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Comment Coding IS the new slide rule (Score 3, Insightful) 138

You may not believe it, but back in the pre-1970s, every student taking science courses was expected to learn how to use a slide rule. Sometimes it was a similar one-hour intro, sometimes it came with the curriculum.

Programming high-level languages is the slide rule of the current era. Despite what many people think(cough cough Excel cough), you simply cannot be a scientist or engineer if you can't write decent code in, say R or python or Matlab.

Piracy

Google and Microsoft To Crackdown On Piracy Sites In Search Results (telegraph.co.uk) 103

Google and Microsoft pledged on Monday to crack down on sites hosting pirated content that show up on their search engines. In what is being called a first of its kind agreement, Google and Microsoft's Bing will demote U.K. search results of copyright infringing websites. From a report on The Telegraph: The search engine operators have signed up to a clampdown that will see the UK's copyright watchdog monitor the search results they provide for unlawful websites. The agreement follows years of campaigning by record labels and film studios, which have accused Google and Microsoft of turning a blind eye to piracy and dragging their feet over measures to protect copyright online. Under a new voluntary code, the tech giants have committed to demote websites that have repeatedly been served with copyright infringement notices, so that they do not appear on the first page for common searches.
Science

Scientists Use Stem Cells To Grow Animal-Free Pork In a Lab (digitaltrends.com) 126

A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports describes research "designed to generate muscle from a newly established pig stem-cell line, rather than from primary cells taken directly from a pig," says co-author Dr. Nicholas Genovese, a stem-cell biologist. "This entailed understanding the biology of relatively uncharacterized and recently-derived porcine induced pluripotent stem cell lines. What conditions support cell growth, survival and differentiation? These are all questions I had to figure out in the lab before the cells could be turned into muscle." Digital Trends reports: It may not sound like the most appetizing of foodstuffs, but pig skeletal muscle is in fact the main component of pork. The fact that it could be grown from a stem-cell line, rather than from a whole pig, is a major advance. This is also true of the paper's second big development: the fact that this cultivation of pig skeletal muscle didn't use animal serum, a component which has been used in other livestock muscle cultivation processes. [Genovese] acknowledges that there are other non-food-related possibilities the work hints at. "There is a contingent interest in using the pig as a model to study disease and test regenerative therapies for human conditions," he said.

Comment Re:Arrest him and throw him into Gitmo (Score 4, Informative) 626

You've clearly never actually read a security agreement document. At least for civilians, any threat of harm to one's self or family is sufficient cause to relinquish the classified material to whomever is making the threat.
Personally, the thought of having to spend more time with a Wyatt-Earp-Syndrome border guard thug meets my threshold of "harm" . Just state that you're giving up the materials unwillingly under threat, and at least in theory you're in the clear.

Robotics

Elon Musk: Humans Need To Merge With Machines Else They Will Become Irrelevant in AI Age (cnbc.com) 251

Billionaire Elon Musk is known for his futuristic ideas. So it didn't come as a surprise when on Monday at the World Government Summit in Dubai, he predicted that over time we will see a "closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence." He added, via a CNBC report: "It's mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output." Musk explained what he meant by saying that computers can communicate at "a trillion bits per second", while humans, whose main communication method is typing with their fingers via a mobile device, can do about 10 bits per second. In an age when AI threatens to become widespread, humans would be useless, so there's a need to merge with machines, according to Musk. "Some high bandwidth interface to the brain will be something that helps achieve a symbiosis between human and machine intelligence and maybe solves the control problem and the usefulness problem," Musk explained.

Comment Re:Hm (Score 1) 149

If I understood this right they are calling the lack of attraction, repulsion. There's no negative force, or dark energy style shit involved. Shouldn't they call it a non-attractor unless they show active repulsion?

Despite what some of the other answers have ranted in agreement, this is a not-uncommon phraseology in science and engineering. Maybe a few of you have heard of holes propagating in a semiconductor, for example. Try not to get all wound up about a simple way to describe system behavior using simple analogies.

Comment Re:Should I care? (Score 1) 316

If dvd sales are replaced with streaming rentals, who is affected adversely?

Those of use who do prefer physical media where possible.
I know this may come as a shock to you - but there are other people in the universe than you.

And this may come as a shock to **you**, but people stopped using sharpened quills to write books long ago. Just because you think some obsolete technology is daBomb doesn't mean you're correct. Get yourself a stream-capture tool and a couple 64GB SD cards if you absolutely must have a local physical copy.

Movies

Netflix is 'Killing' DVD Sales, Research Finds (torrentfreak.com) 316

Netflix has become the go-to destination for many movie and TV fans. The service is bringing in billions for copyright holders, but it also has a downside. New research shows that the availability of content on Netflix can severely hurt physical disc sales, which traditionally have been the industry's largest revenue source. From a report: A new study published by researchers from Hong Kong universities provides some empirical evidence on this issue. Through a natural experiment, they looked at the interplay between Netflix availability and DVD sales in the United States. The experiment took place when the Epix entertainment network, which distributes movies and TV-shows from major studios including Paramount and Lionsgate, left Netflix for Hulu in 2015. Since Hulu has a much smaller market share, these videos no longer reached a large part of the audience. At least not by default. The researchers used difference to examine the effect on DVD sales, while controlling for various other variables. The results, published in a paper this week, show that DVD sales increased significantly after the content was taken off Netflix, almost by a quarter. "Our difference-in-difference analyses show that the decline in the streaming availability of Epix's content leads to a 24.7% increase in their DVD sales in the three months after the event," the paper reads.

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Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (6) Them bats is smart; they use radar.

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