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Automatic Bullseye MOVING Dartboard - YouTube

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Since graduating I find myself wishing I wouldn't have slacked in all of my later math classes. It's not that I didn't understand it, I was just of the mindset that I would never use it so I just did the bare minimum to get by. I've gotten into a bit of casual programming on the side and turns out that some pretty intense math is required to do certain things. It would have been a hell of a lot easier to listen to the nice old lady that actually knew what she was doing, as opposed to reading disjointed lessons from a hundred different websites. Moral of the story kids, pay attention in school. You may never use it, but knowledge is power.

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fxer
28 minutes ago
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"I used to suck at darts!!"
Bend, Oregon
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Formula 1 starts this weekend, and we still don’t know who’s going to win

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Ferrari

Good news, everyone: the 2017 Formula 1 season starts this weekend. As has become tradition, the first race of the year is in Melbourne, Australia, meaning those of us in Europe or North America can expect a late night or very early morning. This will be the first year under new management—with Liberty having purchased F1 from CVC, ousting Bernie in the process—and also the first year for new aerodynamics regulations and new tires. The two preseason tests have come and gone, but yet again—and despite more than 20 years following the sport—I still have no idea who's going to come out on top.

Black and round

The principal complaint about F1 in recent years—along with inaudible engines, exorbitant ticket prices, and the boredom of overwhelming Mercedes domination—has been the Pirelli tires. Specifically, it's about the tires' inability to cope with more than one heat cycle. With most racing slicks, if you push too hard and overheat the tire, backing off for a few corners lets them cool down, and everything goes back to normal. But when the F1 Pirellis of the past few years overheat, they're ruined. (It's possible this is caused by a particular chemical used in the manufacturing process that makes the tire compound extrudable.) That won't be the case this year; now the tires will suffer little to no drop-off or degradation, so expect a lot of one-stop strategies, at least for the first few races.

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fxer
1 hour ago
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Bend, Oregon
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Curiosity’s Battered Wheels Show First Breaks

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Since it landed on August 6th, 2012, the Curiosity rover has spent a total of 1644 Sols (or 1689 Earth days) on Mars. And as of March 2017, it has traveled almost 16 km (~10 mi) across the planet and climbed almost a fifth of a kilometer (0.124 mi) uphill. Spending that kind of time on another planet, and traveling that kind of distance, can certainly lead to its share of wear of tear on a vehicle.

That was the conclusion when the Curiosity science team conducted a routine check of the rover’s wheels on Sunday, March 19th, 2017. After examining images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), they noticed two small breaks in the raised treads on the rover’s left middle wheel. These breaks appeared to have happened since late January, when the last routine check of the wheels took place.

To get around, the Curiosity rover relies on six solid aluminum wheels that are 40 cm (16 in) wide. The skin of the wheels is thinner than a US dime, but each contains 19 zigzag-shaped treads that are about 0.75 cm (three-quarters of an inch) thick. These “grousers”, as they are called, bear most of the rover’s weight and provide most of the wheel’s traction.

Close-up image of the broken grousers on Curiosity’s left-middle wheel. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Ever since the rover was forced to cross a stretch of terrain that was studded with sharp rocks in 2013, the Curiosity team has made regular checks on the rover’s wheels using the MAHLI camera. At the time, the rover was moving from the Bradbury Landing site (where it landed in 2012) to the base of Mount Sharp, and traversing this terrain caused holes and dents in the wheels to grow significantly.

However, members of Curiosity’s science team emphasized that this is nothing to be worried about, as it will not affect the rover’s performance or lifespan. As Jim Erickson, the Curiosity Project Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a recent NASA press statement:

“All six wheels have more than enough working lifespan remaining to get the vehicle to all destinations planned for the mission. While not unexpected, this damage is the first sign that the left middle wheel is nearing a wheel-wear milestone.”

In addition to regular monitoring, a wheel-longevity testing program was started on Earth in 2013 using identical aluminum wheels. These tests showed that once a wheel got to the point where three of its grousers were broken, it had passed about 60% of its lifespan. However, Curiosity has already driven more than 60% of the total distance needed for it to make it to all of its scientific destinations.

Graphic depicting aspects of the driving distance, elevation, geological units and time intervals of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover mission, as of late 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity’s Project Scientist – Ashwin Vasavada, also at JPL – was similarly stoic in his appraisal of this latest wheel check:

“This is an expected part of the life cycle of the wheels and at this point does not change our current science plans or diminish our chances of studying key transitions in mineralogy higher on Mount Sharp.”

At present, Curiosity is examining sand dunes in the geographical region known as the Murray Buttes formation, which is located on the slope of Mount Sharp. Once finished, it will proceed up higher to a feature known as “Vera Rubin Ridge”, inspecting a layer that is rich in the mineral hematite. From there, it will proceeded to even higher elevations to inspect layers that contain clays and sulfates.

Getting to the farthest destination (the sulfate unit) will require another 6 km (3.7 mi) of uphill driving. However, this is a short distance compared to the kind of driving the rover has already performed. Moreover, the science team has spent the past four years implementing various methods designed to avoid embedded rocks and other potentially hazardous terrain features.

MRO image of Gale Crater illustrating the landing location and trek of the Rover Curiosity. Credits: NASA/JPL, illustration, T.Reyes

It is expected that this drive up Mount Sharp will yield some impressive scientific finds. During its first year on Mars, Curiosity succeeded in gathering evidence in the Gale Crater that showed how Mars once had conditions favorable to life. This included ample evidence of liquid water, all the chemical elements needed for life, and even a chemical source of energy.

By scaling Mount Sharp and examining the layers that were deposited over the course of billions of years, Curiosity is able to examine a living geological record of how the planet has evolved since then. Luckily, the rover’s wheels seem to have more than enough life to make these and (most likely) other scientific finds.

Further Reading: NASA – Mars Exploration

The post Curiosity’s Battered Wheels Show First Breaks appeared first on Universe Today.

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fxer
1 hour ago
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Bend, Oregon
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Starting today, users of Firefox can also enjoy Netflix on Linux

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fxer
1 hour ago
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Bend, Oregon
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17,000 AT&T technicians and call center workers go on strike

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Enlarge (credit: Mike Mozart)

About 17,000 AT&T wireline technicians and call center employees went on strike in California and Nevada today while filing an unfair labor charge to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) alleging that AT&T violated federal law.

"The company has shown disrespect to the bargaining process by changing the work assignments of workers without bargaining as required by federal law," the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union said in its strike announcement. "Further, AT&T reneged on an agreement to resolve the dispute without any explanation."

The CWA said that AT&T "is asking its workers to do more for less—keeping them from their families with unpredictable overtime, undercutting pay and advancement, offshoring good jobs, and pushing more health care costs onto employees."

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fxer
1 hour ago
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Bend, Oregon
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Google Duo adds supports for audio-only calls because why not

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fxer
6 hours ago
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Google messaging apps is a shitshow, especially since their proclivity to kill projects means you can't be sure you've picked the "right" solution that is going to stick around
Bend, Oregon
freeAgent
5 hours ago
If you choose any Google chat service, history indicates that you have picked "wrong".
shanoboy
4 hours ago
As long as it is easy enough to switch to something else and it's free, who cares. Just go on to the next when it becomes available.
sfrazer
3 hours ago
Network effects of chat services mean it's rarely easy to switch
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