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An Illustrated Version Control Timeline 244

rocket22 writes "Most software developers are supposed to be using the latest in tech and see themselves as living on the edge of software innovation. But, are they aware of how old some of the tools they use on a daily basis are? There are teams out there developing iPad software and checking in code inside arcane CVS repositories. Aren't we in the 21st century, the age of distributed version control? The blog post goes through some of the most important version control systems on the last three decades and while it doesn't try to come up with an extremely detailed thesis, it does a good job creating a catalog of some of the most widely spread or technologically relevant SCMs."

Immaculate Conception In a Boa Constrictor 478

crudmonkey writes "Researchers have discovered a biological shocker: female boa constrictors are capable of giving birth asexually. But the surprise doesn't end there. The study in Biology Letters found that boa babies produced through this asexual reproduction — also known as parthenogenesis — sport a chromosomal oddity that researchers thought was impossible in reptiles. While researchers admit that the female in the study may have been a genetic freak, they say the findings should press researchers to re-think reptile reproduction. Virgin birth among reptiles, especially primitive ones like boas, they argue may be far commoner than ever expected."

Developing StarCraft 2 Build Orders With Genetic Algorithms 200

Jamie recommends a blog post from software engineer Louis Brandy explaining how using genetic algorithms to evaluate build orders in StarCraft 2 has led to some surprisingly powerful results. Quoting: "One of the reasons build-order optimization is so important is that you can discover openings that 'hard-counter' other openings. If I can get an army of N size into your base when you do opening X, you will always lose. ... a genetic algorithm is a type of optimization algorithm that tries to find optimal solutions using a method analogous to biologic evolution (to be specific: descent with modification & natural selection). Put simply, you take a 'population' of initial build orders, evaluate them for fitness, and modify the population according to each element’s fitness. In other words, have the most successful reproduce. The program’s input is simply the desired game state. In practice, this means 'make N units' to determine some rush build order (but it also allows for other types of builds, like make N workers with some defensive structures and a small army)."

Oracle Claims Google 'Directly Copied' Our Java Code 675

itwbennett writes "On Wednesday, Oracle amended the lawsuit it filed against Google in August, saying that 'approximately one third of Android's Application Programmer Interface (API) packages' are 'derivative of Oracle's copyrighted Java API packages' and related documents. In particular, 'the infringed elements of Oracle America's copyrighted work include Java method and class names, definitions, organization, and parameters; the structure, organization and content of Java class libraries; and the content and organization of Java's documentation,' Oracle says. 'In at least several instances, Android computer program code also was directly copied from copyrighted Oracle America code,' Oracle alleges."

China Makes World's Fastest Supercomputer 222

shmG writes "China has replaced the United States as the maker of the world's fastest supercomputer. A Chinese research center has made the world's faster super computer — named as Tianhe-1A, which was released at a national conference on high-performance computers (HPC) in China. Made at a cost of over $88 million, Tianhe-1A is theoretically able to do more than 1 quadrillion calculations per second (one petaflop) at peak speed. Tianhe-1A 's peak performance reaches 1.206 petaflops, and it runs at 563.1 teraflops (1,000 teraflops is equal to one petaflop) on the Linpack benchmark."

Researchers Find a 'Liberal Gene' 841

An anonymous reader writes "Liberals may owe their political outlook partly to their genetic make-up, according to new research from the University of California, San Diego, and Harvard University. Ideology is affected not just by social factors, but also by a dopamine receptor gene called DRD4. The study's authors say this is the first research to identify a specific gene that predisposes people to certain political views."

40 Million Year Old Primate Fossils Found In Asia 91

sosaited writes "It has been widely believed that our ancestors originated out of Africa, but a paper published in Nature by Carnegie Museum of Natural History scientists puts this in doubt. The paper is based on the fossils of four primate species found in Asia which are 40 million years old, during which period Africa was thought to not have these species. The diversity and timing of the new anthropoids raises two scenarios. Anthropoids might simply have emerged in Africa much earlier than thought, and gone undiscovered by modern paleontologists. Or they could have crossed over from Asia, where evidence suggests that anthropoids lived 55 million years ago, flourishing and diversifying in the wide-open ecological niches of an anthropoid-free Africa."

Comment GPL and Plugins (Score 1) 571

Personally I feel like GPL over steps its bounds when it try to grab plugins under its wing. For me its a simple test. What if I just just so happened to make a closed source word press competitor. it just so happens that this theme/plugin works perfectly in my closed source solution without any reference or dependency to WordPress. Please explain to me why that plugin needs to be under GPL just because it just so happens to work under WordPress. Doesn't that seem silly to anyone else? Remember I'm just talking plugins in general not this specific case however it may apply. I haven't sifted through all the details

A Hyper-Velocity Impact In the Asteroid Belt? 114

astroengine writes "Astronomers have spotted something rather odd in the asteroid belt. It looks like a comet, but it's got a circular orbit, similar to an asteroid. Whether it's an asteroid or a comet, it has a long, comet-like tail, suggesting something is being vented into space. Some experts think it could be a very rare comet/asteroid hybrid being heated by the sun, but there's an even more exciting possibility: It could be the first ever observation of two asteroids colliding in the asteroid belt."

Comment Re:can't say i'm surprised (Score 1) 651

Thanks for the heads up friend! But alas I am well aware of my inability to conquer the English language grammatically. I just simply don't care. =) However I replied to say it brightens my day to know that I have made you feel just a bit better about yourself because you are able to point out my flaws! Truly a noble endeavor. Thank you again for your contribution to this discussion, my way of thought, and in fact the world at large.

Comment Re:can't say i'm surprised (Score 1, Interesting) 651

Private companies, private matters right? Thats my first thoughts for sure when I think of something like this. But when you think about it where is the line? Where is the line when its one nation is funding and fostering corperate espionage against companies of another nation. When does some like this become an "economic" attack when doesn't it. If it deemed an attack on the economics of one nation whet kind of defenses or protocols do we have? I don't know the answers and I'm not saying its the case here but it certainly questions I think governments are going to ask themselves as these types of attacks become more and more public

Comment Re:Paging Mr. Vader - something slipping through (Score 1) 620

I can't tell if there was sarcasm in this or not. If not makes me sad panda. Seriously its the little things that make people happy and keep them that way. The less happy you make them the less productive they will be. And the easier they will become targets to get sniped by other companies Which do you think costs more in the long run that cup of coffee or the lost productivity/retraining? Ugh don't make me throwup with the stakeholders line. Because praising the almighty stake holders for that short-term near quarter bump has no long term implications Companies have this awful sense of entitlement when it comes to taking advantage of there workers

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In any formula, constants (especially those obtained from handbooks) are to be treated as variables.