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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.
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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 + - 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?

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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.
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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.

Submission + - Adblock Plus Reduces University Network Bandwidth Use By 40 Percent

Mickeycaskill writes: Simon Fraser University in British Colombia, Canada claims it saved between 25 and 40 percent of its network bandwidth by deploying Adblock Plus across its internal network.

The study tested the ability of the Adblock Plus browser extension in reducing IP traffic when installed in a large enterprise network environment, and found that huge amounts of bandwidth was saved by blocking web-based advertisements and video trailers.

The experiment carried out over a period of six week, and involved 100 volunteers in an active enterprise computing environment at the university. The study’s main conclusions were that Adblock Plus was not only effective in blocking online advertisements, but that it “significantly” reduced network data usage.

Although the university admits there are some limitations of the study, it suggests that the reduced network data demand would lead to lower infrastructure costs than a comparable network without Adblock Plus.

Submission + - The Web is getting its bytecode: WebAssembly->

Josiah Daniels writes: WebAssembly is a new project being worked on by people from Mozilla, Microsoft, Google, and Apple, to produce a bytecode for the Web. WebAssembly, or wasm for short, is intended to be a portable bytecode that will be efficient for browsers to download and load, providing a more efficient target for compilers than plain JavaScript or even asm.js
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Submission + - Astronomers spot first-generation stars, made from big bang->

sciencehabit writes: A team of astronomers has found the best evidence yet for the very first generation of stars, ones made only from ingredients provided directly by the big bang. Made of essentially only hydrogen and helium, these so-called population III stars are predicted to be enormous in size and to live fast and die young. Until recently, many astronomers had thought they would never be able to see such stars, because they would have all burned and died in the universe’s early history—too far for us to see. But using new instruments on the world’s top telescopes, the team found a uniquely bright galaxy that seems to bear all the hallmarks of containing population III stars.
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Submission + - The 2014 Nebula Awards

Dave Knott writes: The winners of the 2014 Nebula awards (presented 2015) have been announced. The awards are voted on by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and (along with the Hugos) are considered to be one of the two most prestigious awards in science fiction. This year's winners are:

Best Novel: Annihilation , Jeff VanderMeer
Best Novella: Yesterday’s Kin , Nancy Kress
Best Novelette: "A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i”, Alaya Dawn Johnson
Best Short Story: “Jackalope Wives”, Ursula Vernon
Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation: Guardians of the Galaxy , directed by James Gunn
Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy: Love Is the Drug , Alaya Dawn Johnson
2015 Damon Knight Grand Master Award: Larry Niven
Solstice Award: Joanna Russ (posthumous), Stanley Schmidt
Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service Award: Jeffry Dwight

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal