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Comment Re:Salespeople making salespitch (Score 1) 387

FWIW, teaching people to write in a cursive script has several known neurological and psychological benefits, over teaching non-cursive scripts.

Careful with that (or cite your sources): as much as I love handwriting, from scrawl to cursive to calligraphy, much of the purported benefits of learning cursive instead of other modes of handwriting are rooted in mid-nineteenth century pseudoscientific marketing propaganda and is about as reasonable as the contemporaneous belief that alternating current is more dangerous than direct current because it kills elephants.

Now Italic handwriting, on the other hand... ;-)

Emulation (Games)

A JavaScript Gameboy Emulator, Detailed In 8 Parts 62

Two9A writes "JavaScript has shed its image of being a limited language, tied to DOM manipulation in a browser; in recent years, new engines and frameworks have given JS a reputation as a language capable of bigger things. Mix this in with the new elements of HTML5, and you have the capacity to emulate a game console or other system, with full graphical output. This series of articles looks in detail at how an emulator is written in JavaScript, using the example of the Gameboy handheld: starting at the CPU, and (as of part 8) running a copy of Tetris."

Comment Re:The network effect (Score 1) 306

Not quite right. The square of the number of nodes takes into account all possible subgroups among those nodes. Reed's Law takes this number and removes singletons as well as the empty subgroup. You link to Metcalfe's Law, which does only deal with pairwise groupings and follows a pattern of triangular numbers (i.e., for five people there are ten possible pairings). Someone who is more adept with the mathematics than me should be in charge of actually saying which of these is more suitable for representing the value of social media websites, but it seems that Reed's Law is what you're looking for.

Comment Re:A third music mark-up language? (Score 1) 259

The learning curve for Lilypond is really no worse than for any other text-based music typesetting software -- and far easier than, say, the TeX music packages. ABC is a little more simple on the surface, but is so much less flexible as to make it useless for complicated music. MusicXML seems to be a good transport format, but as parent points out, it's clunky: like any other XML format, everything is perfectly readable and will take a year and a day to type.

Lilypond, which seems to me to be the best option for open-source notation software, is probably not a worthwhile system for creating on-the-fly snippets for web pages. Something JavaScript based would be nice for that, and it seems likely that there could be wiki plugins that could be used to create musical examples without huge dependencies (much less specific versions of any given large software packages), or a knowledge of how to use these large, complicated notation software packages. There might still be the problem of being limited to simple examples, but do we really need all of Lilypond and its dependencies to create an example of a Phrygian scale?


"Cyber-Roach" Forces Rethink On Animal Movement 41

Lanxon writes "A team of researchers at the Royal Veterinary College in London has built a 'cyber-cockroach' (a cockroach wearing an accelerometer in a tiny backpack) to try and better understand the movements of many-legged animals. They found that unlike bipedal creatures, animals with more than two legs don't adjust their movements when walking over a softer surface." The academic paper is available from the Journal of Experimental Biology. This research will be helpful in finding better ways for multi-legged robots to navigate difficult terrain.

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