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Comment Nothing new under the sun (Score 5, Informative) 90

Alternate headline: "Academic incrementally advances an established line of thought."

Lila Gatlin was writing about this in the 1960s and 70s.

"Life may be defined operationally as an information processing system—a structural hierarchy of functioning units—that has acquired through evolution the ability to store and process the information necessary for its own accurate reproduction." --Lila Gatlin, Information Theory and the Living System, 1971

I'd like more insight on how Adami's contributions are especially significant (which they may be, but TFA doesn't make that clear). Or is it just that he's a really good spokesman?

Comment Minkwitz is the key (Score 2) 464

Since you're on /., you probably will care to understand the Minkwitz relationship:
deltaA/deltaX = 2 × deltaM/deltaY
where A is the astigmatism created by the lens, M is the power of the correction provided by the lens, and X and Y are the usual coordinates. Thus progressive lenses always get blurry in direct proportion to the difference between your near and far correction, and in inverse proportion to the vertical distance between the near and far sweet spots.

In practice, some advanced techniques such as grinding both sides of the lens and applying wavefront or raytracing optical simulations can make the problem less noticeable (mainly by moving the worst areas from one spot to another). Some brands of lenses are better than others, and some labs do a better job of making them than others. If you go for progressive ("PAL") lenses, ask to see the "occupational" lenses from several different manufacturers. Learn how to see the "invisible" manufacturing codes printed on your lenses.

My solution at the moment: fixed-distance computer glasses, plus Hoya Summit iQ PAL lenses adjusted to increase the size of the reading zone a bit.

Submission + - Customers, support thy selves...

An anonymous reader writes: Has anyone else noticed the trend towards "community forums" where customers are basically being recruited to solve the issues of other customers while the companies selling the products causing the issues sit back and take a passive role in the process? Granted, sometimes the companies' employees play an active part in the forums and provide some value-add by contributing crucial, and often undocumented, knowledge that solves the problem in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case and this leaves customers with no visibility into whether or not their problems are being addressed, and, if they are, when they might expect to receive assistance. This is bad enough when dealing with consumer electronics that cost up to a couple of hundred of dollars, but it's completely unacceptable when dealing with proprietary design tool vendors that are charging several thousand dollars for software licenses for tools that are the only option if a customer doesn't want to drop an order of magnitude more money to go with 3rd party tools (e.g., Synopsys).

This leads me to the following questions for all of you Slashdotters: who do you think are the worst offenders of this downloading of support onto the backs of the customers themselves, and what can be done to let them know that this new reality is ridiculous?

Comment To maximize bacteria (Score 5, Informative) 250

IIRC from the book "The Life That Lives On Man," the skin count of undesirable bacteria is maximized by daily showering. That's just frequent enough to wash away the desirable strains, and to keep things moist enough for the undesirable strains to proliferate. That research is over 20 years old, so I'd love to see an update.

Comment Re:Slippery slope? (Score 5, Interesting) 604

Did anyone else listen to this on a scanner? It's amazing how many times the dispatcher had to remind officers to exercise discipline and to follow the orders which they had been given. Apparently many officers felt compelled to converge on any suspected sighting, abandoning their assigned lookout posts. In general, I was impressed by the police response, but it was far below the standard that would be expected in many other cities.

Submission + - 8 Irresistible Programming Contests (

Esther Schindler writes: "Baseball players can compare their excellence by looking at statistics. Developers... not so much. It's hard to know how good you are unless you go head-to-head with other programmers, which is one reason that programming competitions are fun. So, too, is the money you might win, or the career bragging rights, or, as Steven Vaughan-Nichols points out in 8 Contests and Challenges You Can't Resist, you might get to contribute to a NASA project. Wouldn't that look cool on your resume?"

Submission + - Oil Detection Methods Miss Important Class Of Chemicals (

MTorrice writes: "For decades, scientists studying oil spills have relied on the same analytical methods when tracking the movement of oil and assessing a spill’s environmental impact. But these techniques miss an entire class of compounds that could account for about half of the total oil in some samples, according to research presented last week at the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference, in New Orleans. These chemicals could explain the fate of some of the oil released in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident and other spills, the researchers say."

Submission + - Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture (

kthreadd writes: Luis Villa has an interesting discussion on the topic of not licensing at all, what he calls POSS or Post Open Source Software. With a flood of new hackers flocking to places like GitHub which doesn't impose any particular requirements for hosted projects, the future of Open Source may very well be diminishing. Skip licensing, just commit to GitHub. What legal ramifications will this have on the free and open source community going forward?

Submission + - Malware Controls 620,000 Phones, Sends Costly Messages (

Orome1 writes: "A new discovered malware is potentially one of the most costly viruses yet discovered. Uncovered by NQ Mobile, the "Bill Shocker" (a.expense.Extension.a) virus has already impacted 620,000 users in China and poses a threat to unprotected Android devices worldwide. Bill Shocker downloads in the background, without arousing the mobile device owner's suspicion. The infection can then take remote control of the device, including the contact list, Internet connections and dialing and texting functions. Once the malware has turned the phone into a "zombie," the infection uses the device to send text message to the profit of advertisers. In many cases, the threat will overrun the user's bundling quota, which subjects the user to additional charges."
GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - GNU C Library 2.17 Announced, Includes Support for 64-bit ARM (

hypnosec writes: A new version of GNU C Library (glibc) has been released and with this new version comes support for the upcoming 64-bit ARM architecture a.k.a. AArch64. Version 2.17 of glibc not only includes support for ARM, it also comes with better support for cross-compilation and testing; optimized versions of memcpy, memset, and memcmp for System z10 and zEnterprise z196; optimized version of string functions on top of some quite a few other performance improvements states the mailing list release announcement. Glibc v 2.17 can be used with a minimum Linux kernel version 2.6.16.

Submission + - Empty Times Square Building generates $23 Million a Year from Digital Ads (

dryriver writes: 'Advertising things at the right place is proving to be a cash cow, as electronic ads earn about $23mn each year for an empty building at One Times Square – the iconic tourist destination in the New York City. A 25-story Manhattan office building that has long been empty keeps on bringing in millions to its owner as a billboard. Michael Phillips, CEO of Atlanta-based Jamestown Properties, bought One Times Square through a fund in 1997 for $117 million, as the Wall Street Journal reports. Above 100mn pedestrians pass through the square each year, which is 90% more than 16 years ago, says the Times Square Alliance, a non-profit business improvement organization. And this is what makes a price tag for having a company’s name placed on the building the highest in the world, even above such crowded tourist destinations as Piccadilly Circus in London. Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. pays $3.6mn a year for a Dunkin' Donuts digital sign on the One Times Square building, with Anheuser-Busch InBev paying another $3.4mn a year for its advertisement. Sony and News America pay $4mn a year for a shared sign.'

"When it comes to humility, I'm the greatest." -- Bullwinkle Moose