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Comment: Muammad ibn Ms al-Khwrizm (Score 1) 981

by Lew Pitcher (#47928393) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Mathematician, Astronomer, Geographer
A scholar in the House of Wisdom in Baghdad during the Abbasid Caliphate (c. 780 – c. 850)
The source of the western understanding of decimal numbering, algorithms (a word derived from his name, to honour his insight), and algebra.

Even caliphates can encourage enlightened thought, investigation into maths and sciences.

Comment: It was ever thus (Score 1) 253

by Lew Pitcher (#47083503) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Tech Customers Forced Into Supporting Each Other?

Over my career, I worked on many different mainframe systems (IBM "big iron") and with many different commercial applications. No matter which system or application, we were always involved (either passively or actively) with the associated "user group".

For IBM systems (both hardware and software), it was "Guide" ( and "Share" ( Other applications and services had their own user groups.

I can't comment on the trend to dispensing with vendor-support in favour of user-group support, but I can assure you that user-group support has (for decades) been a staple in the industry.

Comment: Perhaps a Dyson Sphere? (Score 5, Interesting) 142

by Lew Pitcher (#46849133) Attached to: Frigid Brown Dwarf Found Only 7.2 Light-Years Away

Two elements of TFA caught my eye:

  1. The object radiates at "around 225 – 260 Kelvins", or (if I got the math correct) 12.878971111111
  2. the object "has a very low mass, too, probably between 3 and 10 times the mass of Jupiter".

Together, these figures are within the range for a type I (or, maybe even a type II) Dyson sphere.
And, it is only 7.2 light years away?

Yes, it is very probably the Brown Dwarf that the astronomers think it is.
But, imagine. It could be a Dyson sphere; our first evidence of advanced life beyond the earth.

Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it. -- Donald Knuth