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Submission + - Mathematicians find optimal video game double jump strategy. (jstor.org)

RobertJ1729 writes: Mathematicians Aaron Broussard, Martin Malandro, and Abagayle Serreyn have cracked the code for the optimal video game multi-jump, a normal jump followed by additional jumps initiated in midair without the aid of a platform, to determine the highest achievable jump, and have described strategies human players or AI can use in real time to select successful multi-jumps in real time. Their results (doi) are published in the December issue of The American Mathematical Monthly . From the paper's introduction:

A multi-jump is a finite sequence of jumps where the first jump is initiated from the ground and the rest are initiated in midair. The number of jumps in a multi-jump is the length of the multi-jump, so a double jump is a multi-jump of length two. Several video games, such as Chair Entertainment Group(R)’s Shadow Complex(TM) and Nintendo(R)’s Super Smash Bros.(TM) Melee, feature triple jumps or multi-jumps of even longer length.

The basic problem we consider in this paper is the following. Suppose that a character in a two-dimensional side-scrolling video game wishes to use a multi-jump to jump to the right from a fixed starting point across a gap and land on a fixed platform. ...We therefore assume that the character has a known finite sequence of jump arcs available to her and faces the problem of selecting when to jump in midair, i.e., to switch from the arc of one jump to the next, so as to land on the platform. ...

Provided the platform is reachable by a multi-jump, we give strategies for solving this problem on the fly for both player-controlled and artificial intelligence (AI)-controlled characters. In the simplest situation all jumps available to the character are equal and fully concave (Definition 5). In this situation we give a simple strategy (the line method) that is usable by both players and AI. In our experience the majority of games featuring multi-jumps are covered by this situation. We give two further strategies for AI-controlled characters in more-complicated situations. Our first AI strategy is very general, in that it applies to any collection of standard jump functions (Definition 1). We also give a faster (less computationally intensive) AI strategy for collections of standard jump functions whose derivative inverses are known and computable exactly.

Submission + - Sears to sell Craftsman tool brand to Stanley Black & Decker (stltoday.com)

OutOnARock writes: After controlling the Craftsman name for 90 years, troubled department store operator Sears said it will sell the famous tool brand to Stanley Black & Decker Inc.

Stanley, which makes and sells tools under the DeWalt and Black & Decker names, wants to grow the Craftsman brand by selling its products in more stores outside of Sears. Today, only 10 percent of Craftsman products are sold in other stores. Sears said it will continue to sell Craftsman, including at its Kmart and Sears Hometown stores. The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based company first took control of Craftsman in 1927 when it bought the trademark for $500.

When I crack open a computer, more than likely I'm using a Craftsman screwdriver. Am I the only one that sees this as the end of an era?

Submission + - Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake review: Is the desktop CPU dead? (arstechnica.co.uk)

joshtops writes: ArsTechnica has reviewed the much-anticipated Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake, the recently launched desktop processor from the giant chipmaker. And it's anything but a good sign for enthusiasts who were hoping to see significant improvements in performance. From the review, "The Intel Core i7-7700K is what happens when a chip company stops trying. The i7-7700K is the first desktop Intel chip in brave new post-"tick-tock" world—which means that instead of major improvements to architecture, process, and instructions per clock (IPC), we get slightly higher clock speeds and a way to decode DRM-laden 4K streaming video. Huzzah. [sic] If you're still rocking an older Ivy Bridge or Haswell processor and weren't convinced to upgrade to Skylake, there's little reason to upgrade to Kaby Lake. Even Sandy Bridge users may want to consider other upgrades first, such as a new SSD or graphics card. The first Sandy Bridge parts were released six years ago, in January 2011. [sic] As it stands, what we have with Kaby Lake desktop is effectively Sandy Bridge polished to within an inch of its life, a once-groundbreaking CPU architecture hacked, and tweaked, and mangled into ever smaller manufacturing processes and power envelopes. Where the next major leap in desktop computing power comes from is still up for debate—but if Kaby Lake is any indication, it won't be coming from Intel.

Submission + - Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate GT 2TB is world's largest capacity flash drive (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: Today, Kingston announces a product that may get people excited about flash drives again. The company has created a 2TB pocket flash drive (also available in 1TB), called DataTraveler Ultimate GT (Generation Terabyte). This is now the world's largest capacity USB flash drive.

"Power users will have the ability to store massive amounts of data in a small form factor, including up to 70 hours of 4K video on a single 2TB drive. DataTraveler Ultimate GT offers superior quality in a high-end design as it is made of a zinc-alloy metal casing for shock resistance. Its compact size gives the tech enthusiast or professional user an easily portable solution to store and transfer their high capacity files," says Kingston.

Comment "signal" is a leading word (Score 2) 205

Calling the emission a "signal" immediately suggests it the artifact of some intelligence rather than an natural phenomena - and that has definately not been established yet.
Following is Googled definition of signal and I can't see any version of meaning which could imply something coming from a natural source:
signal
noun
1. a gesture, action, or sound that is used to convey information or instructions, typically by prearrangement between the parties concerned.
"the firing of the gun was the signal for a chain of beacons to be lit"
synonyms: gesture, sign, wave, gesticulation, cue, indication, warning, motion
"a signal to stop"
2. an electrical impulse or radio wave transmitted or received.
"equipment for receiving TV signals"
verb
1. transmit information or instructions by means of a gesture, action, or sound.
"hold your fire until I signal"

Submission + - Korora 25 'Gurgle' Fedora-based Linux distribution now available for download (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: If you want to use Fedora but do not want to spend time manually installing packages and repos, there is a solid alternative — Korora. Despite the funny-sounding name, it is a great way to experience Fedora in a more user-friendly way. Today, version 25, code-named 'Gurgle', becomes available for release.

Submission + - SPAM: Do Your Family Members Have a Right to Your Genetic Code?

schwit1 writes: When a woman gets her genome sequenced, questions about privacy arise for her identical twin sister.

Patients must give their informed consent before undergoing whole-genome sequencing or any other genetic test. But there are no laws that restrict what patients can do with their own genetic information, or that require patients’ family members to be involved in the consent process. This raises questions about who owns an individual’s genetic code, since family members share many genetic traits and may harbor the same genetic abnormalities associated with certain diseases.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - SPAM: Aspartame stops us from getting slimmer

schwit1 writes: For some time, nutritionists have suspected that artificial sweetener — often used as a substitute for sugar in coffee or added as an essential ingredient in diet sodas — does not help people lose weight. However, scientists have struggled to understand why this is the case.

Now, researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have found a lead. "We found that aspartame blocks a gut enzyme called intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP)". IAP is produced in the small intestine. "We previously showed [this enzyme] can prevent obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome [a disease characterized by a combination of obesity, high blood pressure, a metabolic disorder and insulin resistence]. So, we think that aspartame might not work because, even as it is substituting for sugar, it blocks the beneficial aspects of IAP."

The researchers confirmed their suspicions via a variety of tests on mice. In one case, they fed IAP directly to mice, who were also on a high-fat diet. It turned out that the IAP could effectively prevent the emergence of the metabolic syndrome. It also helped relieve symptoms in animals that were already suffering from the obesity-related illness.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - What to Do When Your Startup Won't Stop Bro-ing Out (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: Karen Wickre has survived the highs and lows of Silicon Valley’s kingmakers, and now she's taking her years of tech experience to Backchannel to answer your burning workplace questions. First up: what to do when you're a sole woman on a team of bro developers; how to avoid getting aged out of tech; and how to handle a brown-nosing coworker who keeps taking credit for your work.

Submission + - SPAM: The Risks of Facebook Advertising and Racial Discrimination

Lauren Weinstein writes: There’s a rising controversy right now — I’ve received a couple of dozen queries about this in the last few days — regarding Facebook’s permitting advertisers to block particular ads from specific “ethnic affinity” groups, e.g. African American.

Facebook insists that these aren’t actually racial categories per se since they don’t directly ask users about their race. Rather, Facebook insists that they “merely” assign a kind of racial “score” to users based on user activities.

That’s Facebook double-talk of course. Look at stuff that Facebook figures mainly interests whites, and Facebook sorts you into the white club. Look at materials that Facebook assumes mainly attract blacks, and Facebook relegates you to the black shack. Same idea for Hispanics, and so on.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Do Screen Time Limits Reduce The Likelihood of a Kid Learning to Code?

theodp writes: Following the conventional wisdom that too much screen time is bad for kids, President Obama and First Lady Michelle famously limited their daughters' use of technology to weekends. But new guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics studies suggest we were wrong about limiting children's screen time, and new Google-Gallup research argues that students deprived of daily use of a computer at home are at a disadvantage when it comes to learning CS. So, could it be that the President's well-intentioned screen time limits contributed to his daughters' failure to take to coding in the way he'd like? And if one wants to raise a coder, might parents actually be better off emulating the Onion's 'Craig Georges' ("I've never once considered monitoring my child’s screen time. I guess I’m a better parent than I realized.") rather than the First Family? Interestingly, Melinda Gates recently blamed the decline of girls in CS since 1984 on video games — Gates argued a move away from gender-neutral games discouraged girls from playing, but that was also around the same time that well-meaning parents started limiting children's joystick time in general, worried that playing video games posed a danger to child development (we were apparently wrong about that one, too). So, how much time did you spend on a computer as a kid and/or how much time do your kids? Do you think screen time limits reduce the likelihood of kids learning to code before they hit college?

Submission + - WikiLeaks Transmits Cryptic Hashes As Assange's Internet Link Is Cut (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: If you follow WikiLeaks on Twitter, you may have noticed a series of cryptic tweets consisting of strings of numbers and letters. These are hashes that appear to be related to another WikiLeak post on Twitter claiming its co-founder, Julian Assange, is without Internet access after his connection was "intentionally severed by a state party." That action has reportedly activated WikiLeaks' "appropriate contingency plans" in response. The announcement surfaced several hours after the site posted the aforementioned cryptic hash posts, three in all with references to Ecuador, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the UK FCO (United Kingdom Foreign Commonwealth Office). Each tweet contained a 64-character hash, which led to rumors that Assange was dead and that the strings of characters were "dead man's keys" or a "dead man's switch," codes to reveal classified secrets in the event of his death. That doesn't appear to be the case. Instead, those hashes, which are preceded by "pre-commitment" labels, are unique codes that can prove the legitimacy of documents leaked in the future that contain the same hashes. Any changes to the documents would alter the 64-character code assigned to them.

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