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Ask Slashdot: Objective C vs. Swift for a new iOS developer

RegularDave (3930161) writes | 2 hours ago

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RegularDave (3930161) writes "I'm a recent grad from a master's program in a potentially worthless social science field, and I've considered getting into iOS development. Several of my friends who were in similar situations after grad school have done so and are making a healthy living getting contract work. Although they had CS and Physics degrees going into iOS, neither had worked in objective C and both essentially went through a crash courses (either self-taught or through intensive classes) in order to get their first gigs. I have two questions. First, am I an idiot for thinking I can teach myself either objective C or Swift on my own without any academic CS background (I've tinkered in HTML, CSS, and C classes online with some success)? Second, if I'm not an idiot for attempting to learn either language, which should I concentrate on?"

Researchers seek the origins of an early Analog Computer

puddingebola (2036796) writes | 2 hours ago

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puddingebola (2036796) writes "The Antikythera Mechanism is described as an early analog computer, used to predict the time of eclipses, and for astrological and astronomic instruction. Speculation about its origin has ranged from attributing it to different Greek Mathemeticians and thinkers, such as Archimedes, Hipparchus, and Posidonius, Current research suggests its origin may be much earlier, and its working based on Babylonian arithmetical methods rather than Greek Trigonometry, which did not exist at the time. From the article, "Writing this month in the journal Archive for History of Exact Sciences, Dr. Carman and Dr. Evans took a different tack. Starting with the ways the device’s eclipse patterns fit Babylonian eclipse records, the two scientists used a process of elimination to reach a conclusion that the “epoch date,” or starting point, of the Antikythera Mechanism’s calendar was 50 years to a century earlier than had been generally believed.""
Link to Original Source

France Wants To Get Rid Of Diesel Fuel

mrspoonsi (2955715) writes | 3 hours ago

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mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "France wants to gradually phase out the use of diesel fuel for private passenger transport and will put in place a system to identify the most polluting vehicles, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Friday. Next year, the government will launch a car identification system that will rank vehicles by the amount of pollution they emit, Valls said in a speech. This will make it possible for local authorities to limit city access for the dirtiest cars. "In France, we have long favoured the diesel engine. This was a mistake, and we will progressively undo that, intelligently and pragmatically," Valls said. About 80 percent of French motorists drive diesel-powered cars. Valls said taxation would have to orient citizens towards more ecological choices, notably the 2015 state budget measures to reduce the tax advantage of diesel fuel versus gas."

Shale: Gas, Oil...and Nuclear Waste?

Lasrick (2629253) writes | 5 hours ago

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Lasrick (2629253) writes "Chris Neuzil is a senior scientist with the National Research Program of the US Geological Survey who thinks the qualities of shale make it the perfect rock in which to safely and permanently house high-level nuclear waste. Given the recent discovery that water is much more of an issue than originally thought for the tuff rock at Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Utah, the unique qualities of shale, along with its ubiquitous presence in the US, could make shale rock a better choice for the 70,000 metric tons of commercial spent fuel currently sitting above ground at nuclear power facilities throughout the country. France, Switzerland, and Belgium are all considering repositories in shale, but it hasn't been studied much in the US. 'Shale is the only rock type likely to house high-level nuclear waste in other countries that has never been seriously considered by the US high-level waste program. The uncertain future of Yucca Mountain places plans for spent nuclear fuel in the United States at a crossroads. It is an opportunity to include shale in a truly comprehensive examination of disposal options.'"
Link to Original Source

Have we reached peak gadgetry?

murkwood7 (807159) writes | 6 hours ago

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murkwood7 (807159) writes "This story: http://www.digitimes.com/news/..., made me think more on the subject of "peak gadgetry". An example of what I think of as "peak gadgetry" would be the current smartphones. They all look, and essentially operate, the same. Wearables, as exemplified by "smart watches", don't seem to add anything compelling to the mix. Short of something like nanonics, a la Peter Hamilton's "Nights Dawn" trilogy, I don't see anything on the horizon to replace smartphones or revolutinize communications.

Personal transportion hasn't quite caught up to peakness, maybe. I don't know that electric vehicles are it or not. EVs are slowly gaining popularity (maybe like early days of cellphones, say early 1990's).

I'm seeing an increase in the number of stories about consumer purchasing falling off, with more and more desperation on the part of marketing and sales departments. I'm only mildly surprised that no government has tried to mandate something like google glass to force advertisements on their citizens. Or something equally onerous!

Is this possibly the beginning of the end for capitalism?

As an aside. Apple has made me, an American who loves his country, hate them (Apple). I could not possibly care less about their fortunes. But I can still read articles about them for industry and cultural trends."

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Philae May Have Grazed Crater Rim

Anonymous Coward writes | 7 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "The European Space Agency is gradually sorting through the data collected during the brief windows Philae was alive and transmitting on the surface of a comet. Analysis of that data has provided another interesting clue about what happened to the probe as it bounced across the comet's surface. According to results from the on-board magnetometer, immediately after the first touchdown, the lander's spin rate increased somewhat. It continued to spin for about 36 minutes until another event dramatically changed its spin rate. This suggests it collided with something, because there was no corresponding vertical deceleration to indicate it had landed once more. Scientists think Philae likely grazed the rim of a crater with one of its landing legs. 65 minutes later, it landed again, and bounced to its final resting place just a few minutes later. The ESA's article has some interesting graphs showing how the data changed as the lander progressed through these different events."
Link to Original Source

Oracle finally release Java MSI file.

nosfucious (157958) writes | 7 hours ago

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nosfucious (157958) writes "Oracle Corporation, one of the largest software companies and leading supplier of database and enterprise software quietly started shipping a MSI version of their Java Runtime (https://www.java.com/en/download/help/msi_install.xml). Java is the worlds leading software security vulnerability and keeping up with the frequent patches of nearly a job in itself. Added to this is the very corporate (read: Window on a large scale) unfriendly EXE packaging of the Java RTE. Sysadmins around the world should be rejoicing. However, nothing from Oracle is free. MSI versions of Java are only available to those with Java SE Advanced (and other similar products). Given that urgency and frequency of Java updates, what can be done to force Oracle release MSI versions publicly (and thereby reduce impact of their own bugs and improve Sysadmin sanity)."

118 arrested for air ticket fraud in global cybercrime crackdown

Anonymous Coward writes | 8 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "118 cybercriminals have been arrested this week following a global Europol probe into the use of stolen credit cards to pay for plane tickets – a criminal trend which costs the airline industry $1bn annually. Representatives from major card companies such as American Express, MasterCard and Visa had met with Europol to analyse their financial data and confirm suspicious transactions once notified by the airlines. Police officers were then awaiting the criminals at 80 airports around the world."
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Creative Commons to pass one billion licensed works

Jason Hibbets (2851661) writes | 8 hours ago

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Jason Hibbets (2851661) writes "Sharing is winning. In 2015, Creative Commons is expected to pass one billion licensed works under the commons. Millions of creators around the world use CC licenses to give others permission to use their work in ways that they wouldn’t otherwise be allowed to. Those millions of users are the proof that Creative Commons works. But measuring the size of the commons has always been a challenge. Until now..."
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Single Pixel Camera Takes Images Through Breast Tissue

KentuckyFC (1144503) writes | 9 hours ago

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KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Single pixel cameras are currently turning photography on its head. They work by recording lots of exposures of a scene through a randomising media such as frosted glass. Although seemingly random, these exposures are correlated because the light all comes from the same scene. So its possible to number crunch the image data looking for this correlation and then use it to reassemble the original image. Physicists have been using this technique, called ghost imaging, for several years to make high resolution images, 3D photos and even 3D movies. Now one group has replaced the randomising medium with breast tissue from a chicken. They've then used the single pixel technique to take clear pictures of an object hidden inside the breast tissue. The potential for medical imaging is clear. Curiously, this technique has a long history dating back to the 19th century when Victorian doctors would look for testicular cancer by holding a candle behind the scrotum and looking for suspicious shadows. The new technique should be more comfortable."

Swiss Scientists Discover DNA Remains Active After Space Journey and Re-entry

Zothecula (1870348) writes | 9 hours ago

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Zothecula (1870348) writes "It may sound like the first chapter of a Quatermass thriller, but scientists from the University of Zurich (UZH) have discovered that DNA can survive not only a flight through space, but also re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere and still remain active. The findings are based on suborbital rocket flights and could have considerable impact on questions about the origins of life on Earth and the problems of terrestrial space probes contaminating other planets."
Link to Original Source

Raspberry Pi and Coder by Google for beginners and kids

Jason Hibbets (2851661) writes | 9 hours ago

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Jason Hibbets (2851661) writes "Coder is an experiment for Raspberry Pi, built by a small team of Googlers in New York. It converts a Raspberry Pi into a friendly environment for learning web programming. It is ideal for beginners and requires absolutely no experience with coding. Luis Ibanez, an engineer at Google, has written this getting started guide that shows how easy it is to set up Coder."
Link to Original Source

Volcanic Eruption In Japan Disrupts Flights

Anonymous Coward writes | 9 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "A volcano in southern Japan, erupted today, sending out chunks of magma and kilometer-high plumes of ash. Flights to and from the nearby city of Kumamoto were canceled, and a Japan Airlines spokesman said more could be disrupted if the eruption continues. "Mount Aso, whose huge caldera dominates the southwestern main island of Kyushu, rumbled into life on Tuesday. Meteorologists warned volcanic stones and ash could fall in a one-kilometer radius of the volcano. The eruption is Aso's first in 19 years and comes two months after Mount Ontake in central Nagano killed more than 60 hikers when it erupted without warning.""
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Security experts believe the Internet of Things will be used to kill someone

dcblogs (1096431) writes | 9 hours ago

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dcblogs (1096431) writes "Imagine a fleet of quad copters or drones equipped with explosives and controlled by terrorists. Or someone who hacks into a connected insulin pump and changes the settings in a lethal way. Or maybe the hacker who accesses a building's furnace and thermostat controls and runs the furnace full bore until a fire is started. Those may all sound like plot material for a James Bond movie, but there are security experts who now believe, as does Jeff Williams, CTO of Contrast Security, that "the Internet of Things will kill someone. Today, there is a new "rush to connect things" and "it is leading to very sloppy engineering from a security perspective," said Williams. Similarly, Rashmi Knowles, chief security architect at RSA, imagines criminals hacking into medical devices, recently blogged about hackers using pacemakers to blackmail users, and asked: "Question is, when is the first murder?""
Link to Original Source

Another community gets split by systemd: Devuan is "forking" Debian

jaromil (104349) writes | 9 hours ago

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jaromil (104349) writes "The so called "Veteran Unix Admin" collective announces that the "fork" of Debian will proceed as a result of the recent systemd debacle. The reasons put forward are not just technical, included is a letter of endorsement by Debian Developer Roger Leigh mentioning that "people rely on Debian for their jobs and businesses, their research and their hobbies. It's not a playground for such radical experimentation."
The fork is called "Devuan", pronounced "DevOne". A website is up on https://devuan.org/ with more information."

Link to Original Source

Using Facebook and videogames on ticket-machines can lead to malware exploits

Anonymous Coward writes | 11 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "A new strain of Point of Sale (POS) malware has been identified by LA-based cyber threat intelligence firm IntelCrawler. Known as “d4re|dev1|” (‘Daredevil’), the software targets electronic kiosks and ticket-vending devices, creating a backdoor that permits remote control of victim machines. The malware is delivered via a very traditional hacking scenario of brute-forcing logins for remote-administrators. Once authorised, the attacker is free to amend underlying code and upload malicious files into the system."
Link to Original Source

Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering on 2012 Election

HughPickens.com (3830033) writes | yesterday

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HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Gerrymandering is the practice of establishing a political advantage for a political party by manipulating district boundaries to concentrate all your opponents votes in a few districts while keeping your party's supporters as a majority in the remaining districts. For example, in North Carolina in 2012 Republicans ended up winning nine out of 13 congressional seats even though more North Carolinians voted for Democrats than Republicans statewide. Now Jessica Jones reports that researchers at Duke are studying the mathematical explanation for the discrepancy. Mathematicians Jonathan Mattingly and Christy Vaughn created a series of district maps using the same vote totals from 2012, but with different borders. Their work was governed by two principles of redistricting: a federal rule requires each district have roughly the same population and a state rule requires congressional districts to be compact. Using those principles as a guide, they created a mathematical algorithm to randomly redraw the boundaries of the state’s 13 congressional districts. "We just used the actual vote counts from 2012 and just retabulated them under the different districtings," says Vaughn. "”If someone voted for a particular candidate in the 2012 election and one of our redrawn maps assigned where they live to a new congressional district, we assumed that they would still vote for the same political party."

The results were startling. After re-running the election 100 times with a randomly drawn nonpartisan map each time, the average simulated election result was 7 or 8 U.S. House seats for the Democrats and 5 or 6 for Republicans. The maximum number of Republican seats that emerged from any of the simulations was eight. The actual outcome of the election — four Democratic representatives and nine Republicans – did not occur in any of the simulations. "If we really want our elections to reflect the will of the people, then I think we have to put in safeguards to protect our democracy so redistrictings don't end up so biased that they essentially fix the elections before they get started," says Mattingly. But North Carolina State Senator Bob Rucho is unimpressed. "I'm saying these maps aren't gerrymandered," says Rucho. "It was a matter of what the candidates actually was able to tell the voters and if the voters agreed with them. Why would you call that uncompetitive?""

Censoring Internet under the "anti-terror" banner

Anonymous Coward writes | 11 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "The "anti-terrorism" meme is being used by more and more countries all over the world as an excuse to censor the Internet

Malaysia, a country in which racist-policies have been institutionalized, wants Facebook and Google to help it to censor the Internet

Malaysia's approach goes way beyond EU's "Right to Forget" directive at Google. For example, Malaysia wants Facebook to close accounts it (Malaysia) deemed "bad", and the definition of "bad" according to the Malaysian ruling regime includes "those offending racial and religious sensitivities "

At face value, "offending racial and religious sensitivities " in itself may not be controversial, but in the Malaysian context (Please keep in mind that Malaysia is the only country in the world where the minority races have being legally oppressed for the past 57 years) the word " sensitivities " include those who dare to criticize the ruling regime's racist practices

In other words, the "anti-terrorism" banner has been hijacked by more and more countries and banana republics such as Malaysia are using it to further their control over the people via despicable means

Some backgrounds: Malaysia has so far either shut down or blocked over 1,400 websites deemed "inappropriate" ( http://www.themalaysianinsider... ) and the regime which is ruling Malaysia has asked Facebook about the identity of people behind 197 accounts ( http://weehingthong.wordpress.... )"

Link to Original Source

Ubisoft apologises for Assassin's Creed

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes | yesterday

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BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "As reported here:

As an acknowledgement of the botched launch of Assassin's Creed Unity, Ubisoft has offered free additional content to everyone who purchased the title, cancelled the game's season pass and offered a free game to users who purchased the pass.

The anticipation for Assassin's Creed Unity was such that the myriad of bugs and technical issues experienced at launch felt like an even greater slap in the face for gamers.

"

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