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Comment Re:Good for them (Score 1) 191

I'm a Bard graduate, and I remember how we used to make fun of Leon Botstein (who started as President the same year I began as student). He had all these wacky ideas -- this one included -- that seemed doomed to failure and ridicule from the get-go, and which almost without exception worked better than anyone could have imagined. Leon doesn't get a fraction of the pub of other leaders in academia and culture at large, but I'd bet that 50 years from now he will be seen as one of the great American visionaries of this century.

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 118

Could scarcely agree more fervently, and I've been one of these "non-technical" technicians (BA, PM, TW, QA) for well over 20 yrs. I once sat through a meeting at American Express in which a PMP spent the first ten minutes (at least) going on about her green belt in 6-sigma and deftly receiving and expanding the plaudits that were returned to her. As the project went on I realized I had been placed under the governance of a secretary -- no it was worse than that, she was a niggling functionary; if the app could have been coded with triplicate carbon paper forms she would have been in her ultimate glory.

Bottom line: The best geeks I've ever worked with don't just think outside the box; they feel beyond the box. Creativity is about pushing and penetrating boundaries; and it's the best experience you can have at work. Creativity can't be taught or learned in a certification course; it can only be invited, in sort of the same way as you'd ask a woman out on a date.

Submission + - Ada and Her Legacy

nightcats writes: Nature has an extensive piece on the legacy of the "enchantress of abstraction," the extraordinary Victorian-era computer pioneer Ada Lovelace, daughter of the poet Lord Byron. Her monograph on the Babbage machine was described by Babbage himself as a creation of...

“that Enchantress who has thrown her magical spell around the most abstract of Sciences and has grasped it with a force that few masculine intellects (in our own country at least) could have exerted over it”

Ada's remarkable merging of intellect and intuition — her capacity to analyze and capture the conceptual and functional foundations of the Babbage machine — is summarized with a historical context which reveals the precocious modernity of her scientific mind:

By 1841 Lovelace was developing a concept of “Poetical Science”, in which scientific logic would be driven by imagination, “the Discovering faculty, pre-eminently. It is that which penetrates into the unseen worlds around us, the worlds of Science.” She saw mathematics metaphysically, as “the language of the unseen relations between things”; but added that to apply it, “we must be able to fully appreciate, to feel, to seize, the unseen, the unconscious”. She also saw that Babbage's mathematics needed more imaginative presentation.

Submission + - The Yahoo Behind Deep Learning Approaches at Flickr (

An anonymous reader writes: In the wake of the Flickr news today about the MagicView tool that is a real-time image classifer, The Platform goes inside the hardware and software backbone of such an undertaking and asks, why the hell use old tools for a new set of requirements?

Bhautik Joshi, Flickr’s Data Scientist and Senior Software Engineer answers that a lot of the model training and complex deep learning algorithms are built into the computer vision pipeline, which only handles a relatively thin (but obviously critical) slice of the overall task. The real story here is what they have been able to do with established open source data analytics-oriented platforms and tooling. In short, they have developed a very customized, but entirely operational real-time deep learning-based framework to rival other large companies, who arguably, have been at this for quite a bit longer—and with the flexibility to add and ditch tools as new things became available (without being tied to a specific set of tools as in the case of Yahoo with its Hadoop affinity).

Submission + - Survey: More Women Are Going Into Programming (

itwbennett writes: Much has been made on Slashdot and elsewhere of the 'the dearth of women in computing.' Indeed, according to U.S. Bureau and Labor Statistics estimates, in 2014 four out of five programmers and software developers in the U.S. were men. But according to a survey conducted this spring by the Application Developers Alliance and IDC, that may be changing. The survey of 855 developers worldwide found that women make up 42% of developers with less than 1 year of experience and 30% of those with between 1 and 5 years of experience. Of course, getting women into programming is one thing; keeping them is the next big challenge.

Submission + - Sultan of Sound, Dr. James Flanagan, passed away aged 89

An anonymous reader writes: A pioneer in the field of acoustics, Dr. Flanagan provided "the technical foundation for speech recognition, teleconferencing, MP3 music files, and the more efficient digital transmission of human conversation." NYTimes covered his passing with the article ".. who helped make computers talk". An older (2005) "Sultan of Sound" IEEE Spectrum article provides background of his work and impact. His interview (1997) discussing his WWII service, research at AT&T Bell Labs & Rutgers University is part of the IEEE oral history series.

Submission + - Brain-Eating Amoeba Scoffs At Chlorine In Water Pipes (

An anonymous reader writes: The Naegleria fowleri amoeba typical feeds on bacteria in water and soil. Human digestive systems have no problem killing it, but inhaling water that carries the amoeba gives it the opportunity to work its way into the brain after it works past the nasal mucus. It happens rarely, but 97% of people whose brains start swelling because of this amoeba end up dying. Like most microorganisms, N. fowleri can be neutralized with concentrated chlorine. However, the systems we use to deliver tap water aren't so clean. Researchers found that N. fowleri can easily survive for 24 hours when it's mixed with the types of biofilm that tend to reside in water pipes. Increasing chlorine levels isn't a good option, since its reaction with these biofilms can generate carcinogens.

Submission + - Engaging Newbies in Email Encryption and Network Privacy (

reifman writes: All six parts of my series introducing beginners to PGP encryption and network privacy are now freely available. I hope it's useful for Slashdot readers to share with their less-technical acquaintances. There's an introduction to PGP, a guide to email encryption on the desktop, smartphone and in the browser, an introduction to the emerging key sharing and authentication startup,, and an intro to VPNs. There's a lot more work for us to do in the ease of use of communications privacy but this helps people get started more with what's available today.

Everybody needs a little love sometime; stop hacking and fall in love!