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Programming

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Language With Access-Controlled Sandboxes

ari_j writes: I often find myself in need of a programming or scripting language with good access control. For instance, a multi-user game where each user's code and data should have only the access to other users' code and data that is expressly granted. Basically, I want the kind of access control one would expect from a good database system except I want that access control to apply to objects and method calls rather than to tables, rows, and columns. I also tire of rolling my own language. What are my turnkey or near-turnkey options?
Earth

EU Conducts Test Flights To Assess Impact of Volcanic Ash On Aircraft 410

chrb writes "As we discussed on Friday, the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland has led to flights being canceled across the EU. With travel chaos ensuing and the airlines losing an estimated $200 million per day, EU authorities are coming under increasing pressure to re-open the airways. Test flights conducted on Saturday were apparently successful, with no problems encountered during flight. Following the test flights, Peter Hartman, CEO of KLM, said, 'We hope to receive permission as soon as possible after that to start up our operation and to transport our passengers to their destinations.' Evidence possibly opposing this move comes from the Finnish Defense Forces, which released photos and a statement after F-18 Hornets flew through the ash cloud, saying, 'Based on the pictures, it was discovered that even short flights in ash dust may cause significant damage to an airplane's engine.' Is it safe to resume flights so soon, or should planes remain grounded until the ash cloud has dissipated?"
Programming

Null References, the Billion Dollar Mistake 612

jonr writes "'I call it my billion-dollar mistake. It was the invention of the null reference in 1965. At that time, I was designing the first comprehensive type system for references in an object oriented language (ALGOL W). My goal was to ensure that all use of references should be absolutely safe, with checking performed automatically by the compiler. But I couldn't resist the temptation to put in a null reference, simply because it was so easy to implement. This has led to innumerable errors, vulnerabilities, and system crashes, which have probably caused a billion dollars of pain and damage in the last forty years. In recent years, a number of program analysers like PREfix and PREfast in Microsoft have been used to check references, and give warnings if there is a risk they may be non-null. More recent programming languages like Spec# have introduced declarations for non-null references. This is the solution, which I rejected in 1965.' This is an abstract from Tony Hoare Presentation on QCon. I'm raised on C-style programming languages, and have always used null pointers/references, but I am having trouble of grokking null-reference free language. Is there a good reading out there that explains this?"
Education

How To Teach a Healthy Dose of Skepticism? 880

c0d3h4x0r writes "It's no accident that 'whatcouldpossiblygowrong' is one of the most common tags applied by this community to stories about proposed ideas or laws. The ability to spot and predict faults is a big part of what makes a great engineer. It starts with having a healthy skepticism about the world, which leads to actual critical thinking. Many books and courses teach critical thinking skills, but what is the best way to encourage and teach someone to maintain a healthy dose of skepticism? Is it even a teachable skill, or is it just an innate part of the geek personality?"
Medicine

What Font Color Is Best For Eyes? 702

juraj writes "What font color and what background is best for the eyes, when you work for a long time? I have found various contradictory recommendations and I wonder if you know about any medical studies on this topic."

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