Divorce dispute leads to accusation of crime in space

This is one spaceflight milestone that NASA isn’t about to celebrate. Former Air Force intelligence officer Summer Worden and her family have filed complaints accusing Worden’s estranged spouse, astronaut Anne McClain (above), of committing a crime…

Source: Engadget – Divorce dispute leads to accusation of crime in space

'Cheating Volkswagen Diesels Have Become A Hot Commodity'

Remember the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal? “In the end, after paying huge fines and seeing key executives head to prison, VW agreed to buy back nearly 380,000 of the offending cars in the United States, to fix or scrap,” reports the New York Times.

But this week the director of industry analytics for online car marketplace CarGurus tells them that VW has now added more share in certified pre-owned sales than any other brand.
Jalopnik reports:
The resulting used VWs are surprisingly compelling, which is why — according to a report from the New York Times — people can’t get enough of them… That demand, the story says, is driven by the vehicles’ impressive fuel economy, the warranty that the government required VW to offer on all re-sold vehicles, and the dearth of other diesel car options on the market… It’s an interesting look at how these once vilified automobiles have once again fallen into favor thanks to what what made the vehicles popular in the first place: They are just impressively fuel efficient. Oh, and the government-mandated warranty, too. That helps.

Aexecutive analyst at J.D. Power Valuation Services tells the Times that a used VW now costs about the same as a gas model.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – ‘Cheating Volkswagen Diesels Have Become A Hot Commodity’

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Estimate the Cost of an Algorithm Turned Into an ASIC?

“Another coder and I are exploring the possibility of having a video-processing algorithm written in C turned into an ASIC (“Application Specific Integrated Circuit”) hardware chip that could go inside various consumer electronics devices,” writes Slashdot reader dryriver.

The problem? There seems to be very little good information on how much a 20Kb, or 50Kb or indeed a 150Kb algorithm written in the C language would cost to turn in an ASIC or “Custom Chip”.

We’ve been told that “the chip-design engineering fees alone would likely start at around $500,000.” We’ve been told “the cost per ASIC will fluctuate wildly depending on whether you are having 50,000 ASICS manufactured or 5 million ASICs manufactured.” Is there some rough way to calculate from the source code size of an algorithm — lets say 100 Kilobytes of C code, or 1000 lines of code — a rough per-unit estimate of how much the ASIC hardware equivalent might cost to make?

Why do we need this? Because we want to pitch our video processing tech to a company that makes consumer products, and they will likely ask us, “So… how many dollars of extra cost will this new video processing chip of yours add to our existing products?”

There were some interesting suggestions on the original submission, including the possibility of C to HDL converters or a system on a chip (SoC). But are there any other good alternatives? Leave your own thoughts here in the comments.

How do you estimate the cost of an algorithm turned into an ASIC?

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Source: Slashdot – Ask Slashdot: How Do You Estimate the Cost of an Algorithm Turned Into an ASIC?

Scientists bioprint living tissue in a matter of seconds

Bioprinting holds great potential for repairing injuries, testing drugs or replacing whole organs, but it’s currently limited in complexity, viability and speed — you can’t just create tissue on a whim. Soon, though, it might be a matter of craftin…

Source: Engadget – Scientists bioprint living tissue in a matter of seconds

UK Cybersecurity Agency Urges Devs To Drop Python 2

Python’s End-of-Life date is 129 days away, warns the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). “There will be no more bug fixes, or security updates, from Python’s core developers.”

An anonymous reader quotes ZDNet:

The UK’s cyber-security agency warned developers Thursday to consider moving Python 2.x codebases to the newer 3.x branch due to the looming end-of-life of Python 2, scheduled for January 1, 2020… “If you continue to use unsupported modules, you are risking the security of your organisation and data, as vulnerabilities will sooner or later appear which nobody is fixing.”

“If you maintain a library that other developers depend on, you may be preventing them from updating to 3,” the agency added. “By holding other developers back, you are indirectly and likely unintentionally increasing the security risks of others… If migrating your code base to Python 3 is not possible, another option is to pay a commercial company to support Python 2 for you,” the NCSC said.

The agency warns that companies who don’t invest in migrating their Python 2.x code might end up in the same position as Equifax or the WannaCry victims. “At the NCSC we are always stressing the importance of patching. It’s not always easy, but patching is one of the most fundamental things you can do to secure your technology,” the agency said. “The WannaCry ransomware provides a classic example of what can happen if you run unsupported software,” it said. “By making the decision to continue using Python 2 past its end of life, you are accepting all the risks that come with using unsupported software, while knowing that a secure version is available.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – UK Cybersecurity Agency Urges Devs To Drop Python 2

DNC Votes 222-137 Against Allowing Candidates to Participate in Climate Debate

Democratic National Committee delegates in San Francisco voted against allowing candidates to participate in a primary debate focused on climate change, per the Mercury News, in a contentious 222-137 vote that comes amid ongoing devastation in the Amazon rainforest and growing evidence that scientists have…

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Source: Gizmodo – DNC Votes 222-137 Against Allowing Candidates to Participate in Climate Debate

New Footage From Mulan Was Filled With a Whirlwind of Emotions

Among the many, many movies Disney talked about at their big panel at the D23 Expo on Saturday, few were as stunning as Mulan. Director Niki Caro took the stage and debuted an extended look at the film, which had action, humor, heartbreak, and more.

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Source: io9 – New Footage From Mulan Was Filled With a Whirlwind of Emotions

First Alleged Crime In Space?

bobstreo tipped us off to an interesting story. The BBC reports that NASA “is reported to be investigating a claim that an astronaut accessed the bank account of her estranged spouse from the International Space Station, in what may be the first allegation of a crime committed in space.”

Anne McClain acknowledges accessing the account from the ISS but denies any wrongdoing, the New York Times reports… The astronaut told the New York Times through a lawyer that she was merely making sure that the family’s finances were in order and there was enough money to pay bills and care for Ms Worden’s son — who they had been raising together prior to the split. “She strenuously denies that she did anything improper,” said her lawyer, Rusty Hardin, adding that Ms McClain was “totally co-operating…”

Her estranged spouse, Summer Worden, reportedly filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Ms McClain has since returned to Earth…

Ms McClain graduated from the prestigious West Point military academy and flew more than 800 combat hours over Iraq as an Army pilot. She went on to qualify as a test pilot and was chosen to fly for NASA in 2013.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – First Alleged Crime In Space?

Brazil Tries Deploying Its Military To Fight Fires in the Amazon

“As an ecological disaster in the Amazon escalated into a global political crisis, Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, took the rare step on Friday of mobilising the armed forces to help contain blazes of a scale not seen in nearly a decade,” reports the New York Times:

The sudden reversal, after days of dismissing growing concern over hundreds of fires raging across the Amazon, came as international outrage grew over the rising deforestation in the world’s largest tropical rainforest. European leaders threatened to cancel a major trade deal, protesters staged demonstrations outside Brazilian embassies and calls for a boycott of Brazilian products snowballed on social media. As a chorus of condemnation intensified, Brazil braced for the prospect of punitive measures that could severely damage an economy that is already sputtering…

“[E]xperts say the clearing of land during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing has accelerated the deforestation,” reports AFP. “More than half of the fires are in the Amazon, and some 1,663 new fires were ignited between Thursday and Friday, according to the National Institute for Space Research.”

terrancem quotes the non-profit environmental news site Mongabay:
High-resolution images from satellite company Planet are revealing glimpses of some of the fires currently devastating the Amazon rainforest… Beyond dramatic snapshots, those images also provide data that can be mined for critical insights into what’s happening in the Amazon on a basin-wide scale, according to Greg Asner, the director of the Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science at Arizona State University, whose team is using Planet’s data to assess the impact of the fires on carbon emissions.

“If you took all of the carbon stored in every tropical forest on Earth and burned it up, you would emit about five times the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that is already there. The Amazon rainforest represents about half of this forest carbon to give you an idea of how serious this current situation is and the kind of impact it will have on climate change.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Brazil Tries Deploying Its Military To Fight Fires in the Amazon

New Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Footage Featured Rey in a Black Hood With a Dual Red Lightsaber

Fans have been clamoring for a new glimpse at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ever since the first trailer debuted in April. And, at this year’s D23 Expo, director J.J. Abrams didn’t disappoint.

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Source: io9 – New Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Footage Featured Rey in a Black Hood With a Dual Red Lightsaber

Everything We Learned About Disney's Upcoming Movies: Frozen 2, Cruella, Pixar's Soul, and More

Holy cow. There was more than just Marvel movies and Star Wars at D23 Expo’s Disney movie panel today. Here’s everything you need to know from the broader Disney umbrella.

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Source: io9 – Everything We Learned About Disney’s Upcoming Movies: Frozen 2, Cruella, Pixar’s Soul, and More

ITER: 'Where the Sun Will Be Re-Born on Earth'

Long-time Slashdot reader rinka shares an article about “the place where the Sun will be re-born on Earth”:

The world’s best scientists are trying to create a ‘miniature Sun’ on Earth to tap its fusion energy, costing over €20 billion… [G]lobally ITER is the most expensive science project on Earth ever to be undertaken in the 21st century. The total weight of the ITER reactor will be about 28,000 tonnes…

Being made collaboratively by USA, Russia, South Korea, China, Japan, European Union and India as equal partners or participating in this mega effort are countries that together hold 50% of the world’s population accounting for about 85% of the global GDP… Dr Mark Henderson, a scientist at ITER, said, “This place to me is the coolest place on Earth, because here in the near future we will have a little Sun on Earth and it will be a 150 million degrees Celsius so it will be the hottest place on Earth, ten times hotter than our Sun….”

The project is a herculean effort and operations are expected to start by 2025. Later a full scale electricity generating unit called the DEMO reactor is scheduled to be completed by 2040… On being asked how much carbon dioxide the main culprit for global warming would be released from the ITER project Dr Luce quips “only the carbon dioxide the scientists exhale”. The radioactive substances generated from reactions would be the sort that can die off in a hundred years.

Its ultimate goal is to create “an unlimited supply of clean energy.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – ITER: ‘Where the Sun Will Be Re-Born on Earth’

Tesla's solar panels reportedly caught fire at an Amazon warehouse

Walmart recently filed a lawsuit against Tesla after its solar panel installations on seven of the retail giant’s stores caught fire. The retail corporation accused Elon Musk’s company of poor safety practices, such as not grounding electrical system…

Source: Engadget – Tesla’s solar panels reportedly caught fire at an Amazon warehouse