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[October 24th, 2018] Sci-Tech News Megapack

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    [October 24th, 2018] Sci-Tech News Megapack

    Nobel prizewinner working on making nuclear waste safe
    Mourou, along with his former student Donna Strickland, won the Nobel for research into lasers, or more precisely, inventing a technique called Chirped Pulse Amplification, developed in the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester in the USA.

    CPA is a method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses. Mourou and Strickland found that stretching a laser out reduced its peak power, which could then be greatly amplified using normal instruments. It could then be compressed to create short-lived, highly powerful lasers, so short in time and so incredibly sharp that they can be used to make extremely accurate cuts, improving the techniques of laser machining, and eye surgery.

    The pair were probably unaware of it at the time, but their new tool opened up ways of studying natural phenomena in unprecedented ways.
    New CRISPR tool opens up more of the genome for editing
    The genome editing system CRISPR has become a hugely important tool in medical research, and could ultimately have a significant impact in fields such as agriculture, bioenergy, and food security. The targeting system can travel to different points on the genome, guided by a short sequence of RNA, where a DNA-cutting enzyme known as Cas9 then makes the desired edits.However, despite the gene-editing tool's considerable success, CRISPR-Cas9 remains limited in the number of locations it can visit on the genome.
    MIT punches out cell-sized robots made of graphene
    Robots are getting smaller and smaller, from the size of bugs down to tiny bead-shaped robots that could one day swim through the body to monitor health or deliver medication. MIT engineers recently managed to create cell-sized robots that could collect data about their environment, but were a little tricky to manufacture. Now, the team has found a way to mass produce these synthetic cells (syncells) through controlled fracturing of graphene.
    Synopsis: Inching Closer to CP Violation in Neutrinos
    Nature must treat matter and antimatter differently, otherwise the early Universe would have created both in equal amounts. However, most particles obey “CP symmetry,” which states that the laws of physics are the same if a particle is swapped with a mirror reflection of its antiparticle. Quarks violate this symmetry but not by enough to explain matter’s dominance over antimatter. Now, researchers with the T2K Collaboration report with improved statistical confidence that CP symmetry is violated in neutrinos.

    Neutrinos and antineutrinos come in three different flavors—electron, muon, and tau—and can change from one flavor to another. If CP symmetry is respected, then neutrinos and antineutrinos should have the same probability of making this change. To see if this symmetry holds, the T2K team has been firing beams of muon neutrinos and antineutrinos from the J-PARC facility in Japan to the Super-Kamiokande neutrino detector, 295 km away (see 10 February 2014 Viewpoint). There, they tally how many muon neutrinos morphed into their electron counterparts en route.
    Memo to Microsoft: Windows 10 is broken, and the fixes can't wait
    Windows isn't working – and Microsoft urgently needs to change how it develops the platform, and jettison three filthy practices it has acquired in recent years.

    In 2014 Microsoft decided it could do a better job if it discarded a lot of software testers. This bright new dawn was lauded at the time by Peter Bright at Ars Technica in a piece titled "How Microsoft dragged its development practices into the 21st century". Testers were soooo 20th century.

    The previous month, Microsoft had laid off many of its Windows testers.
    Rusakov's Signature
    I'm a fan of anthro cartoons.
  • #2



    What a wonderfully complex piece of software, right? But what an also immensely infuriating piece of software, often, too.

    I've never been able to understand why Microsoft does what it does with Windows. First, they make Windows 95, which was a step up from Windows 3.1. Then they upgrade it to Windows98. Which is supposed to be an improved version of 95.

    But which... wasn't. It was buggy as all heck, crashed a lot and had users wishing, wishing that there was another company out there making software they could use instead!

    And then, at long last, along came WindowsXP.

    And darn, if that wasn't a nice piece of software. It was stable, it worked great and it was even fun to use. Then Microsoft made another nice leap forward with Windows7.

    Or... was that the other way around? I don't remember. But either way, both were excellent pieces of software.

    And somewhere in there, or after somewhere, there came Windows Vista.

    "Ooh! That looks cool! Gotta have that!"

    But then, when you have it, you get to be schooled on how to hate Microsoft, and how much you love to hate them, all over again. You all probably remember it, so I think there's no need to elaborate. I'll only suffice it to say that it was... bad.

    After that, came a ray of sunlight again. We got a stable, nice to use and easy to use software platform again.

    For a while.

    Then along comes Microsoft with Windows Metro.

    Like... what? This isn't even Windows anymore!

    The development team for that abomination got fired for their trouble. Score one for Microsoft. Then score another for them when they fixed that horror.

    Then we're all swimming along nicely again, enjoying what Microsoft changed that abhorrence into.

    But then wait! A couple of years later, maybe a few, and we're back to 'WTF!!!' again! They had just released an update that broke about half of their stuff! And this was just a few months ago, after Microsoft had learned, what we thought was, a great deal of lessons about what their customers wanted!

    But nope. From hubris, not caring, or whatever, they had just foisted another abomination on us, and doing it upon a platform we all loved and enjoyed!

    Will Microsoft never learn?

    God. I hope so. Because like, I just want something that works! Like, starts up whenever I start my computer up, and just want to do the stuff I ordinarily do on it! Is that asking too much?!

    But apparently so! It apparently is! Mayhap Bill Gates ought to come off of his yacht every once in a while, or out of that multi-million-dollar fully automated mansion of his and take a look around his company to see what's going on! Because I'm here to tell you, if he does, he's going to see a lot of disgruntled, lugubrious and even angry faces looking back at him! Not from in his company, but from the people who rely upon it!


    Do it right, Microsoft! Will ya? We like ya! We wanna love ya! And we would if only you'd just friggin LET us!

    Will you do that for us?! We would surely appreciate it if you would!
    Rick Canaan's Signature
    A balanced diet is an ice cream cone in each hand - Rick Canaan


    • #3

      When it comes to Windows 10, I think Microsoft needs to realize that this biannual release cycle isn't working. Windows is a massively complex codebase full of kluges and hacks. It's a wonder that it works at all. They insist, though, on pushing out two feature updates a year, despite the fact that nobody really wants most of the features. They have an Insider program where they're supposed to take feedback from testers, which they then ignore or never see. Basically, some adult supervision is required over there.

      It won't be Bill Gates, though. He's been gone from there for many years. Besides which, I don't think he'd be the right person to fix this problem, as he contributed to the culture that got them into this mess to begin with.

      Nice share, as usual, Rusakov
      Daryn's Signature

      “Just when you think humanity has found the limits of stupid, they go and ratchet up the standard by another notch.” - Bob


      • #4

        Thanks guys!

        Daryn When you mentioned kludges I was reminded on how the Win32 API was written before decent C++ standardization, so now it has all sorts of quirks and kludges and stuff that can't be fixed because now too much entrenched software actually depends on said quirks.

        Rick Canaan In defense of Vista the release was a bit jump-the-gun in that hardware at the time was a bit too expensive to run it in Aero Glass mode (which was on by default, a strike against MS there) and most of the issues were fixed in the first service pack for it. Though by that time stuff like this was entrenched into the popular imagination so they had to push out an adjusted version of Vista and labeled it Windows 7.

        Also Windows XP wasn't exactly awesome when it started off either. It was affected by tons of worms, viruses and malware problems (Blaster, Nimda) due to poor design decisions. Again, this was fixed via a service pack. But nobody seems to remember what XP was like before that.
        Rusakov's Signature
        I'm a fan of anthro cartoons.