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Programming

Submission + - CompSci researchers: What Developers Call "Agile" Often Isn't (hp.com)

Esther Schindler writes: "When sociological researchers studied the cultural effects of Agile methodologies on workforces, they made two unanticipated discoveries: One, companies adopting Agile actually struggle more to cope with the side-effects. Two, development teams that succeed in producing better products and pleasing customers aren’t exactly using Agile after all. In “Agile” Often Isn’t, Scott Fulton delves deep into the findings. For example:

Entitled “Agile Undercover,” the first report from Hoda and her colleagues demonstrated conclusively that Agile development teams were failing to communicate with their customers — not just occasionally, but mainly. And in order to ameliorate the impact of these failures, teams and their companies were making active, intentional efforts to keep customers in the dark about their development practices, including their schedules of deliverables.

There's more. A bunch more."

Space

Submission + - Nazi Buddha Came From Outer Space

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "BBC reports that scientists say a 1,000-year old ancient Buddhist statue with a swastika on its stomach that was recovered by a Nazi expedition in the 1930s was originally carved from a highly valuable meteorite that crashed about 15,000 years ago in the border region of eastern Siberia and Mongolia. And although it may seem that the story of this priceless object owes more perhaps to an Indiana Jones film script than sober scientific research, the "Iron Man" was discovered in Tibet in 1938 by German scientist Ernst Schafer whose expedition was supported by the Nazis, in particular by Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS who believed the Aryan race originated in Tibet and was keen to recover objects from the area. The German and Austrian scientists who worked on the Iron Man were surprised to be able to trace the statue to a specific event in meteorite history. "I was absolutely sure it was a meteorite when I saw it first, even at 10 meters" says Geologist Elmar Buchner . "It is rich in nickel, it is rich in cobalt. Less than 0.1% of all meteorites and less than 1% of iron meteorites are ataxites, so it is the rarest type of meteorites you can find." Chemistry tests show the 23-pound statue's iron matches fragments of the "Chinga" meteorite field found near the Tibetan-Mongolian border in 1913 by gold prospectors. The material's hardness comes from its high iron content in addition to containing some 16 percent nickel."

Comment Re:The Netherlands is important because... (Score 1) 74

BREIN's stated mission:

The BREIN foundation is the joint anti-piracy program of authors, artists, publishers, producers and distributors of music, film, games, interactive software and books; A unique bundling of forces of the entire entertainment industry in the fight against Intellectual Property theft.

may not be what you or I agree with, but to many people it sounds like a reasonable idea.

In my experience the attempts to shut down filesharing sites are seen as annoying and as something that makes it a bit harder to get music and movies. The point that shutting down websites is a threat to the freedom of speech is lost on most people. In fact, the whole concept of freedom of speech is something many don't fully understand.

Comment Re:The Netherlands is important because... (Score 3, Informative) 74

The problem is not whether or not people believe in individual freedoms and rights. The problem is that the consequences of BREIN's actions are hard to explain, while BREIN's motives sound good to the layman (protecting creativity and all that).

I think the Dutch are spoiled in a way. We grew up knowing that are freedoms were taken care of by politicians, the media and the judicial system. Now that certain freedoms are being questioned, we don't know how to interpret the issues, let alone how to respond to them.

Your Rights Online

Submission + - Assange wins another journalism award (crikey.com.au) 1

Pav writes: Julian Assange has won a Walkley award, the equivalent of a Pulitzer in his native Australia. This is separate from the Martha Gellhorn prize won earlier this year. The story is reported on crikey.com.au, a web magazine frequented by Australian journalists and political elites. Although the comments there will be waffling and long-winded perhaps they will also be interesting as an indicator of the mood in that world.

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