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Comment: Re:It depends (Score 4, Informative) 481

by PacoSuarez (#49336793) Attached to: No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory

[...] 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';
}

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

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
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:
https://americansabroad.org/is...
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12..."

Comment: Re:Cause meet Effect. (Score 1) 47

by PacoSuarez (#49073451) Attached to: When Chess Players Blunder

Although ultimately you are right, there is a useful probabilistic approach to this besides considering the theoretical value of a position. Since chess is very far from being solved, you don't really know the theoretical value of very many positions. However, you can make models for the probability of the outcome from a position (a choice of an engine is such a model). A blunder is then a move that reduces the expected score for the player that made it, by some amount.

And as others have said, he should have used Stockfish.

NASA

Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble 126

Posted by timothy
from the world-of-unlimited-resources dept.
Required Snark writes NASA has funded a study of a geo-sychrounous orbit telescope that uses a half-mile diameter opaque disk to provide images with 1000 times the resolution of the Hubble. It uses diffraction at the edge of the disk to focus light, resulting in a very high quality image. It's named the Aragoscope, after the scientist Francois Arago, who first noticed how a disk affects light waves. "When deployed the Aragoscope will consist of an opaque disk a half mile in diameter parked in geostationary orbit behind which is an orbiting telescope keeping station some tens to hundreds of miles behind that collects the light at the focal point and rectifies it into a high-resolution image. 'The opaque disk of the Aragoscope works in a similar way to a basic lens,' says CU-Boulder doctoral student and team member Anthony Harness. 'The light diffracted around the edge of the circular disk travels the same path length to the center and comes into focus as an image.' He added that, since image resolution increases with telescope diameter, being able to launch such a large, yet lightweight disk would allow astronomers to achieve higher-resolution images than with smaller, traditional space telescopes."
Music

Gangnam Style Surpasses YouTube's 32-bit View Counter 164

Posted by samzenpus
from the winning-the-internet dept.
First time accepted submitter neoritter writes "The Korean pop star PSY's viral music video "Gangnam Style" has reached the limit of YouTube's view counter. According to YouTube's Google+ account, "We never thought a video would be watched in numbers greater than a 32-bit integer (=2,147,483,647 views), but that was before we met PSY. 'Gangnam Style' has been viewed so many times we had to upgrade to a 64-bit integer (9,223,372,036,854,775,808)!"
Programming

Attack of the One-Letter Programming Languages 127

Posted by Soulskill
from the alphabet-soup dept.
snydeq writes: The programming world is fast proliferating with one-letter programming languages, many of which tackle specific problems in ways worthy of a cult following, writes InfoWorld's Peter Wayner in this somewhat tongue-in-cheek roundup of the more interesting entrants among this trend. "They're all a bit out there, with the possible exception of C. ... Each offers compelling ideas that could do the trick in solving a particular problem you need fixed.'"

Comment: Re:Consciousness versus Intelligence (Score 1) 455

This position seems to be popular among people that don't know the first thing about AI. So let me explain the situation from a point of view familiar to AI practitioners: A rational agent is one that acts as if it were maximizing the expected value of some utility function. That, in a nutshell, is the core of making decisions under uncertainty, and the basic recipe for a large part of AI. As part of the design of a utility-centered AI system, you define the utility function, which is precisely how you would tell the machine what to want. None of this "boggles the mind". It is almost trivial, actually. The difficult parts are perception, how to model future events to evaluate the expected value of the utility function in different scenarios, etc.

Comment: Re:Phooey. They Can Still Kill Us All (Score 1) 455

Don't worry. It is using a non-standard prototype for `main', and it forgot a few semicolons. It will stop working the next time the compiler is updated. Who knew that some obscure idiosyncrasies of the C programming language would save humanity? :)

Comment: Re:Here comes a Karma hit.... (Score 1) 107

I was programming at her age (BASIC on some 8-bit computer), and I turned out OK. My parents weren't very happy that I spent many hours a day in front of the computer, but that's what allowed me to have a great job as an adult.

I would just let the girl do whatever she is interested in.

Comment: Re:I'm not a scientist... (Score 4, Funny) 99

by PacoSuarez (#48328077) Attached to: French Health Watchdog: 3D Viewing May Damage Eyesight In Children

According to Anses, the process of assimilating a three-dimensional effect requires the eyes to look at images in two different places at the same time before the brain translates it as one image.

Isn't that how normal vision works anyway?

That's why France doesn't allow children under the age of six to open both eyes at the same time.

Upgrades

Alienware's Triangular Area-51 Re-Design With Tri-SLI GeForce GTX 980, Tested 138

Posted by timothy
from the where-are-you-priorities dept.
MojoKid writes Dell's Alienware division recently released a radical redesign of their Area-51 gaming desktop. With 45-degree angled front and rear face plates that are designed to direct control and IO up toward the user, in addition to better directing cool airflow in, while warm airflow is directed up and away from the rear of the chassis, this triangular-shaped machine grabs your attention right away. In testing and benchmarks, the Area-51's new design enables top-end performance with thermal and acoustic profiles that are fairly impressive versus most high-end gaming PC systems. The chassis design is also pretty clean, modular and easily servicable. Base system pricing isn't too bad, starting at $1699 with the ability to dial things way up to an 8-core Haswell-E chip and triple GPU graphics from NVIDIA and AMD. The test system reviewed at HotHardware was powered by a six-core Core i7-5930K chip and three GeForce GTX 980 cards in SLI. As expected, it ripped through the benchmarks, though the price as configured and tested is significantly higher.
Advertising

NPR: '80s Ads Are Responsible For the Lack of Women Coders 786

Posted by Soulskill
from the advertisers-driving-culture dept.
gollum123 writes: Back in the day, computer science was as legitimate a career path for women as medicine, law, or science. But in 1984, the number of women majoring in computing-related subjects began to fall, and the percentage of women is now significantly lower in CS than in those other fields. NPR's Planet Money sought to answer a simple question: Why? According to the show's experts, computers were advertised as a "boy's toy." This, combined with early '80s geek culture staples like the book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, as well as movies like War Games and Weird Science, conspired to instill the perception that computers were primarily for men.

Comment: A much simpler method (Score 5, Interesting) 93

by PacoSuarez (#48080117) Attached to: Fixing Steam's User Rating Charts

If the only two choices are positive/negative (or thumbs up/thumbs down or some other equivalent 0/1 scheme), here's a formula that should work fairly well:

(n_positive + 1) / (n_positive + n_negative + 2)

So a single positive review gives you a score of .6667, and a single negative review gives you .3333. For large numbers of reviews, the score quickly converges to the actual fraction. If you don't have any reviews, you are at .5000.

The mathematical justification for this formula is that if you try to use a Bayesian approach to estimating the true probability of getting a positive review, and you start with a flat prior, this formula gives you the average of the posterior probability after observing the given number of positive and negative reviews. The full posterior distribution is a beta distribution with parameters alpha=n_positive+1 and beta=n_negative+1.

This formula is often used when applying Monte Carlo techniques to the game of go. I believe a lot of programmers simply start the counters of wins and losses at 1 to avoid corner cases (like division by 0), and they accidentally use the correct formula.

Transportation

3D-Printed Car Takes Its First Test Drive 132

Posted by samzenpus
from the print-and-drive dept.
An anonymous reader points out this advancement in 3D printing. This week, at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, Arizona-based automobile manufacturer Local Motors stole the show. Over the six day span of the IMTS, the company managed to 3D print and assemble an entire automobile, called the "Strati," live in front of spectators. Although the Strati is not the first ever car to be 3D printed, the advancements made by Local Motors with help from Cincinnati Inc, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, have produced a vehicle in days rather than months.

The trouble with being punctual is that people think you have nothing more important to do.

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