Another Hint For Kryptos

Slashdot - 49 min 51 sec ago
rastos1 writes Four years ago Jim Sanborn, the sculptor who created the wavy metal pane called Kryptos that sits in front of the CIA in Langley revealed a clue for breaking the last remaining part of the encrypted message on Kryptos. The clue was: BERLIN. But the puzzle resisted all all decryption efforts and is still unsolved. To honor the 25th anniversary of the Wall's demise and the artist's 69th birthday this year, Sanborn has decided to reveal a new clue to help solve his iconic and enigmatic artwork. It's only the second hint he's released since the sculpture was unveiled in 1990 and may finally help unlock the fourth and final section of the encrypted sculpture, which frustrated sleuths have been struggling to crack for more than two decades. The next word in the sequence is: "clock."

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Categories: Science

Mozilla's 2013 Report: Revenue Up 1% To $314M; 90% From Google

Slashdot - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 11:46pm
An anonymous reader writes Mozilla has released its annual financial report for 2013, and the numbers hint as to why the organization signed a five-year deal with Yahoo, announced by the duo on November 19. Revenue increased just 1 percent, and the organization's reliance on Google stayed flat at 90 percent. The total revenue for the Mozilla Foundation and its subsidiaries in 2011 was $163 million, and it increased 90.2 percent to $311 million for 2012. Yet that growth all but disappeared last year, as the total revenue moved up less than 1 percent (0.995 percent to be more precise) to $311 million in 2013. 85 percent of Mozilla's revenue came from Google in 2011, and that figure increased to 90 percent in 2012. While the 90 percent number remained for 2013, it's still a massive proportion and shows Mozilla last year could not figure out a way to differentiate where its money comes from.

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Categories: Science

Life in an 8-Month Mars Sim: A Q+A With the Hi-SEAS Team

Space.com - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 11:13pm
From a dome in Hawai'i, six astronaut hopefuls are running an 8-month experiment into what life would be like on Mars.
Categories: Science

Life on Mars, in Hawai'i (Gallery)

Space.com - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 11:11pm
When at Mars, bring a 3D printer.
Categories: Science

Molecular Clusters That Can Retain Charge Could Revolutionize Computer Memory

Slashdot - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 11:11pm
jfruh writes:Computing devices have been gobbling up more and more memory, but storage tech has been hitting its limits, creating a bottleneck. Now researchers in Spain and Scotland have reported a breakthrough in working with metal-oxide clusters that can retain their charge. These molecules could serve as the basis for RAM and flash memory that will be leagues smaller than existing components (abstract).

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Categories: Science

The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

Slashdot - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 10:29pm
An anonymous reader points out a report at the Financial Times (paywalled) which says the European Parliament is preparing to call for the break-up of Google. According to the draft seen by the FT, a potential solution to ongoing anti-trust concerns with Google is "unbundling search engines from other services." The article notes, "The European parliament has no formal power to split up companies, but has increasing influence on the commission, which initiates all EU legislation. The commission has been investigating concerns over Google’s dominance of online search for five years, with critics arguing that the company’s rankings favour its own services, hitting its rivals’ profits. Unbundling cannot be excluded, said Andreas Schwab, a German MEP who is one of the motion’s backers."

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Categories: Science

Tech Time Warp of the Week: How Bell Labs Recruited Computer Whizzes in the ’70s

Wired News - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 10:11pm

Dennis Ritchie is gone. And Bell Labs is no longer the force it once was. But you can still visit them on the net. In the classic video above, Ritchie is among those who pitch Bell Labs to potential recruits somewhere towards the tail end of its heyday, in the ’70s and on into the […]

The post Tech Time Warp of the Week: How Bell Labs Recruited Computer Whizzes in the ’70s appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

Gemini Spacecraft Lands at Auction, Escapes Parking Ticket

Space.com - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 10:00pm
A metal mockup of a Gemini space capsule used by NASA for ground tests sold at auction for more than $50,000 — parking fees not included. The 9.5-foot-tall (3-meter) spacecraft narrowly avoided a parking ticket on its way to the sale.
Categories: Science

Top NSA Official Raised Alarm About Metadata Program In 2009

Slashdot - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 9:48pm
An anonymous reader sends this report from the Associated Press: "Dissenters within the National Security Agency, led by a senior agency executive, warned in 2009 that the program to secretly collect American phone records wasn't providing enough intelligence to justify the backlash it would cause if revealed, current and former intelligence officials say. The NSA took the concerns seriously, and many senior officials shared them. But after an internal debate that has not been previously reported, NSA leaders, White House officials and key lawmakers opted to continue the collection and storage of American calling records, a domestic surveillance program without parallel in the agency's recent history.

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Categories: Science

Our Definitive Ranking of Hunger Games’ Most Important Characters

Wired News - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 9:29pm

There are a lot of characters in the Hunger Games franchise. They're actually fairly hard to keep track of. To help prepare you for today's release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1, we'd like to offer a definitive ranking of each character and why they're important to Panem—just so you can keep them straight.

The post Our Definitive Ranking of Hunger Games’ Most Important Characters appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

Low-cost 2D-printed ‘paper electronics’

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 9:23pm

Paper-baaed touch pad on curved surface (credit: (credit: American Chemical Society)

An international team of scientists has developed a fast, low-cost way of making low-cost medical electronic touch sensors by printing conductive silver nanowire inks directly on paper, using a 2D programmed printing machine.

Anming Hu of the University of Tennessee Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering and colleagues point out that paper, which is available worldwide at low cost, makes an excellent surface for lightweight, foldable “paper electronics: that could be made and used nearly anywhere.

Scientists have already fabricated point-of-care diagnostic tests and portable DNA detectors using paper. But these require complicated and expensive lithography manufacturing techniques.

Silver nanowire ink, which is highly conductive and stable, offers a more practical solution, Hu says. His team developed a system for printing a pattern of silver ink on paper within a few minutes and then sintering (hardening) it with the light of a camera flash.

The resulting capacitive touch device was ultrathin and ultralight and responded to touch even when curved, folded, and unfolded 15 times, and rolled and unrolled 5,000 times. It could serve as the basis for many useful applications, the researchers suggest.

Process and equipment for printing prototype paper-based touch pad (credit: American Chemical Society)

The study was published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Abstract of Direct Writing on Paper of Foldable Capacitive Touch Pads with Silver Nanowire Inks

Paper-based capacitive touch pads can be fabricated utilizing high-concentration silver nanowire inks needle-printed directly onto paper substrates through a 2D programmable platform. Post deposition, silver nanowire tracks can be photonically sintered using a camera flash to reduce sheet resistance similar to thermal sintering approaches. Touch pad sensors on a variety of paper substrates can be achieved with optimized silver nanowire tracks. Rolling and folding trials, which yielded only modest changes in capacitance and no loss of function, coupled with touch pad functionality on curved surfaces, suggest sufficient flexibility and durability for paper substrate touch pads to be used in diverse applications. A simplified model to predict touch pad capacitance variation ranges with differing touch conditions was developed, with good agreement against experimental results. Such paper-based touch pads have the advantage of simple structure, easy fabrication, and fast sintering, which holds promise for numerous commercial applications including low-cost portable devices where ultrathin and lightweight features, coupled with reliable bending stability are desirable.

Categories: Science

Stunning Night Sky Photos by Stargazers for October 2014

Space.com - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 9:22pm
See stunning photos of the night sky and sun as seen by stargazers around the world in this Space.com photo gallery for October 2014 made up of images sent in by Space.com readers.
Categories: Science

Cassini Spacecraft Sees Swirling Clouds on Saturn (Photo)

Space.com - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 9:19pm
A stunning new picture of Saturn's clouds shows swirls of mixing material, like cream whirling through coffee.
Categories: Science

Spooky alignment of quasar axes across billions of light-years with large-scale structure

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 9:16pm

This artist’s impression shows schematically the mysterious alignments between the spin axes of quasars and the large-scale structures that they inhabit that observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope have revealed. These alignments are over billions of light-years and are the largest known in the Universe. The large-scale structure is shown in blue and quasars are marked in white with the rotation axes of their black holes indicated with a line around them. This picture is for illustration only and does not depict the real distribution of galaxies and quasars. (Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

New observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile have revealed alignments over the largest structures ever discovered in the Universe. A European research team has found that the rotation axes of the central supermassive black holes in a sample of quasars are parallel to each other over distances of billions of light-years. The team has also found that the rotation axes of these quasars tend to be aligned with the vast structures in the cosmic web in which they reside.

Quasars are galaxies with very active supermassive black holes at their centers. These black holes are surrounded by spinning discs of extremely hot material that is often spewed out in long jets along their axes of rotation. Quasars can shine more brightly than all the stars in the rest of their host galaxies put together.

A team led by Damien Hutsemékers from the University of Liège in Belgium used the FORS instrument on the VLT to study 93 quasars that were known to form huge groupings spread over billions of light-years, seen at a time when the Universe was about one third of its current age.

Artist’s rendering of ULAS J1120+0641, a very distant quasar powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun (credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

“The first odd thing we noticed was that some of the quasars’ rotation axes were aligned with each other — despite the fact that these quasars are separated by billions of light-years,” said Hutsemékers.

The new VLT results also indicate that the rotation axes of the quasars tend to be parallel to the large-scale structure in which they find themselves — a cosmic web of filaments and clumps around huge voids where galaxies are scarce. This intriguing and beautiful arrangement of material is known as .

So, if the quasars are in a long filament then the spins of the central black holes will point along the filament. The researchers estimate that the probability that these alignments are simply the result of chance is less than 1%.

This very detailed simulation of large scale structure was created as part of the Illustris simulation. The distribution of dark matter is shown in blue and the gas distribution in orange. This simulation is for the current state of the Universe and is centered on a massive galaxy cluster. The region shown is about 300 million light-years across. (Credit Illustris Collaboration)

“A correlation between the orientation of quasars and the structure they belong to is an important prediction of numerical models of evolution of our Universe. Our data provide the first observational confirmation of this effect, on scales much larger that what had been observed to date for normal galaxies,” adds Dominique Sluse of the Argelander-Institut für Astronomie in Bonn, Germany and University of Liège.

The team could not see the rotation axes or the jets of the quasars directly. Instead they measured the polarization of the light from each quasar and, for 19 of them, found a significantly polarized signal. The direction of this polarization, combined with other information, could be used to deduce the angle of the accretion disc and hence the direction of the spin axis of the quasar.

“The alignments in the new data, on scales even bigger than current predictions from simulations, may be a hint that there is a missing ingredient in our current models of the cosmos,” concludes Sluse.

Videos

Abstract of Alignment of quasar polarizations with large-scale structures

We have measured the optical linear polarization of quasars belonging to Gpc-scale quasar groups at redshift z ∼ 1.3. Out of 93 quasars observed, 19 are significantly polarized. We found that quasar polarization vectors are either parallel or perpendicular to the directions of the large-scale structures to which they belong. Statistical tests indicate that the probability that this effect can be attributed to randomly oriented polarization vectors is of the order of 1%. We also found that quasars with polarization perpendicular to the host structure preferentially have large emission line widths while objects with polarization parallel to the host structure preferentially have small emission line widths. Considering that quasar polarization is usually either parallel or perpendicular to the accretion disk axis depending on the inclination with respect to the line of sight, and that broader emission lines originate from quasars seen at higher inclinations, we conclude that quasar spin axes are likely parallel to their host large-scale structures.

Categories: Science

Obama's Immigration Order To Give Tech Industry Some, Leave 'Em Wanting More

Slashdot - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 9:06pm
theodp writes: "The high-tech industry," reports the Washington Post's Nancy Scola, "will have at least two things to be happy about in President Obama's speech outlining executive actions he'll take on immigration. The president plans to grant the tech industry some, but not nearly all, of what it has been after in the immigration debate. The first is aimed at increasing the opportunity for foreign students and recent graduates from U.S. schools to work in high-tech jobs in the United States. And the second is aimed at making it easier for foreign-born entrepreneurs to set up shop in the United States. According to the White House, Obama will direct the Department of Homeland Security to help students in the so-called STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — by proposing, per a White House fact sheet released Thursday night, to "expand and extend" the controversial Optional Practical Training program that now allows foreign-born STEM students and recent graduates remain in the United States for up to 29 months. The exact details of that expansion will be worked out by the Department of Homeland Security as it goes through a rulemaking process."

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Categories: Science

Obama's Immigration Order To Give Tech Industry Some, Leave 'Em Wanting More

Slashdot - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 9:06pm
theodp writes: "The high-tech industry," reports the Washington Post's Nancy Scola, "will have at least two things to be happy about in President Obama's speech outlining executive actions he'll take on immigration. The president plans to grant the tech industry some, but not nearly all, of what it has been after in the immigration debate. The first is aimed at increasing the opportunity for foreign students and recent graduates from U.S. schools to work in high-tech jobs in the United States. And the second is aimed at making it easier for foreign-born entrepreneurs to set up shop in the United States. According to the White House, Obama will direct the Department of Homeland Security to help students in the so-called STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — by proposing, per a White House fact sheet released Thursday night, to "expand and extend" the controversial Optional Practical Training program that now allows foreign-born STEM students and recent graduates remain in the United States for up to 29 months. The exact details of that expansion will be worked out by the Department of Homeland Security as it goes through a rulemaking process."

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Categories: Science

Space Station-Bound Astronaut Eager to Fly NASA's Orion to the Moon

Space.com - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 8:59pm
A NASA astronaut about to fly to the International Space Station on a Russian spaceship hopes his next space mission will start in a seat aboard a commercial spacecraft.
Categories: Science

Gadget Lab Podcast: Uber’s in Big Trouble, Even if It’s Making Gobs of Money

Wired News - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 8:53pm

There's really no technology story this week bigger than Uber. The hosts discuss. Also, browsers: What's up with them?

The post Gadget Lab Podcast: Uber’s in Big Trouble, Even if It’s Making Gobs of Money appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

Disney's 'Frozen' Snowman to 'Let It Go' as Cosmonaut's Zero-G Doll

Space.com - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 8:23pm
Do you want to launch a snowman? That is perhaps the question and paraphrased song line that Anton Shkaplerov's daughter may have asked her cosmonaut father about the Disney 'Frozen' Olaf doll she suggested he fly to the space station.
Categories: Science

Space Gifts for Kids: Fun and Educational Ideas for the Holidays

Space.com - Fri, 21/11/2014 - 8:22pm
Find the perfect holiday gift or stocking stuffer with this collection of fun and educational gift ideas that both kids and parents will love.
Categories: Science