Oggi e' 20.10.2018
Sei qui: Home arrow Slashdot
Slashdot
Slashdot
News for nerds, stuff that matters

Slashdot
  • Bloodhound's 1,000 MPH Car Project Needs Money
    AmiMoJo quotes the Guardian: Plans to build a British jet-powered car to speed at more than 1,000mph through the desert have hit quicksand, after the company behind the Bloodhound project entered administration. The dream of an ultra-fast car to break the land speed record led to the creation of Bloodhound Programme Ltd in 2007, with the idea of also engaging schools and students in engineering. Bloodhound has already built and tested a viable racing car to speeds of 200mph, but the project is in debt and needs to find £25m or face being wound up... Bloodhound said its programme had been a catalyst for research and development, as well as helping interest schoolchildren worldwide in science and engineering, with an associated educational campaign reaching more than 2 million children... The planned car is a combination of jet, F1 car and spaceship that would cover the length of four and a half football pitches in a second.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Researchers Secretly Deployed A Bot That Submitted Bug-Fixing Pull Requests
    An anonymous reader quotes Martin Monperrus, a professor of software at Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology: Repairnator is a bot. It constantly monitors software bugs discovered during continuous integration of open-source software and tries to fix them automatically. If it succeeds to synthesize a valid patch, Repairnator proposes the patch to the human developers, disguised under a fake human identity. To date, Repairnator has been able to produce 5 patches that were accepted by the human developers and permanently merged in the code base... It analyzes bugs and produces patches, in the same way as human developers involved in software maintenance activities. This idea of a program repair bot is disruptive, because today humans are responsible for fixing bugs. In others words, we are talking about a bot meant to (partially) replace human developers for tedious tasks.... [F]or a patch to be human-competitive 1) the bot has to synthesize the patch faster than the human developer 2) the patch has to be judged good-enough by the human developer and permanently merged in the code base.... We believe that Repairnator prefigures a certain future of software development, where bots and humans will smoothly collaborate and even cooperate on software artifacts. Their fake identity was a software engineer named Luc Esape, with a profile picture that "looks like a junior developer, eager to make open-source contributions... humans tend to have a priori biases against machines, and are more tolerant to errors if the contribution comes from a human peer. In the context of program repair, this means that developers may put the bar higher on the quality of the patch, if they know that the patch comes from a bot." The researchers proudly published the approving comments on their merged patches -- although a conundrum arose when repairnator submitted a patch for Eclipse Ditto, only to be told that "We can only accept pull-requests which come from users who signed the Eclipse Foundation Contributor License Agreement." "We were puzzled because a bot cannot physically or morally sign a license agreement and is probably not entitled to do so. Who owns the intellectual property and responsibility of a bot contribution: the robot operator, the bot implementer or the repair algorithm designer?"

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • NASA Has Explored Manned Missions To Venus
    NASA recently developed a program for manned missions to explore Venus -- even though the planet's surface is 860 degrees, which NASA explains is "hot enough to melt lead." Long-time Slashdot reader Zorro shares this week's article from Newsweek: As surprising as it may seem, the upper atmosphere of Venus is the most Earth-like location in the solar system. Between altitudes of 30 miles and 40 miles, the pressure and temperature can be compared to regions of the Earth's lower atmosphere. The atmospheric pressure in the Venusian atmosphere at 34 miles is about half that of the pressure at sea level on Earth. In fact you would be fine without a pressure suit, as this is roughly equivalent to the air pressure you would encounter at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Nor would you need to insulate yourself as the temperature here ranges between 68 degrees Fahrenheit and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The atmosphere above this altitude is also dense enough to protect astronauts from ionising radiation from space. The closer proximity of the sun provides an even greater abundance of available solar radiation than on Earth, which can be used to generate power (approximately 1.4 times greater).... [C]onceivably you could go for a walk on a platform outside the airship, carrying only your air supply and wearing a chemical hazard suit. Venus is 8 million miles closer to Earth than Mars (though it's 100 times further away than the moon). But the atmosphere around Venus contains traces of sulphuric acid (responsible for its dense clouds), so the vessel would need to be corrosion-resistant material like teflon. (One NASA paper explored the possibility of airbone microbes living in Venus's atmosphere.) There's a slick video from NASA's Langley Research Center titled "A way to explore Venus" showcasing HAVOC -- "High Altitude Venus Operational Concept." "A recent internal NASA study...led to the development of an evolutionary program for the exploration of Venus," explains the project's page at NASA.gov, "with focus on the mission architecture and vehicle concept for a 30 day crewed mission into Venus's atmosphere." NASA describes the project as "no longer active," though adding that manned missions to the atmosphere of Venus are possible "with advances in technology and further refinement of the concept."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Watch What Happens When A Drone Slams Into An Airplane Wing
    Long-time Slashdot reader Freshly Exhumed writes: Researchers at the University of Dayton Research Institute [Impact Physics Lab] have shown in a video what can happen when a high-mass, consumer-level drone strikes the wing of an aircraft. They provide visual evidence of the damage a 2.1-pound DJI Phantom 2 videography quadcopter would have upon the wing of a Mooney M20, a small, private aircraft. It is not difficult to extrapolate the effects upon an airliner in a similar situation. "We wanted to help the aviation community and the drone industry understand the dangers that even recreational drones can pose to manned aircraft before a significant event occurs," said Kevin Poormon of UDRI. The video -- titled "Risk in the Sky?" -- simulates a collision at 238 mph in which the drone tears open the wing's leading edge. "While the quadcopter broke apart, its energy and mass hung together to create significant damage to the wing," said Kevin Poormon, group leader for impact physics at UDRI.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Sentimental Humans Launch A Movement to Save (Human) Driving
    Car enthusiast McKeel Hagerty -- also the CEO America's largest insurer of classic cars -- recently told a Detroit newspaper about his "Save Driving" campaign to preserve human driving for future generations. Hagerty said he wants people-driven cars to share the roads, not surrender them, with robot cars. "Driving and the car culture are meaningful for a lot of people," Hagerty said, who still owns the first car he bought 37 years ago for $500. It's a 1967 Porsche 911S, which he restored with his dad. "We feel the car culture needs a champion." Hagerty said he will need 6 million members to have the clout to preserve human driving in the future, but he is not alone in the quest to drum up that support. The Human Driving Association was launched in January and it already has 4,000 members. Both movements have a growing following as many consumers distrust the evolving self-driving car technology, studies show... [S]ome people fear losing the freedom of personal car ownership and want to have control of their own mobility. They distrust autonomous technology and they worry about the loss of privacy... In Cox Automotive's Evolution of Mobility study released earlier this year, nearly half of the 1,250 consumers surveyed said they would "never" buy a fully autonomous car and indicated they did not believe roads would be safer if all vehicles were self-driving. The study showed 68 percent said they would feel "uncomfortable" riding in car driven fully by a computer. And 84 percent said people should have the option to drive themselves even in an autonomous vehicle. The study showed people's perception of self-driving cars' safety is dwindling. When asked whether the roads would be safer if all vehicles were fully autonomous, 45 percent said yes, compared with 63 percent who answered yes in 2016's study.... Proponents for self-driving cars say the cars would offer mobility to those who cannot drive such as disabled people or elderly people. They say the electric self-driving cars would be better for the environment. Finally, roads would be safer with computers driving, they say. In 2017, the United States had about 40,000 traffic deaths, about 90 percent of which were due to human error, Cox's study said. Alex Roy, founder of the The Human Driving Association, is proposing a third option called "augmented driving" -- allowing people the option to drive, but helping them do it better. "It's a system that would not allow a human to drive into a wall. If I turned the steering wheel toward a wall, the car turns the wheel back the right way," said Roy.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • GitHub Launches 'Actions' -- Code That Can Be Run (and Maybe Monetized)
    An anonymous reader quotes TechCrunch: For the longest time, GitHub was all about storing source code and sharing it either with the rest of the world or your colleagues. Today, the company, which is in the process of being acquired by Microsoft, is taking a step in a different but related direction by launching GitHub Actions. Actions allow developers to not just host code on the platform but also run it. We're not talking about a new cloud to rival AWS here, but instead about something more akin to a very flexible IFTTT for developers who want to automate their development workflows, whether that is sending notifications or building a full continuous integration and delivery pipeline. This is a big deal for GitHub. Indeed, Sam Lambert, GitHub's head of platform, described it to me as "the biggest shift we've had in the history of GitHub... I see Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery as one narrow use case of actions. It's so, so much more," Lambert stressed. "And I think it's going to revolutionize DevOps because people are now going to build best in breed deployment workflows for specific applications and frameworks, and those become the de facto standard shared on GitHub... It's going to do everything we did for open source again for the DevOps space and for all those different parts of that workflow ecosystem...." Over time -- and Lambert seemed to be in favor of this -- GitHub could also allow developers to sell their workflows and Actions through the GitHub marketplace. For now, that's not an option, but it it's definitely that's something the company has been thinking about. Lambert also noted that this could be a way for open source developers who don't want to build an enterprise version of their tools (and the sales force that goes with that) to monetize their efforts.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Equifax Web Site Designer Fined $50,000 And Confined To Home Over Insider Trading
    An anonymous reader writes: A 44-year-old, Georgia-based programmer -- who'd been working at Equifax since 2003 -- has been sentenced to eight months of home confinement and a $50,000 fine for insider trading. Working as Equifax's Production Development Manager of Software Engineering in August of 2017, he'd been asked to create a web site where customers could query a database to see if they were affected by a yet-to-be-announced security breach for a high-profile client. Guessing correctly that it was his own employer's breach, he'd used his wife's brokerage account to purchase $2,166.11 in "put" options betting that Equifax's stock price would tumble -- and when it did, he'd scored a hefty profit of $75,167.68. "As part of his SEC settlement, he must also forfeit $75,979, the ill-gotten funds, plus interest," ZDNet reports, noting that the transactions "came to light after Equifax started internal investigations into several reported cases of employee insider trading." Another federal complaint also alleges that another Equifax executive avoided $117,000 in losses by selling all $1 million of his stock options -- the same day he'd performed a web search about how Experian's stock was affected by a 2015 security breach, but two weeks before Equifax's breach was announced. That case is still ongoing.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.