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Comment: Stand-up workstations are better than caffeine (Score 2) 94

by jtnix (#47785849) Attached to: Coffee Naps Better For Alertness Than Coffee Or Naps Alone

I would argue that employers are definitely interested in increased productivity from employees, but they will certainly settle for the appearance of productivity.

At the risk of going off-topic, a twice-a-day caffeine nap at work is not going to improve productivity nearly as much as a stand-up work station will. Not to mention that staying in a sedentary, sitting position 8+ hours a day is incredibly unhealthy and unnatural. Blast from the past from Mashable: http://mashable.com/2011/05/09...

+ - Last universal ancestor (LUA) may have a 'leaky' membrane->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "Around four billion years ago the Last Universal Ancestor (LUA), most probably a single cell organism, appeared on Planet Earth. In order to be alive that single cell organism must be able to harness energy from its surrounding, and in order to do that, according to researchers at University College London (UCL), that single cell organism had a 'leaky' membrane which allowed protons to enter and exit at the same time

The UCL researchers came to the conclusion using mathematical modeling, in which the findings were published on August 13, 2014, in PLOS Biology

Illustrated picture at http://cdn.phys.org/newman/gfx...

The study claims this membrane may explain why all cells use the same complex mechanism to harvest energy, and it may also explain why two types of fundamental single-celled organisms — bacteria and archaea — have different cell membranes

The leakiness of the membrane allowed LUA to be powered by energy in its surroundings, most likely vents deep on the ocean floor, while holding in all the other components necessary for life. The team modeled how the membrane changed, enabling LUA’s descendants to move to new, more challenging environments and evolve into two distinct types of single-celled organism, bacteria and archaea, creating the deepest branch of the tree of life

Bacteria and archaea share many common features such as genes, proteins and mechanisms of reading DNA, initially leading scientists to believe they were just different types of bacteria. Their classification changed in the 1970s after extreme differences were found in the way they replicate DNA and in the structure of their cell membrane. As they both stemmed from LUA, scientists set out to find answers in the structure and function of LUA’s membrane

Data from the study strongly suggest that LUA lived in the area where ancient seawater, dense with positively charged particles called protons, mixed with warm alkaline vent fluid, which contained few protons. The difference in the concentration of protons across these two environments enabled protons to flow into the cell, driving the production of a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which powered the growth of cells, just as it does today. However, unlike modern cells the scientists believe this could only happen if the membrane was 'leaky', enabling protons to leave the cell spontaneously so more protons could enter to power growth

From a single basic idea, the model can explain the fundamental differences between bacteria and archaea. In these deep sea vents, there is a continuous flow of alkaline fluids, which mix with the ocean waters. When they mix, the fluids neutralize each other, and that stops any build-up of charge which would otherwise prevent protons flowing into the cell

If the first cells had leaky membranes, then protons could enter and then be neutralized, or leave again, almost as if there was no barrier at all

The mathematical modeling shows that the rate at which protons enter and leave was high enough to power the growth of cells via proteins embedded in the membrane. LUA could have been powered by natural proton gradients in vents, but only if it had a really leaky membrane, completely unlike today’s cells"

Link to Original Source

+ - Designers & Dragons is the complete history of role-playing game publishers

Submitted by Robotech_Master
Robotech_Master (14247) writes "Evil Hat Productions is Kickstarting a four-volume history of the RPG industry that's already met its funding goal almost seven times over. Comprising half a million words altogether, it tells the story of pencil-and-paper role-playing games from their very beginnings, and you can read the e-book of the first volume for kicking in just one buck. $1 for the first e-book, $15 for all four, print volumes starting at $25 and up.

I've reviewed the first volume of it here. I found it extremely thorough and well-written."

+ - Best PDF handling library, for our own definition of "best" ;-)->

Submitted by Fotis Georgatos
Fotis Georgatos (3006465) writes "I got recently engaged in a conversation about handling PDF texts for a range of needs, such as creation, manipulation, merging, text extraction and searching, digital signing etc etc. A couple of potential picks popped up (PDFBox, itext), given some Java experience of the other fellows. And then comes the reality of choosing software as a long term knowledge investment! ideally, we would like to combine these features:
  • open source, with a community following ; the kind of stuff slashdotters would prefer
  • tidy software architecture; simple things should remain simple
  • allow open API allowing usage across many languages (say: Python & Java)
  • clear licensing status, not estranging future commercial use
  • serious multilingual & font support
  • PDF-handling rich features, not limiting usage for invoicing, e-commerce, reports & data mining
  • digital signing should not go against other features

I'd like to poll the collective slashdot crowd wisdom about if/which PDF related libraries, they have written software with, keeps them happy for *all* the above reasons. And if not happy with that all, what do they thing is the best bet for learning one piece of software in the area, with great reusability across different circumstances and little need for extra hacks?

ROTG is not at all a good answer; I'd really like to hear the smoked out war stories. It is easy to obtain a list of such libraries, yet tricky to understand how many obtained success with them!"

Link to Original Source

+ - Scotland to get spaceport by 2018->

Submitted by nk497
nk497 (1345219) writes "The UK will build a spaceport by 2018, with eight locations under consideration — the majority of which are in Scotland. The Department of Transport is evaluating existing airfields for suitability to become a spaceport, examining factors such as the weather — strong winds are a problem — and how it will affect the local environment and economy.In its report, the government noted that commercial sub-orbital spaceflights for paying passengers will kick off by the end of this year in the US via Virgin Galactic. It wants the UK to get in on the space tourist action, becoming the centre for such activity in Europe.

"In the longer term, it is possible that spaceplanes will enable intercontinental travel at very high speeds," the report added. "There have been suggestions that by travelling on a sub-orbital trajectory, journey times from the UK to Australia could be cut from the current duration of around 20 hours to as little as two hours." Aside from space tourism and weekend getaways to Brisbane, the spaceport will also allow satellite launches plus delivery of cargo and scientific payloads into orbit. If all goes well, the government predicted the first sub-orbital flights by 2018, followed by satellite launches in 2020, and orbital flights by 2030."

Link to Original Source

+ - Lie Like a Lady: The Profoundly Weird, Gender-Specific Roots of the Turing Test->

Submitted by malachiorion
malachiorion (1205130) writes "Alan Turing never wrote about the Turing Test, that legendary measure of machine intelligence that was supposedly passed last weekend. He proposed something much stranger—a contest between men and machines, to see who was better at pretending to be a woman. The details of the Imitation Game aren't secret, or even hard to find, and yet no one seems to reference it. Here's my analysis for Popular Science about why they should, in part because it's so odd, but also because it might be a better test for "machines that think" than the chatbot-infested, seemingly useless Turing Test."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Weather control (Score 3, Interesting) 178

by jtnix (#47009129) Attached to: Air Force Prepares to Dismantle HAARP

Excellent! You've established that the ionosphere is higher than the troposphere where the weather develops and occurs.

Now, imagine think of the ionosphere as the lens between the sun and the earth and HAARP as a tool to control the focal point of this lens.

Think about that for more than a minute, you're a smart cracker!

+ - Would you now bet on server side JavaScript (Node.js)?

Submitted by Qbertino
Qbertino (265505) writes "How realistic is it to place most bets on server side JavaScript / Node.js rather than a P language (PHP/Perl/Python)?

Back in the day, when Netscape had the only useful web server, server-side scripting was done with JavaScript — that was somewhere around 96 or so. Along came LAMP and got rid of proprietary solutions (for the most part that is) and somehow PHP got critical mass for being at the right place at the right time and having good documentation and a very low bar of entry.

However things have changed. Flash as a rich client technology is basically dead, just about everything web-based done client side has its logic coded in JavaScript, and with HTML 5 & CSS 3 being the go-to platform of today (also for wrapped x-platfrom mobile apps) and Node.js has recruited the remarkable V8 JS VM for serverside stuff. I’m now seriously considering the move away from PHP / Python to JavaScript for non-trivial server side development aswell. It would be so cool to have one PL for everything, and finally getting rid of PHP / mod_php doesn’t really hurt either.

I am wondering if it is feasible to bet on server side JS and Node.js in particular for large non-trivial web apps. I’m talking about Apps with the functional depth compareable to Pimcore or Typo3 here.

Concrete Example: Let’s say a client would come up to me and say he want’s a custom DTP platform that runs entirely on the web, with heavy Ajax/JS/HTML Canvas coding in the client (modern HTML 5 browsers) and a large app model in the backend (x86 Linux with print PDF generation and lots of other features).
Would you say it’s a risk worth taking to do the lions share of server side logic in JS running on Node.js with C/C++ extensions to Node.js for the speed-critical parts (Node offers some neat features in that dept) or would you suggest to play it safe and use existing PHP setups and toolkits, such as Zend or Symfony for such a thing? I’d say if the client is heavy JS lifting already, you might aswell use the same PL on the server — especially since I know how to abstract persistence and app layer, no matter the PL and could probably write the framework for all my persistence needs in a week. That would be a week in a project planned for 6 — 10 months.

Basically it would mean to restrict PHP work to quick and simple hacks on existing platforms such as Wordpress, Drupal or Typo3 and do every other from-scratch‘ project on JS / Node.js from here on out.

What do you think? Feasible or just to risky? What would you do? Have you been itching to go full force on Node.js yourself? Educated opinions of slashdotters desperately needed. Thanks."

+ - NSA Tampers With US Made Routers Before Export 7

Submitted by Bob9113
Bob9113 (14996) writes "According to Glenn Greenwald, reporting at The Guardian: 'A June 2010 report from the head of the NSA's Access and Target Development department is shockingly explicit. The NSA routinely receives – or intercepts – routers, servers, and other computer network devices being exported from the US before they are delivered to the international customers. The agency then implants backdoor surveillance tools, repackages the devices with a factory seal, and sends them on. The NSA thus gains access to entire networks and all their users. The document gleefully observes that some "SIGINT tradecraft is very hands-on (literally!)".'"

+ - Born to RUN: Dartmouth Throwing BASIC a 50th B-Day Party

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Still hanging on to a dog-eared copy of BASIC Computer Games? Back issues of Creative Computing? Well then, Bunky, mark your calendar for April 30th, because Dartmouth College is throwing BASIC a 50th birthday party that you won't want to miss! From the "invite" to BASIC at 50: "At 4 a.m. on May 1, 1964, in the basement of College Hall, Professor John Kemeny and a student programmer simultaneously typed RUN on neighboring terminals. When they both got back correct answers to their simple programs, time-sharing and BASIC were born. Kemeny, who later became Dartmouth's 13th president, Professor Tom Kurtz, and a number of undergraduate students worked together to revolutionize computing with the introduction of time-sharing and the BASIC programming language. Their innovations made computing accessible to all Dartmouth students and faculty, and soon after, to people across the nation and the world [video — young Bill Gates cameo @2:18]. This year, Dartmouth is celebrating 50 years of BASIC with a day of events on Wednesday, April 30. Please join us as we recognize the enduring impact of BASIC, showcase innovation in computing at Dartmouth today, and imagine what the next 50 years may hold." Be sure to check out the vintage photos on Flickr to see what real cloud computing looks like, kids!"

+ - California anti violence in video games legislator arrested on bribery charges->

Submitted by ganjadude
ganjadude (952775) writes "California State Senator Leland Yee (D), a driving force behind California's legislative efforts to restrict minors' access to violent video games, has been arrested on charges of bribery and corruption. If you recall in 2005 Yee spearheaded legislation that would bar video game sales of a violent nature to children. (it was finally put to rest in 2011 by SCOTUS) When will these people learn???"
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How many hardware guys does it take to change a light bulb? "Well the diagnostics say it's fine buddy, so it's a software problem."

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