How “Big Ideas” Are Actually Hurting International Development

November 23rd, 2014 11:10 admin View Comments


schnell writes: The New Republic is running a fascinating article that analyzes the changing state of foreign development. Tech entrepreneurs and celebrities are increasingly realizing the inefficiencies of the old charitable NGO-based model of foreign aid, and shifting their support to “disruptive” new ideas that have been demonstrated in small experiments to deliver disproportionately beneficial results. But multiple studies now show that “game changing” ideas that prove revolutionary in limited studies fail to prove effective at scale, and are limited by a simple and disappointing fact: no matter how revolutionary your idea is, whether it works or not is wholly dependent on 1.) the local culture and circumstances, and 2.) who is implementing the program.

Source: How “Big Ideas” Are Actually Hurting International Development

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Great Firewall of China Blocks Edgecast CDN, Thousands of Websites Affected

November 22nd, 2014 11:01 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes: Starting about a week ago, The Great Firewall of China began blocking the Edgecast CDN. This was spurred by Great Fire’s Collateral Freedom project, which used CDNs to get around censorship of individual domains. It left China with either letting go of censorship, or breaking significant chunks of the Internet for their population. China chose to do the latter, and now many websites are no longer functional for Chinese users. I just helped a friend diagnose this problem with his company’s site, so it’s likely many people are still just starting to discover what’s happened and the economic impact is yet to be fully realized. Hopefully pressure on China will reverse the decision.

Source: Great Firewall of China Blocks Edgecast CDN, Thousands of Websites Affected

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Judge Unseals 500+ Stingray Records

November 22nd, 2014 11:03 admin View Comments
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Samsung Seeking To Block Nvidia Chips From US Market

November 22nd, 2014 11:05 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes: Bloomberg reports that Samsung has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission asking them to block the import of Nvidia’s graphics chips . This is part of Samsung’s retaliation for a similar claim filed by Nvidia against Samsung and Qualcomm back in September. Both companies are wielding patents pertaining to the improved operation of graphics chips in cell phones and other mobile devices.

Source: Samsung Seeking To Block Nvidia Chips From US Market

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Doubling Saturated Fat In Diet Does Not Increase It In Blood

November 22nd, 2014 11:44 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes: A new study by researchers at Ohio State University found that dramatically increasing the amount of saturated fat in a person’s diet did not increase the amount of saturated fat found in their blood. Professor Jeff Volek, the study’s senior author, said it “challenges the conventional wisdom that has demonized saturated fat and extends our knowledge of why dietary saturated fat doesn’t correlate with disease.”

The study also showed that increasing carbohydrates in the diet led to an increase in a particular fatty acid previous studies have linked to heart disease. Volek continued, “People believe ‘you are what you eat,’ but in reality, you are what you save from what you eat. The point is you don’t necessarily save the saturated fat that you eat. And the primary regulator of what you save in terms of fat is the carbohydrate in your diet. Since more than half of Americans show some signs of carb intolerance, it makes more sense to focus on carb restriction than fat restriction.”

Source: Doubling Saturated Fat In Diet Does Not Increase It In Blood

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Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

November 22nd, 2014 11:28 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes: I’m a systems architect (and a former Unix sysadmin) with many years of experience on the infrastructure side of things. I have a masters in CS but not enough practical exposure to professional software development. I’d like to start my own software product line and I’d like to avoid outsourcing as much as I can. I’m seeking advice on what you think are the best practices for running a software shop and/or good blogs/books on the subject.

To be clear, I am not asking about what are the best programming practices or the merits of agile vs waterfall. Rather I am asking more about how to best run the shop as a whole. For example, how important is it to have coding standards and how much standardization is necessary for a small business? What are the pros and cons of allowing different tools and/or languages? What should the ratio of senior programmers to intermediate and junior programmers be and how should they work with each other so that nobody is bored and everyone learns something? Thanks for your help.

Source: Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

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Eizo Debuts Monitor With 1:1 Aspect Ratio

November 22nd, 2014 11:17 admin View Comments


jones_supa writes: Eizo has introduced an interesting new PC monitor with a square aspect ratio: the Eizo FlexScan EV2730Q is a 26.5-inch screen with 1:1 aspect ratio and an IPS panel with resolution of 1920 x 1920 pixels. “The extended vertical space is convenient for displaying large amounts of information in long windows, reducing the need for excess scrolling and providing a more efficient view of data,” the firm writes. The monitor also offers flicker-free (non-PWM) backlight and reduced blue light features to avoid scorching users’ eyes. Would a square display be of any benefit to you?

Source: Eizo Debuts Monitor With 1:1 Aspect Ratio

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Upgrading the Turing Test: Lovelace 2.0

November 22nd, 2014 11:09 admin View Comments
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Profanity-Laced Academic Paper Exposes Scam Journal

November 22nd, 2014 11:58 admin View Comments


Frosty P writes: A scientific paper titled “Get Me Off Your F****** Mailing List” was actually accepted by the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology. As reported at Vox and other web sites, the journal, despite its distinguished name, is a predatory open-access journal. These sorts of low-quality journals spam thousands of scientists, offering to publish their work for a fee. In 2005, computer scientists David Mazières and Eddie Kohler created this highly profane ten-page paper as a joke, to send in replying to unwanted conference invitations. It literally just contains that seven-word phrase over and over, along with a nice flow chart and scatter-plot graph. More recently, computer scientist Peter Vamplew sent it to the IJACT in response to spam from the journal, and the paper was automatically accepted with an anonymous reviewer rating it as “excellent,” and requested a fee of $150. Over the years, the number of these predatory journals has exploded. Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, keeps an up-to-date list of them to help researchers avoid being taken in; it currently has 550 publishers and journals on it.”

Source: Profanity-Laced Academic Paper Exposes Scam Journal

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Zélus : A Synchronous Language with ODEs

November 22nd, 2014 11:31 admin View Comments

Zélus : A Synchronous Language with ODEs

Timothy Bourke, Marc Pouzet


Zélus is a new programming
language for modeling systems that mix discrete logical time and
continuous time behaviors. From a user’s perspective, its main
originality is to extend an existing Lustre-like
synchronous language with Ordinary Differential Equations (ODEs). The
extension is conservative: any synchronous program expressed as
data-flow equations and hierarchical automata can be composed
arbitrarily with ODEs in the same source code.

A dedicated type system and causality analysis ensure that all
discrete changes are aligned with zero-crossing events so that no side
effects or discontinuities occur during integration. Programs are
statically scheduled and translated into sequential code that, by
construction, runs in bounded time and space. Compilation is effected
by source-to-source translation into a small synchronous subset which
is processed by a standard synchronous compiler architecture. The
resultant code is paired with an off-the-shelf numeric solver.

We show that it is possible to build a modeler for explicit hybrid
systems à la Simulink/Stateflow on top of
an existing synchronous language, using it both as a semantic basis
and as a target for code generation.

Synchronous programming languages (à la Lucid
) are language designs for reactive systems with discrete
time. Zélus extends them gracefully to hybrid discrete/continuous
systems, to interact with the physical world, or simulate it — while
preserving their strong semantic qualities.

The paper is short (6 pages) and centered around examples rather than
the theory — I enjoyed it. Not being familiar with the domain, I was
unsure what the “zero-crossings” mentioned in the introductions are,
but there is a good explanation further down in the paper:

The standard way to detect events in a numeric solver is
via zero-crossings where a solver monitors expressions for changes in
sign and then, if they are detected, searches for a more precise
instant of crossing.

The Zélus website has a ‘publications’ page with
more advanced material, and an ‘examples’ page with
case studies.

Source: Zélus : A Synchronous Language with ODEs

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