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Submission + - Google's Free and Open Android Software is a Myth (

DavidGilbert99 writes: Google loves to tell anyone who will listen about the benefits of its open source mobile software Android and how it helps drive rather than stifle innovation. The ruth is somewhat different. If you want access to what most people think of as Android (with Gmail, Maps, Search and Google Play access) then you have to pay and you have to agree to a strict set of criteria, as newly discovered documents show, including pre-installing all of Google's apps and using them as default options within your smartphone/tablet.

Submission + - Linux 3.10 officially released (

hypnosec writes: Linux 3.10 kernel has been officially released on Sunday evening which makes the 3.10-rc7 the last release candidate of the latest kernel which yields the biggest changes in years. Linus Torvalds was thinking of releasing another rc but, went against the idea and went ahead with official Linux 3.10 commit as anticipated last week. Torvalds notes in the announcement that releases since Linux 3.9 haven’t been prone to problems and 3.10 is no different. However, he added that this release could have gone either but, there was no specific reason for another rc and break the normal pattern of "rc7 is the last rc before the release."

Submission + - Why Ray Kurzweil's Google Project May be Doomed to Fail (

moon_unit2 writes: An AI researcher at MIT suggests that Ray Kurzweil's ambitious plan to build a super-smart personal assistant at Google may be fundamentally flawed. Kurzweil's idea, as put forward in his book How to Build a Mind, is to combine a simple model of the brain with enormous computing power and vast amounts of data, to construct a much more sophisticated AI. Boris Katz, who works oh machines designed to understand language, says this misses a key facet of human intelligence: that it is built on a lifetime of experiencing the world rather than simply processing raw information.

Submission + - SPAM: Explain to me like I am 10: What is Linux? 3 writes: My nephew recently turned 10. Like most 10 year old he has a lot of question about everything. Sometimes it can be a fun exercise for me to see how well I thought I really understand something, only to find out that I may understand the concept of something but not well enough to explain it even to a 10 year old. This encouraged me to dive in to things deeper to try to understand it in a fundamental level to help me explain things in simpler terms; even if the topic is not so simple. This can be fun most of the time, if you have kids you will know what I am talking about. Usually explaining something to a 10 year old turns in to conversation where one question can lead to 10 more questions about non-related topics. This post may or may not help your 10 year old.
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Comment Re:Chemical properties (Score 5, Interesting) 213

Actually, not outer but inner, or core, electrons move at relativistic velocities. Classically described, they are moving in orbits close to the nucleus, so when it has huge positive charge, electric field is strong enough to accelerate movement of negatively charged particles to relativistic speed. Outer electrons aren't affected as much because they feel as if the nucleus had smaller charge simply because it is screened by core electrons.

Comment Re:Hey chemists (Score 5, Informative) 213

Light elements, say, those you can find in first three rows of the periodic table, can be qualitatively described using hydrogen atom-like model. Basically, it says that properties of elements are periodic, when you go through the periodic table in a consecutive manner. But then you got heavier elements. The hydrogen atom-like approximation breaks down here, the properties are still periodic, but there are many exceptions from set of simple rules that were valid for lighter elements. In some cases even quantum-mechanical methods fail to describe heavier elements, for example gold wouldn't have gold color if not treated relativistically. One can expect that going towards extremely large Z well established techniques won't prove successful.

Fighting "Snowshoe" Spam 85

Today Spamhaus announced they are releasing a new list of IP addresses from which they've been receiving "snowshoe" spam — unsolicited email distributed across many IPs and domains in order to avoid triggering volume-based filters. "This spam is sent from many small IP ranges on many Internet Service Providers (ISPs), using many different domains, and the IPs and domains change rapidly, making it difficult for people and places to detect and block this spam. Most importantly, while each host/IP usually sends a modest volume of bulk email, collectively these anonymous IP ranges send a great deal of spam, and the quantities of this type of spam have been increasing rapidly over the past few months." A post at the Enemies List anti-spam blog wonders at the impact this will have on email service providers and their customers. The author references a conversation he had with an employee from one of these providers: "... I replied that I expected it to mean the more legitimate clients of the sneakier gray- and black-hat spammers would migrate to more legitimate ESPs — suggesting that it was, in the long run, a good thing, because ESPs with transparency and a reputation to protect will educate their new clients. His reply was essentially that this would be a problem for them in the short run, because it would swamp their new customer vetting processes and so on."
Linux Business

Submission + - Group purchases 22 patents to defend Linux (

angry tapir writes: "A group of Linux proponents will purchase patents formerly held by Microsoft in an effort to defend distributors of the open-source OS against the ongoing threat of patent litigation from the software giant. The Open Invention Network (OIN), whose members include IBM and Red Hat, is set to purchase a set of 22 patents once held by Microsoft from Allied Security Trust (AST). They include Linux patents marketed and sold by Microsoft, some of which were previously held by Silicon Graphics, said Keith Bergelt, CEO of OIN, in an interview Tuesday."

Comment Amazing graphene flake (Score 5, Interesting) 113

Graphene (which is a single sheet graphite in made of) displays somewhat analogous electronic properties. Its electrons travel with speed comparable to to speed of light and act as they've got no effective mass. In particular they can be described by modified Dirac equation, which is relativistic equation for a single particle. Thus, the story is not the only example of formal (mathematical) similarity between physical objects that seem to have absolutely nothing in common. it's the power of mathematical abstraction to see what's essentially similar when your senses say it can't be.

Comment Prone to UV light? (Score 3, Interesting) 32

I wonder what is a half-life of such a macromolecule. Not an expert in the field, but during my first biochemistry course I was taught that DNA is only kinetically stable (in contrast with thermodynamic stability), so there is a chance that when making its shape extremely fancy, it becomes useless ephemeral compound. There are also mutations caused by interaction with high-energetic photons (UV light) which constantly appear and are repaired in human cells, but may cause obstacles when there's no natural maintenance system as in cells. This may not be the case because mutations may occur extremely rarely in the timescale of nanomachines activity, but thats what I'm curious about.

Comment Re:Not So Fast (Score 1) 177

(...) That their plan is to just dump the bacteria in local mud and have it generate electricity.

What I tried to point out is that further consideration is needed on whether the environment needs to prepared/sterilized, i.e. made noncompetitive in ecological sense for the bacteria to do their job. It's not naive, it's biotechnology 101.

(...) pass the mud/waste water/etc through the fuel cell to produce electricity.

As it comes to wastewater, it may be good idea, technology for doing that already exists. Mud is dense so mass transport would be extremely energy consuming.

Comment Re:Yes, so fast. (Score 1) 177

That's halfway down in the article

WHAT is halfway down in the article? I don't get it. You've quoted half of the article and what? What should I focus on?

I imagine there may even be filters in place where the waste comes into make sure that any natural predators are weakened or killed to continue allowing the organisms to thrive.

Filtering wastewater is a bit tricky because if you're pushing it through a microporous membrane to get rid of organisms bigger than a diameter of a pore, it requires exercising an extra pressure, so it needs energy. Sterilization through UV light, the same thing. One can imagine getting rid of competing organisms by means of injecting a chemical compound for which our bacteria is resistant, but for others it's toxic. Don't get me wrong, I don't debunk the whole idea, just try to point out they're in the middle (well, maybe further because it's a real breakthrough) of preparing something which is of efficient use in real world.

Comment Not So Fast (Score -1) 177

The information that it'll eventually lead to harnessing energy from mud isn't to be unconditionally believed. First of all, mud isn't habitat for this bacteria (riverbed is). Once in mud, they'll be forced to struggle for life competing with a myriad of other species. Secondly, they're grown in laboratory (the article mentions a kind of induced natural selection being exercised) so they'll be compromised when placed in real-world environment.

Comment A Look at Nature Publishing Group Strategy (Score 5, Informative) 349

License to publish at Nature Publishing Group (publishing house of "Nature" series of journals, really big payer in the field of natural sciences) draws my favorable attention. The point is that the aurhor isn't required to give out the copyright of their published contributions, instead authors grant NPG a license to publish their paper. As it comes to reusing parts of published papers in future work, prior publishers' permission isn't mandatory. This doesn't work in case of review papers, which are commissioned by the publisher, where NPG is granted full copyright.

Does license to publish do any difference? Yes, because six months after publication the author has right to archive the manuscript in a free-access repository, even on NPG's server.

There's one more thing, which however applies only to biological sciences. Since 2008 those papers in Nature which publish organisms' genome for the first time are copyrighted under Creative Commons attribution-non commercial-share alike unported licence.

To conclude, it's worth noting that the academic world is pushing publishers towards less strict publishing policies, thats a big example.

Comment Free Software vs. Genuiness of Data (Score 4, Informative) 154

People using this NIST data do it because it has NIST sign on it, so they don't risk being dependent on tabulated values from not exhaustively verified source. If you're rewritting the source code, you should take care to establish means by which users could check that data are unaltered with respect to what NIST servers contain. If you work for renowned institute, that should be easy, just store the database on your server and sync it with NIST, along with sources of data cited at NIST website.

As it comes to Fortran programming, it's optimal language for scientific computing. Modern dialects have some of the power of C (allocatable arrays, long subourtine names, free format code, modules, interoperability with C), but, what is preferable in scientific computing, programmer isn't encouraged to tinker with machine-specific stuff. Many existing codes are written in Fortran, e.g. powerful LAPACK library and many computational chemistry packages, so for many physicists/chemists/engineers Fortran is the only language they know and care of. Moreover, Fortran in recent years has gained parallel-programming functionality thanks to OpenMP (it's provided with features eqivalent to that in C/Cpp).

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"The algorithm to do that is extremely nasty. You might want to mug someone with it." -- M. Devine, Computer Science 340