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Fusion Progress: Superheated Gas Kept Stable For 5 Milliseconds

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 22:50
An anonymous reader writes: A company called Tri Alpha has successfully kept a ball of superheated gas stable for a record time: 5 milliseconds, putting them closer to producing fusion power. "'They've succeeded finally in achieving a lifetime limited only by the power available to the system,' says particle physicist Burton Richter of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who sits on a board of advisers to Tri Alpha. If the company's scientists can scale the technique up to longer times and higher temperatures, they will reach a stage at which atomic nuclei in the gas collide forcefully enough to fuse together, releasing energy. Importantly, the Tri Alpha machine may be able to operate with a different fuel than most other fusion reactors. This fuel-a mix of hydrogen and boron-is harder to react, but Tri Alpha researchers say it avoids many of the problems likely to confront conventional fusion power plants." The article does not say how much this success cost the privately-funded Tri Alpha, but it certainly wasn't in the billions of dollars.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

MIT Develops Inkjet-Style 3D Printer That Uses 10 Different Materials At Once

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 22:08
Lucas123 writes: Researchers at MIT have been able to build a printer with uses 10 different photosensitive polymers to create a myriad of objects, and they were able to build it using off-the-shelf commodity parts for around $7,000. The MultiFab 3D printer works by mixing together microscopic droplets of photopolymers that are then extruded through inkjet printheads similar to those in office printers. A UV light then hardens the polymers layer by layer. Perhaps even more remarkable than the list of materials it can use is the MultiFab 3D printer's ability to self-calibrate and self-correct during a print job (PDF). The printer has an integrated machine vision system that automatically readjusts the printer head if errors occur, rectifying the build before a problem ruins the object; that means print jobs that run into errors don't need to be cancelled and materials wasted. The researchers said they can foresee an array of applications for the MultiFab 3D in consumer electronics, microsensing, medical imaging and telecommunications, among other things.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

The Muddy Truth About Kickstarter 'Staff Picks'

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 21:25
szczys writes: Crowd Funding is the wild-wild west of business financing, and it's not just the people starting campaigns that are playing without many rules. One of Kickstarter's sort algorithm triggers is the "Staff Pick." Research indicates being featured by Kickstarter staff is a huge predictor for success. But there is no published benchmark for how these are chosen. Oddly, Kickstarter only discourages users from falsely labeling their campaign as a Staff Pick. To protect backers and ensure the crowdfunding ecosystem isn't sullied by scammers, Kickstarter needs to boost their transparency starting with this Staff Pick conundrum.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

The Case For Teaching Ignorance

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 20:26
HughPickens.com writes: In the mid-1980s, a University of Arizona surgery professor, Marlys H. Witte, proposed teaching a class entitled "Introduction to Medical and Other Ignorance." Far too often, she believed, teachers fail to emphasize how much about a given topic is unknown. "Textbooks spend 8 to 10 pages on pancreatic cancer," said Witte, "without ever telling the student that we just don't know very much about it." Now Jamie Holmes writes in the NY Times that many scientific facts simply aren't solid and immutable, but are instead destined to be vigorously challenged and revised by successive generations. According to Homes, presenting ignorance as less extensive than it is, knowledge as more solid and more stable, and discovery as neater also leads students to misunderstand the interplay between answers and questions. In 2006, a Columbia University neuroscientist named Stuart J. Firestein, began teaching a course on scientific ignorance after realizing, to his horror, that many of his students might have believed that we understand nearly everything about the brain. "This crucial element in science was being left out for the students," says Firestein."The undone part of science that gets us into the lab early and keeps us there late, the thing that "turns your crank," the very driving force of science, the exhilaration of the unknown, all this is missing from our classrooms. In short, we are failing to teach the ignorance, the most critical part of the whole operation." The time has come to "view ignorance as 'regular' rather than deviant," argue sociologists Matthias Gross and Linsey McGoey. Our students will be more curious — and more intelligently so — if, in addition to facts, they were equipped with theories of ignorance as well as theories of knowledge.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Microsoft Researchers Generate 3D Models From Ordinary Smartphones

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 19:44
New submitter subh_arya writes: Engineers from Microsoft Research have unveiled the first technology to perform 3D surface reconstruction from ordinary smartphone cameras. Their computational framework creates a connected 3D surface model by continuously registering RGB input to an incrementally built 3D model. Although the reconstruction results look promising, Microsoft does not plan to release an app anytime soon.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

As Coursera Evolves, Colleges Stay On and Investors Buy In

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 19:13
An anonymous reader writes: The hype over online academics has diminished as it became clear that it wasn't a panacea for cheap, global education. While many organizations are struggling with the realization that online courses don't fit in everywhere, Coursera has found out they definitely fit in somewhere. The colleges partnering with Coursera are sticking around, and the company has drawn fresh investments totaling $60 million from venture capitalists. Rather than shoehorning traditional college courses into an online format, they've begun experimenting with different ways to structure education. "The company has created a series of courses that add up to mini-degrees that students can earn quickly, and pay a small fee to certify that they successfully completed them." Other students are using it as a stepping stone to traditional universities: "Rice University, for instance, reports that it is getting more applicants — and higher-quality applicants — for its computer-science masters' degree after offering a CS course on Coursera."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Many Android Users Susceptible To Plug-In Exploit -- And Many Of Them Have It

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 18:27
Ars Technica reports that a recently reported remote access vulnerability in Android is no longer just theoretical, but is being actively exploited. After more than 100,000 downloads of a scanning app from Check Point to evaluate users' risk from the attack, says Ars, In a blog post published today, Check Point researchers share a summary of that data—a majority (about 58 percent) of the Android devices scanned were vulnerable to the bug, with 15.84 percent actually having a vulnerable version of the remote access plug-in installed. The brand with the highest percentage of devices already carrying the vulnerable plug-in was LG—over 72 percent of LG devices scanned in the anonymized pool had a vulnerable version of the plug-in.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Virgin Media To Base a Public Wi-Fi Net On Paying Customers' Routers

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 17:43
An anonymous reader writes with a story that Virgin Media "announced this month its plans to roll out a free public WiFi network this autumn, using subscribers' personal routers and existing infrastructure to distribute the service across UK cities." And while regular customers' routers are to be the basis of the new network, the publicly viewable overlay would operate over "a completely separate connection," and the company claims subscribers' performance will not be hindered. Why, then, would customers bother to pay? For one thing, because the free version is slow: 0.5Mbps, vs. 10Mbps for Virgin's customers.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

KDE Plasma 5.4 Released

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 17:23
jrepin writes: KDE have announced the release of Plasma 5.4 desktop. This release of Plasma brings many nice touches for our users such as new fullscreen application launcher, much improved high DPI support, KRunner auto-completion and many new beautiful Breeze icons. It also lays the ground for the future with a tech preview of Wayland session available. We're shipping a few new components such as an Audio Volume Plasma Widget, monitor calibration tool and the User Manager tool comes out beta.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Next Texas Energy Boom: Solar

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 17:02
Layzej writes: The Wall Street Journal reports: "Solar power has gotten so cheap to produce—and so competitively priced in the electricity market—that it is taking hold even in a state that, unlike California, doesn't offer incentives to utilities to buy or build sun-powered generation." Falling cost is one factor driving investment. "Another reason for the boom: Texas recently wrapped up construction of $6.9 billion worth of new transmission lines, many connecting West Texas to the state's large cities. These massive power lines enabled Texas to become, by far, the largest U.S. wind producer. Solar developers plan to move electricity on the same lines, taking advantage of a lull in wind generation during the heat of the day when solar output is at its highest."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Life With the Dash Button: Good Design For Amazon, Bad For Everyone Else

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 16:13
vivaoporto writes: A scathing review published on Fast Company describes Amazon's Dash Button, the "Buy Now" button brought into the physical world as "the latest symptom of Amazon's slowly spreading disease", "an unabashed attempt to disconnect customers from the amount of money we're spending." The author criticism focus on Amazon's lack of focus on customer experience, a core UI that doesn't make sense, limited and expensive product selection and a "store UX is no longer designed for your convenient shopping", "designed for their profitable selling."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Happy Birthday, Linux! An OS At 24

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 15:31
prisoninmate writes: It has been 24 long years since the first ever release of the Linux project on August 25, 1991, which is the core component of any GNU/Linux distribution. With this occasion we want to remind everyone that Linux is everywhere, even if you don't see it. You use Linux when you search on Google, when you use your phone, when buy metro tickets, actually the whole Internet is powered by Linux. Happy Birthday, Linux!

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Backwards S-Pen Can Permanently Damage Note 5

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 14:52
tlhIngan writes: Samsung recently released a new version of its popular Galaxy Note series phablet, the Note 5. However, it turns out that there is a huge design flaw in the design of its pen holder (which Samsung calls the S-pen). If you insert it backwards (pointy end out instead of in), it's possible for it get stuck damaging the S-pen detection features. While it may be possible to fix it (Ars Technica was able to, Android Police was not), there's also a chance that your pen is also stuck the wrong way in permanently as the mechanism that holds the pen in grabs the wrong end and doesn't let go.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Comcast Planning Gigabit Cable For Entire US In 2-3 Years

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 14:14
An anonymous reader writes: Robert Howald, Comcast's VP of network architecture, said the company is hoping to upgrade its entire cable network within the next two years. The upgraded DOCSIS 3.1 network can support maximum speeds of 10 Gpbs. "Our intent is to scale it through our footprint through 2016," Howald said. "We want to get it across the footprint very quickly... We're shooting for two years."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Ask Slashdot: New Employee System Access Tracking?

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 13:34
New submitter mushero writes: We are a fast-growing IT services company with dozens of systems, SaaS tools, dev tools and systems, and more that a new employee might need access to. We struggle to track this, both in terms of what systems a given set of roles will need and then has it been done, as different people manage various systems. And of course the reverse when an employee leaves. Every on-boarding or HR system we've looked at has zero support for this; they are great at getting tax info, your home address, etc. but not for getting you a computer nor access to a myriad of systems. I know in a perfect world it'd all be single-sign-on, but not realistic yet and we have many, many SaaS service that will never integrate. So what have you used for this, how do you track new employee access across dozens of systems, hundreds of employees, new hires every day, etc.?

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Categories: Tech/Science News

CodeSOD: Foxy Checksum

The Daily WTF - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 12:30

Pavel D inherited some… we’ll call it “software”… that helps run warehouse operations for a boiler/heating manufacturer. That software was a Visual FoxPro database.

Now, this application needs to read barcodes off of products in the warehouse. Since the laser-scanners can sometimes mis-read those barcodes, the database uses a custom check-sum algorithm.

FUNCTION GetCheckSum LPARAMETERS lcSerNum LOCAL lnCalcSum, lnI, lcCheckSum m.lnCalcSum=0 FOR lnI=1 TO LEN( m.lcSerNum ) DO CASE CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum, m.lnI,1)= ' ' m.lnCalcSum= m.lnCalcSum+0*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum, m.lnI,1)= '!' m.lnCalcSum= m.lnCalcSum+1*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum, m.lnI,1)= '"' m.lnCalcSum= m.lnCalcSum+2*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum, m.lnI,1)= '#' m.lnCalcSum= m.lnCalcSum+3*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='$' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+4*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='%' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+5*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='&' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+6*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)="'" m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+7*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='(' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+8*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)=')' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+9*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='*' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+10*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='+' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+11*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)=',' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+12*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='-' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+13*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='.' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+14*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='/' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+15*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='0' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+16*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='1' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+17*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='2' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+18*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='3' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+19*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='4' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+20*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='5' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+21*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='6' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+22*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='7' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+23*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='8' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+24*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='9' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+25*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)=':' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+26*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)=';' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+27*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='<' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+28*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='=' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+29*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='>' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+30*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='?' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+31*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='@' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+32*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='A' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+33*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='B' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+34*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='C' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+35*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='D' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+36*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='E' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+37*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='F' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+38*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='G' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+39*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='H' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+40*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='I' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+41*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='J' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+42*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='K' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+43*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='L' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+44*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='M' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+45*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='N' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+46*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='O' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+47*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='P' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+48*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='Q' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+49*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='R' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+50*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='S' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+51*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='T' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+52*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='U' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+53*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='V' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+54*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='W' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+55*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='X' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+56*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='Y' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+57*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='Z' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+58*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='[' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+59*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='\' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+60*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)=']' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+61*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='^' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+62*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='_' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+63*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='`' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+64*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='a' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+65*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='b' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+66*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='c' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+67*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='d' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+68*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='e' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+69*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='f' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+70*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='g' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+71*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='h' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+72*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='i' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+73*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='j' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+74*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='k' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+75*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='l' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+76*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='m' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+77*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='n' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+78*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='o' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+79*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='p' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+80*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='q' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+81*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='r' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+82*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='s' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+83*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='t' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+84*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='u' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+85*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='v' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+86*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='w' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+87*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='x' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+88*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='y' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+89*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='z' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+90*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='{' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+91*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='|' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+92*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='}' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+93*m.lnI CASE SUBSTR(m.lcSerNum,m.lnI,1)='~' m.lnCalcSum=m.lnCalcSum+94*m.lnI ENDCASE ENDFOR m.lcCheckSum = RIGHT(STR(m.lnCalcSum,7,0),1) RETURN m.lcCheckSum ENDFUNC

Now, the obvious issue here is that the entire “CASE ” statement could be replaced with a call to “ASC”, which returns the ASCII code for a given character , but as Pavel notes, “the value of a character at position which equals a multiple of 10 is ignored”.

Pavel was tasked with reimplementing this in Python, and after a little thought, recreated the function in a much more concise fashion:

def validate(sn): checksum = 0 for i, x in enumerate(sn[:-1]): checksum += (i + 1) * (ord(x) - 32) return str(checksum % 10) == sn[-1] hljs.initHighlightingOnLoad(); [Advertisement] Manage IT infrastructure as code across all environments with Puppet. Puppet Enterprise now offers more control and insight, with role-based access control, activity logging and all-new Puppet Apps. Start your free trial today!
Categories: Fun/Other

Met Office Loses BBC Weather Forecasting Contract

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 11:30
An anonymous reader writes: UK weather forecasts could be run on computers in New Zealand, as the BBC announced that the UK Met Office lost a forecasting contract it held for almost 100 years. The Guardian reports: "The Met Office has lost the contract it has held for close to a century to provide weather forecasts to the BBC, bringing to an end one of the longest relationships in British media. The broadcaster said it was legally required to open up the contract to outside competition in order to secure the best value for licence fee payers. The meteorological service said it was disappointed by the BBC’s decision to put out to tender the contract, which has been in place since the corporation’s first radio weather bulletin on 14 November 1922. Steve Noyes, operations and customer services director at the Met Office, said: 'Nobody knows Britain’s weather better and, during our long relationship with the BBC, we’ve revolutionised weather communication to make it an integral part of British daily life.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

How Poly Bridge's GIF Generator Turned an Indie Game Into a Reddit Sensation

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 09:04
An anonymous reader writes: The creator of bridge physics phenomenon Poly Bridge discusses the rise of the bridge physics phenomenon in a new interview this week. Patrick Corrieri of New Zealand's Dry Cactus studio reveals the Reddit hit has sold at least 48,000 copies so far, but that its smartest feature, a GIF generator to capture all your successful crosses and crashes, only came about by accident: "Ultimately it was another independent developer, Zach Barth from Zachotronics, who pushed me to integrate the feature. Not only that, but he also gave me the source code to his GIF encoding routine so I could hit the ground running. That's what is so awesome about the indie dev community: a willingness to share and learn from each other, as growing together is much better than competing with one another."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Calls For Funding NASA Commercial Crew Grow

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 06:34
MarkWhittington writes: As summer starts to give way to fall and the end of the current fiscal year draws nigh, demands that NASA's commercial crew program be fully funded are being heard with greater frequency and urgency. Astronaut Scott Kelly took time off from his year-long sojourn on the International Space Station to entreat Congress to pony up. IO9 was a little more caustic, stating "Dammit, Congress: Just Buy NASA its Own Space Taxi, Already." Monday, Slate became the latest media outlet to take up the cause The situation is depressingly familiar to those who have followed the fortunes of the space program since the Apollo moon landings. When President Obama started the commercial crew program in 2010, NASA estimated that it would take a certain amount of money to get government funded and commercially operated spacecraft running by 2015. Then the space agency would no longer be dependent on Russia for rides to the International Space Station. Congress has decided to allocate less money than NASA feels it needed for commercial crew. This situation is not unusual, as Congress often does this to space projects. However, the politics surrounding the creation of the commercial crew program, which featured the abrupt cancellation of the Constellation space exploration program, has exacerbated the conflict between NASA's will and Congress' won't. President Obama did not consult Congress when he cancelled President Bush's return to the moon program. Congress has displeased ever since.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Who Makes the Decision To Go Cloud and Who Should?

Slashdot - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 04:03
Esther Schindler writes: It's a predictable argument in any IT shop: Should the techies — with their hands on their keyboards — be the people who decide which technology or deployment is right for the company? Or should CIOs and senior management — with their strategic perspective — be the ones to make the call? Ellis Luk got input from plenty of people about management vs. techies making cloud/on-premise decisions... with, of course, a lot of varying in opinion.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

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