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Comment: Re:gene linked to intelligence? (Score 5, Informative) 125

by jmrives (#47148599) Attached to: Small Genetic Change Responsible For Blond Hair

It is unfortunate that most people -- even modern Africans -- are unaware of the ancient achievements that came out of Africa.

Many of the modern high-school level concepts in mathematics were first developed in Africa -- as was the first method of counting. These concepts include division and multiplication of fractions and geometric formulas to calculate the area and volume of shapes. They also invented mathematical methods for measuring distances and the use of angles -- including dividing a circle into 360 degrees and an early estimate of pi.

Eight thousand years ago, people in present-day Zaire developed their own numeration system, as did Yoruba people in what is now Nigeria. The Yoruba system was based on units of 20 (instead of 10) and required an impressive amount of subtraction to identify different numbers. Scholars have lauded this system, as it required much abstract reasoning.

This is just in the area of mathematics. Several ancient African cultures birthed discoveries in astronomy. Many of these are foundations on which we still rely, and some were so advanced that their mode of discovery still cannot be understood. Egyptians charted the movement of the sun and constellations and the cycles of the moon. They divided the year into 12 parts and developed a yearlong calendar system containing 365 ¼ days. Clocks were made with moving water and sundial-like clocks were used.

Many advances in metallurgy and tool making were made across the entirety of ancient Africa. These include steam engines, metal chisels and saws, copper and iron tools and weapons, nails, glue, carbon steel and bronze weapons and art.

Advances in Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda between 1,500 and 2,000 years ago surpassed those of Europeans then and were astonishing to Europeans when they learned of them. Ancient Tanzanian furnaces could reach 1,800C — 200 to 400C warmer than those of the Romans.

There are plenty of other examples in areas such as architecture, engineering, medicine and navigation.

Here are some references for your perusal:

  • 1. Kresge, N. “A history of black scientists.” ASBMB Today. February 2011.
  • 2. Van Sertima, I. “The Lost Sciences of Africa: An Overview.” Blacks in Science: Ancient and Modern. 7 – 26 (1983).

+ - Robots Will Pave the Way to Mars->

Submitted by szotz
szotz (2505808) writes "There's a lot of skepticism swirling around NASA's plan to send humans to Mars in the 2030's, not to mention all those private missions. If we want to have sustainable (read: not bank-breaking) space exploration, the argument goes, there's no way we can do it the way we've been going to the moon and low-Earth orbit. We have to find a way to exploit space resources and cut down on the amount of stuff we need to launch from Earth. That's not a new idea. But this article in IEEE Spectrum suggests research on resource extraction and fabrication in low and zero gravity might actually be making progress...and that we could take these technologies quite far if we get our act together."
Link to Original Source

+ - Hunt Intensifies for Aliens on Kepler's Planets->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "Could ET be chatting with colleagues or robots on sister planets in its solar system? Maybe so, say scientists who last year launched a new type of Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, project to eavesdrop on aliens. Using data collected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, a team of scientists spent 36 hours listening in when planets in targeted solar systems lined up, relative to Earth’s perspective, in hopes of detecting alien interplanetary radio signals. “We think the right strategy in SETI is a variety of strategies. It’s really hard to predict what other civilizations might be doing,” Dan Werthimer, director of SETI research at the University of California Berkeley, told Discovery News. So far the search hasn't turned up any artificial signals yet, but this marks a change in strategy for radio searches for ETI with Kepler data taking a focused lead."
Link to Original Source

+ - Computer science could untangle a messy problem in theoretical physics->

Submitted by bmahersciwriter
bmahersciwriter (2955569) writes ""Computational complexity is grounded in practical matters, such as how many logical steps are required to execute an algorithm. But it could resolve one of the most baffling theoretical conundrums to hit his field in recent years: the black-hole firewall paradox, which seems to imply that either quantum mechanics or general relativity must be wrong.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Yea, I'm sure he gives a rat's ass. (Score 1) 304

by jmrives (#47102747) Attached to: Iran Court Summons Mark Zuckerberg For Facebook Privacy Violations
Unless something has changed recently, there is no such as Catholic divorce. In order to separate as a couple, the marriage has to be annulled, which is usually accomplished by establishing the one or the other or both parties were unfit to enter into such an agreement at the time of the marriage.

Comment: Re:what you need them for? (Score 1) 306

by jmrives (#46518627) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can an Old Programmer Learn New Tricks?

I, for one, completely agree with you. There are good, useful frameworks out there -- at least in the Java world.

I use Hibernate because it is very flexible and does the heavy lifting with regards to ORM and caching. Do I use it because I am lazy? No, I have written database access code in C, C++ as well as early Java. I use it because it frees me up to focus on the business logic of the application

I also, highly recommend using Spring. The power and flexibility of dependency injection alone is worth it.

Again, Maven is an invaluable framework.

Comment: Re:Not smart Enough? (Score 2) 1276

by jmrives (#39250733) Attached to: Scientists Say People Aren't Smart Enough For Democracy To Flourish

Voting is tougher. In the early days of the USA, only a small minority could vote. You had to be white, male, and you had to own land at a time when most people didn't. Obviously the requirement that voters be white was plain racism, though at the time the same racism meant only whites would be educated. The exclusion of women meant that what we now call "big government" proposals had less support automatically (this has been proven and I don't care how anyone feels about facts - women tend to look for security from an external source and the government is only too happy to offer it). The exclusion of anyone who didn't own land tended to mean the voters were educated and prosperous enough that they could devote time to being active in politics.

Are you advocating that we return to some version of our initial voting rights? It is hard to tell from your statement. Are you suggesting that we take voting rights away from women? You make a reference to facts. Yet, you make no effort to provide these facts nor the evidence that supports them. That makes your analysis of these supposed facts a bit suspect. As for the landowner limitation, well..., that no longer guarantees education, nor prosperity, nor lots of free time.

What I'd like to see is some kind of very tough civics test as a requirement for voting. It should be as openly and transparently administered as possible, so that anyone who wants to study and learn could pass it but very few who didn't care to study would stand a chance. In addition, anyone currently receiving some form of "entitlement" should not get to vote because what they're going to vote for is not difficult to guess and this situation is too exploitable and too dangerous for our long-term survival. The last thing I would change is that all campaigns be publically funded, each candidate gets a very generous amount, and any other "contributions" are treasonous bribery resulting in a death penalty for the candidate and 20 years in prison for the one "contributing" the money.

I seriously doubt that you could develop such a test. If it is simple enough that anyone could pass if they study, it will make little difference with regards to the actual election process. Most voters will still lack the education to understand the complexities of our economy. Even professional economists disagree about various aspects.

I am not sure what to say about your "entitlement" statement. It occurs to me that this would include the vast majority of retired people who are taking Social Security and possibly Medicare. This means, at some point, this would include you -- unless, of course, you intend to refuse to accept your Social Security benefits.

Now, the publicly funded campaign idea is one I could get behind wholeheartedly. Of, course, we could quibble over the exact amount that candidates would receive but that is a side issue. I completely agree that outside contributions should be treated as a severe breach of our system and treated accordingly. In addition, I think all spending by the candidates must be accounted for. That will ensure that they do not spend more than the government allotment. Now, some thought must go into how or if this would apply to party primaries. Thoughts anyone?

With something like that, we could have a nation again.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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