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Submission + - Open-source data analysis software R booming

sl70 writes: An article in today's New York Times touts the increasing importance of open-source data analysis software, R. R is an implementation of the S language developed at Bell Labs by John Chambers. There is also a high-priced, commercial implementation called S-Plus, but R is rapidly overshadowing it. From the article: Now R is surpassing what Mr. Chambers had imagined possible with S."The diversity and excitement around what all of these people are doing is great," Mr. Chambers said. The implication is the fact that R is open-source has led it to surpass its proprietary cousin.

I've been using R for years and am very happy for the recognition it's now receiving.

Journal Journal: Teaching Programming to Kids? 2

I'm an undergrad Math/CS student. One of my cousins, an exceptionally bright 11-year-old, is interested in learning to program. I'd like to give him some kind of direction; at least, more than I got: to teach him to avoid bad habits, use design patterns (OO vs procedural, especially) properly, and make sure that he stays interested. I'd like to see what Slashdot thinks: what are appropriate resources to use? Which language should I try to teach him? Are there any good books out there?

Submission + - Study links climate change to Hurricane frequency (

Socguy writes: Key factors in global climate change, like warming sea temperatures and shifting wind patterns, have prompted a sharp rise in hurricanes, according to a study out Monday.

The report by Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and Peter Webster of Georgia Institute of Technology was published online Monday in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London.

The researchers analyzed data from about the past 100 years, ending with 2005. They used systematic meteorologist's data derived from aircraft flights starting in 1944, satellite data from about 1970, and more sophisticated measuring methods for the subsequent years. urricanes.html?ref=rss


Submission + - Censoring our Beloved Cartoons (

Luxifer writes: "We all know that shows like the Simpsons and Family guy are screened before they get to air, I am sometimes amazed at what gets past the censors. But what about our childrens' cartoons? Shows like The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and Casper's Scare School? Wired has a story about the writers of these shows and the hoops that they have to jump through just to entertain our kiddies. One show requires that the script is approved by 47 people before it's approved. Another show considers the word 'beseech' to be blasphemous. Personally, I think as long as you're not trying to show Horton Hires a Ho, or Bi-Curious George, you should let the writers have their creative reign. The Flintstones had a lot of content that kids wouldn't get, that's what made it fun for the adults to watch it with their kids."
Operating Systems

Submission + - EOS (Evolutive Operating System)

alphinux writes: Hello, I've been looking for a while if someone is working on an EOS (Evolutive Operative System), well that's the way I like to call it. It's an OS that is smart and changes it's Source Code, then compiles it. After zero results I came here to see if any slahdoters something about this subject.

Submission + - do Internet users want anonymity? 5

An anonymous reader writes: There's been quite a lot of research (academic and otherwise) on anonymous communication systems (TOR, Nyms, Crowds...). But the user population on even the most popular system, Tor, is an insignificant portion of the net user population. So I'm wondering, is anonymous communication useless, or is there just no killer app yet?

If someone implemented anonymous BitTorrent, would you sign up?

Submission + - China's space science prepares for liftoff (

Engineer Murad writes: "In unveiling its five-year plan for 2006-10 this past March, the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) announced that the HXMT had won a competition for funding, beating out a proposal for the Solar Space Telescope (SST). A host of other astronomical projects are funded for various stages of R&D. Scheduled for launch in 2010, the HXMT will survey the sky in the 20-250 keV range. "In this energy band, it should be the most sensitive instrument so far for a full-sky survey," says project coleader Shuang Nan Zhang, who splits his time between Tsinghua University and the Institute of High Energy Physics in Beijing. "It will take a year to scan the whole sky," he adds. In addition to a hard x-ray survey instrument, the mission will carry two lower-energy detectors — capable of observing from 1 keV to 30 keV — for pointed observations. Possible targets for such observations include neutron-star-black-hole binaries, active galactic nuclei, supernova remnants, soft gamma-ray burst repeaters, and galaxy clusters. "With all the detectors pointed at the same source," Zhang says, "we can look at sources with broadband spectra and rapid variability — like a high-energy version of RXTE [NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer]." China is providing the launcher, spacecraft, and hard and medium x-ray detectors, while a low-energy detector will be built jointly with scientists in the UK. Unspecified budget Zhang estimates the HXMT price tag at about $100 million. "It's pretty cheap by international standards," he says. "But in China it's a megaproject. It's the [country's] largest astronomy project ever." The country's manned space program and lunar exploration plans — an orbiter will be launched this fall to map the Moon's surface, followed by landers and rovers that will carry out experiments and bring back samples — are larger, but they are not pure astronomy programs; the manned program is not under the CNSA. The total budget for space science is unspecified, says Zhang, one of the architects of the CNSA five-year plan. "The government does not give us a budget. There is no cap. We tell them our needs. We say, 'It's been approved, please fund.' " In the past, decisions about space missions in China have been made at top government levels. This time, with peer review, the people whose missions lost out were of course disappointed. But, says Zhang, the reaction from the community about using peer review has been positive. "Everyone is a winner because we have established the correct procedure.""

Submission + - Considering Buying Goggles to Replace Monitor

An anonymous reader writes: I've been considering switching from a monitor to the goggle things (sorry, I'm not sure what they're called). These are the only ones that I found: R-PHOTO/dp/B000GL6M50/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-9382099-554 4669?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1183418672&sr=1-1.

Do these even work with a computer? If so, would these be a good buy, or would /. recommend something else? Sorry for the possibly misleading topic, I couldn't exactly find one that fitted this question.

Submission + - Jim Butterfield, 1936 - 2007 1

ewhac writes: "While nearly everyone was going crazy over the iPhone, the computing community lost a luminary on Friday. Jim Butterfield, an early columnist and author for hobbyist computing in the 1970's and 80's, passed away peacefully in his sleep at 1:30 AM on 29 June. He was 71. Jim had been battling cancer since at least December of last year, when he announced he was beginning chemotherapy. Jim was a frequent contributor to periodicals such as The Transactor, COMPUTE!, and TPUG; and was the author of several books on introductory programming. Jim's clear and incisive writing helped introduce a generation of newcomers to the joys and wonders of computers and computer programming. No small fraction of today's engineers owe their livlihoods to Jim's writing and enthusiasm, this chronicler included. He will be missed."

Submission + - Dell Linux Details

jon_anderson_ca writes: Dell, through their direct2dell website, has released some details of their soon-to-be-available Linux machines. Among the highlights:

  • only hardware that works with Linux is offered
  • open-source drivers used where possible
  • binary drivers for Intel wireless cards, etc.
  • no support for media codecs

Seems reasonable, but it's too bad that Click2Run isn't in Ubuntu 7.04 for the sake of those wanting to (legally) play DVDs, use AVI files, etc.

Submission + - SPAM: Cure for Hepatitis C announced!

FiReaNGeL writes: "The use of peginterferon alone, or in combination with ribavirin, points to a cure for hepatitis C, the leading cause of cirrhosis, liver cancer and the need for liver transplant, a Virginia Commonwealth University researcher said today. Nearly all — 99 percent — of patients with hepatitis C who were treated successfully with peginterferon alone, or in combination with ribavirin, had no detectable virus up to seven years later. Researchers say this data validates the use of the word "cure" when describing hepatitis C treatment as successful treatment is defined as having undetectable hepatitis C virus in the blood six months following treatment."

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