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+ - Snowden Film 'Citizenfour' Wins Oscar for Best Documentary->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Citizenfour, a film chronicling the living history of Edward Snowden's unprecedented heist of U.S. government secrets, won the Academy Award for best documentary Sunday night—an unusual feat for a movie so critical of a sitting president's policies.

Directed by Laura Poitras, the political thriller captures Snowden in a claustrophobic Hong Kong hotel room in the days leading up to and after the release of the first of batch of classified documents that publicly revealed the sweeping scope of the National Security Agency's mass surveillance of phone and Internet communications."

Link to Original Source

+ - Greek Philosopher Claims to Prove God's Nonexistence Using Law of Thermodynamics

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Contemporary Greek philosopher Antony Zyrmpas, who goes by the online pseudonym Alex Kierkegaard (which ironically means churchyard), claims to have proven the nonexistence of God using nothing but the most basic law of physics: thermodynamics. Imagine God shaking a glass of water. Eventually the energy transferred to the water would dissipate to its surroundings. The glass is our universe. Since we know that the total amount of energy in the universe is always constant, it isn't being dissipated anywhere else, which according to thermodynamics would make our universe an isolated system that has no contact with anything — or Anyone — else. Read the original explanation in section 554 of his online book."

Comment: Re:Now they just need intensity from the actors. (Score 1) 165

...If only some film maker would get a kickstarter program going to make something by the masters: Heinlein, Asimov, etc .... Those guys wrote great stories and in this day and age, shouldn't be a problem bringing it to the screen.

Be careful what you wish for, Hollywood has mangled many of my favorite SF. That said, I think the state of special effects is such that Stanislaw Lem's The Cyberiad is now doable. I've always thought it would make a great TV series.

+ - Automated tool to OCR CCGs like Magic: The Gathering?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I buy massive collections of trading card games, Magic:The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, Weiss Schwarts, Cardfight Vanguard, etc etc. And I've gotten the process fairly streamlined as far as price checking, grading, sorting, etc. Part of my process involves using higher quality web cams positioned over the top of the cards which are in a stack. I keep a cam window on the screen to show a larger, brighter version of the card. What I'm wondering, is if there is an OCR solution out there, that will look at the same spot on the screen, capture, ocr, dump to clipboard, etc. I've tried several open source solutions but none of them quite fit my needs. What I'd really like is to be able to hit a hotkey, and have my clipboard populated with the textual data of the graphics in a pre-set x,y window range. All this should be done via a hotkey. I may be asking for a lot, but then again, I'm sure someone out there has had need of this type of setup before. Anyone have any recommendations? :)"

+ - The New Ubuntu Phone Won't Rely On Apps, And That's Brilliant

Submitted by tedlistens
tedlistens (1697590) writes "To tackle the chicken-and-egg problem faced by the Windows Phone or Blackberry—you need an app ecosystem to gain market share, but you need market share in order to entice developers to your platform—Canonical, the creators of the free, open-source Linux-based OS Ubuntu, have taken a novel approach with their new phone, which will be launched in Europe next week: The phone—the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, made with Spanish manufacturers BQ—won't feature apps. Instead, it will have a new user experience paradigm called Scopes. These are "essentially contextual home-screen dashboards that will be much simpler and less time-consuming to develop than full-on native apps." For instance, the music Scope will pull songs from Grooveshark alongside music stored locally on your device, without strong differentiation between the two. The user experience, writes Jay Cassano at Fast Company, seems a lot more intuitive than the "app grids" that dominate most devices."

+ - Sony plan to pull out of MPAA revealed->

Submitted by Earthquake Retrofit
Earthquake Retrofit (1372207) writes "The New York Times is reporting: "... Sony Pictures chairman Michael Lynton last month told industry colleagues of a plan to withdraw from the movie trade organization, according to people who have been briefed on the discussions. He cited the organization's slow response and lack of public support in the aftermath of the attack on Sony and its film “The Interview,” as well as longstanding concerns about the cost and efficacy of the group.""
Link to Original Source

+ - The strangest moon in the Solar System

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "Moons in our Solar System — at least the ones that formed along with the planets — all revolve counterclockwise around their planetary parents, with roughly uniform surfaces orbiting in the same plane as their other moons and rings. Yet one of Saturn's moon's, Iapetus, is unique, with a giant equatorial ridge, an orbital plane that doesn't line up, and one half that's five times brighter than the other. While the first two are still mysteries, the last one has finally been solved!"

+ - Book review: Mastering Dart by Sergey Akopkokhyants->

Submitted by Jeffrey Johnson
Jeffrey Johnson (3634389) writes "I know how easy it is to criticise technical books, especially when we don't know the amount of effort that goes into making them. So I had a rare opportunity to witness the creation of Mastering Dart by Sergey Akopkokhyants, a colleague and friend of mine. I was there when he told me he was going to write it. I saw how he agonised over chapter content and order. I witnessed him create examples and massage explanations into a form that made them easy to understand. I even had an opportunity to preview the earlier drafts and give some feedback. I got to see just how difficult it is putting a book like this together.

I've never been fond of "advanced" books that try to teach me a language's basics all over again and then hastily cram some advanced features in almost as an afterthought. And I'm glad Sergey didn't fall into that same trap. This book is unapologetic in its focus on advanced topics like generics, reflection, futures, isolates, asynchronous programming and many others, while still managing to present them in an accessible and easy to understand manner. I'm not a Dart developer, so I judged this book on how well it was able to explain the many Dart-specific features I'm not familiar with. I've tried to keep my review as unbiased as possible.

I have no patience for a book that presents some code, but includes bits that are only explained in much later chapters in order to do it. This book manages to avoid that almost entirely, using examples that build incrementally and follow neatly into each other.

He starts off relatively simple in chapter 1, with a good explanation of modularity, functions and closures and mixins, but then ramps things up in chapter 2, focusing on more advanced techniques like generics and reflection. There's a rather nice explanation of the difference between Errors and Exceptions. I found the section on creating my own annotations relatively easy to understand (compared to some Java books I've read) and there was a nice progression into using them in reflection.

Chapter 3 has a ton of examples of different types of constructors and how to use them. He even creates his own enum class for one of the examples (at the time of writing Dart didn't support enums).

Chapter 4 covers asynchronous programming in the form of Futures, with examples that introduce concepts a bit at a time. The chapter finishes off with quite a detailed section on Zones and Isolates.

He devotes the whole of chapter 5 to the Stream framework and builds on his earlier explanation of Futures by using them here.

Chapter 6 focuses on collections, including two clear examples of the Comparable interface and Comparator type, and how to user the latter for classes that don't implement Comparable. Iterators are here of course, and there are brief subsections explaining all the kinds of built-in collections and a nice table to help you decide when to use what.

Only after laying all this groundwork for the language itself, does he start with JavaScript interoperability in chapter 7, including the ubiquitous jQuery.

Chapter 8 covers Internationalization and Localization, including a bit on gender, which I thought was quite interesting.

Again, having laid the foundation of working with JavaScript and HTML in earlier chapters, he uses chapter 9 to deal with client-server communication. There are two detailed sections on AJAX and WebSockets.

Chapter 10 deals with various types of storage, including local storage and Oracle's IndexedDB. He also takes time briefly to mention handling WebSQL, in case anyone is still supporting this deprecated technology.

Chapter 11 introduces some HTML features like the geolocation and notification APIs, as well as two long sections on native drag and drop and HTML 5's Canvas.

Rounding things off is the chapter on security. He has a short piece on generating certificates, and a section on Captcha and JSONP (JSON with Padding).

While the web-based chapters aren't exhaustive (this could be an entire book on its own), they are detailed enough to act as a springboard for investigating further.

I found the book useful for learning these advanced features, but also as a quick reference when looking up specifics later.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who has just finished learning Dart and wants to go deeper into the language."

Link to Original Source

+ - House and Senate Science Committees in Creationists Hands.-> 3

Submitted by willy everlearn
willy everlearn (82796) writes "Does anyone else find it scary that we have put creationists on both the House and Senate's science committies? The very core of a creationist's argument is"No matter what evidence you show me my belief will continue." Extend this to Climate Change, Vaccinations or any other of myriad topices these right wing hold as sacred. What can we do about it?"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:I currently get robocalls on my mobile (Score 2) 217

You mean I'll be getting MORE unwanted calls?

. What is so difficult about the FCC understanding that I do not want calls on my mobile from robocallers and/or telemarketers.

What is difficult for people to understand is the difference between telemarketers and political opinion surveys. Politicians will never, ever give up their political opinion polls. There WILL be a loophole.

+ - An Open Letter To Everyone Tricked Into Fearing AI->

Submitted by malachiorion
malachiorion (1205130) writes "If you're into robots, AI, you've probably read about the open letter on AI safety. But do you realize how blatantly the media is misinterpreting its purpose, and its message? I spoke to the organization that released letter, andto one of the AI researchers who contributed to it. As is often the case with AI, tech reporters are getting this one wrong on purpose. Here's my analysis for Popular Science. Or, for the TL;DR crowd: "Forget about the risk that machines pose to us in the decades ahead. The more pertinent question, in 2015, is whether anyone is going to protect mankind from its willfully ignorant journalists.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Ad Company Using Verizon Tracking Header To Recreate Deleted Cookies->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "The story began a few months ago when it was reported that both Verizon and AT&T were injecting unique identifiers in the Web requests of their mobile customers. AT&T has since stopped using the system, but Verizon continues. Now, Stanford computer scientist Jonathan Mayer has found that one advertising company called Turn, which tracks users across the Web when they visit major sites including Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, BlueKai, AppNexus, Walmart and WebMD, uses the Verizon UIDH to respawn its own tracking cookies."
Link to Original Source

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