! I think we've isolated the problem.

Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field

Posted by timothy in Hardware • View
New submitter katiewilliam (3621675) writes with a story at Hardware Zone about a new feature that Google's working on for Android phones' built-in cameras: the illusion of shallow depth of field in phone snapshots, which typically err on the side of too much in focus, rather than too little. Excerpting: "The Google Research Blog [note: here's a direct link] revealed that there's quite a fair bit of algorithms running to achieve this effect; to put it in a nutshell, computer vision algorithms create a 3D model of the world based on the shots you have taken, and estimate the depth to every point in the scene."

Call me a rock wielding barbarian

By smchris • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

But I absolutely, totally LOVE depth of field. Screw the art school graduates. I bought a large screen digital tv for the illusion of a window upon the world.

I would like to think -- I sincerely HOPE -- that artificially inducing audience "focus" by depth of field will be as quaint as silent movie captions in 50 years.
 

God help us

By PeeAitchPee • Score: 3 • Thread
Just what is needed . . . another Photoshop-esque filter for all the douchebag hipsters of the world to make their snaps look even more deep and brooding.

Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

Posted by timothy in YRO • View
Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "The aficionados of beer and distilled spirits could be in for a major price-shock, if proposals by the Food and Drug Administration come to pass. Currently, breweries are allowed to sell unprocessed brewing by-products to feed farm animals. Farmers prize the nutritious, low-cost feed. But, new rules proposed by the FDA could force brewers to implement costly processing facilities or dump the by-products as waste. As one brewer put it, "Beer prices would go up for everybody to cover the cost of the equipment and installation.""

Re:So - who's in love with the government again?

By mspohr • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

This is all a tempest in a teapot. The FDA is proposing rules for complying with a 2011 law passed by congress to ensure food safety. Brewers had been exempt from the rule because they were able to buy off congresscritters in the past. Now they will have to keep records and conduct training to make sure that they aren't shipping contaminated waste grain to feed cows. People who love to eat cows should welcome the fact that they can be assured that their cows haven't been fed contaminated feed.
All of the hysteria about driving brewers out of business is just hyperbole. Before these rules, brewers could ship contaminated, spoiled grain to feed cows without any accountability. Now they will be accountable to make sure that they don't feed cows garbage... seems reasonable.
You can read the FDA regulation (and avoid the hysterical hype) here:
http://www.fda.gov/Food/Guidan...

Re:So - who's in love with the government again?

By jopsen • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's pretty difficult to argue with them when they haven't provided a reason for why we need to keep a safe, nutritious, low-cost food out of the hands of farmers.

From TFA it seems you might in fact be right.. Quote:

“We don’t know of any problems,” McChesney said. “But we’re trying to get to a preventative mode.”

But that quote could in fact be a misrepresentation... More so, it seems from TFA that they are talking about ending an exception for breweries. IMO it is important to be able to trace food poisoning to their sources. All other components in the industrialized food chain can be traced. It certainly seems unreasonable that large breweries, to which is would incur little cost, doesn't have proper testing and tracking.


Cry freedom all you want, but when something goes bad in the industrialized food chain, millions of innocent people are affected. And if there is no trace, fixing the problem may take months or years.

Either way, I suspect slashdotters aren't experts in risk analysis for this field, so maybe we should just leave it to the experts. It's just proposed, farmers and breweries still have a say.

Re:So - who's in love with the government again?

By rossz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

They didn't have the science to know it was asbestos causing health problems 4400 years ago. We have the science now. We figured out that it was a bad thing. Using modern science, we would know if feeding beer waste to cattle is bad. Perhaps in a thousand years to they might have new science that shows eat steaks from beer waste fed cattle increases the likelihood of cancer by .00001%.

Re:So - who's in love with the government again?

By sjames • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

What contamination? The grain is heated to 170F long enough to kill anything harmful in it. There has never been a case of this causing a single problem anywhere. Even the FDA admits it doesn't know of any incident that would have been prevented by this proposal. It's like mandatory testing for antimatter contamination in coffee. It never happens.

Perhaps the FDA should focus it's resources on things that have been a problem like fungal contamination in drugs.

Re:So - who's in love with the government again?

By pepty • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Complete clickbait.

If timothy had actually RTFA that he cited then he would see that this won't affect the price of beer much at all:

Many brewers give the grain away to get rid of it while others sell it to brokers at a low price. Widmer, for example, sells it for $30 a ton. “This is not a large revenue stream for us,” Mennen said.

That works out to losing $30 in revenue per 2000 gallons of beer. It would, however, increase the price farmers pay for feed.

Heartbleed Used To Bypass 2-Factor Authentication, Hijack User Sessions

Posted by timothy in Management • View
wiredmikey (1824622) writes "Security nightmares sparked by the Heartbleed OpenSSL vulnerability continue. According to Mandiant, now a unit of FireEye, an attacker was able to leverage the Heartbleed vulnerability against the VPN appliance of a customer and hijack multiple active user sessions. The attack bypassed both the organization's multifactor authentication and the VPN client software used to validate that systems connecting to the VPN were owned by the organization and running specific security software.

"Specifically, the attacker repeatedly sent malformed heartbeat requests to the HTTPS web server running on the VPN device, which was compiled with a vulnerable version of OpenSSL, to obtain active session tokens for currently authenticated users," Mandiant's Christopher Glyer explained. "With an active session token, the attacker successfully hijacked multiple active user sessions and convinced the VPN concentrator that he/she was legitimately authenticated."

After connecting to the VPN, the attacker attempted to move laterally and escalate his/her privileges within the victim organization, Mandiant said."

Re:NSA is so annoyed right now

By Severus Snape • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This doesn't negate the fact that this was their favorite vulnerability. Realistically most intelligence services probably new about this shortly after that commit.

How so was it their "favorite vulnerability"? Is there even a shread of evidence linking them with it? Exploits exist in code - we found a big bad one - great. Many white hats will have looked at the code and not noticed the flaw. That doesn't mean the NSA were using it. I'm not for a moment saying the NSA wouldn't use a similar exploit but there's nothing special about Heartbleed.

News: Not just webservers use OpenSSL!

By Nanoda • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

News: Not just webservers use OpenSSL!

No kidding. My Synology NAS had a same-day update to patch this - my custom router firmware needed updating too. If there's a story for every device someone forgot might contain OpenSSL code, it's going to be a busy month.

Re:News: Not just webservers use OpenSSL!

By Gaygirlie • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Speaking of routers, DD-WRT is vulnerable, but only if you use its VPN-service. It doesn't use OpenSSL for anything else, and if the VPN-service isn't enabled then there's not even that.

Re:Is it just me, or is this just insane?

By EvilSS • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

...researchers independently retrieved the private keys from the intentionally-vulnerable NGINX server...

Intentionally vulnerable - so this wasn't a bug in the NGINX server, it was a feature, right?

They put up a publicly accessible NGINX server with the vulnerable version of OpenSSL to see if anyone could get the private keys from it (they thought that this was not possible from their internal testing). It only took a few hours before they were proven wrong. At the time they had already patched the rest of their systems to address the Heartbleed vulnerability.

Schneier's 11 was well-justified

By SuperKendall • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Lots of people scoffed at Bruce Schneier for saying Heartbleed is an 11 on the 1-10 scale... I agree that sometimes he goes overboard but this is not one of those times, and the attack mentioned in the article demonstrates this.

The summary is a little muddled on what happened here, but if you follow the link you'll find this is not a security test or a research group showing something could theoretically be done. This is a real live company somewhere just using a VPN many other companies probably use, that had over the course of many hours multiple VPN session hijacked and made use of. That is a huge deal, if one person can do this you can almost bet there is a script somewhere that even the great unwashed hacker masses can make use of.

Russia Writes Off 90 Percent of North Korea Debt

Posted by timothy in Politics • View
jones_supa (887896) writes "In Russia, the State Duma (lower house) on Friday ratified a 2012 agreement to write off the bulk of North Korea's debt. It said the total debt stood at $10.96 billion as of Sept. 17, 2012. Russia sees this lucrative in advancing the plans to build a gas pipe and railroad through North to South Korea. The rest of the debt, $1.09 billion, would be redeemed during the next 20 years, to be paid in equal installments every six months. The outstanding debt owed by North Korea will be managed by Russia's state development bank, Vnesheconombank. Moscow has been trying to diversify its energy sales to Asia away from Europe, which, in its turn, wants to cut its dependence on oil and gas from the erstwhile Cold War foe. Russia's state-owned top natural producer Gazprom is dreaming shipping 10 billion cubic meters of gas annually through the Koreas. Russia has written off debts to a number of impoverished Soviet-era allies, including Cuba. North Korea's struggling communist economy is just 2 percent of the size of neighboring South's."

You all miss the obvious reason NK agreed to this

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Why would NK ever agree to do anything to help South Korea? They didn't care about paying bak the money anyway, so it's not that.

No, the real reason NK agreed to have a pipeline built through the country is they plan to insert NK frogmen spies into the pipeline to infiltrate the south. The beauty of the plan is, they cannot be spied upon the other way due to the pipe flow!

Masterful.

North Korea is not a communist state

By damn_registrars • Score: 3 • Thread
It was founded by Kim Il-Sung, who had communist ideals, yes. However it has ventured far, far, away from those ideals. Indeed the present day US is vastly closer to being an ideal free-market state than North Korea is to being anything that can be approximated as being close to actual communism.

Saving Face

By Jim Sadler • Score: 3 • Thread
Obviously N.Korea is a communist economic horror story. Russia has zero chance of getting paid back anyway. This method of presentation saves face for the Russian government as it was foolish to loan money to N.Korea in the first place and it also saves face for the concept of communism. This can be pushed as an image of one wonderful communist nation doing a good thing for another communist nation. N.Korea is an open sewer deserving the disrespect of all people, everywhere. And most wonderful fat, midget, leader, with really bad hair cut, is the icing on the cake.

Re:THROUGH North Korea?!

By Immerman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

To *be* bat-shit crazy, or to *appear* bat-shit crazy? Appearing insane can be an excellent military strategy, especially if you're in an extremely week tactical position such as North Korea is in. It makes your enemies extremely hesitant to provoke you because you may quite possibly engage in a completely disproportional and/or unexpected response. Of course keeping up the appearance requires that you do occasionally actually engage in insane behavior, but a sane commander using such tactics will be extremely canny in employing such behavior only when a studied analysis of the enemy suggests that he can get away with it with minimal real costs. The fact that North Korea is not only still standing, but has managed to repeatedly milk the western world for lucrative concessions despite the apparent insanity of its leaders, strongly suggests that that is the case.

Of course the beauty of such a strategy is that your enemy can never be completely sure exactly how much is an act, and must moderate their own behavior in the face of that uncertainty. Would North Korea launch an all-out attack on our regional allies in response to some moderate provocation, knowing full well that they would be completely obliterated in response? Certainly not. Probably. We hope.

Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days

By whistlingtony • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

That weakling got Osama, has Iran giving up it's highly enriched Uranium to lift the sanctions, and cut a deal that got Syria to give up their chemical weapons. There are other measures of strength than blowing shit up. Diplomacy works.

Now, as a dirty lib, I do believe he is a weak president on the homefront. Dude hasn't even TRIED to fulfill his campaign promises and keeps trying to cut deals with the Republicans who clearly aren't going to give him squadoo even though he gives them 90% of what they wanted anyway. Sigh....

If you're going to hate on Obama, hate on him for real reasons. His foreign policy had strengthened us, not weakened us. Bush is the one that took us from having the whole world supporting us to having everyone revile us. Again....

The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

Posted by timothy in Technology • View
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Joel Werner writes in Slate that when Citicorp Center was built in 1977 it was, at 59 stories, the seventh-tallest building in the world but no one figured out until after it was built that although the chief structural engineer, William LeMessurier, had properly accounted for perpendicular winds, the building was particularly vulnerable to quartering winds — in part due to cost-saving changes made to the original plan by the contractor. "According to LeMessurier, in 1978 an undergraduate architecture student contacted him with a bold claim about LeMessurier's building: that Citicorp Center could blow over in the wind," writes Werner. "LeMessurier realized that a major storm could cause a blackout and render the tuned mass damper inoperable. Without the tuned mass damper, LeMessurier calculated that a storm powerful enough to take out the building hit New York every 16 years." In other words, for every year Citicorp Center was standing, there was about a 1-in-16 chance that it would collapse." (Read on for more.)

Kansas City Hyatt Regency Skywalk

By careysub • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I've heard news reporting before on this subject. The way it goes is this: the architect submits his designs, which are subject to review. Once the green light's given, construction begins. Now, engineers on the project notice a way that they can cut costs or construction time, or somebody requests a modification to the original design (perhaps to add a restroom or breakroom, perhaps to add or remove a wall or subdivide a floor differently). ... I wish I could find an appropriate citation ...

The Kansas City Hyatt Regency Skywalk disaster, 17 July 17 1981, is an excellent case study. Before the collapse of the WTC South Tower it was the deadiest structural collapse in U.S. histories (dam failures are another story entirely). Until 9-11 the CitiCorp Center was well placed to beat it.

In the Hyatt Regency case the design of the double skywalk was changed during constructution, replacing a continuous steel rod that supported both skywalks with two rods, one from the roof to the upper skywalk, and one from the upper skywalk to the lower. Problem was the design had the continuous rod bearing the full load, the change made the upper skywalk bear the load of the lower skywalk (and the people on it) when it was only supposed to be holding up people on the upper skywalk and nothing else.

As built the skywalk was so overloaded that eventual collapse was possible even without any load. Naturally when it did fail it would be at a time when both the upper and lower skywalks were heavily loaded with people, and the floor crowded below. 114 died, 216 were injured - many seriously.

Standard Engineering ethics case study

By Strider- • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

This case is one of the usual case studies that make up many Engineering Ethics courses (at least it was brought up in mine). The nice thing about this case is that in the end, it all worked out for the better, and is a good news story rather than a disaster.

The other typical case studies are the Therac 25, Challenger Disaster, Hyatt Walkway Collapse and in Canada the Quebec Bridge collapse (which also lead to the creation of the Iron Ring.

There is a significant portion of the Engineering education that is dedicated to reminding prospective Engineers of their responsibilities to society, and the power they can potentially wield. Ethics is also a significant portion of the licensure to get one's professional designation.

Re:They kept it SECRET so lots can be kept secret?

By speederaser • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I am more curious about what the reply was to the undegrad student and how did they keep him quiet.

According to TFA the undergrad student was a she not a he. From the article:

The BBC aired a special on the Citicorp Center crisis, and one of its viewers was Diane Hartley. It turns out that she was the student in LeMessurier's story. She never spoke with LeMessurier; rather, she spoke with one of his junior staffers.

Hartley didn't know that her inquiry about how the building deals with quartering winds led to any action on LeMessurier's part. It was only after seeing the documentary that she began to learn about the impact that her undergraduate thesis had on the fate of Manhattan.

Re:Dupe

By pepty • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Three different sources, four different versions of the events (the Slashdot summary cobbles together its own take). I wonder which version is closest to the truth?

Damninteresting:

Diane Hartley contacted him to ask some technical questions about the design, which he was delighted to address. Hartley's professor had expressed doubts regarding the strength of a stilted skyscraper where the support columns were not on the corners. ... But the conversation got him thinking, and he started doing some calculations on just how much diagonal wind the structure could withstand. He was particularly interested in the effects of an engineering change made during construction which had seemed benign at the time: numerous joints were secured with bolts rather than welds.

Slate:

According to LeMessurier, in 1978 an undergraduate architecture student contacted him with a bold claim about LeMessurier’s building: that Citicorp Center could blow over in the wind. The student (who has since been lost to history) was studying Citicorp Center and had found that the building was particularly vulnerable to quartering winds (winds that strike the building at its corners). Normally, buildings are strongest at their corners, and it’s the perpendicular winds (winds that strike the building at its faces) that cause the greatest strain. But this was not a normal building. LeMessurier had accounted for the perpendicular winds, but not the quartering winds. He checked the math and found that the student was right. He compared what velocity winds the building could withstand with weather data and found that a storm strong enough to topple Citicorp Center hits New York City every 55 years. But that’s only if the tuned mass damper, which keeps the building stable, is running. LeMessurier realized that a major storm could cause a blackout and render the tuned mass damper inoperable. Without the tuned mass damper, LeMessurier calculated that a storm powerful enough to take out the building his New York every 16 years.

people.duke.edu:

The student wondered about the columns--there are four--that held the building up. According to his professor, LeMessurier had put them in the wrong place. "I was very nice to this young man," LeMessurier recalls. "But I said, 'Listen, I want you to tell your teacher that he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about, because he doesn't know the problem that had to be solved.' I promised to call back after my meeting and explain the whole thing." When LeMessurier called the student back, he related this with the pride of a master builder and the elaborate patience of a pedagogue; he, too, taught a structural-engineering class, to architecture students at Harvard. Then he explained how the peculiar geometry of the building, far from constituting a mistake, put the columns in the strongest position to resist what sailors call quartering winds--those which come from a diagonal and, by flowing across two sides of a building at once, increase the forces on both. For further enlightenment on the matter, he referred the student to a technical article written by LeMessurier's partner in New York, an engineer named Stanley Goldstein. LeMessurier recalls, "I gave him a lot of information, and I said, 'Now you really have something on your professor, because you can explain all of this to him yourself.'"

...

LeMessurier had long since established the strength of those braces in perpendicular winds--the only calculation required by New York City's building code. Now, in the spirit of intellectual play, he wanted to see if they were just as strong in winds hitting from forty-five degrees. His new calculations surprised him. In four of the eight chevrons in each tier, a quartering wind increased the strain by forty per cent. Under normal circumstances, the wind braces would have absorbed the extra load without so much as a tremor. But the circumstances were not normal. A few weeks before, during a meeting in his office, LeMessurier had learned of a crucial change in the way the braces were joined.

Re:Cost-saving is the key here

By russotto • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Clearly, the contractor was stupid and more interested in saving money than doing it correctly.

No. They had an idea to save time and money (to use bolts instead of welds for certain braces), and they submitted it to LeMessurier's firm, which approved it after some analysis, which turned out to have been done wrong. It wasn't the contractor's fault, they didn't have the expertise to evaluate whether the change would work or not, and they properly submitted it to those who did.

Declassified Papers Hint US Uranium May Have Ended Up In Israeli Arms

Posted by timothy in YRO • View
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Victor Gilinsky and Roger J. Mattson update their story on the NUMEC affair to take into account the recent release of hundreds of classified documents that shed additional light on the story. In the 1960s, the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) was found to be missing about a 100 pounds of bomb-grade uranium. Based on available evidence, Gilinsky and Mattson are convinced that the material ended up in Israel nuclear bombs. The newly release documents add more to the story, and Gilinsky and Mattson are calling on President Obama to declassify the remainder of the file."

Re:This article is Antisemitic, please delete

By NicBenjamin • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The worst part of debating Israeli issues on the internet?

I have no idea whether this guy is kidding.

Good for them.

By burni2 • Score: 3 • Thread

Actually, I have two oppinions on this matter

1.) if a country is in possession of nuclear weapons,
they should join the nuke arms test & proliferation ban

Israel should join this treaty.

No army and nobody should own nuclear weapons.

And Mordechai Vanunu should be given the chance to go exile.

2.) Israel is a special case

a.) The country is actually nothing more than an airstrip, from north to south it's approx. 200km wide. If aggressors try to invade it's a really short walk.

Or just four thermonuclear devices to split a country.

b.) Israel would never use the nuclear bomb as a first strike option. This can be seen as it never officially admitted having nukes, but everybody knew. It's a much critized politic style - but it worked - and choses nukes as a means of mutually assured destruction or retaliation.

So actually I'm ok with Israel having nuclear weapons and german fuel cell drivin subs to launch them.

But to be clear on the other point when it comes to Israel:
I'm absolutely not ok with the politics Israel undertakes towards the palestineans, the actual worst enemy for peace in Israel( In my count Gaza and west jordan area are part of Israel) is the whole politics of blame and shame.

In the Ukraine...

By Nova Express • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

...we're seeing that, when push comes to shove and certain people are in charge, the "promise" of the United States doesn't mean squat.

Nukes in the hand are worth an infinite number of promises and strongly-worded letters...

Re:Common Knowledge

By sir-gold • Score: 2, Informative • Thread

From what I understand, the buildings collapsed the way they did because of the particular way they were built. They had central support columns instead of a traditional exterior steel frame, and the intense heat from the fire caused those central columns to fail.

Basically, the WTC didn't fall like a normal skyscraper, because it wasn't a normal skyscraper

Re:Good for them.

By Mashiki • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'm absolutely not ok with the politics Israel undertakes towards the palestineans, the actual worst enemy for peace in Israel( In my count Gaza and west jordan area are part of Israel) is the whole politics of blame and shame.

That's nice and all, but maybe you can get the palestinian's government to explain why they're so pro-genocide in their teachings. With the various terrorist organizations, which were elected actively supporting said teachings, and taking money from the countries in the region to wage a proxy war. And while you're at it, perhaps you can explain why the BDS movement is so anti-Israeli while said organizations actually hire and pay said palestinians not only a good wage, but an amazing wage. All the while there are arab, druze, and palestinians in the Knesset. Let's be realistic, between the two? I'll back Israel every time.

For $20, Build a VR Headset For Your Smartphone

Posted by timothy in Hardware • View
An anonymous reader writes "Not everyone can drop a few hundred dollars on a VR headset, but that doesn't mean they can't experience VR! For those with the time and a bit of handiwork skill, this DIY guide from guest writer Ohaple will show you how to make a smartphone-based VR headset for as little as $20. Along the way, you'll learn the hardware and software basics of a VR headset." This project screams for a ready-made commercial version; does anyone know of existing purpose-built headgear? As one of the comments on the linked tutorial says, Poppy seems close, but lacks an LED for tracking.

Or for $6 and a bungie cord you could do this

By rjejr • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The Hasbro MY 3D Viewer has been out for about 3 years. No it doesn't connect to a PC bu it's wireless and 3D and works w/ your head motion, no LED required. Just add a bungie cord to strap it to your head for hands free motion. http://www.amazon.com/Hasbro-V...

Microwave radiation next the eyes... brilliant

By jerryjnormandin • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
This is what happens people have no clue about the technology they are working with. The cell phone antennae is far too close to the eyes. The human eyes consist of a thin membrane and a lot of water. It does not take much radiation to induce eye cancer. I never put a cell phone near my head. I always use speaker phone mode.

Microsoft Plans $1 Billion Server Farm In Iowa

Posted by timothy in Hardware • View
1sockchuck (826398) writes "Microsoft will invest $1.1 billion to build a massive new server farm in Iowa, not far from an existing data center in West Des Moines. The 1.2 million square foot campus will be one of the biggest in the history of the data center industry. It further enhances Iowa's status as the data center capital of the Midwest, with Google and Facebook also operating huge server farms in the state."

The Corn!

By jamesl • Score: 3 • Thread

Oh, the corn. Think of the corn. Children will starve in Des Moines.

Is it far enough away ?

By Alain Williams • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The project Alluvion site is approximately 8 miles east from the current Microsoft data center in West Des Moines

8 miles is not far. It is not too hard to envisage a disaster that could affect both sites at once. For starters: Iowa is smack in the middle of Tornado Alley. They are close enough that power supplies and Internet connections will be 'related'. OK: it makes it easier for staff to visit both sites, but 80 miles seems to me safer than 8.

That's the Hollywood argument

By dbIII • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
That's the Hollywood argument. So how's the Californian government getting on after all that tax evasion?
The reality is no trickle down but instead just hitting someone else for the funds and ultimately a different industry hobbled due to not being picked as a winner.

Re:Alternative power?

By geekmux • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Are they going to run it off any alternative power sources?

I could see a pig shit methane plant, Iowa produces 1/4 of all pork in the US.

Microsoft converted a long time ago. Unfortunately, they suffered a methane meltdown sometime around 2012 that contaminated their production floor.

I'm rather surprised you didn't catch a whiff of this while running Windows 8...

Re:Saves about $38 million in taxes

By Charliemopps • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

All states do this. To attract big projects each state offers lower taxes for a period of time, free or discounted utilities, temporary changes to regulation etc... Whomever makes the best offer gets the facility. The state will collect far more than $38 million from the people that work there's income taxes alone. Not that the state/city can't make mistakes if they're stupid... but this deal isn't bad for the state at all.

DARPA Developing the Ultimate Auto-Pilot Software

Posted by timothyView
coondoggie (973519) writes "Call it the ultimate auto-pilot — an automated system that can help take care of all phases of aircraft flight-even perhaps helping pilots overcome system failures in-flight. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will in May detail a new program called Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) that would build upon what the agency called the considerable advances that have been made in aircraft automation systems over the past 50 years, as well as the advances made in remotely piloted aircraft automation, to help reduce pilot workload, augment mission performance and improve aircraft safety."

Re:Pilots crash planes

By Aviation Pete • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

such as hold back the stick in a stall (Air France)

True, but not the cause for the crash.

Yes, the pilots were the cause for the crash. They even made remarks about the unusual attitude. The situation was obvious, and their ignorance and lack of competence was staggering. Just because the automation was switched off due to an iced probe does not mean the automation is to blame. Ask pilots why they think themselves to be indispensable, and you get some airy stuff on the line of "catch mistakes in the systems that nobody foresaw". And yet, when exactly this happens, they did actively, but unwittingly, do their utmost to crash the airplane in circumstances when continuing the flight uneventfully would have been the by far most likely outcome.

Re:Pilots crash planes

By michelcolman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This is one of the most often repeated misunderstandings in aviation: the vast majority of crashes is caused by pilots, so we should replace them with automation since that's much more reliable. Errr... no, not by a long shot.

The vast majority of crashes is due to pilot error because the vast majority of possible crashes due to equipment failures are prevented by the pilots. I am a pilot, have never been in a crash, but have had several autopilot and other failures where, if we had not intervened, the aircraft would have crashed. But of course, all those possible crashes due to equipment failures don't make it into the statistics because no actual crash occurred. It's merely a note in the company's safety magazine for crews (along with dozens of others each month). So when an aircraft does crash (even if it's due to equipment failure), it's usually still considered the pilots' fault, and correctly so, because they should have been able to prevent it.

Take the Turkish Airlines that crashed in Amsterdam. Due to a radio altimeter failure during an automatic approach, the aircraft thought it was directly above the runway and pulled the throttles back, while in fact it was still several hundred feet above the ground. Most crews would have seen the speed decreasing (and indeed, this kind of incident had happened many times before to other crews without causing a crash) but this crew reacted much too late and "caused" the airplane to crash.

Or take the Air France that crashed after the pitot tubes froze up. The automation actually failed so the pilots had to take over. Without pilots, the airplane would have crashed anyway. And here, too, this kind of incident had already happened to other crews multiple times, but each time the crew had handled the situation correctly (even though it was not something that was trained in the simulator or accurately described in the procedures). This time the crew did not handle it correctly, in part because they were confused by conflicting warning messages from the airplane's systems telling them the plane was overspeeding and stalling at the same time. They even got aural warnings when they started to, temporarily, apply the exact correction they needed to meke. The automation was not helping them, but actually working against them and telling them they were wrong when they were, in fact, right.

If you want to have an idea of how reliable automation is, just look at the number of military drones that have crashed so far. Their mission couldn't be simpler: take off, fly over some area, come back and land. They only fly in relatively nice weather, there are vaslty less drones than passenger aircraft, yet there are many more drone crashes than passenger aircraft crashes.

It's certainly a good thing that Darpa is trying to make aircraft automation more reliable, but right now pilots are still by far the most important asset for the safety of an airplane.

Re:Pilots crash planes

By joe_frisch • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The full report on the AF447 flight paints a somewhat different picture than the media described. The pilots were at fault, but not as blatantly as it seemed. A badly designed controls interface hid the airspeed indications (which were correct but so low that the computer flagged them as invalid).

The trim feedback system normally adjusts the elevator trim so that the joystick can be kept centered. In this case, since the aircraft pitch wasn't responding normally, the slightly back stick position caused the trim to continuously put in more up elevator.

The pilots set the correct pitch and full power - in normal conditions this would have worked. The problem here was that since the plane was in a deep stall, the angle of attack was much larger than the pitch angle.

The stall indicator cuts out when the angle of attack and airspeed are out of a reasonable range. At one point early on, the co-pilot started to put the nose down, but the stall alarm turned ON (because the angle of attack was no longer to large as to be invalid), and in response he pitched up again - probably having confused the stall indicator with some other warning. Note that the plane was in the coffin-corner where stall speed and mach overspeed are quite close together.

The pilots *should* have figured this all out, but it wasn't trivial to do so with the information they had available. Airliner accidents are almost always due to a long chain of unlikely problems.

SpaceX Launches Load to ISS, Successfully Tests Falcon 9 Over Water

Posted by timothyView
mosb1000 (710161) writes "SpaceX is reporting that they've successfully landed the first stage of their CRS3 Falcon 9 rocket over the Atlantic Ocean today. This is potentially a huge milestone for low-cost space flight." In another win for the company, as the L.A. Times reports, SpaceX also has launched a re-supply mission to the ISS.

Re:Not sure about the recovery test

By flyingfsck • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Well, this is the commemorative weekend for an ancient Israeli dude who reportedly could walk on water, died and turned into a zombie. So, if that was possible, who knows, maybe Space-X can stand their rocket on water.

And again in English please?

By clickclickdrone • Score: 4 • Thread

SpaceX Lands Launches Load to ISS

WTF?

Re:Not sure about the recovery test

By esperto • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
" You didn't expect them to stand upright in the water like a buoy did you?" Actually I would, when the booster from the shuttle land on water (here is a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?...) at first it goes horizontal but a few seconds later they go back straight up, because it is basically an empty cannister with some quite heavy engines on the bottom. IIRC before they start tugging the booster divers have to attach some hoses to pump water into the booster and make them go horizontal.

Re:Not sure about the recovery test

By cjameshuff • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

It got up there while carrying a lot more propellant and a whole second stage. The braking burn uses only 3 engines to limit the acceleration and ends with just enough propellant left to stop it when it reaches the ground. On top of this, it gets passive aerodynamic braking the whole way down.

The mass ratio for the first stage burn, burdened with the second stage and braking propellant, is probably around 4, and a braking burn with equal delta-v would need the same mass ratio, except with no second stage and ending with the rocket empty. The overall first stage mass ratio is around 30, so all else being equal, a return would take around 3/29 = 10% of the propellant on the first stage. But all else is not equal, the returning rocket is mostly empty tanks descending through a thick atmosphere that provides plenty of braking, so the final burn only has to bring it to a halt from terminal velocity, and I omitted the second stage propellant. Overall, 4% sounds quite reasonable.

Cost breakdown

By Immerman • Score: 3 • Thread

So, is NASA currently paying a nearly 3x premium to SpaceX just to get their technology off the ground or what? Not that I object to such long-term thinking, quite the opposite in fact, but I could swear the SpaceX contract was marketed as a cost-saving maneuver.

It says here that it currently costs $10,000 to get a pound of payload into orbit, but from TFA SpaceX has a $1.6 billion contract for 12 launches, and if the current ~5000 pound payload is typical that works out to ~$27,000 per pound. Granted, assuming SpaceX perfects the reusable F9 that stands to potentially reduce launch costs 5 to 20-fold, easily making it one of the cheapest options available, even assuming that the current contract strictly covers launch costs and profit and without any R&D budget. But it's hardly a cost-saving maneuver in the short term.

Also, gotta love the phrasing in the summary "In another win for the company, as the L.A. Times reports, SpaceX also has launched a re-supply mission to the ISS." As though completing the mission that's actually paying the bills was just an added bonus.

Bookies Predict the Future of Tech

Posted by timothy in Technology • View
First time accepted submitter machineghost (622031) writes "It's one thing to make predictions about the future of tech; that happens all the time on Slashdot. But it's quite a different thing to put money on the line to back up those predictions, which is exactly what this British bookie has done. Think you know whether Google Glass will beat the iPhone, or whether we'll be ready to go to Mars and back by 2020? Now's your chance to capitalize on those predictions!" Or you could, y'know, invest money in at least some of them, and thereby increase their chances of succeeding.

Re:we already have that and do it every day

By Adriax • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This is less rigged and better regulated.

Guys, 2020 is just sixe years from now

By rasmusbr • Score: 3 • Thread

SpaceX is an awesome company, but the only chance of them beginning to colonize Mars within six years is if aliens land on Earth and hand over the keys to their spacecraft to Elon Musk.

The bet would be much more interesting if the deadline was 2034 (or even 2024, although that would be an incredibly long shot).

Re:But do you want it?

By lucm • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You can short the loser side and get an immensely bigger payout if you are right. Options are pennies on the dollar compared to a bet or actual shares.

And in any event, unless you buy in at the IPO, you don't "help" a company or technology by buying their stock since the said stock is owned by some other dude and the sale does not bring a single more dollar to the company; if anything there is administrative overhead for them. The only marginal impact you may have is that by buying or selling you have a tiny influence over the stock price, which may please or displease other shareholders, who can reward or punish executives accordingly.

Re:But do you want it?

By mysidia • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

you don't "help" a company or technology by buying their stock since the said stock is owned by some other dude and the sale does not bring a single more dollar to the company

This is not quite true. Most companies dilute their stock regularly, to compensate management and founders with stock or option grants.

The collection of buyers of those shares set the price for the stock -- which is ultimately being used to provide the company's equity financing.

Now it's true if you bought a share of stock for $1000.... well it's not $1000 that goes directly or indirectly to the company.

But you are trading places with someone who ultimately up the chain bought into their offering.

In the event the buying volume ran out... the stock price could easily fall by a few %. Even a $0.01 price decrease is significant.

So it's not that you aren' "giving" to the company --- it's just that the relative proportions of what you are giving are probably very very small, for a multi-billion$$ company.

Intrade

By witherstaff • Score: 3 • Thread
Nothing new, Intrade would allow you to bet on anything. I know there are a few places doing similar things.

Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities

Posted by timothy in News • View
waderoush (1271548) writes "In April 2012, former Snapfish CEO Ben Nelson provoked both praise and skepticism by announcing that he'd raised $25 million from venture firm Benchmark to start the Minerva Project, a new kind of university where students will live together but all class seminars will take place over a Google Hangouts-style video conferencing system. Two years later, there are answers – or the beginnings of answers – to many of the questions observers have raised about the project, on everything from the way the seminars will be organized to how much tuition the San Francisco-based university will charge and how it's gaining accreditation. And in an interview published today, Nelson share more details about how Minerva plans to use technology to improve teaching quality. 'If a student wants football and Greek life and not doing any work for class, they have every single Ivy League university to choose from,' Nelson says. 'That is not what we provide. Similarly, there are faculty who want to do research and get in front of a lecture hall and regurgitate the same lecture they've been giving for 20 years. We have a different model,' based on extensive faculty review of video recordings of the seminars, to make sure students are picking up key concepts. Last month Minerva admitted 45 students to its founding class, and in September it expects to welcome 19 of them to its Nob Hill residence hall."

Re:It is not the timelyness, it is the format.

By dbIII • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Not as good as a real lecture where you can ask questions at the end if there's something you can't pick up from the lecture. Watching the same thing you don't understand twenty times is not going give you the same missing piece that a lecturer can give you by explaining something in a different way.

My RSS feed had me worried

By wonkey_monkey • Score: 3 • Thread

Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Univers...

That's pretty amibitious.

My kid applied for one of 45 spots

By retroworks • Score: 3 • Thread

And we aren't all "sour grapes" about not getting admitted. Minerva offered free tuition to the first class of 45, which seemed like both a good deal, and appropriate given they were still going through "shakedown" (the interview by skype process was more like a high school play than a Broadway performance). There is no doubt that the model, given the time and attention these 45 kids will get, will provide for a stunning class. As does United World College, another free tuition experiment started by Armand Hammer which relies on subsidy to maintain recruiting excellence.

What remains to be seen is whether it succeeds in creating a sustainable economic model. Yes, the USA's universities have probably overinvested their endowments in a "country club" gyms and campus accouterments. But Minerva is "pure play", the equivalent of penny stock. Will the fact that these 45 students are impressive today cause impressive students to pay tuition tomorrow, and will the lack of accouterments generate savings for the student consumer, or be siphoned into the startup costs of Minerva? Since it will probably take 10 years before any of these graduates have a chance to be recognized, they have to either produce evidence of superior education and training, or continue to make it a high value, or have to compete more seriously with a Stanford/Harvard than they had to a $0 tuition. The fact that free software attracts smart users doesn't prove your software will take significant share from Microsoft, and the fact that you get smart students to enroll in free education doesn't signify the universities charging tuition are doomed.

If the impressive kids come out in 4 years and say the Minerva experience was "not ready for prime time" and that they wish they'd gone to college, will Minerva be able to fix the bugs in the software? By the way, my kid's going to a top Canadian university, $6K per year, and is certain to have a recognized degree in 10 years. The strong arguments Minerva makes about the true value of Harvard speak well for Kings and McGill. Twin goes to UWC, btw.

No lab courses - no meaningful science education

By GAATTC • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I teach Biology at a small prestigious liberal arts college. My students do their real learning in the laboratories associated with each course and in their independent research projects. Their research projects often run for more than a year and include full time summer research experiences - it is an apprenticeship. This is where they learn to be Biologists and where they get the value out of the college. No amount of book learning or seminar participation can prepare them for the challenges of actually doing science. Growing living organisms, troubleshooting experimental protocols, interpreting data, and having to write and talk about their results (which are rarely 'clean') gives them the skills to make discoveries which will drive technology forward.

Memory implants

By flyingfsck • Score: 3 • Thread
What we need is memory implants. That will make both the ivy league and Minerva obsolete.

Peoria Mayor Sends Police To Track Down Twitter Parodist

Posted by timothy in Politics • View
New submitter rotorbudd (1242864) writes with an article at Reason about Jim Ardis, mayor of Peoria, Illinois, who ordered police to track down whoever was responsible for a parody Twitter account mocking him. "Guess the good Mayor has never heard of the Streisand Effect. 'The original Twitter account had a total of 50 followers. The new account has over 200.'"

Re:Isn't parody protected in the US?

By Austerity Empowers • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Welcome to the United Corporations of America, where our communications are censored, our community governments are contracts and our government leased with the option to buy.

Re:Isn't parody protected in the US?

By gandhi_2 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

ahh... in a clear case of a government attacking its citizens, some douchebag shows up to bitch about corporations.

What an Ass, a troll got em by the short hairs

By Trax3001BBS • Score: 3 • Thread

"Nevertheless, police raided this home and intend to charge whoever was responsible for the account for false impersonation of a public official."

I have a hotspot up (as per EFF https://www.eff.org/), at this time 3 people are using it, I may have hassles over it but I've got the time.

Re:Isn't parody protected in the US?

By AK Marc • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Weird Al gets permission because being right and getting sued sucks. Getting permission prevents such issues. It's expensive to win in court, even if you are clearly right.

Re:Isn't parody protected in the US?

By JDAustin • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What part of the constitution is the right attacking?

Its the left who attacks the 1st amendment via free speech zones and wanting to limit who is considered a reporter. Its the left who has limited the 4th amendment with there militarization of local police forces. Its the left who has attacked the 10th amendment via increasing the power of the fed over the states.

Yea, the right has some serious issues, but more and more people on the right are seeing the results and moving back towards the constitution.

Oh, and Jim Ardis was re-elected with 91% of the vote in Peoria ILLINOIS. Hint....he's a DEMOCRAT.

California Utility May Replace IT Workers with H-1B Workers

Posted by Soulskill in Management • View
dcblogs writes: "Southern California Edison is preparing to offshore IT jobs, the second major U.S. utility in the last year to do so. It will be cutting its staff, but it hasn't said by how much. The utility is using at least two offshore outsourcing firms, according to government records. SCE's management culture may be particularly primed for firing its IT workers. Following a workplace shooting in SCE's IT offices in 2011, the utility conducted an independent audit of its organizational and management culture. One observation in this report, which was completed a year later, was that 'employees perceive managers to be more concerned about how they 'look' from above, and less concerned about how they are viewed by their subordinates. This fosters an unhealthy culture and climate by sending a message to employees that it is more important to focus on how things look from the top than how they actually are down below.'"

Replace manangement first....

By Lumpy • Score: 3 • Thread

H1B's can do the managements job a Lot better and a lot cheaper. There is far more savings in replacing everyone at the manager level and up.

Re:message to you globalization scum:

By rk • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Until that day comes, I will refer to globalization with a more accurate name: "neo-feudalism".

Re:Combination of both

By Hamsterdan • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Shouldn't that be illegal?

LOL. Lessons from target not learned

By WindBourne • Score: 3 • Thread
First, one of Target's HVAC guy lost an ID. BUT, target has NOT found that the ID was used to get in there and that was the entry point.

Yet, the one thing that amazes me, is that they totally ignore the fact that not only did Target offshore a great deal, but esp. their production was offshored.
And this was the group that is paying their Indian software engineers, about $7-9K/year (India, like china, plays games with their money against the dollar). How easy is it to offer somebody say 70K to simply open a port, or to leave a back door, etc, and NOT have it be found? Keep in mind that $70K in India, with the current rupee money, is a 10 year salary. You can quietly leave target, get another job elsewhere and have your retirement fully taken care of.
Yes, one group said that something was going on, but the group in India that was dealing with Production IGNORED IT. More importantly, the idiots in target that offshored this, were the ones that ignored the warnings.

And now, utilities are being stupid and following suite. It is time for shareholders to SUE the day lights out of Target and companies like this that offshore.

Outsourcing is definition of "view from the top"

By roc97007 • Score: 3 • Thread

> This fosters an unhealthy culture and climate by sending a message to employees that it is more important to focus on how things look from the top than how they actually are down below.

In what world is outsourcing not the same culture in spades? Specifically, a few suits and a few lucky fourth or fifth level professionals selling the idea that a bunch of farmers with three hours of training can take over IT? This only works when the people making the decisions have a fundamental misunderstanding of the problem they're trying to solve.

As if Californians didn't have enough power problems... I'm glad I don't live there.