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2015-04-27 20:20:00 from Slashdot
The Engineer's Lament -- Prioritizing Car Safety Issues:
 
An anonymous reader writes: Malcolm Gladwell has an article in The New Yorker about how automotive engineers handle issues of safety. There have been tons of car-related recalls lately, and even before that, we'd often hear about how some piece of engineering on a car was leading to a bunch of deaths. Sometimes it was a mistake, and sometimes it was an intentional design. But we hear about these issues through the lens of sensationalized media and public outrage — the engineers working on these problems understand better that it's how you drive that gets you into trouble far more than what you drive. For example, the Ford Pinto became infamous for catching fire in crashes back in the 1970s. Gladwell says, "That's a rare event—it happens once in every hundred crashes. In 1975-76, 1.9 per cent of all cars on the road were Pintos, and Pintos were involved in 1.9 per cent of all fatal fires. Let's try again. About fifteen per cent of fatal fires resulted from rear collisions. If we look just at that subset of the subset, Schwartz shows, we finally see a pattern. Pintos were involved in 4.1 per cent of all rear-collision fire fatalities—which is to say that they may have been as safe as or safer than other cars in most respects but less safe in this one. ... You and I would feel safer in a car that met the 301 standard. But the engineer, whose aim is to maximize safety within a series of material constraints, cannot be distracted by how you and I feel."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


2015-04-27 19:39:00 from Slashdot
Holographic Principle Could Apply To Our Universe:
 
New submitter citpyrc sends this news from the Vienna University of Technology: The "holographic principle" asserts that a mathematical description of the universe actually requires one fewer dimension than it seems. What we perceive as three dimensional may just be the image of two dimensional processes on a huge cosmic horizon. Up until now, this principle has only been studied in exotic spaces with negative curvature. This is interesting from a theoretical point of view, but such spaces are quite different from the space in our own universe. Results obtained by scientists at Vienna (abstract) now suggest that the holographic principle even holds in a flat spacetime, like ours.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


2015-04-27 18:56:00 from Slashdot
An Open Ranking of Wikipedia Pages:
 
vigna writes: The Laboratory for Web Algorithmics of the Università degli studi di Milano did it again: after creating the first open ranking of the World Wide Web they have put together the first entirely open ranking of Wikipedia, using Wikidata to categorize pages. The ranking is based on classic and easily explainable centrality measures or page views, and it is entirely open — all data (Wikipedia and Wikidata dumps) and all software used is publicly available. Just in case you wonder, the most important food is chocolate, the most important band are the Beatles and the most important idea is atheism.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


2015-04-27 18:42:11 from Yahoo News - Top Stories
Loretta Lynch sworn in as new US attorney general:
 

Loretta Lynch laughs as Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a swearing in ceremony for Lynch as she becomes the 83rd Attorney General of the U.S., Monday, April 27, 2015, at the Justice Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)WASHINGTON (AP) — Loretta Lynch was sworn in Monday as the 83rd U.S. attorney general, the first African-American woman to serve as the nation's top law enforcement official.



2015-04-27 18:41:32 from Yahoo News - Top Stories
Kerry says Iran, world powers closer than ever to historic nuclear deal:
 

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif pose for a photograph before resuming talks over Iran's nuclear programme in LausanneBy Louis Charbonneau and Arshad Mohammed UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States and five other major powers are closer than ever to a deal with Iran that would end a 12-year-old nuclear standoff, though more tough negotiations lie ahead, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday. Kerry was speaking at the United Nations on the opening day of a month-long conference taking stock of the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and ahead of a meeting in New York with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, their first face-to-face encounter since recent marathon talks in Lausanne, Switzerland. Zarif and Kerry, who met on Monday at the Iranian U.N. Ambassador's residence across from Central Park, were expected to discuss efforts to secure a final agreement between Iran and the six powers by a June 30 deadline.




2015-04-27 18:40:47 from Yahoo News - Top Stories
'Good kid': Lawyer pleads for Boston Marathon bomber's life:
 

FILE - This undated file photo released Friday, April 19, 2013, by the FBI shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Tsarnaev’s life is on the line as his lawyers return to federal court to make their case that he should be spared the death penalty. Tsarnaev’s defense team is set to begin presenting witnesses on Monday, April 27, 2015, in the penalty phase of his trial, the stage that will determine whether he is executed or spends the rest of his life behind bars. Tsarnaev, 21, already has been convicted of 30 federal charges in the twin bombings that killed three spectators and injured more than 260 others near the marathon’s finish line on April 15, 2013. Seventeen of those charges carry the possibility of the death penalty. (AP Photo/FBI, File)BOSTON (AP) — Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's lawyers pleaded with a jury Monday to spare his life, portraying him as "a good kid" who was led down the path to terrorism by his increasingly fanatical older brother.




2015-04-27 18:38:44 from Yahoo News - Top Stories
U.S. blames Houthi battlefield moves for renewed Saudi strikes:
 
The United States squarely blamed Houthi fighters on Monday for renewed Saudi-led bombings, accusing them of using a relative lull in airstrikes meant to help set the stage for peace talks to instead pursue battlefield advances. Saudi-led aircraft pounded Iran-allied Houthi militiamen and rebel army units on Monday, dashing hopes for a pause in fighting to let aid in as relief officials warned of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he would discuss the conflict with Iran's foreign minister later on Monday, adding: "I will certainly urge that everybody do their part to try to reduce the violence and allow the negotiations to begin." Kerry and other U.S. officials said Houthis had sought more gains since Riyadh's announcement last week that it was ending its nearly five-week-old bombing campaign, except in places where the Houthis were advancing. "But what happened was the Houthi began to take advantage of the absence of air campaign, moving not only additionally on Aden, but moving in other parts of the country." Kerry and other U.S. officials said the Houthis were shifting artillery and forces and targeting certain elements of the Yemen army.

2015-04-27 18:37:59 from Yahoo News - Top Stories
Maryland National Guard on alert over Baltimore riots: governor:
 

Baltimore police officers clash with protesters in the streets near Mondawmin Mall on April 27, 2015 in BaltimoreThe Maryland National Guard was placed on alert Monday as riots and looting broke out in the streets of Baltimore following the funeral of an African American man who died in police custody. "Today's looting and acts of violence in Baltimore will not be tolerated. In response, I have put the Maryland National Guard on alert so they can be in position to deploy rapidly as needed," state Governor Larry Hogan said in a statement. Baltimore's Major League Baseball team the Orioles cancelled Monday night's game against Chicago's White Sox amid rioting in the US city.




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