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SputnikPanic (927985) writes "According to a Washington Post article, a scientific paper being published today describes a chimpanzee that demonstrates a rather interesting capacity: the forethought to stockpile stones to be used as weapons. The chimp, which is at a zoo in Sweden, collects rocks prior to the zoo's opening so that he may have them ready for use later in the day when he becomes agitated by visitors. "Many animals plan. But this is planning for a future psychological state. That is what is so advanced," says Mathias Osvath, a researcher and author of the paper. In another example of sophisticated behavior, "About a year after his storing and throwing began... the animal began tapping stones against the concrete artificial rocks, listening for a hollow sound that indicates a fissure. He would then hit the concrete harder until a piece chipped off, occasionally then hitting it again to make it fist-sized."" top
SputnikPanic (927985) writes "There are a couple of short but interesting posts over at use.perl.org regarding the state of the Perl world. "Ovid" (no, not that one) ruminates on whether "Perl 5 is Dying", noting that "outside of the COBOL syndrome, Perl 5 is in danger of having no serious long-term future." Ovid follows that up with a post titled "Perl 5 Programmers Are Dying", in which he discusses the difficulty of finding and hiring programmers that are truly skilled in the language and how that in turn is pushing departments to consider moving away from Perl.
I've never done any real application programming in Perl, just lots of small utility scripts and one-off tasks. There's no doubt, though, that Perl has in many instances made my professional life a bit easier, so I can't help but feel some affinity for it. So is Ovid right? Is the bell indeed tolling for Perl?" top
SputnikPanic (927985) writes "Two new versions of Amazon's Kindle are in the works, including one that is substantially larger than the Kindle currently available. This new, larger Kindle appears to be Amazon's attempt to gain a foothold in the textbook market.
I'm not sure I would have loved spending hours-long study sessions reading off of a Kindle, but all things being equal, I would have much preferred having one e-book reader in my backpack rather than 25 or 30 pounds worth of textbooks.
In any case, Amazon stands to gain immensely should it succeed in establishing itself in the textbook market. Textbook publishers, however, also must be swooning at some of the possibilities, such as vastly lower distribution costs, and (assuming DRM'ed textbooks) no used book market." top
SputnikPanic (927985) writes "In a story currently receiving a substantial amount of media coverage, the director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute has issued a warning to his faculty and staff to limit their cell phone use due to possible cancer risk. According to the Associated Press story, the director "is basing his alarm on early unpublished data. He says it takes too long to get answers from science and he believes people should take action now." The director suggests keeping cell phones away from the head and "[he] even warns against using cell phones in public places like a bus because it exposes others to the phone's electromagnetic fields."
Will Second-hand EMF be the new black?" top
SputnikPanic (927985) writes "Tim Russert, NBC News' Washington bureau chief and moderator of the popular Sunday talk program Meet the Press, has died of an apparent heart attack. He was 58. He was known as an even-handed journalist who did not shy away from asking direct and often difficult questions of politicians regardless of their political persuasion. Earlier this year, Tim Russert had been named as one of the "100 most influential people in the world" by Time Magazine."