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What Is Posthumanism? (Posthumanities): Cary Wolfe …

Posted: November 10, 2016 at 5:34 pm

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What does it mean to think beyond humanism? Is it possible to craft a mode of philosophy, ethics, and interpretation that rejects the classic humanist divisions of self and other, mind and body, society and nature, human and animal, organic and technological? Can a new kind of humanities-posthumanities-respond to the redefinition of humanity’s place in the world by both the technological and the biological or “green” continuum in which the “human” is but one life form among many?

Exploring how both critical thought along with cultural practice have reacted to this radical repositioning, Cary Wolfe-one of the founding figures in the field of animal studies and posthumanist theory-ranges across bioethics, cognitive science, animal ethics, gender, and disability to develop a theoretical and philosophical approach responsive to our changing understanding of ourselves and our world. Then, in performing posthumanist readings of such diverse works as Temple Grandin’s writings, Wallace Stevens’s poetry, Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark, the architecture of Diller+Scofidio, and David Byrne and Brian Eno’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, he shows how this philosophical sensibility can transform art and culture.

For Wolfe, a vibrant, rigorous posthumanism is vital for addressing questions of ethics and justice, language and trans-species communication, social systems and their inclusions and exclusions, and the intellectual aspirations of interdisciplinarity. In What Is Posthumanism? he carefully distinguishes posthumanism from transhumanism (the biotechnological enhancement of human beings) and narrow definitions of the posthuman as the hoped-for transcendence of materiality. In doing so, Wolfe reveals that it is humanism, not the human in all its embodied and prosthetic complexity, that is left behind in posthumanist thought.

The Posthuman

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How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics

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The Nonhuman Turn (Center for 21st Century Studies)

Richard Grusin

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When Species Meet (Posthumanities)

Donna J. Haraway

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Zoontologies: The Question Of The Animal

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Cary Wolfe is Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor of English at Rice University. He is the author of Critical Environments: Postmodern Theory and the Pragmatics of the Outside (Minnesota, 1998) and Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory, and the editor of Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal (Minnesota, 2003).

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What Is Posthumanism? (Posthumanities): Cary Wolfe …

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Digital currency – Wikipedia

Posted: November 8, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Digital currency or digital money is an Internet-based medium of exchange distinct from physical (such as banknotes and coins) that exhibits properties similar to physical currencies, but allows for instantaneous transactions and borderless transfer-of-ownership. Both virtual currencies and cryptocurrencies are types of digital currencies, but the converse is incorrect. Like traditional money these currencies may be used to buy physical goods and services but could also be restricted to certain communities such as for example for use inside an on-line game or social network.[1]

Digital currency can be defined as an Internet-based form of currency or medium of exchange distinct from physical (such as banknotes and coins) that exhibits properties similar to physical currencies, but allows for instantaneous transactions and borderless transfer-of-ownership. Both virtual currencies and cryptocurrencies are types of digital currencies.[2]

Origins of digital currencies date back to the 1990s Dot-com bubble. One of the first was E-gold, founded in 1996 and backed by gold. Another known digital currency service was Liberty Reserve, founded in 2006; it let users convert dollars or euros to Liberty Reserve Dollars or Euros, and exchange them freely with one another at a 1% fee. Both services were centralized, reputed to be used for money laundering, and inevitably shut down by the US government.[3] Q coins or QQ coins, were used as a type of commodity-based digital currency on Tencent QQ’s messaging platform and emerged in early 2005. Q coins were so effective in China that they were said to have had a destabilizing effect on the Chinese Yuan or RMB currency due to speculation.[4] Recent interest in cryptocurrencies has prompted renewed interest in digital currencies, with bitcoin, introduced in 2009, becoming the most widely used and accepted digital currency.

According to the European Central Bank’s “Virtual currency schemes a further analysis” report of February 2015, virtual currency is a digital representation of value, not issued by a central bank, credit institution or e-money institution, which, in some circumstances, can be used as an alternative to money. In the previous report of October 2012, the virtual currency was defined as a type of unregulated, digital money, which is issued and usually controlled by its developers, and used and accepted among the members of a specific virtual community.

According to the Bank For International Settlements’ “Digital currencies” report of November 2015, digital currency is an asset represented in digital form and having some monetary characteristics. Digital currency can be denominated to a sovereign currency and issued by the issuer responsible to redeem digital money for cash. In that case, digital currency represents electronic money (e-money). Digital currency denominated in its own units of value or with decentralized or automatic issuance will be considered as a virtual currency.

As such, bitcoin is a digital currency but also a type of virtual currency. Bitcoin and its alternatives are based on cryptographic algorithms, so these kinds of virtual currencies are also called cryptocurrencies.

Most of the traditional money supply is bank money held on computers. This is also considered digital currency. One could argue that our increasingly cashless society means that all currencies are becoming digital (sometimes referred to as electronic money), but they are not presented to us as such.[5]

A virtual currency has been defined in 2012 by the European Central Bank as “a type of unregulated, digital money, which is issued and usually controlled by its developers, and used and accepted among the members of a specific virtual community”. The US Department of Treasury in 2013 defined it more tersely as “a medium of exchange that operates like a currency in some environments, but does not have all the attributes of real currency”. The key attribute a virtual currency does not have according to these definitions, is the status as legal tender.

A cryptocurrency is a type of digital token that relies on cryptography for chaining together digital signatures of token transfers, peer-to-peer networking and decentralization. In some cases a proof-of-work scheme is used to create and manage the currency.[6][7][8][9] See also list of cryptocurrencies.

Virtual currencies pose challenges for central banks, financial regulators, departments or ministries of finance, as well as fiscal authorities and statistical authorities.

On 20 March 2013, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued a guidance to clarify how the US Bank Secrecy Act applied to persons creating, exchanging and transmitting virtual currencies.[10]

In May 2014 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) “warned about the hazards of bitcoin and other virtual currencies”.[11]

In July 2014, the New York State Department of Financial Services proposed the most comprehensive regulation of virtual currencies to date, commonly called BitLicense.[12] Unlike the US federal regulators it has gathered input from bitcoin supporters and the financial industry through public hearings and a comment period until 21 October 2014 to customize the rules. The proposal per NY DFS press release … sought to strike an appropriate balance that helps protect consumers and root out illegal activity”.[13] It has been criticized by smaller companies to favor established institutions, and Chinese bitcoin exchanges have complained that the rules are “overly broad in its application outside the United States”.[14]

As of 2016, over 24 countries are investing in distributed ledger technologies (DLT) with $1.4bn in investments. In addition, over 90 central banks are engaged in DLT discussions, including implications of a central bank issued digital currency.[15]

The Bank of Canada have explored the possibility of creating a version of its currency on the blockchain.[16]

The Bank of Canada teamed up with the nations five largest banks and the blockchain consulting firm R3 for what was known as Project Jasper. In a simulation run in 2016, the central bank issued CAD-Coins onto a blockchain similar Ethereum.[17] The banks used the CAD-Coins to exchange money the way they do at the end of each day to settle their master accounts.[17]

A deputy governor at the central bank of China, Fan Yifei, wrote that the conditions are ripe for digital currencies, which can reduce operating costs, increase efficiency and enable a wide range of new applications..[17] According to Fan Yifei, the best way to take advantage of the situation is for central banks to take the lead, both in supervising private digital currencies and in developing digital legal tender of their own.[18]

The Danish government proposed getting rid of the obligation for selected retailers to accept payment in cash, moving the country closer to a “cashless” economy.[19] The Danish Chamber of Commerce is backing the move.[20] Nearly a third of the Danish population uses MobilePay, a smartphone application for transferring money.[19]

The Dutch central bank is experimenting with a bitcoin-based virtual currency called DNBCoin.[17][21]

Government-controlled Sberbank of Russia owns Yandex.Money – electronic payment service and digital currency of the same name.[22]

South Korea plans national digital currency using a Blockchain.[23] The chairman of South Koreas Financial Services Commission (FSC), Yim Jong-yong, announced that his department will Lay the systemic groundwork for the spread of digital currency.[23]

In 2016, a city government first accepted digital currency in payment of city fees. Zug, Switzerland added bitcoin as a means of paying small amounts, up to SFr200, in a test and an attempt to advance Zug as a region that is advancing future technologies. In order to reduce risk, Zug immediately converts any bitcoin received into the Swiss currency.[24]

Swiss Federal Railways, government-owned railway company of Switzerland, sells bitcoins at its ticket machines.[25][25]

The Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government advised his Prime Minister and Parliament to consider using a blockchain-based digital currency.[26]

The chief economist of Bank of England, the central bank of the United Kingdom, proposed abolition of paper currency. The Bank has also taken an interest in bitcoin.[17][27] In 2016 it has embarked on a multi-year research programme to explore the implications of a central bank issued digital currency.[15] The Bank of England has produced several research papers on the topic. One suggests that the economic benefits of issuing a digital currency on a distributed ledger could add as much as 3 percent to a countrys economic output.[17] The Bank said that it wanted the next version of the banks basic software infrastructure to be compatible with distributed ledgers.[17]

The National Bank of Ukraine is considering a creation of its own issuance/turnover/servicing system for a blockchain-based national cryptocurrency.[28] The regulator also announced that blockchain could be a part of a the national project called “Cashless Economy”.[28]

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Digital currency – Wikipedia

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Politically Incorrect – Kindle edition by Jeanne McDonald …

Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:56 am

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Political strategist, Elizabeth McNeal has been called a lot of things throughout her careerbitch being at the top of the listbut she doesnt let it get to her. Shes bold, shes blunt, and she takes orders from no one. This is how shes survived working in a mans world. Shes the master of diversion, and her specialty is winning an electionno matter the cost.

That is, until she meets her new client, Democratic candidate, Congressman William Baxter. Kind, considerate, insanely handsome, honest, and ten years her junior, hes a unicorn among politicians. He infuriates her. He challenges her. Most of all, he makes her see past the scandalous world of politics and helps her to discover the heart of the woman inside her.

With sparks flying between them and the election rapidly approaching, the last thing either of them need is to be caught in a compromising position. Some lines are meant to be crossed and some rules broken, but for Elizabeth and Liam is it worth the cost of being politically incorrect?

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Robotics Toolbox – PeterCorke.com

Posted: October 25, 2016 at 7:41 am

Introduction

This, the ninth release of the Toolbox, represents over fifteen years of development and a substantial level of maturity. This version captures a large number of changes and extensions generated over the last two years which support my new book Robotics, Vision & Control.

The Toolbox has always provided many functions that are useful for the study and simulation of classical arm-type robotics, for example such things as kinematics, dynamics, and trajectory generation. The Toolbox is based on a very general method of representing the kinematics and dynamics of serial-link manipulators.

These parameters are encapsulated in MATLAB objects – robot objects can be created by the user for any serial-link manipulator and a number of examples are provided for well know robots such as the Puma 560 and the Stanford arm amongst others. The Toolbox also provides functions for manipulating and converting between datatypes such as vectors, homogeneous transformations and unit-quaternions which are necessary to represent 3-dimensional position and orientation.

This ninth release of the Toolbox has been significantly extended to support mobile robots. For ground robots the Toolbox includes standard path planning algorithms (bug, distance transform, D*, PRM), kinodynamic planning (RRT), localization (EKF, particle filter), map building (EKF) and simultaneous localization and mapping (EKF), and a Simulink model a of non-holonomic vehicle. The Toolbox also including a detailed Simulink model for a quadrotor flying robot.

Advantages of the Toolbox are that:

the code is quite mature and provides a point of comparison for other implementations of the same algorithms;

the routines are generally written in a straightforward manner which allows for easy understanding, perhaps at the expense of computational efficiency. If you feel strongly about computational efficiency then you can always rewrite the function to be more efficient, compile the M-file using the Matlab compiler, or create a MEX version;

since source code is available there is a benefit for understanding and teaching.

Downloading the Toolbox

Download it from here in zip format (.zip).

The Toolbox is tested with MATLAB R2011a.

To install the Toolbox simply unpack the archive which will create the directory (folder) rvctools, and within that the directories robot, simulink, and common.

Adjust your MATLABPATH to include rvctools

Execute the startup file rvctools/startup_rvc.m and this will place the correct directories in your MATLAB path.

Run the demo rtbdemo to see what it can do

To get the MEX version of rne visit the folder rvctools/robot/mex and follow the directions in the README file

Documentation

The book Robotics, Vision & Control (Corke, 2011) is a detailed introduction to mobile robotics, navigation, localization; and arm robot kinematics, Jacobians and dynamics illustrated using the Robotics Toolbox for MATLAB.

The manual robot.pdf is a printable document (around 100 pages). It is auto-generated from the comments in the MATLAB code and is fully: to external web sites, the table of content to functions, and the “See also” functions to each other. You can find this in the Toolbox as rvctools/robot/robot.pdf

The Toolbox documentation also appears in the MATLAB help browser.

Related publications

If you like the Toolbox and want to cite it please reference it as:

P.I. Corke, Robotics, Vision & Control, Springer 2011, ISBN 978-3-642-20143-1. [bibtex]

The following are now quite old publications about the Toolbox and the syntax has changed considerably over time:

P.I. Corke, MATLAB toolboxes: robotics and vision for students and teachers, IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, Volume 14(4), December 2007, pp. 16-17 [PDF]

P.I. Corke, “A Robotics Toolbox for MATLAB”, IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, Volume 3(1), March 1996, pp. 24-32. [PDF]

P.I. Corke, A computer tool for simulation and analysis: the Robotics Toolbox for MATLAB, Proceedings of the 1995 National Conference of the Australian Robot Association, Melbourne, Australia, pp 319-330, July 1995. [PDF]

Support

There is no support! This software is made freely available in the hope that you find it useful in solving whatever problems you have to hand. I am happy to correspond with people who have found genuine bugs or deficiencies but my response time can be long and I can’t guarantee that I respond to your email. I am very happy to accept contributions for inclusion in future versions of the toolbox, and you will be suitably acknowledged.

I can guarantee that I will not respond to any requests for help with assignments or homework, no matter how urgent or important they might be to you. That’s what your teachers, tutors, lecturers and professors are paid to do.

You might instead like to communicate with other users via the Google Group called which is a forum for discussion. You need to signup in order to post, and the signup process is moderated by me so allow a few days for this to happen. I need you to write a few words about why you want to join the list so I can distinguish you from a spammer or a web-bot.

There is also a frequently asked questions (FAQ) wiki page.

Whos using it

Introduction to Robotics (3rd edition), John Craig, Wiley, 2004. The exercises in this book are based on an earlier version of the Robotics Toolbox for MATLAB.

Robot Kinematics and Dynamics, Wikibooks.

Toolbox ported to other languages

Robotics Toolbox for SciLab, Matteo Morelli

Robotics Toolbox for LabView, National Instruments ported the MATLAB Toolbox to Labview under licence.

Robotics Toolbox for Python, still quite immature (Corke)

Octave. A large part of release 9 now works with Octave. There is a folder called octave and follow the instructions in the README to install it. The classical Robotics Toolbox functions are supported: Link, SerialLink, Quaternion and all the trajectory, angle conversion functions. None of the mobile robotics functions are covered. In terms of the RVC book the functions for Chaps 7, 8 and 9 are covered.

Other robotics related software on the web

ARTE: Robotics Toolbox for Education, a Matlab toolbox focussed on industrial robotic manipulators, with rich 3D graphics, teach pendants and the ABB RAPID language.

V-REP, a virtual robot experimentation platform, the Swiss army knife of robot simulators.

OpenRAVE, an environment for testing, developing, and deploying motion planning algorithms in real-world robotics applications.

RoKiSim, a Windows-based simulator with 3D models of common robots which can be driven using a virtual teach pendent.

SPACELIB: 3D kinematics and dynamics, C-language and MATLAB. (Legnani, U. di Brescia)

Dynamechs a C++ library for simulating the dynamics of multibody systems

ROBOOP, C++ classes for robot kinematics and dynamics (Richard Gourdeau of cole Polytechnique de Montreal)

JRoboOp Java wrapper for ROBOOP from the PRISMA Lab at U. Naples.

Open Dynamics Engine A free, industrial quality library for simulating articulated rigid body dynamics for example ground vehicles, legged creatures, and moving objects in VR environments.

RoboAnalyzer (IIT Delhi)

Orocos (Open Robot Control Software) project(EURON)

Retired or gone missing:

Robotica for Mathematica (Spong, U. Ilinois)

Robot Symbolic Dynamics package for MAPLE (Corke)

MATROBCOM a toolbox for interfacing Matlab to real robots (Pires, U.Coimbra).

ROBOMOSP: Robotics Modelling and Simulation Platform

Toolbox release history

v4 August 1996

v5 April 1999, first with objects

v6 April 2001

v7 April 2002, MEX files, Simulink models and modified Denavit-Hartenberg support.

v8 December 2008, first with classdef object syntax

v9 September 2011

The text of this website [or page, if you are specifically releasing one section] is available for modification and reuse under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License and the GNU Free Documentation License (unversioned, with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts).

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Colonization of the Moon – Wikipedia

Posted: at 7:34 am

“Lunar outpost” redirects here. For NASA’s former plan to construct an outpost between 2019 and 2024, see Lunar outpost (NASA).

The colonization of the Moon is the proposed establishment of permanent human communities or robotic industries[1][2] on the Moon.

Recent indication that water might be present in noteworthy quantities at the lunar poles has renewed interest in the Moon. Polar colonies could also avoid the problem of long lunar nights about 354 hours,[3] a little more than two weeks and take advantage of the Sun continuously, at least during the local summer (there is no data for the winter yet).[4]

Permanent human habitation on a planetary body other than the Earth is one of science fiction’s most prevalent themes. As technology has advanced, and concerns about the future of humanity on Earth have increased, the argument that space colonization is an achievable and worthwhile goal has gained momentum.[5][6] Because of its proximity to Earth, the Moon has been seen as the most obvious natural expansion after Earth. There are also various projects in near future by space tourism startup companies for tourism on the Moon.

The notion of a lunar colony originated before the Space Age. In 1638 Bishop John Wilkins wrote ADiscourse Concerning a New World and Another Planet, in which he predicted a human colony on the Moon.[7]Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (18571935), among others, also suggested such a step.[8] From the 1950s onwards, a number of concepts and designs have been suggested by scientists, engineers and others.

In 1954, science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke proposed a lunar base of inflatable modules covered in lunar dust for insulation.[9] A spaceship, assembled in low Earth orbit, would launch to the Moon, and astronauts would set up the igloo-like modules and an inflatable radio mast. Subsequent steps would include the establishment of a larger, permanent dome; an algae-based air purifier; a nuclear reactor for the provision of power; and electromagnetic cannons to launch cargo and fuel to interplanetary vessels in space.

In 1959, John S. Rinehart suggested that the safest design would be a structure that could “[float] in a stationary ocean of dust”, since there were, at the time this concept was outlined, theories that there could be mile-deep dust oceans on the Moon.[10] The proposed design consisted of a half-cylinder with half-domes at both ends, with a micrometeoroid shield placed above the base.

Project Horizon was a 1959 study regarding the United States Army’s plan to establish a fort on the Moon by 1967.[11]Heinz-Hermann Koelle, a German rocket engineer of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) led the Project Horizon study. The first landing would be carried out by two “soldier-astronauts” in 1965 and more construction workers would soon follow. Through numerous launches (61Saturn I and 88Saturn II), 245tons of cargo would be transported to the outpost by 1966.

Lunex Project was a US Air Force plan for a manned lunar landing prior to the Apollo Program in 1961. It envisaged a 21-airman underground Air Force base on the Moon by 1968 at a total cost of $7.5 billion.

In 1962, John DeNike and Stanley Zahn published their idea of a sub-surface base located at the Sea of Tranquility.[9] This base would house a crew of21, in modules placed four meters below the surface, which was believed to provide radiation shielding on par with Earth’s atmosphere. DeNike and Zahn favored nuclear reactors for energy production, because they were more efficient than solar panels, and would also overcome the problems with the long Lunar nights. For the life support system, an algae-based gas exchanger was proposed.

As of 2006, Japan planned to have a Moon base in 2030.[12] and as of 2007, Russia planned to have a Moon base in 202732.[13]

In 2007 Jim Burke of the International Space University in France said people should plan to preserve humanity’s culture in the event of a civilization-stopping asteroid impact with Earth. A Lunar Noah’s Ark was proposed.[14] Subsequent planning may be taken up by the International Lunar Exploration Working Group (ILEWG).[15][16][17]

In a January 2012 speech Newt Gingrich, Republican candidate for President of the United States of America, proposed a plan to build a U.S. moon colony by the year 2020.[18][19]

In 2016 Johann-Dietrich Wrner, the new Chief of ESA, proposed the International Moon Village that incorporates 3D printing.[20]

Exploration of the Lunar surface by spacecraft began in 1959 with the Soviet Union’s Luna program. Luna1 missed the Moon, but Luna2 made a hard landing (impact) into its surface, and became the first artificial object on an extraterrestrial body. The same year, the Luna3 mission radioed photographs to Earth of the Moon’s hitherto unseen far side, marking the beginning of a decade-long series of unmanned Lunar explorations.

Responding to the Soviet program of space exploration, US President JohnF. Kennedy in 1961 told the U.S.Congress on May25: “Ibelieve that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” The same year the Soviet leadership made some of its first public pronouncements about landing a man on the Moon and establishing a Lunar base.

Manned exploration of the lunar surface began in 1968 when the Apollo8 spacecraft orbited the Moon with three astronauts on board. This was mankind’s first direct view of the far side. The following year, the Apollo11 Lunar module landed two astronauts on the Moon, proving the ability of humans to travel to the Moon, perform scientific research work there, and bring back sample materials.

Additional missions to the Moon continued this exploration phase. In 1969 the Apollo12 mission landed next to the Surveyor3 spacecraft, demonstrating precision landing capability. The use of a manned vehicle on the Moon’s surface was demonstrated in 1971 with the Lunar Rover during Apollo15. Apollo16 made the first landing within the rugged Lunar highlands. However, interest in further exploration of the Moon was beginning to wane among the American public. In 1972 Apollo17 was the final Apollo Lunar mission, and further planned missions were scrapped at the directive of President Nixon. Instead, focus was turned to the Space Shuttle and manned missions in near Earth orbit.

The Soviet manned lunar programs failed to send a manned mission to the Moon. However, in 1966 Luna9 was the first probe to achieve a soft landing and return close-up shots of the Lunar surface. Luna16 in 1970 returned the first Soviet Lunar soil samples, while in 1970 and 1973 during the Lunokhod program two robotic rovers landed on the Moon. Lunokhod1 explored the Lunar surface for 322 days, and Lunokhod2 operated on the Moon about four months only but covered a third more distance. 1974 saw the end of the Soviet Moonshot, two years after the last American manned landing. Besides the manned landings, an abandoned Soviet moon program included building the moonbase “Zvezda”, which was the first detailed project with developed mockups of expedition vehicles[21] and surface modules.[22]

In the decades following, interest in exploring the Moon faded considerably, and only a few dedicated enthusiasts supported a return. However, evidence of Lunar ice at the poles gathered by NASA’s Clementine (1994) and Lunar Prospector (1998) missions rekindled some discussion,[23][24] as did the potential growth of a Chinese space program that contemplated its own mission to the Moon.[25] Subsequent research suggested that there was far less ice present (if any) than had originally been thought, but that there may still be some usable deposits of hydrogen in other forms.[26] However, in September 2009, the Chandrayaan probe of India, carrying an ISRO instrument, discovered that the Lunar regolith contains 0.1% water by weight, overturning theories that had stood for 40 years.[27]

In 2004, U.S. President George W. Bush called for a plan to return manned missions to the Moon by 2020 (since cancelled see Constellation program). Propelled by this new initiative, NASA issued a new long-range plan that includes building a base on the Moon as a staging point to Mars. This plan envisions a Lunar outpost at one of the Moon’s poles by 2024 which, if well-sited, might be able to continually harness solar power; at the poles, temperature changes over the course of a Lunar day are also less extreme,[28] and reserves of water and useful minerals may be found nearby.[28] In addition, the European Space Agency has a plan for a permanently manned Lunar base by 2025.[29][30] Russia has also announced similar plans to send a man to the Moon by 2025 and establish a permanent base there several years later.[6]

A Chinese space scientist has said that the People’s Republic of China could be capable of landing a human on the Moon by 2022 (see Chinese Lunar Exploration Program),[31] and Japan and India also have plans for a Lunar base by 2030.[32] Neither of these plans involves permanent residents on the Moon. Instead they call for sortie missions, in some cases followed by extended expeditions to the Lunar base by rotating crew members, as is currently done for the International Space Station.

NASAs LCROSS/LRO mission had been scheduled to launch in October 2008.[33] The launch was delayed until 18 June 2009,[34] resulting in LCROSS’s impact with the Moon at 11:30 UT on 9 October 2009.[35][36] The purpose is preparing for future Lunar exploration.

On September 24, 2009 NASA announced the discovery of water on the Moon. The discovery was made by three instruments on board Chandrayaan-1. These were the ISRO’s Moon Impact Probe (MIP), the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) and Mini-Sar, belonging to NASA.[37]

On November 13, 2009 NASA announced that the LCROSS mission had discovered large quantities of water ice on the Moon around the LCROSS impact site at Cabeus. Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society, relativized the term ‘large’: “The 30m crater ejected by the probe contained 10million kilograms of regolith. Within this ejecta, an estimated 100kg of water was detected. That represents a proportion of ten parts per million, which is a lower water concentration than that found in the soil of the driest deserts of the Earth. In contrast, we have found continent sized regions on Mars, which are 600,000 parts per million, or 60% water by weight.”[38] Although the Moon is very dry on the whole, the spot where the LCROSS impactor hit was chosen for a high concentration of water ice. Dr. Zubrin’s computations are not a sound basis for estimating the percentage of water in the regolith at that site. Researchers with expertise in that area estimated that the regolith at the impact site contained 5.6 2.9% water ice, and also noted the presence of other volatile substances. Hydrocarbons, material containing sulfur, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane and ammonia were present.[39]

In March 2010, NASA reported that the findings of its mini-SAR radar aboard Chandrayaan-1 were consistent with ice deposits at the Moon’s north pole. It is estimated there is at least 600million tons of ice at the north pole in sheets of relatively pure ice at least a couple of meters thick.[40]

In March 2014, researchers who had previously published reports on possible abundance of water on the Moon, reported new findings that refined their predictions substantially lower.[41]

Placing a colony on a natural body would provide an ample source of material for construction and other uses in space, including shielding from cosmic radiation. The energy required to send objects from the Moon to space is much less than from Earth to space. This could allow the Moon to serve as a source of construction materials within cis-lunar space. Rockets launched from the Moon would require less locally produced propellant than rockets launched from Earth. Some proposals include using electric acceleration devices (mass drivers) to propel objects off the Moon without building rockets. Others have proposed momentum exchange tethers (see below). Furthermore, the Moon does have some gravity, which experience to date indicates may be vital for fetal development and long-term human health.[42][43] Whether the Moon’s gravity (roughly one sixth of Earth’s) is adequate for this purpose, however, is uncertain.

In addition, the Moon is the closest large body in the Solar System to Earth. While some Earth-crosser asteroids occasionally pass closer, the Moon’s distance is consistently within a small range close to 384,400km. This proximity has several advantages:

There are several disadvantages to the Moon as a colony site:

Three criteria that a Lunar outpost should meet are:[citation needed]

While a colony might be located anywhere, potential locations for a Lunar colony fall into three broad categories.

There are two reasons why the north pole and south pole of the Moon might be attractive locations for a human colony. First, there is evidence that water may be present in some continuously shaded areas near the poles.[62] Second, the Moon’s axis of rotation is sufficiently close to being perpendicular to the ecliptic plane that the radius of the Moon’s polar circles is less than 50km. Power collection stations could therefore be plausibly located so that at least one is exposed to sunlight at all times, thus making it possible to power polar colonies almost exclusively with solar energy. Solar power would be unavailable only during a lunar eclipse, but these events are relatively brief and absolutely predictable. Any such colony would therefore require a reserve energy supply that could temporarily sustain a colony during lunar eclipses or in the event of any incident or malfunction affecting solar power collection. Hydrogen fuel cells would be ideal for this purpose, since the hydrogen needed could be sourced locally using the Moon’s polar water and surplus solar power. Moreover, due to the Moon’s uneven surface some sites have nearly continuous sunlight. For example, Malapert mountain, located near the Shackleton crater at the Lunar south pole, offers several advantages as a site:

NASA chose to use a south-polar site for the Lunar outpost reference design in the Exploration Systems Architecture Study chapter on Lunar Architecture.[64]

At the north pole, the rim of Peary Crater has been proposed as a favorable location for a base.[65] Examination of images from the Clementine mission appear to show that parts of the crater rim are permanently illuminated by sunlight (except during Lunar eclipses).[65] As a result, the temperature conditions are expected to remain very stable at this location, averaging 50C (58F).[65] This is comparable to winter conditions in Earth’s Poles of Cold in Siberia and Antarctica. The interior of Peary Crater may also harbor hydrogen deposits.[65]

A 1994[66] bistatic radar experiment performed during the Clementine mission suggested the presence of water ice around the south pole.[23][67] The Lunar Prospector spacecraft reported enhanced hydrogen abundances at the south pole and even more at the north pole, in 2008.[68] On the other hand, results reported using the Arecibo radio telescope have been interpreted by some to indicate that the anomalous Clementine radar signatures are not indicative of ice, but surface roughness.[69] This interpretation, however, is not universally agreed upon.[70]

A potential limitation of the polar regions is that the inflow of solar wind can create an electrical charge on the leeward side of crater rims. The resulting voltage difference can affect electrical equipment, change surface chemistry, erode surfaces and levitate Lunar dust.[71]

The Lunar equatorial regions are likely to have higher concentrations of helium-3 (rare on Earth but much sought after for use in nuclear fusion research) because the solar wind has a higher angle of incidence.[72] They also enjoy an advantage in extra-Lunar traffic: The rotation advantage for launching material is slight due to the Moon’s slow rotation, but the corresponding orbit coincides with the ecliptic, nearly coincides with the Lunar orbit around Earth, and nearly coincides with the equatorial plane of Earth.

Several probes have landed in the Oceanus Procellarum area. There are many areas and features that could be subject to long-term study, such as the Reiner Gamma anomaly and the dark-floored Grimaldi crater.

The Lunar far side lacks direct communication with Earth, though a communication satellite at the L2 Lagrangian point, or a network of orbiting satellites, could enable communication between the far side of the Moon and Earth.[73] The far side is also a good location for a large radio telescope because it is well shielded from the Earth.[74] Due to the lack of atmosphere, the location is also suitable for an array of optical telescopes, similar to the Very Large Telescope in Chile.[44] To date, there has been no ground exploration of the far side.

Scientists have estimated that the highest concentrations of helium-3 will be found in the maria on the far side, as well as near side areas containing concentrations of the titanium-based mineral ilmenite. On the near side the Earth and its magnetic field partially shields the surface from the solar wind during each orbit. But the far side is fully exposed, and thus should receive a somewhat greater proportion of the ion stream.[75]

Lunar lava tubes are a potential location for constructing a Lunar base. Any intact lava tube on the Moon could serve as a shelter from the severe environment of the Lunar surface, with its frequent meteorite impacts, high-energy ultra-violet radiation and energetic particles, and extreme diurnal temperature variations. Lava tubes provide ideal positions for shelter because of their access to nearby resources. They also have proven themselves as a reliable structure, having withstood the test of time for billions of years.

An underground colony would escape the extreme of temperature on the Moon’s surface. The average temperature on the surface of the Moon is about 5C. The day period (about 354 hours) has an average temperature of about 107C (225F), although it can rise as high as 123C (253F). The night period (also 354 hours) has an average temperature of about 153C (243F).[76] Underground, both periods would be around 23C (9F), and humans could install ordinary heaters.[77]

One such lava tube was discovered in early 2009.[78]

The central peaks of large lunar craters may contain material that rose from as far 19 kilometers beneath the surface when the peaks formed by rebound of the compressed rock under the crater. Material moved from the interior of craters is piled in their rims.[79] These and other processes make possibly novel concentrations of minerals accessible to future prospectors from lunar colonies.

A colony in lunar orbit would avoid the extreme temperature swings of the Moon’s surface. Since the orbital period in low-lunar orbit is only about two hours, heat would only radiate away from the colony for a short period of time. At the Lagrangian points one and two, the thermal environment would be even more stable as the Sun would be almost continuously visible. This increased solar duration would allow for an almost constant supply of power. Additionally, the colony could be made to spin as has been examined with designs similar to the O’Neill cylinder so as to provide Earth-like gravity. Various lunar orbits are possible such as a Lissajous orbit or a halo orbit. Due to the Moon’s lumpy gravity, there exist only a small number of possible orbital inclinations for low lunar orbits. A satellite in such a frozen orbit could be at an inclination of 27, 50, 76, or 86.

There have been numerous proposals regarding habitat modules. The designs have evolved throughout the years as mankind’s knowledge about the Moon has grown, and as the technological possibilities have changed. The proposed habitats range from the actual spacecraft landers or their used fuel tanks, to inflatable modules of various shapes. Some hazards of the Lunar environment such as sharp temperature shifts, lack of atmosphere or magnetic field (which means higher levels of radiation and micrometeoroids) and long nights, were unknown early on. Proposals have shifted as these hazards were recognized and taken into consideration.

Some suggest building the Lunar colony underground, which would give protection from radiation and micrometeoroids. This would also greatly reduce the risk of air leakage, as the colony would be fully sealed from the outside except for a few exits to the surface.

The construction of an underground base would probably be more complex; one of the first machines from Earth might be a remote-controlled excavating machine. Once created, some sort of hardening would be necessary to avoid collapse, possibly a spray-on concrete-like substance made from available materials.[80] A more porous insulating material also made in-situ could then be applied. Rowley & Neudecker have suggested “melt-as-you-go” machines that would leave glassy internal surfaces.[81]Mining methods such as the room and pillar might also be used. Inflatable self-sealing fabric habitats might then be put in place to retain air. Eventually an underground city can be constructed. Farms set up underground would need artificial sunlight. As an alternative to excavating, a lava tube could be covered and insulated, thus solving the problem of radiation exposure.

A possibly easier solution would be to build the Lunar base on the surface, and cover the modules with Lunar soil. The Lunar regolith is composed of a unique blend of silica and iron-containing compounds that may be fused into a glass-like solid using microwave energy.[82] Blacic has studied the mechanical properties of lunar glass and has shown that it is a promising material for making rigid structures, if coated with metal to keep moisture out.[83] This may allow for the use of “Lunar bricks” in structural designs, or the vitrification of loose dirt to form a hard, ceramic crust.

A Lunar base built on the surface would need to be protected by improved radiation and micrometeoroid shielding. Building the Lunar base inside a deep crater would provide at least partial shielding against radiation and micrometeoroids. Artificial magnetic fields have been proposed[84][85] as a means to provide radiation shielding for long range deep space manned missions, and it might be possible to use similar technology on a Lunar colony. Some regions on the Moon possess strong local magnetic fields that might partially mitigate exposure to charged solar and galactic particles.[86]

In a turn from the usual engineer-designed lunar habitats, London-based Foster + Partners architectural firm proposed a building construction 3D-printer technology in January 2013 that would use Lunar regolith raw materials to produce Lunar building structures while using enclosed inflatable habitats for housing the human occupants inside the hard-shell Lunar structures. Overall, these habitats would require only ten percent of the structure mass to be transported from Earth, while using local Lunar materials for the other 90 percent of the structure mass.[87] “Printed” Lunar soil will provide both “radiation and temperature insulation. Inside, a lightweight pressurized inflatable with the same dome shape will be the living environment for the first human Moon settlers.”[87] The building technology will include mixing Lunar material with magnesium oxide, which will turn the “moonstuff into a pulp that can be sprayed to form the block” when a binding salt is applied that “converts [this] material into a stone-like solid.”[87] Terrestrial versions of this 3D-printing building technology are already printing 2 metres (6ft 7in) of building material per hour with the next-generation printers capable of 3.5 metres (11ft) per hour, sufficient to complete a building in a week.[87]

In 2010, The Moon Capital Competition offered a prize for a design of a Lunar habitat intended to be an underground international commercial center capable of supporting a residential staff of 60 people and their families. The Moon Capital is intended to be self-sufficient with respect to food and other material required for life support. Prize money was provided primarily by the Boston Society of Architects, Google Lunar X Prize and The New England Council of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.[88]

On January 31, 2013, the ESA working with an independent architectural firm, tested a 3D-printed structure that could be constructed of lunar regolith for use as a Moon base.[89]

A nuclear fission reactor might fulfill most of a Moon base’s power requirements.[90] With the help of fission reactors, one could overcome the difficulty of the 354 hour Lunar night. According to NASA, a nuclear fission power station could generate a steady 40kilowatts, equivalent to the demand of about eight houses on Earth.[90] An artists concept of such a station published by NASA envisages the reactor being buried below the Moon’s surface to shield it from its surroundings; out from a tower-like generator part reaching above the surface over the reactor, radiators would extend into space to send away any heat energy that may be left over.[91]

Radioisotope thermoelectric generators could be used as backup and emergency power sources for solar powered colonies.

One specific development program in the 2000s was the Fission Surface Power (FSP) project of NASA and DOE, a fission power system focused on “developing and demonstrating a nominal 40 kWe power system to support human exploration missions. The FSP system concept uses conventional low-temperature stainless steel, liquid metal-cooled reactor technology coupled with Stirling power conversion.” As of 2010[update], significant component hardware testing had been successfully completed, and a non-nuclear system demonstration test was being fabricated.[92][needs update]

Solar energy is a possible source of power for a Lunar base. Many of the raw materials needed for solar panel production can be extracted on site. However, the long Lunar night (354 hours) is a drawback for solar power on the Moon’s surface. This might be solved by building several power plants, so that at least one of them is always in daylight. Another possibility would be to build such a power plant where there is constant or near-constant sunlight, such as at the Malapert mountain near the Lunar south pole, or on the rim of Peary crater near the north pole. A third possibility would be to leave the panels in orbit, and beam the power down as microwaves.

The solar energy converters need not be silicon solar panels. It may be more advantageous to use the larger temperature difference between Sun and shade to run heat engine generators. Concentrated sunlight could also be relayed via mirrors and used in Stirling engines or solar trough generators, or it could be used directly for lighting, agriculture and process heat. The focused heat might also be employed in materials processing to extract various elements from Lunar surface materials.

In the early days,[clarification needed] a combination of solar panels for “day-time” operation and fuel cells for “night-time” operation could be used.[according to whom?]

Fuel cells on the Space Shuttle have operated reliably for up to 17 Earth days at a time. On the Moon, they would only be needed for 354 hours (14 34 days) the length of the Lunar night. Fuel cells produce water directly as a waste product. Current fuel cell technology is more advanced than the Shuttle’s cells PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) cells produce considerably less heat (though their waste heat would likely be useful during the Lunar night) and are lighter, not to mention the reduced mass of the smaller heat-dissipating radiators. This makes PEMs more economical to launch from Earth than the shuttle’s cells. PEMs have not yet been proven in space.

Combining fuel cells with electrolysis would provide a “perpetual” source of electricity solar energy could be used to provide power during the Lunar day, and fuel cells at night. During the Lunar day, solar energy would also be used to electrolyze the water created in the fuel cells although there would be small losses of gases that would have to be replaced.

Even if lunar colonies could provide themselves access to a near-continuous source of solar energy, they would still need to maintain fuel cells or an alternate energy storage system to sustain themselves during lunar eclipses and emergency situations.

Conventional rockets have been used for most Lunar explorations to date. The ESA’s SMART-1 mission from 2003 to 2006 used conventional chemical rockets to reach orbit and Hall effect thrusters to arrive at the Moon in 13 months. NASA would have used chemical rockets on its AresV booster and Lunar Surface Access Module, that were being developed for a planned return to the Moon around 2019, but this was cancelled. The construction workers, location finders, and other astronauts vital to building, would have been taken four at a time in NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

Proposed concepts of Earth-Moon transportation are Space elevators.[93][94]

Lunar colonists will want the ability to transport cargo and people to and from modules and spacecraft, and to carry out scientific study of a larger area of the Lunar surface for long periods of time. Proposed concepts include a variety of vehicle designs, from small open rovers to large pressurized modules with lab equipment, and also a few flying or hopping vehicles.

Rovers could be useful if the terrain is not too steep or hilly. The only rovers to have operated on the surface of the Moon (as of 2008[update]) are the three Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicles (LRV), developed by Boeing, and the two robotic Soviet Lunokhods. The LRV was an open rover for a crew of two, and a range of 92km during one Lunar day. One NASA study resulted in the Mobile Lunar Laboratory concept, a manned pressurized rover for a crew of two, with a range of 396km. The Soviet Union developed different rover concepts in the Lunokhod series and the L5 for possible use on future manned missions to the Moon or Mars. These rover designs were all pressurized for longer sorties.[95]

If multiple bases were established on the Lunar surface, they could be linked together by permanent railway systems. Both conventional and magnetic levitation (Maglev) systems have been proposed for the transport lines. Mag-Lev systems are particularly attractive as there is no atmosphere on the surface to slow down the train, so the vehicles could achieve velocities comparable to aircraft on the Earth. One significant difference with lunar trains, however, is that the cars would need to be individually sealed and possess their own life support systems.

For difficult areas, a flying vehicle may be more suitable. Bell Aerosystems proposed their design for the Lunar Flying Vehicle as part of a study for NASA. Bell also developed the Manned Flying System, a similar concept.

Experience so far indicates that launching human beings into space is much more expensive than launching cargo.

One way to get materials and products from the Moon to an interplanetary way station might be with a mass driver, a magnetically accelerated projectile launcher. Cargo would be picked up from orbit or an Earth-Moon Lagrangian point by a shuttle craft using ion propulsion, solar sails or other means and delivered to Earth orbit or other destinations such as near-Earth asteroids, Mars or other planets, perhaps using the Interplanetary Transport Network.

A Lunar space elevator could transport people, raw materials and products to and from an orbital station at Lagrangian points L1 or L2. Chemical rockets would take a payload from Earth to the L1 Lunar Lagrange location. From there a tether would slowly lower the payload to a soft landing on the lunar surface.

Other possibilities include a momentum exchange tether system.

A cis-Lunar transport system has been proposed using tethers to achieve momentum exchange.[102] This system requires zero net energy input, and could not only retrieve payloads from the Lunar surface and transport them to Earth, but could also soft land payloads on to the Lunar surface.

For long term sustainability, a space colony should be close to self-sufficient. Mining and refining the Moon’s materials on-site for use both on the Moon and elsewhere in the Solar System could provide an advantage over deliveries from Earth, as they can be launched into space at a much lower energy cost than from Earth. It is possible that large amounts of matter will need to be launched into space for interplanetary exploration in the 21st century, and the lower cost of providing goods from the Moon might be attractive.[80]

In the long term, the Moon will likely play an important role in supplying space-based construction facilities with raw materials.[95] Zero gravity in space allows for the processing of materials in ways impossible or difficult on Earth, such as “foaming” metals, where a gas is injected into a molten metal, and then the metal is annealed slowly. On Earth, the gas bubbles rise and burst, but in a zero gravity environment, that does not happen. The annealing process requires large amounts of energy, as a material is kept very hot for an extended period of time. (This allows the molecular structure to realign.)

Exporting material to Earth in trade from the Moon is more problematic due to the cost of transportation, which will vary greatly if the Moon is industrially developed (see “Launch costs” above). One suggested trade commodity, Helium-3 (3He) from the solar wind, is thought to have accumulated on the Moon’s surface over billions of years, but occurs only rarely on Earth. Helium might be present in the Lunar regolith in quantities of 0.01 ppm to 0.05 ppm (depending on soil). In 2006 3He had a market price of about $1500 per gram ($1.5M per kilogram), more than 120 times the value per unit weight of gold and over eight times the value of rhodium.

In the future 3He may have a role as a fuel in thermonuclear fusion reactors.[103] If the technology for converting helium-3 to energy is developed, there is the potential that it would produce 10 times more electricity than fossil fuels. It should require about 100 tonnes of helium-3 to produce the electricity that Earth uses in a year and there should be enough on the moon to provide that much for 10,000 years.[104]

To reduce the cost of transport, the Moon could store propellants produced from lunar water at one or several depots between the Earth and the Moon, to resupply rockets or satellites in Earth orbit.[105] The Shackleton Energy Company estimate investment in this infrastructure could cost around $25 billion.[106]

Gerard K. O’Neill, noting the problem of high launch costs in the early 1970s, came up with the idea of building Solar Power Satellites in orbit with materials from the Moon.[107] Launch costs from the Moon will vary greatly if the Moon is industrially developed (see “Launch costs” above). This proposal was based on the contemporary estimates of future launch costs of the space shuttle.

On 30 April 1979 the Final Report “Lunar Resources Utilization for Space Construction” by General Dynamics Convair Division under NASA contract NAS9-15560 concluded that use of Lunar resources would be cheaper than terrestrial materials for a system comprising as few as thirty Solar Power Satellites of 10 GW capacity each.[108]

In 1980, when it became obvious NASA’s launch cost estimates for the space shuttle were grossly optimistic, O’Neill et al. published another route to manufacturing using Lunar materials with much lower startup costs.[109] This 1980s SPS concept relied less on human presence in space and more on partially self-replicating systems on the Lunar surface under telepresence control of workers stationed on Earth.

Notes

General references

Excerpt from:
Colonization of the Moon – Wikipedia

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National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

Posted: October 11, 2016 at 12:48 am

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas. Learnmore…

Now Available – 2015 Mathematics in Puerto Rico Take a look atthe results of the 2015 Spanish-language NAEP mathematics assessment administered to public school students in Puerto Rico. Learn more …

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May 17, 2016: The Nation’s Report Card: 2014 Technology and Engineering Literacy Assessment

April 27, 2016: The Nation’s Report Card: 2015 Mathematics and Reading at Grade 12

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National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

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Test automation – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: September 6, 2016 at 8:14 am

In software testing, test automation is the use of special software (separate from the software being tested) to control the execution of tests and the comparison of actual outcomes with predicted outcomes.[1] Test automation can automate some repetitive but necessary tasks in a formalized testing process already in place, or perform additional testing that would be difficult to do manually. Test automation is critical for continuous delivery and continuous testing.

Some software testing tasks, such as extensive low-level interface regression testing, can be laborious and time-consuming to do manually. In addition, a manual approach might not always be effective in finding certain classes of defects. Test automation offers a possibility to perform these types of testing effectively. Once automated tests have been developed, they can be run quickly and repeatedly. Many times, this can be a cost-effective method for regression testing of software products that have a long maintenance life. Even minor patches over the lifetime of the application can cause existing features to break which were working at an earlier point in time.

There are many approaches to test automation, however below are the general approaches used widely:

Test automation tools can be expensive, and are usually employed in combination with manual testing. Test automation can be made cost-effective in the long term, especially when used repeatedly in regression testing.[citation needed]

In automated testing the Test Engineer or Software quality assurance person must have software coding ability, since the test cases are written in the form of source code which, when run, produce output according to the assertions that are a part of it.

One way to generate test cases automatically is model-based testing through use of a model of the system for test case generation, but research continues into a variety of alternative methodologies for doing so.[citation needed] In some cases, the model-based approach enables non-technical users to create automated business test cases in plain English so that no programming of any kind is needed in order to configure them for multiple operating systems, browsers, and smart devices.[2]

What to automate, when to automate, or even whether one really needs automation are crucial decisions which the testing (or development) team must make. Selecting the correct features of the product for automation largely determines the success of the automation. Automating unstable features or features that are undergoing changes should be avoided.[3]

A growing trend in software development is the use of testing frameworks such as the xUnit frameworks (for example, JUnit and NUnit) that allow the execution of unit tests to determine whether various sections of the code are acting as expected under various circumstances. Test cases describe tests that need to be run on the program to verify that the program runs as expected.

Test automation mostly using unit testing is a key feature of agile software development, where it is known as test-driven development (TDD). Unit tests are written to define the functionality before the code is written. However, these unit tests evolve and are extended as coding progresses, issues are discovered and the code is subjected to refactoring.[4] Only when all the tests for all the demanded features pass is the code considered complete. Proponents argue that it produces software that is both more reliable and less costly than code that is tested by manual exploration.[citation needed] It is considered more reliable because the code coverage is better, and because it is run constantly during development rather than once at the end of a waterfall development cycle. The developer discovers defects immediately upon making a change, when it is least expensive to fix. Finally, code refactoring is safer when unit testing is used; transforming the code into a simpler form with less code duplication, but equivalent behavior, is much less likely to introduce new defects when the refactored code is covered by unit tests.

Many test automation tools provide record and playback features that allow users to interactively record user actions and replay them back any number of times, comparing actual results to those expected. The advantage of this approach is that it requires little or no software development. This approach can be applied to any application that has a graphical user interface. However, reliance on these features poses major reliability and maintainability problems. Relabelling a button or moving it to another part of the window may require the test to be re-recorded. Record and playback also often adds irrelevant activities or incorrectly records some activities.[citation needed]

A variation on this type of tool is for testing of web sites. Here, the “interface” is the web page. However, such a framework utilizes entirely different techniques because it is rendering HTML and listening to DOM Events instead of operating system events. Headless browsers or solutions based on Selenium Web Driver are normally used for this purpose.[5][6][7]

Another variation of this type of test automation tool is for testing mobile applications. This is very useful given the number of different sizes, resolutions, and operating systems used on mobile phones. For this variation, a framework is used in order to instantiate actions on the mobile device and to gather results of the actions.[8][bettersourceneeded]

Another variation is script-less test automation that does not use record and playback, but instead builds a model[clarification needed] of the application and then enables the tester to create test cases by simply inserting test parameters and conditions, which requires no scripting skills.

API testing is also being widely used by software testers due to the difficulty of creating and maintaining GUI-based automation testing. It involves directly testing APIs as part of integration testing, to determine if they meet expectations for functionality, reliability, performance, and security.[9] Since APIs lack a GUI, API testing is performed at the message layer.[10] API testing is considered critical when an API serves as the primary interface to application logic since GUI tests can be difficult to maintain with the short release cycles and frequent changes commonly used with agile software development and DevOps.[11][12]

Continuous testing is the process of executing automated tests as part of the software delivery pipeline to obtain immediate feedback on the business risks associated with a software release candidate.[13][14] For Continuous Testing, the scope of testing extends from validating bottom-up requirements or user stories to assessing the system requirements associated with overarching business goals.[15]

Testing tools can help automate tasks such as product installation, test data creation, GUI interaction, problem detection (consider parsing or polling agents equipped with oracles, defect logging, etc., without necessarily automating tests in an end-to-end fashion.

One must keep satisfying popular requirements when thinking of test automation:

A test automation framework is an integrated system that sets the rules of automation of a specific product. This system integrates the function libraries, test data sources, object details and various reusable modules. These components act as small building blocks which need to be assembled to represent a business process. The framework provides the basis of test automation and simplifies the automation effort.

The main advantage of a framework of assumptions, concepts and tools that provide support for automated software testing is the low cost for maintenance. If there is change to any test case then only the test case file needs to be updated and the driver Script and startup script will remain the same. Ideally, there is no need to update the scripts in case of changes to the application.

Choosing the right framework/scripting technique helps in maintaining lower costs. The costs associated with test scripting are due to development and maintenance efforts. The approach of scripting used during test automation has effect on costs.

Various framework/scripting techniques are generally used:

The Testing framework is responsible for:[16]

Test automation interface are platforms that provide a single workspace for incorporating multiple testing tools and frameworks for System/Integration testing of application under test. The goal of Test Automation Interface is to simplify the process of mapping tests to business criteria without coding coming in the way of the process. Test automation interface are expected to improve the efficiency and flexibility of maintaining test scripts.[17]

Test Automation Interface consists of the following core modules:

Interface engines are built on top of Interface Environment. Interface engine consists of a parser and a test runner. The parser is present to parse the object files coming from the object repository into the test specific scripting language. The test runner executes the test scripts using a test harness.[17]

Object repositories are a collection of UI/Application object data recorded by the testing tool while exploring the application under test.[17]

Tools are specifically designed to target some particular test environment, such as Windows and web automation tools, etc. Tools serve as a driving agent for an automation process. However, an automation framework is not a tool to perform a specific task, but rather an infrastructure that provides the solution where different tools can do their job in a unified manner. This provides a common platform for the automation engineer.

There are various types of frameworks. They are categorized on the basis of the automation component they leverage. These are:

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Getting started – Bitcoin

Posted: August 30, 2016 at 10:56 pm

Using Bitcoin to pay and get paid is easy and accessible to everyone.

How to use Bitcoin

Bitcoin is different than what you know and use every day. Before you start using Bitcoin, there are a few things that you need to know in order to use it securely and avoid common pitfalls.

You can bring a Bitcoin wallet in your everyday life with your mobile or you can have a wallet only for online payments on your computer. In any case, choosing your wallet can be done in a minute.

You can get bitcoins by accepting them as a payment for goods and services or by buying them from a friend or someone near you. You can also buy them directly from an exchange with your bank account.

There is a growing number of services and merchants accepting Bitcoin all over the world. You can use Bitcoin to pay them and rate your experience to help honest businesses to gain more visibility.

How to accept Bitcoin

Bitcoin does not require merchants to change their habits. However, Bitcoin is different than what you know and use every day. Before you start using Bitcoin, there are a few things that you need to know in order to use it securely and avoid common pitfalls.

You can process payments and invoices by yourself or you can use merchant services and deposit money in your local currency or bitcoins. Most point of sales businesses use a tablet or a mobile phone to let customers pay with their mobile phones.

Merchants often deposit and display prices in their local currency. In other cases, Bitcoin works similarly to a foreign currency. To get appropriate guidance regarding tax compliance for your own jurisdiction, you should contact a qualified accountant.

There is a growing number of users searching for ways to spend their bitcoins. You can submit your business in online directories to help them easily find you. You can also display the Bitcoin logo on your website or your brick and mortar business.

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3 Beaten-Up Virtual-Reality Stocks: Are They Bargains? — The …

Posted: August 29, 2016 at 7:38 am

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

As computing and display technology continues to relentlessly advance, it seems inevitable that the virtual-reality and augmented-reality industries will benefit. In fact, research firm Digi-Capital estimates that the combined augmented and virtual reality space will grow to represent a $120 billion market by 2020, up from less than $5 billion this year.

But finding the best virtual-reality stocks to profit along the way is easier said than done, especially as the price of many of those stocks already reflects much of that growth potential. Tohelp get you started, then, here are three beaten-up virtual-reality stocks to consider adding to your portfolio.

First, GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO)is striving to expand the scope of its business to play a key role enabling the rise of virtual reality through media capture and software services.

GoPro’s OMNI VR rig. Image source: GoPro,

More specifically, GoPro offers compelling virtual-reality hardware rigs such as Omni, a synchronized six-camera spherical array that allows each camera to act as one. And to help optimize those spherical videos, last year GoPro acquired Kolor, a leader in virtual reality and spherical media software solutions. Under GoPro’s umbrella, Kolor’s software enables users to combine multiple images or videos to produce high-res panoramic or spherical content, which can then be displayed on mobile devices, on web browsers, or in virtual-reality environments.

As it stands, however, GoPro still derives the bulk of its revenue from sales of its core action-camera devices. And shares of GoPro are down nearly 70% over the past year as of this writing, as demand for those cameras has waned.

It doesn’t help that GoPro’s highest-end HERO4 Black and Silver cameras were introduced nearly two years ago. And the company botched last year’s release of its (now) more affordable HERO4 Session model by introducing the compact camera at too nhigh a price point, only to subsequently drop its priceby $100two times in five months to its current MSRP of $199.

But as of GoPro’s second-quarter 2016 report last month, the company was still on track to launch both its new HERO5 series cameras and its new Karma quadcopter in time for the lucrative holiday season, which will mark what GoPro’s founding CEO, Nick Woodman, describes as the “largest introduction of products in our history.” If GoPro is able to follow through on that launch, it could be exactly what the company needs to once again start delivering sustained, profitable growth.

Next, no virtual- or augmented-reality platform would be complete without a decent motion-sensing chip to enable the experience. That’s whereInvenSense (NYSE:INVN)comes into play.

Image source: InvenSense

As it stands,shares of InvenSense are down around 30% year to date on softness in the mobile market. Butthat decline would have been even worse if an analyst upgrade hadn’t sent shares of InvenSense soaring a few weeks ago. Incidentally, that analyst — Pacific Crest’s John Vinh — singled out the “significant opportunity” InvenSense’s chips have to further penetrate the market for entry-level and mid-tier devices, many of which don’t include high-quality gyroscope chips required for their users to enjoy augmented-reality platforms and games. One prominent recent example Vinh mentioned is the unprecedented popularity of augmented-reality game Pokemon Go.

That sentiment also echoed the thoughts of InvenSense CEO Behrooz Abdi two weeks earlier, when he stated, “Given strong consumer demand, we expect to see the emergence of many more augmented reality applications and games beyond Pokmon Go, and we believe that their proliferation in mobile devices will expand our TAMs to be mid-tier and low-tier smartphone markets for high-performance gyro.”

Indeed, as virtual and augmented reality continue to become more ubiquitous, InvenSense should be better off for it.

Finally, consider organic LED (OLED) technologistUniversal Display (NASDAQ:OLED), shares of which are technicallyupmore than 60% over the past year but also trade more than 20% below their 52-week-high as of this writing, thanks to the company’s weaker-than-expected second-quarter 2016 report earlier this month.

Image source: Universal Display

But as Iwroteshortly after that report, our market was recoiling after Universal Display management told investors there would be a roughly six-month delay in UDC’s expected ramp in revenue growth — which isn’t entirely surprising, given the number of variables underlying that growth in these early stages of the OLED industry. To blame, UDC says, were delays in the adoption of new higher-margin OLED emitter materials and customers’ more efficient use of OLED materials ahead of their own impending ramps in OLED manufacturing capacity. But over the longer term, Univeral Display should still realize that growth, even if it takes more time than expected.

More pertinent to our topic, Universal Display is poised to benefit from virtual reality as its flagship phosphorescent OLED materials enable displays that are more compact, can be made flexible and even semi-transparent, and sport richer colors and deeper blacks than any competing display technology can offer. All of these features make OLED displays ideally suited to creating more immersive virtual- and augmented-reality solutions.

For patient investors willing to watch Universal Display’s long-term story continue to unfold, I think the pullback represents a perfect opportunity to open or add to a position.

Steve Symingtonowns shares of Universal Display.The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends InvenSense and GoPro.The Motley Fool recommends Universal Display.Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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Adult Vacations, Negril, Jamaica | Hedonism II

Posted: August 21, 2016 at 11:09 am

Select Departure City Albany, Ny [ALB] Albuquerque, Nm [ABQ] Allentown, Pa [ABE] Amarillo, Tx [AMA] Anchorage, Ak [ANC] Appleton, Mn [AQP] Arcata, Ca [ACV] Asheville, Nc [AVL] Aspen, Co [ASE] Atlanta, Ga [ATL] Atlantic City, Nj [ACY] Austin, Tx [AUS] Baltimore, Md [BWI] Bangor, Me [BGR] Beaumont, Tx [BPT] Bethel, Ak [BET] Billings, Mt [BIL] Binghamton, Ny [BGM] Birmingham, Al [BHM] Bismarck, Nd [BIS] Bloomington, Il [BMI] Boise, Id [BOI] Boston, Ma [BOS] Brownsville, Tx [BRO] Brunswick, Ga [BQK] Buffalo, Ny [BUF] Burbank, Ca [BUR] Burlington, Vt [BTV] Calgary [YYC] Cedar Rapids, Ia [CID] Charleston, Sc [CHS] Charleston, Wv [CRW] Charlotte, Nc [CLT] Charlottesville, Va [CHO] Chicago (Midway), Il [MDW] Chicago (O’Hare), Il [ORD] Cincinnati, Oh [CVG] Cleveland, Oh [CLE] College Station, Tx [CLL] Colorado Springs, Co [COS] Columbia, Mo [COU] Columbia, Sc [CAE] Columbus, Oh [CMH] Cordova, Ak [CDV] Corpus Christi, Tx [CRP] Dallas Love Field, Tx [DAL] Dallas/Fort Worth, Tx [DFW] Dayton, Oh [DAY] Denver, Co [DEN] Des Moines, Ia [DSM] Detroit, Mi [DTW] Duluth, Mn [DLH] Durango, Co [DRO] Edmonton Intntl [YEG] Eastern Iowa, Ia [CID] El Paso, Tx [ELP] Erie, Pa [ERI] Eugene, Or [EUG] Eureka, Ca [EKA] Fairbanks, Ak [FAI] Fargo, Nd [FAR] Flint, Mi [FNT] Fresno, Ca [FAT] Ft. Lauderdale, Fl [FLL] Ft. Myers, Fl [RSW] Ft. Walton/Okaloosa [VPS] Ft. Wayne, In [FWA] Gainesville, Fl [GNV] Grand Forks, Nd [GFK] Grand Rapids, Mi [GRR] Great Falls, Mt [GTF] Green Bay, Wi [GRB] Greensboro, Nc [GSO] Greenville, Sc [GSP] Gulfport, Ms [GPT] Halifax Intntl [YHZ] Harlingen [HRL] Harrisburg, Pa [MDT] Hartford, Ct [BDL] Helena, Mt [HLN] Hilo, Hi [ITO] Hilton Head, Sc [HHH] Honolulu, Hi [HNL] Houston Hobby, Tx [HOU] Houston Busch, Tx [IAH] Huntington, Wv [HTS] Huntsville Intl, Al [HSV] Idaho Falls, Id [IDA] Indianapolis, In [IND] Islip, Ny [ISP] Ithaca, Ny [ITH] Jackson Hole, Wy [JAC] Jackson Int’L, Ms [JAN] Jacksonville, Fl [JAX] Juneau, Ak [JNU] Kahului, Hi [OGG] Kansas City, Mo [MCI] Kapalua, Hi [JHM] Kauai, Hi [LIH] Key West, Fl [EYW] Knoxville, Tn [TYS] Kona, Hi [KOA] Lanai, Hi [LNY] Lansing, Mi [LAN] Las Vegas, Nv [LAS] Lexington, Ky [LEX] Lincoln, Ne [LNK] Little Rock, Ar [LIT] Long Beach, Ca [LGB] Los Angeles, Ca [LAX] Louisville, Ky [SDF] Lubbock, Tx [LBB] Lynchburg, Va [LYH] Montreal Mirabel [YMX] Montreal Trudeau [YUL] Madison, Wi [MSN] Manchester, Nh [MHT] Maui, Hi [OGG] Mcallen, Tx [MFE] Medford, Or [MFR] Melbourne, Fl [MLB] Memphis, Tn [MEM] Miami, Fl [MIA] Midland/Odessa, Tx [MAF] Milwaukee, Wi [MKE] Minneapolis/St. Paul [MSP] Missoula, Mt [MSO] Mobile Regional, Al [MOB] Molokai, Hi [MKK] Monterey, Ca [MRY] Montgomery, Al [MGM] Myrtle Beach, Sc [MYR] Naples, Fl [APF] Nashville, Tn [BNA] New Braunfels, Tx [BAZ] New Orleans, La [MSY] New York Kennedy, Ny [JFK] New York Laguardia [LGA] Newark, Nj [EWR] Norfolk, Va [ORF] Ottawa Mcdonald [YOW] Oakland, Ca [OAK] Oklahoma City, Ok [OKC] Omaha, Ne [OMA] Ontario, Ca [ONT] Orange County, Ca [SNA] Orlando, Fl [MCO] Palm Springs, Ca [PSP] Panama City, Fl [PFN] Pensacola, Fl [PNS] Peoria, Il [PIA] Philadelphia, Pa [PHL] Phoenix, Az [PHX] Pittsburgh, Pa [PIT] Port Angeles, Wa [CLM] Portland Intl, Or [PDX] Portland, Me [PWM] Providence, Ri [PVD] Quebec Intntl [YQB] Raleigh/Durham, Nc [RDU] Rapid City, Sd [RAP] Redmond, Or [RDM] Reno, Nv [RNO] Richmond, Va [RIC] Roanoke, Va [ROA] Rochester, Ny [ROC] Rockford, Il [RFD] Sacramento, Ca [SMF] Saginaw, Mi [MBS] Salem, Or [SLE] Salt Lake City, Ut [SLC] San Antonio, Tx [SAT] San Diego, Ca [SAN] San Francisco, Ca [SFO] San Jose, Ca [SJC] Santa Barbara, Ca [SBA] Santa Rosa, Ca [STS] Sarasota/Bradenton [SRQ] Savannah, Ga [SAV] Seattle/Tacoma, Wa [SEA] Shreveport, La [SHV] Sioux City, Ia [SUX] Sioux Falls, Sd [FSD] Spokane, Wa [GEG] Springfield, Il [SPI] Springfield, Mo [SGF] St. Louis, Mo [STL] St. Petersburg, Fl [PIE] Syracuse, Ny [SYR] Toronto Pearson [YYZ] Tallahassee, Fl [TLH] Tampa, Fl [TPA] Traverse City, Mi [TVC] Tucson, Az [TUS] Tulsa, Ok [TUL] Vancouver Intntl [YVR] Victoria Intntl [YYJ] Winnipeg Intntl [YWG] Washington Natl, Dc [DCA] Washington/Dulles, Dc [IAD] Wenatchee, Wa [EAT] West Palm Beach, Fl [PBI] White Plains, Ny [HPN] Wichita, Ks [ICT] Wilkes-Barre/Scranton [AVP]

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Adult Vacations, Negril, Jamaica | Hedonism II

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