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Why Scientists Are Still Using FORTRAN in 2014

lee1 Re:It's the right tool for the job (634 comments)

Author here. While mathematicians usually begin the series with zero, in papers about computing the initial zero is often left off. I should have been consistent, though.

about 6 months ago
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Putting the Wolfram Language (and Mathematica) On Every Raspberry Pi

lee1 Re:Blatant Shill (99 comments)

That's an unrelated "arc".

1 year,3 days
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Islamist Hackers Shut Down Egyptology Research Journal

lee1 Re:Heh... Radical...Islamists...redundant... (564 comments)

I've never heard of this "post count limit". Is that something new?

You say that interpretation of holy texts is fallible. Could there be mistakes in the texts themselves? Where the interpretation is clear, is there anything that could be wrong?

Clearly you think that the overwhelming scientific consensus about the history of the world is wrong, because it conflicts with parts of the holy texts whose interpretation seems clear. When and how did you determine that the scientific community is wrong and the old books are right? Do you agree with many Christian creationists that fossils and other evidence were planted by god to try to trick us or test our faith?

You seem to share with most Christian creationists a basic confusion about what science is and how it works. It is not true that abiogenesis "is a theory which directly stems from the presumption that there is no creator". There is no presumption, just basic intellectual hygiene: avoid adding pieces and parts to your theory unless there is evidence for them. Since there is no evidence for a "creator", there is no good reason to include one.

People used to believe that god pushed the stars and planets around in the sky. Now that we have a universal theory of gravitation, we can calculate their orbits and see their motions as resulting from a natural process. It would not be correct to say that the theory of gravitation "presumes" that there is no creator. There is simply no need to invoke one to explain the motions of the planets. We would make no progress in understanding the universe if we kept saying "god is doing it" rather than figuring out what is really happening. Same thing in biology.

about 2 years ago
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Islamist Hackers Shut Down Egyptology Research Journal

lee1 Re:Heh... Radical...Islamists...redundant... (564 comments)

I'm not understanding the connection you're making between the idea of an omnipotent god and Jesus in particular. Many people, including myself, think that the very concept of an omnipotent god, if it has any meaning at all, is probably inherently illogical. This would include Allah, the Christian god, etc. I don't see how the Islamic and Christian conceptions of god differ in any fundamental way, in regard to omnipotence and its other inherent characteristics. (Can Allah make a rock too heavy for him to lift? If not, there is something he can not make. If yes, there is something he can not lift. Either way, not omnipotent. Not that this is serious, but neither is the idea of an omnipotent god.) Thank you for sharing something about your conversion experience. So is it true that in six years you've not encountered any fundamental thing in the religion, either in the holy text or its authoritative interpretations, that seems obviously false? Is Islam in conflict with the mainstream scientific understanding of the history of our planet, for example (that life has evolved over hundreds of millions of years)?

about 2 years ago
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Islamist Hackers Shut Down Egyptology Research Journal

lee1 Re:Heh... Radical...Islamists...redundant... (564 comments)

"How can an omnipotent being create a rock, which is too heavy for him to lift"

Is not Allah supposed to be omnipotent? Or is it not omnipotence itself that you object to, but the particular form it takes in Christian theology? Can you expand on this?

Also, pointing out some things that bother you about Christianity doesn't explain why you decided to convert to Islam. Islam, like most other religions, makes many specific claims about the world and its history. Did you determine that these claims were true before converting? Or did you convert first, and now "know" that these claims are true because they are (now) part of your religion?

I ask because I am genuinely curious about the conversion process in those adults who do not otherwise seem to be completely befuddled. I can understand someone who is raised in a particular religion either struggling to overcome it, or not, but have never been able to understand how a rational adult makes the free choice of a specific religion (free in the sense of not being determined by powerful social pressures).

about 2 years ago
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Does All of Science Really Move In 'Paradigm Shifts'?

lee1 Re:Kuhn Paradigms (265 comments)

You're convolving science with engineering. GR is a radical and fundamental conceptual breakthrough of a kind that only occurs every few hundred years at most. Easily on a par with Newton's system of the world. This would be true even if it had no engineering consequences whatsoever; but, in fact, the GPS depends upon it.

about 2 years ago
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Al Jazeera Gets a US Voice

lee1 A notorious example of bias (444 comments)

After the US liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban the world saw the televised celebration in the streets, as people were allowed to listen to music again and girls were allowed to go to school. Except that part of the world watching Al Jazeera, which censored all of it.

about 2 years ago
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Ubuntu Community Manager: RMS's Post Seems a Bit Childish To Me

lee1 Re:Exactly. (529 comments)

"anyone who cares about having a usable OS probably dropped Ubuntu as soon as they made Unity the default." I use Ubuntu on my laptops, but I don't use Unity or any desktop environment. I use the dwm window manager. I care about having a usable OS, so you are incorrect.

about 2 years ago
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Reading and Calculating With Your Unconscious

lee1 Re:Really? (85 comments)

I didn't know it was a dupe. And I have some sympathy with the view that "unconscious" makes an awkward noun, correct or not, now that I take a hard look at it. It reminds me of the Uncola.

about 2 years ago
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Reading and Calculating With Your Unconscious

lee1 Re:Really? (85 comments)

Submitter here. It seems to me that the commenter thinks that "unconscious" is an adjective and that I left out the noun. But it is indeed a noun, as a quick trip to any dictionary published after 1912 will confirm.

about 2 years ago
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Mind Maps: the Poor Man's Design Tool

lee1 Re:I suspect (97 comments)

A prominent one would be graphviz, of course. But most other software that describes itself as dealing with "mind maps" can only handle a basic tree structure, you're right. Another exception would be Tinderbox, but that's closed source.

more than 2 years ago
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After 60 Years, a Room-Temperature Maser

lee1 Re:microwaves radiation is still light (102 comments)

I only see the term "maser" in popular accounts of science. In my experience the people who work on them call them "lasers", "free-electron lasers" (FELs), "microwave lasers", etc. And microwave lasers have been commonplace for decades in the form of FELs. What's new here is the "solid state" part.

more than 2 years ago
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Living Fossils: Old Tech That Just Won't Die

lee1 The abacus is still useful (388 comments)

The article begins with an example of what the author seems to think is truly outmoded technology, only useful for teaching preschoolers. But people who know how to use the abacus can multiply a couple of four-digit numbers together, arriving at the result before an experienced electronic calculator user has finished entering the first number into the machine. I've seen shopkeepers in New York's Chinatown using abacuses in place of cash registers, and I'm sure their use is still widespread in China, at least. Electronic calculators begin to have an edge when you need to extract square roots of numbers more than a few digits long. There is a pattern here: old technology often requires some training to use it effectively, but if you put in the work to develop the skill, it works better in some situations.

more than 2 years ago
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Living Fossils: Old Tech That Just Won't Die

lee1 Re:Technology (388 comments)

How cool is it that lumberjacks read Slashdot?

more than 2 years ago
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W3C Member Proposes "Fix" For CSS Prefix Problem

lee1 Re:CSS is annoying (144 comments)

I don't follow. You still get all the advantages of separate semantic markup and styling, of only requiring the user to download the styling information once, of being able to reuse your stylesheets, and of allowing the user to substitute his own stylesheet.

more than 2 years ago
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W3C Member Proposes "Fix" For CSS Prefix Problem

lee1 Re:CSS is annoying (144 comments)

You can't make adaptive colors in CSS, like a shadow color automatically calculated from another color.

You can use CSS compilers, like CleverCSS, for this.

if you don't want to give each element multiple classes.

But that's the best way to do it.

more than 2 years ago
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Asteroid the 'Size of a Minivan' Exploded Over California

lee1 Dilbert creator saw this? (279 comments)

I'm betting this was the meteor that Scott Adams happened to see : http://dilbert.com/blog/entry/gods_matchbox/ (warning: Adams' website has become practically unreadable due to the desperate explosion of intrusive advertising. I read the RSS feed, which carries the full articles.)

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Conundrums of Classical Physics

lee1 lee1 writes  |  about 4 months ago

lee1 (219161) writes "Classical physics remains a vibrant arena of active research. Its foundations and the fundamental problems posed by several of its subfields still engage the imaginations of thousands of physicists throughout the world. And like all areas in active development, it attracts contention and controversy to this very day."
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Has Lockeed Martin Solved the Energy Problem?

lee1 lee1 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

lee1 writes "Lockeed’s Charles Chase has created a bit of excitement by claiming that the Skunkworks team is on the verge of solving the world’s energy problem with a new type of fusion device. We are not provided very many details — it is cylindrical, and the plasma is heated by RF. Apparently it works because the imposed magnetic confinement field is very clever. Unfortunately, the history of clever fusion ideas is littered with the corpses of magnetic field configurations that were almost perfect, except for one little hole."
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Photoshop Goes Open Source

lee1 lee1 writes  |  about 2 years ago

lee1 writes "Where by 'Photoshop' I mean version 1.0.1, released for the Macintosh in 1990, and where by 'open source' I mean downloadable without charge if you execute the "Computer History Museum Software License Agreement". This would seem to make it open source, free as in beer, but not quite free as in speech — but I'm no expert. About 75% of the code is in Pascal, 15% is in 68000 assembler language, and the rest is data. The article features interesting screenshots of Photoshop running on an ancient black and white Macintosh — where by 'black and white' I do not mean greyscale. Much of the interface has not changed. There is also a code assessment by the 'Chief Scientist for Software Engineering at IBM Research Almaden' who admires the almost entirely uncommented code greatly, saying 'This is the kind of code I aspire to write.'"
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Microsoft's Creepy Retail Experience

lee1 lee1 writes  |  about 2 years ago

lee1 writes "The author peers into a Microsoft store and spies a sea of Microsoft employees, vastly outnumbering the few customers. Later, he notices an animated crowd of civilians surrounding a Microsoft display. But it's not the product that they're excited about."
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Reading and calculating with your unconscious

lee1 lee1 writes  |  about 2 years ago

lee1 writes "Using special techniques that present information to one eye while hiding the information from the conscious mind (my masking it with more distracting imagery presented to the other eye), researchers have shown two new and very unexpected things: we can read and understand short sentences, and we can perform multi-step arithmetic problems, entirely unconsciously. The results of the reading and calculating are available to and influence the conscious mind, but we remain unaware of their existence. While we have known for some time that a great deal of sensory processing occurs below the surface and affects our deliberative behavior, it was widely believed until now that the subconscious was not able to actually do arithmetic or parse sentences."
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Gmail Tampers with Outgoing Email

lee1 lee1 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

lee1 writes ""Imagine the confusion, inconvenience, and possible embarrassment that could be created if the operator of an smtp server decided, unilaterally and without advertisement, to deviate from the published standards and expected behavior by tampering with your email. Imagine if they silently changed the From: header to a different address; one that belonged to someone else, one that was not supposed to be publicly known, or one that is not monitored? Google does exactly this."
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Japanese Panel Finds Fukushima Accident was "Man-Made"

lee1 lee1 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

lee1 writes "A legislative inquiry has issued a scathing report claiming that the Fukushima disaster was “manmade” and could have been prevented. It lays the blame partly on the character of Japanese society."
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Was the Eighth-century Jump in C14 Caused by a supernova?

lee1 lee1 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

lee1 writes "This is a great story about how the internet, combined with projects to digitize historical artifacts, can allow a prepared mind to make new connections and create new knowledge.

Jonathon Allen, an undergraduate biochemistry major, heard about the mysterious jump in C14 levels in the growth rings of Japanese trees from 774 C.E. from a Nature podcast. After Googling for a while, he was able to connect this mysterious phenomenon with the description, in an 8th century chronicle, of what may have been a supernova. The chronicle was digitized as part of the Yale’s Avalon Project."

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Making music based on pi can not be copyrighted

lee1 lee1 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

lee1 writes "In a decision handed down on Pi Day, a US District Court has ruled that
the mathematical constant pi can not be copyrighted. The claim of
copyright was brought by one 'mathematical musician' against another;
both had created pieces of music based on the ratio of a circle's
circumference to its diameter. The judge sensibly opined that 'Pi is a
non-copyrightable fact, and the transcription of pi to music is a
non-copyrightable idea.'"

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Quatum Dots in the Brain?

lee1 lee1 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

lee1 writes "Quantum dots are nanometer-sized, light-sensitive, semiconducting
particles. Researchers at the University of Washington have discovered
that when these particles are in proximity to a nerve cell, shining
light on the dots causes the neurons' ion channels to open and the
nerve cell to fire. This opens up a new vista of possible treatments for
various brain disorders. The dots can be implanted by coating them with
molecules with an affinity for the targeted tissues and injecting them
into the bloodstream. After that, the main problem will be to figure out
how to shine light into the brain. But there are high hopes for the
treatment of retinal disorders, where this problem is, obviously,
already solved."

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Wikileaks stops publishing classified files

lee1 lee1 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

lee1 writes "Wikileaks has had to cease publishing classified files due to what the
organization calls a "blockade by US-based finance companies" that, according
to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has "destroyed 95% of our revenue." Assange
also opined that "A handful of US finance companies cannot be allowed to decide
how the whole world votes with its pocket." According to Assange the group was
taking "pre-litigation action" against the financial blockade in Iceland,
Denmark, the UK, Brussels, the United States and Australia. They have also
filed an anti-trust complaint with the European Commission."

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DA critiques Gizmodo emails

lee1 lee1 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

lee1 writes "After the police broke in to a Gizmodo editor’s home and collected emails from computers found there as part of the investigation of the stolen 2010 iPhone prototype, the DA petitioned the court to withdraw the search warrant, because it violated a law intended to protect journalists. Nevertheless, the DA, rather than apologize for the illegal search and seizure, issued a critique of the seized emails, commenting that they were ‘juvenile’ and that ‘It was obvious that they were angry with the company about not being invited to [...] some big Apple event [...] this is like 15-year-old children talking [...] They talked about having Apple right where they wanted them and they were really going to show them.'"
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Chinese Research Journals Plagued by Plagiarism

lee1 lee1 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

lee1 writes "When a Chinese research journal became the first in China to be
subjected to CrossCheck text analysis software, it was found to be chock
full of plagiarised articles. 31 percent of papers were discovered to
be characterised by unreasonable copying and plagiarism overall, with
40% in computer science and life sciences. Part of the explanation is
thought to lie in certain aspects of Chinese culture, which emphasizes
rote memorization and repetition and regards the copying a teacher's
work as a learning technique. Also, the rigid hierarchical nature of
Chinese academic beauracracies means that an accusation of misconduct
directed at a high-ranking researcher by an underling will not be taken
seriously."

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Prosecuted For Critical Twittering

lee1 lee1 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

lee1 writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation is trying to urge a
federal court to block what they claim is the
unconstitutional use of the federal anti-stalking law to
prosecute a man for posting criticism of a public figure to
Twitter. The law was orginally targeted against crossing
state lines for the purpose of stalking, but was modified in
2005 to make the 'intentional infliction of emotional
distress' by the use of 'any interactive computer service' a
crime. The prosecution’s theory in this case is that using
Twitter to criticize a public figure can be a criminal act
if the person’s feelings are hurt."

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The Autistic Mouse

lee1 lee1 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

lee1 writes "Some autistic children are known to possess a mutation in a particular gene. Scientists have genetically engineered a mouse to have the same mutation, and claim that it exhibits autistic behaviors, as well as abnormal brain chemistry. In social interaction experiments, the mouse either avoided normal interactions or became inappropriately aggressive, behaviors that the Johns Hopkins researchers claim is similar to social behavior in autistic humans."
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Arrested for Possessing Information

lee1 lee1 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

lee1 writes "A citizen of the UK, of Pakistani origin, has been arrested for possessing a recipe for the production of ricin, an extremely dangerous poison made from castor beans. He has also been charged with possessing some bomb-making instructions. He has not been accused of actually doing or having anything besides information. Some claim that you can find a ricin recipe on the web; others that the recipes are bogus. Either way, think twice about indulging your curiosity if you live in Britain."
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Ex-Google Engineer Blasts Google's Technology

lee1 lee1 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

lee1 writes "Dhanji R. Prasanna, an engineer who recently resigned from Google, describes Google's famous back-end infrastructure as a collection of obsolete technologies, designed 10 years ago for building search engines and crawlers. He blasts MapReduce and its closed-source friends as 'ancient, creaking dinosaurs', compared with outside open source projects like MessagePack, JSON, and Hadoop. He also criticizes Google's coding culture, which has become unfriendly to hacker types due to the company's enormous size."
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RSA Offers to Replace 40 Million SecurID Tokens

lee1 lee1 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

lee1 writes "RSA has finally admitted that its SecureID tokens were duplicated by criminals who broke into their computers and gained access to the 'seed records'. They have offered to replace the tokens used by their customers, although they suggest that the attack was targeted only at military information (Lockheed Martin), and the attackers have shown no interest in financial or personal data. Replacing tokens for a large organization is very disruptive, and, according to an RSA manager, 'there is no guarantee that it won't happen again.'"
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Cooling Computers by Erasing Data

lee1 lee1 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

lee1 writes "A fundamental result of information theory and thermodynamics is that computation generates heat, as your knees may have noticed. Further, it has been proven that, in a classical computer, deleting data necessarily produces a small amount of waste heat. A new theoretical result shows that in a quantum computer deleting data actually cools the device under the right circumstances. The result can be checked by experiment and has possible practical applications; it leads as well to a new understanding of entropy in thermodynamics and information theory."
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The Electron is a Sphere

lee1 lee1 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

lee1 writes "In a 10 year long experiment, scientists at Imperial College have made the most precise measurement so far of the shape of the electron. It's round. So round, in fact, that if the electron were enlarged to the size of the solar system, its shape would diverge from a perfect sphere less than the width of a human hair. The experiment continues in the search for even greater precision. There are implications for understanding processes in the early universe, namely the mysterious fate of the antimatter."
Link to Original Source

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