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Comment Re:Might as well... (Score 1) 406

Java is simple in the least common denominator way. The language is very limited, and because it is so inexpressive and full of boilerplate it's the opposite of 'clean'. But those limitations allow low to medium skilled teams to produce code of a somewhat consistent quality, which is why it is so popular in enterprise.
Earth

Submission + - High School Students Take Global Warming to Court

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Katherine Ellison reports in the Atlantic that a group of high school students is suing the federal government in US District Court claiming the risks of climate change — dangerous storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, and food-supply disruptions — will threaten their generation absent a major turnabout in global energy policy. "I think a lot of young people realize that this is an urgent time, and that we're not going to solve this problem just by riding our bikes more," says 18-year-old Alec Loorz, one of the plaintiffs represented, pro bono, by the Burlingame, California, law firm of former US Republican congressman Paul "Pete" McCloskey. While skeptics may view the case as little more than a publicity stunt, its implications have been serious enough to attract the time and resources of major industry leaders. Last month, Judge Wilkins granted a motion to intervene in the case by the National Association of Manufacturers who says the plaintiffs lack standing because their injuries are too speculative and not likely to be reduced by the relief sought. "At issue is whether a small group of individuals and environmental organizations can dictate through private tort litigation the economic, energy, and environmental policies of the entire nation," wrote NAM spokesman Jeff Ostermeyer. The plaintiffs contend that they have standing to sue under the "public trust doctrine," a legal theory that in past years has helped protect waterways and wildlife. While the adults continue their argument, Loorz says kids his age are much more worried about climate change than many of their parents might imagine. "I used to play a lot of video games, and goof off, and get sent to the office at school," says Loonz. "But once I realized it was my generation that was going to be the first to really be affected by climate change, I made up my mind to do something about it.""
AI

Militarizing Your Backyard With Python and AI 112

mikejuk writes "Kurt Grandis took some cutting edge and open source AI tools, Python, an Arduino and a SuperSoaker and built the (almost) perfect squirrel hosing machine. The project involved Open Computer Vision (OpenCV), an a SVM learning procedure that he trained to tell the difference between a squirrel and a non-squirrel. After 'perfecting' the classifier the hardware came next — a SuperSoaker Mark I was used as the 'water cannon.' A pair of servos were used to aim the gun and a third to pull the trigger."
Medicine

Wirelessly Powered Medical Implant Propels Itself Through the Bloodstream 37

cylonlover writes "With the wait still on for a miniaturization ray to allow some Fantastic Voyage-style medical procedures by doctors in submarines, tiny electronic implants capable of traveling in the bloodstream show much more promise. While the miniaturization of electronic and mechanical components now makes such devices feasible, the lack of a comparable reduction in battery size has held things back. Now engineers at Stanford University have demonstrated a tiny, self-propelled medical device that would be wirelessly powered from outside the body, enabling devices small enough to move through the bloodstream."

Submission + - Planned Post-ACTA Repression In European Union: The Documents (falkvinge.net)

petval writes: Rick Falkvinge, the Swedish Pirate Party MEP, discovered two interesting European Commission documentsProposal for a Revision of the Directive of Intellectual Property Rights and Notice and Takedown procedures that give a glimpse of the planned crackdown on online freedoms of speech post-ACTA. Falkvinge informs about some of the most blatant parts like references to eroding the common carrier status of the ISPs, fast-track lowcost civil procedures which should we read as "Fast-track, low-cost civil procedures: Civil procedures means “lawsuits against ordinary people”. Fast-track means “without delays caused by due process of law and exercising of rights”. Low-cost means “preferably in bulk”.. Continuing with other cases he also mentions some similarites with Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).
His closing really sums it well: All in all, this is a completely horrible document that shows how the European Commission prepares to legislate post-ACTA. The proposals above have already entered the legislative process and will result in a real legislative proposal. We need to stay more vigilant than ever.

The Internet

Submission + - Thumbdrive-sized Streaming Media Players Coming So (deviceguru.com)

DeviceGuru writes: Roku is building its streaming media player technology into a thumbdrive-style device that will plug directly into a TV's HDMI port. The Roku Streaming Stick, to be priced in the $50-$100 range, will convert ordinary TVs into smart TVs, according to CEO Anthony Wood. One catch is that it will depend on the TV having at least one Mobile High-Definition Link (MHDL) compliant HDMI port. The new standard is not widely supported yet, with only Nokia, Samsung, Silicon Image, Sony, and Toshiba listed as members on the MHDL Consortium's web page.
Science

Submission + - Short but sweet meteor shower arrives Jan. 4 (summitcountyvoice.com)

PolygamousRanchKid writes: Sky watchers are in for their first treat of 2012, as the short but intense Quadrantid meteor shower will light up the northern sky in the early morning of Jan. 4. According to a NASA web page on the Quadrantids, there could be as many as 200 meteors per hour, though the average rate is about 60 to 100 per hour. According to NASA, the shower originates from an asteroid, that may be a piece of a comet which broke apart several centuries ago, and that the meteors you will see before dawn on Jan. 4 are the small debris from this fragmentation. The Quadrantids have not been studied as extensively as some of the better-known meteor showers like the Perseids and Geminids, possibly because it's best visible in far northern latitudes, where its appearance coincides with cold weather. Another factor may be the short peak of the shower, which means some observers may miss it if they're not watching at just the right time if they're not in the right spot. According to meteorshowersonline.com, the shower can be hard to see because some of the meteors are faint, requiring exceptional observation conditions.
Space

Submission + - The Second Moons of Earth

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Despite a large body of work on satellite capture by the gas giants, mainly Jupiter and Saturn, there has been little published about the Earth's natural satellites other than the moon. Now Scientific American reports that although the moon has been with us for billions of years, Earth has also had countless other satellite companions and probably has one right now. These "second moons" are boulders from the large population of near-Earth asteroids that get snagged by our gravity, orbit the Earth for a few months, then escape and move on. Known as "Temporarily-Captured Orbiters" (TCOs), the irregular natural satellites are hard to see but astronomers spotted one such transient satellite in 2006. Dubbed 2006 RH120, the asteriod was a few meters in diameter and was captured by Earth for about a year and made four Earth orbits before being ejected after its June 2007 perigee back to interplanetary space. But TCOs are not of just academic interest. "Once TCOs can be reliably and frequently identified early enough in a capture event they create an opportunity for a low-cost low-delta-v meteoroid return mission. The scientific potential of being able to first remotely characterize a meteoroid and then visit and bring it back to Earth would be unprecedented (PDF).""
Iphone

Submission + - Boy, 12, told by iPhone 'Shut the f*** up, ugly t* (dailymail.co.uk)

Frankie70 writes: A 12-year-old boy got a shock when he tried out the new iPhone 4S in a shop it answered: 'Shut the f*** up, ugly t***.'

Charlie Le Quesne had been trying out the new gadget's Siri voice assistant system in a Tesco branch in Coventry when it came out with the string of profanities.

The obscene response came after he had asked the phone: 'How many people are there in the world.'

Security

Submission + - The Computer Science of Insecurity (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: After security by obscurity we now have security by computer science! The idea explained at this year's 28th Chaos Computer Congress (28C3) by Meredith Patterson was simply that, if you build input languages and protocols that are too powerful, from the point of view of grammar, then you deserve all you get. If a protocol is Turing-complete then recognizing valid input is formally undecidable. Only by reducing the sophistication to context free or regular grammars can we protect against "creative" uses of software. See the video of the presentation — you wont be bored.
China

Submission + - China reveals its space plans up to 2016 (google.com)

PolygamousRanchKid writes: China plans to launch space labs and manned ships and prepare to build space stations over the next five years, according to a plan released Thursday that shows the country's space program is gathering momentum. China's space program has already made major breakthroughs in a relatively short time, although it lags far behind the United States and Russia in space technology and experience. The country will continue exploring the moon using probes, start gathering samples of the moon's surface, and "push forward its exploration of planets, asteroids and the sun."

Some elements of China's program, notably the firing of a ground-based missile into one of its dead satellites four years ago, have alarmed American officials and others who say such moves could set off a race to militarize space. That the program is run by the military has made the U.S. reluctant to cooperate with China in space, even though the latter insists its program is purely for peaceful ends.

Submission + - Brazilian economy overtakes UK's (bbc.co.uk)

GreatBunzinni writes: According to projections, Brazil's economic growth continues the trend of emergent economies overthrowing "old world" countries as the top economic engines of the world. The same predictions point that by 2020 the US will be the only western country included in the top 5 economies. Is this a side effect of globalization or does this sign the stagnation, or even regression, of the west?

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