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New Cargo Ship Is 488 Meters Long

Slashdot - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 17:44
An anonymous reader writes: The BBC reports on the construction of Prelude, a new ship that will be the world's longest vessel. It is 488 meters long and 74 meters wide, built with 260,000 tons of steel and displacing five times as much water as an aircraft carrier. Its purpose is to carry an entire natural gas processing plant as it sits over a series of wells 100 miles off the coast of Australia. Until now, it hasn't been practical to move gas that comes out of the wells with ships. The gas occupies too much volume, so it is generally piped to a facility on shore where it is processed and then shipped off to energy-hungry markets. But the Prelude can purify and chill the gas, turning it into a liquid and reducing its volume by a factor of 600. It will offload this liquid to smaller (but still enormous) carrier ships for transport.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

Slashdot - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 17:03
schwit1 sends this report from The Verge: Most anti-piracy tools take one of two paths: they either target the server that's sharing the files (pulling videos off YouTube or taking down sites like The Pirate Bay) or they make it harder to find (delisting offshore sites that share infringing content). But leaked documents reveal a frightening line of attack that's currently being considered by the MPAA: What if you simply erased any record that the site was there in the first place? To do that, the MPAA's lawyers would target the Domain Name System that directs traffic across the internet. The tactic was first proposed as part of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in 2011, but three years after the law failed in Congress, the MPAA has been looking for legal justification for the practice in existing law and working with ISPs like Comcast to examine how a system might work technically. If a takedown notice could blacklist a site from every available DNS provider, the URL would be effectively erased from the internet. No one's ever tried to issue a takedown notice like that, but this latest memo suggests the MPAA is looking into it as a potentially powerful new tool in the fight against piracy.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

NASA Study Proposes Airships, Cloud Cities For Venus Exploration

Slashdot - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 16:22
An anonymous reader writes: IEEE Spectrum reports on a study out of NASA exploring the idea that manned missions to Venus are possible if astronauts deploy and live in airships once they arrive. Since the atmospheric pressure at the surface is 92 times that of Earth, and the surface temperate is over 450 degrees C, the probes we've sent to Venus haven't lasted long. The Venera 8 probe sent back data for only 50 minutes after landing. Soviet missions in 1985 were able to get much more data — 46 hours worth — by suspending their probes from balloons. The new study refines that concept: "At 50 kilometers above its surface, Venus offers one atmosphere of pressure and only slightly lower gravity than Earth. Mars, in comparison, has a "sea level" atmospheric pressure of less than a hundredth of Earth's, and gravity just over a third Earth normal. The temperature at 50 km on Venus is around 75 C, which is a mere 17 degrees hotter than the highest temperature recorded on Earth. The defining feature of these missions is the vehicle that will be doing the atmospheric exploring: a helium-filled, solar-powered airship. The robotic version would be 31 meters long (about half the size of the Goodyear blimp), while the crewed version would be nearly 130 meters long, or twice the size of a Boeing 747. The top of the airship would be covered with more than 1,000 square meters of solar panels, with a gondola slung underneath for instruments and, in the crewed version, a small habitat and the ascent vehicle that the astronauts would use to return to Venus's orbit, and home."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

New AP Course, "Computer Science Principles," Aims To Make CS More Accessible

Slashdot - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 15:40
theodp writes: "CS Principles," explains the intro to a Microsoft Research talk on a new Computer Science Toolkit and Gaming Course, "is a new AP course being piloted across the country and by making it more accessible to students we can help increase diversity in computing." Towards this end, Microsoft has developed "a middle school computing toolkit, and a high school CS Principles & Games course." These two projects were "developed specifically for girls," explains Microsoft, and are part of the corporation's Big Dream Movement for girls, which is partnering with the UN, White House, NSF, EU Commission, and others. One of Microsoft's particular goals is to "reach every individual girl in her house." According to a document on its website, Microsoft Research's other plans for Bridging the Gender Gap in computing include a partnership with the University of Wisconsin "to create a girls-only computer science Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

A New Law For Superconductors

Slashdot - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 14:57
TaleSlinger sends word of a newly-discovered "mathematical relationship — between material thickness, temperature, and electrical resistance — that appears to hold in all superconductors." The work (abstract), led by Yachin Irvy, comes out of MIT's Research Laboratory of Electronics. Researchers found that a particular superconductor (niobium nitride) didn't fit earlier models estimating the temperature at which it changes from normal conductivity to superconductivity. So the researchers conducted a series of experiments in which they held constant either thickness or “sheet resistance,” the material’s resistance per unit area, while varying the other parameter; they then measured the ensuing changes in critical temperature. A clear pattern emerged: Thickness times critical temperature equaled a constant — call it A — divided by sheet resistance raised to a particular power — call it B. ... The other niobium nitride papers Ivry consulted bore out his predictions, so he began to expand to other superconductors. Each new material he investigated required him to adjust the formula’s constants — A and B. But the general form of the equation held across results reported for roughly three dozen different superconductors.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

Slashdot - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 14:14
An anonymous reader writes: SpaceX has announced that at the conclusion of its next rocket flight, it will attempt a precision landing of its Falcon 9 first stage onto an autonomous ocean platform. They say the odds of success aren't great, but it's the beginning of their work to make this a reality. Quoting: "At 14 stories tall and traveling upwards of 1300 m/s (nearly 1 mi/s), stabilizing the Falcon 9 first stage for reentry is like trying to balance a rubber broomstick on your hand in the middle of a wind storm. To help stabilize the stage and to reduce its speed, SpaceX relights the engines for a series of three burns. The first burn—the boostback burn—adjusts the impact point of the vehicle and is followed by the supersonic retro propulsion burn that, along with the drag of the atmosphere, slows the vehicle's speed from 1300 m/s to about 250 m/s. The final burn is the landing burn, during which the legs deploy and the vehicle's speed is further reduced to around 2 m/s. ... To complicate matters further, the landing site is limited in size and not entirely stationary. The autonomous spaceport drone ship is 300 by 100 feet, with wings that extend its width to 170 feet. While that may sound huge at first, to a Falcon 9 first stage coming from space, it seems very small. The legspan of the Falcon 9 first stage is about 70 feet and while the ship is equipped with powerful thrusters to help it stay in place, it is not actually anchored, so finding the bullseye becomes particularly tricky."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Pass By NullPointer

The Daily WTF - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 12:00

Maxime was having difficulty viewing a website with the NoScript add-on installed to her web browser. It wasn't a huge surprise - some websites just don't work right with NoScript running, but it was a surprise when her browser displayed Java exceptions. Enabling JavaScript made the error page go away, but what? Lack of JavaScript causing Java exceptions!?

She viewed the page source and found that the server expects an "innerCHK" parameter, perhaps some kind of session or security token, to be passed in via URL query string. If it isn't provided, the server returns an error page displaying a java.lang.NullPointerException. Fortunately the front-end developers concocted this brillant snippet of JavaScript to resolve this issue:

// Error check if (document.body.innerHTML.indexOf('java.lang'+'.NullPointerException') != -1){ if (document.location.href.indexOf('innerCHK=') == -1){ document.location.href = document.location.href + "&innerCHK=" + Math.random()*10000 ; } } // End of check

That only scratches the tip of the iceberg; the page is loaded with anti-patterns, reinvented wheels, spare reinvented wheels, and flat reinvented wheels, all held on with duct tape. For a taste of some bizarre string conventions and the developers' pet anti-pattern of closing scripts only to open a new one on the next line, look at how Dojo is imported. Please take note that Dojo's cookie library is imported.

<script type="text/javascript"> if (typeof dojo== "undefined") { document.writeln('<scr'+'ipt src="' + '/wps/themes/./dojo/portal_dojo/dojo/dojo.js' + '"></scr'+'ipt>'); } if (typeof dijit == "undefined") { document.writeln('<scr'+'ipt src="' + '/wps/themes/./dojo/portal_dojo/dijit/dijit.js' + '"></scr'+'ipt>'); } </script> <script type="text/javascript"> dojo.require("dijit.form.Button"); dojo.require("dojo.cookie"); //dojo.require("dijit.form.DropDownButton"); dojo.require("dijit.Dialog"); dojo.require("dijit.form.TextBox"); dojo.require("dijit.form.CheckBox"); dojo.require("dijit.form.ComboBox"); </script>

Some, but not all, of the CSS references are handled in this manner which I found at least three (identical) times in the source. Yet again, Dojo.cookie is imported.

<script name="DojoEnable_script" language="JavaScript">if (typeof dojo == "undefined") { dojo.require("dojo.cookie"); dojo.require("dojo.parser"); djConfig = { parseOnLoad: false, isDebug: false}; document.write("<script src='http://www.****************.com:80/ps/PA_WPF/factory/dojo/dojo/dojo.js'> </" + "script>"); document.write("<link rel='stylesheet' type='text/css' href='http://www.****************.com:80/ps/PA_WPF/factory/dojo/dojo/resources/dojo.css' />"); document.write('<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="http://www.****************.com:80/ps/PA_WPF/factory/dojo/dijit/themes/tundra/tundra.css"/>'); document.write('<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="http://www.****************.com:80/ps/PA_WPF/factory/dojo/dijit/themes/tundra/tundra_rtl.css"/>'); dojo.addOnLoad(function() { if (!document.body.className) document.body.className = 'tundra'}); }

It was once said that if you solve a problem with regular expressions, you now have two problems. I think two is an underestimate.

var locale = 'en'.replace(/_/, '-').replace(/iw/, 'he').toLowerCase();

Remember, children, always use well-named constants! Magic numbers are bad. Except for 2008, that one is okay.

if(typeof (MONTHS_IN_YEAR) == 'undefined') { MONTHS_IN_YEAR = 12; } if (typeof (isDisableDate) == 'undefined') { var isDisableDate = function (date, year, month, iday) { if(date.getFullYear() == 2008) { return true; } return false; } };

No poorly-implemented application is complete without its own poorly-implemented DateTime library. There ought to be a scientific law about this.

var month=new Array(12); month[0]="1"; month[1]="2"; month[2]="3"; month[3]="4"; month[4]="5"; month[5]="6"; month[6]="7"; month[7]="8"; month[8]="9"; month[9]="10"; month[10]="11"; month[11]="12"; if(typeof (MONVALUE) == 'undefined') { MONVALUE = new Array ("Jan", "Feb", "Mar", "Apr", "May", "Jun", "Jul", "Aug", "Sep", "Oct", "Nov", "Dec"); } //function convert date from str to Num function Month2Num(month) { if(month=="JAN")return "01";if(month=="FEB")return "02";if(month=="MAR")return "03";if(month=="APR")return "04";if(month=="MAY")return "05"; if(month=="JUN")return "06";if(month=="JUL")return "07";if(month=="AUG")return "08";if(month=="SEP")return "09";if(month=="OCT")return "10"; if(month=="NOV")return "11";if(month=="DEC")return "12"; }

There are a number of (often duplicate) CSS styles defined, such as this not very blue style.

div.wpfThemeBlueBackgroundPanelTable { background: #F6F9FC; padding: 10px; } /*---- Blue panel ----*/ table.wpfThemeBlueBackgroundPanelTable { background: #F6F9FC; padding: 10px; }

Next up are two identical arrays, only one of which is ever used.

var arr_location_001 = new Array(); var arr_location_002 = new Array(); arr_location_001['AU'] = {value:'AU', title:'australia', text:'Australia'}; arr_location_002['0'] = {value:'AU', title:'australia', text:'Australia'}; arr_location_001['CA'] = {value:'CA', title:'canada', text:'Canada'}; arr_location_002['1'] = {value:'CA', title:'canada', text:'Canada'}; arr_location_001['CN'] = {value:'CN', title:'china', text:'China'}; arr_location_002['2'] = {value:'CN', title:'china', text:'China'}; arr_location_001['FR'] = {value:'FR', title:'france', text:'France'}; arr_location_002['3'] = {value:'FR', title:'france', text:'France'}; arr_location_001['HK'] = {value:'HK', title:'hong_kong', text:'Hong Kong'}; arr_location_002['4'] = {value:'HK', title:'hong_kong', text:'Hong Kong'}; /* snip many, many lines of similar code */

Here's a nice little script which escaped a lot of things, including its own script tags! Bonus points if the developer wrote it while tied up in a straitjacket and locked in a coffin full of scorpions suspended over the Hudson river by a helicopter. (Actually, that might be the sanest explanation for a lot of this code.)

<SPAN name="onloadScript"><input type="hidden">function onSelectInfo(calendar, date, elem_date) { elem_date = document.getElementById(&quot;Day_NArr&quot;); elem_mon_year = document.getElementById(&quot;Month_NArr&quot;); hidden_elem = document.getElementById(&quot;temp_date_NArr&quot;); doOnSelect(calendar, date, elem_date, elem_mon_year, hidden_elem); } Calendar.setup( { inputField : &quot;temp_date_NArr&quot;,// ID of the input field ifFormat : &quot;%b, %e, %Y&quot;, onSelect: onSelectInfo, range : [currentYear, nextYear], dateStatusFunc : dateStatusHandler, button : &quot;cal_dep&quot; // ID of the button } ); var _InfoVerAccurateFunc = clone(accurateDate); initializeDate(new Array('Month_NArr', 'Day_NArr'), _InfoVerAccurateFunc);"> <script type="text/javascript">

Remember all the dojo.cookie imports earlier on? Someone made sure to include a library function for reading cookies. Still, someone else found it necessary to write copy-paste from the Internet a Get_Cookie function, not once, but four times throughout the page source!

function Get_Cookie(check_name) { // first we'll split this cookie up into name/value pairs // note: document.cookie only returns name=value, not the other components var a_all_cookies = document.cookie.split( ';' ); var a_temp_cookie = ''; var cookie_name = ''; var cookie_value = ''; var b_cookie_found = false; for (i = 0; i < a_all_cookies.length; i++) { // now we'll split apart each name=value pair a_temp_cookie = a_all_cookies[i].split( '=' ); // and trim left/right whitespace while we're at it cookie_name = a_temp_cookie[0].replace(/^\s+|\s+$/g, ''); // if the extracted name matches passed check_name if (cookie_name == check_name) { b_cookie_found = true; // we need to handle case where cookie has no value but exists (no = sign, that is): if ( a_temp_cookie.length > 1 ) { cookie_value = unescape(a_temp_cookie[1].replace(/^\s+|\s+$/g, '')); } // note that in cases where cookie is initialized but no value, null is returned return cookie_value; break; } a_temp_cookie = null; cookie_name = ''; } if (!b_cookie_found) { return null; } }

I think the software development method used by this team was a new-fangled system called "Mash the CTRL-C and CTRL-V keys!!!!!!11!!!!11!11" It's sure to overtake Agile in the coming years.

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Categories: Fun/Other

Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Slashdot - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 11:17
HughPickens.com writes: Claire Cain Miller notes at the NY Times that economists long argued that, just as buggy-makers gave way to car factories, technology used to create as many jobs as it destroyed. But now there is deep uncertainty about whether the pattern will continue, as two trends are interacting. First, artificial intelligence has become vastly more sophisticated in a short time, with machines now able to learn, not just follow programmed instructions, and to respond to human language and movement. At the same time, the American work force has gained skills at a slower rate than in the past — and at a slower rate than in many other countries. Self-driving vehicles are an example of the crosscurrents. Autonomous cars could put truck and taxi drivers out of work — or they could enable drivers to be more productive during the time they used to spend driving, which could earn them more money. But for the happier outcome to happen, the drivers would need the skills to do new types of jobs. When the University of Chicago asked a panel of leading economists about automation, 76 percent agreed that it had not historically decreased employment. But when asked about the more recent past, they were less sanguine. About 33 percent said technology was a central reason that median wages had been stagnant over the past decade, 20 percent said it was not and 29 percent were unsure. Perhaps the most worrisome development is how poorly the job market is already functioning for many workers. More than 16 percent of men between the ages of 25 and 54 are not working, up from 5 percent in the late 1960s; 30 percent of women in this age group are not working, up from 25 percent in the late 1990s. For those who are working, wage growth has been weak, while corporate profits have surged. "We're going to enter a world in which there's more wealth and less need to work," says Erik Brynjolfsson. "That should be good news. But if we just put it on autopilot, there's no guarantee this will work out."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Spacecraft Spots Probable Waves On Titan's Seas

Slashdot - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 09:36
sciencehabit writes: It's springtime on Titan, Saturn's giant and frigid moon, and the action on its hydrocarbon seas seems to be heating up. Near the moon's north pole, there is growing evidence for waves on three different seas, scientists reported at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Researchers are also coming up with the first estimates for the volume and composition of the seas. The bodies of water appear to be made mostly of methane, and not mostly ethane as previously thought. And they are deep: Ligeia Mare, the second biggest sea with an area larger than Lake Superior, could contain 55 times Earth's oil reserves.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Researchers Accidentally Discover How To Turn Off Skin Aging Gene

Slashdot - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 08:12
BarbaraHudson sends this excerpt from The Province: While exploring the effects of the protein-degrading enzyme Granzyme B on blood vessels during heart attacks, professor David Granville and other researchers at the University of British Columbia couldn't help noticing that mice engineered to lack the enzyme had beautiful skin at the end of the experiment, while normal mice showed signs of age. The discovery pushed Granville's research in an unexpected new direction. The researchers built a mechanized rodent tanning salon and exposed mice engineered to lack the enzyme and normal mice to UV light three times a week for 20 weeks, enough to cause redness, but not to burn. At the end of the experiment, the engineered mice still had smooth, unblemished skin, while the normal mice were deeply wrinkled. Granzyme B breaks down proteins and interferes with the organization and the integrity of collagen, dismantling the scaffolding — or extra-cellular matrix — that cells bind to. This causes structural weakness, leading to wrinkles. Sunlight appears to increase levels of the enzyme and accelerate its damaging effects.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

ODF Support In Google Drive

Slashdot - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 07:21
An anonymous reader writes: Google's Chris DiBona told a London conference last week that ODF support was coming next year, but today the Google Drive team unexpectedly launched support for all three of the main variants — including long-absent Presentation files. You can now simply open ODT, ODS and ODP files in Drive with no fuss. It lacks support for comments and changes but at least it shows progress towards full support of the international document standard, something conspicuously missing for many years.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

Slashdot - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 06:12
New submitter aquadood writes: According to the Sunlight Foundation's analysis of recent comment submissions to the FCC regarding Net Neutrality, the majority (56.5%) were submitted by a single organization called American Commitment, which has "shadowy" ties to the Koch brothers' network. The blog article goes on to break down the comments in-depth, showing a roughly 60/40 split between those against net neutrality and those for it, respectively.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

A Domain Registrar Is Starting a Fiber ISP To Compete With Comcast

Slashdot - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 04:09
Jason Koebler writes: Tucows Inc., an internet company that's been around since the early 90s — it's generally known for being in the shareware business and for registering and selling premium domain names — announced that it's becoming an internet service provider. Tucows will offer fiber internet to customers in Charlottesville, Virginia — which is served by Comcast and CenturyLink — in early 2015 and eventually wants to expand to other markets all over the country. "Everyone who has built a well-run gigabit network has had demand exceeding their expectations," Elliot Noss, Tucows' CEO said. "We think there's space in the market for businesses like us and smaller."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

11 Trillion Gallons of Water Needed To End California Drought

Slashdot - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 02:06
mrflash818 points out a new study which found that California can recover from its lengthy drought with a mere 11 trillion gallons of water. The volume this water would occupy (roughly 42 cubic kilometers) is half again as large as the biggest water reservoir in the U.S. A team of JPL scientists worked this out through the use of NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites. From the article: GRACE data reveal that, since 2011, the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins decreased in volume by four trillion gallons of water each year (15 cubic kilometers). That's more water than California's 38 million residents use each year for domestic and municipal purposes. About two-thirds of the loss is due to depletion of groundwater beneath California's Central Valley. ... New drought maps show groundwater levels across the U.S. Southwest are in the lowest two to 10 percent since 1949.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Brain Stimulation For Entertainment?

Slashdot - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 01:26
An anonymous reader writes: Transcranial magnetic stimulation has been used for years to diagnose and treat neural disorders such as stroke, Alzheimer's, and depression. Soon the medical technique could be applied to virtual reality and entertainment. Neuroscientist Jeffrey Zacks writes, "it's quite likely that some kind of electromagnetic brain stimulation for entertainment will become practical in the not-too-distant future." Imagine an interactive movie where special effects are enhanced by zapping parts of the brain from outside to make the action more vivid. Before brain stimulation makes it to the masses, however, it has plenty of technical and safety hurdles to overcome.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

Slashdot - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 00:44
An anonymous reader sends this quote from TechDirt: As a string of whistle blowers like former AT&T employee Mark Klein have made clear abundantly clear, the line purportedly separating intelligence operations from the nation's incumbent phone companies was all-but obliterated long ago. As such, it's relatively amusing to see Verizon announce this week that the company is offering up a new encrypted wireless voice service named Voice Cypher. Voice Cypher, Verizon states, offers "end-to-end" encryption for voice calls on iOS, Android, or BlackBerry devices equipped with a special app made by Cellcrypt. Verizon says it's initially pitching the $45 per phone service to government agencies and corporations, but would ultimately love to offer it to consumers as a line item on your bill. Of course by "end-to-end encryption," Verizon means that the new $45 per phone service includes an embedded NSA backdoor free of charge. Apparently, in Verizon-land, "end-to-end encryption" means something entirely different than it does in the real world.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Dr. Dobb's 38-Year Run Comes To an End

Slashdot - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 00:01
An anonymous reader writes: Dr. Dobb's — long time icon of programming magazines — "sunsets" at the end of the year. Editor Andrew Binstock says despite growing traffic numbers, the decline in revenue from ads means there will be no new content posted after 2014 ends. (The site will stay up for at least a year, hopefully longer.) Younger people may not care, but for the hard core old guys, it marks the end of a world where broad knowledge of computers and being willing to create solutions instead of reuse them was valuable. Binstock might disagree; he said, "As our page views show, the need for an independent site with in-depth articles, code, algorithms, and reliable product reviews is still very much present. And I will dearly miss that content. I wish I could point you to another site that does similar work, but alas, I know of none."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Attorney Yasir Billoo Explains NDA Law (Video)

Slashdot - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 23:20
Yasir Billoo, an attorney with Golden & Grimes in Miami, Florida, is licensed to practice law in both Florida and California, and works heavily in the areas of business/commercial law, employment and labor, and civil appeals. Yasir also has a business-oriented blog titled Small Business Law. In this Slashdot video interview hosted by Timothy Lord, Yasir gives what is essentially a primer on the law behind Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and how they differ from Non-Competes. Sooner or later you're going to encounter -- or even write -- an NDA, and you'd better know the law behind what you're doing. Naturally, today's interview isn't specific legal advice about a particular situation. If you want that, you need to hire a lawyer to advise you. But Yasir (a long-time Slashdot reader. BTW) has shared enough knowledge in this interview that it will help you deal with many NDA situations on your own, and how to tell when you really should have a lawyer by your side. (Alternate Video Link )

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Curiosity Detects Mysterious Methane Spikes On Mars

Slashdot - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 22:37
astroengine writes: A gas strongly associated with life on Earth has been detected again in the Martian atmosphere, opening a new chapter in a decade-old mystery about the on-again, off-again appearance of methane on Mars. The latest discovery comes from NASA's Curiosity rover, which in addition to analyzing rocks and soil samples, is sniffing the air at its Gale Crater landing site. A year ago, scientists reported that Curiosity had come up empty-handed after an eight-month search for methane in the atmosphere, leaving earlier detections by ground-based telescopes and Mars-orbiting spacecraft an unexplained anomaly. "We thought we had closed the book on methane. It was disappointing to a lot of people that there wasn't significant methane on Mars, but that's where we were," Curiosity scientist Christopher Webster with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., told Discovery News.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

Slashdot - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 21:54
An anonymous reader writes: I graduated with a degree in the liberal arts (English) in 2010 after having transferred from a Microbiology program (not for lack of ability, but for an enlightening class wherein we read Portrait of the Artist). Now, a couple years on, I'm 25, and though I very much appreciate my education for having taught me a great deal about abstraction, critical thinking, research, communication, and cheesily enough, humanity, I realize that I should have stuck with the STEM field. I've found that the jobs available to me are not exactly up my alley, and that I can better impact the world, and make myself happier, doing something STEM-related (preferably within the space industry — so not really something that's easy to just jump into). With a decent amount of student debt already amassed, how can I best break into the STEM world? I'm already taking online courses where I can, and enjoy doing entry-level programming, maths, etc. Should I continue picking things up where and when I can? Would it be wiser for me to go deeper into debt and get a second undergrad degree? Or should I try to go into grad school after doing some of my own studying up? Would the military be a better choice? Would it behoove me to just start trying to find STEM jobs and learn on the go (I know many times experience speaks louder to employers than a college degree might)? Or perhaps I should find a non-STEM job with a company that would allow me to transfer into that company's STEM work? I'd be particularly interested in hearing from people who have been in my position and from employers who have experience with employees who were in my position, but any insight would be welcome.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

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