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Who is your favorite Python?

  • Graham Chapman
  • John Cleese
  • Terry Gilliam
  • Eric Idle
  • Terry Jones
  • Michael Palin
  • Guido van Rossum
  • Other - specify

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:39 | Votes:167

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday August 17, @07:17PM   Printer-friendly
from the tick-tock dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

The invention of the atomic clock fundamentally altered the way that time is measured and kept. The clock helped redefine the duration of a single second, and its groundbreaking accuracy contributed to technologies we rely on today, including cellphones and GPS receivers.

Building on the accomplishments of previous researchers, Harold Lyons and his colleagues at the U.S. National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology), in Washington, D.C., began working in 1947 on developing an atomic clock and demonstrated it to the public two years later. Its design was based on atomic physics. The clock kept time by tracking the microwave signals that electrons in atoms emit when they change energy levels.

This month the atomic clock received an IEEE Milestone. Administered by the IEEE History Center and supported by donors, the milestone program recognizes outstanding technical developments around the world.

For thousands of years the reference for timekeeping was the Earth's rotation rate—which was limited in accuracy. In the 1920s the quartz crystal oscillator circuit was invented. It kept time according to the mechanical resonance of vibrating crystals of piezoelectric material—which created electrical signals with a precise frequency. The circuits were accurate enough to measure and record variations in the Earth's rotation, but they were still limited in performance and sensitive to environmental changes.

Physicist James Clerk Maxwell was perhaps the first to recognize that atoms could be used to keep time. In 1879 he wrote to electricity pioneer William Thomson, suggesting that the "period of vibration of a piece of quartz crystal" would be a better absolute standard of time than the mean solar second (based on the Earth's rotation) but would still depend "essentially on one particular piece of matter" and therefore would be "liable to accidents." Maxwell theorized that atoms would work even better as a natural standard of time. Thomson wrote in the second edition of the Elements of Natural Philosophy, published in 1879, that hydrogen atoms, sodium atoms, and others were "absolutely alike in every physical property" and "probably remain the same so long as the particle itself exists."

-- submitted from IRC

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday August 17, @05:45PM   Printer-friendly
from the can't-get-past-your-past dept.

A Canadian woman was issued a lifetime ban from entering the U.S. after officials searched her unlocked smartphone, found an email to her doctor about a fentanyl overdose she survived, and asked her questions about her past drug use:

A British Columbia woman was issued a lifetime ban at the US border after officials found an email with her doctor about a fentanyl overdose she survived a year ago.

Chelsea, 28, whose last name is being withheld due to fears that it could affect future employment, answered a series of questions about drug use while attempting to cross the Washington-British Columbia border. She said her phone, which didn't have a password, was searched for about two hours. During questioning after her phone was searched, she admitted to using illegal drugs before, including cocaine.

At the US border, the searching of electronic devices, including smartphones, is allowed as part of inspection. Warrantless searches on phones are also allowed at the Canadian border—a practice defense lawyers are trying to end.

"It was super violating—I couldn't believe they went into my sent emails folder and found something from a year ago that was addressed to my doctor," Chelsea said. "It was really humiliating, and it felt terrible having to bring that up."

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently released a one-page security assessment of the U.S.-Canadian border that identified drug smuggling (including cocaine and fentanyl) as well as "unidentified [Canadian] homegrown violent extremists" as security challenges:

The drugs that are commonly transported into Canada from the United States are cocaine and methamphetamine. Ecstasy, fentanyl and marijuana are smuggled into the U.S. from Canada.

[...] "This report identifies several areas where we can improve border security — especially in combating drug trafficking and preventing potential acts of terrorism," Katko, R-Camillus, said. "Stopping the influx of drugs coming into our country through the northern border is of particular concern, given the heroin and opioid epidemic plaguing central New York."

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday August 17, @04:06PM   Printer-friendly
from the ain't-that-sweet? dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Scientists from the University of Würzburg have synthesized a complex sugar molecule which specifically binds to the tumor protein Galectin-1. This could help to recognize tumors at an early stage and to combat them in a targeted manner.

[...] "Among other things, it is known that galectin-1 hides the tumor cells from the immune system," explains Professor Jürgen Seibel of the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany.

Recent studies have shown that when Galectin-1 is blocked, the immune system can recognize the tumor and attack it with T cells.

[...] No wonder, therefore, that galectin-1 has become a major focus of research. Seibel and his colleague Dr. Clemens Grimm is interested in a very specific section of this protein, the so-called carbohydrate recognition domain. They have now designed a complex sugar molecule that fits perfectly into this domain, as the scientists report in journal "ChemBioChem".

"We have equipped the sugar molecule with a docking site, for example, to connect it with a fluorescent dye or an[sic drug," says Seibel. In addition, the scientists have described the binding of their molecule to galectin-1 with high-resolution X-ray structure analyzes.
"Our findings can serve the development of high-affinity ligands of the protein Galectin-1 and thus of new drugs," said Clemens Grimm.

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. ♩♫♪♩

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday August 17, @02:27PM   Printer-friendly
from the who-is-going-to-ask-if-I-want-fries? dept.

72 years after [Clarence Saunders] attempted to patent his idea, advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, and other technologies are making the dream of a worker-free store a reality. And American cashiers may soon be checking out.

A recent analysis by Cornerstone Capital Group suggests that 7.5m retail jobs – the most common type of job in the country – are at "high risk of computerization", with the 3.5m cashiers likely to be particularly hard hit.

Another report, by McKinsey, suggests that a new generation of high-tech grocery stores that automatically charge customers for the goods they take – no check-out required – and use robots for inventory and stocking could reduce the number of labor hours needed by nearly two-thirds. It all translates into millions of Americans' jobs under threat.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday August 17, @12:48PM   Printer-friendly
from the no-good-deed-goes-unpunished dept.

An 18-year-old Hungarian man was taken into custody after reporting one of the numerous bugs in the Budapest Transport Authority's site. He found the bug by using the "view source" feature of his browser. He then bought a ticket at much less than its usual price, and reported the problem to the transit authority without using the ticket.

Bleeping Computer has a translation of a message from the arrestee:

I am an 18-year-old, now middle school graduate. Perhaps that which differs from the average, is that I trust that I can help solve a mistake.
I discovered last Friday [2017-07-22] that I could take a monthly ticket for 50 for the new internet e-ticket system in BKK, and then informed them about two minutes later. I did not use the ticket, I do not even live near Budapest, I never traveled on a BKK route. My goal was just to signal the error to the BKK in order to solve it and not to use it (for example, to sell the tickets at a half price for their own benefit).
The BKK has not been able to answer me for four days, but in their press conference today they said it was a cyber attack and was reported. I found an amateur bug that could be exploited by many people - no one seriously thinks an 18-year-old kid would have played a serious security system and wanted to commit a crime by promptly telling the authorities.
I am convinced that if I do not speak about the error, I will not report it. My hire was canceled only after I sent my letter to them.
I would like to publish this post without my name and identity. I ask you to help by sharing this entry with your acquaintances so that the BKK will come to a better understanding and see if my purpose is merely a helper intention, I have not harmed or wanted to harm them in any way. I hope that in this case the BKK will consider withdrawing the report

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

posted by martyb on Thursday August 17, @11:09AM   Printer-friendly
from the I-Am-Sam dept.

Iceland is close to eliminating Down syndrome births due to widespread prenatal screening tests and nearly 100% of women choosing an abortion in the case of a positive test for Down syndrome:

With the rise of prenatal screening tests across Europe and the United States, the number of babies born with Down syndrome has significantly decreased, but few countries have come as close to eradicating Down syndrome births as Iceland.

Since prenatal screening tests were introduced in Iceland in the early 2000s, the vast majority of women -- close to 100 percent -- who received a positive test for Down syndrome terminated their pregnancy.

While the tests are optional, the government states that all expectant mothers must be informed about availability of screening tests, which reveal the likelihood of a child being born with Down syndrome. Around 80 to 85 percent of pregnant women choose to take the prenatal screening test, according to Landspitali University Hospital in Reykjavik.

[...] Other countries aren't lagging too far behind in Down syndrome termination rates. According to the most recent data available, the United States has an estimated termination rate for Down syndrome [open, DOI: 10.1002/pd.2910] [DX] of 67 percent (1995-2011); in France it's 77 percent (2015); and Denmark, 98 percent (2015). The law in Iceland permits abortion after 16 weeks if the fetus has a deformity -- and Down syndrome is included in this category.

The Prenatal Diagnosis link in the summary was replaced with a working version.

National Review has a counterpoint opinion piece about the CBSN article. Snopes has a page debunking inaccurate headlines about the article.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday August 17, @09:30AM   Printer-friendly
from the Watch-Apple-TV-on-your-Apple-TV dept.

Apple will invest heavily in original TV content to try to counter other television and streaming services:

Apple will invest approximately $1 billion in acquiring and producing original TV shows over the next year, according to The Wall Street Journal. The investment could result in as many as 10 new shows, a source told the publication, with the iPhone-maker looking to match the high-quality output of networks like HBO.

The market for this sort of content is already crowded, and both traditional broadcasters and new media are fighting over lucrative deals for original hits. Apple previously focused on renting TV shows and movies through iTunes, but this business has been damaged by the rise of subscription services. The company's share of the movie rental-and-sales market is estimated to have dropped from 50 per cent in 2012 to less than 35 per cent recently.

HBO spent about $2 billion on content in 2016 and Netflix is expected to spend $6 billion on content in 2017.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday August 17, @07:51AM   Printer-friendly
from the carbon-ated-spiders dept.

Spider silk can be made stronger by feeding the spiders that produce the silk aqueous dispersions containing graphene or carbon nanotubes:

[Researchers] in Italy and the UK have found a way to make [spider] silk a lot stronger, using various different spider species and carbon nanotubes or graphene. The research team, led by Professor Nicola Pugno at the University of Trento, Italy, succeeded in having their spiders produce silk with up to three times the strength and ten times the toughness of the regular material.

[...] "We already know that there are biominerals present in in the protein matrices and hard tissues of insects, which gives them high strength and hardness in their jaws, mandibles and teeth, for example. So our study looked at whether spider silk's properties could be 'enhanced' by artificially incorporating various different nanomaterials into the silk's biological protein structures."

To do this, the team exposed three different spider species to water dispersions containing carbon nanotubes or graphene. After collecting the spiders' silk, the team tested its tensile strength and toughness. Professor Pugno said: "We found that the strongest silk the spiders spun had a fracture strength up to 5.4 gigapascals (GPa), and a toughness modulus up to 1,570 joules per gram (J/g). Normal spider silk, by comparison, has a fracture strength of around 1.5 GPa and a toughness modulus of around 150 J/g.

Spider silk reinforced by graphene or carbon nanotubes (DOI: 10.1088/2053-1583/aa7cd3) (DX)

Related: The Strongest Natural Material: Sea Snail Teeth
Synthetic Spider Silk Fiber Created

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday August 17, @06:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the prize-winning-performance dept.

The competition deadline for the Google Lunar XPrize has changed and is now set to March 31, 2018. It's the fourth time that the deadline has been changed. Previously, there was a launch deadline of December 31st, 2017. In addition, new prize money will be available to successful teams:

The Lunar Arrival Milestone prize offers $1.75 million to spacecraft that either orbit the moon or try landing. The Soft Landing Milestone Prize will award $3 million to any craft proven to successfully land on the surface. These new prizes aren't a race; they'll be split up among all teams which achieve the milestones by the end of March.

The first team to land a robot that travels 500 meters and sends imagery back to Earth will receive $30 million.

At Wikipedia and XPrize.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday August 17, @04:33AM   Printer-friendly
from the hack-this dept.

The New York Times reports In Ukraine, a Malware Expert Who Could Blow the Whistle on Russian Hacking :

KIEV, Ukraine — The hacker, known only by his online alias "Profexer," kept a low profile. He wrote computer code alone in an apartment and quietly sold his handiwork on the anonymous portion of the internet known as the Dark Web. Last winter, he suddenly went dark entirely.

Profexer's posts, already accessible only to a small band of fellow hackers and cybercriminals looking for software tips, blinked out in January — just days after American intelligence agencies publicly identified a program he had written as one tool used in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

But while Profexer's online persona vanished, a flesh-and-blood person has emerged: a fearful man who the Ukrainian police said turned himself in early this year, and has now become a witness for the F.B.I.

It's an in-depth review of several people, hacking groups, Russian organizations, and delves into hidden sites where malware can be bought and sold. In this case, it is claimed that Profexer wrote a program to exfiltrate information from a hacked machine, made a free copy available, but charged for updates/training. The claim is that Russia made use of his program, among others, and then practiced using it on Ukraine. Images of servers used in Ukraine voting are being reviewed.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday August 17, @02:54AM   Printer-friendly
from the naps++ dept.

Afternoon is the worst time for distractions, fatigue, and reduced efficiency. A solid routine can help.

Much is made of morning and evening routines, but hardly anything is mentioned about afternoon routines. This is odd, because afternoons are when energy plummets, when creativity and efficiency are drained, and many workers crave a second wind. It makes sense to focus on how to improve this (sometimes torturous) time of day, which is why I was thrilled to see Patrick Allan's article on LifeHacker. In it, Allan describes the necessity of establishing a solid afternoon routine in order to resist the time when when "distractions have the most power—you're fatigued, irritable, and way more impulsive." What follows are some of his suggestions, as well as a few of my own:

TFA suggests: 1. Eat well. 2. Get moving. 3. Save the easy stuff for last. 4. Put a time limit on big assignments. 5. Establish a fun afternoon ritual. 6. Have a power nap. Me: Large coffee with a triple red-eye shot. You?

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday August 17, @01:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the V'Ger dept.

Was NASA hasty in including a pulsar map to Earth on the Pioneer plaques and Voyager Golden Records?

Forty years ago, we sent a map to Earth sailing deep into the cosmos. Copies of this map are etched into each of the twin Voyager spacecraft, which launched in the late 1970s and are now the farthest spacecraft from home. One of the probes has already slipped into interstellar space, and the other is skirting the fringes of our sun's immediate neighborhood. If it's ever intercepted and decoded by extraterrestrials, the map will not only reveal where to find our watery little world, but also when the space probe that delivered it to alien hands left home.

[...] "Back when Drake did the pulsar map, and Carl Sagan and the whole team did the Voyager record, there hadn't been very much debate over the pros and cons of contact with extraterrestrial intelligence," says York University's Kathryn Denning, an anthropologist who studies the ethics of sending messages to extraterrestrials. "Now, however, as you know, there is a major debate among scientists and a variety of stakeholders about the wisdom of doing anything other than listening."

[...] "In those days, all the people I dealt with were optimists, and they thought the ETs would be friendly," Drake says. "Nobody thought, even for a few seconds, about whether this might be a dangerous thing to do." So what are the chances of the map actually reaching extraterrestrial shores aboard the Voyagers? "Very small," Drake says. "The thing is going something like 10 kilometers per second, at which speed it takes—for the typical separation of stars—about half a million years to go from one star to another. And of course, it's not aimed at any star, it's just going where it's going."

Of course, aliens could just use gigantic space telescopes to find Earth and other watery planets instead of accidentally intercepting a tiny spacecraft. And humanity will either be super-advanced, post-apocalyptic, or just gone by the time aliens can find a map and head for Earth (even if they have faster-than-light travel, the spacecraft won't be relatively far away from Earth anytime soon).

Also at Boing Boing and The Sun (not that one).

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday August 16, @11:36PM   Printer-friendly
from the somethings-fishy dept.

Off-shore aquaculture using existing technologies could provide the entire world's seafood needs using a very small percentage of the global ocean area, although economic, environmental, and social constraints still exist:

Mapping the global potential for marine aquaculture (open, DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0257-9) (DX)

Here, we map the biological production potential for marine aquaculture across the globe using an innovative approach that draws from physiology, allometry and growth theory. Even after applying substantial constraints based on existing ocean uses and limitations, we find vast areas in nearly every coastal country that are suitable for aquaculture. The development potential far exceeds the space required to meet foreseeable seafood demand; indeed, the current total landings of all wild-capture fisheries could be produced using less than 0.015% of the global ocean area. This analysis demonstrates that suitable space is unlikely to limit marine aquaculture development and highlights the role that other factors, such as economics and governance, play in shaping growth trajectories. We suggest that the vast amount of space suitable for marine aquaculture presents an opportunity for countries to develop aquaculture in a way that aligns with their economic, environmental and social objectives.

[...] We found that over 11,400,000 km2 are potentially suitable for fish and over 1,500,000 km2 could be developed for bivalves. Both fish and bivalve aquaculture showed expansive potential across the globe, including both tropical and temperate countries (Figs. 1 and 2 and Supplementary Table 3). However, as would be predicted by metabolic theory, many of the areas with the highest GPI were located in warm, tropical regions. The total potential production is considerable: if all areas designated as suitable in this analysis were developed (assuming no further economic, environmental or social constraints), we estimate that approximately 15 billion tonnes of finfish could be grown every year—over 100 times the current global seafood consumption.

Found at NextBigFuture.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday August 16, @09:53PM   Printer-friendly
from the danger:-high-voltage dept.

Long distance trucking is a grossly inefficient way to move goods from one place to another. But the state of Hesse in Germany is about to embark on a trial which could help improve that inefficiency considerably. As business Green reports, 10 km of highway in Hesse will soon be equipped with overhead charging cables to be used by hybrid trucks to run on electricity when juice is available, and to switch back to diesel when it's not. It's all part of Siemens' eHighway initiative which the company claims would double energy efficiency compared running on gas, and slash emissions even more if those cables are charged from renewables.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday August 16, @08:17PM   Printer-friendly
from the somebody-dies-in-this-episode-I-bet dept.

Four people have been arrested in connection with the leak of S07E04 of Game of Thrones:

An India-based media technology company said Wednesday that it regrets the recent leak of an episode of the popular HBO series Game of Thrones by four of its current and former employees.

Indian police have detained the four suspects, but said their motive for leaking the episode titled The Spoils of War was unclear. The fourth episode in the television series' seventh season leaked three days before its planned Aug. 6 air date and quickly circulated online.

And now, here comes S07E06:

HBO in Spain has aired, apparently by mistake, the sixth episode of Games of Thrones' seventh season a week ahead of schedule.

The episode was available to Spanish subscribers early Tuesday for about an hour before being removed. The 71-minute episode is due to be officially available Aug. 21.

Previously: HBO Hacked, Leak of Game of Thrones s07e04 Unrelated

Original Submission