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Comment Re:Sadly.. (Score 2) 348

5 years since development ground to a halt.

Pity really, it was hijacked by a group of people with 'certain ideas' of how everything must be, and no willingness to compromise with the general user base.[...]Compare it with Blender, [..] a continuous flow of real and useful new features

I'm actually happy that the Gimp is resilient to changes just for the sake of changes. I does what it has to do and it does it very well. It has great support for various file formats. Never crashes. Can do all kind of neat tricks and if it can't you can write or download a filter to do it.

And best of all: it doesn't bother me to learn `new improved` interface. The Gimp of 2015 is about the same as 10 years ago, with only minor conservative changes - for better or for worse - to the user interface. While i partly agree that save/export should have been combined in same menu, it's also a very minor inconvenience and actually a good habit to save your work before you export to some format that looses information.

So, if you are happy with an alternative, sure. Not everybody willing to pull a thousand $ for software and a mac. I - and many others - are very happy with Gimp just as it is and regard it as a properly maintained project. It requires some learning to unlock all abilities and know all tricks, but that's with all feature rich software.

Submission + - Mysterious Star May Be Orbited by Alien Megastructures writes: Beginning in 2009, the Kepler Space Telescope began looking at approximately 150,000 stars for signs of objects orbiting with some recognizable pattern in an attempt to find exo-planets Now Ross Anderson writes in The Atlantic that scientists who search for extraterrestrial civilizations are scrambling to get a closer look at KIC 8462852, a star that undergoes irregularly shaped, aperiodic dips in flux down to below the 20% level that can last for between 5 and 80 days. “We’d never seen anything like this star,” says Tabetha Boyajian. “It was really weird. We thought it might be bad data or movement on the spacecraft, but everything checked out.” Dips in the light emitted by stars are often shadows cast by transiting planets especially when they repeat, periodically, as you’d expect if they were caused by orbiting objects. Boyajian, a Yale Postdoc who oversees Planet Hunters, recently published a paper describing KIC 8462852's bizarre light pattern and explores a number of scenarios that might explain the pattern—instrument defects; the shrapnel from an asteroid belt pileup; an impact of planetary scale, like the one that created our moon.

SETI researchers have long suggested that we might be able to detect distant extraterrestrial civilizations, by looking for enormous technological artifacts orbiting other stars. Jason Wright says the unusual star’s light pattern is consistent with a “swarm of megastructures,” perhaps stellar-light collectors, technology designed to catch energy from the star. “When [Boyajian] showed me the data, I was fascinated by how crazy it looked,” says Wright. “Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.” Boyajian is now working with Wright and Andrew Siemion on a proposal to point a massive radio dish at the unusual star, to see if it emits radio waves at frequencies associated with technological activity. If they see a sizable amount of radio waves, they’ll follow up with the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico, which may be able to say whether the radio waves were emitted by a technological source, like those that waft out into the universe from Earth’s network of radio stations. "In the meantime, Boyajian, Siemion, Wright, the citizen scientists, and the rest of us, will have to content ourselves with longing looks at the sky," says Anderson, "where maybe, just maybe, someone is looking back, and seeing the sun dim ever so slightly, every 365 days."

Comment Other option (Score 0) 392

A car without electronics.

`My` (family owned) car hits 27 years of age, diesel, runs 1:21 to 1:23 (around 51 mile per gallon). And it actually makes that number.

Admittingly it has no fine-dust filter. But i also believe it's far less polluting simply because it's efficiency, and a 1.3 liter engine, which is small for a diesel. It's no speed monster, yet it comfortably reaches 150km/h.

The only electronics in the car is the radio playing my mp3's.

I believe regulations lead to this 'cheating'. We had fine and pretty clean engines 25 years ago! Apart adding catalysators (whats your USA word for it) and dust filters, there's not much to improve on it. Yet, govs want to because they think and believe like economists do: that technology can always improve.

Well, it simply can't. You have to achieve a good combustion. Of course electronic timing and fuel pump control / injection control may help, but it will be very marginal. We had excellent engines without any electronics, and the added electronics will only help improving the last few percent that mechanic solutions can't.

Off-topic: this car was made by VW...

Submission + - The $9 Computer is Shipping Today! (

An anonymous reader writes: The $9 CHIP computer is shipping. According to Dave Rauchwerk, CEO of Next Thing Co., single units will go out to early backers in 5 to 9 days; additional orders will arrive in December. But if you backed the project at the Kernel Hacker Backer level on Kickstarter, you will receive two CHIP computers — the second by mid-October.

Submission + - Can living in total darkness for 5 days "reset" the visual system? (

the_newsbeagle writes: That's what one neuroscientist is aiming to find out. He wants to put patients with a type of amblyopia, the vision problem commonly called lazy eye, into the dark for 5 days. His hypothesis: When they emerge, their brains' visual cortices will be temporarily "plastic" and changeable, and may begin to process the visual signals from their bad eyes correctly. Before he could do this study, though, he had to do a test run to figure out logistics. So he himself lived in a pitch black room for 5 days. One finding: Eating ravioli in the dark is hard.

Submission + - The 2015 Underhanded C Contest has begun (

Xcott Craver writes: The 8th Underhanded C Contest is now underway. The goal of the Underhanded C Contest is to write C code that is as readable, clear, innocent and straightforward as possible, but which performs some malicious function that is not obvious from looking at the source code. This year's challenge is based on a real problem in joint development for nuclear treaty verification, and the prize is $1000.

Comment Re:BBC / other state broadcasters? (Score 4, Insightful) 132

Valid points - however, most European countries have some form of national TV.

When i am abroad, i'm often annoyed with the dutch public TV digital online channels not being available, due to whatever IP issue causes it. Which i find quite absurd, since it's available for free within my country.

I would welcome a situation where i can watch British, German, French, Italian, Belgian and Dutch television stations online. If all countries open op public stations, i see it as win-win for everyone.

Commercial thinkers should realize i can only watch one TV channel at a time. The BBC will obviously put up the argument that 'everyone speaks English and not everyone speaks French or German, hence their audience is bigger and thus the market is skewed'. And while their may be some truth in that, the British tax-payer will not pay a penny more or less if half Europe watches their shows, since the cost is in creating them, not in distributing.

Likely, IP issues only play with purchased shows (overseas content, sports, etc). Everything produced by public broadcasters themselves - payed by taxpayers - will only profit from a bigger audience in my view.

Submission + - GCC 5.2 released

AmiMoJo writes: The release of GCC 5.2 brings a number of new features and fixes. The change list is extensive, featuring improvements to the C compiler, support for new languages like OpenACC, improvements for embedded systems, updates to the standard library and more.

Submission + - Do you have aphantasia? (

bravni writes: "Certain people, researchers have discovered, can’t summon up mental images — it’s as if their mind’s eye is blind. This month in the journal Cortex, the condition received a name: aphantasia."

Until reading this article, I myself never really understood that for most people "a mental image" was more than a figure of speech.

Who else has aphantasia? Did you find out long ago or only recently? How would you describe your thought processes, for example if you are asked what colour is your front door, how would you know the answer?

Submission + - Coming Soon - Robots With Bacteria-Controlled Brains (

giulioprisco writes: Scientists used a mathematical model — a computer simulation — to demonstrate that bacteria can control the behavior of a robot. Though the research has been limited to computer simulations so far, the researchers are building real-world robots controlled by bacteria engineered in the lab. Robots with bacteria-controlled brains could have important theoretical and practical applications to agriculture, health care, and environmental engineering.

Submission + - Siri "Charge my phone to 100%" calls 911

mrspoonsi writes: After much fanfare and publicity on the company's part, Apple's conception of a personal assistant is now ingrained in popular culture; you won't be able to find a comedy show without at least one joke about Siri and for good reason. Using natural language to communicate with our gadgets is still a relatively new technology and, as a result, often leads to particularly hilarious situations. Today, we have the latest in a string of bizarre responses by the virtual assistant. Tell Siri to "charge my phone to 100%" and she will immediately call 911, giving you just 5 seconds of respite to stop the virtual assistant from sending out an SOS. There is no official word on what the cause of this is but the two possibilities are that it's either a bug or a hidden function that allows you to call the police in an emergency. There has been no official communication from Apple referring to such a feature, however.

Submission + - ELIoT, distributed programming for the Internet of Things

descubes writes: ELIoT (Extensible Language for the Internet of Things) is a new programming language designed to facilitate distributed programming. A code sample with less than 20 lines of code looks like a single program, but really runs on three different computers to collect temperature measurements and report when they differ. ELIoT transforms a simple sensor API into a rich, remotely-programmable API, giving your application the opportunity to optimize energy usage and minimize network traffic.

Using less resources than Bash, and capable of serving hundred of clients easily on a Raspberry Pi, ELIoT transparently sends program fragments around, but also the data they need to function, e.g. variable values or function definitions. This is possible because, like in Lisp, programs are data. ELIoT has no keywords, and program constructs such as loops or if-then-else are defined in the library rather than in the language. This makes the language very flexible and extensible, so that you can adapt it to the needs of your application.

The project is still very young (published last week), and is looking for talented developers interested in distributed programming, programming languages or language design.

Submission + - Solar activity predicted to fall 60% in 2030s

sycodon writes: A new model of the Sun's solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun's 11-year heartbeat. The model draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone. Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the 'mini ice age' that began in 1645.

"There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them" - Heisenberg