By Soulskill from Slashdot's take-a-chill-pill department
An anonymous reader writes: If you live in a developed nation, you're probably pretty warm throughout most of the day. Enclosed spaces, thick clothing, and heating devices do a good job to keep the cold away. But this hasn't been the case for most of human history. Even in warmer climates, humans often had to deal with chilly nights and tough winters. That's where our metabolic system evolved, and now people are doing research to figure out if that's a better natural state for maintaining our health.
One recent study found that "when people cool their bedrooms from 75 degrees to 66 degrees, they gain brown fat, the metabolically active fat that burns calories to generate heat." Another showed that "even after controlling for diet, lifestyle, and other factors, people who live in warmer parts of Spain are more likely to be obese than people who live in the cooler parts." The article talks about people letting their house temperatures drop into the 50s and wearing ice vests during the day, all in the name of further research.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's champions-who-cannot-wear-belts department
An anonymous reader writes: The 7th Thoresen Chess Engines Competition (TCEC) has ended, and a new victor has been crowned: Komodo. The article provides some background on how the different competitive chess engines have been developed, and how we can expect Moore's Law to affect computer dominance in other complex games in the future.
"Although it is coming on 18 years since Deep Blue beat Kasparov, humans are still barely fending off computers at shogi, while we retain some breathing room at Go. ... Ten years ago, each doubling of speed was thought to add 50 Elo points to strength. Now the estimate is closer to 30. Under the double-in-2-years version of Moore's Law, using an average of 50 Elo gained per doubling since Kasparov was beaten, one gets 450 Elo over 18 years, which again checks out. To be sure, the gains in computer chess have come from better algorithms, not just speed, and include nonlinear jumps, so Go should not count on a cushion of (25 – 14)*9 = 99 years."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's race-to-zero department
An anonymous reader writes: Amazon is now offering an ebook subscription service — $9.99/month gets you access to 700,000 titles, both self-published and traditionally published. The funds are gathered together, Amazon takes its cut, and the rest is divided up based on how many times a given book was read.
Some authors like it, and some don't, but John Scalzi pointed out that this business model is notable for being different from how the writing industry has worked in the past: "[T]he thing to actively dislike about the Kindle Unlimited 'payment from a pot' plan is the fact that it and any other plan like it absolutely and unambiguously make writing and publishing a zero-sum game. In traditional publishing, your success as an author does not limit my success — the potential pool of money is so large as to be effectively unlimited, and one's payment is independent of any other purchase a consumer might make, or what any other reader might read.
In the traditional publishing model, it's in my interest to encourage readers to read other authors, because people who read more buy more books — the proverbial tide lifts all boats. In the Kindle Unlimited model, the more authors you and everyone else reads, the less I can potentially earn. And ultimately, there's a cap on how much I can earn — a cap imposed by Amazon, or whoever else is in charge of the 'pot.'"Read Replies (0)
Quake On an Oscilloscope
Posted by News Fetcher on December 29 '14 at 04:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's rocket-jump-with-an-electromagnet department
An anonymous reader writes: Developer Pekka Väänänen has posted a fascinating report on how he got Quake running on an oscilloscope (video link). Obviously, the graphic details gets stripped down to basic lines, but even then, you need to cull any useless or unseen geometry to make things run smoothly. He says, "To cull the duplicates a <tt>std::unordered_set</tt> of the C++ standard library is used. The indices of the triangle edges are saved in pairs, packed in a single <tt>uint64_t</tt>, the lower index being first. The set is cleared between each object, so the same line could still be drawn twice or more if the same vertices are stored in different meshes. Before saving a line for end-of-the-frame-submit, its indices in the mesh are checked against the set, and discarded if already saved this frame. At the end of each frame all saved lines are checked against the depth buffer of the rendered scene. If a line lies completely behind the depth buffer, it can be safely discarded because it shouldn't be visible."Read Replies (0)
By samzenpus from Slashdot's brand-new department