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Submission + - Woman arrested after not returning movie she rented 9-years prior (

An anonymous reader writes: Could you imagine being arrested for failing to return a movie you renter 9-years earlier? Well that’s just what happened to one South Carolina woman recently

Staff Writer

PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. (INTELLIHUB) — “Failure to return rented movie or cassette” is what the warrant said, after Kayla Finley found out when filing some paperwork with the city herself. Finley, 27, was arrested while down at the city office reporting a “crime”–that’s when reports say the police told her what she was being arrested for.

Submission + - Scientists create pizza that can last years

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers at the US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center have created a pizza that can be stored for up to three years while still remaining edible. 'It pretty much tastes just like a typical pan pizza that you would make at home and take out of the oven or the toaster oven,' said Jill Bates who heads up the lab. 'The only thing missing from that experience would be it's not hot when you eat it. It's room temperature.'

Submission + - Is Java to Blame for Lack of K-12 Programming Classes?

theodp writes: In December, President Obama, celebrities, politicians and tech companies came together to launch a national coding education push.'s rallying cry that "9 out of 10 schools don't even offer computer programming classes" surprised many, some of whom recalled being taught coding in elementary school in the early '80s. So, why the decreased interest in programming by kids? Interestingly, long before he joined's Leadership Team, IU Dean Bobby Schnabel co-authored a chapter on Education (pdf) for a 2006 ACM report which fingered Java as a villain: "One final possible explanation has to do with the quality of teaching and the nature of the material that is taught. High school curricula have changed in the last decade to focus on languages (primarily Java) and paradigms (object-oriented programming). The introductory college computing course also typically focuses on teaching the more modern object-oriented style of programming such as Java, in part because students who mastered these tools could readily find employment (at least in the 1990s). However, these tools are somewhat difficult for faculty to teach and students to learn especially compared to tools and skills taught in introductory courses in other science and engineering disciplines. The preparation of high school teachers who are teaching computer science has been an issue for many years, but the complication introduced by these new programming languages has made the quality of instruction even more problematic. Many high schools have eliminated computer science courses perhaps because it is so hard to teach." Along these lines, it should be noted that while Microsoft, Apple, and Google are now crying to Congress that little Johnny can't code, all three dumped their programming-for-the-masses offerings — Steve Jobs deep-sixed Hypercard, Microsoft killed BASIC, and Larry Page abandoned App Inventor. Curiously, the huge PR success enjoyed by the Hour of Code stemmed from a Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg-narrated tutorial that employed Blockly, a programming-for-the-masses project that Neil Fraser brought back from the dead after Google killed it. So, if the tech giants want to get kids programming again, might shipping a usable-by-kids programming language on their devices again be a better strategy than giving $750-$1000 to teachers of's 20-hour course, or offering $100 to 'every U.S. public high school girl' who completes Codecademy's 15-hour JavaScript curriculum?

Submission + - Online Database Allows Scientists to Recreate Early Telescopes (

sciencehabit writes: When Galileo Galilei shook up the scientific community with evidence of a heliocentric world, he had a little tube fitted with two pieces of glass to thank. But just how this gadget evolved in the nascent days of astronomy is poorly known. That uncertainty has inspired a group of researchers to compile the most extensive database of early refracting telescopes to date. Now, the scientists plan to use modern optics to recreate what Galileo — and the naysaying observers of his time — experienced when they first peered through these tubes at the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter, and the phases of Venus.

Submission + - Is Our Universe a Simulation?

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Mathematician Edward Frenkel writes in the NYT that one fanciful possibility that explains why mathematics seems to permeate our universe is that we live in a computer simulation based on the laws of mathematics — not in what we commonly take to be the real world. According to this theory, some highly advanced computer programmer of the future has devised this simulation, and we are unknowingly part of it. Thus when we discover a mathematical truth, we are simply discovering aspects of the code that the programmer used. This may strike you as very unlikely writes Frenkel but physicists have been creating their own computer simulations of the forces of nature for years — on a tiny scale, the size of an atomic nucleus. They use a three-dimensional grid to model a little chunk of the universe; then they run the program to see what happens. "Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom has argued that we are more likely to be in such a simulation than not," writes Frenkel. "If such simulations are possible in theory, he reasons, then eventually humans will create them — presumably many of them. If this is so, in time there will be many more simulated worlds than nonsimulated ones. Statistically speaking, therefore, we are more likely to be living in a simulated world than the real one." The question now becomes is there any way to empirically test this hypothesis and the answer surprisingly is yes. In a recent paper, “Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation,” the physicists Silas R. Beane, Zohreh Davoudi and Martin J. Savage outline a possible method for detecting that our world is actually a computer simulation (PDF). Savage and his colleagues assume that any future simulators would use some of the same techniques current scientists use to run simulations, with the same constraints. The future simulators, Savage indicated, would map their universe on a mathematical lattice or grid, consisting of points and lines. But computer simulations generate slight but distinctive anomalies — certain kinds of asymmetries and they suggest that a closer look at cosmic rays may reveal similar asymmetries. If so, this would indicate that we might — just might — ourselves be in someone else’s computer simulation.

Submission + - Merkel wants a European communication network to avoid US spying. (

dov_0 writes: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will talk to French President Francois Hollande about creating a European communication network to avoid emails and other data passing through the US.

Merkel, who visits France on Wednesday, has been pushing for greater data protection in Europe following reports last year about mass surveillance in Germany and elsewhere by the US National Security Agency (NSA).


Submission + - Grid computing with Silverlight (

serutan writes: "An very detailed article on CodeProject explains how to set up a grid computer using Silverlight. Pretty cool from a coding point of view, but the author's casual mention of zomb- er, "volunteers" is somewhat disturbing. Does installing Silverlight imply consent to being part of someone's grid? fta: "Unlike other distributed computing projects, Legion allows users to participate by simply viewing a webpage. The shift to cloud computing, and web based application, may have fostered a growing reluctance in users to download and install applications... Users prefer not to install software. It's a hassle. Legion, on the other hand allows us to bring new 'volunteers' to our grid by means of providing enticing content... It relies solely on the Silverlight CLR in the user's browser.""

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