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The First Photograph of a Human 138

wiredog writes "The Atlantic has a brief piece on what is likely to be the first photograph (a daguerreotype) showing a human. From the article: 'In September, Krulwich posted a set of daguerreotypes taken by Charles Fontayne and William Porter in Cincinnati 162 years ago, on September 24, 1848. Krulwich was celebrating the work of the George Eastman House in association with the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Using visible-light microscopy, the George Eastman House scanned several plates depicting the Cincinnati Waterfront so that scholars could zoom in and study the never-before-seen details.'"

Officials Sue Couple Who Removed Their Lawn 819

Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that Orange County officials are locked in a legal battle with a couple accused of violating city ordinances for replacing the grass on their lawn with wood chips and drought-tolerant plants, reducing their water usage from 299,221 gallons in 2007 to 58,348 gallons in 2009. The dispute began two years ago, when Quan and Angelina Ha tore out the grass in their front yard. In drought-plagued Southern California, the couple said, the lush grass had been soaking up tens of thousands of gallons of water — and hundreds of dollars — each year. 'We've got a newborn, so we want to start worrying about her future,' said Quan Ha, an information technology manager for Kelley Blue Book. But city officials told the Has they were violating several city laws that require that 40% of residential yards to be landscaped predominantly with live plants. Last summer, the couple tried to appease the city by building a fence around the yard and planting drought-tolerant greenery — lavender, rosemary, horsetail, and pittosporum, among others. But according to the city, their landscaping still did not comply with city standards. At the end of January, the Has received a letter saying they had been charged with a misdemeanor violation and must appear in court. The couple could face a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for their grass-free, eco-friendly landscaping scheme. 'It's just funny that we pay our taxes to the city and the city is now prosecuting us with our own money,' says Quan Ha."

Revisiting the "Holy Trinity" of MMORPG Classes 362

A feature at Gamasutra examines one of the foundations of many MMORPGs — the idea that class roles within such a game fall into three basic categories: tank, healer, and damage dealer. The article evaluates the pros and cons of such an arrangement and takes a look at some alternatives. "Eliminating specialized roles means that we do away with boxing a class into a single role. Without Tanks, each class would have features that would help them participate in and survive many different encounters like heavy armor, strong avoidance, or some class or magical abilities that allow them to disengage from direct combat. Without specialized DPS, all classes should be able to do damage in order to defeat enemies. Some classes might specialize in damage type, like area of effect (AoE) damage; others might be able to exploit enemy weaknesses, and some might just be good at swinging a sharpened bit of metal in the right direction at a rapid rate. This design isn't just about having each class able to fill any trinity role. MMO combat would feel more dynamic in this system. Every player would have to react to combat events and defend against attacks."

Comment Re:People... Austism does not equal Retarded! (Score 1) 419

First off, you are absolutly spot on, wish I could mod you up further!

My girlfried teaches RMPS (religious moral and philasophical studies) in Scotland and occasionally takes classes of entirely autisitc children (I say children, but all the autistic kids are male). Its very difficult to teach the concept of "belief" as the children tend to take things literally, so saying "something is like something else" is confusing for them. Naturally, to help teach this class she has some assistance from other support staff, and one of them recommended:

Thinking Autisic: This is the title
by Peter Vermeulen

Which was a fasinating read to anyone looking to learn more about autisim.


Comment Re:He's an idiot (Score 1) 306

Doesn't matter if you are innocent, doesn't matter if you have an explanation, an alibi, whatever. Just don't do it, because you can and will say something that can be used against you in a court of law.

First of all, I agree with the parent, however it says a lot about a society's laws that even if you are innocent you can still be found guilty of something. It implies there is no such thing as innocence, that everybody is guilty of something and that law could, if it wanted to, just pull a random person off the street and charge him with something. Everyone does something illegal from time to time such as driving over the speed limit. Any number of silly little things that people do without giving two thoughts about it.

In the parent example you are innocent of the charge, however you still should have a lawyer to make sure you don't say something that can be used against you remember. If you need a lawyer to know if you broke the law or not then the it implies that people don't know that what they are doing is illegal. It leads to a society where anything could be illegal and you should consult a lawyer before everything you do, just in case. If you knew that what you did was allowed then anything that you say that could be used against you would surely be a mis-speaking or a mis-understanding. Unfortunetly it comes down to a "but he said.." type argument. In that scenario it is really down to who is the better debater the defence or the prosecution, not whether the person is innocent or not. Unfortunetly without irrefutable evidence we are left with a system of pushing a jury to the viewpoint of "beyond reasonable doubt" as to someones guilt based on the debating powers of an individual or group. Justice indeed.

Comment Re:Neat (Score 1) 101

I can't access the paper to check, but I think it is the same paper I read when it first came out in 2005 (search for "Collaborative Internet worm containment"). They gave a possible fix for p2p traffic at least by examining the number of unique connections made over a long period of time (say 1 month). If 10,000 unique connections were made within the course of the one month time frame the threshold would be breached. If I remember correctly they found out that the average user who uses filesharing programs for most of the time still only makes about 4000 UNIQUE connections over a one month period. A worm on the other hand would reach that limit within seconds identifying itself even over a program that normally makes a lot of connections.

I think they also note that this only works for fast worms and not stealth ones that take their time to propagate.

Still, it is an interesting idea and one that I made a few references to in my research at the time!

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