the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2019-Mar-14 today archive


  1. Proposal For United Nations To Study Climate-Cooling Technologies Rejected
  2. Origami-inspired Robot Gripper Grasps Objects Up To 120 Times Its Weight
  3. Toyota Is Losing the Electric Car Race, So It Pretends Hybrids Are Better
  4. Kids Have 'Math Anxiety' Thanks To Parents and Teachers, Report Finds
  5. You Will Soon Be Able To Pay Your Subway Fare With Your Face in China
  6. Samsung Is Working On 'Perfect Full-Screen' Devices With Selfie Cameras Under the Display
  7. Musician Creates a Million-Hour Song Based On the Number Pi
  8. NVIDIA Launches New $219 Turing-Powered GeForce GTX 1660
  9. Microsoft Announces Xbox Live For Any iOS Or Android Game
  10. Boeing 737 Max Crashes 'Linked' By Satellite Track Data, FAA Says
  11. The Hottest Chat App for Teens is Google Docs
  12. A Worry For Some Pilots: Their Hands-On Flying Skills Are Lacking
  13. DARPA Is Building a $10 Million, Open Source, Secure Voting System
  14. Mercury -- Not Venus -- is the Closest Planet To Earth on Average, New Research Finds
  15. Facebook Apologizes for Outages, Says It Has Resolved 'Server Configuration' Error That Led To Access Problems
  16. Quantum Computer Not Ready To Break Public Key Encryption For At Least 10 Years, Some Experts Say
  17. Tumblr's Web Traffic Has Dropped From 520 Million Page Views in December 2018 To 370 Million Page Views in February This Year Following Adult Content Ban
  18. Dropbox Now Limits Free Users To 3 Devices
  19. Google Smashes the World Record For Calculating Digits of Pi
  20. Facebook's Data Deals Are Under Criminal Investigation
  21. Halo: Master Chief Collection Is Finally Confirmed For PC, Will Include Reach
  22. The Opportunity Rover's Final Photo of Mars
  23. Physicists Reverse Time Using Quantum Computer

Alterslash picks the best 5 comments from each of the day’s Slashdot stories, and presents them on a single page for easy reading.

Proposal For United Nations To Study Climate-Cooling Technologies Rejected

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: A push to launch a high-level study of potentially risky technological fixes to curb climate change was abandoned on Thursday at a U.N. environmental conference in Nairobi, as countries including the United States raised objections. "Geoengineering" technologies, which are gaining prominence as international efforts to curb climate-changing emissions fall short, aim to pull carbon out of the atmosphere or block some of the sun's warmth to cool the Earth. They could help fend off some of the worst impacts of runaway climate change, including worsening storms and heatwaves, backers say. But opponents argue the emerging technologies pose huge potential risks to people and nature, and could undermine efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, not least because many are backed by fossil-fuel interests. Observers at the U.N. Environment Assembly in Nairobi said the Swiss-backed proposal was rejected in part because it called for a "precautionary principle" approach to geoengineering the climate. That principle says great care must be taken in starting activities that have unclear risks for human health or the environment. The United States, Saudi Arabia and Brazil were among the strongest opponents of the proposal, with Japan also expressing reservations.

Re:No.... just no.

By Gavagai80 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The harsh fact is that getting 200 countries to cooperate to stop emissions is probably impossible. Whereas it only takes one country to fund geoengineering.

Right now is obviously too early to turn to implement risky geoengineering strategies, but right now is definitely the time to study them, which was what the proposal was about. If we put off the studying until we're already in a serious crisis, it'll be too late for the decades of study needed to produce anything in time to prevent catastrophe.

Re: No.... just no.

By Gavagai80 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You know you've completely lost any ability to distinguish fact from fiction when you start citing movies as evidence in a scientific debtate.

Re:No.... just no.

By Mr. Dollar Ton • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Don't use big words like "tyranny" or "immutable" if you don't know their meaning.

Re: To study Geoengineering.

By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
All the things mentioned are much less a problem than the simple fact that new nuclear costs over ten cents per kWh. Nobody's going to build such a thing anymore. Why, when wind turbines cost 60-70% less?

Re:To study Geoengineering.

By h33t l4x0r • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
I don't know who you mean by "The Left" but most liberals are just regular folks who are concerned about the environment. They are not Trotsky-ite subversives, just like "The Right" isn't all Neo-nazi hate mongers. They are just poorly-informed Fox-viewers (just kidding)

Origami-inspired Robot Gripper Grasps Objects Up To 120 Times Its Weight

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: Robotic hands have a tough time getting a grip on pliable objects, but it's not for lack of trying -- most make do with rigid pincers that aren't designed for precision grasping. Fortunately, if a newly published paper is any indication, more versatile systems are on the horizon. In it, researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Harvard describe a novel gripper design that's capable of lifting items in a range of weights, shapes, and sizes.

The team's hollow, cone-shaped gripper comprises three parts -- a 3D-printed, 16-piece silicone rubber skeleton with a gripper-to-mount connector encased by an airtight skin -- that together collapse in on objects as opposed to clutching them. It was inspired by the "magic ball," an origami design that's folded from a rectangular piece of paper pre-creased with a repeating, offset pattern that reversibly changes between a spherical and cylindrical shape. The gripper is powered by a pneumatic vacuum and covered by either a 27-inch latex rubber balloon or a TPU-coated nylon fabric sheet, depending on the configuration. The researchers tested three: one with a self-folded fabric skin skeleton, a second with a rubber-molded skeleton, and a third with a tougher rubber skeleton.

[...] In one experiment where the team mounted the gripper on a robot to test its strength, it managed to lift and grasp objects -- 12 food items, 19 different bottles and cups, and 14 miscellaneous items, some weighing over four pounds -- that were 70 percent of its diameter and up to 120 times its weight without damaging them. It currently works best with cylindrical objects like bottles and cans, according to Shuguang Li, a joint postdoctoral student at MIT CSAIL and Harvard's John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), which makes it a natural fit for factory production lines.

Hold my beer!

By Michael Tiemann • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

I wasn't talking to you. I was talking to the gripper.

Going to revolutionize the fleshlight industry.

By Blinkin1200 • Score: 3 • Thread

And soon you will be able to print your own at home.

You know there is an RPi project already in development.


By sheramil • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Daleks did it first.

Not difficult

By OneHundredAndTen • Score: 3 • Thread
When you are very light - ants and bees can transport objects many times their own weight, not because they are very strong, but because they are very small and light. Volume (and therefore mass) grows with the third power of one-dimensional increments.

Toyota Is Losing the Electric Car Race, So It Pretends Hybrids Are Better

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Ben Jervey from DeSmogBlog writes about how Toyota is " using questionable logic" to claim hybrid vehicles are superior than electric vehicles, when in reality it's only saying that because it decided years ago to invest in gasoline-electric hybrids and fuel cells in the long term instead of battery production. This decision is now coming back to haunt them. From the report: There are at least 12 car companies currently selling an all-electric vehicle in the United States, and Toyota isn't one of them. Despite admitting recently that the Tesla Model 3 alone is responsible for half of Toyota's customer defections in North America -- as Prius drivers transition to all-electric -- the company has been an outspoken laggard in the race to electrification. Now, the company is using questionable logic to attempt to justify its inaction on electrification, claiming that its limited battery capacity better serves the planet by producing gasoline-electric hybrids. For years, Toyota leadership has shunned investment in all-electric cars, laying out a more conservative strategy to "electrify" its fleet -- essentially doubling down on hybrids and plug-in hybrids -- as a bridge to a future generation of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. As Tesla, Nissan, and GM have led the technological shift to fully battery electric vehicles, Toyota has publicly bashed the prospects of all-electric fleets. (See, for instance, the swipe the company took at plug-in vehicles in this recent Toyota Corolla Hybrid commercial.)

Last week, at the Geneva Auto Show, a Toyota executive provided a curious explanation for the company's refusal to launch a single battery electric vehicle. As Car and Driver reported, Toyota claims that it is limited by battery production capacity and that "Toyota is able to produce enough batteries for 28,000 electric vehicles each year -- or for 1.5 million hybrid cars." In other words, because Toyota has neglected to invest in battery production, it can only produce enough batteries for a trivial number of all-electric vehicles. Due to this self-inflicted capacity shortage, the company is forced to choose between manufacturing 1.5 million hybrids or 28,000 electric cars. Using what Car and Driver called "fuzzy math," the company tried to justify the strategy to forgo electric vehicles (EVs) on environmental grounds. As Toyota explained it, "selling 1.5 million hybrid cars reduces carbon emissions by a third more than selling 28,000 EVs."
As for the "fuzzy math," Toyota's calculation "seems to assume that for every hybrid sold, a fully gasoline-powered car would be taken off the road," writes Jervey. "In reality, many Toyota hybrid buyers are replacing a Toyota hybrid. And, based on Toyota's own revelation that they are losing Prius drivers to Tesla, it stands to reason that many Toyota hybrid drivers would jump at the opportunity to transition to an all-electric Toyota."

Re:Hybrids are better, for now

By Askmum • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Uh.....gas cars have ranges of 200-300 miles. Jacking up the requirements to make a point about EVs isn't exactly unbiased.

Maybe in gas-guzzling USA, not in Europe. 45 liter tank is pretty standard and a consumption of 6 l /100 km is too. That makes a range of 750 km or 465 miles. My previous diesel had 45 liter and did 4.4 l/100 km making 1000 km or 630 miles possible. Larger cars have higher consumption but also fuel tanks of 60 or 80 liter.

Re: gas isn't going anywhere hybrid is fine

By fluffernutter • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Why does every EV person parrot this bullshit? I have a path for you to walk barefoot that is lined with feathers 95% of the time but lined with nails 5% of the time. It's easy!


By sphealey • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Depends on your use case. More than 80% of USians live in urban or exurban areas and their driving pattern will follow a 95/5 pattern of short commutes vs long trips. Based on that pattern a plug-in hybrid will need a service visit once ever 18 months or so, although the owner may want to take it in a little more often to have it checked for minor software updates (the manufacturers only notify the owner for major updates, so there could be minors queued up).

These doom--and-gloom scenarios are based on taking the worst characteristics of ICE engines from the 1970s and the worst characteristics of electric cars from 1910 and combining them into one great imaginary Vehicle of Horrors that doesn't actually exist. Owners of actual plug-in hybrids such as the Volt report that they work exactly as described, when used in typical metropolitan driving are a great improvement, and don't have any more maintenance problems or lemons than any other model line.


By sphealey • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Most post-2010 vehicles now state to change the oil when the oil use monitor says to do so, which could be a long time for all-highway driving in moderate weather. Longer than 6 months in any case. Those of us who grew up with dinosaur-era vehicles that were lucky to make it to 3000 miles without leaking or burning 3 quarts of oil have a hard time accepting this, but modern engine designers don't think that short oil change intervals are needed.

As for the gas, the Chevy Volt at least keeps track of when you buy gasoline and if it calculates the gas is getting stale (at a minimum every 360 days) it will turn on the ICE engine and use up the tank.


By sphealey • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

- - - - - The single biggest problem for hybrids is all the maintenance that's still required due to the ICE, plus complexity of adding the battery/EV side. - - - - -

All what maintenance? Current plug-in hybrids have longer maintenance intervals than current ICE cars, which themselves require virtually zero maintenance as we thought of it for 60s/70s/80s era cars. The dealership service department will tell you otherwise but if you read the recommended maintenance intervals in the manual for a post-2010 vehicle you will see that there is very little routine maintenance up to 24,000 miles and not much after that - even oil changes are now handled by the usage monitor not on-interval. And the plug-in hybrids put a very light load on the ICE engine in typical usage patterns.

Kids Have 'Math Anxiety' Thanks To Parents and Teachers, Report Finds

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new report out of the University of Cambridge studied the experiences of a total of 2,700 primary and secondary students in the UK and Italy and found that primary and secondary school girls had higher levels of both math anxiety and general anxiety than boys. "The study also focuses on how parents and teachers shape math performance and attitudes, perhaps without even realizing it," adds Motherboard. "In the same way that anxious parents can shape their children's anxiety, math-anxious mentors can shape how kids view their own math anxiety." From the report: The new study builds on previous research by highlighting the importance of teachers and parents' own math anxieties impacting students. Most students that the researchers talked to said that their anxiousness started when the math topics became more challenging, and they felt like they couldn't do them. Another reason the students' said they were struggling was because multiple teachers were teaching them math, and it became confusing across teaching styles. "Importantly -- and surprisingly -- this new research suggests that the majority of students experiencing maths anxiety have normal to high maths ability," Josh Hillman, Director of Education at the Nuffield Foundation, said in a press release.

Several of the excerpts of the interviews conducted by researchers with math-anxious kids are heartbreaking: Many described feelings that they knew the answers but panicked, or tried to battle through initial confusion. One child, around 9 or 10 years old, said: "Once, I think it was the first day and he picked on me, and I just kind of burst into tears because everybody was staring at me and I didn't know the answer. Well I probably knew it but I hadn't thought it through." Another described doing a fractions test: "It means like enormously [nervous], and enormously means like massively... I felt very unwell and I was really scared and because my table's in the corner, I kind of just like tried to not be in the lesson."

Re:Wishy Washy Rationalizations

By Actually, I do RTFA • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Subjective emotions are important. Ultimately, the reason things like computers and technology are good is because they make people happy.

Great, except that wouldn't work

By Texmaize • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I know you mean well. I know you solution of just passing tests seems like it would make sense to many as logical and reasonable. It would to me too if I had spent close to zero hours on the other side of the desk. Certainly not in a k-12 setting. Your idea does have some merits in a perfect world, but as it is we live in a resource limited world.

We do not structure our classes the way we do because they are the most effective for learning. We do it so the most kids can be reached per staffing dollar. Your class format would simply be unteachable. Kids often need help and explanations for each topic. Non-mathy kids (most) struggle with texts. If you personalize lessons to each kid, then you would need an incredible amount of teachers. Maybe as a society if we truly valued education, we could afford this. The bald truth is we do not. So, we don't.

In private schools, they do what really works which is have smaller, homogenous classes of about 10-14. This is good because students really do learn well from talking to each other. You can also read body language and give fast help as needed. This type of intervention is probably closest to what the OP meant.

The seriously bad mistake that has been introduced into the class since you have been in school is the idea of differentiated learning. Some genius had the idea it is more important to make kids feel good instead of actually teaching them at their level. So, math classes are no longer tracked in any meaningful way until late junior high. All kids of all ability levels are in the same room. The teacher is supposed to come up with lessons to reach all students. Which means you have to cater to less strong students. The average students quickly learn to play dumb so they get less work or at least easier stuff. The brighter kids just get bored.

The one year I was in this system, I had honors kids mixed with special ed. It was not effective for anyone. The thing is, the special needs kid could learn math, but you had to go slower and re-explain. If he was with similar ability, then he could have advanced well. Since he was outclassed by most of his peers, he felt like a bother, which made it harder to reach him because he did not want his friends to get impatient. I truly loathe the administrators who came up with this scheme. It was so frustrating.

The best solution is to probably reduce class sizes to levels like private schools. Sadly, I do not foresee this happening. The other factor is that the U.S. spends more per student than any one else. What you might have never heard is that more than a lion's share of that funding goes into administration. So, even if you offer more, it won't go to the kids. If we want change, we need to change the culture of the schools and how they are ran. I am very pessimistic about such a change because there is way to much money being made by way to many. That sort of corruption is hard to conquer.

Re:perhaps kids are like this in the u.s.

By sjames • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I know at least how they want people to do addition, and it's crap. Arithmetic needs no circles and lines. It is an algorithmic process.

They attempt to teach the kids mental shortcuts before they even know the long way, and that's why it fails. Worse, they teach the shortcut wrong.

And the nonsense about marking a useful thought process that arrives logically at the correct answer wrong because it's not the official holy thought process is wrong headed in the extreme.

Educators are constantly harping on parental involvement, but then they shove parents out of it by insisting on their odd approach to math where not only do the parents have no idea what the teacher wants to see for an answer, but if they start from scratch and teach THEIR child how to do arithmetic "the old way", the child will flunk even if he never produces an incorrect answer.

Why WOULDN'T that produce anxiety?

Re:New math

By sjames • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The algorithm they're teaching *IS* different. It is substantially different and it is more confusing than what they were teaching when I was in school.

For example, they INSIST that to do 8+5 in the second grade, the kid MUST decompose it into 8+3+2, 8+2 = 10, 10+3=13. Decomposing it into 5+5+3 is WRONG, simply remembering that 8+5 is 13 is WRONG.

If the 5 doesn't have two lines coming down at roughly a 45 degree angle with a 2 and a 3 at the other endpoints and a circle around the 8 and the 2, it is WRONG.

Damnit, now I hear the teacher in the wall yelling "WROOOOOng, do it AGAIN!".

Re:perhaps kids are like this in the u.s.

By apoc.famine • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It looks crazy because of four reasons:

1) You didn't grow up with it, and it's really unfamiliar to you.
2) More than likely, you've seen a bit of the middle, but not the fundamentals necessary to get there.
3) What you think is being taught is likely not what's being taught.
4) The teacher teaching it didn't grow up with it either, and may not be all that good at teaching it.

To the third point, where we learned one thing by rote learning, kids now are instead learning several methodological skills that accomplish the same thing, but which can later extend into higher order math. Rote learning doesn't provide that foundation. We look at them and say, "Why the hell are they making multiplication so fucking difficult?" In reality, they're not teaching multiplication, at least not the way we learned it. Entwined in what they're teaching are some linear algebra concepts and some matrix math.

Instead of doing rote memorization of times tables, they're teaching the process to multiply any numbers together. What's really confusing is that they're doing this at the point in school where we all just memorized the times tables up to maybe 12x12. If you don't understand that what they're teaching is fundamentally different than what you were taught, yeah, it looks crazy if you're expecting those kids to be memorizing what 8 * 6 is. That's not what they're doing.

"Why not just teach multiplication?" It's a valid question, but that presumes how we were taught multiplication is the best way. We really learned most of our math by brute forcing it all on rote memory. As that's our muscle memory, it seems to us that that's the easiest path forward. When we got to linear algebra and some of the higher order math, for a lot of us it was the same "new concepts, smash until understand" process that we learned in our earlier math classes. The idea with this new way of teaching math is to dispatch with all of that, and instead build in methods and processes from the beginning that can be leveraged in later math classes.

Fundamentally, it's pretty damn sound. Unfortunately, we're living in the first generation of a new way to do mathematics, and dealing with that sometimes rocky transition.

To the last point, I think that the next generation of math teachers will likely do a much better job teaching it, because they grew up with it. But it's a chicken and egg problem - kids can't learn a new way to do math if the teachers don't teach it, and the teachers can't teach it until they learn it. Unfortunately a whole lot of teachers haven't really learned it yet, in part because of the same cogitative dissonance we experience when looking at it. It's going to be a generation or two until math teachers are good at it, and unfortunately we're the ones that are suffering through it in the mean time.

You Will Soon Be Able To Pay Your Subway Fare With Your Face in China

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
China has led the world in adoption of smartphone-based mobile payments to the point where the central bank had to remind merchants not to discriminate against cash. The next phase of development may be to pay with your face. South Morning China Post: In Shenzhen, the local subway operator is testing various advanced technologies backed by the ultra-fast 5G network, including facial-recognition ticketing. At the Futian station, instead of presenting a ticket or scanning a QR bar code on their smartphones, commuters can scan their faces on a tablet-sized screen mounted on the entrance gate and have the fare automatically deducted from their linked accounts. Currently in a trial mode, the facial-recognition ticketing service could in future help improve the efficiency of handling the up to 5 million rides per day on the city's subway network. Shenzhen Metro did not elaborate when it will roll out the facial payment service. The introduction of facial recognition-and-payment services to the public transit system marks another step by China toward integrating facial recognition and other artificial intelligence-based technology into everyday life in the world's most populous nation. Consumers can already pay for fried chicken at KFC in China with its "Smile to Pay" facial recognition system, first introduced at an outlet in Hangzhou in January 2017.

Only if you can still ride it.

By alvinrod • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Sure you can pay with your face, unless your social credit score is too low. Then it will probably just signal the authorities to come round you up and send you away. Eventually the camps will be done processing all of the Uyghurs and they'll need some new grist for the mill.


By HangingChad • Score: 3 • Thread

How can they do that when they all look alike?

Re:Only if you can still ride it.

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Sure you can pay with your face, unless your social credit score is too low. Then it will probably just signal the authorities to come round you up and send you away.

Then you can pay with all of your body parts.

Re:Only if you can still ride it.

By dryriver • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
They don't have to send you anywhere - ALL of China is being transformed into an open air prison. The Chinese Communist Party exists first and foremost to OPPRESS its citizens. You don't have to do that in a labor camp - these commie-gays probably get the same kick out of just surveilling 1 Billion people in everything they do every day. Well done Apple & Co. You moving your manufacturing Dollars to China has trapped 1 Billion people inside one big fucking Panopticon.

Re:Good climate...

By omnichad • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Wearing baklavas gets messy - especially if they're made with honey.

Samsung Is Working On 'Perfect Full-Screen' Devices With Selfie Cameras Under the Display

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to a report from Yonhap News Agency, Samsung's vice president of its display R&D group, Yang Byung-duk, said the company is working on making the entire front of its phones a screen, with no need for bezels or a camera cutout of any kind. He said that "though it wouldn't be possible to make (a full-screen smartphone) in the next 1-2 years, the technology can move forward to the point where the camera hole will be invisible, while not affecting the camera's function in any way." The Verge reports: The comments come less than a month after Samsung announced its latest flagship, the Galaxy S10, which is the company's first phone to have a "hole-punch" cut out from its display for the selfie camera. Yang called the S10's Infinity-O display a "milestone" for the company, but suggested that Samsung eventually plans to place the selfie camera under the display itself, removing the need for any cut out or pop-up mechanism.

I know it is just me but

By oldgraybeard • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
I find the whole selfie thing to be just odd. How can individuals be that consumed with themselves.
But then it is not my thing so I guess that explains it somewhat.

Just my 2 cents ;)

Re:In the end

By careysub • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Some people do videoconferencing for actual work.


By mentil • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

A camera hidden behind the screen? Will they call it the Samsung Telescreen?
You can't even put tape over it. Do not want.

here's an idea

By Cederic • Score: 3 • Thread

Hey Samsung, you can have this one for free: Instead of expensively hiding a shite camera behind the screen, add a small second screen on the rear of the device so fuckwits taking selfies can use the main camera and still see their own idiotic fuckheaded visage.

Dear US Patent Office: This idea is mine, now fucking deny any patents on it because whichever cunt is trying to register is a lying shit if they both say they thought of this and pretend it's innovative.

Everybody else: You don't have to buy a Samsung phone if it doesn't meet your needs, including any that implement my suggestion above.

Me: Keep searching for a phone that skips the whole selfie shit, lets me hold it without inadvertent function and fits in my fucking pocket.

Re:here's an idea

By markdavis • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

>"Me: Keep searching for a phone that skips the whole selfie shit, lets me hold it without inadvertent function and fits in my fucking pocket."

Exactly. How exactly do you hold and use a "full screen" display with touchscreen everywhere? And, I guess we are "strange" because, like you, I don't want a huge phone. I don't want it to be razor thin either (making it fragile and EVEN MORE difficult to hold). I would much rather have a thicker phone with better battery life, easy to hold, and a smaller (~5") phone that is easy to carry and store.

Using a Moto G5+ right now and it seems to fit the bill pretty well. A tad bit larger than necessary, but at least reasonable. Plus it was unlocked, fast, reasonably "stock", SD card, real headset jack, and $190 new.

Musician Creates a Million-Hour Song Based On the Number Pi

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Now, for Pi Day (March 14), music software programmer Canton Becker has crafted a million-hour song based on Pi that unfolds generatively on a virtual tape deck. Titled "Shepard's Pi," the song combines two of Becker's favorite infinities: Pi, and an auditory illusion called a Shepard tone, which he describes as an "unsettling sonic illusion of a pitch that climbs or descends forever, never reaching a top or a bottom." Found at, users can tune into "Shepard's Pi" in real time with a custom virtual tape deck. The track itself evolves moment to moment, but the synthesized and sampled tones will be familiar to anyone who has ever listened to the electronic music of Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Aphex Twin, and Global Communication. Far from being a mere gimmick, it is a highly evocative and transporting piece of electronic music, alternately ambient, glitchy, and interestingly rhythmic. The 58,999 GB MP3 file needed to be distributed via a webpage or app, so Becker "started hacking away at the basic algorithm in the programming languages PHP and Javascript," reports Motherboard. "In between coding marathons, Becker composed and recorded the loops and samples that would form the basis of the song. He experimented with sounds that would work well together regardless of being stacked one upon the other."

"When users hit 'play' on the virtual tape deck, the algorithm actually 'performs' the piece," the report says. "This way, the 114-year song can fit in just one gigabyte of space, which is mostly comprised of the digits of Pi. The virtual tape deck was also a solution to a built-in quirk of browsers such as Chrome, Safari, and Firefox -- users must click on a webpage to trigger a sound." From start to finish, the song lasts 999,999 hours, "a limitation imposed by only considering the first one billion digits of Pi."

Re:/Oblg. Starts getting good at 314159:26:53 !

By dgatwood • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

So speaking of creepy, who here wants to connect a laptop to a crude AM radio transmitter, attach a few solar panels, stick it in the middle of Siberia somewhere, and give the intelligence community fits trying to find the pattern?

Is it, really?

By argStyopa • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I mean, is it a "song"?
Using the sequential digits of pi as seeds for triggering what is more or less a cascade of music isn't, in my view, a "song" any more than a wind-chime randomly dinging some noise all in the right key because those are the only notes available.

That's what this is, really: electronica wind chimes.
I like electronica (for example, I often listen to but while pleasant, soothing, and all those things - still not really a SONG.

Re:Too mainstream

By Aighearach • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Tao rock is always guaranteed to be twice as good as Pi pop.

Hatsune Miku sings Pi

By Guppy • Score: 3 • Thread

I'd rather listen to Daniwell's version of Miku Hatsune singing 10,000 digits of Pi:

So far, so nice...

By bradley13 • Score: 3 • Thread

I've just started listening. As a fan of Tangerine Dream, I have to say, this is pretty good stuff. I think it will be great as background music for things like programming.

NVIDIA Launches New $219 Turing-Powered GeForce GTX 1660

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
MojoKid writes: NVIDIA took the wraps off yet another lower cost Turing-based graphics card today, dubbed the GeForce GTX 1660. For a $219 MSRP, the card offers a cut-down NVIDIA TU116 GPU comprised of 1408 CUDA cores with a 1785MHz boost clock and 6GB of GDDR6 RAM with 192.1GB/s of bandwidth. Generally speaking, the new GeForce GTX 1660 is 15% to 30% faster than NVIDIA's previous generation GeForce GTX 1060 but doesn't support new ray tracing and DLSS features that the majority of NVIDIA's new Turing cards support. Performance-wise, GeForce GTX 1660 is generally faster than an AMD Radeon RX 590 overall. Boards from various OEM partners should be in the channel for purchase this week.

Give RX 570s are going for $130

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
with two free games and RX 580s are readily available for $120 on ebay (just got one for $100) they're probably feeling a bit of pressure on the low end.

Also to my shock and awe AMD works now. Longtime PC gamers will remember a period of almost 5 years when their GPU drivers were a disaster. I've been gaming on it for 2 weeks now with zero crashes (knock on wood). The only downside is power consumption, it pulls about 80 watts more than a GTX 1060. But at $100 it's hard to complain.


By sexconker • Score: 4, Informative • Thread


There's some jackass going around trying to convince everyone of that, and he's dedicated his life to eradicating all instances of "comprised of" from Wikipedia, and the shitty "news" articles that covered his efforts are almost assuredly why you "know" this "fact".

But that jackass is WRONG! The usage of "comprised of" is perfectly valid, and has been in standard usage for ages. It comes from the Latin comprehendere, and basically means to bring shit together (com) before (pre) taking it (hendere). Comprise means to collectively make up, form, or constitute.

3 books that comprise a volume are the 3 books comprising that volume, and that volume is comprised of (or by) those 3 books.

The only thing you are even close to correct on is the idea that "com" may imply completeness, as in "complete". But you're still wrong because "complete" itself refers to the fucking groups of soldiers that absolutely did have things not included. When 10 guys die or are incapacitated you would complete your unit by adding more from your slaves / subjects that weren't initially included. Hell, a unit of soldiers is also known as a "complement". Complete doesn't mean everything is included, but that nothing necessary is missing. Thus a GPU "comprised of" 1408 CUDA cores is perfectly valid as long as they didn't sell it as a GPU that should have more CUDA cores. They have different SKUs for that.

Microsoft Announces Xbox Live For Any iOS Or Android Game

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft is bringing its Xbox Live network to iOS and Android devices. "The software giant is launching a new cross-platform mobile software development kit (SDK) for game developers to bring Xbox Live functionality to games that run on iOS and Android," reports The Verge. "Xbox Live features like achievements, Gamerscore, hero stats, friend lists, clubs, and even some family settings will all be available on iOS and Android." From the report: It's all part of a bigger push from Microsoft to make its Xbox games and services available across multiple platforms. Game developers will be able to pick and choose parts of Xbox Live to integrate into their games, and it will all be enabled through a single sign-in to a Microsoft Account. Microsoft is using its identity network to support login, privacy, online safety, and child accounts. Microsoft wants game developers to take a similar Minecraft approach and bring Xbox Live to more mobile games. Some iOS and Android games already have Xbox Live Achievements, but they're only enabled in titles from Microsoft Studios at the moment and this new SDK will open up Xbox Live functionality to many more games.

If you were hoping to see Xbox Live on Nintendo Switch then you might have to wait a little longer. "Our goal is to really unite the 2 billion gamers of the world and we're big fans of our Xbox Live community, but we don't have any specific announcements as it relates to Switch today," reveals Choudhry. Xbox Live on PlayStation 4 also looks unlikely, but Microsoft is open to the idea if Sony is willing to allow it. "If you've watched us for the past few years, we've taken a very inclusive approach," says Choudhry. "Phil [Spencer] has been very proactive on issues like crossplay, cross-progression, and uniting gamer networks, and we're willing to partner with the industry as much as we possibly can."

Boeing 737 Max Crashes 'Linked' By Satellite Track Data, FAA Says

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order grounding all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on March 13, citing new data that showed a possible link between the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight and the crash of a Lion Air flight off the coast of Indonesia last October. In an interview with NPR's David Greene this morning, acting FAA Director Dan Ewell said that "newly refined satellite data" from a flight telemetry system had led the agency to make the move. Both Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 (ET302) and Lion Air Flight 610 (JT610) were recently acquired 737 MAX 8 aircraft, and both were lost with all aboard just minutes after take-off. According to the emergency order issued by the FAA, "new information from the wreckage concerning the aircraft's configuration just after takeoff that, taken together with newly refined data from satellite-based tracking of the aircraft's flight path, indicates some similarities between the ET302 JT610 accidents that warrant further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause for the two incidents that needs to be better understood and addressed."

The source of the data in question is a combination of telemetry feeds from the flights' Automatic Dependent Surveillance(ADS) system. Introduced in the US in 2001 and more widely worldwide in the wake of the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 in 2014, Europe has required most aircraft to carry the UHF-band ADS-Broadcast (ADS-B) system since 2017, and the FAA has mandated ADS-B for most aircraft by 2020. While ADS-B data was initially meant to be picked up by other aircraft and ground stations, it is also tracked by satellites. Other, less-granular telemetry data sent in the subscription-based ADS-addressed/Contract (ADS-A/ADS-C) format, the Future Air Navigation System(FANS), and the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) are also picked up by satellite.

737 Max is a frankenstein's monster

By ghoul • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

It has fuselage from the 737, Engines from the 787, flight controls from the A320 (the famous plane where the automation led to crashes. Now 737 Max has taken that mantle)

Boeing should have done a clean sheet design as a replacement of 737 instead of putting engines so big on an airframe meant for much smaller engine.

They created and unstable plane and tried to fix it in software.

While this is an approach often used in fighter jets which are deliberately made unstable so that they can change directions easily its not something you do on a civilian airplane. A civilian pilot does not have the reflexes of a fighter pilot to fix things if the computer is misbehaving

To recap the plane was too small for the engines they wanted to put on it. So they put the engines in a cantilevered position so now the center of thrust was significantly away from the centre of gravity and the plane had a tendency to pitch up and stall. To avoid this they added MCAS which would pitch the nose down in case of a stall detection. To detect the stall they used the AoA sensor and in a freshman Fault Tolerant Computing bug depended on only one sensor when they had 2. They made the warning light showing the AoA sensor is broken an option (only American signed up for this option which is probably why American hasnt had a crash). Then to make things worse they didnt tell the pilots. Also in the NG if the auto trim was runaway pulling back on the yoke would disengage the auto trim. With MCAS they changed this. The auto trim would only disengage for 10 seconds and then MCAS would add more trim and it would keep adding more and more trim till the pilots could not counter even if they pulled the yoke all the way back. Again a software bug. Further to make things worse THEY DID NOT TELL THE PILOTS ABOUT THIS CHANGE. So the yoke maneouver does not work so the only maneovour that works is disengaing the trim using the 2 cutoff switches but this only disengages the Auto trim. If the plane is already nose down it doesnt go back to normal trim. Now you have to pull back on the yoke which was not working till a moment ago or spin two manual trim wheels to get the trim back. All this is happening close to ground as MCAS only engages at low speeds found at takeoff.

Boeing could have avoided this in many ways

1) Build a clean sheet design which is stable with the larger engines
2) Failing that build a MCAS which is fault tolerant with multiple sensors or can be countermanded by the pilot by pulling back on the yoke (This is what they are doing now with the software fix). Not ideal for if the pilot is really flying badly now he can stall the plane
3) Failing that tell the pilots about the MCAS system, the change in the yoke behaviour and have them go through difference training.

They did not do 1 as it would cost too much money
They did not do 3 as they wanted to avoid airlines having to train pilots making the plane easier to sell. One of the reasons there are 5000 737 Max orders is that it needs no crosstraining to fly (officially)
They did not do 2 because of sheer laziness or stupidity in the engineering team

So the Engineering team is now fixing their error No 2. But the Exec team's error No 1 and the Marketing team's error no 3 are still not fixed.

Re:New data?

By viperidaenz • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Pity they decided not to train the pilots on when they should do this.

They put the MCAS system in to reduce the need to retrain existing 737 pilots. They should have:
a) wrote better software, that uses both angle of attack sensors and only intervenes when both provide good data. The current software reacts to either sensor
b) Trained the pilots on how the MCAS system works, when it operates, what its full capabilities are and how it could malfunction, so they know when it needs to be disabled.

Re:737 Max is a frankenstein's monster

By LinuxIsGarbage • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

flight controls from the A320 (the famous plane where the automation led to crashes.

Which famous crashes? I only quickly browsed through the List on Wikipedia and the only one that stood out was Lufthansa Flight 1829, that due to TWO faults AoA sensors (unlike 737-MAX's 1 faulty AoA sensor), commanded a nose down stall recovery. Pilots disconnected the system and recovered.

There is Air France 447, on an Airbus A330. There was a sensor malfunction which led to a sensor discrepancy. The plane detected this, deactivated Auto pilot, and switched to Alternate law. Allowing the pilot to operate outside the protected operating envelope that people blame fly by wire on. They pulled the nose up, the plane responded to the command, told them they were going to enter a stall, then let them enter a stall, and the plane continued to respond to their command for nose up elevator, with 100% thrust, in a stall, all the way from 38,000 ft to the ground. You also had poor crew management where they were both trying to fly the plane with opposing commands on the controls. How should the plane know how to react to such poor crew resource management?

You do also have the A320 that successfully ditched on the Hudson. One of the only cases of a commercial jet successfully ditching.

Re:New data?

By sexconker • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread


They should have all been grounded, worldwide, the instant the second plane crashed.

Re:New data?

By rtb61 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Actually it is very much sounding like they should have been grounded after incidents of the plane diving, when engaging auto pilot based upon false stall warnings. The data was all available from flight recorders, why the fuck would pilots not report it, oh that's right SHOW ME THE MONEY. Rampant corruption in the US means that two planes HAD TO CRASH prior to anything being done. They should have been grounded already, based upon several instance of this happening and pilots catching it before it was too late. A proper investigation now needs to happen to check for a greed based coverup, Boeing and the US government are in serious shit now, for the deaths of those people in those two instances where it could have been avoided.

The Hottest Chat App for Teens is Google Docs

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: As more and more laptops find their way into middle and high schools, educators are using Google Docs to do collaborative exercises and help students follow along with the lesson plan. The students, however, are using it to organize running conversations behind teachers' backs. Teens told me they use Google Docs to chat just about any time they need to put their phone away but know their friends will be on computers. Sometimes they'll use the service's live chat function, which doesn't open by default, and which many teachers don't even know exists. Or, they'll take advantage of the fact that Google allows users to highlight certain phrases or words, then comment on them via a pop-up box on the right side: They'll clone a teacher's shared Google document, then chat in the comments, so it appears to the causal viewer that they're just making notes on the lesson plan. If a teacher approaches to take a closer look, they can click the "Resolve" button and the entire thread will disappear.

If the project isn't a collaborative one, kids will just create a shared document where they'll chat line by line in what looks like a paragraph of text. "People will just make a new page and talk in different fonts so you know who is who," Skyler said. "I had one really good friend and we were in different homerooms. So, we'd email each other a doc and would just chat about whatever was going on." At the end of class, they just delete a doc or resolve all the comments. Rarely does anyone save them the way previous generations may have stored away paper notes from friends.

Re:Here's why:

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

>The students are just a lot more imaginative, creative, and innovative, and connected than the teachers.

Last year, my wife and I had to go to the principal's office to discuss how our son (grade 4) hacked the iPads to install games for all the kids to play. As it turns out, he showed his friends how to disable the WiFi so that they could play the Chrome dinosaur game. The fact that no one at the school could even understand what he'd done was pretty telling.

The hottest, you say?

By chispito • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
So some kids found a creative workaround for communicating during class? And that qualifies as the "hottest chat app for teens," does it?

Now the real test

By MikeRT • Score: 3 • Thread

Have someone flip the power switch on the router and tell them to bring up MS Word, WordPad or even Notepad and spend 30 minutes writing a grammatically correct 4 paragraph introduction to a prospective employer arguing why you are a fit for the position**

** "Yes, you an make up all your quals, but it needs to read like a young man or woman is approaching a job as a respectable potential employee."

Sit back and watch the mayhem that ensues outside of those districts that still have parents and teachers that don't think like this:

Those in their mid-30s today came of age on the cusp of the digital revolution. Many older Millennials didn’t have internet at home until high school, didn’t join social networking sites until college, and didn’t get an iPhone until they had already begun their careers. The arrival of Generation Z into the workplace is showing Millennials what a true digital native looks like.

Re:Why would you save it?

By Mark of the North • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

They see people almost being denied a supreme court seat because they once had a beer while in school.

Whoa! That must be some super thick syrupy Kool-Aid you are drinking there.

The reason justice Kavanaugh was taken to task, was not that he had a beer, it is that he lied about his conduct, which included heavy drinking and mistreatment of female students.

The recent admissions scandal story makes a nice addendum to justice Kavanaugh's appointment.

Just like being in jail, they'll find ways to talk

By TheHawke • Score: 3 • Thread

You shut people off from the world, they'll find ways to get messages in and out.

Let them chat.

A Worry For Some Pilots: Their Hands-On Flying Skills Are Lacking

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: Pilots now spend more time learning automated systems than practicing hands-on flying, so newer pilots are less comfortable with taking manual control when the computer steers them wrong, according to interviews with a dozen pilots and pilot instructors at major airlines and aviation universities around the world. "The automation in the aircraft, whether it's a Boeing or an Airbus, has lulled us into a sense of security and safety," said Kevin Hiatt, a former Delta Air Lines pilot who later ran flight safety for JetBlue. Pilots now rely on autopilot so often, "they become a systems operator rather than a stick-and-rudder pilot."

As a result, he said, "they may not exactly know or recognize quickly enough what is happening to the aircraft, and by the time they figure it out, it may be too late." [...] While automation has contributed to the airline industry's stellar safety record in recent years, it has also been a factor in many of the crashes that have still occurred around the world. A 2011 study by a federal task force found that in about 60 percent of 46 recent accidents, pilots had trouble manually flying the plane or handling the automated controls. Complicated automation systems can also confuse pilots and potentially cause them to take action they shouldn't, pilots said.

Re:Nothing new...

By thereddaikon • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Because even if they have it on autopilot they don't just get to check out. They have to stay on the radio, check radar, monitor instrumentation and be able to take control back from autopilot at a moment's notice. That is mentally taxing because you are forcing yourself to keep focus.

they will blame the pilot

By swell • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

My friend the airline mechanic told me that accident reports are designed to protect profits. The pilot will always be blamed. Any suggestion of bad design, poor construction or mismanaged maintenance has dire consequences for manufacturers, airlines and others including politicians who depend upon political donations.

My friend has often told me of his discoveries as he goes about his work. Inside a jumbo jet wing he may find beer cans, panties, drug related garbage, as well as tools and loose parts. He found this shocking so he took it upon himself to investigate every airline accident.

Each accident results in a huge report after a multi year investigation. Those reports are available to anyone willing to study hundreds or thousands of pages. The summary will say the pilot was at fault, but if you read carefully you will discover many disturbing facts about the condition of the aircraft.

It shouldn't be necessary to explain to jaded Slashdot readers that money is the motivator in most corporate and government behavior. Blaming the pilot is the way to reduce costs and bad publicity. If there is a flaw in the airplane, it will be fixed quietly.

Which is why North America is great

By tlhIngan • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

The freedom to fly is greatest in two countries - the US and Canada, where anyone suitably trained and documented can get in and fly. And the little Cessnas and Pipers aren't the highly automated Boeings or Airbuses, they're quite manual. If you're lucky, you'll have a partial autopilot - one axis (elevator) usually, fancy pants ones have two (elevator and aileron).

One could fly from one end of the country to the other, avoiding controlled airspace and thus not talking to anyone if anyone so desired.

Some other countries notably Europe, imposes fees on flying. Lots of taxes. Sure they have some GA flights, but to do so requires a fair bit of perseverance and money.

The vast majority of countries though, make such thought of flight impossible.

Now tell me which pilot will likely have the best flying skills? The one who can on a spare day roll up to their little airport, get out and fly, or one who can only fly the bit iron and the simulator because the only other flying is military..

It's why I worried less about the US and Canada being late to the grounding party for the 737 MAX - the pilots here simply have better access to flight on their spare time than pretty much everyone else.

The only way to maintain stick and rudder skills is to fly stick and rudder, and really, that's stupidly easy to do in the US and Canada - you literally get to the airport and fly - no permits, no flight plans (within limits), and other than fuel, no taxes to just punch holes in the sky.

In China, they noticed this and the Chinese military let civilian pilots have a narrow slice of sky to fly between two airports in China. But you tell me - who will be the better pilot - one who has to put down their wings at the end of the day, or one who has access to the same sky they were just in?

And no, you don't have to own your own airplane Renting is popular, as is renting an instructor.

Re: Not an actual airline pilot, but...

By bkmoore • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Up until very recently airline training in stall recovery emphasized minimum altitude loss. If you allowed the nose to drop, by reducing the AOA, you might loose too much altitude and fail the training event. You were supposed to use thrust and preserve altitude. This procedure works in an approach to a stall, where the airplane isnât yet in a stalled condition, but is ineffective in a fully developed stall. After Colgan Air, the industry has changed how Stall recovery is trained to, emphasizing reducing the angle of attack then recovery from the unusual attitude. Itâ(TM)s not that airline pilots forgot how to recover from a stall, itâ(TM)s more that they were trained in the Simulator wrongly and then utilized an inappropriate procedure in an actual emergency.

Re:Not an actual airline pilot, but...

By ceoyoyo • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I fly hang gliders. One of the crazy things we do is tie ourselves to pickup trucks and let them tow us up into the sky like big kites. While you're under tow, it's like riding an elevator, and VERY nose up pitch. Hitting the clamp release and going airborne out of the bed of a moving truck is an experience.

As a safety precaution, there's a weak link between the tow line and the tow bridle. It's designed to break if the force gets too high, such as if you lose control and lock out. If you've flown a kite, this is where, in strong winds, they sometimes just decide to flip over and dive straight at the ground.

Anyway, sometimes the weak link breaks for other reasons. I broke one once, crossing a wind shear boundary. When you lose the tow during dynamic ascent you're instantly in a very severe stall. It feels like free fall. It was one of the scariest things that's ever happened to me. You desperately want to *not* be heading for the ground, but the only way to recover is to pull in and dive to pick up speed.

Fortunately my instructor insisted that we practice stall recovery at high altitude and in calm conditions.

DARPA Is Building a $10 Million, Open Source, Secure Voting System

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
samleecole writes: For years security professionals and election integrity activists have been pushing voting machine vendors to build more secure and verifiable election systems, so voters and candidates can be assured election outcomes haven't been manipulated. Now they might finally get this thanks to a new $10 million contract the Defense Department's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched to design and build a secure voting system that it hopes will be impervious to hacking.

The first-of-its-kind system will be designed by an Oregon-based firm called Galois, a longtime government contractor with experience in designing secure and verifiable systems. The system will use fully open source voting software, instead of the closed, proprietary software currently used in the vast majority of voting machines, which no one outside of voting machine testing labs can examine. More importantly, it will be built on secure open source hardware, made from special secure designs and techniques developed over the last year as part of a special program at DARPA. The voting system will also be designed to create fully verifiable and transparent results so that voters don't have to blindly trust that the machines and election officials delivered correct results.

real problems

By Tom • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The real issue with electronic voting isn't even the hackability of the system. Or the fact that an exploit scales to an entire country. The real problem is that there's no assurance anymore. A very simple process turns into something opaque.

For you americans who don't understand how voting is done properly in the rest of the world, it goes like this:

You put an X in the circle or box of your choice (sometimes several X in several boxes, but nothing too complicated). Then you seal that paper in an envelope or you simply fold it. Then you drop it into a box. That box is watched over by volunteers from all the major parties and basically everyone who cares to spend his time checking that the election is done properly. These same people at the end of the day open the box and count the votes.

At no point is anything not accounted for. At no point is there an attack vector. The whole thing is so simple that an idiot can understand it and that's the point - because it means that every idiot or non-idiot can check it and verify that all is well. Think the box has been tampered with? Go and check the box. Think the paper is special? Go and check the paper. Think some votes were thrown into the box at the beginning of the session? Check the box at the beginning, then seal it, and at the end count the number of paper slips against your very simple tally sheet of people who voted.

There are ways to fuck with the system, of course, there always are. But the low-tech approach also means they are low-tech and can be spotted. Tell me how you'll find the kernel-level backdoor in the voting system that knows which bits to flip in-memory without leaving any traces on the disk. And the number of people capable of validating a system at such a level are low enough to be pressured or bribed.

A highly distributed low-tech system is exactly what we want for something like elections.

Re:Taking on the impossible

By nuckfuts • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

In the early 2000s, there was a GNU project to build a secure online voting system.

The article has nothing to do with online voting. It is talking about more secure and verifiable systems than are currently used at polling stations.

To cite one example from the article:

In a voting system, this means the hardware would prevent, for example, someone entering a voting booth and slipping a malicious memory card into the system and tricking the system into recording 20 votes for one vote cast, as researchers have shown could be done with some voting systems.

Re:Voter ID not relevant

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Oh, it's much, much worse. You really need to look at the big picture. It is a known fact that their chemtrails trigger enzymes they injected into your bloodstream when they vaccinated you, that turn you into a mindless drone who will vote for any candidate the deep state Ivy-league Fake News Illuminati tells you to. Our only hope is that the courageous Russian freedom fighters will oversee our elections from outside the left wing mind control zone and ensure that saviors like Trump get elected. They are trying to stop this with their "secure voting" nonsense, but it's a desperate last-ditch attempt that will surely fail.

Or maybe they're just trying to make voting systems more resistant to tampering. But only the crazies believe that.

This ain't rocket science

By superdave80 • Score: 3 • Thread

1. First machine is a touch screen. Voters make selections on screen.

2. Once done a paper ballot with their selections is spit out, and they can visually check the ballot

3. Second machine is a optical reader from a different vendor, and must use a different OS from the 1st machine. Paper ballot is inserted and read.

4. Results from both machines are fed to a computer to be compared. If they match, vote goes through. If they do not match, vote is scrubbed and voter asked to try again.

You have verification from two independent systems AND a paper ballot at the end.

You are welcome.

Its called paper

By AHuxley • Score: 3 • Thread
and witnesses to watch over the local count.
Candidates suggest some of their own trusted witnesses, gov has a few witnesses, civil society has some witnesses.
Then count the nations votes in front of many witnesses.
Everything adds up as each vote is seen and counted in front of many people.
No code, computers to vote with are needed.
Computer systems are liked by failed nations governments that want to subtly flip votes.
Use paper to vote and photo ID every citizen.
Enjoy some democracy without computers and illegal immigrants voting.

Mercury -- Not Venus -- is the Closest Planet To Earth on Average, New Research Finds

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
That's the finding presented by a team of scientists who have published their results this week in an article in the magazine Physics Today. From a report: They explain that our methods of calculating which planet is "the closest" oversimplifies the matter. But that's not all. "Further, Mercury is the closest neighbor, on average, to each of the other seven planets in the solar system," they write. Wait -- what?

Our misconceptions about how close the planets are to one another comes from the way we usually estimate the distances to other planets. Normally, we calculate the average distance from the planet to the Sun. The Earth's average distance is 1 astronomical unit (AU), while Venus' is around 0.72 AU. If you subtract one from the other, you calculate the average distance from Earth to Venus as 0.28 AU, the smallest distance for any pair of planets. But a trio of researchers realized that this isn't an accurate way to calculate the distances to planets. After all, Earth spends just as much time on the opposite side of its orbit from Venus, placing it 1.72 AU away.

One must instead average the distance between every point along one planet's orbit and every point along the other planet's orbit. The researchers ran a simulation based on two assumptions: that the planets' orbits were approximately circular, and that their orbits weren't at an angle relative to one another.

Re:I call bullsht

By abies • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

If perfectly circular, average distance from any planet to any planet should be equal to the center of their path circle, which is, drum roll please, the center of the sun.

No? Planet A at 1AU orbit and Planet B at 2AU orbit have distance between 1AU and 3AU. Planet C at 1000AU has distance to planet A between 999AU and 1001AU. Whatever are their periods, some average of 1-3 won't get anywhere close to average of 999-1001.

So, Earth-Mercury average distance shares the first place with any other of 45 planet pair combinations.

Not sure how you came up with number 45. 8 planets give 28 combinations, so it should be 'any other of 27 combinations'. Even if you didn't get memo from 2006 about Pluto, it would be 36-1=35 combinations.

Re:Potato, Potaato

By lgw • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Seriously, there are more important problems to solve. How about something that's actually useful?

Hey, now, this research evelated pedantry to a whole new level! If ever there was a story that belonged on Slashdot...

But I don't get why they "simulated" this. Isn't this just an integral?

Re:I call bullsht

By Solandri • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

perfectly circular, average distance from any planet to any planet should be equal to the center of their path circle, which is, drum roll please, the center of the sun.

No. Distance is a scalar, not a vector. So the average distance doesn't work out to the center of the sun. It works out to the the sum of all points along the circular orbit. For Venus' case, since its orbit is bigger, the scalar distance to each equivalent point in Mercury's orbit is on average bigger because it's at a greater angle from the Earth (with Earth-to-sun line being the shortest distance).

e.g. Pretend Mercury is located in the sun, and Venus has the same orbit as Earth. Consider four points on each orbit spaced 90 degrees apart.

  • When Earth, Venus, and Mercury are in line with the sun all on the same side, Mercury is as far as the sun from the Earth (call it R), Venus is on top of the Earth, so its distance is zero.
  • When Venus and Mercury are on opposite sides of the sun from Earth, Again, Mercury is distance R, Venus is 2R.
  • When Venus and Mercury are at 90 degrees to the right of the sun from Earth, this creates a 45 degree right triangle. Mercury is still at R, Venus is at 2sin(45)R, or 1.414R.
  • Likewise when Venus and Mercury are at 90 degrees to the left of the sun, you have the same 45 degree right triangle flipped. And Mercury is at R, Venus is at 1.414R.

Average these four points. The first two cancel out (both average a distance R). The second two result in Mercury being at distance R, Venus at 1.414R. And hence Mercury is on average closer than Venus, even though we're pretending Venus has the same orbit as the Earth.

Re:So, pre-Kepler?

By SEE • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Actually, they did pure math with those simplifying assumptions first. Then they ran a simulation using the actual orbital characteristics (PyEphem uses the real orbits) to check.

That simulation then demonstrated that the assumptions in the pure math produced an error of under 1% for relations among the major planets.

Re:Link to the Physics Today Article

By MachineShedFred • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Anybody that understands that all the planets aren't always in a single synchronized line could have inferred this - all the planets do not have the same orbital period, so there will always be a distribution around the Sun. This means that some of them may be on the opposite side of the Sun from us, and even though their average distance from the Sun is close to Earth's average distance from the Sun, they are not close to each other at that point in time.

I didn't know there was opportunity for publishing papers that spell out common sense and grade school two-dimensional geometry, though.

Facebook Apologizes for Outages, Says It Has Resolved 'Server Configuration' Error That Led To Access Problems

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Facebook is sorry: The social media giant apologized for the technical errors that left many users globally unable to access apps for Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp starting Wednesday and stretching into Thursday, and said it's fixed the glitch. From a report: About 24 hours after users began reporting problems with Facebook, Instagram and other apps, Facebook announced Thursday -- on Twitter -- that it had resolved them and that its systems are "recovering." "Yesterday, as a result of a server configuration change, many people had trouble accessing our apps and services. We've now resolved the issues and our systems are recovering," the company said in a tweet. "We're very sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate everyone's patience."

Facebook and Zuck are always sorry for something

By Rosco P. Coltrane • Score: 3 • Thread

yet nothing ever changes.

Also: /. is FB's availability page now? What gives?

Fragility of the the servers

By xack • Score: 3 • Thread
If a single "misconfiguration" can take down a system with thousands of redundant servers then you must see the total incompetence of the Facebook system. Is this who you want to give your data to? Want a "misconfiguration" to leak your data and passwords?

"Server config error..."

By Amigori • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

A "server configuration error" that prevents login and access issues happen to a small business with A rack of servers. NOT to one of the largest IT companies in the world. That would be an incredibly fast replication across how many globe-wide datacenters?

What happened? Who knows? The QAnon crowd has a DARPA / Lifelog / Building8 theory. Give that what credence you need to. Seems plausible to me (without too much tin-foil).

Quantum Computer Not Ready To Break Public Key Encryption For At Least 10 Years, Some Experts Say

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
physburn writes: The Register has spoken to some experts to get a better understanding of the risk quantum computers present to the existing encryption systems we have today. Richard Evers, cryptographer for a Canadian security biz called Kryptera, argues that media coverage and corporate pronouncements about quantum computing have left people with the impression that current encryption algorithms will soon become obsolete. But they will not be ready for at least 10 years, he said. As an example, Evers points to remarks made by Arvind Krishna, director of IBM research, at The Churchill Club in San Francisco last May, that those interested in protecting data for at least ten years "should probably seriously consider whether they should start moving to alternate encryption techniques now." In a post Evers penned recently with his business partner Alastair Sweeny, he contends, "The hard truth is that widespread beliefs about security and encryption may prove to be based on fantasy rather than fact." And the reason for this, he suggests, is the desire for funding and fame.

The experts say...

By jlv • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The "experts" say "not possible for 10 years".

This means it will likely happen in the next 18 months.

Re:10 Years == nonexistent security margin

By guruevi • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

10 years to break today's encryption. We have more modern ciphers that will become used in the next few years that are resistant to the current theoretical models of quantum-computing based attacks.

Also, quantum computing still has trouble of scale with larger keys, I assume that we'll see the next 10 years require 4096 or 8192 bit keys as scalable rental CPU and GPU becomes more powerful.

And people really have to stop planning to have the same security model for the next 10 years in the future. Upgrades and long term support are becoming a necessity.


By Megol • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Sure, do you remember when DES was going to take the lifetime of the Universe to crack, then some egg-heads had custom ASICS fabbed and built Deep Crack (EFF DES Cracker), which could break DES in a day?

No, I don't remember that for two reasons the most important being that nobody sane ever made such an idiotic claim. In fact in the wikipedia page linked by yourself (that you obviously didn't read) contains this: "One of the major criticisms of DES, when proposed in 1975, was that the key size was too short. Martin Hellman and Whitfield Diffie of Stanford University estimated that a machine fast enough to test that many keys in a day would have cost about $20 million in 1976, an affordable sum to national intelligence agencies such as the US National Security Agency".

So not only didn't anybody make your ludicrous claim but people at the time said it was too easy to crack and estimated that one could realistically build a DES cracker.


By sjames • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

AES is currently broken in a cryptographic sense

That cries out for a citation much as a man lost in the desert for a week cries out for water. As far as I know, the very best known attacks of AES256 reduce it to an effective 253 bits. That is FAR from broken in any sense.

To say it's broken is like saying you can break a 2x4 with your bare hands as long as it came from a diseased tree and you saw 90% of the way through it first.

Tumblr's Web Traffic Has Dropped From 520 Million Page Views in December 2018 To 370 Million Page Views in February This Year Following Adult Content Ban

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Tumblr's ban on pornography and adult content has led to an estimated fifth of its users deserting the platform. From a report: Tumblr's ban on pornography and adult content has led to a fifth of its users deserting the platform, figures reveal. The ban, which came into effect on 17 December, provoked a backlash from users who claimed it would penalise sex-positive, LGBT and NSFW art communities. Visits to the Tumblr website fell from 521 million in December to 437 million in January and 370 million in February, according to data from web analytics firm SimilarWeb. Tumblr's decision to update its content policy came after the discovery of child sexual abuse imagery on its blogs.

Re:Probably worse than that

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Most of us migrated to Newgrounds / Twitter but yeah it's DEAD on tumblr now, I check my feed every couple of days and there's not much content being pumped out at all. The main trouble is users who were banned for adult content usually only ran NSFW side-blogs so you didn't just lose porn you lost SFW content they contributed as well.

Granted I was only there for the shitposts and art (SFW and otherwise) but the whole place is an empty shell of itself.

Like I say most of us have moved to twitter for our microblogging and Newgrounds to post are lewd content and so far the experience has been a good one. Tumblr was a real trip, I've been using it for 9 years now but its time is over.

Conspiracy theory time: it's well known within the Tumblr community that Verizon wasn't making heaps of money with it, some of us think this may have been a self-sabotaging move to make it so unprofitable Verizon just dumps it after a year or so

Re:That's All

By serviscope_minor • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I thought porn was about 90% of tumblr's business.

Turns out it was only a fifth. The other four fifths is outrage.

Maybe more than a fifth

By Merk42 • Score: 3 • Thread
Have to take into account the increase in users from all the alt-right content, because racism is A OK on tumblr.

The rest of the story

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Visits to the Tumblr website fell from 521 million in December to 437 million in January and 370 million in February,

300 million of those February visits were just to confirm the porn was gone. Good luck with March!

Re:The lesson is to not take away.

By rjstanford • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Its entirely possible that the adult audience was harder to sell ads to, or far more enthusiastic in their use of adblockers. Total traffic should not and does not imply monetized traffic.

Dropbox Now Limits Free Users To 3 Devices

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Dropbox has quietly removed unlimited device linking for free accounts, meaning that unless you upgrade to one of its paid plans, which start at $8.25 per month, you will be restricted to three devices for a single account. From a report: The change was rolled out earlier this month, though it's worth noting that those who had linked more than three devices prior to March 2019 won't be directly affected. However, anyone who already exceeds the new limit will be impacted at some point, as they won't be able to add any more devices to their account in the future, and if they upgrade to a new phone, tablet, or computer, the three device limit will catch up with them.

Why use dropbox?

By fred6666 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I understand it was one of the first of its kind (certainly not bringing any new feature to us being used to having our own FTP server for years). But why would someone use dropbox today?
If I choose Google, I get the integration with Email and Google Docs/Sheets which allow easy editing of documents by multiple different people, and pictures get hosted for free on google photos. And the basic storage of 15 GB is much more than dropbox 2GB.
If I choose Microsoft, I get the integration with Windows, office 365, and the 5TB plan cost less than dropbox' 2TB.

Dropbox doesn't integrate well with anything, so it's one more account to manage, plus the pricing isn't very interesting.

What's the advantage of Dropbox? Why are people still using it?

Neither Google Drive nor OneDrive runs on Linux

By tepples • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Dropbox doesn't integrate well with anything

Dropbox integrates with GNU/Linux bettter than Google Drive and OneDrive do. Consider what happens when I visit each of three major cloud storage services' sync client download page using Firefox on Linux:

Success. The site offers a .deb file to install.
Google Drive
Failure. "There is no Drive app for Linux at this time. Please use Drive on the web and on your mobile devices."
Microsoft OneDrive
Failure. Firefox begins to download a Windows executable, and the program's page on AppDB rates it "Garbage".

Re:Bye bye

By Voyager529 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Or are GNU/Linux users instead expected to either A. lease a VPS on which to run NextCloud or B. pay the ISP to upgrade to a plan that allows forwarding ports and leave a PC at home turned on all the time?

Privacy comes at a cost. This shouldn't be news. That being said, while I can't speak for every ISP, the consumer ISPs in my area only block 80 and 25; 443 is open even on consumer connections. You should be able to get it working that way. If not, Nextcloud does work over a custom port; I can speak from personal experience on that one.

As for leaving a storage server at home turned on, I mean...if it's that much of an imposition, both Synology and QNAP have appliances which can handle this, and either run Nextcloud or their own first party plugins and applications which have Dropbox-like functions. If that's still too much and you're willing to put up with a performance dip, Nextcloud works on a Raspberry Pi; the DietPi distro has an auto installer for it. Or, Resilio Sync is pretty good and simply requires devices to be on at the same time to replicate data.

Or, you could simply pony up for a paid Dropbox subscription, or pick which three devices you actually-need to have syncing regularly and use the WebUI to download/upload on subsequent ones.

Or, there's Seafile, Pydio, S3/Wasabi buckets with rsync, or for the price of the higher tier Dropbox individual plan, will do a one-click install of Nextcloud with 2TB of storage *and* a VPN *and*...y'know...a seedbox.

This is a solved problem, in several ways. Don't sit there being pedantic about calling it "GNU/Linux" twice in a one-line post and then try to argue that web-based folder syncing is so hard to do that you're reliant on a free service to do it for you.

Re:Bye bye

By Dragonslicer • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Between Google, Microsoft, and Apple, it's easy to find alternatives that offer free tiers with more storage

Among these three, how many offer a GNU/Linux client? Or are GNU/Linux users instead expected to either A. lease a VPS on which to run NextCloud or B. pay the ISP to upgrade to a plan that allows forwarding ports and leave a PC at home turned on all the time?

I don't know if Google has a separate storage system besides Google Drive, but KDE's Dolphin file manager supports Google Drive.

Re:Bye bye

By Richard_at_work • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You do realise that they didn't do what you suggested, right? The original claim was that the security dialog was fake, but it was quickly proven to be a proper OS supplied one - the issue was rather that OSX had something like 10 different styles for the same dialog, and people made the assumption that the one Dropbox used was faked.

Google Smashes the World Record For Calculating Digits of Pi

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Pi just got bigger. Google's Compute Engine has calculated the most digits of pi ever, setting a new world record. From a report: Emma Haruka Iwao, who works in high performance computing and programming language communities at Google, used infrastructure powered by Google Cloud to calculate 31.4 trillion digits of pi. The previous world record was set by Peter Trueb in 2016, who calculated the digits of pi to 22.4 trillion digits. This is the first time that a publicly available cloud software has been used for a pi calculation of this magnitude.

Iwao became fascinated by pi when she learned about it in math class at school. At university, one of her professors, Daisuke Takahashi, was the record holder for the most-calculated digits of pi using a supercomputer. Now, y-cruncher is the software of choice for pi enthusiasts. Created in 2009, y-cruncher is designed to compute mathematical constants like pi to trillions of digits. "You need a pretty big computer to break the world record," says Iwao. "But you can't just do this with a computer from a hardware store, so people have previously built custom machines." In September of 2018, Iwao started to consider how the process of calculating even more digits of pi would work technically. Something which came up quickly was the amount of data that would be necessary to carry out the calculations, and store them -- 170 terabytes of data, which wouldn't be easily hosted by a piece of hardware. Rather than building a whole new machine Iwao used Google Cloud.

Iwao used 25 virtual machines to carry out those calculations. "But instead of clicking that virtual machine button 25 times, I automated it," she explains. "You can do it in a couple of minutes, but if you needed that many computers, it could take days just to get the next ones set up." Iwao ran y-cruncher on those 25 virtual machines, continuously, for 121 days.

Pi Day. A test for factoring primes?

By Joe Branya • Score: 3 • Thread

Public-key/private-key encryption systems are based on factoring primes and the premise is no one can identify all the primes in a truly huge list of whole numbers starting at zero.

So now that we know what Google can do in corporate spare time with its processors, maybe someone out there with more knowledge that I have can answer the question "Can two-factor encryption be undermined by the computing power Google used today to generate a Pi Day (March 14th) news release?"

I wonder how much it cost

By turp182 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

In terms of electricity.

Or how much would it have cost someone who doesn't work at Google.

25 servers, 121 days, 170 terabytes of data.

And then the real question, was it really WORTH it?


By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Actually, if you would describe the whole universe in binary format -or decimal if you wish-, it's already in the number pi. Somewhere.

Can't be, because some universal constants are irrational, and therefore cannot be in another number.

Why would you calculate Pi to so many digits?

By DrSpock11 • Score: 3 • Thread

Seems irrational to me.


By Trailer Trash • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Whats the file size in terms of Firefox Send?

It it's too big, just compress it.

And if that doesn't work, compress it again!

Facebook's Data Deals Are Under Criminal Investigation

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: Federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook struck with some of the world's largest technology companies (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source), intensifying scrutiny of the social media giant's business practices as it seeks to rebound from a year of scandal and setbacks. A grand jury in New York has subpoenaed records from at least two prominent makers of smartphones and other devices, according to two people who were familiar with the requests and who insisted on anonymity to discuss confidential legal matters. Both companies had entered into partnerships with Facebook, gaining broad access to the personal information of hundreds of millions of its users. The companies were among more than 150, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Sony, that had cut sharing deals with the world's dominant social media platform. The agreements, previously reported in The New York Times, let the companies see users' friends, contact information and other data, sometimes without consent. Facebook has phased out most of the partnerships over the past two years. "We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously," a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. "We've provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged that we will continue to do so."

Who Is The Capital Behind Facebook?

By dryriver • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I remember living in a developing country when Facebook first became popular, and getting _inundated_ with daily requests to "join X on Facebook". I smelled a rat and didn't. What was frightening was the _crazy_ adoption rate of this mediocre web service - _everyone_ I knew was putting pressure on everyone else _they_ knew to also be on Facebook. People kept telling me "I can't find you on Facebook, I can't find you on Facebook". That doesn't happen without Billions of Dollars in capital behind the first push of the website. Why would millions suddenly rush to put their photo and personal data on such a simple and poorly designed website, and one with a name directly referencing "Face Indexing" or "Face Data Collection" to boot? It takes money to pull this off. LOTS of money. That money probably - even back then - came from various big industries desperate to collect as much personal data about everyone around the world as possible. Thus Facebook was not a "little Mark Zuckerberg genius startup" at all. This was a heavily industry-funded social media site from day one. And they probably got everyone's data piped to them from Day 1. Facebook _was_ about "connecting people" - but connecting them with industries who want to syphon their personal data away.

Re:Who Is The Capital Behind Facebook?

By Gravis Zero • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

What was frightening was the _crazy_ adoption rate of this mediocre web service - _everyone_ I knew was putting pressure on everyone else _they_ knew to also be on Facebook. People kept telling me "I can't find you on Facebook, I can't find you on Facebook". That doesn't happen without Billions of Dollars in capital behind the first push of the website.

You have greatly underestimated the stupidity of mankind.

Investigate Facebook already

By DickBreath • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
If Facebook is to be investigated for a crime, it should be for using PHP.

Halo: Master Chief Collection Is Finally Confirmed For PC, Will Include Reach

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
DarkRookie2 shares a report from Ars Technica: After a seemingly endless run of rumors, the news Halo fans have been waiting for is here: the series is finally coming back to PC, and in pretty big fashion. Halo: The Master Chief Collection will arrive on Windows PCs "later this year," according to the official Halo Waypoint site, and fans will be able to buy the collection either via Steam or the Windows Store. (Anybody who's dealt with Windows 10's UWP woes will appreciate this rare example of Microsoft launching one of its first-party games on Steam at the same time as Windows Store, as opposed to delaying a Steam version for a few months.)

The game's listing confirms that PC gamers can look forward to full mouse-and-keyboard control support, along with support for resolutions up to 4K and an HDR toggle. Whether this version will also include the kinds of tweaks that hardcore PC gamers crave -- including ultra-widescreen ratios, higher frame rates, and fully remappable controls -- remains to be seen. We highly doubt Microsoft will include official mod support beyond letting players use individual games' built-in "Forge" creation tools.
Halo Reach will also join the MCC when it launches on PC. Unfortunately, there's no word on cross-platform play.

Will you need Windows 10 for the Steam version?

By jonwil • Score: 3 • Thread

Obviously you need Windows 10 for the Windows Store UWP version but I haven't seen anything out there specifying the minumum version of Windows that the Steam version will require.

The Opportunity Rover's Final Photo of Mars

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
pgmrdlm shares a report from CNN: Last May, Opportunity took a look around Perseverance Valley on the inner slope of Endurance Crater's western rim. The valley is about the length of two football fields and it's full of descending shallow troughs. Ironically, Perseverance Valley became Opportunity's final resting place when a planet-encircling dust storm took over Mars in June, blocking the sun from reaching the rover's solar panels. Engineers lost contact on June 10 and persistently sent more than a thousand signals and commands to the rover over eight months until they realized the mission was over on February 13. But before those dark days, Opportunity acted like a tourist, snapping 354 photos between May 13 and June 10 that would create one last beautiful panorama of the place it will forever call home. "This final panorama (embedded in the report) embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery," said Opportunity project manager John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "To the right of center you can see the rim of Endeavour Crater rising in the distance. Just to the left of that, rover tracks begin their descent from over the horizon and weave their way down to geologic features that our scientists wanted to examine up close. And to the far right and left are the bottom of Perseverance Valley and the floor of Endeavour crater, pristine and unexplored, waiting for visits from future explorers."

Better resolution

By UPi • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

It you want to see that last panorama photo in better resolution, try this link:


This image is a cropped version of the last 360-degree panorama taken by the Opportunity rover's panoramic camera from May 13 through June 10, 2018. The view is presented in false color to make some differences between materials easier to see.

Re:XKCD captured this

By Freischutz • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The XKCD cartoon was for Spirit, but it captured this feeling for Rover as well.

There is an XKCD cartoon for Opportunity as well:

Re: XKCD captured this

By ememisya • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Imagine opportunity has like a family there. Turns out there is a race of intelligent underwater aliens on Europa, and they end up sending their own rover to Mars as well. The rovers fall in love. Some of the kids look like those pullback cars from the 90s.


By serviscope_minor • Score: 3 • Thread

Well, someone's gelsacs are safe from K'Breel's wrath now at any rate.

Physicists Reverse Time Using Quantum Computer

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
fahrbot-bot shares a report from Phys.Org: Researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology teamed up with colleagues from the U.S. and Switzerland and returned the state of a quantum computer a fraction of a second into the past. They also calculated the probability that an electron in empty interstellar space will spontaneously travel back into its recent past. The study is published in Scientific Reports.

Quantum physicists from MIPT decided to check if time could spontaneously reverse itself at least for an individual particle and for a tiny fraction of a second. That is, instead of colliding billiard balls, they examined a solitary electron in empty interstellar space. "Suppose the electron is localized when we begin observing it. This means that we're pretty sure about its position in space. The laws of quantum mechanics prevent us from knowing it with absolute precision, but we can outline a small region where the electron is localized," says study co-author Andrey Lebedev from MIPT and ETH Zurich. The physicist explains that the evolution of the electron state is governed by Schrodinger's equation. Although it makes no distinction between the future and the past, the region of space containing the electron will spread out very quickly. That is, the system tends to become more chaotic. The uncertainty of the electron's position is growing. This is analogous to the increasing disorder in a large-scale system -- such as a billiard table -- due to the second law of thermodynamics.

"However, Schrodinger's equation is reversible," adds Valerii Vinokur, a co-author of the paper, from the Argonne National Laboratory, U.S. "Mathematically, it means that under a certain transformation called complex conjugation, the equation will describe a 'smeared' electron localizing back into a small region of space over the same time period." Although this phenomenon is not observed in nature, it could theoretically happen due to a random fluctuation in the cosmic microwave background permeating the universe. The team set out to calculate the probability to observe an electron "smeared out" over a fraction of a second spontaneously localizing into its recent past. It turned out that even across the entire lifetime of the universe -- 13.7 billion years -- observing 10 billion freshly localized electrons every second, the reverse evolution of the particle's state would only happen once. And even then, the electron would travel no more than a mere one ten-billionth of a second into the past.
The researchers then attempted to reverse time in a four-stage experiment by observing the state of a quantum computer made of superconducting qubits, instead of an electron. The researchers "found that in 85 percent of the cases, the two-qubit quantum computer returned back into the initial state," reports Phys.Org. "When three qubits were involved, more errors happened, resulting in a roughly 50 percent success rate. According to the authors, these errors are due to imperfections in the actual quantum computer. As more sophisticated devices are designed, the error rate is expected to drop."

Re:Worst... Headline... EVAR!

By Cederic • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'm not sure they reversed entropy either. I thought that wasn't actually possible (much like time travel).

They took an electron and took it from state A to B and back to A. The energy required to go from B to A probably caused a net increase in entropy.

I concur though that it feels an ambitious headline. Does this mean I'm reversing time when I take a piss into the glass I drank out of?

Article title misleading

By cjonslashdot • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I had read the original article. They did not actually reverse time. What they did was cause events that normally only go one way in time to go the other way: e.g., breaking an egg - one can't cause an egg to re-assemble. Well, they did, so to speak. But it did so in the forward time direction.

It's not really traveling to the past

By ITRambo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
The electron is not moving back in time. It is recreating a past state, but in the present time frame. It is not possible to actually measure backwards time travel without the observer also moving back in time. These are my thoughts on the subject.

Re:Worst... Headline... EVAR!

By DigiShaman • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The universe will stop, and reverse time causing the everything to collapse into a singularity again. That means as the universe goes backwards, the dead will rise from the grave, humanity will eat excrement, un-chew food, and effectively vomit whole pieces of good. Oh, and you will reverse ageing until your a baby and get sucked up by a vagina.

Fun times.

Was daylight savings time involved?

By jfdavis668 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
It always makes me feel like I am time traveling.