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Moon

Citizen Scientists Help Explore the Moon 60

Pickens writes "NPR reports that NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is doing such a good job photographing every bit of the moon's surface that scientists can't keep up, so Oxford astrophysicist Chris Lintott is asking amateur astronomers to help review, measure, and classify tens of thousands of moon photos streaming to Earth using the website Moon Zoo, where anyone can log on, get trained, and become a space explorer. 'We ask people to count the craters that they can see ... and that tells us all sorts of things about the history and the age of that bit of surface,' says Lintott. Volunteers are also asked to identify boulders, measure the craters, and generally classify what is found in the images. If one person does the classification — even if they're an expert — then anything odd or interesting can be blamed on them. But with multiple independent classifications, the team can statistically calculate the confidence in the classification. That's a large part of the power of Moon Zoo. Lintott adds the British and American scientists heading up the LRO project have been randomly checking the amateur research being sent in and find it as good as you would get from an expert. 'There are a whole host of scientists ... who are waiting for these results, who've already committed to using them in their own research.'"
Java

C Programming Language Back At Number 1 535

derrida writes "After more than 4 years C is back at position number 1 in the TIOBE index. The scores for C have been pretty constant through the years, varying between the 15% and 20% market share for almost 10 years. So the main reason for C's number 1 position is not C's uprise, but the decline of its competitor Java. Java has a long-term downward trend. It is losing ground to other languages running on the JVM. An example of such a language is JavaFX, which is now approaching the top 20."
Math

Help Me Get My Math Back? 467

nwm writes "I am trying to refresh my math skills back to the point that I can take college-level statistics and calculus courses. I took everything through AP calculus in high school, had my butt kicked by college calculus, and dropped out shortly thereafter. Twenty+ years later, I need to take a few math courses to wrap up a degree. I've dug around some and found a few sites with useful information, but I'm hoping the Slashdot crowd can offer some good resources — sites, books, programs, online tutors, etc. I really don't want to have to take a series of algebra-geometry-trig 'pre-college' level courses (each at full cost and each a semester long) just to warm my brain up; I'd much rather find some resources, review, cram, and take the placement test with some confidence. Any suggestions?"
Math

Math Skills For Programmers — Necessary Or Not? 609

An anonymous reader writes "Currently, the nature of most programming work is such that you don't really need math skills to get by or even to do well; after all, linear algebra is no help when building database-driven websites. However, Skorks contends that if you want to do truly interesting work in the software development field, math skills are essential, and furthermore will become increasingly important as we are forced to work with ever larger data sets (making math-intensive algorithm analysis skills a priority)."
Science

Submission + - High Fructose Corn Syrup Causes Bigger Weight Gain (princeton.edu)

krou writes: In an experiment conducted by a Princeton University team, 'Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.' Long-term consumption also 'led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides.' Psychology professor Bart Hoebel commented that 'When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight.'
Education

Later School Start For Teenagers Brings Drop In Absenteeism 436

krou writes "Monkseaton High School in North Tyneside, UK, began an experiment in October that saw its 800 pupils ranging in age from 13-19 attend school an hour later than normal, at 10am. Early results indicate that 'general absence has dropped by 8% and persistent absenteeism by 27%.' Head teacher Paul Kelley supported the idea because he believed that 'it was now medically established that it was better for teenagers to start their school day later in terms of their mental and physical health and how they learn better in the afternoon', and he now claims that the children are becoming 'happier better educated teenagers' as a result of the experiment. The experiment is being overseen by Oxford neuroscience professor Russell Foster. 'He performed memory tests on pupils at the school which suggested the more difficult lessons should take place in the afternoon. He said young people's body clocks may shift as they reach their teenage years — meaning they want to get up later not because they are lazy but because they are biologically programmed to do.'"
GUI

5 Reasons Tablets Suck, and You Won't Buy One 553

Crazzaper writes "When the iPad was announced, a lot of people who didn't care about tablets came out to bash Apple's new device. These same people said 'I would have bought it if it had a full OS,' but in reality full OS tablets existed before the iPad rumors even started. This article gives an interesting perspective on why this happened, and argues that there's five big reasons why more powerful tablets exists but no one cares."
Censorship

Venezuela's Chavez To Limit Internet Freedom 452

terets1 writes "Reuters reports that Venezuela's leader, Hugo Chavez, issued a call on Saturday for 'internet controls' to prevent rumors and inaccurate reporting from spreading. He specifically cited a case in which a website incorrectly reported that a senior minister had been assassinated and kept the story up for two days. Many of Venezuela's opposition movements use social networking sites to communicate. It is not apparent at this time exactly what kind of controls Chavez has in mind or whether those controls will be similar to the controls in Iran that have been used to silence opposition movements. Chavez said, 'The Internet cannot be something open where anything is said and done. Every country has to apply its own rules and norms.'"
Education

The Value of BASIC As a First Programming Language 548

Mirk writes "Computer-science legend Edsger W. Dijkstra famously wrote: 'It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.' The Reinvigorated Programmer argues that the world is full of excellent programmers who cut their teeth on BASIC, and suggests it could even be because they started out with BASIC."
Security

Sniffing Browser History Without Javascript 216

Ergasiophobia alerts us to a somewhat alarming technology demonstration, in which a Web site you visit generates a pretty good list of sites you have visited — without requiring JavaScript. NoScript will not protect you here. The only obvious drawbacks to this method are that it puts a load on your browser, and that it requires a list of Web sites to check against. "It actually works pretty simply — it is simpler than the JavaScript implementation. All it does is load a page (in a hidden iframe) which contains lots of links. If a link is visited, a background (which isn't really a background) is loaded as defined in the CSS. The 'background' image will log the information, and then store it (and, in this case, it is displayed to you)."
Software

What Open Source Shares With Science 115

An anonymous reader sends in a philosophical piece at ZDNet about the similarities between open source development and the scientific method. Here's an excerpt: "The speed of progress is greatly enhanced by virtue of the fact the practitioners of Science publish not only results, but methodology, and techniques. In programmatic terms, this is equivalent to both the binary and the source code. This not only helps 'bootstrap' others into the field, to learn from the examples set, but makes it possible for others to verify or refute the results (or techniques) under investigation. In an almost guided-Darwinian evolutionary fashion, this makes the scientific process a powerful tool for the highlighting, analysis and possible culling of ideas and concepts; less useful ideas and hypothesEs die, and likely contenders come sharply into focus. Newton made his famous comment about 'standing on the shoulders of giants,' in part, to indicate that his contributions to human knowledge could not have been achieved solely. He needed the 'firmament' beneath him hypothesized, tested and confirmed by generations of scientists, philosophers and thinkers before him, over centuries."
NASA

Lucky Thirteen On the ISS 120

Hugh Pickens writes "Things may get a little tight in space as seven shuttle astronauts blast off from Florida on June 13 to join up with six colleagues already on the International Space Station bringing the ISS contingent to thirteen, the largest number of individuals on the platform ever at one time. The 13 space-farers represent seven from the US, two each from Russia and Canada, and one each from Europe and Japan. '"I don't know what it's going to be like," says Endeavour commander Mark Polansky, a veteran of two prior spaceflights. "We know it's going to be challenging with 13 people aboard."' During five spacewalks, an external platform will be added to the lab which will enable those experiments to be performed that require materials to be exposed to the harsh environment of space and astronauts also have to fit equipment to the exterior of the platform such as batteries and a spare space-to-ground antenna."
Education

Submission + - Where your top CEOs Went To School (businessinsider.com)

AHuxley writes: The bankers, politicians and regulators who guided the world into the current economic position went to a handful of elite US universities and business schools.
What sandstone institutions shaped their philosophies, where did that MBA come from?
Well businessinsider.com "Magna Cum Lousy Where Today's Bad CEOs Went To School" has a list including:
University of Chicago Brady Dougan (Credit Suisse CEO)
NYU Maria Bartiromo (CNBC)
Columbia University Vikram Pandit (Citigroup CEO)
Wharton Michael Alix (Former Bear Stearns executive)
Princeton University Eliot Spitzer
Dartmouth Ron Grant (Just-fired AOL CEO)
MIT Carly Fiorina (Former HP CEO)
Yale University Jamie Dimon (JPM CEO)
Harvard University Rick Wagoner (GM CEO)

Software

The Finns Who Invented the Graphical Browser 148

waderoush writes "If you thought Mosaic was the first graphical Web browser, think again. In their first major interview, three of the four Finnish software engineers behind Erwise — a point-and-click graphical Web browser for the X Window system — describe the creation of their program in 1991-1992, a full year before Marc Andreessen's Mosaic (which, of course, evolved into Netscape). Kim Nyberg, Kari Sydänmaanlakka, and Teemu Rantanen, with their fellow Helsinki University of Technology student Kati Borgers (nee Suominen), gave Erwise features such as text searching and the ability to load multiple Web pages that wouldn't be seen in other browsers until much later. The three engineers, who today work for the architectural software firm Tekla, say they never commercialized the project because there was no financing — Finland was in a deep recession at the time and lacked a strong venture capital or angel investing market. Otherwise, the Web revolution might have begun a year earlier."
Books

An Ethical Question Regarding Ebooks 715

tytso writes "Suppose there is a book that you want to read on your ebook reader, but it is out of print (so even if you purchase the dead-tree version of the book used, the author won't receive any royalties) and the publisher has refused to make it available as an ebook. You can buy it from Amazon as a used book, but that isn't your preferred medium. It is available on the internet as a pirated etext, however. This blog post outlines a few possibilities, and then asks, 'What is the right thing to do? And why?' I'm also curious if the answers change depending on whether you are a Baby Boomer, or a Gen X, Gen Y, etc. — I've noticed that attitudes around copyright seem to change depending on whether someone is a college student or a recent college graduate, versus someone who can remember a time when the Internet did not exist."

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