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Submission + - How China Took Control Of Bitcoin

Rick Zeman writes: According to the New York Times, "In its early conception, Bitcoin was to exist beyond the control of any single government or country. It would be based everywhere and nowhere."

Yet despite the talk of a borderless currency, a handful of Chinese companies have effectively assumed majority control of the Bitcoin network. They have done so through canny investments and vast farms of computer servers dispersed around the country and that "...there are fears that China’s government could decide, at some point, to pressure miners in the country to use their influence to alter the rules of the Bitcoin network. The government’s intervention in 2013 suggests that Bitcoin is not too small to escape notice."

Submission + - Chinese Government to Put 3D Printers in All 400,000 Elementary Schools (3dprint.com) 1

InfiniteZero writes: Education is probably one of the areas that will benefit the most from 3D printers in the long run. The problem though is getting the machines into the schools in the first place. The Chinese government has a new policy to install a 3D printer in each of its approximately 400,000 elementary schools over the next two years.

Submission + - Physicists show self-correcting quantum computers are theoretically possible (phys.org)

InfiniteZero writes: From the article at phys.org:

Using exotic components such as color codes, new phases of quantum matter, and extra dimensions, a team of physicists has shown that it's theoretically possible to construct a quantum computer that has the ability to correct itself whenever an error occurs.

"The greatest significance of our work is showing that self-correcting quantum computing at a finite temperature is not impossible as a matter of principle," physicist Héctor Bombin told Phys.org. Bombin was at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while performing the study and is currently at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario. "In fact, the original motivation came from claims to the contrary by other authors. We provide explicit constructions that can be checked directly, without numerical simulations."

Submission + - How to (or NOT to) Train Your Job Replacement? 3

An anonymous reader writes: I am a contract developer from a major U.S. city. My rate has never been the lowest, nonetheless very competitive considering the speed and quality of the work I have always delivered, as well as the positive feedbacks I've got from most clients. In the past ~3 years I have been working on a sizable project for a major client. For most part it has been a happy arrangement for both parties. However for various reasons (including the still ailing economy), starting this year they hired a fresh college graduate in-house, and asked me to teach him all "secrets" of my code, even though they have the source code by contract. The implicit (although never openly stated) goal is of course for him to take over the project and hopefully reduce cost, at least in the short-term. I say "hopefully" because I am pretty sure that, unfamiliar with the software industry, they underestimated what it takes to make quality, production-ready code. I am not afraid of losing this particular client as I have many others, but I want to ask Slashdot, how do you handle this type of situation — train someone who you know will eventually replace you at your job?

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: I just need... marketing?

An anonymous reader writes: Over the years, Slashdot has had many stories of non-technical entrepreneuring people in need of programmers. Now I found myself in an almost opposite situation: I am a programmer with a fledgling mass-market product that needs marketing.

I know slashdot's general sentiment towards marketing. Without being judgmental one way or the other, I must say that for a product to reach the widest possible audience in a given time period, marketing is a necessity. Short of doing everything myself, I see a couple of options: 1. Hire marketing people, or an outside marketing firm; 2. Take in willing partners who are good at marketing (currently there are no shortage of people who want in).

With these options, my major concerns are how to quantify performance, as well as how to avoid getting trapped in a partnership with non-performing partners — I already have a tangible product with a huge amount of time, money, and effort invested. Budget is also limited. Budget is always limited unless you are a fortune 500 business, but for now that's more of a secondary concern. So here is my question to Slashdot: how do you address these concerns, and in a more general sense, how would you handle the situation: technical people with a product in need of marketing?

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: A More Accessible Alternative to arXiv.org?

An anonymous reader writes: I have an account at arXiv.org from my postdoc years. The problem with arXiv.org is that it's closely tied to the establishment, with an endorsement system heavily favoring institutional career researchers. What I am looking for is an eprint repository that is accessible to the general public — for both authors and readers, has an authoritative timestamp, and is likely to stay around for the foreseeable future. Perhaps a cross between arXiv.org and Wikipedia, or maybe a GitHub clone but for research pagers. Any such beast in existence, or should somebody start one?

No LMGTFY please. I am aware of what's available out there, but want real-world experiences and opinions from the Slashdot community. Background: I am an independent researcher with a Ph.D in theoretical physics, although my research interests cover a variety of disciplines. I plan to publish my work in recent years as public-domain eprints, completely bypassing traditional academic channels, with one caveat: I want to receive full credit where it's due, otherwise a simple blog would have sufficed.

Submission + - An Asian Origin for Human Ancestors? (sciencemag.org) 2

InfiniteZero writes: Researchers agree that our immediate ancestors, the upright walking apes, arose in Africa. But the discovery of a new primate that lived about 37 million years ago in the ancient swamplands of Myanmar bolsters the idea that the deep primate family tree that gave rise to humans is rooted in Asia. If true, the discovery suggests that the ancestors of all monkeys, apes, and humans—known as the anthropoids—arose in Asia and made the arduous journey to the island continent of Africa almost 40 million years ago.

Submission + - College Freshman at Age 9, M.D. at 21 - A Real-World Doogie Howser (chicagotribune.com) 2

An anonymous reader writes: Sho Yano this week will become the yougnest student to get an M.D. from University of Chicargo. He was reading at age 2, writing by 3, and composing music by his 5th birthday. He graduated from Loyola University in three years — summa cum laude, no less. When he entered U. of C.'s prestigious Pritzker School of Medicine at 12, it was into one of the school's most rigorous programs, where students get both their doctorate and medical degrees.

Intelligence is not Yano's only gift — though according to a test he took at age 4, his IQ is too high to accurately measure and is easily above genius level. He is an accomplished pianist who has performed at Ravinia, and he has a black belt in tae kwon do. Classmates and faculty described him as "sweet" and "humble," a hardworking, Bach-adoring, Greek literature-quoting student. And in his own words, "I may not be the most outgoing person, but I do like to be around people." — unlike many self-proclaimed genius-level slashdoters.


Submission + - Exercise Makes You Smarter 1

InfiniteZero writes: Latest studies from the University of Tsukuba in Japan indicates that exercise increases the baseline level of glycogen (stored carbohydrates) in the brain, especially in the frontal cortex and the hippocampus which are critical to thinking and memory. According to professor Hideaki Soya, senior author of the studies, while a brain with more fuel reserves is potentially a brain that can sustain and direct movement longer, it also may be a key mechanism underlying exercise-enhanced cognitive function.

Dr. Soya also suggests that D.I.Y. "glycogen supercompensation" efforts seem like an attractive possibility, and the process may even be easy.

Submission + - Russians set for Mars adventure (bbc.co.uk)

InfiniteZero writes: Russia is about to launch an audacious bid to scoop up rock and dust samples from the Martian moon Phobos and bring them back to Earth for study. Detailed mapping of the moon has been conducted by the European Space Agency's Mars Express (MEx) satellite, and this information is being used to identify a suitable location to land in February 2013. The French space agency (Cnes) has provided instrumentation. The European Space Agency, in addition to its survey information from MEx, will be providing ground support. US participation comes in the form of the space advocacy group, The Planetary Society, which is sending its Living Interplanetar Flight Experiment (LIFE). This package of hardy micro-organisms will make the journeys out and back inside a separate compartment in the return capsule. It is a significant venture also because it will be carrying China's first Mars satellite.

Submission + - The stroke of genius strikes later in life today (msn.com) 1

InfiniteZero writes: Einstein once said, "A person who has not made his great contribution to science before the age of 30 will never do so." That peak age has shifted considerably, a new study found, with 48 being prime time for physicists.
The Military

Submission + - Cyber weaknesses should deter US from waging war (ap.org) 1

InfiniteZero writes: America's critical computer networks are so vulnerable to attack that it should deter U.S. leaders from going to war with other nations — Richard Clarke, a former top U.S. cybersecurity official said Monday. The U.S. military is entirely dependent on computer systems and could end up in a future conflict in which troops trot out onto a battlefield 'and nothing works.'

Submission + - Stars Found to Produce Complex Organic Compounds (space.com)

InfiniteZero writes: Researchers at the University of Hong Kong observed stars at different evolutionary phases and found that they are able to produce complex organic compounds and eject them into space, filling the regions between stars. The compounds are so complex that their chemical structures resemble the makeup of coal and petroleum, the study's lead author Sun Kwok, of the University of Hong Kong, said.

Submission + - Cleaning Up Japan's Radioactive Mess with Blue Goo (popsci.com)

InfiniteZero writes: A clever technology is helping hazmat crews in Japan contain and clean up the contamination caused by the ongoing nuclear disaster there: a blue liquid that hardens into a gel that peels off of surfaces, taking microscopic particles like radiation and other contaminants with it. Known as DeconGel, Japanese authorities are using it inside and outside the exclusion zone on everything from pavement to buildings.

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