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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 191 declined, 123 accepted (314 total, 39.17% accepted)

+ - Rarity Increases the Attractiveness of Facial Hair

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "'All you need is talent or facial hair.' Adding to that a new study suggests that a lot of attractiveness of facial hair comes from its rarity. Female guppies prefer male guppies that look unusual compared to others, rather than guppies that share common features. This helps keep looks and genes variable, a distinct advantage for the species. Zinnia Janif and colleagues at UNSW wanted to see if humans displayed similar negative frequency-dependent selection. The researchers recruited over 1,400 heterosexual women and 200 heterosexual men for their study. Participants viewed 24 average male faces with varying degrees of growth. In some conditions, the four beard lengths were evenly distributed among the photos. In some, either the clean-shaven condition or the fully bearded condition was rare. The participants rated the attractiveness of the faces. The scientists found that neither the clean-shaven nor the fully bearded faces were very attractive when the facial hair types were evenly distributed. But when the clean-shaven faces or the bearded faces were the rare beards in the bunch, the participants, both men and women, rated them as significantly more attractive. The results suggest that humans do indeed use negative frequency-dependent selection when judging the attractiveness of facial hair, with a rarer look becoming slightly more attractive merely because it is rare."

+ - Russia Writes Off 90 Percent Of North Korea Debt->

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "In Russia, the State Duma lower house on Friday ratified a 2012 agreement to write off the bulk of North Korea's debt. It said the total debt stood at $10.96 billion as of Sept. 17, 2012. Russia sees this lucrative in advancing the plans to build a gas pipe and railroad through North to South Korea. The rest of the debt, $1.09 billion, would be redeemed during the next 20 years, to be paid in equal installments every six months. The outstanding debt owed by North Korea will be managed by Russia's state development bank, Vnesheconombank. Moscow has been trying to diversify its energy sales to Asia away from Europe, which, in its turn, wants to cut its dependence on oil and gas from the erstwhile Cold War foe. Russia's state-owned top natural producer Gazprom is dreaming shipping 10 billion cubic meters of gas annually through the Koreas. Russia has written off debts to a number of impoverished Soviet-era allies, including Cuba. North Korea's struggling communist economy is just 2 percent of the size of neighboring South's."
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+ - Large-Scale Ferry Accident in South Korea Waters, Hundreds Missing->

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "A rare accident has occured in South Korea's southern coast, where the 6,325-ton passenger ship Sewol carrying 477 people has sunken. Most of the passengers were Ansan high school students. The accident has left at least two people dead and about 290 others missing. Only about 180 have been rescued so far, more than five hours after the accident, officials said, amid growing fears that many of them could be trapped inside the sunken ship, though officials said some passengers could have been rescued by private fishing boats. Sewol sent out a distress signal at 8:58 a.m. in waters 20 kilometers off the island of Byeongpoong, according to the Coast Guard. The accident prompted a massive rescue operation involving about 40 Coast Guard and military vessels and helicopters. The cause of the accident is not yet known, though survivors said they heard a banging noise before the ship suddenly started sinking. Speculation has arisen that the ship might have hit an underwater rock or collided with another vessel."
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+ - Why C++ Was Chosen For Unreal Engine 4 Scripting

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "After the Unreal Engine 4 was released to the wild, a lot of game developers are discussing the new development platform. One question that was asked is, why did UE4 choose to go with C++ as the scripting language, instead of an interpreted language such as the UnrealScript or C#. Tim Sweeney joined the discussion and shed some light on the decision. As the feature set of the internal engine grows, the scripting interop layer also grows uncomfortably large. At the same time, developers seeking to take advantage of the engine's native C++ features end up dividing their code unnaturally between the script world and the C++ world, with significant development time lost. Developers need to look at program behavior holistically, but quickly find that script debugging tools and C++ debugging tools are separate and incompatible. Seeing where script code had gone wrong is of little value if you can't trace the C++ that code led to it, and vice-versa. It is these reasons, ultimately, that led to Epic's move to pure C++. There are side-benefits, too, such as increased performance in gameplay code, and ease of integrating other middleware written in C++."

+ - Dangerous Panasonic Batteries Found In Sony Vaio Laptops

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "Sony warns about a potential fire risk in some of its Vaio Fit 11A portable notebooks (the final model under the Vaio brand which was sold off in February). The company is asking customers to stop using this laptop model as soon as possible. Sony said it had received three reports of batteries overheating causing partial burns to Vaio computers. The first incident was in Japan on March 19, followed by similar incidents on March 30 in Hong Kong and April 8 in China. The company stopped selling the product at the beginning of this month, with nearly 26,000 units in the wild. The manufacturer and company responsible for the faulty batteries is Panasonic. A Panasonic spokeswoman confirmed the company had provided the batteries to Sony under an outsourcing contract. She declined to say which other computer makers had received Panasonic batteries, as such information is confidential. However, she said the batteries are customized according to clients' requirements and differ depending on client. She said Panasonic hadn't heard of any problems with batteries supplied to other clients. Sony said in a statement that it was identifying the affected computers by serial number and developing a program to repair or replace them. It said the company would provide details on its home page within two weeks."

+ - Microsoft Puts Out Escape From Windows XP Browser Game

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "While celebrating the end of support for Windows XP and waiting for the return of Start Menu for Windows 8.1, the Internet Explorer team has put together a fun little game called Escape from Windows XP. The game is a small browser based shooter-platformer in which, as you would expect, you try to escape Windows XP. It begins by emulating a computer starting up Windows XP and self-ironically crashing with a blue screen of death. Then the adventure of one hero who still supports IE6 & XP begins. Broken windows of IE6 make up the ground that you play on while destroying various bits of XP nostalgia."

+ - Data Storage Pioneer Wins Millennium Technology Prize

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "The British scientist Stuart Parkin whose work made it possible for hard disks to radically expand in size has been awarded the Millennium Technology Prize (Millennium-teknologiapalkinto). Professor Parkin's discoveries rely on magneto-resistive thin-film structures and the development of the giant magnetoresistance (GMR) spin-valve read head. These advances allow more information to be stored on each disk platter. Technology Academy Finland — the foundation behind the award — justifies the prize by saying that Parkin's innovations allow us to store large volumes of data in cloud services."

+ - Australia Declares Homeopathy Hoo-Hoo

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "Homeopathy is a 200-year-old form of alternative medicine based on the principle that substances that produce symptoms in a healthy person can be used to treat similar symptoms in a sick person. The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia has officially declared that homeopathic remedies are useless for human health. The body will today release a guide for doctors on how to talk to their patients about the lack of evidence for many such therapies. Doctors will also be told to warn patients of possible interactions between alternative and conventional medicines. On top of that, the council has produced a 300-page draft report that reviews the evidence for homoeopathy in treating 68 clinical conditions. It concludes 'there is no reliable evidence that homoeopathy is effective for treating health conditions'. Representing the opposite viewpoint, Australian Homeopathic Association spokesman Greg Cope said he was disappointed at the narrow evidence relied on by the NHMRC in its report. 'What they have looked at is systematic trials for named conditions when that is not how homeopathy works,' he said. Homeopathy worked on the principle of improving a person's overall health and wellness, and research such as a seven-year study conducted in Switzerland was a better measure of its usefulness, he added. There are about 10,000 complementary medicine products sold in Australia but most consumers are unaware they are not evaluated by the domestic medicines safety watchdog before they are allowed on the market."

+ - Japan Orders Military To Strike Any New North Korea Missiles->

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "Japan has ordered a destroyer in the Sea of Japan to strike any ballistic missiles that may be launched by North Korea in the coming weeks after Pyongyang fired a Rodong medium-range missile over the sea. Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera issued the order on Thursday, but did not make it public in order to avoid putting a chill on renewed talks between Tokyo and Pyongyang. The Rodong missile fell into the sea after flying 650 km, short of a maximum range thought to be some 1,300 km, which means it could reach Japan. Japanese Aegis destroyers in the Sea of Japan are equipped with advanced radar equipment able to track multiple targets and carry missiles designed to take out targets at the edge of space."
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+ - Exposure to Morning Sunlight Helps Managing Weight

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "A new Northwestern Medicine study reports the timing, intensity and duration of your light exposure during the day is linked to your weight — the first time this has been shown. People who had most of their daily exposure to even moderately bright light in the morning had a significantly lower body mass index (BMI) than those who had most of their light exposure later in the day, the study found. It accounted for about 20 percent of a person’s BMI and was independent of an individual’s physical activity level, caloric intake, sleep timing, age or season. About 20 to 30 minutes of morning light is enough to affect BMI. The senior author Phyllis C. Zee rationalizes this by saying that light is the most potent agent to synchronize your internal body clock that regulates circadian rhythms, which in turn also regulate energy balance. The study was small and short. It included 54 participants (26 males, 28 females), an average age of 30. They wore a wrist actigraphy monitor that measured their light exposure and sleep parameters for seven days in normal-living conditions. Their caloric intake was determined from seven days of food logs. The study was published April 2 in the journal PLOS ONE. Giovanni Santostasi, a research fellow in neurology at Feinberg, is a co-lead author."

+ - Windows Store Apps Can Now Be Compiled To Native Code

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "Speculation about this project started to circulate in November last year when some noticed that a certain Windows Store app had a much faster start up time. Known internally as Project N, .NET Native improves the performance of .NET applications by precompiling managed code into native one using the Microsoft’s C++ back-end infrastructure. This technology is different from NGen (Native Image Generator) or dynamic compilation for Store apps. MRT100.DLL represents a minimum CLR, refactored and optimized for static compilation. So, when the application starts up it runs against this minimal CLR without loading the entire .NET runtime, without involving any JIT compilation. Applications can still use dynamic to access objects whose type is decided at run time. This is made possible by discovering during code optimization and keeping all the possible types that might be accessed at runtime. Also, the standard background garbage collection is used. Not much changes for the .NET developer, except that you obviously have to build separate binaries for different architectures."

+ - Canonical Halts Ubuntu One File Services->

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "Wanting to focus their efforts on their most important strategic initiatives and ensuring that the company is not spread too thin, Canonical is shutting down Ubuntu One file services. Being an additional motive, the free storage wars aren’t a sustainable place for Canonical to be, particularly with other services now regularly offering from 25 GB to 50 GB free storage. As of today, it will no longer be possible to purchase storage or music from the Ubuntu One store. The Ubuntu One software will not be included in the upcoming Ubuntu 14.04 LTS release, and the Ubuntu One apps in older versions of Ubuntu and in the Ubuntu, Google, and Apple stores will be updated appropriately. The current services will be unavailable from 1 June 2014; user content will remain available for download until 31 July, at which time it will be deleted. For a spark of solace, the company promises to open source the backend code."
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+ - You Got Your Web Browser In My Compiler->

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "Microsoft Visual C++ compiler's static-analysis parallelism caused Bruce Dawson's machine to seriously get on its knees, so he rolled up his sleeves and dug deeper to investigate. It turns out that the MSVC++ compiler (cl.exe) causes the full Internet Explorer engine (mshtml.dll) to be loaded every time the static code analysis feature is used. However the actual slowdown isn't created by the weight of the IE engine but by the communication on the windowing system. In fact, about 65% of the traffic on the windowing system lock was from the VC++ compiler, mostly via mshtml.dll. But why? Well, here's what we know. The compiler loads mspft120.dll – the /analyze DLL. Then mspft120 loads msxml6.dll to load an XML configuration file. Then msxml6 loads urlmon.dll to open the stream, and finally urlmon loads mshtml.dll. Then mshtml.dll creates a window, because that’s what it does. If you run many copies of the compiler then you get many windows being opened, and over-subscribed CPUs, and madness ensues. Maybe nobody at Microsoft ever noticed that mshtml.dll was being loaded, or else they didn’t run enough parallel compiles for it to matter."
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+ - Daylight Saving Time Linked To Heart Attacks-> 2

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "Having a good night's sleep seems to play a big part in people having heart attack risk. Switching over to daylight saving time, and hence losing one hour of sleep, raised the risk of having a heart attack the following Monday by 25 percent, compared to other Mondays during the year, according to a new U.S. study released on Saturday. By contrast, heart attack risk fell 21 percent later in the year, on the Tuesday after the clock was returned to standard time, and people got the extra hour of sleep. The not-so-subtle impact of moving the clock forward and backward was seen in a comparison of hospital admissions from a database of non-federal Michigan hospitals. It examined admissions before the start of daylight saving time and the Monday immediately after, for four consecutive years. Researchers cited limitations to the study, noting it was restricted to one state and heart attacks that required artery-opening procedures, such as stents."
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+ - Crows Complete Basic Aesop's Fable Task->

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "New Caledonian crows — already known to be smart — may also understand how to displace water to receive a reward, with the causal understanding level of a 5-7 year-old child, according to results published in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Sarah Jelbert from University of Auckland and colleagues. As demonstrated in the included video, Scientists used the Aesop's fable riddle — in which subjects drop stones into water to raise the water level and obtain an out-of reach-reward — to assess New Caledonian crows' causal understanding of water displacement. Crows completed 4 of 6 water displacement tasks, including preferentially dropping stones into a water-filled tube instead of a sand-filled tube, dropping sinking objects rather than floating objects, using solid objects rather than hollow objects, and dropping objects into a tube with a high water level rather than a low one. However, they failed two more challenging tasks, one that required understanding of the width of the tube, and one that required understanding of counterintuitive cues for a U-shaped displacement task. The authors note that these tasks did not test insightful problem solving, but were directed at the birds' understanding of volume displacement."
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