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Display this news only Nasa's Voyager 2 Probe 'Leaves the Solar System'
12/10/18English
Slashdot The Voyager 2 probe, which left Earth in 1977, has become the second human-made object to leave our Solar System. From a report: It was launched 16 days before its twin craft, Voyager 1, but that probe's faster trajectory meant that it was in "the space between the stars" six years before Voyager 2. The news was revealed at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in Washington. And chief scientist on the mission, Prof Edward Stone, confirmed it.

He said both probes had now "made it into interstellar space" and that Voyager 2's date of departure from the Solar System was 5 November 2018. On that date, the steady stream of particles emitted from the Sun that were being detected by the probe suddenly dipped. This indicated that it had crossed the "heliopause" -- the term for the outer edge of the Sun's protective bubble of particles and magnetic field. And while its twin craft beat it to this boundary, the US space agency says that Voyager 2 has a working instrument aboard that will provide "first-of-its-kind observations of the nature of this gateway into interstellar space".


Display this news only NASA's InSight Lander Captures First 'Sounds' of Wind On Mars
12/08/18English
Slashdot NASA's InSight lander, which touched down on Mars less than two weeks ago, has recorded vibrations -- low-pitched, guttural rumblings -- caused by wind blowing across the science instruments on the spacecraft's deck. NBC News reports: Unaltered, these vibrations are barely audible, because they were recorded at a frequency of 50 hertz, at the low end of what the human ear can detect, according to Thomas Pike, the lead scientist for InSight's Short Period Seismometer, one of two instruments that picked up the subtle movements. NASA also released a sample of the same audio file that was shifted up about six octaves, to within a range audible to humans. That recording -- which at times sounds like a regular blustery day on Earth and other times has the muted, hollow quality reminiscent of being underwater -- would essentially be what a person would hear if they were sitting on the InSight lander on Mars, said Don Banfield, the science lead for InSight's air pressure sensor and a planetary scientist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. NASA believes the wind in the recordings was blowing at 10-15 miles per hour from northwest to southeast.

Display this news only We're No Longer in Smartphone Plateau. We're in the Smartphone Decline.
12/05/18English
Slashdot The days of double-digit smartphone growth are over -- and the next decade may start to see smartphone sales decline. A report adds: From roughly 2007 until 2013, the smartphone market grew at an astonishing pace, posting double-digit growth year after year, even during a global recession. They were the good years, the type that would inspire a Scorsese montage: millions and then billions of smartphones going out; billions and then trillions of dollars in rising company valuations; every year new models of phones hitting the market, held up triumphantly at events that were part sales pitch, part tent revival. (To nail the Scorsese effect, imagine "Jumpin' Jack Flash" playing while you think about it.)

But just like every Scorsese movie, the party ends. Smartphone growth began to slow starting in 2013 or 2014. In 2016, it was suddenly in the single digits, and in 2017 global smartphone shipments, for the first time, actually declined -- fewer smartphones were sold than in 2017 than in 2016. Every smartphone manufacturer is now facing a world where, at best, they can hope for single-digit growth in smartphone sales -- and many seem to be preparing for a world where they face declines.


Display this news only Is Linux Taking Over The World?
12/01/18English
Slashdot "2019 just might be the Year of Linux -- the year in which Linux is fully recognized as the powerhouse it has become," writes Network World's "Unix dweeb." The fact is that most people today are using Linux without ever knowing it -- whether on their phones, online when using Google, Facebook, Twitter, GPS devices, and maybe even in their cars, or when using cloud storage for personal or business use. While the presence of Linux on all of these systems may go largely unnoticed by consumers, the role that Linux plays in this market is a sign of how critical it has become. Most IoT and embedded devices -- those small, limited functionality devices that require good security and a small footprint and fill so many niches in our technology-driven lives -- run some variety of Linux, and this isn't likely to change. Instead, we'll just be seeing more devices and a continued reliance on open source to drive them.

According to the Cloud Industry Forum, for the first time, businesses are spending more on cloud than on internal infrastructure. The cloud is taking over the role that data centers used to play, and it's largely Linux that's making the transition so advantageous. Even on Microsoft's Azure, the most popular operating system is Linux. In its first Voice of the Enterprise survey, 451 Research predicted that 60 percent of nearly 1,000 IT leaders surveyed plan to run the majority of their IT off premises by 2019. That equates to a lot of IT efforts relying on Linux. Gartner states that 80 percent of internally developed software is now either cloud-enabled or cloud-native.

The article also cites Linux's use in AI, data lakes, and in the Sierra supercomputer that monitors America's nuclear stockpile, concluding that "In its domination of IoT, cloud technology, supercomputing and AI, Linux is heading into 2019 with a lot of momentum."

And there's even a long list of upcoming Linux conferences...

Display this news only NASA's InSight Successfully Lands on Mars
11/26/18English
Slashdot NASA's latest Mars lander, InSight, successfully touched down on the surface of the Red Planet moments ago, surviving an intense plunge through the Martian atmosphere. From a report: It marks the eighth picture-perfect landing on Mars for NASA, adding to the space agency's impressive track record of putting spacecraft on the planet. And now, InSight's two-year mission has begun, one that entails listening for Marsquakes to learn about the world's interior. After six and a half months of traveling through space, InSight hit the top of Mars' atmosphere a little before 3PM ET. It then made a daring descent to the surface, performing a complex multi-step routine that slowed the lander from more than 12,000 miles per hour to just 5 miles per hour before it hit the ground. To get to the surface safely, InSight had to autonomously deploy a supersonic parachute, gather radar measurements, and ignite its thrusters all at the right time. Altogether, the landing took just under seven minutes to complete, prompting the nickname "seven minutes of terror." "InSight's view is a flat, smooth expanse called Elysium Planitia, but its workspace is below the surface, where it will study Mars' deep interior," Nasa posted Monday, sharing the first photo after the landing.

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