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Comment: 80%? A lofty goal indeed. (Score 3, Insightful) 391

by Doofus (#46606915) Attached to: Toward Better Programming
Not clear to me that his is a viable objective. 80% of the masses do not think like programmers. Some might be trainable. Some, not so much. Many will not want to think the way problem-solving in code requires. I'm not sure how to quantify it, but the amount of effort expended on a project like this may not see an appropriate payback.

Even if we change the environment and act of "coding", the problem-solving itself still requires clear thinking and it *probably* always will.

+ - Teach Calculus to 5-year olds? ->

Submitted by Doofus
Doofus (43075) writes "The Atlantic has an interesting story about opening up what we routinely consider "advanced" areas of mathematics to younger learners.

The goals here are to use complex but easy tasks as introductions to more advanced topics in math, rather than the standard, sequential process of counting, arithmetic, sets, geometry, then eventually algebra and finally calculus.

Examples of activities that fall into the “simple but hard” quadrant: Building a trench with a spoon (a military punishment that involves many small, repetitive tasks, akin to doing 100 two-digit addition problems on a typical worksheet, as Droujkova points out), or memorizing multiplication tables as individual facts rather than patterns.

Far better, she says, to start by creating rich and social mathematical experiences that are complex (allowing them to be taken in many different directions) yet easy (making them conducive to immediate play). Activities that fall into this quadrant: building a house with LEGO blocks, doing origami or snowflake cut-outs, or using a pretend “function box” that transforms objects (and can also be used in combination with a second machine to compose functions, or backwards to invert a function, and so on).

I plan to get my children learning the "advanced" topics as soon as possible. How about you?"
Link to Original Source


Japan To Create a Nuclear Meltdown 222

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the suddenly-godzilla dept.
Taco Cowboy writes "Japanese researchers are planning an experiment to better understand what transpires during a nuclear meltdown by attempting to create a controlled nuclear meltdown. Using a scaled down version of a nuclear reactor — essentially a meter long stainless steel container — the experiment will involve the insertion of a foot long (30 cm) nuclear fuel rod, starting the fission process, and then draining the coolant. The experiment is scheduled to take place later this year."

+ - Masao Yoshida, director of Daichii Fukushima nuclear plant, has died.-> 1

Submitted by Doofus
Doofus (43075) writes "Masao Yoshida, director of the Daichii Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, has passed away. Colleagues and politicos in Japan praised his disobedience during the post-tsunami meltdown and credited him with preventing much more widespread and intense damage.

On March 12, a day after the tsunami, Mr. Yoshida ignored an order from Tepco headquarters to stop pumping seawater into a reactor to try and cool it because of concerns that ocean water would corrode the equipment.

Tepco initially said it would penalize Mr. Yoshida even though Sakae Muto, then a vice president at the utility, said it was a technically appropriate decision. Mr. Yoshida received no more than a verbal reprimand after then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan defended the plant chief, the Yomiuri newspaper reported.

“I bow in respect for his leadership and decision-making,” Kan said Tuesday in a message posted on his Twitter account.


Link to Original Source

Comment: Creep, Shmeep (Score 1) 365

by Doofus (#43685383) Attached to: Biometric Database Plans Hidden In Immigration Bill

inevitable mission creep, ending with the proof of self being required at polling places, to rent a house, buy a gun, open a bank account, acquire credit, board a plane or even attend a sporting event or log on the internet.

Except for some sporting events and accessing the internet, the other events all require ID, some require photo ID and others do not. Please, stop the hysterics. The issue is not whether you need to show an ID to vote, or to rent a house (credit report, anyone?), or buy a gun (background check, hello?), or board a plane (where have you been for the last 12 years?).

The bigger issue is does the DHS - or a client of their data - have authority to prevent you from carrying out these activities based on the data - identity and other - stored its databases. That would be a sensible concern.

Stop whining about policies of private institutions and state and local governments that are sensible and non-invasive. The arm-waving and yelling is immature, and cheapens other more valid concerns about the use of personally identifying (and classifying) data.

Comment: Take 10 minute walk breaks (Score 1) 372

by Doofus (#42569739) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Stay Fit In the Office?

Get up from your desk a few times during the day, perhaps once in the morning, once at - or just after - lunchtime, once in the afternoon, and walk briskly for 10 minutes - OUTSIDE.

Walking lowers blood pressure, reduces stress levels, give you a chance to breathe non-recycled, fresh, or at least fresher, air (depending on where you work), and burns calories.

Diet is important. But even if your dietary choices are poor, a simple brisk walk of short duration a few times a day will measurably lengthen your life.

Artificial Wombs In the Near Future? 367

Posted by Soulskill
from the invest-in-popcorn-when-this-hits-mainstream-politics dept.
New submitter DaemonDan writes "The first successful pregnancy by IVF was accomplished over 50 years ago, essentially creating a multi-billion dollar industry. Many scientists are trying to take it one step farther with a 100% test tube baby brought to term in an artificial womb. 'Cornell University's Dr. Hung-Ching Liu has engineered endometrial tissues by prompting cells to grow in an artificial uterus. When Liu introduced a mouse embryo into the lab-created uterine lining, "It successfully implanted and grew healthy," she said in this New Atlantis Magazine article. Scientists predict the research could produce an animal womb by 2020, and a human model by early 2030s.' The author of the article seems to believe that birth via artificial wombs could become the new norm, but is it really feasible, desirable or even affordable for the majority of Earth's population?"

Probable Rogue Planet Spotted 155

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the omarion-nebula dept.
Maow writes with news of a sighting of a rogue gas giant: "'This object was discovered during a scan that covered the equivalent of 1,000 times the [area] of the full moon,' said study co-author Etienne Artigau of the University of Montreal. 'We observed hundreds of millions of stars and planets, but we only found one homeless planet in our neighborhood.' This planet appears to be an astonishingly young 50-120 million years old. The original paper is on the arXiv. Here's hoping the Mayan End-of-World-2012 people don't seize upon this as some kind of impending rogue planet on a collision course with Earth, but one can expect it'll be bantered about on such forums." From the article: "The team believe it has a temperature of about 400C and a mass between four and seven times that of Jupiter - well short of the mass limit that would make it a likely brown dwarf."

+ - Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft With Immediate Effect->

Submitted by toomanyairmiles
toomanyairmiles (838715) writes "The BBC reports that Microsoft's head of Windows division Steven Sinofsky has left the company with immediate effect. He will be replaced by Julie Larson-Green "Microsoft Corp. today announced that Windows and Windows Live President Steven Sinofsky will be leaving the company and that Julie Larson-Green will be promoted to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering. Tami Reller retains her roles as chief financial officer and chief marketing officer and will assume responsibility for the business of Windows. Both executives will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. ""
Link to Original Source

Self-Assembling Robots Using Flying Drones 33

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the air-support dept.
mikejuk writes with an excerpt from I Programmer on a neat swarm of robots that use flying drones to build a map of their environment: "How can a swarm of robots get a global picture of its environment? Easy it simply sends up a drone. We are used to thinking of drones as being used for surveillance by humans operating on the ground, but what is good for humans is good for robots too. The drone can view the overall terrain and run simulations of what configurations of robots could best traverse the slopes. Once it has worked out how to assemble the robots into a single machine the drone has to communicate the plan to the swarm using a protocol based on the colored lights they all have. The ground robots adopt a random color and the drone selects the one it wants to communicate with by displaying the same color. They then repeat the process until only one robot has been selected i.e the drone follows the color changes of the selected robot. Of course if you don't like the idea of human drones flying over your head you may not be happy about robots getting in on the act as well..." Original paper

+ - CloudFlare masters global pxe-driven content delievery->

Submitted by Doofus
Doofus (43075) writes "Quoting from the Ars article:

On August 22, CloudFlare, a content delivery network, turned on a brand new data center in Seoul, Korea—the last of ten new facilities started across four continents in a span of thirty days. The Seoul data center brought CloudFlare's number of data centers up to 23, nearly doubling the company's global reach—a significant feat in itself for a company of just 32 employees.

But there was something else relatively significant about the Seoul data center and the other 9 facilities set up this summer: despite the fact that the company owned every router and every server in their racks, and each had been configured with great care to handle the demands of CloudFlare's CDN and security services, no one from CloudFlare had ever set foot in them. All that came from CloudFlare directly was a six-page manual instructing facility managers and local suppliers on how to rack and plug in the boxes shipped to them.


Link to Original Source

Comment: No water, no air, no bonds broken? (Score 5, Insightful) 315

by Doofus (#41610151) Attached to: Half-Life of DNA is 521 Years, <em>Jurassic Park</em> Impossible After All
So in amber, or some other similar impermeable substance, the chemical reactions requiring water or air might well be prevented or dramatically slowed, thus the degradation of DNA might be substantially slower than the 521 years described in the summary.

Not necessarily the end of the Jurassic Park idea.

There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman? -- Woody Allen