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Comment Re:Duh. (Score 1) 821

So, the likelihood of scientific research being right or wrong depends on what actions might be taken based on it? Wow.

It's more that the likelihood of someone being willing to believe the research depends on what actions might be taken based on it... most specifically, the personal impact of those action is what counts.

Wireless Networking

Accused Teen Bomber Finds FBI Surveillance Team's Wireless Network 267

roccomaglio writes "The suspect who is accused of planning to bomb his high school in Tampa updated his Facebook status with the following: 'The weirdest thing happened today...when my homie Nic Peezy was trying to connect to a wireless network the connections list came up and one of them was called: FBI_SURVEILLANCE_VAN,' The FBI might want to revisit their wireless network naming conventions."

Sailing the Titan Seas 56

gpronger writes "The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) has been awarded the opportunity to explore the methane ocean on Titan. Next year APL will be submitting a project plan to NASA, which will be one of three submittals. If chosen, launch would be in 2016, with arrival at Titan in 2023. The 'Titan Mare Explorer' or TiME would be the first exploration of an extraterrestrial ocean with the craft landing and floating on the ocean. The mission would be led by principal investigator Ellen Stofan of Proxemy Research Inc. in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Lockheed Martin in Denver would build the TiME capsule, with scientific instruments provided by APL, Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego. This is part of NASA's Discovery Program and would be the next mission, funded and supported by NASA."

Comment Re:Sleep (Score 1) 259

I've always had the same problem and only when I got really serious about running (between 35 and 45 miles a week, about 9 miles every other day) have I have something approximating a normal sleep schedule. It may have been exhaustion and exercise addiction, but my body would wake up promptly at 4 or 5 am without an alarm clock. YMMV.

I'm also going to try the white noise thing, but I thought I'd throw out another option for you.


Microsoft Wants To Participate In SVG Development 292

rossendryv writes "After many years of fighting against the standard, Microsoft announced they are joining the WC3's SVG working group to help with the development of SVG. 'We recognize that vector graphics are an important component of the next-generation Web platform,' said Patrick Dengler, senior program manager on Microsoft's Internet Explorer team in a blog post."

Scientists Crack 'Entire Genetic Code' of Cancer 235

Entropy98 writes "Scientists have unlocked the entire genetic code of skin and lung cancer. From the article: 'Not only will the cancer maps pave the way for blood tests to spot tumors far earlier, they will also yield new drug targets, say the Wellcome Trust team. The scientists found the DNA code for a skin cancer called melanoma contained more than 30,000 errors almost entirely caused by too much sun exposure. The lung cancer DNA code had more than 23,000 errors largely triggered by cigarette smoke exposure. From this, the experts estimate a typical smoker acquires one new mutation for every 15 cigarettes they smoke. Although many of these mutations will be harmless, some will trigger cancer.' Yet another step towards curing cancer. Though it will probably take many years to study so many mutations."

Comment Re:Monads (was Concurrency?) (Score 1) 173

I think that experienced haskellers often forget to explain that there is a portion of the program that is not strictly functional. The thing is that the programmer is not given access to it. Instead, the programmer is asked to pass around descriptions of the I/O actions to be taken. A monad is a data type that (amongst a vast number of other things) can be used to structure these descriptions so that we can get the order of execution right. (notice that I didn't say 'evaluation')

The next part is a bit sloppy because monads turn out to be even more abstract than described, but it suffices to explain the concepts that give us the ability to be pure and still interact with the outside world.

Every Haskell program is an instance of a function that returns an IO Monad. "Inside" that monad (for the moment, think of it as a box plus a little bit of extra data) is a description of the I/O action to be performed and a new function that takes the result of that I/O (possibly discarding it) and produces another monad. Only the function inside the monad is allowed to refer to the result of performing the execution of that monad, but it is also able to refer to any functions outside of the monad. (Like lexical scoping.)

There's always a impure portion to a program that the programmer never gets to see. It's job is to evaluate just enough of a function to get ahold of an I/O monad, read the description inside that monad, perform the action and then repeat the whole process again by passing the result into the function if found inside the monad. This division of duties is enforced by only allowing the programmer to use the functions with stuff a description and function into a monad, but not the ones to get it out. Only the impure part of the function can

All this so far is interesting, but it seems like it would take an awful lot of discipline just for the sake of purity. However, what really make monads snazzy is that there are some great tricks with syntactic sugar that can help the programmer design these descriptions in much the same way he would write an imperative program. This is Haskell's 'do' syntax. The 'do' syntax doesn't make a purely function Haskell program imperative, but it sure makes it look a lot like it is.

Still, monads are nothing more than a data type with a couple of particular kinds of functions defined on it. In the case of I/O, those functions stuff things into the monad, combine monads and get information out of the monad. If you use monads for other things, it might be worthwhile to think of those functions as serving other purposes. Haskell's monad type class simply abstracts the features of all these so that algorithms used on one can often be used on all the others... even if it does obscure the original interpretation of what's going on.

Last yeer I kudn't spel Engineer. Now I are won.