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Amazon Launches Answers Service Beta 66

Fennec writes " has launched a beta of a new service called Askville, yet another online answers service, flavored with "Experience Points, Levels, and Quest Coins." These coins will supposedly become useful some day on another Amazon service that's not actually open yet, Questville. If this virtual currency becomes useful, could Askville fill a place between strictly volunteer systems and pay-for-answer services like the now-defunct Google Answers? Or is it destined to fail in the already-saturated online Q&A market?"

Old Islamic Tile Patterns Show Modern Math Insight 538

arbitraryaardvark writes "Reuters reports that medieval Muslims made a mega math marvel. Tile patterns on middle eastern mosques display a kind of quasicrystalline effect that was unknown in the west until rediscovered by Penrose in the 1970s. 'Quasicrystalline patterns comprise a set of interlocking units whose pattern never repeats, even when extended infinitely in all directions, and possess a special form of symmetry.' It isn't known if the mosque designers understood the math behind the patterns or not."

Submission + - Ants 'Hate Each Other' But Work Together

notyavgkat writes: " _coexist.html Different ant species can coexist because, as the saying goes, where one is weak another is strong. In what researchers describe as "un-peaceful coexistence," multiple ant species stake out the same territory and compete for the same food, but no single species wins out since some are better at finding resources and others better at guarding them."

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (7) Well, it's an excellent idea, but it would make the compilers too hard to write.