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Submission + - Evolved Art Competition: Evolve the new BEACON logo! (beacon-center.org)

Rhiever writes: "Want to experience evolution first-hand?

We are happy to announce that the NSF BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action is hosting an evolved art competition running from March 1st through May 31st, 2013. The goal of this competition is to evolve an alternative lighthouse to the BEACON lighthouse on the collaborative art evolution web site Picbreeder (http://picbreeder.org/). The top three lighthouses submitted will receive monetary awards of $200 (1st place), $100 (2nd place), and $50 (3rd place). With control over the creative power of evolution, can you evolve BEACON’s new logo?"


Submission + - Intercontinental mind-meld unites two rats (nature.com)

ananyo writes: "The brains of two rats on different continents have been made to act in tandem. When the first, in Brazil, uses its whiskers to choose between two stimuli, an implant records its brain activity and signals to a similar device in the brain of a rat in the United States. The US rat then usually makes the same choice on the same task.
Miguel Nicolelis, a neuroscientist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, says that this system allows one rat to use the senses of another, incorporating information from its far-away partner into its own representation of the world. “It’s not telepathy. It’s not the Borg,” he says. “But we created a new central nervous system made of two brains.
Nicolelis says that the work, published today, is the first step towards constructing an organic computer that uses networks of linked animal brains to solve tasks. But other scientists who work on neural implants are sceptical."

Submission + - Linus Torvalds Suggests How To Handle UEFI Secure Boot Crisis (muktware.com)

sfcrazy writes: In the ongoing discussing over Microsoft keys in the kernel, Linus Torvalds has made some suggestions which he believes put users in control of their system and not Microsoft. He says " a distro should sign its own modules AND NOTHING ELSE by default. And it damn well shouldn't allow any other modules to be loaded at all by default, because why the f*ck should it? And what the hell should a Microsoft signature have to do with *anything*?" You can read the entire post here, but his point was "Because it really shouldn't be about MS blessings, it should be about the *user* blessing kernel modules."

Comment eye-candy (Score 1) 1

Translating this to the digital world will enable people to use computers more easily as well as complete more complex tasks.

"If you are working on a document you can pick it up and flip through it like a book," he told the BBC.

First, how is physically flipping through the pages of a book faster than hitting the Page Down key? The keyboard is still the fastest way to interact with computers. That's why keyboard shortcuts exist for when the mouse is too slow.

Second, why is flipping through the pages of a book considered a complex task? What do I have to do to navigate to the middle of the document, flip one page at a time? What if I want to delete a comma from the end of every line in the document (if you've dealt with .csv files, you may have run into this). That's why the command line exists for when GUI's are too slow.

Touch screens, kinects, etc, are really only good for doing very simple tasks, slowly. You know the cool screen in Minority Report that everyone wants to make into reality? Ten bucks says it will be coded by some dude using vi.

Submission + - 25 Most Beastly Robotic Animals (networkworld.com)

alphadogg writes: This can’t be what Mother Nature had in mind. But robotics advances in recent years have included a seemingly nonstop stream of creatures who buzz, kick and perform all sorts of duties that can help mankind by getting into hard-to-reach spaces, exploring underwater and through the air, and carrying heavy loads. Here's at look at 25 of these robotic beasts.

Submission + - New 'Zombie' Cells Outperform the Living in the Lab

An anonymous reader writes: For all fans that follow The Walking Dead, it turns out the dead may indeed outperform the living. Scientists have created "zombie" mammalian cells that function better after they die. Although creating "zombie" cells may seem like a dubious endeavor, it has quite a few practical applications. Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico coated a cell with a silica solution. This created a near-perfect replica of the structure that could simplify a wide variety of commercial fabrication processes. In fact, the process allowed the researchers to preserve cells down to the minor grooves of its DNA.

Comment Good or bad? (Score 1) 2

I'm actually torn on this one. As much as I despise Microsoft products, if adding office to Linux allows industry to upgrade from Windows machines to Linux machines, i.e., helps bring Linux into the mainstream, then it's not a bad thing. Also, since I use R for my statistical/plotting software and vi for word processing, adding Office to Linux wouldn't affect me directly. And that annoying paper clip should be replaced with cowsay.

Comment Try 'em out! (Score 1) 2

If you want to work at a computer support help desk, I recommend majoring in Religious Studies or Philosophy. All kidding aside, you're just a frosh. Take courses in both EE and CS areas and choose the path you enjoy the most. Heck, lots of colleges allow you to customize your major and pretty much all colleges allow independent studies, so you can combine the two areas however you see fit. Speaking from a CS perspective, having the motivation to teach yourself programming languages and spend some of your free time tinkering with, and writing, programs of your own is a very useful skill for a programmer (it could very well be the same for EE). Getting back to my point, college is a time for you to figure out what you want to do. If you can't figure it out in four years of college, there's always grad school. Go out, drink some booze, and don't let strangers on the Internet tell you what to do with your life.

Comment User Permissions (Score 1) 1

I'm not familiar with XBMC, but I've hosted media servers in which I had personal data on the disk that I did not want visible to others. One simple way would be to have a different user account with read permissions granted only for movies appropriate for a 4 year old (your son's account), and a second user account that has read and write permissions to all media (your account). For my media server, I used bindfs to mount the directory containing my media to a different location with altered permissions. In my user account, I had full access to the disk. In the other user account, the media directory was mounted using bindfs so it appeared as if the media directory was the root of the file system, effectively denying them access to the rest of the disk.

Comment Do you browse source? (Score 1) 5

It comes down to whether the user likes to browse source. There's clearly things that make open source software good: a large community of experts (or `nerds', but I prefer the term `expert') ironing out the bugs and adding useful features. If Linux closed their source, would it still have the same expert community working on it? Maybe yes, maybe no. If you do a code freeze of your open source software now, yes, it's good, but will it be good in the future? Maybe yes, maybe no. Who knows. Certainly the user will NOT know if it's good because the source is closed. There is PLENTY of good closed source software. However, the openness of Linux/BSD/etc is one of my favorite features of those operating systems. Would I stop using them? No. I'm a software developer so ultimately I need to use a computer.

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