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Biotech

Scientists Map Neanderthal Genome 229

Posted by timothy
from the first-draft-means-they-can-still-send-it-back dept.
goran72 writes "In a development which could reveal the links between modern humans and their prehistoric cousins, scientists said they have mapped a first draft of the Neanderthal genome. Researchers used DNA fragments extracted from three Croatian fossils to map out more than 60 percent of the entire Neanderthal genome by sequencing three billion bases of DNA."
Classic Games (Games)

Adventure Game Interfaces and Puzzle Theory 149

Posted by Soulskill
from the use-square-peg-on-round-hole dept.
MarkN writes "It seems like whenever broad topics of game design are discussed on Slashdot, a few people bring up examples of Adventure Games, possibly owing to the age and interests of our members. I'd be interested to hear the community's thoughts on a piece I wrote on Adventure Games, talking about the evolution they underwent in terms of interfaces, and how the choice of interface affects some aspects of the puzzles and design. My basic premise is that an Adventure Game is an exercise in abstract puzzle solving — you could represent the same game with a parser or a point and click interface and still have the same underlying puzzle structure, and required player actions. What the interface does affect is how the player specifies those actions. Point and click games typically have a bare handful of verbs compared to parser games, where the player is forced to describe the desired interaction much more precisely in a way that doesn't lend itself to brute force fiddling. It's a point Yahtzee has made in the past; he went so far as to design a modern graphic adventure game with a parser input to demonstrate its potential." Read on for the rest of MarkN's comments.
United States

+ - Dossia looking to reshape Healthcare in USA

Submitted by
adickerson0
adickerson0 writes "Applied Materials, BP America, Intel Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Wal-Mart and Cardinal Health have joined together to start Dossia. This group plans to create a free (beer) system that allows hospitals and clinics across the country to digitize and share patient records. Furthermore they plan to integrate this with EMT Services, Labs, and Pharmacies. One of the major voices in this movement is Lee Scott of Wal-Mart. Who in February announced the Better Health Care Together Coalition which involves Wal-Mart, AT&T, SEIU, CWA, Center for American Progress and the Howard Baker Center. All of which comes on the heels of the Wal-Mart $4 prescription drug plan and the opening of 76 in store health clinics (2000 planned in 5-7 years). With the support of so many large groups and what seems to be a developing health care network to support Dossia, what can the Linux community and Slashdot do to support this initiative? http://www.omnimedix.org/"
The Almighty Buck

+ - Is "ad-supported free" really "free

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Another story about some free product or service that is ad-supported is making the rounds (google for "peter gabriel" and "we7" in case you missed it), but I am wondering ... ... the ads are payed for by companies whose products "we" buy (or are supposed to buy), so effectively by "our" money, only that we did not explicitly choose to put "our" money there!

So how free is free, if for everything that we buy there's an "ad tax" that we pay that goes towards paying everything ad-supported? Wouldn't everything be much cheaper if without the ad-tax that, in addition to paying for everything ad-supported, must also pay the advertising industry?

But the ad industry has probably done a good job of presenting itself as oil, rather than sand, in the cogworks of our economy ... although us community of all consumers feeding the ad-industry through the ad-tax on nearly everything that we buy seems to me like a communist-style solidarity, a sharing inmidst the otherwise egoistical capitalism. We could of course also call it vampirism?"
Databases

+ - Storing international addresses

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In designing a database for a company that deals international, its important to store address information in a way that supports all types of address formats to be dealt with. What ways have people attempted to deal with storing international address information in a relational database?"
Spam

Is There Any Reason to Report Spammers to ISPs? 117

Posted by Cliff
from the does-it-do-any-good dept.
marko_ramius asks: "For years I've been a good netizen and reported spam that I get to the appropriate contacts at various ISPs. In the entire time that I've done this I've gotten (maybe) 5 or 6 responses from those ISPs informing me that they have taken action against the spammer. In recent years however, I haven't gotten any responses. Are the ISP's so overwhelmed with abuse reports that they aren't able to respond to the spam reports? Do they even bother acting on said reports? Is there any real reason to report spammers?"
Programming

+ - fun open source communities

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I am looking for an open source project to contribute towards, a project using c/c++ or python.
Most importantly it should be made of a fun community, a welcoming community.

Some of the higher profile projects are hard to get patches into, get help from or are for are really run by companies.

what open source projects do you know of that have a nice, welcoming community, one of the spirit of the open source communities of old."
Programming

+ - The point of the status meeting

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The company that I work for just finished up a phase of testing that was pretty intensive and required a lot of hours to complete on schedule. Each day we had a status meeting that consisted of twenty people sitting in a room and listening to one person talk about their progress or issues from the previous day. Most of the time the status discussed only helped about one or two people in the room while the rest of us just wasted an hour in which we could have been making progress. We ended up finishing our testing two months later than scheduled and I wonder if we didn't waste 100 man hours a week for six months on status if we would have met our goal. My question is how does your manager or company get status about an important phase in the software development cycle without sacrificing the productivity of the entire team?"
Spam

+ - Bots, Spam, and ISPs

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "All the spam that gets through the various spam traps my ISP and employer have set up get sent to Spamcop. However I am curious about what approach the ISPs takes when they get reports.

I see a few options:
1) Do nothing
2) Tell the owner of the machine to stop sending spam
3) Block the machine

I understand that the spam is not always being sent by the owner of the machine as such, and that their machine is most likely compromised and is part of a botnet. What I don't understand is why the botnets are not dismantled by the ISPs. The way to do this is obvious, if a machine has had a spam complaint made against it, the ISP should warn the owner, and that warning should include information about botnets, rootkits, viruses, trojans, phishing scams and so on, it should also include information about virus checkers, firewalls and other software to protect the users from as much harm as possible. More importantly the ISP should inform the users HOW TO GET RID OF THE INFECTION.

Yes I agreee that none of this is as simple as it sounds, but then again trying to bock that 90% of email, the viruses, the compromised web sites is not an easy task either.

So, I am curious, has anyone here know any example of an ISP activly helping any of their customers clean up their machine ?"
GUI

+ - Framework for GUI development

Submitted by
rsuintila
rsuintila writes "The libraries and tools used to program the GUI are often an Achille's heal in the maintenance of long-term projects. In the case of multiplatform systems, the simplistic answer is Java, but, should I use Swing, AWT, SWT...? Are these alternatives well-suited for the development of GNU projects?
What framework/libraries/tools would you use in order to code a GUI for a long-term multiplatform GNU project?"
Software

+ - Can F/OSS projects be killed by dormant patents?

Submitted by skelly33
skelly33 (891182) writes "I am working on putting together an open source project that has commercial applications but am concerned that some day some random company with a thick patent portfolio is going to see it and try to stamp it out with a cease and desist claiming that they own the concept. The trouble is that many clever concepts have been conceived but lay dormant in patents that are just waiting around for a lawsuit where the patent holder has no intent of ever turning it into a product. Is this a legitimate concern for someone who would much rather avoid investing deep into a project so as not to be brought down by some idiotic/costly lawsuit, or is there any degree of protection afforded through original research and not-for-profit development of an otherwise patented concept under the banner of "Open Source"?"

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