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Comment Re:Potential military applications are really scar (Score 3, Funny) 76

George Washington and his patriot army had mad ninja skillz.

They did. The old story goes that Ethan Allen was brought back to England as a prisoner in the Revolutionary War, he was housed with a English merchant who to goad the patriot put a picture of George Washington up in the outhouse. Much to the merchant's chagrin, Allen approved. "Nothing," Allen said, "will make an Englishman shit faster than the sight of George Washington."

Comment Re:This story sponsored by (Score 1) 89

Well, the answer might be to try a morning cup of decaf coffee. Why? Because caffeine isn't the only active ingredient in coffee; the anti-cancer properties of coffee appear to be in the phenols which are still present in decaf. And you'd still get the stimulant benefits of caffeine because you're more sensitive, although I'd avoid even decaf after noon.

A cup of decaf coffee has between 2-10 mg of caffeine depending on the process; an ounce of dark chocolate has about 20 mg of caffeine; a twelve once coke has 34 mg of caffeine; a cup of regular coffee has 90-200 mg of caffeine.

Comment Re:This story sponsored by (Score 1) 89

Actually evidence from the 1950s was mixed -- as it still is -- but in fact most of it stands up pretty well. What's a problem is the interpretation of that evidence and its limited nature (e.g. not knowing about different types of cholesterol).

For example it was established in the 50s that high blood cholesterol was a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. This is still believed as true, but what they didn't know at the time is what factors affected blood cholesterol. It was (plausibly although not conclusively) suspected by many that fat consumption would increase it; nobody suspected sugar... why should they?

In complex systems like the body there is usually conflicting evidence early on, which is resolved by further study.

Submission + - Opera Presto Source Code Leaks Online (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: An unknown third-party has leaked the source code of the old Opera Presto browser engine on GitHub, and later on Bitbucket, two services for hosting and sharing source code online. According to timestamps, the Opera Presto source code was first uploaded on GitHub but was taken down last Friday, on January 13, after Opera's lawyers filed a DMCA request. The repository was moved a day later on Bitbucket, where it is still available today.

Opera Presto is the layout engine at the heart of the old Opera browser. Opera Software used Presto between Opera 7 and Opera 14 and replaced Presto with Blink, Chrome's layout engine, in Opera 15, released in May 2013.

According to information provided in the repositories, the leaked source code is for version 12.15 of the Opera engine. Opera has not developed the Presto engine in past years, and most likely, this is an outdated technology. Unlike Google, Mozilla, Apple, and Microsoft, who open-sourced some parts of their browsers' source code, Opera never open-sourced any part of the Presto engine.

Comment Re:Corporate Arrogance strikes again. (Score 1) 76

It's got nothing to do with corporate arrogance and everything to do with boosting sales numbers. The ".99" thing is psychological and is connected with how the optical cortex processes the sequence of numbers we see into a value that we then equate to. Apparently, enough extra people will purchase an item priced at $x.99 instead of ${x+1}.00 than is necesssary to offset the $0.01 loss of profits, and where people are becoming aware of this marketing technique the simple trick of using .98 supposedly tricks the brain and brings the sale numbers right back up again.

Comment Re:Potential military applications are really scar (Score 5, Interesting) 76

I'd think from a military standpoint what you want is soldiers who make better battlefield decisions, not ones that engage in a stereotypical behavior regardless of circumstance.

The human brain is both massively adaptable and subject to modification by information inputs. Which means you can indoctrinate men into becoming mindless killing machines. The problem is that historically that approach doesn't seem to be effective either tactically or strategically. US Marines faced waves of suicide attackers in the Pacific theater of WW2, which must have been terrifying, but in the end worked to the US advantage.

On the other hand George Washington's great talent as a general was retreating. He could attack a much larger and better equipped army and then make his army disappear before they could react. That was terrifying in its own way, and much more miltarily effective.

Given a fight between men fighting to kill and men fighting to survive, all other things being equal I'd put my money on the men trying to survive.

Comment Re:This story sponsored by (Score 5, Informative) 89

You know, this kind of shallow cynicism actually makes you easier to dupe, because it's not evidence-based; it's what-sounds-truthy-based.

This article was published in Nature, which requires a complete disclosure of institutional affiliations and financial conflicts. That doesn't mean the system is perfect, but it's about as good as it gets, especially given that Nature is one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world. Nature Medicine has an eye-popping 30.357 impact factor, making it the fourth most highly cited medical journal in the world after the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, and Journal of the American Medical Association.

Does it mean you should immediately believe anything that's published in Nature Medicine? No. You should wait until it is cited in a literature review article in one of those top journals before making any health decisions based on it. However as individual papers go, this is as credible as they get.

Researchers have been trying to take caffeine down for decades. Nobody can quite believe that something so enjoyable as coffee isn't bad for you. In fact doctors used to routinely warn their patients off coffee because of all the bad things it would do to them, but in fact when researchers tried to confirm all the things doctors knew about why coffee was bad for you, none of them turned out to be true, with narrow exceptions for certain populations (e.g., coffee doesn't cause ulcers as we used to be told, but if you have an ulcer coffee will make the symptoms worse).

What researchers found were surprising benefits, including what appears to be evidence of reduction in risks for multiple forms of cancer and even a reduction in suicide risk.

Coffee is well on its way to becoming the first evidence-backed superfood.

Submission + - Japanese Spacecraft Spots Massive Gravity Wave In Venus' Atmosphere (theverge.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Japanese probe Akatsuki has observed a massive gravity wave in the atmosphere of Venus. This is not the first time such a wave was observed on the Solar System’s second planet, but it is the largest ever recorded, stretching just over 6,000 miles from end to end. Its features also suggest that the dynamics of Venus’ atmosphere are more complex than previously thought. An atmospheric gravity wave is a ripple in the density of a planet’s atmosphere, according to the European Space Agency. Akatsuki spotted this particular gravity wave, described in a paper published today in Nature Geoscience, when the probe arrived at the planet on December 7th, 2015. The spacecraft then lost sight of it on December 12th, 2015, because of a change in Akatsuki’s orbit. When the probe returned to a position to observe the bow-shaped structure on January 15th, 2016, the bright wave had vanished. What sets the huge December wave apart from previously discovered ones is that it appeared to be stationary above a mountainous region on the planet’s surface, despite the background atmospheric winds. The study’s authors believe that the bright structure is the result of a gravity wave that was formed in the lower atmosphere as it flowed over the planet’s mountainous terrain. It’s not clear how the wave exactly propagates to the planet’s upper atmosphere, where clouds rotate faster than the planets itself — four days instead of the 243 days it takes Venus to rotate once.

Comment Re:Can only be played on Apple products (Score 2) 84

Everyone wants to own both the distribution channel and the content being sold over that channel. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu...

They all want their own programming so that going to a different store means losing access to content. If Apple's content does appear on Netflix, you can be sure of two things: (1) it'll be old episodes and (2) their programs will include melodramatic, never-ending story arcs.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Distributed file sharing 1

DeathToBill writes: I'm a software engineer, and so also the guy who knows stuff about IT, in a company with five employees. All five are based in different cities on two continents. So far, we've used Dropbox for file sharing. The main drawbacks are the cost (£108 per year per user) for still-limited storage space, not-terribly-good collaborative editing, limited version history and very coarse permissions (top-level folder controls only). I'm looking into other solutions, but am finding it difficult to get a feel for how well different solutions actually work. We really like Google Docs' collaborative editing, but we'd like to still be able to use MS Office as users are familiar with it. As well as documents, spreadsheets and presentations, we also need to be able to share engineering outputs such as CAD drawings, schematics, PCB layouts and so on. Most of our work happens on Windows, but a couple of us (mostly me) switch back and forward to Ubuntu for some jobs, so a Linux client would be very useful (even if Office documents aren't editable there). We need some sort of permission control, preferably reasonably find-grained but easy enough for non-technical people to set permissions. At the moment we're getting by with a few GB, but that's becoming a struggle. Most of our users are usually connected, but offline access is occasionally important. We're currently using hosted services, but are happy to host our own if it makes it better or cheaper. What does Slashdot recommend? Is there something great out there that solves all of these?

Submission + - SPAM: It Can Power a Small Nation. But This Wind Farm in China Is Mostly Idle.

schnell writes: The New York Times reports on a massive wind farm in remote Gansu province that boasts more than 7,000 wind turbines but whose capacity goes more than 60% unused. The wind farm epitomizes China's struggles in its efforts to become a world renewable energy leader: the Chinese economy is slumping, leading to decreased energy demand; the country lacks the infrastructure to haul power from remote wind-producing regions to industrial centers; and government policies continue to favor the domestic coal industry. China has 92,000 wind turbines, more than double the US's capacity, but China generates only 3.3% of its electricity from wind compared to 4.7% in the United States.

Comment Vocational training for young kids is a waste. (Score 5, Insightful) 195

Who knows what jobs will be available in twenty years, between AI and offshoring? Coding doesn't look like a sure thing at all.

If you are going to focus on a skill, focus on ones that serve in that kind of future environment: being able to pick up on human context and nuance; to decode, no just the literal level of communication, but implicit levels of communication. Because even if AI and foreigners take our coding jobs, somebody is going to have to lay out specifications, and that take imagination and subtlety.

And you know what would be really, really good for developing those kinds of skills? Reading and discussing books.

Submission + - Google-Funded ALA Project Envisions Nation's Librarians Teaching Kids to Code

theodp writes: Citing the need to fill "500,000 current job openings in the field of computer science," the American Library Association (ALA) argues in a new whitepaper (pdf) that "all 115,000 of the nation’s school and public libraries are crucial community partners to guarantee youth have skills essential to future employment and civic participation." As such, the ALA's Google-funded Libraries Ready to Code (RtC) project has entered Phase II, which aims to "equip MLIS [Master's in Library Science] students to deliver coding programs through public and school libraries and foster computational thinking skills among the nation’s youth." The RtC Phase II timeline (pdf) calls for a review of “lessons learned for national strategy” in Q4 of this year. "Particular attention will be paid to addressing challenges and opportunities for underrepresented groups in CS and related fields (e.g., Hispanic, Native American, African American, and girls)," explained the ALA. “Libraries play a vital role in our communities, and Google is proud to build on our partnership with ALA," added Hai Hong, who leads US outreach on Google's K-12 Education team. “We're excited to double down on the findings of Ready to Code 1 by equipping librarians with the knowledge and skills to cultivate computational thinking and coding skills in our youth. Given the ubiquity of technology and the half-a-million unfilled tech jobs in the country, we need to ensure that all youth understand the world around them and have the opportunity to develop the essential skills that employers — and our nation's economy — require.”

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