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Submission + - Wind-powered beach-walking kinetic sculptures (

An anonymous reader writes: From BBC: Kinetic sculptor and artist Theo Jansen builds 'strandbeests' from yellow plastic tubing that is readily available in his native Holland. The graceful creatures evolve over time as Theo adapts their designs to harness the wind more efficiently. They are powered only by the wind and even store some of the wind's energy in plastic bottle 'stomachs' to be used when there is no wind.

Submission + - Turing Papers Saved For Bletchley Park (

judgecorp writes: "Alan Turing's papers have been saved, and will be held at the Bletchley Park site where he performed his wartime code-breaking work, which is now a museum.

When the papers came up for auction last year, a campaign to buy them fell short of the reserve price, but the papers have now been bought with the help of lottery money"


Submission + - LSE hauled offline after major data problem (

DMandPenfold writes: The London Stock Exchange stopped trading this morning immediately after the opening auction, which experienced a major technical glitch.

The news comes at the end of the second week of trading on the exchange’s new Millennium trading system. Over the last fortnight, anger has been growing after large vendors that supply price data to the market continually experienced significant technical difficulties, including displaying entirely inaccurate and blank prices.


Submission + - Windows browser ballot: the winners and the losers (

Barence writes: "It's a year since the Windows browser ballot came into being in Europe — but has it made any difference? PC Pro has surveyed the minor browser makers — who theoretically had the most to gain from the ballot — to find out what impact it's had on their business. The answers are very mixed. One of the 12, FlashPeak SlimBrowser, claims it's resulted in fewer than 200 download per day. Others claim it's transformed their business. One thing is for certain: the big boys still dominate."

Comment Re:track the difference (Score 1) 1019

Use objective facts to show your boss what a twat he is.

While I like the idea, objectivity is going to be a huge problem in this case. The boss is just going to say that "Well, your productivity did go down during this period, but that's what you wanted me to see so you could listen to music again". And frankly, he or she is probably going to be right -- you'd be severely biased trying to prove a point.

At the very least, you'd have to do this measurement without any of the developers knowing about it. But even then you are going to have a big problem interpreting the data objectively. How do you even measure productivity, objectively (and at the same time relevantly)?

Additionally, there are so many significant external factors (such as what project you are currently working in) that you'd probably have to run this experiment over several years or on hundreds of teams to get any statistically useful data.

Comment Re:music as a distraction? depends (Score 1) 1019

music is also a distraction; you should be thinking about the problems and coding rather than focusing on the deep beats of the music

When I'm working I don't listen to great music, or stuff that really excites me. Not country or folk or rap with ineresting lyrics either. Usually soft rock or pop. If it's really bland Musak style that will irritate me. I just want something I can switch my attention to or away whenever I want.

Comment Re:Not for teens anymore? (Score 0, Offtopic) 138

I'm sorry, I might be a bit behind the times but... does anybody above the age of 16 actually use Facebook?! I'm 27, and Facebook has been around for quite some time now, and I still cannot find what the appeal is. If you want to know what someone is doing, why not ask them?! You *DO* have their phone number don't you? They ARE your friend aren't they?.. At any rate, what could possibly be *fun* for a grown educated adult like a judge on Facebook? Can anyone enlighten me?

Both of my parents have Facebook. My family has become quite scattered geographically and we have a family "thread" where we post quick random updates quite frequently which I find meaningful. I'm not going to call up my whole family to tell them whether or not I liked the latest movie that I watched but I am very likely to post it in this thread. Little, seemingly trivial updates keep me up to date on how my family is doing.

Also, I would like to add that Facebook provides a nice way to share pictures. Especially if it isn't easy to get together with the people you would like to share the pictures with.

I am not saying that everyone will find Facebook has as much value to them as I find that it has for me but I do not find it a stretch of the imagination to think of real grown-up judges finding value in a social-networking site.


Submission + - Microsoft now owns ISO JTC 1 (

The Open Sourcerer writes: "Rob Weir replied to a couple of comments to an article he wrote about the plans for maintenance of OOXML should it become an ISO standard. His comment is very insightful, quite scary but ultimately pretty accurate I think... It is a scary proposition. I don't think people understand how much Microsoft now owns JTC1 in a very real and tangible way. Absolutely owns."

Submission + - Electric Cars to Help Utilities Load Balance Grid

Reservoir Hill writes: "A team at the University of Delaware has created a system that enables vehicles to not only run on electricity alone, but also to generate revenue by storing and providing electricity for utilities. The technology, known as V2G, for vehicle-to-grid, lets electricity flow from the car's battery to power lines and back. When the car is in the V2G setting, the battery's charge goes up or down depending on the needs of the grid operator, which sometimes must store surplus power and other times requires extra power to respond to surges in usage. The ability of the V2G car's battery to act like a sponge provides a solution for utilities, which pay millions to generating stations that help balance the grid. Willett Kempton, who began developing the technology more than a decade ago, estimates the value for utilities could be up to $4,000 a year for the service, part of which could be paid to drivers. A car sitting there with a tank of gasoline in it, that's useless," says Kempton. "If it's a battery storing a lot of electricity and a big plug that allows moving power back and forth quickly, then it's valuable.""

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