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+ - Neural implants let paralyzed man take a drink->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: Erik Sorto was shot in the back 13 years ago and paralyzed from the neck down. Yet recently the father of two lifted a bottle of beer to his lips and gave himself a drink, even though he can’t move his arms or legs.

Mr. Sorto, 34, picked up his drink with a robotic arm controlled by his thoughts. Two silicon chips in his brain read his intentions and channeled them via wires to the prosthetic arm on a nearby table. The team that developed the experimental implant, led by researchers at the California Institute of Technology, reported their work Thursday in the journal Science.

“That was amazing,” Mr. Sorto said. “I was waiting for that for 13 years, to drink a beer by myself.”

Mr. Sorto’s neural implant is the latest in a series of prosthetic devices that promise one day to restore smooth, almost natural movement to those who have lost the use of their limbs through disease or injury, by tapping directly into the signals generated by the brain.

For years, laboratories at Brown University, Duke University and Caltech, among others, have experimented with brain-controlled prosthetics. Those devices include wireless implants able to relay rudimentary mental commands, mind-controlled robotic leg braces, and sensors that add a sense of touch to robotic hands. In 2012, University of Pittsburgh researchers demonstrated a brain implant that allowed a paralyzed woman to feed herself a chocolate bar using a robot arm.

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Comment: Re:Java vs. C# amuses me (Score 1) 394

by ndykman (#49744671) Attached to: The Reason For Java's Staying Power: It's Easy To Read

Well, there's some differences that do make C# seem easier and less clunky. They are similar, but not identical, and their differences do matter.

Properties. Yes, Java has getters and setters, but those are methods. C# makes the distinction between a property and method. To be fair, this doesn't really come up until you deal with reflection and more advanced cases, but it is a useful distinction to make.

Generics. Java has type erasure, which has it's issues (you can't do T newThing = default(T) in Java). If look at the lambdas, there's a lot of stuff they have to do around typing to handle primitives versus objects, etc. C# just has a Func and Action types. For APIs that use higher-order functions, this makes things a bit clearer (I want a function that takes a string and returns a bool, for example). Compare this to things like mapToInt in the streams API, and C# is just more consistent and natural in this area.

LINQ. True, Java 8 streams add a lot of this, but they don't expression tree support, which makes things like LINQ to Entities and LINQ to XML, etc. possible. Granted, LINQ has it's own issues (LINQ to Entities code can fire runtime exceptions that LINQ to Objects won't), but this power is really useful. And it requires language and compiler support to transform a lambda to a expression tree versus a closure.

Async/Await. Now, this is newer, but this is a huge difference between C# and Java. Non-blocking code is great, but it can quickly turn into a nest of callback functions. Sure, promises help, but that's a chain of objects. Async/Await provides a much easier to use model that provides many of the benefits of asynchronous programming, but keeping a more synchronous like code base. Scala, JavaScript are all adopting this model because it works well.

In practice, it can be very useful. I was working on ASP .Net MVC 4 project. I bumped it up to five and some improvements. I then just used the asynchronous APIs in MVC, etc. It was a fairly simple change, but boom, less CPU usage and more overhead for concurrent connections. A noticeable gain for little price.

Finally, the libraries do diverge beyond the core. Entity Framework and Hibernate are different. WPF couldn't be more different than Swing, etc, really. Java doesn't have a standard library like Windows Workflow Foundation. And there are Java libraries that C# doesn't really have, of course.

While I agree that Java can get too bad of a reputation, it does show it's age. Also, the JSR process has grind to almost a complete standstill. When C++ gets lambdas before Java, it shows just how slow the process has become.

I think C# embraces newer features much more readily, and that's why some really advocate for it.

+ - Rand Paul Begins Filibuster Of PATRIOT ACT Renewal->

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike writes: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is filibustering the Patriot Act on the Senate floor, and it doesn’t look like he’s going to stop anytime soon.

The Republican presidential candidate took control of the floor Wednesday afternoon at 1:18 p.m., simultaneously explaining on Twitter that he is filibustering the renewal of the Patriot Act because of the National Security Agency’s program that collects bulk phone record data of American citizens.

The ongoing filibuster can be watched live here: http://www.c-span.org/video/?3...

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+ - The Myth of Outsourcing's Efficiency

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace writes: Why outsourcing winds up producing cost creep over time

Outsouring over time starts to create its own bureaucracy bloat. It’s the modern corporate version of one of the observations of C. Northcote Parkinson: “Officials make work for each other.” As Clive describes, the first response to the problems resulting from outsourcing is to try to bury them, since outsourcing is a corporate religion and thus cannot be reversed even when the evidence comes in against it. And then when those costs start becoming more visible, the response is to try to manage them, which means more work (more managerial cost!) and/or hiring more outside specialists (another transfer to highly-paid individuals).

+ - Jason Scott of textfiles.com Wants Your AOL & Shovelware CDs-> 1

Submitted by eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes: You've probably got a spindle in your close tor a drawer full of CD-ROM media mailed to you or delivered with some hardware that you put away "just in case" and now (ten years later) the case for actually using them is laughable. Well, a certain mentally ill individual named Jason Scott has a fever and the only cure is more AOL CDs. But his sickness doesn't stop there, "I also want all the CD-ROMs made by Walnut Creek CD-ROM. I want every shovelware disc that came out in the entire breadth of the CD-ROM era. I want every shareware floppy, while we’re talking. I want it all. The CD-ROM era is basically finite at this point. It’s over. The time when we’re going to use physical media as the primary transport for most data is done done done. Sure, there’s going to be distributions and use of CD-ROMs for some time to come, but the time when it all came that way and when it was in most cases the only method of distribution in the history books, now. And there were a specific amount of CD-ROMs made. There are directories and listings of many that were manufactured. I want to find those. I want to image them, and I want to put them up. I’m looking for stacks of CD-ROMs now. Stacks and stacks. AOL CDs and driver CDs and Shareware CDs and even hand-burned CDs of stuff you downloaded way back when. This is the time to strike." Who knows? His madness may end up being appreciated by younger generations!
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Comment: Re: Do most of the work? (Score 2) 432

by pruss (#49730869) Attached to: Choosing the Right IDE

Renaming a field or method of a class is more tricky with an editor, though, since other classes may have a field or method with the same name and you may not want to rename those.
It's also nice not to have to remember or look up APIs, constant names, etc.

As a teenager, I used Borland IDEs (mainly Turbo C). Then I spent over a decade mainly using commandline tools (C and assembly). But then since starting Android development some years ago, I've gotten to appreciate IDEs enough that now sometimes I even write LaTeX presentations and articles in Eclipse and short python scripts in Visual Studio. (If only loading time were faster.)

Over my decade of commandline development, I also forgot how helpful a GUI debugger can be and only rediscovered it recently.

+ - Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com writes: Jennifer Medina reports at the NYT that the the city council of nation’s second-largest city voted by a 14-1 margin to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, in what is perhaps the most significant victory so far in the national push to raise the minimum wage. Several other cities, including San Francisco, Seattle and Oakland, Calif., have already approved increases, and dozens more are considering doing the same. In 2014, a number of Republican-leaning states like Alaska and South Dakota also raised their state-level minimum wage by referendum. The impact is likely to be particularly strong in Los Angeles, where, according to some estimates, more than 40 percent of the city’s work force earns less than $15 an hour. “The proposal will bring wages up in a way we haven’t seen since the 1960s," says Michael Reich. "There’s a sense spreading that this is the new norm, especially in areas that have high costs of housing.”

It's important to remember that the minimum wage hike comes at a significant direct cost to business — well over a $1 billion a year, according to the mayor's analysis — and it would be foolish to pretend that it won't lead to some job losses and business closures. Critics say the increase will turn the city into a “wage island,” pushing businesses away into nearby places where they can pay employees less. “They are asking businesses to foot the bill on a social experiment that they would never do on their own employees,” says Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, a trade group that represents companies and other organizations in Southern California. “A lot of businesses aren’t going to make it. It’s great that this is an increase for some employees, but the sad truth is that a lot of employees are going to lose their jobs.”

Comment: As long as you consider one... (Score 5, Insightful) 432

by ndykman (#49730479) Attached to: Choosing the Right IDE

Moving past a text editor is a big help. Sure, it's good to understand the command line and all that, but having a tool that understands code and allows you to manipulate it is really useful. Refactoring support matters. A lot, actually. Safe delete, rename, extract method/parameter/etc. are all basic tools that can make a code base better. Code completion (intellsense, etc) support matters too. What does this thing do. Does it do what I think it should? Why or why not. Add in things like smart templates, etc. and even the most code aware text editors just look like nothing more than keyword colorers.

Personally, I can't recommend Visual Studio/Resharper or the IntelliJ product line enough. Worth every single penny and then some. JetBrains has a laser like focus on just getting things done. High DPI support was a problem for their IDEs, so instead of waiting on Java 8/2D to catch up, they forked it just to get it work, and they admitted it was not a great solution, but a workaround.

Truly simple systems... require infinite testing. -- Norman Augustine