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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2018-11-27 12:30:01.658575

    Astronomy Picture of the Day (Unofficial) at 2018-11-27T18:30:02Z

    Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

    2018 November 27
    See Explanation.
Moving the cursor over the image will bring up an annotated version.
Clicking on the image will bring up the highest resolution version

    InSight's First Image from Mars
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

    Explanation: Welcome to Mars, NASA Insight. Yesterday NASA's robotic spacecraft InSight made a dramatic landing on Mars after a six-month trek across the inner Solar System. Needing to brake from 20,000 km per hour to zero in about seven minutes, Insight decelerated by as much as 8 g's and heated up to 1500 degrees Celsius as it deployed a heat shield, a parachute, and at the end, rockets. The featured image was the first taken by InSight on Mars, and welcome proof that the spacecraft had shed enough speed to land softly and function on the red planet. During its final descent, InSight's rockets kicked up dust which can be seen stuck to the lens cap of the Instrument Context Camera. Past the spotty dirt, parts of the lander that are visible include cover bolts at the bottom and a lander footpad on the lower right. Small rocks are visible across the rusty red soil, while the arc across the top of the image is the Martian horizon dividing land and sky. Over the next few weeks InSight will deploy several scientific instruments, including a rumble-detecting seismometer. These instruments are expected to give humanity unprecedented data involving the interior of Mars, a region thought to harbor formation clues not only about Mars, but Earth.

    Tomorrow's picture: dark soul ❌ likes this. ❌ shared this.

  • Amitai Schleier at 2018-11-09T01:15:17Z

    Today's update to my SMTP AUTH implementation for #qmail now also provides TLS for message submission and incoming deliveries, without patching! More:

    As always, if you use #pkgsrc, just get the latest qmail and qmail-run. :-) ❌ likes this.

  • Baby book club

    Aaron Gibson at 2018-11-05T04:53:25Z

    My beautiful wife and beautiful granddaughter enjoying classic literature together. ❌ likes this.

  • Screwtape at 2018-11-03T04:22:47Z

    Somebody filed a bug on a Python library I wrote ages ago, so I'm back in the Python ecosystem for a bit.

    I wanted to parse a filename from the command-line, and the standard library's argparse module has a FileType helper that does just that, and handles the "dash means stdin" convention and everything. Huzzah!

    Unless you need to read from the file in binary mode, in which case you get bitten by Issue 14156, created and a bugfix created in 2012 and not yet resolved. *sigh* ❌ likes this.

  • Karl Fogel at 2018-10-31T15:10:18Z

    Any device on which one might do conference calls should come with a physical mute button.  This would be the only thing that button does.  It is that important. ❌ likes this.

    All phones, tablets, etc, should come with physical kill switches for any microphones *and* cameras they have.

    Something you could trust.

    JanKusanagi at 2018-10-31T15:16:49Z ❌ likes this.

  • JanKusanagi at 2018-10-31T15:16:49Z

    All phones, tablets, etc, should come with physical kill switches for any microphones *and* cameras they have.

    Something you could trust. ❌ likes this.

  • Lady Ada pendants and brooches

    Elena ``of Valhalla'' at 2018-10-29T21:31:58Z

    Part of my under-development #steampunk costume is a chatelaine, and I wanted to decorate the brooch with something adequate for an analytic engine programmer.

    Today I finally managed to do some laser toner transfers on #cernit on a couple of brooches and pendants; the top right brooch is the one that will end up holding the chatelaine.


    I've posted WIP pictures on pixelfed.

    The image is the famous Ada Initiative design, but I've removed the frame for improved clarity in the small format and the edited SVG is on openclipart. ❌ likes this.

  • Mike Linksvayer at 2018-10-30T03:09:31Z

    I either didn't know or had forgotten Jitsi (the development team/company anyway) had been acquired by Atlassian in the first place. Now they have been acquired by which I hadn't heard of either. Glad to see they continue on in any case.

    João Patrício, ❌ likes this.

  • Karl Fogel at 2018-09-28T17:01:12Z

    Not trying to be a wet blanket, but when I hear "Decentralized Web", I think "Hmm, but it *is* decentralized, so whatever centralization has happened is what happens naturally when starting from a decentralized system."  IOW, I want to understand what will be different this time. ❌, George Standish likes this.

  • Karl Fogel at 2018-10-12T19:37:08Z

    Hey @gandibar, I appreciate the phishing-activity warning when I log in, but you put "... Don't click!" at the end of the warning blurb, followed by a link to click for more information about the phishing activity :-).  I'm probably not the only person who got confused? ❌ likes this.

  • Karl Fogel at 2018-10-20T05:30:49Z

    Hey @natfriedman and @github, a serious idea: Support for anonymous/pseudonymous PRs (with option to de-anonymize on merge), so that projects that want to do so-called blind review can? A bias-avoidance technique, like holding orchestra auditions behind a screen... /cc @jeffubois ❌, McClane likes this.

  • Karl Fogel at 2018-10-26T17:34:55Z

    If I generally supported Democrats but a Dem candidate in my jurisdiction engaged in or expressed support for voter suppression, *I would vote for the Republican* in a heartbeat, in order to keep that Dem away from power.  Hope some GOP voters feel the same way this November. ❌ likes this.

    What if the Republican there also supports voter supression? =)

    JanKusanagi at 2018-10-26T18:35:55Z

    Since I am a former precinct elections official myself, could you please define for me what you're terming "voter suppression"?

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2018-10-27T16:33:10Z

  • Karl Fogel at 2018-10-20T05:39:29Z

    Okay, so I'm really curious: has @RoguePOTUSStaff done the thing where they tweet out in advance a cryptographic hash of a slightly-reworded version of a thing the WH is about to say/do, and then reveal their reworded version after the fact, thus proving their legitimacy?

    Because until they do that, I don't believe. ❌ likes this.

  • Client to server #ActivityPub layer for ?!

    Yuri Volkov at 2018-10-27T13:24:30Z Hello pals!
    Looking at the's GitHub site I see some discussions regarding #ActivityPub support, but I couldn't figure out if you are implementing client to server layer of #ActivityPub ?!
    If yes, what's the status of this work?
    I want to make #AndStatus Android app an ActivityPub client, but I need at least one server that supports this in order to test my implementation, naturally :-)

    McClane, ❌ likes this.

    McClane, shared this.

    IIRC, there was a tracking issue for this, with specific checkboxes.

    AFAIK, they're working on the S2S part.

    JanKusanagi at 2018-10-31T15:25:49Z

  • ClojureScript loves

    Ben Sturmfels at 2018-10-26T01:10:35Z

    I've spent the last three weeks or so on my first work related project in ClojureScript (ie. JavaScript in Lisp). Overall I'm very enthusiastic about the platform, but it's been gruelling to get all the tooling working, learn the new idioms and to wrap my mind around But let's start with the good. I love hyphens in variable names (eg. purchase-order). ❌ likes this.

  • Five mysteries the Standard Model can’t explain

    ParticleNews at 2018-10-18T16:30:46Z

    "Five mysteries the Standard Model can’t explain"

    Our best model of particle physics explains only about 5 percent of the universe.

    An illustration of the standard model

    The Standard Model is a thing of beauty. It is the most rigorous theory of particle physics, incredibly precise and accurate in its predictions. It mathematically lays out the 17 building blocks of nature: six quarks, six leptons, four force-carrier particles, and the Higgs boson. These are ruled by the electromagnetic, weak and strong forces. 

    “As for the question ‘What are we?’ the Standard Model has the answer,” says Saúl Ramos, a researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). “It tells us that every object in the universe is not independent, and that every particle is there for a reason.”

    For the past 50 years such a system has allowed scientists to incorporate particle physics into a single equation that explains most of what we can see in the world around us.

    Despite its great predictive power, however, the Standard Model fails to answer five crucial questions, which is why particle physicists know their work is far from done.

    An illustration of a neutrino

    Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova

    1. Why do neutrinos have mass?

    Three of the Standard Model’s particles are different types of neutrinos. The Standard Model predicts that, like photons, neutrinos should have no mass. 

    However, scientists have found that the three neutrinos oscillate, or transform into one another, as they move. This feat is only possible because neutrinos are not massless after all.

     “If we use the theories that we have today, we get the wrong answer,” says André de Gouvêa, a professor at Northwestern University.

    The Standard Model got neutrinos wrong, but it remains to be seen just how wrong. After all, the masses neutrinos have are quite small.

    Is that all the Standard Model missed, or is there more that we don’t know about neutrinos? Some experimental results have suggested, for example, that there might be a fourth type of neutrino called a sterile neutrino that we have yet to discover.

    An illustration representing dark matter

    Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova

    2. What is dark matter?

    Scientists realized they were missing something when they noticed that galaxies were spinning much faster than they should be, based on the gravitational pull of their visible matter. They were spinning so fast that they should have torn themselves apart. Something we can’t see, which scientists have dubbed “dark matter,” must be giving additional mass—and hence gravitional pull—to these galaxies.

    Dark matter is thought to make up 27 percent of the contents of the universe. But it is not included in the Standard Model.

    Scientists are looking for ways to study this mysterious matter and identify its building blocks. If scientists could show that dark matter interacts in some way with normal matter, “we still would need a new model, but it would mean that new model and the Standard Model are connected,” says Andrea Albert, a researcher at the US Department of Energy’s SLAC National Laboratory who studies dark matter, among other things, at the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory in Mexico. “That would be a huge game changer.” 

    An illustration representing matter and antimatter

    Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova

    3. Why is there so much matter in the universe?

    Whenever a particle of matter comes into being—for example, in a particle collision in the Large Hadron Collider or in the decay of another particle—normally its antimatter counterpart comes along for the ride. When equal matter and antimatter particles meet, they annihilate one another.

    Scientists suppose that when the universe was formed in the Big Bang, matter and antimatter should have been produced in equal parts. However, some mechanism kept the matter and antimatter from their usual pattern of total destruction, and the universe around us is dominated by matter. 

    The Standard Model cannot explain the imbalance. Many different experiments are studying matter and antimatter in search of clues as to what tipped the scales. 

    An illustration representing cosmic inflation

    Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova

    4. Why is the expansion of the universe accelerating?

    Before scientists were able to measure the expansion of our universe, they guessed that it had started out quickly after the Big Bang and then, over time, had begun to slow. So it came as a shock that, not only was the universe’s expansion not slowing down—it was actually speeding up. 

    The latest measurements by the Hubble Space Telescope and the European Space Agency observatory Gaia indicate that galaxies are moving away from us at 45 miles per second. That speed multiplies for each additional megaparsec, a distance of 3.2 million light years, relative to our position.

    This rate is believed to come from an unexplained property of space-time called dark energy, which is pushing the universe apart. It is thought to make up around 68 percent of the energy in the universe. “That is something very fundamental that nobody could have anticipated just by looking at the Standard Model,” de Gouvêa says.

    An illustration representing a particle associated with the force of gravity

    Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova

    5. Is there a particle associated with the force of gravity?

    The Standard Model was not designed to explain gravity. This fourth and weakest force of nature does not seem to have any impact on the subatomic interactions the Standard Model explains.

    But theoretical physicists think a subatomic particle called a graviton might transmit gravity the same way particles called photons carry the electromagnetic force. 

    “After the existence of gravitational waves was confirmed by LIGO, we now ask: What is the smallest gravitational wave possible? This is pretty much like asking what a graviton is,” says Alberto Güijosa, a professor at the Institute of Nuclear Sciences at UNAM.

    More to explore

    These five mysteries are the big questions of physics in the 21st century, Ramos says. Yet, there are even more fundamental enigmas, he says: What is the source of space-time geometry? Where do particles get their spin? Why is the strong force so strong while the weak force is so weak?

    There’s much left to explore, Güijosa says. “Even if we end up with a final and perfect theory of everything in our hands, we would still perform experiments in different situations in order to push its limits.”

    “It is a very classic example of the scientific method in action,” Albert says. “With each answer come more questions; nothing is ever done.”

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  • Renato Candido at 2018-10-19T14:27:55Z - a social network off the grid ❌ likes this.

    Stephen Michael Kellat, ❌ shared this.

    To dispel any confusion: This is the Secure Scuttlebutt network. Manyverse is the Android client for it, previously named MMMMM, by André Staltz. ❌ at 2018-10-20T04:02:52Z

    Stephen Michael Kellat, Renato Candido likes this.

    Anything new? or SIMPLY another social network?

    astheroth at 2018-10-20T04:33:08Z