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Submission + - Why CIA is smearing Edward Snowden after Paris attacks (latimes.com)

JoeyRox writes: "Decent people see tragedy and barbarism when viewing a terrorism attack. American politicians and intelligence officials see something else: opportunity. Bodies were still lying in the streets of Paris when CIA operatives began exploiting the resulting fear and anger to advance long-standing political agendas. They and their congressional allies instantly attempted to heap blame for the atrocity not on Islamic State but on several preexisting adversaries: Internet encryption, Silicon Valley's privacy policies and Edward Snowden."

Submission + - Engineers create the blackest material yet (phys.org)

schwit1 writes: Researchers have created the blackest least reflective material ever made, using as inspiration the scales on the all-white cyphochilus beetle. The result was a an extremely tiny nanoparticle rod resting on an equally tiny nanoparticle sphere (30 nm diameter) which was able to absorb approximately 98 to 99 percent of the light in the spectrum between 400 and 1,400nm, which meant it was able to absorb approximately 26 percent more light than any other known materialâ"and it does so from all angles and polarizations.

Submission + - Your Junk Mail Shows if You're Rich or Poor

HughPickens.com writes: Recently, MIT economists Hong Ru and Antoinette Schoar analyzed over a million credit card mailings collected by Mintel, a company that pays people to read their junk mail. The economists scanned the terms of these offers and noted the income and education levels of recipients. Now Jeff Guo writes in the Washington Post that if you want to know what credit card companies think of you, look at the junk mail you receive from credit card companies. Are you “pre-screened” for lots of mileage-reward cards? Banks think you’re rich and educated. Do you mostly see offers for low-APR teaser rates? Banks think you’re poor and uneducated — and, perhaps, vulnerable to financial traps.

Cards with travel rewards epitomize the kind of product aimed at the rich and educated. It’s a fairly exclusive niche — only about 8 percent of credit card offers fall into this category. People in this demographic are the most likely to jet around, and therefore most likely to appreciate a card that will earn them frequent-flier miles. In contrast, the card offers sent to poorer, less-educated people were often loaded with risky features: low introductory APRs, high late fees, and penalty interest rates that kick in if you break the rules. Ru and Schoar believe that the system is tuned precisely to take advantage of those who make financial mistakes. "Backward loaded credit card features with high late fees can only be optimal [for companies] if customers do not understand their actual cost of credit," they write, using a term to describe arrangements that offer low upfront fees but higher penalty fees.

Submission + - Will Robot Cabs Unjam the Streets? (theatlantic.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Atlantic has a story with some video of a traffic simulator showing just how the roads can be jammed up by people looking for a place to park. (You can play with the simulator too.) This has been suspected for a long time by many traffic researchers and city planners, but the simulator shows just how quickly the roads jam up after just a few of the blocks fill up with parked cars. The good news is that autonomous cars don't need to park-- they just go give someone else a ride. They could change city life forever.

Submission + - An Infinite Number of Ways To Say "I Love You" With Relational Programming (youtube.com)

Baldrson writes: This is an interesting angle on relational programming: Relate a functional or even imperative language program to its outputs, provide constraints and then reverse to do fun things like generate all programs that say "I love you.", generate all Quines, etc. This is demonstrated in PolyConf 15: The Promise of Relational Programming / William Byrd. (The afore video link skips past the boring logic programming type stuff like reversible append.) But this is more than a mere novelty, as demonstrated in the final section of the presentation: Imperative programs (involving destructive assignment, error traps, etc.) can be interpreted under the relational paradigm to answer questions like, "What input conditions to this program yield this output condition?"

Submission + - The college majors most likely to marry each other

schnell writes: The blog Priceonomics has published an analysis showing students in which college majors end up marrying another student with that same major. Religious studies (with 21% of students marrying another studying the same field) tops the list among all students, followed by general science. Perhaps unsurprising is that some majors with gender disparities show a high in-major marriage rate among the less represented group — for example, 39% of women engineering majors marry a fellow student in their field, while among men 43% studying nursing and 38% studying elementary education do likewise. The blog concludes that your choice of major may unwittingly decide your choice of spouse, and depending on how well that field is paid, your economic future.

Submission + - China's Unsettling Stock Market Collapse (theatlantic.com)

schwit1 writes: The Shanghai index is firmly in bear market territory, down 28.6% since the June peak, while the tech-heavy Shenzhen Composite has fallen 33.2%.

There were also signs on Friday that the stock market turmoil is beginning to reverberate beyond China. The Australian dollar, often traded as a proxy for China growth, is down 1.2% to a six-year low of US$0.7539. The 21st Century Business Herald, a Chinese daily newspaper, on Friday quoted multiple futures traders as saying they had received phone calls from the China Financial Futures Exchange instructing them not to short the market.

China's financial titans are attempting to set up a "market stabilization fund." This doesn't sound good.

Submission + - Is C++ The Right Tool? 8

ranton writes: I am about to start a personal project which I believe should be done in C/C++. The main reasons I have for this are the needs to manage memory usage and disk access at a very granular level and a desire to be cross-platform. Performance is also important but I am unlikely to spend enough time optimizing to be much faster than core libraries of higher level languages.

On the other hand, network access is also a critical part of the project and I am worried about the effort it takes to make cross platform code for both network and disk access. I have been working in the Java / C# world for the past decade and things like TCP/IP and SSL have just been done for me by core libraries. Do libraries like Boost or Asio do a good job of abstracting these aspects away? Or are there other options for doing granular memory and disk management with more high level languages that have better cross-platform library support? I am willing to brush up on my C/C++ skills if necessary but want to spend as much time as possible developing the unique and potentially innovative parts of my project. Thanks for any advice you can provide.

Submission + - Linux To Receive More Assembly Code Rework

jones_supa writes: Couple of months ago Linux received an extensive x86 assembly refresh to make code easier to understand and maintain. According to some Linux developers, the assembly code of the kernel is still complicated and poorly maintained. Thus, Linux 4.1 will receive another cleanup, in which a lot of assembly code is rewritten in C. The first big batch of x86 asm-to-C conversion patches, as Andy Lutomirski details on LKML, will focus on the exit-to-userspace code. That particular code is currently copied in several places, is written in a nasty combination of asm and C, and is just hard to work with.

Submission + - Turning neural networks upside down produces psychedelic visuals (blogspot.co.uk)

cjellibebi writes: Neural networks that were designed to recognise images, when run backwards, turn out of being capable of enhancing existing images to resemble the images they were meant to try and recognise. The results are pretty trippy. This blog-post explains the research in great detail. There are pictures, and even a video. The Guardian has a digested article for the less tech-savvy.

Submission + - Video Games can Improve Terror Attack Preparedness, even if you don't play them

vrml writes: A study just published by the Computers in Human Behavior journal explores the potential of video games as terror attack preparedness materials for the general public. In the video game that participants tried (screenshots can be seen in the paper), players started a normal day going to a train station and performing actions such as purchasing a ticket and finding a train. Then, they suddenly found themselves in a bombing scenario that they had to survive. In addition to showing that playing the game greatly increased players’ knowledge about preparedness, the study also considered a second group of participants who did not play the game but watched instead a video of the game play. Results indicate that passively watching someone else play the game is as effective as actively playing the game in terms of learning preparedness knowledge. However, they also point out a significant difference concerning psychological effects on threat appraisal: general perception of personal vulnerability to terror attacks and their severity increased more in those who actively played the game rather than those who passively watched game play.

Submission + - What types of primary machine spec setups do /. users use and why/for what? 1

An anonymous reader writes: The subject is explicit: Put up the specs of your main system (best one) so we can see what kinds of computers slashdot geeks use, how and why they set them up as well as for what main particular purpose(s): Post your hardware in CPU, Video, Memory, Disks (SSD/HDD), Exotic Controllers (RAID or Caching), CD/DVD burners etc. so we can all compare and perhaps learn a trick or two.

Submission + - Favourite paper size? 3

wired_parrot writes: Favourite paper size?
- Legal
- Letter
- A4
- B3
- Folio
- Quarto
- Broadsheet
- Foolscap
- Index Card

Submission + - The Scientific Method and the Art of Troubleshooting

HughPickens.com writes: Karl Popper came up with the idea in the 1930's that scientists should attempt to falsify their hypotheses rather than to verify them. The basic reasoning is that while you cannot prove a hypothesis to be true by finding a number of different confirming instances (though confirming instances do make you more confident in the truth), you can prove a hypothesis to be false by finding one valid counter-example. Now Orin Thomas writes at WindowsITPro that you’ve probably diagnosed hundreds, if not thousands, of technical problems in your career and Popper's insights can serve as a valuable guide to avoid a couple of hours chasing solutions that turn out to be an incorrect answer. According to Thomas when troubleshooting a technical problem many of us “race ahead” and use our intuition to reach a hypothesis as to a possible cause before we’ve had time to assess the available body of evidence. "When we use our intuition to solve a problem, we look for things that confirm the conclusion. If we find something that confirms that conclusion, we become even more certain of that conclusion. Most people also unconsciously ignore obvious data that would disprove their incorrect hypothesis because the first reaction to a conclusion reached at through intuition is to try and confirm it rather than refute it."

Thomas says that the idea behind using a falsificationist method is to treat your initial conclusions about a complex troubleshooting problem as untrustworthy and rather than look for something to confirm what you think might have happened, try to figure out what evidence would disprove that conclusion. "Trying to disprove your conclusions may not give you the correct answer right away, but at least you won’t spend a couple of hours chasing what turns out to be an incorrect answer."

You are in the hall of the mountain king.