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Comic for March 26, 2019

Dilbert - 37 min 13 sec ago
Categories: Geek

Swift 5 Released

Slashdot - 1 hour 22 min ago
Categories: Geek, Opinion

Senate vote puts Green New Deal resolution to bed

Ars Technica - 1 hour 22 min ago

Enlarge / Activists outside the Congress demanding a vote to pass the Green New Deal. (credit: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

On Tuesday afternoon, US Senators voted 0-57 on whether to take a vote on the Green New Deal, according to The Hill. Fifty-three Republicans, three Democrats, and an Independent from Maine voted not to advance the resolution, and 43 Democrats voted "present," essentially taking no official side in the vote.

The Green New Deal is a sweeping but non-binding resolution, unofficially committing the United States to radically update its energy grid with renewable energy in a span of 10 years. The plan would be accomplished through major infrastructure projects akin to those seen during the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's time.

The plan, sponsored by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) in the Senate and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in the House, has been extraordinarily controversial. It's been panned as "socialism" on the right and tacitly disavowed by more moderate Democrats in Republican-leaning states.

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Lion Air 737 MAX crew had seconds to react, Boeing simulation finds

Ars Technica - 1 hour 30 min ago

Enlarge / A Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed in October 2018 because of problems with a sensor and a failure of flight control software. The crew had little time to react, data shows. (credit: PK-REN, Jakarta, Indonesia )

In testing performed in a simulator, Boeing test pilots recreated the conditions aboard Lion Air Flight 610 when it went down in the Java Sea in October, killing 189 people. The tests showed that the crew of the 737 MAX 8 would have only had 40 seconds to respond to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System’s (MCAS’s) attempts to correct a stall that wasn’t happening before the aircraft went into an unrecoverable dive, according to a report by The New York Times. by

While the test pilots were able to correct the issue with the flip of three switches, their training on the systems far exceeded that of the Lion Air crew—and that of the similarly doomed Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed earlier this month. The Lion Air crew was heard on cockpit voice recorders checking flight manuals in an attempt to diagnose what was going on moments before they died.

One of the controls—the electric stabilizer trim thumbswitch on the pilot’s control yoke—could temporarily reset MCAS’s control over stabilizers. The Lion Air pilots hit this switch over 24 times, buying them some time—but MCAS’ stall prevention software kicked in afterwards each time because of faulty data coming from the aircraft’s primary angle of attack sensor.

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Emergency declared in NY over measles, unvaccinated barred from public spaces

Ars Technica - March 26, 2019 - 11:53pm

Enlarge / HOPKINS, Minn. - APRIL, 27: Abdullahi Mohamud, 5, awaits returning to school after two of his siblings contracted the measles during an current outbreak. (credit: Getty | Courtney Perry)

Plagued by a tenacious outbreak of measles that began last October, New York's Rockland County declared a state of emergency Tuesday and issued a directive barring unvaccinated children from all public spaces.

Effective at midnight Wednesday, March 27, anyone aged 18 or younger who has not been vaccinated against the measles is prohibited from public spaces in Rockland for 30 days or until they get vaccinated. Public spaces are defined broadly in the directive as any places:

[W]here more than 10 persons are intended to congregate for purposes such as civic, governmental, social, or religious functions, or for recreation or shopping, or for food or drink consumption, or awaiting transportation, or for daycare or educational purposes, or for medical treatment. A place of public assembly shall also include public transportation vehicles, including but not limited to, publicly or privately owned buses or trains...

The directive follows an order from the county last December that barred unvaccinated children from schools that did not reach a minimum of 95 percent vaccination rate. That order—and the directive issued today—are intended to thwart the long-standing outbreak, which has sickened 153 people, mostly children.

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New Huawei phone has a 5x optical zoom, thanks to a periscope lens

Ars Technica - March 26, 2019 - 10:49pm

Huawei officially announced the Huawei P30 Pro smartphone today. While it has a new Huawei-made SoC, an in-screen optical fingerprint reader, and lots of other high-end features, the highlight is definitely the camera's optical zoom, which is up to a whopping 5x. Not digital zoom. Real, optical zoom.

On most high-end smartphones today, like the iPhone XS and Galaxy S10, you'll only ever get a 2X optical zoom. Usually, these exist in an entire second sensor and lens on the back of the phone, giving you a choice between the standard 1x lens or extra 2x lens. The reason you usually don't get large zoom multipliers in smartphones is because zoom lenses take space. Inside a zoom lens is a series of smaller lenses, some of which move inside the lens body to change the focal length. A larger distance between the lenses will get you a higher zoom multiplier, and on real cameras this can reach several feet long.

Space, of course, is at a premium in smartphones. Imagine a smartphone sitting face down, and you would have to fit a vertical stack of the display, the CMOS sensor, and the lens all in about an 8mm height. There is just not a lot of room.

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