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Submission + - Chromium Being Ported to VC++, Compiler Bugs Fixed

jones_supa writes: Moving a big software project to a new compiler can be a lot of work, and few projects are bigger than the Chromium web browser. In addition to the main Chromium repository, which includes all of WebKit, there are over a hundred other open-source projects which Chromium incorporates by reference, totaling more than 48,000 C/C++ files and 40,000 header files. As of March 11th, Chromium has switched to Visual C++ 2015, and it doesn't look like it's looking back. The tracking bug for this effort currently has over 330 comments on it, with contributions from dozens of developers. Bruce Dawson has written an interesting showcase of some VC++ compiler bugs that the process has uncovered. His job was to investigate them, come up with a minimal reproduce case, and report them to Microsoft. The Google and Microsoft teams get praise for an excellent symbiotic relationship, and the compiler bugs have been fixed quickly by the Visual Studio team.

Submission + - Neck Pain Can Be Changed Through Altered Visual Feedback

sys64764 writes: Using virtual reality to misrepresent how far the neck is turned can actually change pain experiences in individuals who suffer from chronic neck pain, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

“Our findings show that the brain does not need danger messages coming from the tissues of the body in order to generate pain in that body part — sensable and reliable cues that predict impending pain are enough to produce the experience of pain,” says researcher G. Lorimer Moseley of the University of South Australia. “These results suggest a new approach to developing treatments for pain that are based on separating the non-danger messages from the danger messages associated with a movement.”

Pretty soon we'll all be going to the gym wearing VR headsets while running appropriate programs and that sore neck or aching back won't mean a thing anymore!

Submission + - Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality (

itwbennett writes: A team of researchers in Sri Lanka set out to test whether common refactoring techniques resulted in measurable improvements in software quality, both externally (e.g., Is the code more maintainable?) and internally (e.g., Number of lines of code). Here's the tl;dr version of their findings: Refactoring doesn’t make code easier to analyze or change; it doesn't make code run faster; and it doesn't doesn’t result in lower resource utilization. But it may make code more maintainable.

Submission + - Use astrology to save Britain's health system says MP (

An anonymous reader writes: An MP from the governing Conservative Party has said that using astrology could radically improve the performance of Britain's National Health Service and that it's opponents are "racially prejudiced" and, errr, driven by "superstition, ignorance and prejudice". David Treddinick even claims he has "helped" fellow legislators through astrology.

Submission + - It's Time To Bring Pseudoscience into the Science Classroom

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: “Roughly one in three American adults believes in telepathy, ghosts, and extrasensory perception,” wrote a trio of scientists in a 2012 issue of the Astronomy Education Review. “Roughly one in five believes in witches, astrology, clairvoyance, and communication with the dead (PDF). Three quarters hold at least one of these beliefs, and a third has four distinct pseudoscientific beliefs.” Now Steven Ross Pomeroy writes in Forbes Magazine that it’s time to bring pseudoscience into public schools and universities. “By incorporating examples of pseudoscience into lectures, instructors can provide students with the tools needed to understand the difference between scientific and pseudoscientific or paranormal claims,” say Rodney Schmaltz and Scott Lilienfeld.

According to Schmaltz and Lilienfeld, there are 7 clear signs that show something to be pseudoscientific: 1. The use of psychobabble – words that sound scientific and professional but are used incorrectly, or in a misleading manner. 2. A substantial reliance on anecdotal evidence. 3. Extraordinary claims in the absence of extraordinary evidence. 4. Claims which cannot be proven false. 5. Claims that counter established scientific fact. 6. Absence of adequate peer review. 7. Claims that are repeated despite being refuted. Schmaltz and Lilienfeld recommend incorporating examples of pseudoscience into lectures and contrasting them with legitimate, groundbreaking scientific findings. For example, professors can expound upon psychics and the tricks they use to fool people or use resources such as the Penn & Teller program "Bullshit".

But teachers need to be careful or their worthy efforts to instill critical thinking could backfire. Prior research has shown that repeating myths on public fliers, even with the intention of dispelling them, can actually perpetuate misinformation. “The goal of using pseudoscientific examples is to create skeptical, not cynical, thinkers. As skeptical thinkers, students should be urged to remain open-minded,” say Schmaltz and Lilienfeld. "By directly addressing and then refuting non-scientific claims, science educators can dispel pseudoscience (PDF) and promote scientific skepticism, while avoiding the unhealthy extremes of either uncritical acceptance or cynicism."

Submission + - Newest YouTube user to fight a takedown is copyright guru Lawrence Lessig (

onehitwonder writes: Lawrence Lessig has teamed with the Electronic Frontier Foundation to sue Liberation Music, which recently demanded that YouTube take down a lecture Lessig had posted that features clips from the song "Lisztomania" by the French band Phoenix (on Liberation Music's label). Liberation claimed copyright infringement as the reason it demanded the takedown, but in his countersuit, Lessig is claiming Liberation's "overly aggressive takedown violates the DMCA and that it should be made to pay damages," according to Ars Technica.

Submission + - Saving Rupert Murdoch's job

Presto Vivace writes: The Telegraph is reporting that Rupert Murdoch is threatening to shut down his entire British newspaper operation in an effort to protect the rest of his empire.

The Telegraph revealed last week that the Metropolitan Police is now treating News UK, the newspaper corporation, as a corporate suspect in its investigations of alleged hacking and bribery at the News of the World. ...

...However, the potential case would “go away” altogether if the company News UK ceased to exist, in the same way as the CPS cannot press charges against a person who has died.

Neil Chenoweth suggests that this is nonsense.

News Corp & 21st Fox are separate companies they can't protect each other without shareholder suit

This is really about saving Rupert Murdoch's job.

For while Murdoch himself is not the target, the consequences of charging News International as opposed to charging News International directors including Rupert Murdoch himself may be indistinguishable—they would both spell the end of his control of at least the greater part of his split empire, 21st Century Fox.

Currently the odds seem to be against either of these things happening, but Murdoch must bitterly regret the comments he made to Sun journalists in March.

Submission + - Crowdsourcing comes to fundamental physics (

An anonymous reader writes: Crowdsourcing seems set to play a key role in a piece of fundamental physics research — into the nature of gravity — after an initial successful test of the concept by particle physicists at CERN.
Physicists seeking to measure the impact of gravity on anti-matter particles asked the public, on 16 August, to assist them in finding and marking cloud chamber tracks produced as part of the AEgIS experiment into how anti-matter accelerates under gravity.
The conventional assumption is that matter and anti-matter behave the same way under gravity, but AEgIS aims to demonstrate the truth or otherwise of this assumption. As gravity is poorly understood — though we do know our theory of it, Einstein's general relativity, is incompatible with quantum physics — the experiment could be of huge value to our understanding of the physical fundamentals of the universe.
It is expected that there will be further calls for public assistance as the scientists develop the crowd sourcing software and move towards a public beta. Bad news: maximum number of people who can share a nobel prize is three!

Submission + - English High Court bans scientific paper (

An anonymous reader writes: The High Court — England's highest civil court — has temporarily banned the publication of a scientific paper that would reveal the details of a zero day vulnerability in vehicle immobilisers and, crucially, give details of how to crack the system. Motor manufacturers argued that revealing the details of the crack would allow criminals to steal cars. Could this presage the courts getting involved in what gets posted on your local Bugzilla? It certainly means that software giants who dislike security researchers publishing the full facts on vulnerabilities might want to consider a full legal route.

Submission + - End of the line for Linux in Norway's educational system?

An anonymous reader writes: Recently, in the organization "UNINETT", in an executive meeting from the 13. May 2013, a decision was taken under the title "UNINETT felles IKT-verktøykasse". For explanation: UNINETT is some government-sponsored institute for providing IT support for higher education in Norway (universities and university colleges (called høyskole in Norwegian)). The title of the project means: ``common ICT-toolbox". It's the attempt to "harmonize" (their words) IT systems throughout education Norway.
The core basically is an ``office solution'' for everyone (with perspective to cloud outsourcing), based on Microsoft office software, Microsoft exchange etc. This will be forced throughout all universities and colleges. The announcement also states (I quote): En eventuell brukerstøtte for
Linux-plattform er ikke en del av dette prosjektet... which translates: a potential support of the Linux-platform is _NOT_ part of this project... (emphasis by me).

This seems currently not public information, it's decided a few days week ago (behind closed doors, it seems).

Submission + - Is Nestle Patenting the Fennell Flower? (

wreckignize writes: Nestlé's international patent number WO2010133574 claims the company "discovered" what has been known for thousands of years. That Thymoquinone, the extract from the Fennell Flower's seeds, is a natural analgesic (pain relief) and stimulates the Opioid receptors in the human brain, thereby preventing or reducing allergic reactions in foods. Nestlé' researchers demonsrated this effect by inducing an egg allergy into rodents, then feeding them black seed oil, which contains the compound Thymoquinone. With the addition of black seed oil into their diet, the researchers were discovered the mice exhibited a less severe allergic reaction to the eggs.

Submission + - How common is malicious code in Wordpress themes and widgets? (

Cypher, Lou writes: I ran afoul of the recent "social-media-widget" plugin malicious code and after googling around looking for a fix I found more reports not just of widgets but even themes Malicious Theme
It was my understanding, or maybe silly assumption, that in order to submit a theme or a widget to Wordpress there was a code review process.
Is this getting what you pay for or is it reasonable to expect that free software should not contain little surprises that hijack your website to feed objectionable material or is it buyer beware?

Submission + - Thousands protesters in Beijing street, Chinese media and websites in lockdown

centralcommittee writes: Thousands of people, mostly migrant workers from Anhui province, held protest today (5/8/2013) on the 2nd Ring Road of Beijing, south of Temple of Heaven. The protest is in response to Beijing police's mishandling of the death of a girl from Anhui province, who was alleged to be gang-raped by shopping mall security guards and fell to her death last Friday. The government has deployed hundreds of police plus helicopters against the protesters, traffic near the protest site was blocked for miles. Currently the name of the shopping mall "Jingwen" has become a restricted word in major Chinese websites, user cannot post anything containing this word. The Chinese search engine Baidu also refuses to display any result for this word while Google returns more than 800,000 results for this word.

Submission + - Hashtag war has begun in British House of Commons (

An anonymous reader writes: Today is a big day in Britain — the annual Budget (actually the government's tax plans rather than spending) was announced in the House of Commons in a televised debate.

The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Ed Miliband, used his televised reply to suggest tweeters used the hashtag #downgradedChancellor in their responses and within the hour this was trending worldwide. Seems the Parliamentarty Twitter Wars have begun.

GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - The Pirate Bay's Oldest Torrent is "Revolution OS" (

jrepin writes: "After nearly 9 years of seeding The Pirate Bay’s oldest working torrent is still very much alive. Interestingly, the torrent is not a Hollywood classic nor is it an evergreen music album. The honor goes to a pirated copy of “Revolution OS”, a documentary covering the history of Linux, GNU and the free software movement."

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