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You Don't Have To Be Good At Math To Learn To Code 416 writes: Olga Khazan writes in The Atlantic that learning to program involves a lot of Googling, logic, and trial-and-error—but almost nothing beyond fourth-grade arithmetic. Victoria Fine explains how she taught herself how to code despite hating math. Her secret? Lots and lots of Googling. "Like any good Google query, a successful answer depended on asking the right question. "How do I make a website red" was not nearly as successful a question as "CSS color values HEX red" combined with "CSS background color." I spent a lot of time learning to Google like a pro. I carefully learned the vocabulary of HTML so I knew what I was talking about when I asked the Internet for answers." According to Khazan while it's true that some types of code look a little like equations, you don't really have to solve them, just know where they go and what they do. "In most cases you can see that the hard maths (the physical and geometry) is either done by a computer or has been done by someone else. While the calculations do happen and are essential to the successful running of the program, the programmer does not need to know how they are done." Khazan says that in order to figure out what your program should say, you're going to need some basic logic skills and you'll need to be skilled at copying and pasting things from online repositories and tweaking them slightly. "But humanities majors, fresh off writing reams of term papers, are probably more talented at that than math majors are."

Comment Re:For starters... (Score 5, Informative) 809

I know you're trolling a bit here, but if you want specific evidence of something Carter has done right, check out the Guinea Worm Eradication program. The Carter Center is a major part of this initiative, that is reducing (with the goal of eliminating) a painful and debilitating parasitic condition. Cases of Guinea Worm have dropped from over 3 million yearly in the early 80's to less than 100 so far this year (W.H.O. stats). The Guinea Worm life cycle requires human infection, so once this thing is gone, it's totally gone.


Amazon Developing TV Series Based On Galaxy Quest 87

An anonymous reader writes: Entertainment Weekly reports that Amazon Studios is developing a TV show based on Galaxy Quest, the 1999 film that parodied classic sci-fi shows like Star Trek. In the movie, actors for a Trek-like show were conscripted by real aliens to help run a starship and negotiate peace with a mortal enemy. The actors had no idea what to do, of course, and ended up getting help from the most rabid fans of their show. The new TV show is still in early stages of development. It's unlikely that the original Galaxy Quest cast will return — it starred Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, and Sam Rockwell, to name a few. However, several important members of the production crew will return: "The film's co-writer Robert Gordon will pen the script and executive produce the pilot. The film's director Dean Parisot will direct and executive produce. And executive producers Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein are on board as well." The show is a ways off, yet — they haven't even been greenlit for a pilot episode — but it'd be a welcome addition to today's sci-fi TV offerings

Comment Re:Boeing 707 was also louder (Score 1) 345

I just flew in a 787 from California to South America. Significantly more comfortable and pleasant experience! The engine noise was minimal, climate control was more comfortable, and the vibration was greatly reduced, compare to the 777 and 747. Definitely hope to fly on the 787 whenever possible!


Comment Re:Summary sucks (Score 1) 345

Compare it to cars, as I did this math recently. We're considering a new sedan for my wife. We found a '95 Buick Roadmaster with around 28,000 miles on it for $8700, contrasted with a new Chrysler 300, at about $35,000. It will take more than 120,000 miles at twice the fuel economy to break-even, and given that the Buick is actually easier to work on and simpler it will probably have a lower total cost of ownership.

I've been thinking about this as my oldest son is approaching 16 years old. We have a beat up old Subaru that I was thinking of saving for his first car, but when comparing the features and functionality to a new vehicle, there's quite a bit missing: side curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, back-up camera, lane departure warning, crumple zones (maybe not missing on '99 subi), and more. Is the increased risk (particularly for a teenage driver) worth saving a few thousand dollars compared to buying a newer used car?


San Jose May Put License Plate Scanners On Garbage Trucks 258

An anonymous reader writes: It's bad enough that some places have outfitted their police vehicles with automated license plate scanners, but now the city of San Jose may take it one step further. They're considering a proposal to install plate readers on their fleet of garbage trucks. This would give them the ability to blanket virtually every street in the city with scans once a week. San Jose officials made this proposal ostensibly to fight car theft, but privacy activists have been quick to point out the unintended consequences. ACLU attorney Chris Conley said, "If it's collected repeatedly over a long period of time, it can reveal intimate data about you like attending a religious service or a gay bar. People have a right to live their lives without constantly being monitored by the government." City councilman Johnny Khamis dismissed such criticism: "This is a public street. You're not expecting privacy on a public street."

Israeli Security Company Builds "Unhackable" Version of Windows 253

New submitter Neavey writes: Sounds too good to be true, but Morphisec, an Israeli startup, claims to have built an unhackable version of Windows. Its not yet publicly available, a red flag if ever I saw one, but internal testing has had a 100% success rate: "In a statement for BI, Dudu Mimran, the co-founder of the company, describes this new OS version as the Windows that 'Microsoft should be doing,' explaining that, while the platform was initially designed for government use, it can be actually installed by any enterprise that wants to make sure that no hack is possible. Basically, this operating can block any zero-day attack, the founder says, thanks to the operating system randomizing all memory, which means that the hacker cannot target the computer memory and compromise the data stored on the drives." What things memory randomization does not fix, left as an exercise for the reader.
United States

Japanese and US Piloted Robots To Brawl For National Pride 107

jfruh writes: Japan may have just lost the Women's World Cup to the U.S., but the country is hoping for a comeback in another competition: a battle between giant robots. Suidobashi Heavy Industry has agreed to a challenge from Boston-based MegaBots that would involve titanic armored robots developed by each startup, the first of its kind involving piloted machines that are roughly 4 meters tall. "We can't let another country win this," Kogoro Kurata, who is CEO of Suidobashi, said in a video posted to YouTube. "Giant robots are Japanese culture."

Comment Re:Supporting Students / Kids (Score 1) 268

I really, really like this idea. Community colleges and smaller universities in particular offer scholarships to needy students and will allow donators to specify the criteria. I served on a scholarship adjudication committee once and it was so fun to find people who needed the funding to continue their education.

United Kingdom

Jimmy Wales: London Is Better For Tech Than "Dreadful" Silicon Valley 410

Mickeycaskill writes: Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has praised London as a tech hub, saying its cultural assets make it an ideal place to do business and superior to Silicon Valley as a place to live. “I meet people around London and they ask ‘when do you go back to San Francisco?’ assuming I’m here for a few days, but I live in London,” he said at the launch of Tech.London. “There’s always this bit of British self-deprecation about ‘oh well, things are so great in Silicon Valley’. But I can tell you, things aren’t that great in Silicon Valley. London has all these incredible advantages of a tech scene, but it’s also a place people want to live. Nobody wants to live in Silicon Valley – it’s dreadful out there. London is this incredible cultural city, it’s at the crossroads of the world. In the US you have San Francisco for tech, Los Angeles for movies and Washington for politics. In London you have all these things. It’s a great place to do business.”

nmap Maintainer Warns He Doesn't Control nmap SourceForge Mirror 145

vivaoporto writes: Gordon Lyon (better known as Fyodor, author of nmap and maintainer of the internet security resource sites,,, and warns on the nmap development mailing list that he does not control the SourceForge nmap project.

According to him the old Nmap project page (located at, screenshot) was changed to a blank page and its contents were moved to a new page (, screenshot) which is controlled by sf-editor1 and sf-editor3, in a pattern mirroring the much discussed takeover of the GIMP-Win page discussed last week on Ars Technica, IT World and eventually this week on Slashdot.

On Monday, Sourceforge promised to stop "presenting third party offers for unmaintained SourceForge projects," and to their credit Fyodor states, "So far they seem to be providing just the official Nmap files," but reiterates "that you should only download Nmap from our official SSL Nmap site:"
To browse the projects and mirrors currently controlled by SourceForge, you can look at these account pages: sf-editor1, sf-editor2, and sf-editor3.

Ask Slashdot: What Happens If We Perfect Age Reversing? 692

ourlovecanlastforeve writes: With biologists getting closer and closer to reversing the aging process in human cells, the reality of greatly extended life draws closer. This brings up a very important conundrum: You can't tell people not to reproduce and you can't kill people to preserve resources and space. Even at our current growth rate there's not enough for everyone. Not enough food, not enough space, not enough medical care. If — no, when — age reversal becomes a reality, who gets to live? And if everyone gets to live, how will we provide for them?
The Military

US Successfully Tests Self-Steering Bullets 216

mpicpp sends this report from The Independent: The United States Department of Defense has carried out what it says is its most successful test yet of a bullet that can steer itself towards moving targets. Experienced testers have used the technology to hit targets that were actively evading the shot, and even novices that were using the system for the first time were able to hit moving targets. The project, which is known as Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance weapon, or Exacto, is being made for the American government's military research agency, DARPA. It is thought to use small fins that shoot out of the bullet and re-direct its path, but the U.S. has not disclosed how it works. Technology in the bullet allows it to compensate for weather and wind, as well as the movement of people it is being fired at, and curve itself in the air as it heads towards its target.

When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard