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Comment: Re:it is not, probably doesn't exist (Score 1) 221

by Dr.Dubious DDQ (#47917147) Attached to: Schizophrenia Is Not a Single Disease
"That's what they say..."group of heritable disorders"...it reminds me of when I studied Mendell in HS science and fruit flies and hemophilia."

"Heritable" doesn't mean exactly the same as "genetic".
"Heritability" refers to how much of the variation of a trait in a population is due to genetics. The number of heads or legs a person has is most definitely "genetic", but not really "heritable" at all; if you meet someone with one leg or two heads,the reason for that is almost certainly NOT because of a mutation in some "number of heads/legs" gene they inherited.

Writing that types of schizophrenia are "heritable" just reflects that there are genetic factors that influence how likely it is that someone will develop a variety of schizophrenia, not that schizophrenia is "caused" by genetics (nor necessarily that schizophrenia symptoms can't potentially be caused by environmental factors alone sometimes).

Earth

Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels 617

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-this-doesn't-mean-global-warming-isn't-real dept.
schwit1 writes Scientists have declared a new record has been set for the extent of Antarctic sea ice since records began. Satellite imagery reveals an area of about 20 million square kilometers covered by sea ice around the Antarctic continent. Jan Lieser from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) said the discovery was made two days ago. "Thirty-five years ago the first satellites went up which were reliably telling us what area, two dimensional area, of sea ice was covered and we've never seen that before, that much area."

Comment: Re:Linux. (Score 1) 73

by Dr.Dubious DDQ (#47771141) Attached to: MediaGoblin 0.7.0 "Time Traveler's Delight" Released
It's getting hard to tell whether posts like this are serious but just in case:
Yes. Linux is the main platform. Hypothetically, any platform with python, gstreamer, and whatever other add-ons are needed ought to be workable too, but I know it works on Linux.

Otherwise: Yes, but you need a beowulf cluster of linuxes.

Comment: Re:Two dimensional? (Score 3, Informative) 49

by Dr.Dubious DDQ (#47767911) Attached to: Scientists Craft Seamless 2D Semiconductor Junctions
"Nope. It's common knowledge that 2D fab (which uses little circles as opposed to spherical atoms) is much cheaper than 3D."

I wouldn't trust anything made on circular-atom technology these days. The only factories that still make the little electron-dots for them are all in dodgy neighborhoods in China, and half the time once delivered they turn out to just be a few photons glued together and painted black...

Comment: An attempt at a better description (a bit long): (Score 2) 73

by Dr.Dubious DDQ (#47766487) Attached to: MediaGoblin 0.7.0 "Time Traveler's Delight" Released

It is still kind of hard to get a sense of what this project is. To be honest, I didn't even fully get it until I'd managed to get it installed and play with it a little. This is my understanding of the project, someone who is more closely involved can probably correct any errors I might be making here.

MediaGoblin is a backend system for hosting "media". Part of the big idea is that "media" potentially includes any kind of thing you want to host. It's first incarnation was really just for photos/still images (like piwigo or gallery), but now also handles video, audio, "raw" images, PDF, .stl 3d models, Ascii Art, and apparently blog-style HTML text. I'm not sure if it's planned, but I'd expect it to also end up with support for .svg graphics, additional document formats (.odf, etc) and various others as interest develops. I, personally, would love to see .epub support.

MediaGoblin's main purpose is to take uploaded media and catalog it, tag it, generate "thumbnail"images, and perform any additional processing needed (such as producing legally-free format media for streaming and/or download - this IS a GNU-affiliated project after all.) It also handles authentication, access control, generation of the HTML for the pages that present the media, and so on. It is NOT (really) the frontend - they assume you have your own webserver. (There is a minimal python web-server script included can be used but it's not really intended for more than basic testing.

There is currently a focus on developing federation, meaning people can run their own individual hosts with their own login accounts, but be able to use and share media between different hosts without needing separate accounts on all of them. This will make it easy to spread out the hosting and mirroring of media across different servers in different places, which will be useful for load-spreading (like bittorrent) and for "censorship-resistance". (For a large organization with a worldwide spread of MediaGoblin instances, it could be like a Streisand-effect amplifier...)

The buzzword version of the description goes something like this: it's a unified (because this one system handles more or less all types of "content"), decentralized (because multiple independent servers can allow data-sharing and authentication with each other to prevent loss of one server from stopping access to media), federated (that's the buzzword for "one server can be told to trust another server's authentication" thing) system for hosting any "content" (or "media" if you prefer) that you want.

The short version is that it does the same sort of thing as flickr(/piwigo/gallery/picasa...), youtube(/vimeo, etc), soundcloud(/jamendo etc), wordpress, and various others, but it does it all in one interface in a way that the owners have control over so that (for example) some buttnugget can't shut off your video by just telling Google that the sound of birds in the background of your video is pirated music.

It'll currently mostly be of interest to people who are capable of operating their own servers rather than "end-users", though it seems obvious that the expectation is that people will end up using this system to set up hosting for said "end-users", whether for the general public or for use by members of some organization or other. I could imagine a university using it for inter-departmental or inter-campus media sharing and hosting, or an activist organization setting up federated instances in several countries for storing and sharing media, or a commercial start-up basing a multi-media Jamendo-style hosting company on the platform, for example.

My personal opinion: in its current state it's still too difficult install to be worthwhile for, say, a photo-gallery site (piwigo was a much simpler install on my existing webserver), but I don't know of anything similar for hosting video, audio, etc. (I suspect some projects for each on exist, I just don't know of them), and if I wanted to host several of these media types it might be worth it. My main complaints right now are that audio support is limited to offering "webm [v1] audio" (Vorbis audio in a limited Matroska container) as the output format (it can accept any kind of audio as input that gstreamer can handle i.e. just about anything), which is pretty well supported in browsers but not really widely used for audio files. (I'd like to see at least.opus support. .flac and .ogg [vorbis] output as well would be ideal. WebM v2 [opus audio in the aforementioned limited Matroska container] will probably also be handy if Google maintains their commitment to the format, and maybe alac ".m4a" as the only legally-free(?) media format Apple allows people to use as far as I know, besides possibly ".wav"), and that installation is currently quite laborious, especially if you don't want to set up a dedicated server just for MediaGoblin (i.e. if you already have a webserver hosting other things that you also want to serve MediaGoblin-hosted data through at the same time), but what I saw of the last version I tried out it looked promising. I'll be trying it again once I think I can get it to serve .opus audio.

Biotech

China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn 152

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-on-my-plate dept.
sciencehabit writes China's Ministry of Agriculture has decided not to renew biosafety certificates that allowed research groups to grow genetically modified (GM) rice and corn. The permits, to grow two varieties of GM rice and one transgenic corn strain, expired on 17 August. The reasoning behind the move is not clear, and it has raised questions about the future of related research in China.
Earth

Scientists Baffled By Unknown Source of Ozone-Depleting Chemical 303

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-blame-the-schools dept.
schwit1 writes: Scientists have found that, despite a complete ban since 2007, ozone-depleting chemicals are still being pumped into the atmosphere from some unknown source. "Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), which was once used in applications such as dry cleaning and as a fire-extinguishing agent, was regulated in 1987 under the Montreal Protocol along with other chlorofluorocarbons that destroy ozone and contribute to the ozone hole over Antarctica. Parties to the Montreal Protocol reported zero new CCl4 emissions between 2007-2012. However, the new research shows worldwide emissions of CCl4 average 39 kilotons (about 43,000 U.S. tons) per year, approximately 30 percent of peak emissions prior to the international treaty going into effect. "We are not supposed to be seeing this at all," said Qing Liang, an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study published online in the Aug. 18 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. "It is now apparent there are either unidentified industrial leakages, large emissions from contaminated sites, or unknown CCl4 sources."
Businesses

Microsoft Considered Renaming Internet Explorer To Escape Its Reputation 426

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-rose-by-any-other-name dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft's Internet Explorer engineering team told a Reddit gathering that discussions about a name change have taken place and could happen again. From the article: "Microsoft has had "passionate" discussions about renaming Internet Explorer to distance the browser from its tarnished image, according to answers from members of the developer team given in a reddit Ask Me Anything session today. In spite of significant investment in the browser—with the result that Internet Explorer 11 is really quite good—many still regard the browser with contempt, soured on it by the lengthy period of neglect that came after the release of the once-dominant version 6. Microsoft has been working to court developers and get them to give the browser a second look, but the company still faces an uphill challenge."
Open Source

Open Source Pioneer Michael Tiemann On Open Source Business Success 41

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the smash-the-system dept.
ectoman (594315) writes Opensource.com has a summary of an interview with Michael Tiemann, co-founder of Cygnus Solutions and one of the world's first open source entrepreneurs. Now VP of Open Source Affairs at Red Hat, Tiemann offers an historical perspective on what makes open source businesses successful, and shares how he dealt with the open source movement's early skeptics. "A lot of the skepticism is a response to the abstract; it's a response to the unknown," Tiemann says, "And when you bring a concrete success story with just absolutely stellar credentials that doesn't just outperform the field, but embarrasses the field, then the skeptics begin to look like they're on the wrong side." The full audio interview on Hacker Public radio (~1 hour).
Books

Apple $450 Million e-Book Settlement Wins Court Approval 93

Posted by samzenpus
from the red-light-green-light dept.
An anonymous reader writes A week after Judge Denise Cote put forward concerns over a proposed settlement with consumers over e-book price-fixing in the iBookstore, she has given Apple preliminary approval for its $450 million settlement. "The proposed settlement agreement is within the range of those that may be approved as fair and reasonable, such that notice to the class is appropriate," Cote said. "Preliminary approval is granted." Cote set a final fairness hearing for Nov. 21.
Patents

Bose Sues New Apple Acquisition Beats Over Patent Violations 162

Posted by timothy
from the stick-it-in-your-ear dept.
Bose has taken issue with some of the technology embodied in products in Apple's newly acquired Beats line of headphones. As Ars Technica reports, Bose is suing Apple, claiming that the Beats products violate five Bose patents, covering noise cancellation and signal processing Although Bose never mentions Apple in the 22-page complaint, the acquisition price of the private company may have played a part in spurring Bose to sue. The suit doesn't include a specific damage demand. Bose has also filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission against Beats over the same infringement claims. That means the patent lawsuit filed in federal court will be stayed while the ITC case gets resolved first.

Comment: Re:bad for standards (Score 2) 194

by Dr.Dubious DDQ (#47515291) Attached to: Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264
It also still doesn't give anyone permission to generate their own h.264 video files (outside of webrtc "video-chatting" inside the browser) legally without paying someone a patent "poll-tax" for permission, so this is still "consume-only".

I'm also under the impression that there are,absurdly, potential patent-license issues with the .mp4 file format that h.264 video is most often stored in.

Finally, of course unless the usual obstructionist Apple and Microsoft ever implement opus codec support, this also doesn't give you the legal ability to include sound (mp3 or aac, typically, for h.264 videos) with the video. Hope everybody likes silent movies...

Robotics

Wearable Robot Adds Two Fingers To Your Hand 77

Posted by Soulskill
from the handy-inventions dept.
rtoz writes: Researchers at MIT have developed a robot that enhances the grasping motion of the human hand. This wrist-wearable robot adds two extra fingers that respond to movements in the wearer's hand. The robotic fingers are on either side of the hand — one outside the thumb, and the other outside the little finger. A control algorithm enables it to move in sync with the wearer's fingers to grasp objects of various shapes and sizes. With the assistance of these extra fingers, the user can grasp objects that are usually too difficult to pick up and manipulate with a single hand.

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