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Comment: Spotting GCJ cheating would be an interesting find (Score 1) 220

by jasax (#48927769) Attached to: Anonymous No More: Your Coding Style Can Give You Away
Ditto. They also could have researched if submissions in a given (same) GCJ identity have been (or had a high probability of being...) written by two or more different coders...

The submissions' speed of top ranked coders seen in early stages of the GCJ contest always amazed me (compared, of course, with my turtle sluggishness...)


Comment: Re:Far too expensive (Score 1) 205

by jasax (#48179961) Attached to: The One App You Need On Your Resume If You Want a Job At Google
In a few time (a couple of years) I think Julia ( will be a contender. At present is not fully mature for industrial application IMHO (some evolution in syntax is expected, and debugging is ongoing).

Julia is a mix of Matlab, C and a typical scripting language (Perl, Python, Ruby....), wraps several numerical libraries (e.g. LAPACK for 'normal' matrices and SuiteSparse for sparse matrices, BLAS functions, PCRE for regular expressions...) and is prepared from its inception for painless running in parallel platforms. Its loaded with a ton of numerical functions (Bessels, Gammas, etc...) A good JIT compiler makes it run many numerical benchmarks almost as fast as compiled C or Fortran (see examples in the front page of, and also allows for many of the functions in Julia's standard library to be written in Julia instead of in C.

Julia is a Swiss knife for (numerical and scientific) programming in the making. It is open source and free and at present already runs in most platforms.

Comment: Re:more direct connection to producers (Score 1) 191

by jasax (#47956833) Attached to: Why a Chinese Company Is the Biggest IPO Ever In the US
Alibaba has a front end to the final consumer called aliexpress, very similar to ebay. I've already used it 3 or 4 times, and everything went well (expected items and of good quality, good communication, etc...) I was buying sports stuff from Chinese brands, so the risk of getting fakes was low (although there are Chinese fakes of Chinese brands, such as Li Ning sport clothes). Aliexpress even has a scheme of client protection and refunding such as ebay's, which I've never used (I never used ebay's protection service either). And aliexpress is near 100% Chinese sellers and goods, so in the end it is a big Chinese shop.

Regarding prices, most sellers in aliexpress targeting western clients have their prices very similar to ebay, despite here and there you see some savings in the same item - but don't expect more than 20 or 30% except in very rare cases. Indeed I suspect that most ebay's Chinese sellers have also a shop in aliexpress where the goods have prices similar to ebay's.

+ - Pablo Escobar's hippos: A growing problem->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: A wild herd of hippopotamuses that once belonged to a Colombian drug lord are now spreading across the countryside and no one knows what to do with them.

Situated halfway between the city of Medellin and Bogota, the Colombian capital, Hacienda Napoles was the vast ranch owned by the drugs baron Pablo Escobar. In the early 1980s, after Escobar had become rich but before he had started the campaign of assassinations and bombings that was to almost tear Colombia apart, he built himself a zoo.

He smuggled in elephants, giraffes and other exotic animals, among them four hippos – three females and one male. And with a typically grand gesture, he allowed the public to wander freely around the zoo. Buses filled with schoolchildren passed under a replica of the propeller plane that carried Escobar’s first US-bound shipments of cocaine. While Don Pablo masterminded the operations of the Medellin Cartel from his villa on the hill, the locals gazed at the strange animals and even stranger concrete dinosaurs that Escobar built for his son.

When Hacienda Napoles was confiscated in the early 1990s, Escobar’s menagerie was dispersed to zoos around the country. But not the hippos. For about two decades, they have wallowed in their soupy lake, watching the 20sq km (8 sq mile) park around them become neglected and overgrown – and then transformed back into a zoo and theme park, complete with water slides. All the while, the hippos themselves thrived, and multiplied.

The hippos also escaped from the zoo, and because the environmental conditions in Colombia are ideal for these invasive hippos, they are prospering wherever they go.
Link to Original Source

+ - How often do economists commit misconduct?->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: A survey of professional academic economists finds that a large percentage are quite willing to cheat or fake data to get the results they want.

From the paper’s abstract:

This study reports the results of a survey of professional, mostly academic economists about their research norms and scientific misbehavior. Behavior such as data fabrication or plagiarism are (almost) unanimously rejected and admitted by less than 4% of participants. Research practices that are often considered “questionable,” e.g., strategic behavior while analyzing results or in the publication process, are rejected by at least 60%. Despite their low justifiability, these behaviors are widespread. Ninety-four percent report having engaged in at least one unaccepted research practice.

That less than 4% engage in “data fabrication or plagiarism” might seem low, but it is a terrible statistic. Worse, the other results make me think that the many of the 96% who said they didn’t do this were lying. 40% admit to doing what they agree are “questionable” research practices, while 94% admit to committing “at least one unaccepted research practice.”

In other words, almost none of these academic economists can be trusted in the slightest. As the paper notes, “these behaviors are widespread.”

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Is there a 'less nerdy version'? (Score 1) 347

by jasax (#47310959) Attached to: Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light
Unless between us and the supernova is some "dark matter" :-) (or something alike) that caused the photons to have the extra delay :-)

Indeed nobody has examined yet, IMHO, the path between us and the SN1987a supernova. Or even its "surroundings" when it was forming: did space time deformation or any other mysterious event occurred?

And if in general science often new knowledge erases old "facts", in Astronomy and Astrophysics that happens almost every day. So we have to take all this novelty with a grain of salt... (remember the recent flop of the particles travelling between CERN-Geneva and Grand Sasso...)

+ - What is Auroracoin? Cryptocurrency Passes Litecoin With $1 Billion Valuation->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Often referred to as the silver to bitcoin's gold, litecoin has lost its third-place spot in the cryptocurrency marketshare league table to auroracoin.

Experiencing triple-digit growth over the last two days, Iceland-based auroracoin is as much a political statement as it is a bitcoin alternative.

Link to Original Source

+ - Physicists Check Their Privilege With An Antimatter Beam

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Jon Butterworth has an interesting article at The Guardian about the idea of standpoint-independence in physics and the absence of “privileged observers.” The ASACUSA experiment at CERN plans to make a beam of antimatter, and measure the energy levels as the beam travels in a vacuum, away from the magnetic fields and away from any annihilating matter. The purpose of the experiment is to test CPT (Charge/Parity/Time) inversion to determine if the universe would look the same if we simultaneously swapped all matter for antimatter, left for right, and backwards in time for forwards in time. In string theory for example it is possible to violate this principle so the ASACUSA people plan to measure those antihydrogen energy levels very precisely. Any difference would mean a violation of CPT inversion symmetry. Physicist Ofer Lahav has some interesting observations in the article about how difficult it is these days for physicists to develop independent points of view on cosmology. "Having been surrounded by a culture in which communication is seen as generally a good thing, this came as a surprise to me, but it is a very good point," writes Butterworth. "We gain confidence in the correctness of ideas if they are arrived at independently from different points of view." A good example is the independent, almost simultaneous development of quantum electrodynamics by Richard Feynman, Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga. They all three had very different approaches, and Tomonaga in particular was working in wartime Japan, completely cut off from the others. Yet Freeman Dyson was able to prove that the theories each had provided for the quantum behavior of electrons and photons were not only all equally good at describing nature, but were all mathematically equivalent — that is, the same physics, seen from different points of view. Whether we are using thought experiments, antimatter beams, sophisticated instrumentation, or sending spaceships to the outer solar system, Butterworth says the ability for scientists to loosen the constraints of our own point of view is hugely important. "It is also, I think, closely related to the ability to put ourselves into the place of other people in society and to perceive ourselves as seen by them — to check our privilege, if you like. Imperfect and difficult, but a leap away from a childish self-centeredness and into adulthood."

Comment: Re:Summary named the sattelite wrong... (Score 1) 61

by jasax (#46191185) Attached to: Weird Asteroid Itokawa Has a Dual Personality
Its the type of wood (or of several types of carbon, glass fiber, titanium, etc...) layers used in its assembly that dictate the offensiveness of the blade (in a defensive-offensive scale). The gluing, the thickness and the relative placement of the layers also are important in defining the type of the blade, and in conjunction with the type of the rubbers they set the type of the complete TT racket. There are several thousands of commercial blades and rubbers, so the choice is enormous ;-)

Usually its the top layers in both sides that count more to the offensive-defensive grade. Blades are usually symmetrical (both sides are equal) but there are some models prepared for defense in one side and for attack in the other. The offensive blades have usually harder outer layers that cause a faster rebound of the ball when compared with defensive types.

More details about common types of wood in TT blades are found, for example, in

Comment: Re:Summary named the sattelite wrong... (Score 1) 61

by jasax (#46165995) Attached to: Weird Asteroid Itokawa Has a Dual Personality
From, a bit of culture...

"The Japanese name 'Hayabusa' means a peregrine falcon; a bird that often serves as a metaphor for speed due to its vertical hunting dive. The name was made popular by Japanese professional wrestler Hayabusa, also known as The Masked Falcon."

A bit off-topic, there's also a family of very good offensive table tennis blades from the Xiom brand ( with that name :-) I'm a player and aficionado of TT, so forgive me this hiatus.

+ - AMD Announces Sampling Of Eight-Core ARM 'Seattle' Processor->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid writes: AMD's Andrew Feldman announced today that the company is preparing to sample its new eight-core ARM SoC (codename: Seattle). Feldman gave a keynote presentation at the fifth annual Open Compute Summit. The Open Compute Project (OCP) is Facebook's effort to decentralize and unpack the datacenter, breaking the replication of resources and low volume, high-margin parts that have traditionally been Intel's bread-and-butter. AMD is claiming that the eight ARM cores offer 2-4x the compute performance of the Opteron X1250 — which isn't terribly surprising considering that the X1250 is a four-core chip based on the Jaguar CPU, with a relatively low clock speed of 1.1 — 1.9GHz. We still don't know the target clock speeds for the Seattle cores, but the embedded roadmaps AMD has released show the ARM embedded part actually targeting a higher level of CPU performance (and a higher TDP) than the Jaguar core itself.
Link to Original Source

+ - Robot love: Spike Jonze sci-fi 'Her' may be closer to reality than you think->

Submitted by Hallie Siegel
Hallie Siegel writes: Mark Stephen Meadows writes: "Her shows what’s happening today through a lens of fiction. We have Siri as a vector pointing in this direction of “cognition-as-a-service.” And to be sure, the technology in Her is probably far, far closer than most movie-goers imagine. The tech is nearing a point where users will attain a suspension-of-disbelief. Today we can semantically analyse words for affect and sentiment. Today we can measure body language, and prosody of voice to build empathic feedback loops with users that process Natural Language. Today, we can talk with software and that software can learn, measure, and talk back. The dark, cold monitor is now monitoring us, as we have built it to do. The technology in Her is just a few years away. It’s a technology that requires the measuring of that spiritual thing called mood. And this week Apple filed an interesting patent to do just that."
Link to Original Source

+ - Essential LaTeX Tools->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: LaTeX is a document preparation system and document markup language for high-quality typesetting. The system was originally developed by Leslie Lamport in the early 1980s. LaTeX is based on Donald E. Knuth's TeX typesetting language. Lamport says that LaTeX “represents a balance between functionality and ease of use”.

The purpose of this article is to identify our favorite open source software that works in conjunction with the LaTeX system. Featured in this article include excellent LaTeX editors, bibliography tools and more.

Link to Original Source

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