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Comment SNL's take of Assange on Zuckerberg (Score 4, Funny) 520

"What are the differences between Mark Zuckerberg and me? Lets take a look.

I give you private information on corporations for free, and I'm a villian. Mark Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations for money, and he's man of the year.

Thanks to wikileaks, you can see how corrupt governments operate in the shadows, and then lie to those who elect them. Thanks to facebook, you can finally figure out which Sex and the City character you are."


Survey Shows That Fox News Makes You Less Informed 1352

A survey of American voters by World Public Opinion shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. One of the most interesting questions was about President Obama's birthplace. 63 percent of Fox viewers believe Obama was not born in the US (or that it is unclear). In 2003 a similar study about the Iraq war showed that Fox viewers were once again less knowledgeable on the subject than average. Let the flame war begin!

The First Photograph of a Human 138

wiredog writes "The Atlantic has a brief piece on what is likely to be the first photograph (a daguerreotype) showing a human. From the article: 'In September, Krulwich posted a set of daguerreotypes taken by Charles Fontayne and William Porter in Cincinnati 162 years ago, on September 24, 1848. Krulwich was celebrating the work of the George Eastman House in association with the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Using visible-light microscopy, the George Eastman House scanned several plates depicting the Cincinnati Waterfront so that scholars could zoom in and study the never-before-seen details.'"
First Person Shooters (Games)

Gamer Plays Doom For the First Time 362

sfraggle writes "Kotaku has an interesting review of Doom (the original!) by Stephen Totilo, a gamer and FPS player who, until a few days ago, had gone through the game's 17-year history without playing it. He describes some of his first impressions, the surprises that he encountered, and how the game compares to modern FPSes. Quoting: 'Virtual shotgun armed, I was finally going to play Doom for real. A second later, I understood the allure the video game weapon has had. In Doom the shotgun feels mighty, at least partially I believe because they make first-timers like me wait for it. The creators make us sweat until we have it in hand. But once we have the shotgun, its big shots and its slow, fetishized reload are the floored-accelerator-pedal stuff of macho fantasy. The shotgun is, in all senses, instant puberty, which is to say, delicately, that to obtain it is to have the assumed added potency that a boy believes a man possesses vis a vis a world on which he'd like to have some impact. The shotgun is the punch in the face the once-scrawny boy on the beach gives the bully when he returns a muscled linebacker.'"

Comment Mathematica/MATLAB/octave (Score 1) 434

I'm a postdoc that works mostly with biochemist-ey types, and I'd highly recommend adding a math package to whats available to your students. With something like mathematica, you can do:

  • curve fitting/minimization
  • general math (probability distributions, convolutions, Fourier transforms, etc)
  • peak integration
  • statistical analysis
  • image analysis
  • check formulas and their characteristics (being able to verify derivatives, for example, is very important for fitting models)

what I also like about the math packages is the ability to synthesize "test" data to illustrate what can't be done simply in lab (or not at all, depending). And I think its also a great way to start learning a bit of programming/scripting without requiring too much CS (for those not interested in CS), but at the same time getting enough exposure to it so that they won't be completely lost when they see a conditional loop. And, I can personally tell you that science types use them quite widely.

I'm a little surprised you seem more concerned about the OS the programs run on. As long as the students can run the stuff you've listed along with some sort of math package to learn about handling data, just go with what the IT guys are most comfortable with.

But to answer your question: most science labs run whatever they want, but some hardware and/or proprietary analysis software for some equipment can dictate the OS.


Do Gamers Want Simpler Games? 462

A recent GamePro article sums up a lesson that developers and publishers have been slowly learning over the last few years: gamers don't want as much from games as they say they do. Quoting: "Conventional gaming wisdom thus far has been 'bigger, better, MORE!' It's something affirmed by the vocal minority on forums, and by the vast majority of critics that praise games for ambition and scale. The problem is, in reality its almost completely wrong. ... How do we know this? Because an increasing number of games incorporate telemetry systems that track our every action. They measure the time we play, they watch where we get stuck, and they broadcast our behavior back to the people that make the games so they can tune the experience accordingly. Every studio I've spoken to that does this, to a fault, says that many of the games they've released are far too big and far too hard for most players' behavior. As a general rule, less than five percent of a game's audience plays a title through to completion. I've had several studios tell me that their general observation is that 'more than 90 percent' of a game's audience will play it for 'just four or five hours.'"

California's Santa Clara County Bans Happy Meal Toys 756

WrongSizeGlass writes "The L.A. Times is reporting that Santa Clara County officials have voted to ban toys and other promotions that restaurants offer with high-calorie children's meals. 'This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children's love of toys' to sell high-calorie, unhealthful food, said Supervisor Ken Yeager, who sponsored the measure. 'This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes.' Supervisor Donald Gage, who voted against the measure, said, 'If you can't control a 3-year-old child for a toy, God save you when they get to be teenagers.' The vote was 3 - 2 in favor of the ban."

Comment How to opt-out (Score 4, Informative) 128

It took me a minute to dig this up on Robb Toploski's Journal, I think its worth posting here:

ACTION REQUIRED - IMPORTANT: To opt-out from the settlement, simply write "I want to opt-out of the settlement" along with your name and address and mail it by May 13th to: P2P Congestion Settlement Claims Administrator; c/o Rust Consulting; P.O. Box 9454; Minneapolis, MN 55440-9454. Ask your friends to please do the same. If we want a meaningful settlement in this case and open Internet in our future, it's important to spread the word and send a strong message to Comcast and the industry.

Linux Business

SoftMaker Office 2010 For Linux Nearing Release 110

martin-k writes "SoftMaker Office is a Microsoft-compatible office suite that competes with Its creator, German software publisher SoftMaker, is nearing completion of the latest release, SoftMaker Office 2010 for Linux. This new release offers document tabs, high-quality filters for the Microsoft Office 2007 file formats DOCX and XLSX, and presentation-quality charts in the spreadsheet. It also brings integration into KDE and Gnome, using the system's colors and fonts. A release candidate is available as a free download."

Submission + - Myth-TV 0.22 released, project updates!

Greg Johnsen writes: Myth-TV 0.22 has finally been released (Release notes). Everyone start your P-V-Rs!

There has been changes to the Myth-TV Project. Jean-Yves Avenard has been named project manager. You might know the name from his work adding V-D-P-A-U, ffmpeg-mt, A-C-3 digital output, H-D-P-V-R support, a fully rewritten M-H-E-G engine, and other notable improvements for 0.22. In this new role, he will be reassessing the development team and holding them to a much higher standard then in the past. As a result of all the time he has put into the project adding these extensive new features, he is asking for donations. These donations will help Jean have the time to take the project to new levels!

Also, Jean has shared some of his goals for 0.23. With the developers no longer in the United States, the project's previous viewpoint on bit-torrents and media sharing will be revisited. Look out for Myth-Torrent! Also there is going to be sweeping changes to how Live-TV is presented to the user, to make it usable. There will also be a theme overhaul, paid for by Jean (Another place where your donation can help!) to help make them much more user friendly.

Jean is also looking for new developers to take over some of the existing, unmaintained plug-ins. He needs developers for Myth-archive, Myth-browser, Myth-Flix, Myth-Gallery, Myth-Movies, Myth-Music, Myth-News, Myth-Weather, Myth-Web, and Myth-Zoneminder. You can send in your CV to the mythtv-dev mailing list.

Please join us in welcoming Jean to the MythTV team.

Submission + - Is Francis Collins a good choice to lead the NIH?

TimFenn writes: Since the Obama administration appointed Francis Collins to run the NIH on July 8, scientists have been arguing whether appointing a evangelical christian was a good choice (also, his discussion with Richard Dawkins is insightful). Further, the NIH faces several challenges, from how to improve peer review to grant/funding allocation concerns. Is Francis Collins the right scientist for the job?

Laser Treatment Could Save the Sight of Millions 95

BotScout writes "British experts claim that a new laser treatment could save the sight of millions of people. The process is said to stop the onset of age-related macular degeneration, one of the most common forms of blindness, which leaves victims unable to read, drive or live independently. The technique rejuvenates the Bruch's membrane — a thin layer that lies behind the retina. The process takes just ten to 15 minutes and could be done by any ophthalmologist. While it does not cure sight loss, its inventor, Professor John Marshall, says it could prevent a generation from having to put up with declining vision in old age."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Researcher Trolls MMO, Surprised When Players Hate Him 895

D1gital_Prob3 writes with this excerpt from a story about David Myers, a Loyola professor who spent some time studying superhero MMO City of Heroes/Villains: "... he aimed the pointer at his opponent, the virtual comic book villain 'Syphris.' Myers, 55, flicked the buttons on his mouse and magically transported his opponent to the front of a cartoon robot execution squad. In an instant, the squad pulverized the player. Syphris fired an instant message at Myers moments later. 'If you kill me one more time I will come and kill you for real and I am not kidding.' ... As part of his experiment, Myers decided to play the game by the designers' rules — disregarding any customs set by the players. His character soon became very unpopular. At first, players tried to beat him in the game to make him quit. Myers was too skilled to be run off, however. They then made him an outcast, a World Wide Web pariah that the creator of Syphris — along with hundreds of other faceless gamers — detested."

Comment my first router/gateway (Score 1) 739

When I moved in with some friends that wanted to split an internet connection back in '99, there weren't too many all-in-one routers, and those that did exist were either expensive or sucked. One of my roomies and I figured "hey, we can make our own router using linux!" So we dug through a trash bin near the CS building, found an old 386 with a dead disk controller and patched it up and added 2 ethernet cards. With a few bucks we bought a cheap 8 port hub and installed redhat 6.0 (it had just been released, and it was all that was cool in those days). We had done some internet research beforehand to learn ipchains enough to set up forwarding, and away we went. It worked so well we eventually started using the linux box as a common fileserver, name server, print server, web server, etc.

I've been a RH/fedora user ever since.

Comment Re:This is going to hurt smaller research groups a (Score 1) 164

The converse is also true -- I use the journal's screening to figure out what to read because I don't have time to read every single thing, even preliminarily. ... IMO, what will actually happen is that a free/open system is that the loss of the imprimatur of journal publication will mean increased reliance on other ways to quickly evaluate works.

I have an idea for this. I sometimes hang out on this website where lots of people are submitting things to be published. I don't feel like reading all of the submissions, but the great part is that other users can score up some of the submitted content so I can filter through the chaff and just look at the stuff that is most likely interesting or worthwhile. And I can just go to subsections of content that I'm primarily interested in. Then - and this is the cool part - every submission is debated in a moderated, open forum - where again, I can filter through the comments using a number of criteria and read only the "top rated" information, if I so choose.

I think the website is called slashdot. Have you ever checked out how it works?

Without name-brand journals, name-recognition will become even more important, which will lead to even more of the sort of "superstar" science in which funding and interest is ever more concentrated in a few research groups.

I would argue that without name-brand journals, name recognition will rely on more realistic metrics (like the quality of the work, not necessarily where stuff gets published) and therefore may be a better measure than the current system.

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