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Comment: Life in the Zone (Score 1) 409

by puddingebola (#48515839) Attached to: Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

I didn't see the 60 minutes story, but Harper's ran an interesting story in June 2011 called "Life in the Zone." http://harpers.org/archive/201...

It touched on two researchers and their conflicting views on what the long term effects of the radiation has been on the surrounding ecosystem. Don't know of a convenient place to access the article however.

Comment: Delivery (Score 1) 193

by puddingebola (#48506497) Attached to: Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market
Schools are just looking for a cheap method to deliver educational materials digitally. Chromebooks have some tools and support for managing the content. The maintenance of the device is simple, which is probably a plus to schools that don't have much of a budget for an IT department. However, I wonder if the savings are really significant over old fashioned textbooks. I really doubt there is any educational benefit over traditional methods of education. I always kind of agreed with Clifford Stoll that the best way to learn Astronomy was to go look at the stars. As long as it doesn't replace other elements of a curriculum, then I'm okay with it. Really doubt any serious CS education is going on with Chromebooks. Wouldn't learning mathematics be as beneficial to a future CS student as writing a Hello World program.

+ - Researchers seek the origins of an early Analog Computer->

Submitted by puddingebola
puddingebola (2036796) writes "The Antikythera Mechanism is described as an early analog computer, used to predict the time of eclipses, and for astrological and astronomic instruction. Speculation about its origin has ranged from attributing it to different Greek Mathemeticians and thinkers, such as Archimedes, Hipparchus, and Posidonius, Current research suggests its origin may be much earlier, and its working based on Babylonian arithmetical methods rather than Greek Trigonometry, which did not exist at the time. From the article, "Writing this month in the journal Archive for History of Exact Sciences, Dr. Carman and Dr. Evans took a different tack. Starting with the ways the device’s eclipse patterns fit Babylonian eclipse records, the two scientists used a process of elimination to reach a conclusion that the “epoch date,” or starting point, of the Antikythera Mechanism’s calendar was 50 years to a century earlier than had been generally believed.""
Link to Original Source

+ - France Wants To Get Rid Of Diesel Fuel

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "France wants to gradually phase out the use of diesel fuel for private passenger transport and will put in place a system to identify the most polluting vehicles, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Friday. Next year, the government will launch a car identification system that will rank vehicles by the amount of pollution they emit, Valls said in a speech. This will make it possible for local authorities to limit city access for the dirtiest cars. "In France, we have long favoured the diesel engine. This was a mistake, and we will progressively undo that, intelligently and pragmatically," Valls said. About 80 percent of French motorists drive diesel-powered cars. Valls said taxation would have to orient citizens towards more ecological choices, notably the 2015 state budget measures to reduce the tax advantage of diesel fuel versus gas."

+ - Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering on 2012 Election 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Gerrymandering is the practice of establishing a political advantage for a political party by manipulating district boundaries to concentrate all your opponents votes in a few districts while keeping your party's supporters as a majority in the remaining districts. For example, in North Carolina in 2012 Republicans ended up winning nine out of 13 congressional seats even though more North Carolinians voted for Democrats than Republicans statewide. Now Jessica Jones reports that researchers at Duke are studying the mathematical explanation for the discrepancy. Mathematicians Jonathan Mattingly and Christy Vaughn created a series of district maps using the same vote totals from 2012, but with different borders. Their work was governed by two principles of redistricting: a federal rule requires each district have roughly the same population and a state rule requires congressional districts to be compact. Using those principles as a guide, they created a mathematical algorithm to randomly redraw the boundaries of the state’s 13 congressional districts. "We just used the actual vote counts from 2012 and just retabulated them under the different districtings," says Vaughn. "”If someone voted for a particular candidate in the 2012 election and one of our redrawn maps assigned where they live to a new congressional district, we assumed that they would still vote for the same political party."

The results were startling. After re-running the election 100 times with a randomly drawn nonpartisan map each time, the average simulated election result was 7 or 8 U.S. House seats for the Democrats and 5 or 6 for Republicans. The maximum number of Republican seats that emerged from any of the simulations was eight. The actual outcome of the election — four Democratic representatives and nine Republicans – did not occur in any of the simulations. "If we really want our elections to reflect the will of the people, then I think we have to put in safeguards to protect our democracy so redistrictings don't end up so biased that they essentially fix the elections before they get started," says Mattingly. But North Carolina State Senator Bob Rucho is unimpressed. "I'm saying these maps aren't gerrymandered," says Rucho. "It was a matter of what the candidates actually was able to tell the voters and if the voters agreed with them. Why would you call that uncompetitive?""

+ - iSight Partners reports Russian Hacker Attack->

Submitted by puddingebola
puddingebola (2036796) writes "Not sure I should bother posting this, it's redundant. Reuters reports that Russian hackers attacked NATO and European Union computers with infected email attachments to exploit a vulnerability in Windows. From the article, "ISight said it did not know what data had been found by the hackers, though it suspected they were seeking information on the Ukraine crisis, as well as diplomatic, energy and telecom issues, based on the targets and the contents of phishing emails used to infect computers with tainted files.""
Link to Original Source

+ - State of Iowa tells Tesla to cancel its Scheduled Test Drives->

Submitted by puddingebola
puddingebola (2036796) writes "Conflict between state governments and Tesla continue. From the article, "Iowa joined a growing list of states tussling with Tesla Motors' business model when it told the company to cut short three days of test drives earlier this month in West Des Moines. The Iowa Department of Transportation said the test drives were illegal for two reasons: Tesla isn't licensed as an auto dealer in Iowa and state law prohibits carmakers from selling directly to the public." While the article touches on the legal restrictions on selling cars in Iowa, it seems that Tesla was only providing test drives."
Link to Original Source

The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems is a symptom of professional immaturity. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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