By Soulskill from Slashdot's math-is-beautiful department
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from an article at Quanta Magazine:What struck John Learned about the blinking of KIC 5520878, a bluish-white star 16,000 light-years away, was how artificial it seemed. Learned, a neutrino physicist at the University of Hawaii, Mnoa, has a pet theory that super-advanced alien civilizations might send messages by tickling stars with neutrino beams, eliciting Morse code-like pulses. "It's the sort of thing tenured senior professors can get away with," he said. The pulsations of KIC 5520878, recorded recently by NASA's Kepler telescope, suggested that the star might be so employed.
A "variable" star, KIC 5520878 brightens and dims in a six-hour cycle, seesawing between cool-and-clear and hot-and-opaque. Overlaying this rhythm is a second, subtler variation of unknown origin; this frequency interplays with the first to make some of the star's pulses brighter than others. In the fluctuations, Learned had identified interesting and, he thought, possibly intelligent sequences, such as prime numbers (which have been floated as a conceivable basis of extraterrestrial communication). He then found hints that the star's pulses were chaotic. But when Learned mentioned his investigations to a colleague, William Ditto, last summer, Ditto was struck by the ratio of the two frequencies driving the star's pulsations. "I said, 'Wait a minute, that's the golden mean.'"Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can't-we-all-just-get-along department
An anonymous reader writes: As open source started booming, more people joined. Opinionated people. People who listened to the "we welcome everyone!" message and felt that their opinion could be their primary contribution. For some, they felt showing up at the gig gave them the right to dictate what the band played. From a leadership perspective, this was a tough spot to be in. On one hand, you want to foster an open, welcoming, and empowered community. You want that diversity of skills, but you also want value and quality. Low-quality contributors don't bring much other than noise: they are a net drain on resources because other good contributors have to take time away to support them.
In addition to this, those entitled, special-snowflakes who felt they deserved to be listened to would invariably start whining on their blogs about what they considered to be poor decisions. This caused heat in a community, heat causes sweating, sweating causes irritability, and irritability causes more angry blog posts. Critical blog posts were not the problem; un-constructive, critical blog posts were the problem. So what's the best way to foster a welcoming environment while still being able to remove the destructive elements?Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's wrist-not-hip-enough department
As the dust settles from Apple's press conference yesterday
, there have been a broad variety of reactions around the web. Robinson Meyer at The Atlantic says Apple's $10,000 watch demonstrates the company has lost its soul
. "The prices grate. And they grate not because they’re so expensive, but because they’re gratuitously expensive. ... To many commentators, this is unsurprising. It’s good business sense, really. Apple has made its world-devouring profits by ratcheting up profit margins on iPhones. There is no better target for these massive margins than the super-rich. But high margins do not a luxury brand make." Others suspect the high-end watches are targeted more at rich people in China
< article continued at Slashdot
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By Soulskill from Slashdot's harsh-language-about-a-harsh-language department
writes: Perhaps the most famous rant against C++ came from none other than Linus Torvalds in 2007. "C++ is a horrible language," he wrote, for starters. "It's made more horrible by the fact that a lot of substandard programmers use it, to the point where it's much much easier to generate total and utter crap with it." He's not alone: A lot of developers dislike how much C++ can do "behind the scenes" with STL and Boost, leading to potential instability and inefficiency. And yet there's still demand for C++ out there. Over at Dice, Jeff Cogswell argues that C++ doesn't deserve the hatred. "I've witnessed a lot of 'over-engineering' in my life, wherein people would write reusable classes with several layers of inheritance, even though the reusable class wasn't actually used more than once," he wrote. "But I would argue that's the exception, not the norm; when done right, generic programming and other high-level aspects of C++ can provide enormous benefits." Was Linus going overboard?Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's what-would-vint-cerf-do? department
New submitter dwywit
, anticipating World Backup Day
, writes I've been asked to film this year's ANZAC services in my town. This is a big one, as it's the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign, and dear to our hearts here in Oz. The organisers have asked me to provide a camera-to-projector setup for remote viewing (they're expecting big crowds this year), and a recording of the parade and various services throughout the morning. Copies will go to the local and state library as a record of the day, but they would also like a copy to go into a time capsule. I have two issues to solve: 1. a storage medium capable of lasting 50 or 100 years and still be readable, and 2. a wrapper/codec that will be available and usable when the capsule is opened. I have the feeling that a conversion to film might be the only way to satisfy both requirements — it's easy enough to build a projector, or even re-scan the images for viewing. Has anyone got a viable alternative? Cloud storage isn't an option — this is going underground in a stainless steel container.
See also this similar question from 2008
; how have the options changed in the meantime?Read Replies (0)