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Submission + - Harvard climate skeptic scientist has made a fortune from corporate interests (nytimes.com)

Lasrick writes: Elected officials who want to block the EPA and legislation on climate change frequently refer to a handful of scientists who dispute anthropogenic climate change. One of scientists they quote most often is Wei-Hock Soon, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who claims that variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming. Newly released documents show the extent to which Dr. Soon has made a fortune from corporate interests. 'He has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers. At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work.' The Koch Brothers are cited as a source of Dr. Soon's funding.

Comment Re:Give me a damn web browser (Score 5, Interesting) 157

This is Google demonstrating that their platform for abstracting a client's hardware is robust and performant. I suspect that Amiga emulation is just because it's cool.

Having this layer of abstraction protects Google from the machinations of software vendors who might want a piece of their action.

Comment Re:What's Missing (Score 1) 157

If you had an Apple II, you had everything you needed to develop new software for it.

Looks like they used a Multics box at MIT. http://www.frankston.com/public/?name=ImplementingVisiCalc

Mobile phones and tablets have no such tools.


Their operating systems are shit packed on top of shit

Rather subjective. They do quite a bit more than Apple DOS or MS-DOS ever did.

fiddly little distraction machines that function as brightly colored noisy little pets

Same as it ever was:

a way to drain their parents' wallets by sending nonsense to each other 24 hours a day

Ever use a BBS back in the day?

the world-changing technology the PC made possible

The PC made computing accessible to commonfolk where it was previously the province of large institutions. Mobile continues this trend.

With the exception of FOSS, there hasn't been shit developed for any platform since.

We invented a new platform. Web Applications and APIs facilitated by cheap, commodity hardware have changed the nature of human communications and learning in the last 15 years.

distracted by Unity and HTML5 and Haskell and all the other flavors of proprietary dumbfuckery

Huh? None of those are proprietary. If a young person chose to learn about and use Haskell, I think they'd be well-equipped to learn quite a lot about how computers work.

Comment Re:Unity is hard (Score 1) 302

Because he's trying to make an interface for a convergence device where it no longer matters if you're running it on a phone, tablet, or desktop.

You know, a Unified interface. It's a hard problem--you need only look at Windows 8 to see how badly it can go wrong. Apple started to move in that direction with Launchpad too, but I don't really know if they can make it work either. In the not-too-distant future, you'll be able to sync your computing environment between all your various devices and persist settings and whatnot through the cloud (like a very distributed home directory or roaming profile).

Anyway, Mark Shuttleworth is trying to go where the puck will be, not where it is. And he's trying to do it with open source software. I wish him the best of luck.

Palm Pre and WebOS Get Native Gaming 49

rboatright writes "WebOS developers have been waiting, and with the 1.3.5 release, Palm's open source page suddenly listed SDL. Members of the WebOS internals team took that as a challenge and within 24 hours had a working port of Doom running in SDL on the Pre, in a webOS card. 48 hours later, they not only had Quake running, but had found in the latest LunaSysMgr the requirements to launch a native app from the webOS app launcher from an icon just like any other app. At the same time, the team demonstrated openGL apps running. With full native code support, with I/O available via SDL, developers now have a preview into Palm's future intent with regard to native code SDK's, and a hint of what's coming."

Comment Re:We already have one (Score 2, Informative) 358

Did you miss the "Free data" link on the website http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/mpp/freedata.html? NCDC tries to limit the charging of "$$$$" to only commercial and private entities in order to help offset the enormous cost of ingesting, archiving, and processing one of the world's largest datasets; we're not fully funded by Congress.

Charging for data is a touchy subject around here, though--the scientists, developers, customer service people, and management would all love to give away as much of our data as possible (and we give away a lot of it), but the money is always an issue.

Comment Re:Looks like Python (Score 1) 168

Here is a writable closure for some KML:

def kmlDocument = new groovy.xml.StreamingMarkupBuilder().bind{
    mkp.declareNamespace('': 'http://www.opengis.net/kml/2.2')
        name('*** stations')
        stationTypes.each({type ->
                description('Station Type: ' + type[0])
                type[1].each({platform ->
                        description('Platform: ' + platform)
                        stations[type[0] + platform].each({station ->
                                description('http://some.place.on.teh.webs/qry/station?idtypeabbr=stnid&idvalue=' + station.stnidnum)
}})}})}})}}}} //lameness filter ate my whitespace; doesn't look like LISP in real life
def f = new File('doc.kml')
f << kmlDocument

The cool thing is that I get all this plus seamless Java integration (i.e. every class in the standard library -- GregorianCalendar, for instance), all my Java tools work, and I can replace lots and lots of boilerplate Java code with one and two liners of Groovy.  So:

ArrayList<String> list = new ArrayList<String>();


def list = ["Blah","Blah","Blah","Blah"]
println list

And hey, with closures, if you want to do something like capitalize the first character of each string in that list it's really easy:

println list.collect({
    it[0].toUpperCase() + it[1..it.length() - 1] //there's a better way to do this; I'm being pedantic

Which is not to say that Python couldn't do all that, but Groovy makes life for Java monkeys much easier.
The Courts

Harvard Law Professor Urges University to Fight RIAA 180

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Distinguished Harvard University Law School Professor Charles Nesson has called upon Harvard University to fight back against the RIAA and stand up for its students, writing 'Seeking to outsource its enforcement costs, the RIAA asks universities to point fingers at their students, to filter their Internet access, and to pass along notices of claimed copyright infringement. But these responses distort the University's educational mission. ...[W]e should be assisting our students both by explaining the law and by resisting the subpoenas that the RIAA serves upon us. We should be deploying our clinical legal student training programs to defend our targeted students.'"

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