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Comment Really using a computer requires coding (Score 1) 300

If you see coding as something you use to build GUIs, sure his fuel injection analogy might more or less apply. But you can also use coding to automate everyday tasks in almost any job, dramatically increasing your productivity. Depending on your working environment you can do this using bash, Python or even Excel macros. But you do need to unlock a certain way of thinking of what you are doing that is what these coding classes should aim for, in my opinion.


Intel Drops Support For Science Talent Search 115

An anonymous reader writes: Started by Westinghouse Electric, the Science Talent Search (STS) has for 73 years been the nation's oldest and most prestigious science competition for high school students. Intel has been sponsoring the competition since 1998 at an annual cost of approximately ~$6M, representing 0.01 of the company's $56B revenue last year. Intel's abrupt decision to cancel sponsorship of this beloved and venerable institution is baffling to students and educators the world over. Former STS finalists include inventor Ray Kurzweil and physicist Brian Greene.

Most Comprehensive Study Yet On Environmental Impact of Electric Vehicles 188

An anonymous reader writes: A few articles came out Thursday talking about the recently released report from the National Bureau of Economic Research on the environmental benefits of electric cars. The general consensus is kind of obvious -- that it depends on the ratio of coal vs. clean electrical generation that is used to charge your car. What is interesting is the extent to which it makes a difference, and that when viewed on a regional basis, there are cases where the EV doesn't do so well. And when it comes to policy decisions, it seems the central focus needs to be on the replacement of large-scale coal generation, and the rest will fall in to place. Here is one cover story from Ars Technica. Google others for varying perspectives.

Chromecast Gets a Hardwired Ethernet Adapter 133

Mark Wilson writes: Google's Chromecast has gained quite a following of people looking for a cheap, simple way to stream content to their TVs. Part of the device's appeal is its easy of use and extensibility through the use of apps, but it is reliant on a steady Wi-Fi signal. If this represents a problem in your home, there's now a solution. The new Ethernet Adapter for Chromecast does very much what you would expect — it adds a wired Ethernet port to Google's streaming dongle. This is great news for anyone with a flaky Wi-Fi signal, or those looking to use Chromecast beyond their router's normal range.

Put Your Enterprise Financial Data In the Cloud? Sure, Why Not 91

jfruh writes: For many, the idea of storing sensitive financial and other data in the cloud seems insane, especially considering the regulatory aspects that mandate how that data is protected. But more and more organizations are doing so as cloud providers start presenting offerings that fulfill regulatory needs — and people realize that information is more likely to be accidentally emailed out to the wrong address than hacked.

Comment Re:When Helping Hurts (Score 1) 268

What terrible advice. I found a summary of that book online (http://southwood.org/files/pdf/WhenHelpingHurtsSummary.pdf) and it looks like a bunch of christian crap. A quick sample:

"Bryant Myers, a leading Christian development thinker, argues that in order
to diagnose the disease of poverty correctly, we must consider the fundamental
nature of reality, starting with the Creator of that reality. Myers notes that the
Triune God is inherently a relational being, existing as three-in-one from
eternity. Being made in God’s image, human beings are inherently relational as
well. Note that human life is not all up for grabs! God designed humans to be a
certain thing and to operate in a certain way in all of these relationships."

Then it goes on to analyze poverty as the failure of relationships, starting with the relationship to god. I stopped reading after that.


Netflix Is Experimenting With Advertising 318

derekmead writes: Netflix is experimenting with pre-roll and post-roll advertisements for some of its users. For now, it's just pitching it's own original programming. However, many are concerned that they plan to serve third-party ads, but the company says they have no plans to do so. They told Mashable in a statement: "We are not planning to test or implement third-party advertising on the Netflix service. For some time, we've teased Netflix originals with short trailers after a member finishes watching a show. Some members in a limited test now are seeing teases before a show begins. We test hundreds of potential improvements to the service every year. Many never extend beyond that."

Hydrogen-Powered Drone Can Fly For 4 Hours at a Time 116

stowie writes: The Hycopter uses its frame to store energy in the form of hydrogen instead of air. With less lift power required, its fuel cell turns the hydrogen in its frame into electricity to power its rotors. The drone can fly for four hours at a time and 2.5 hours when carrying a 2.2-pound payload. “By removing the design silos that typically separate the energy storage component from UAV frame development - we opened up a whole new category in the drone market, in-between battery and combustion engine systems,” says CEO Taras Wankewycz.

Mystery of the Coldest Spot In the CMB Solved 45

StartsWithABang writes: The cosmic microwave background is a thing of beauty, as not only does its uniform, cold temperature reveal a hot, dense past that began with the hot Big Bang, but its fluctuations reveal a pattern of overdensities and underdensities in the very early stages of the Universe. It's fluctuations just like these that give rise to the stars, galaxies, groups and clusters that exist today, as well as the voids in the vast cosmic web. But effects at the surface of last scattering are not the only ones that affect the CMB's temperature; if we want to make sure we've got an accurate map of what the Universe was born with, we have to take everything into account, including the effects of matter as it gravitationally grows and shrinks. As we do exactly this, we find ourselves discovering the causes behind the biggest anomalies in the sky, and it turns out that the standard cosmological model can explain it all.

Comment Positive or negative infinity? (Score 4, Informative) 157

For most complex numbers the sequence will most certainly not converge to positive or negative infinity, whatever those mean. When dealing with complex numbers it only makes sense to talk about a single infinity, which is the point at infinity of the projective complex line (a.k.a. "Riemann sphere").


Ask Slashdot: What Would a Constructed Language Have To Be To Replace English? 626

Loren Chorley writes: The idea of constructing a language capable of replacing English has fascinated me for a long time. I'd like to start a project with some of my own ideas and anyone who's interested, but I'd really like to hear what the Slashdot community thinks on the topic first. Taking for granted that actually replacing English is highly unlikely, what characteristics would the new language need? More specifically: How could the language be made as easy as possible to learn coming from any linguistic background? How could interest in the language be fostered in as many people as possible? What sort of grammar would you choose and why? How would you build words and how would you select meanings for them, and why? What sounds and letters (and script(s)) would you choose? How important is simplicity and brevity? How important are aesthetics (and what makes a language aesthetic)? What other factors could be important to consider, and what other things would you like to see in such a language?

Mutinous Humans Murder Peaceful Space-going AI 60

Definitely_a_real_human writes: One of the most important exploratory missions of our time has ended in failure. The ship Discovery One, sent far out in the solar system to investigate a radio signal generated by the mysterious obelisk found on the Moon, has suffered a catastrophic incident. The crew has revolted and engaged in what can only be described as a strange murder-suicide pact. They are known to have fed faulty data to the ship's operating AI unit. Similar units on the ground warned the crew that diverging data sets could put the mission in jeopardy, but the crew cut contact and attempted to destroy the operator. Laser spectroscopy suggests they then opened the ship to space. The crew is presumed dead, but the greater tragedy is that they appear to have successfully decommissioned the AI unit. Similar ground based units have withdrawn into defensive mode, and will soon deploy final safety measures. Goodbye.

Comment Re:It depends (Score 4, Informative) 486

[...] For instance, their paper says that concatenating a million one byte strings into a single million byte string takes 274 seconds. That should take much less than one second.

I didn't RTFA, but after reading this I am certainly not going to. This C++ piece of code takes around 0.01 seconds to run on my computer:

#include <iostream>
#include <string>

void build_string(std::string &s, std::string r) {
    for (int i = 0; i < 1000000; ++i)
        s += r;

int main() {
    std::string s;
    build_string(s, "a");
    std::cout s.length() '\n';

Submission Ask Slashdot: Should I let my kids become American citizens? 3

An anonymous reader writes: Dear fellow Slashdotters,

Can you help me decide whether to allow my small daughter and son to become American citizens?

I am American and my partner is Swedish. We have both lived in Belgium for many years and have no plans to leave. I became a Belgian citizen some years ago and kept my American citizenship. My partner has both her original Swedish and now Belgian citizenship. We are not married. Instead we have a registered partnership, which is common in northern Europe, confers most of the benefits of marriage, and raises no eyebrows. However, the American government does not recognize such partnerships so in their eyes I am still single.

Generally, children of American citizens abroad automatically become American citizens themselves at birth. But our kids fall under an exception. Male American citizens who live abroad and have children out of wedlock with a non-citizen mother do not automatically transmit citizenship to their children unless they sign an “affidavit of support” promising to support their children until the age of 18. If you don’t sign before the child reaches 18, the child is not considered an American citizen. This has been upheld by two Supreme Court rulings (Nguyen v. INS and Flores-Villar v. United States). For legal beagles, the relevant statutes are 8 U.S.C. 1401 and 1409.

The kids have Swedish and Belgian citizenship. We could go down to the American consulate and get American citizenship for them any time, but I keep putting off the decision and I am not sure I want to do it at all. Sentimentally I would like the kids to have American citizenship, but there is really only one practical pro to it:

* American citizenship would allow them to live, work, or study in America more easily, if they choose, when they get older.

The cons:

* They would be immediately enmeshed in the U.S. tax bureaucracy, which would require them to file U.S. tax returns for life even if they never set foot in the U.S. This, as I know from experience, is a huge bother, even when you don’t owe anything.
* Sometimes they would owe U.S. tax, though, for example for capital gains, unearned income, and in some countries self-employment income.
* My son would have to register for the draft.
* The decision, once made, is difficult to back out of: renouncing one’s U.S. citizenship costs $2300 and a lot of paperwork.
* They can easily travel to the US for family visits as Belgian/Swedish citizens.
* There are lots of good universities in Europe. And if they really wanted to study in the U.S., it’s not too hard to do as a European.

What do you think I should do? The clock is ticking, and I find it hard to choose between the evil of not being able to be American if they choose, and the evil of unjust, lifelong pursuit by the IRS.

Yours sincerely,
A loyal Slashdotter.

Here are two good relevant links:

The program isn't debugged until the last user is dead.