s.s. nautilus
slashdot le : 31/03/2020 06:00:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: The day before University of Pennsylvania students were told that their college commencement would be held online, junior Andrew Guo thought of an alternative to holding the address over Zoom. Students could have a "Hey Day" and graduation inside Minecraft, just as a Japanese elementary school had organized days earlier. Quickly, "Penncraft" students began to recreate dormitories, food trucks, and local sculptures in-game. Makarios Chung, an early builder, measured buildings' dimensions and streets positions constantly to ensure their scale was as accurate as possible. The first day of building, students took an hour to decide the placement of one street. Their main goal was to have a completed campus, specifically Locust Street, for graduating seniors to walk down in-game now that COVID-19 ensured they wouldn't return to campus and complete this UPenn tradition.

Students from Boston University to UCLA, from South Louisiana Community College to Northwestern University, have recently created or resurrected Minecraft servers and shared their creations on Discord chats, in Facebook meme groups, and on Reddit threads. The boom of college Minecraft servers has begun. These servers have the express purpose of bringing students together and building, oftentimes focused on recreating their college campuses. Searches for Minecraft server hosting have peaked to unprecedented levels in the last few weeks, and thousands of students are discussing college servers, most notably on the Facebook group "Zoom Memes for Self Quaranteens." Smaller groups and clubs, like Bowdoin College's men's ultimate frisbee team or University of La Verne's debate team, have found ways to bond in survival mode servers after their practices and championships were canceled. Zoom isn't nearly enough, and it doesn't carry the ten years of memories that Gen Z has for Minecraft.
"Come May there will be in-game graduations," writes Pearse Anderson. "Inspired by the aforementioned Japanese elementary school, Boston University seniors Rudy Raveendran and Warren Partridge created 'Quaranteen University.' This is a new server specifically made to host a Class of 2020 graduation for students from hundreds of different universities. 706 students from 278 institutions have signed up in the last week, and one mom has already emailed Raveendran asking how she can get an in-game seat to this massive ceremony on May 22nd."

slashdot le : 13/03/2020 02:00:10
A federal court on Thursday ordered Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who has jailed for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, must be released. From a report: Judge Anthony Trenga of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia said in court documents it was discharging the grand jury. He noted that "Ms. Manning's appearance before the Grand Jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose." The court order also canceled a hearing on Manning scheduled for Friday afternoon. The news comes a day after lawyers for Manning said she attempted to commit suicide while in federal custody. "On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, Chelsea Manning attempted to take her own life. She was taken to a hospital and is currently recovering," Manning's attorneys said in a statement. Alexandria, Va., Sheriff Dana Lawhorne confirmed that "an incident" took place at the adult detention center in Northern Virginia just after noon on Wednesday.

slashdot le : 12/03/2020 12:00:15
A new study reports that iron rain likely falls through the thick, turbulent air of WASP-76 b, a bizarre "ultrahot Jupiter" that lies about 640 light-years from the sun, in the constellation Pisces. Space.com reports: WASP-76 b zips around its host star once every 1.8 Earth days, an orbit so tight that the gaseous planet is "tidally locked," always showing the star the same face. Temperatures on this dayside climb above 4,350 degrees Fahrenheit (2,400 degrees Celsius) -- hot enough to vaporize metals -- whereas the nightside is a much cooler (but still ridiculous) 2,730 F (1,500 C), researchers said. WASP-76 b was discovered in 2013. The alien planet is about as massive as Jupiter but nearly twice as wide, likely because the massive radiation loads the exoplanet receives from its host star puff up its atmosphere considerably. (And one quick note about the object's distance: Some sources say that WASP-76 b is about 390 light-years away, but that number is inaccurate, Ehrenreich said. He and his colleagues calculated WASP-76 b's distance using data from Europe's ultraprecise star-mapping spacecraft Gaia.)

slashdot le : 12/03/2020 09:00:11
Europe and Russia have decided to push back the launch of their joint robotic rover to Mars until 2022, rather than launch this year as originally planned. More testing is needed on the vehicle's parachutes ahead of the launch, according to the European Space Agency (ESA), and there isn't enough time to get all of that work done before the launch window in July and August. The Verge reports: This is the second major delay for the rover, which is a critical piece of the ExoMars mission -- a partnership program between ESA and Russia's state space corporation Roscosmos aimed at figuring out if Mars ever hosted life. Originally, the rover, named after the famous chemist Rosalind Franklin, was meant to launch in 2018, but it was pushed until 2020 due to delays in delivering the scientific payloads. Now, the parachutes needed to land the vehicle on Mars are to blame. Last year, two high-altitude drop tests here on Earth damaged the parachutes, with some even tearing while they inflated. ESA wants to do two additional parachute tests ahead of the mission, but they won't occur in time to allow a summer launch to happen.

Additionally, some of the electronics inside the vehicle that carries the rover down to the surface need to be returned to their suppliers for troubleshooting. The final software for the mission is also delayed, and engineers don't have enough time to test it out before the summer. And if that wasn't enough, Jan Worner, the director general of ESA, admitted that the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic is playing a role in the delay. [...] Now, the earliest option to launch the Rosalind Franklin rover is 2022, thanks to how Earth and Mars orbit the Sun. The two planets only skim close by one another every 26 months, giving scientists a limited window to launch spacecraft to the Red Planet. With a launch window opening up this summer, multiple countries including the US, China, and the United Arab Emirates are launching spacecraft to Mars. But since ExoMars cannot make the deadline, the next opportunity to launch is between August and October 2022.

While ESA and Roscosmos wait for 2022, the rover will go into storage, and engineers will lubricate the vehicle over the next two years to maintain all of its components. In the meantime, the Russian Proton rocket that will launch the rover and the vehicle's European carrier spacecraft are all ready to go and have no issues. So the Rosalind Franklin rover should be ready to go by 2022 if the upcoming tests go well.

slashdot le : 09/03/2020 23:00:10
schweini shares a report: Every year the world celebrates the anniversaries of masterworks and maestros. In 2020, a host of events and publications commemorated the lives of Ludwig van Beethoven, Raphael, Charles Dickens, Anne Bronte and William Wordsworth. Such milestones usually come in neat multiples of 50. The 42nd anniversary of anything is rarely observed. Yet on March 8th fans of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" ("HHGTTG") paid tribute to the comedy science-fiction series, which had its radio premiere on that day in 1978 and was subsequently adapted into novels, TV series, video games and a film.

To mark the occasion, Pan Macmillan reprinted the scripts and novels in colourful new editions ("HHGTTG" was the first book published under their "Pan Original" imprint to sell more than 1m copies). The British Library will host a day of "celebrations, conversation and performance." BBC Radio 4 has aired the original episodes; Radio 4 Extra will put on a "five-hour Hitchhiker's spectacular" including archival material and specially commissioned programmes. Such is the enduring interest in Douglas Adams's story that it is due to be adapted into a new television series by Hulu, a streaming service.