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Comment: Udacity will soon put up an physics class (Score 1) 166

by wahgnube (#40216607) Attached to: Ask Slashdot. Best Online Science Course?

Udacity has now expanded its courses to include a new introductory physics class. In this class, you get to travel around Europe virtually and learn the basics of physics on location by answering some of the discipline's major questions from over the last 2000 years.

It looks like a lot of fun, and do also check out the MIT Tech TV videos mentioned on the page I've linked above. They are a fun way to learn physics too.

Python

+ - The FEniCS Project reaches 1.0

Submitted by
wahgnube
wahgnube writes "Mathematical modelling geeks rejoice! After 10 years of hard work, the FEniCS Project team is pleased to announce the release of FEniCS 1.0. FEniCS is an integrated problem solving environment for solving differential equations which often arise in mathematical modelling. Its goal is to allow researchers to easily pose their problems in a straightforward manner, so that they may focus on higher-level modelling questions and not be hindered by specific implementation issues. FEniCS is available for a multitude of platforms, with prebuilt binaries for Debian/Ubuntu, Mac OS X and Windows and is supported by extensive documentation. Download it today and check it out!"
Hardware

Seeing Through Walls 163

Posted by Soulskill
from the life-imitates-quake dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at MIT's Lincoln Lab have developed new radar technology that provides real-time video of what's going on behind solid walls. 'The researchers’ device is an unassuming array of antenna arranged into two rows — eight receiving elements on top, 13 transmitting ones below — and some computing equipment, all mounted onto a movable cart. But it has powerful implications for military operations, especially "urban combat situations," says Gregory Charvat, technical staff at Lincoln Lab and the leader of the project.' ... each time the waves hit the wall, the concrete blocks more than 99 percent of them from passing through. And that’s only half the battle: Once the waves bounce off any targets, they must pass back through the wall to reach the radar’s receivers — and again, 99 percent don’t make it. By the time it hits the receivers, the signal is reduced to about 0.0025 percent of its original strength. But according to Charvat, signal loss from the wall is not even the main challenge. "[Signal] amplifiers are cheap," he says. What has been difficult for through-wall radar systems is achieving the speed, resolution and range necessary to be useful in real time (PDF).'"
Space

Sun Produces First Cycle 24 X-Class Solar Flare 131

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-outside-and-look dept.
radioweather writes "For the first time since solar cycle 24 began, the sun produced a massive X-class solar flare, the strongest type of flare event. This comes from sunspot group 1158, which produced an M-class solar flare on Sunday. The EVE X-ray imager on the solar dynamics observatory shows a bright explosion on the sun, so bright it made a lens flare. The last X-class solar flare was on December 13th, 2006 and was part of solar cycle 23. Look for spectacular auroras in a couple days as the slower Coronal Mass Ejection hits earth. This will be a test of how well our newest technology handles stray energy from such solar disruptions."

Comment: Re:Scarcity and Information (Score 1) 949

by wahgnube (#31693210) Attached to: New Litigation Targets 20,000 BitTorrent-Using Downloaders
This sort of requires that people have to work for a living. Performing on stage every time you want to earn a buck sounds like a lot of work. What happened to the good old days where you somehow belted out a catchy jingle, had a record company latch on and promote it everywhere, and watch the millions roll in for life? That's the sort of world in which I want to live. ;)

Comment: Discoverable URLs (Score 4, Insightful) 314

by wahgnube (#29371845) Attached to: Comparing Microsoft and Apple Websites' Usability
I personally feel that user-discoverable URLs are the biggest usability strengths of Apple's web site over Microsoft's. Say you want to learn about Safari. You go to apple.com/safari, as you'd expect. What if you wanted to learn about Internet Explorer? You need to go to microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/default.aspx. Who could have guessed that without a search engine? What about the page for, say, information on a Macbook Pro vs. Microsoft Office? One of these is easily guessable from a consistent URL scheme, the other is not. Easily being able to find content is just as important as good, clear content.
Science

Dogs As Intelligent As Average Two-Year-Old Children 472

Posted by timothy
from the buddy-the-dog-is-hiding-his-smarts dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes "The Telegraph reports that researchers using tests originally designed to demonstrate the development of language, pre-language and basic arithmetic in human children have found that dogs are capable of understanding up to 250 words and gestures, can count up to five and can perform simple mathematical calculations putting them on par with the average two-year-old child. While most dogs understand simple commands such as sit, fetch and stay, a border collie tested by Professor Coren showed a knowledge of 200 spoken words. 'Obviously we are not going to be able to sit down and have a conversation with a dog, but like a two-year-old, they show that they can understand words and gestures,' says Professor Stanley Coren, a leading expert on canine intelligence at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Dogs can tell that one plus one should equal two and not one or three,' says Coren, adding that dogs 'can also deliberately deceive, which is something that young children only start developing later in their life.' Coren believes centuries of selective breeding and living alongside humans has helped to hone the intelligence of dogs. 'They may not be Einsteins, but are sure closer to humans than we thought.'"
Software

Opera Dominates CNET Survey of "Underdog" Web Browsers 173

Posted by timothy
from the html's-great-blessing-is-heterogeneity dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Whether you consider Opera an underdog browser or not, it came out on top in a feature on CNet this weekend. It was up against 'underdog Web browsers' Camino, K-Meleon, Shiira and Arora in a piece loosely aimed at determining whether these browsers are yet ready to steal significant numbers of users from Firefox, Safari, IE etc. Interesting most to me, however, is that it transpires that Shiira, the Mac browser from Japan, is one of the fastest browsers on the planet, beating the original Chrome v1.0, Firefox 3.5 and more in its benchmark tests."
Censorship

Iran Getting Better At Filtering Web Traffic 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the practice-makes-perfect dept.
Al writes "Rob Lemos reports that Iran's national ISPs seem to have recently gained the ability to filter large quantities of web traffic more effectively. Arbor Networks used data gathered from distributed network sensors to monitor the data going to Iran from the global internet. The firm found that all of the country's providers showed an enormous drop in traffic following the contested June 12 election, then nearly normal traffic patterns until June 26. After that, five of six national ISPs showed an 80 percent drop in traffic for approximately three weeks. The one internal ISP that continues to see significant traffic during those three weeks counts many government ministries among its clientèle. The picture painted by the data is of an ISP that is becoming increasingly skilled in filtering, says Craig Labovitz, chief scientist for Arbor Networks."
Biotech

Prehistoric Gene Reawakened To Battle HIV 360

Posted by kdawson
from the learning-from-our-distant-cousins dept.
Linuss points out research published in PLoS Biology that demonstrates the reawakening of latent human cells' ability to manufacture an HIV defense. A group of scientists led by Nitya Venkataraman began with the knowledge that Old World monkeys have a built-in immunity to HIV: a protein that can prevent HIV from entering cell walls and starting an infection. They examined the human genome for any evidence of a latent gene that could manufacture such a protein, and found the capability in a stretch of what has been dismissively termed "junk DNA." "In this work, we reveal that, upon correction of the premature termination codon in theta-defensin pseudogenes, human myeloid cells produce cyclic, antiviral peptides (which we have termed 'retrocyclins'), indicating that the cells retain the intact machinery to make cyclic peptides. Furthermore, we exploited the ability of aminoglycoside antibiotics to read-through the premature termination codon within retrocyclin transcripts to produce functional peptides that are active against HIV-1. Given that the endogenous production of retrocyclins could also be restored in human cervicovaginal tissues, we propose that aminoglycoside-based topical microbicides might be useful in preventing sexual transmission of HIV-1."
Social Networks

Twitter Offline Due To DDoS 398

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hate-when-that-happens dept.
The elusive Precision dropped a submission in my lap about a DDoS taking down Twitter running on CNet. It's been down for several hours, no doubt wreaking havoc on the latest hawtness in social networking. Won't someone please think of the tweeters? Word is that both Facebook & LiveJournal have been having problems this AM as well.
Microsoft

Bing Search Tainted By Pro-Microsoft Results 582

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the first-be-evil dept.
bdcny7927 writes "Just as Bing is gaining popularity, some disturbingly pro-Microsoft and anti-Apple search results are rearing their ugly heads. Case in point: a search on Bing for the phrase, 'Why is Windows so expensive?' returned this as the top link: 'Why are Macs so expensive.' That's right. You're not hallucinating."
GUI

Preview the Office 2007 Ribbon-Like UI Floated For OpenOffice.Org 617

Posted by timothy
from the trial-balloon-target-practice dept.
recoiledsnake writes "OpenOffice.org has prototyped a new UI that radically changes the current OO.o interface into something very similar to the new ribbon style menus that Office 2007 introduced and which have been extensively used throughout Windows 7. The blog shows a screenshot of the prototype in Impress (the equivalent of PowerPoint), but this UI is proposed to be used across all OO.o applications. Some commenters on the Sun blog are not happy about OO.o blindly aping Office 2007, and feel that the ribbon UI may be out of place in non-Windows operating systems."
Communications

Navigating a Geek Marriage? 1146

Posted by kdawson
from the waiting-for-taco-to-weigh-in dept.
JoeLinux writes "I am soon to marry my true love (a girl! yes! they do exist!). She is a literary geek, whereas I am a gaming/Linux geek. Being the RTFM-style geeks that we are, we have been reading up on marriage, making things work, etc. Unfortunately, all of the references seem to be based around an alpha-male jock and a submissive cheerleader-style wife. A lot of the references to incompatibility in the books don't apply to us (neglect due to interest in sports, etc.). What are some of the pitfalls and successes learned in the course of a more geek-oriented marriage?"

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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