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Microsoft To Allow Code Contributions To F#
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '14 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's also-debating-renaming-it-to-hashtag-F department:
An anonymous reader writes "The F# programming language team has been providing source code releases for years, but all contributions to the core implementation were internal. Microsoft is now changing that. They've announced that they'll be accepting code contributions from the community for the core F# language, the compiler, library, and Visual F# tools. They praised the quality of work currently being done by the F# community: 'The F# community is already doing high-quality, cross-platform open engineering using modern tools, testing methodology and build processes. Some particularly active projects include the Visual F# Power Tools, FSharp.Data, F# Editing Support for Open Editors, the Deedle DataFrame library and a host of testing tools, web tools, templates, type providers and other tools.' Microsoft is actively solicited bug fixes, optimizations, and library improvements."

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P vs. NP Problem Linked To the Quantum Nature of the Universe
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '14 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's schrodingers-cat-is-both-alive-and-equal-to-NP department:
KentuckyFC writes: "One of the greatest mysteries in science is why we don't see quantum effects on the macroscopic scale; why Schrodinger's famous cat cannot be both alive and dead at the same time. Now one theorist says the answer is because P is NOT equal to NP. Here's the thinking: The equation that describes the state of any quantum object is called Schrodinger's equation. Physicists have always thought it can be used to describe everything in the universe, even large objects, and perhaps the universe itself. But the new idea is that this requires an additional assumption — that an efficient algorithm exists to solve the equation for complex macroscopic systems. But is this true? The new approach involves showing that the problem of solving Schrodinger's equation is NP-hard. So if macroscopic superpositions exist, there must be an algorithm that can solve this NP-hard problem quickly and efficiently. And because all NP-hard problems are mathematically equivalent, this algorithm must also be capable of solving all other NP-hard problems too, such as the traveling salesman problem. In other words, NP-hard problems are equivalent to the class of much easier problems called P. Or P=NP. But here's the thing: computational complexity theorists have good reason to think that P is not equal to NP (although they haven't yet proven it). If they're right, then macroscopic superpositions cannot exist, which explains why we do not (and cannot) observe them in the real world. Voila!"

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Linus Torvalds Suspends Key Linux Developer
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '14 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's arguing-about-penguins department:
alphadogg writes: "An argument between developers of some of the most basic parts of Linux turned heated this week, resulting in a prominent Red Hat employee and code contributor being banned from working on the Linux kernel. Kay Sievers, a well-known open-source software engineer, is a key developer of systemd, a system management framework for Linux-based operating systems. Systemd is currently used by several prominent Linux distributions, including two of the most prominent enterprise distros, Red Hat and SUSE. It was recently announced that Ubuntu would adopt systemd in future versions as well. Sievers was banned by kernel maintainer Linus Torvalds on Wednesday for failing to address an issue that caused systemd to interact with the Linux kernel in negative ways."

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Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '14 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's in-the-name-of-efficiency department:
Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes:
"A year ago, getting ready for Burning Man, I read that the cars in the exit line sometimes have to wait in the sun for hours to get out. I came up with an algorithm that I thought would alleviate the problem. Do you think it would work? If not, why not? Or can you think of a better one?"
Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

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GameSpy Multiplayer Shutting Down, Affecting Hundreds of Games
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '14 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's things-you-may-no-longer-experience department:
An anonymous reader writes "For over a decade, GameSpy has provided and hosted multiplayer services for a variety of video games. GameSpy was purchased in 2012, and there were some worrying shutdowns of older servers, which disabled multiplayer capabilities for a number of games. Now, the whole service is going offline on May 31. Some publishers are scrambling to move to other platforms, while others are simply giving up on those games. Nintendo's recent abandonment of Wi-Fi games was a result of their reliance on GameSpy's servers. Bohemia Interactive, developers of the Arma series, said the GameSpy closure will affect matchmaking and CD-key authentication."

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NASA To Catalog and Release Source Code For Over 1,000 Projects
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '14 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-big-or-go-home department:
An anonymous reader writes "By the end of next week, NASA will release a master catalog of over 1,000 software projects it has conducted over the years and will provide instructions on how the public can obtain copies of the source code. NASA's goal is to eventually 'host the actual software code in its own online repository, a kind of GitHub for astronauts.' This follows NASA's release of the code running the Apollo 11 Guidance Computer a few years back. Scientists not affiliated with NASA have already adapted some of NASA's software. 'In 2005, marine biologists adapted the Hubble Space Telescope's star-mapping algorithm to track and identify endangered whale sharks. That software has now been adapted to track polar bears in the arctic and sunfish in the Galapagos Islands.' The Hubble Space Telescope's scheduling software has reportedly also been used to schedule MRIs at hospitals and as control algorithms for online dating services. The possibilities could be endless."

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Hacker Holds Key To Free Flights
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '14 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's TSA-bans-cell-phones-and-sitting-down-in-response department:
mask.of.sanity writes: "A security researcher says he has developed a method to score free flights across Europe by generating fake boarding passes designed for Apple's Passbook app. The 18-year-old computer science undergrad didn't reveal the 'bypass' which gets the holder of the fraudulent ticket past the last scanner and onto the jetway; he's saving that for his talk at Hack in the Box in Amsterdam next month."

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Will Living On Mars Drive Us Crazy?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '14 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's can't-you-hear-them?-didn't-you-see-the-crowd? department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "When astronauts first began flying in space, NASA worried about 'space madness,' a mental malady they thought might arise from humans experiencing microgravity and claustrophobic isolation inside of a cramped spacecraft high above the Earth. Now Megan Garber writes in The Atlantic that NASA is hoping to find out what life on Mars does to the human emotional state by putting three men and three women in a 1,000-square-foot habitat shaped like a dome for four months. The volunteers in the second HI-SEAS mission — a purposely tiny group selected out of a group of 700 applicants — include, among others, a neuropsychologist, an aerospace engineer, and an Air Force veteran who is studying human factors in aviation. 'We're going to stress them,' says Kim Binsted, the project's principal investigator. 'That's the nature of the study.' That test involves isolating the crew in the same way they'd be isolated on Mars. The only communication they'll be allowed with the outside world—that is to say, with their family and friends—will be conducted through email. (And that will be given an artificial delay of 20 minutes to simulate the lag involved in Mars-to-Earth communications.)

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Skydiver's Helmet Cam Captures a Falling Meteor
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '14 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's that's-a-close-one department:
reifman (786887) writes "Anders Helstrup went skydiving nearly two years ago near Hedmark, Norway and while he didn't realize it at the time, when he reviewed the footage taken by two cameras fixed to his helmet during the dive, he saw a rock plummet past him. He took it to experts and they realized he had captured a meteorite falling during its dark flight — when it has been slowed by atmospheric braking, and has cooled and is no longer luminous."

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Saturn's Moon Enceladus Has Underground Ocean
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '14 at 12:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's water-at-the-bottom-of-the-ocean department:
astroengine (1577233) writes "Gravity measurements made with the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft indicate the small moon Enceladus has an ocean sandwiched between its rocky core and icy shell, a finding that raises the prospects of a niche for life beyond Earth. The Cassini data shows the body of water, which is in the moon's southern hemisphere, must be as large or larger than Lake Superior and sitting on top of the moon's rocky core at a depth of about 31 miles. 'The ocean may extend halfway or more toward the equator in every direction,' said planetary scientist David Stevenson, with the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena."

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Oxford Internet Institute Creates Internet "Tube" Map
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '14 at 11:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's follow-the-lines department:
First time accepted submitter Jahta (1141213) writes "The Oxford Internet Institute has created a schematic of the world's international fiber-optic links in the style of the famous London Tube map. The schematic also highlights nodes where censorship and surveillance are known to be in operation. The map uses data sourced from cablemap.info. Each node has been assigned to a country, and all nodes located in the same country have been collapsed into a single node. The resulting network has been then abstracted."

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Cheaper Fuel From Self-Destructing Trees
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '14 at 08:46 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's larch-powered department:
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Wood is great for building and heating homes, but it's the bane of biofuels. When converting plants to fuels, engineers must remove a key component of wood, known as lignin, to get to the sugary cellulose that's fermented into alcohols and other energy-rich compounds. That's costly because it normally requires high temperatures and caustic chemicals. Now, researchers in the United States and Canada have modified the lignin in poplar trees to self-destruct under mild processing conditions—a trick that could slash the cost of turning plant biomass into biofuels."

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Study: Exposure To Morning Sunlight Helps Managing Weight
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '14 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's here-somes-the-sun-there-goes-the-pounds department:
jones_supa (887896) writes "A new Northwestern Medicine study reports the timing, intensity and duration of your light exposure during the day is linked to your weight — the first time this has been shown. People who had most of their daily exposure to even moderately bright light in the morning had a significantly lower body mass index (BMI) than those who had most of their light exposure later in the day, the study found. It accounted for about 20 percent of a person's BMI and was independent of an individual's physical activity level, caloric intake, sleep timing, age or season. About 20 to 30 minutes of morning light is enough to affect BMI. The senior author Phyllis C. Zee rationalizes this by saying that light is the most potent agent to synchronize your internal body clock that regulates circadian rhythms, which in turn also regulate energy balance. The study was small and short. It included 54 participants (26 males, 28 females), an average age of 30. They wore a wrist actigraphy monitor that measured their light exposure and sleep parameters for seven days in normal-living conditions. Their caloric intake was determined from seven days of food logs. The study was published April 2 in the journal PLOS ONE. Giovanni Santostasi, a research fellow in neurology at Feinberg, is a co-lead author."

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What's In a Username? the Power of Gamer Tags
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '14 at 05:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what's-your-handle? department:
An anonymous reader writes "Are pro gamers good because they're good, or just because their usernames make you think they are? New scientific research suggests it may actually be a little bit of both. What's most interesting about this isn't what it says about current players, but how up and coming gamers will choose their own handles in future, both to intimidate opponents — and pull in the audiences that help subsidize their budding careers."

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Hackathon Gold: How To Win a Job Offer In a Coding Competition
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '14 at 04:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's show-them-what-you-got department:
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Hackathons have stirred up their share of controversy — mostly around too-big prizes and the inevitable cheating that follows. But for some developers they also can be the ultimate job interview — not just a coding test, but an opportunity to show off your people skills. Take the case of the January 2014 GlobalHack contest in St. Louis that was initially attended by several hundred programmers. The story of the contest isn't who took away the top $50,000 prize but about the other participants who didn't finish in the money but came away with something else that is arguably more important."

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The Problem With Congress's Scientific Illiterates
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '14 at 03:46 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I-don't-get-it department:
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Brian Merchant at Motherboard examines the March 26th House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology's 2015 budget request hearing. White House adviser Dr. John Holdren addressed the committee to defend funding for science programs. Video clips show comments that are difficult to believe, when you hear them. From the article: '"So, when you guys do your research, you start with a scientific—what do they call it—postulate or theory, and you work from that direction forward, is that right?" Representative Randy Weber (R-TX) said. "So, I'm just wondering how that related, for example, to global warming and eventual global cooling." He paused to make a joke about getting the scientists' cell phone number so he could call to ask when to buy a coat, before concluding that science just isn't up to the task.'"

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New US Atomic Clock Goes Live
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '14 at 03:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's in-real-time department:
PaisteUser (810863) writes with news about a new, hyper-accurate atomic clock unveiled by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. "A new atomic clock, so accurate it will lose or gain only one second every 300 million years, was unveiled Thursday by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The NIST-F2 had been in development for about a decade and is three times more accurate than the F1, which has been in use since 1999. The institute will continue operating both clocks for now at its campus in Boulder, Colorado."

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Start-Up Founders On Dealing With Depression
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '14 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's blue-mondays department:
v3rgEz (125380) writes "Founders at a number of Boston startups shared their stories of building and growing a company while battling depression. One founder didn't even realize he was depressed until glucose and blood tests came back normal, while another said it was worse than her life struggles growing up in the projects. All shared different coping mechanisms. Any advice for dealing with the same?"

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An SSD for Your Current Computer May Save the Cost of a New One (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '14 at 01:30 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's breaking-the-i/o-speed-barrier department:
Obviously, the first performance enhancement you do on any computer you own is max out the RAM. RAM has gotten cheap, and adding more of it to almost any computer will make it faster without requiring any other modification (or any great skill). The next thing you need to do, says Larry O'Connor, the founder and CEO of Other World Computing (OWC), is move from a "platter" hard drive to a Solid State Drive (SSD). Larry's horse in this race is that his company sells SSDs, mostly for Macs. But he's a real evangelist about SSDs and computer mods in general, even if you buy them from NewEgg, Amazon or another vendor.

A big (vendor-neutral) thing Larry points out is that just because you have a Terabyte drive in your computer now doesn't mean you need a Terabyte SSD, which can easily cost $500. Rather, he says, all you need is a large enough SSD to contain your OS and software and whatever data you're working with at the moment, so you might be able to get by with a 120 GB SSD that costs well under $100. Clone your current main drive, stick in the new SSD, and if your need more storage, get another hard drive (or use your old one). Simple. Efficient. And a lot cheaper than buying a new computer, whether we're talking about home, business or even enterprise use. (Alternate video link.)

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.NET Native Compilation Preview Released
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '14 at 12:46 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's faster-faster-faster department:
atrader42 (687933) writes "Microsoft announced a new .NET compiler that compiles .NET code to native code using the C++ compiler backend. It produces performance like C++ while still enabling .NET features like garbage collection, generics, and reflection. Popular apps have been measured to start up to 60% faster and use 15% less memory. The preview currently only supports Windows Store applications, but is expected to apply to more .NET applications in the long term. A preview of the compiler is available for download now. (Caveat: I both work for MS and read Slashdot.)"

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