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Submission + - Open-source advocates to government: Let us help you fix ( 1

sunzoomspark writes: As computer experts hired by the U.S. government scramble to fix the much-maligned website, a corps of independent kibitzers is chiming in from around the world, publicizing coding flaws that they’ve discovered and offering suggestions for fixing them.

Much of the constructive criticism is coming from members of the “open source” community, a passionate but loose-knit group that advocates openness and collaboration as a means of writing better computer software. Their desire to help solve the federal government’s website woes in part stems from an early decision by the Department of Health and Human Services to make the code available for examination – a promise that was never fully fulfilled.


Submission + - UK company files for trademark on Python (

sunzoomspark writes: For anyone who works in a company that has an office in a EU Community member state, we need your help.

There is a company in the UK that is trying to trademark the use of the term "Python" for all software, services, servers... pretty much anything having to do with a computer. Specifically, it is the company that got a hold on the domain 13 years ago. At that time we weren't looking a lot at trademark issues, and so we didn't get that domain.

Comment Re:"GNome" researchers have too much data (Score 1) 239

+1 funny There are sure a lot of comments along those lines. The 'gnome researchers' unlike the biology people have the option of ignoring any data that does not agree with their hypotheses.
Westheimer's Discovery: A couple of months in the laboratory can frequently save a couple of hours in the library.

Comment Re:When you're out of rational arguments... (Score 1) 585

Trust data that is manually manipulated, incomplete, inaccurate, disparate, and only goes back a blink of the eye in terms of the planet's history.

800,000 years may be a blink of an eye compared to the life of the planet, but the changes on C02 since the industrial revolution, are certainly more than has been seen in a long time. This video does a nice job of visualizing the recent changes.

higher temperatures are when life flourished

Plant life, insects, microorganisms, and dinosaurs flourished, although they also had higher concentrations of oxygen. With the huge numbers of people who live within a few feet of sea level, an increasing warming trend, resulting in rising sea levels, will kill many people, and seriously f*ck up the lives of those above the high water mark. Sea ports underwater, huge numbers of refugees, major pollution caused when low lying industrial areas are flooded, will certainly not cause life to flourish, at least not human life.

The bottom line is that acting as if the changes were brought about by humans and may result in bad things happening, will have good effects in the long run, even if the predictions are all wrong. Ignoring them until it may be too late could cost millions of lives. I prefer the idea of erring on the side of the issue that will have good effects either way.

Comment Re:Good luck to their marketing department (Score 1) 44

The technology could be used to liven up those big balloons they use in parades. Those things are tethered anyway, some hoses could be added to a few of the lines. It could also be used to making a silly version of a loch ness style critter that could be connected to a neutrally buoyant sled with compressed air tanks to power movement. Or you could make fun house critters that could grab people without hurting them.

Comment Re:Why so much disbelief in aliens among scientist (Score 2) 128

"Because if what we've found so far is at least a somewhat representative sample, the overwhelming majority of planets tend to be either gas giants, frozen balls of rock and ice, or roasted balls of rock and lava. You have to be terribly imaginative to see life coming up on worlds like that."

There are plenty of life forms that live in unusual environments right here on this planet. Geothermal vent ecosystems for example:

Deep-sea bacteria form the base of a varied food chain that includes shrimp, tubeworms, clams, fish, crabs, and octopi. All of these animals must be adapted to endure the extreme environment of the vents -- complete darkness; water temperatures ranging from 2C (in ambient seawater) to about 400C (at the vent openings); pressures hundreds of times that at sea level; and high concentrations of sulfides and other noxious chemicals.
There are also bacteria that live in sulphuric acid in caves.
It isn't unreasonable to think that life may have evolved in unusual environments elsewhere.

Comment Re:Balance? Sensible behaviour? (Score 1) 695

> But if global warming is happening, and we do nothing, then what? This is the most important question to consider. If humans are influencing the climate and we do nothing, then we are screwed. On the other hand if humans are not the cause and we reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we put into the atmosphere we end up with cleaner air and more widespread use of alternative energy, which is a good thing given the growing population. Seems like we win either way by taking actions that should be taken if humans are the cause of the current warming trend.

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