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Comment: You must convince both management and developers (Score 1) 366

by bbbbryan (#42665063) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Convince a Team To Write Good Code?
Figure out who stands to gain, and convince them. For management, try two tactics in the sales pitch: 1. Better customer experience (seeing fewer defects) due to higher quality code. 2. Faster and more predictable creation of new features due to higher quality code (after the investment in the needed changes) which should improve business results over time. If these fall on deaf ears, then play hardball and say that without some investment in the code base the code will become unable to support the business, and the business will not be able to continue. It takes a while to get here, but it does happen. In parallel, sell these changes to the development team so that they welcome instead of resist the changes. Make sure the dev team is part of deciding and implementing these changes. I expect that most developers would welcome the changes you suggest. If not, perhaps they would fit better in a different environment that required less disciplined software engineering practices.

Comment: The numbers don't add up to me - 6 sec/month (Score 1) 159

by bbbbryan (#33537774) Attached to: Facebook Surpasses Google For Users' Online Time
If facebook has 400 million users, and they spent a total of 40 million minutes in a month, that's only 0.1 minute per month for each user. I don't think you can do much more than log in once in 6 seconds. I read the article, and these numbers all appear to be bogus. Perhaps it is 40 * billion * minutes?
Image

Plastic Bottle Catamaran Crosses The Pacific Ocean 56

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-your-usual-trash-barge dept.
The Plastiki, a catamaran made with plastic bottles, has completed a 8,000 mile trip between San Francisco and Sydney. Captain David de Rothschild said, "The Plastiki is literally a metaphorical message in a bottle about beating waste and reducing our human fingerprints on our natural environment." The boat will go on display at the Australian National Maritime Museum for the next month.
Mars

Mars Images Reveal Evidence of Ancient Lakes 128

Posted by timothy
from the older-I-get-the-wetter-mars-was dept.
Matt_dk writes "Spectacular satellite images suggest that Mars was warm enough to sustain lakes three billion years ago, a period that was previously thought to be too cold and arid to sustain water on the surface, according to research published today in the journal Geology. Earlier research had suggested that Mars had a warm and wet early history but that between 4 billion and 3.8 billion years ago, before the Hesperian Epoch, the planet lost most of its atmosphere and became cold and dry. In the new study, the researchers analysed detailed images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is currently circling the red planet, and concluded that there were later episodes where Mars experienced warm and wet periods."
Idle

Hand Written Clock 86

Posted by samzenpus
from the up-to-the-minute dept.
a3buster writes "This clock does not actually have a man inside, but a flatscreen that plays a 24-hour loop of this video by the artist watching his own clock somewhere and painstakingly erasing and re-writing each minute. This video was taken at Design Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach 2009."
Space

Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Posted by kdawson
from the toil-and-trouble dept.
Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."
Image

Zombie Pigs First, Hibernating Soldiers Next 193

Posted by samzenpus
from the fattening-up-on-brains dept.
ColdWetDog writes "Wired is running a story on DARPA's effort to stave off battlefield casualties by turning injured soldiers into zombies by injecting them with a cocktail of one chemical or another (details to be announced). From the article, 'Dr. Fossum predicts that each soldier will carry a syringe into combat zones or remote areas, and medic teams will be equipped with several. A single injection will minimize metabolic needs, de-animating injured troops by shutting down brain and heart function. Once treatment can be carried out, they'll be "re-animated" and — hopefully — as good as new.' If it doesn't pan out we can at least get zombie bacon and spam."
Idle

Canadian Blood Services Promotes Pseudoscience 219

Posted by samzenpus
from the type-A-negative-personality dept.
trianglecat writes "The not-for-profit agency Canadian Blood Services has a section of their website based on the Japanese cultural belief of ketsueki-gata, which claims that a person's blood group determines or predicts their personality type. Disappointing for a self-proclaimed 'science-based' organization. The Ottawa Skeptics, based in the nation's capital, appear to be taking some action."

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