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+ - How Blind Programmers Can Outcode You With Their Eyes Closed

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Yes, Slashdot, there are blind programmers. Ed Summers, for one, who lost his vision at age 30 and now ghostblogs for Willie the Seeing Eye Dog. And if you've ever wondered how the blind can code, blind-since-birth Florian Beijers explains that all he needs is a normal Dell Inspiron 15r SE notebook and his trusty open source NVDA screen reader software, and he's good-to-go. "This is really all the adaptation a blind computer user needs," Beijers adds, but he does ask one small favor: "If you're writing the next big application, with a stunning UI and a great workflow, I humbly ask you to consider accessibility as part of the equation. In this day and age, there's really no reason not to use the UI toolkits available.""

+ - Autos: Travel back to the future with these McFly rides->

Submitted by Mitchesan
Mitchesan (3999413) writes "The "future" from the movie "Back to the Future" has arrived. No flying cars yet, but our rides have advanced considerably since the movie's 1985 debut.

Back then, we could barely imagine satellite navigation, automated steering, reconfigurable touchscreens or Bluetooth-enabled smartphones. But beyond movie cars, there were some highly regarded models on the roads in 1985."

Link to Original Source

+ - Gmail is no longer acceptable - Slashdot, please opine on alternatives! 2

Submitted by Press2ToContinue
Press2ToContinue (2424598) writes "Bettering security, I enable a VPN now (Avast Secureline) before accessing my banking and any other financial sites. Difficulty: gmail then thinks I'm a bot, and requires a captcha. In the past, after a few days of answering captchas, Google disabled access to my gmail, without recourse. It lasted 48 hours. I don't need this happening again. So, Google has now gone far enough IMHO. I need a reliable, secure email provider, with calendaring. So, (ahem, apprehensively) /.r's, you know the history (and can you see into the future?) of this sordid tale, what email service do -you- recommend to keep -my- email communications private? Or do you succumb idly to the false sense of security that accompanies the services of the almighty Goog?

(with a semi-faux-sheepish, yet vaguely wicked grin)"

+ - There is no "you" in a parallel Universe

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "Ever since quantum mechanics first came along, we’ve recognized how tenuous our perception of reality is, and how — in many ways — what we perceive is just a very small subset of what’s going on at the quantum level in our Universe. Then, along came cosmic inflation, teaching us that our observable Universe is just a tiny, tiny fraction of the matter-and-radiation filled space out there, with possibilities including Universes with different fundamental laws and constants, differing quantum outcomes existing in disconnected regions of space, and even the fantastic one of parallel Universes and alternate versions of you and me. But is that last one really admissible? The best modern evidence teaches us that even with all the Universes that inflation creates, it's still a finite number, and an insufficiently large number to contain all the possibilities that a 13.8 billion year old Universe with 10^90 particles admits."

+ - George R. R. Martin's "The Winds Of Winter" Wiill Not Be Published In 2015 1

Submitted by Dave Knott
Dave Knott (2917251) writes "George R.R. Martin's "The WInds Of Winter", the fifth book of his bestselling fantasy saga "A Song Of Ice And Fire" (known to television fans as "Game Of Thrones") will not be published in 2015. Jane Johnson at HarperCollins has confirmed that it is not in this year’s schedule. "I have no information on likely delivery,” she said. “These are increasingly complex books and require immense amounts of concentration to write. Fans really ought to appreciate that the length of these monsters is equivalent to two or three novels by other writers.”
Instead, readers will have to comfort themselves with a collection, illustrated by Gary Gianni, of three previously anthologised novellas set in the world of Westeros. "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" takes place nearly a century before the bloody events of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Out in October, it is a compilation of the first three official prequel novellas to the series, The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword and The Mystery Knight, never before collected."

+ - Joint Dust Analysis Deflates Big Bang Signal->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Last March, when a group of astronomers announced that they had detected faint swirls in the sky that almost certainly reflected undulations in the shape of the early universe, experts agreed it could be one of the greatest cosmological discoveries of all time. If confirmed, the undulating “gravitational waves” would amount to near-proof of the Big Bang theory known as inflation, and their magnitude would reveal exactly how energetically the universe inflated 13.8 billion years ago, when, according to the theory, it grew from a speck in a fraction of a second.

But soon, many had doubts. The rising skepticism was validated this week, with a definitive analysis showing that the swirl pattern detected by the astronomers fits the profile of radiating space dust rather than gravitational waves.

Scientists cross-checked the data, which were gathered by the BICEP2 telescope, pixel-for-pixel against observations by the Planck telescope, which was better attuned to differences between dust and gravitational waves. The analysis confirmed what a previous Planck study suggested: Dust obscuring the patch of the sky probed by BICEP2 generated most if not all of the observed swirl pattern.

The results appeared in a leaked press release Thursday evening intended to accompany a paper that has been submitted for publication in Physical Review Letters.

So where, one might ask, does the new analysis leave the theory of cosmic inflation?"

Link to Original Source

+ - Nordic countries not the utopia they seem.->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Today the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's daily morning program The Current interviewed English author Michael Booth who explored each Nordic state with the aim of investigating the myth of the northern utopias. Then he wrote a book about it: The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia.

Nearly a decade ago, the writer moved to his wife's native Denmark. It was ranked as the happiest country in the world at the time, but Booth was somewhat baffled. He found the reality of life in a Nordic country quite different from the way the rest of the world believes it to be — a bastion of equality, social harmony, and rosy cheeks.

A podcast of the interview is available from The Current's podcast page."
Link to Original Source

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