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Ninja On Rye
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HTC's and Valve’s Vive VR headset

As well as being a really inspiring article for both virtual reality in general and the Vive headset in particular, there are a lot of interesting points made.

In the test, Alex Davies wears it with cables, with a harness.  But even with that, it's not something that was breaking through the experience.  And those are things that will be gone for the commercial release.

The Vive was set up to use a pair of Lighthouse base stations, which sit in opposite corners of the room and will pick up movement.  As to how well it worked, he said it never glitched whilst he was in VR.
Hand gestures are picked up via controllers, which also have some haptic feedback.

The room he was in was 15 feet x 15 feet (ballpark 5 metres square) and gave him plenty of scope for physically wandering around during the demos.  The headset and Lighthouse will scale larger.  If you get too close to an actual physical wall, the system will display "a glowing grid-like representation of your boundaries that subtly reminds you of your limits without being too distracting from the virtual experience."

The demos themselves varied from game-like explorations and robots to cooking and painting.  And it was the less game-like ones that impressed him more, with their greater variety of interactions.  In fact he was quite impressed with being able to repaint over the same lines when doing the painting demo (quality of tracking) and in being able to interact with the virtual objects in the cooking demo.

"Also, the 360 degrees of movement that the Vive allows for meant that I could effortlessly navigate the game space with both of my hands, my feet and my body to get the task assigned to me done."

One of the highlights Alex specifically mentions is the freedom of being able to move around in the physical room, translated to the VR world.  Has to be a big plus.

After using the system, he says it really highlights the non-game applications in a way that textual articles never really managed.  The possibility of using it for treating PTSD in soldiers (already being worked on by Psious), or increasing immersion in TV shows (HGC and Lions Gate Entertainment are already partners).

Certainly, I'm more keen than ever to get my hands on the Vive setup!
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Oculus was out and the Vive was in from the moment Valve made the announcement. Assuming they stick to their schedule, I'll own one at year's end.
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I first heard mention of the Australian laws to regulate technology that could have dual military / commercial use sometime last year, when a researcher in AI was quite scathing of the effect it would have on technology research in Australia.

Previous law covered the export of physical materials for military or dual use - the new laws now cover all manner of "intangible supply and brokering" including sending email to colleagues overseas.

Penalties are harsh, as you can imagine for laws involving potential military exports, but "major penalties under the law would be suspended for 12 months during a 'suck it and see' process."_

Notable, "Dual-use restrictions mean the new law affects researchers even if they have no relationship – and have never had a relationship – with the Department of Defence.

And for the sorts of technologies that could have potential military use, well, that's fairly broad.  Here's a start, from the article:

high-performance, neural, optical and fault-tolerant, computers,
electronics,
wavelength research (remember, wi-fi was ‘invented’ in Australia),
heat-shielding,
telecommunications,
information security research,
robotics,
human, animal and plant pathogens, both bacterial and viral,
fibre optics,
cryptography.
satellite technology.
sensor technology.
signal and image processing.
composite materials

With such laws in place, Australia looks particularly unappealing for any type of research.

And in case you were wondering, yes, the USA required Australia to sign on to this, or they wouldn't supply smart/ electronic weapons to us for defense.  So we did.  Sigh.
A law just enacted severely jeopardises expansion and growth of Australia's research expertise, particularly in academic and science circles, in the name of Defence. The effects could be profound.
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I was at one of the trial universities last year for the development of this legislation. UQ was another one. The committee met about once a month trialing and testing scenarios.

It was started by the previous labor administration.

The government will enforce unis to hire compliance officers to help guide them to implement it.
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Think you have trouble telling left from right?  Background noise contributes to problems (being female or older doesn't help either)

Alas, even worse, apparently people are not good at telling whether they are good at telling left from right.

Not great in general.  Much worse if you are a doctor performing on a patient :/
Some of us are better than others at distinguishing between right and left – but what happens when it's your surgeon with the problem?
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I am horrible at this, but discovered that "port" and "starboard" come fairly easy to me. Thanks USN!
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From 2010-2015, the USA had 58 nuclear "incidents of loss, theft or other"

Many of us would have seen the Doomsday Clock moving about, a few minutes before midnight.  This dashboard shows (some of) the inputs that the panel consider when decided where to place the hands on the clock.
There are a lot of the expected inputs, such as nuclear war and climate change, but I found the (admittedly scant) details on the nuclear side of the world to be one of the most interesting points.

Of course, the numbers will be much higher - there's no doubt a lot of incidents that go unreported or unknown.
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Reddit thread "VC 2015 RTM: what do you want it to have?" from Visual Studio's STL developer +Stephan Lavavej
Those of you following the Windows compiler's development would note that it's on CTP 6 and well towards getting a release out later this year as part of Visual Studio 2015.
Stephan's thread asks both what are you expecting it to have, and what do you want it to have.
Go over and vote up suggestions or add your own.

I'm assuming we're not covering purely IDE changes here (so I'll omit my requests for Task lists in C++ to be solution-wide as they are in other languages, and for syntax markup to add Italic/Underline/Strikethrough checkboxes in addition to Bold).

What do I expect to change in VC, from CTP 6?  Actually, not really much. 
* Bug fixes, primarily. 
* And /analyze to be available.

What would I want it to have?
* Switches for language cutoff.  I understand if it can't get all of C++11, or even C++03 in as much as I and others want it, but being able to cut off features at and above, say C++14, could be useful in crossplatform development, even without supporting everything below it.
* Integrated CMake support.  And still be able to add/remove files in a graphical tree.
* The ability to turn off warnings in third-party code (similar to a system header include in gcc I guess), because suppressing some boost warnings is just painful.  Hell, I'd like to know if I'm shadowing variables, but if you use boost, that's essentially impossible.
* A warning level 5 - yes, wall does include everything (as it should) and some of those are informative messages that I really don't need to see - but there are quite a few interesting warnings that are off by default that I think could be usefully added to a new warning level.  What that set may be will differ from person to person, so I'm not too concerned about its specific contents.
* A default third build type?  More speculative, this one.  Sometimes I want a release build because essentially I want something relatively cut down, optimised, representative of a release.  Sometimes I want debug, because I need to figure out what's going on, and I need whatever runtime sanity checks I can get.  And sometimes I just want it to run pretty much right now.  Whatever background compiling it can do is fine - I type relatively slowly. Everything's been built at some point a little while ago, and then I type in some changes. When I stop typing in a function, if the compiler kicked in, compiled those minimal changes with whatever settings produces the fastest compile and then just linked that in, then I'm good to go.  Maybe that's asking a bit much.  Maybe there's no real time that can be saved  between the current two default build configuration options.
* I'd like to be able to see the current build state in the solution tree.  Some of that's made it's way in, but it would be nice if at a glance I could see that, eg,  project 1 and 2 have unsaved changes, project 3 is saved but not compiled, project 4 cannot link, project 5 fails to pass tests.  A glance at the tree when I'm working on a broken build could help show where things are broken and what state I've gotten the system back to. 
* Feeding template instantiations into the IDE, so when I write something with a template Allocator myAllocator I can get (optional?) intellisense based on the fact that the codebase only calls that function with either std::allocator or NinjaAllocator.  Show the intersected members and methods.  Because in theory my T could be anything, in practice I'm only using a very limited set of things. And the compiler can see that.

That's about it.  I also think there are plenty of opportunities for the compiler front-end to contribute back into the GUI (and codelens is a start) but there would a lot of work in not only feeding that information in, but also user trials to determine what's actually useful and doesn't clutter and detract from the interface.
And what are you *expecting* it to have? This is mostly for my own curiosity - I already know what I'm working on in the STL, and the other devs...
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Does memory exist outside the brain?
Experiments by James McConnell in the 50s and 60s suggested that memory may also exist outside of the brain.  He took worms, cut off their heads, had them regrow them and then, seemingly, demonstrated that they remembered what they had previously learned.
In a further experiment, he train up some worms, cut them up, fed them to other worms and they then demonstrated the learnings from their food.
Amazing claims.
There was a bit of hit and miss in the replication and in the end nothing really stuck, but of late the ideas are being retested by the developmental biologist Michael Levin.  Renowned for his work in regeneration, he's finding merit in the idea and has done some fairly rigorous testing, but even then he's finding that there's a hesitation to accept the results as valid.

So McConnell's initial experiments appeared to demonstrate learning with beheaded worms - but were they flukes?

Are there properties of the worm (being able to regrow its head and body from its tail, for example) that make this a very singular result?

It will be certainly interesting to see where this goes, what implications it could have, and what the theoretical basis of it is.
After performing controversial memory experiments in the ‘50s and ‘60s, psychologist James V. McConnell’s reputation never recovered. His proposal — that memories could live on outside the brain —...
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+Deen Abiola the experiment worms yes. Worms are different not all are the same you had mentioned the brain. No matter what kind of habitat the brain is different. I thought of facts such as the Declaration of Independence. 
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On consecutive letters in english

There are countless english words with consecutive letters, and although some are very uncommon you can find doubled letters in words for every letter of the alphabet.

However, once you move on to consecutive doubled letters, things start thinning out.
At two consecutive doublings, you have words like balloon.
At three, you have bookkeeping.
At four, you have subbookkeeper, for one who works under a bookkeeper.

If instead, you prefer consecutive vowels, at three you have beautiful.
At four vowels you have cooee.
At five consecutive vowels, there's miaoued.

Switching to consonants let's you scale some decent heights (or lengths, as it were).
At four letters you have nights.
At five there's dumbstruck.
At six there's catchphrase.
At seven there's rhythms (notably vowel-free).
At eight, there's untsktskworthy, for someone who's not worth tsktsking.
At nine there's dysrhythmia.
And without getting too far into the land of obscuria, there's the 12 letter tachydysrhythmia, for an abnormally fast heartbeat.

As for three or more consecutive letters, things start thin and move on to questionable / archaic.  
There are terms such as princessship and dutchessship, which have a history going back a few hundred years at least with the works of Henry Fielding, but raise questions of hyphenation.  
If you want four consecutive letters, the best bet is probably the obsolete palindrome esssse, meaning "ashes".

And if your consecutive fetishism is for dots, in english you've got three with hijinks.

ps, if you wondered whether the browser went to town with red squiggly lines in this post, damn straight it did.

#englishlanguage
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Squiggly lines indeed! 
Ask a simple question . . . find your way into all sorts of nooks and crannies in the web. 
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9 minute video talking about how the FOVE headset tracks eye movement and detects what object in the game your eyes are converging on.  Pretty cool stuff!
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Life perspective on what it's like to grow up conservatively religious in the USA and then find you're unexpectedly pregnant

This from someone who grew up on RushLim in a small town surrounded by adults who were anti-government, anti-liberals, anti-homosexual and anti everything else wicked and sinful.  "Jesus-infused charity was acceptable, government and welfare were not. Racist jokes were hilarious and liberals were too sensitive. People who don’t make enough money should work harder."

But in this case, there was an immediate reversal on the position of the mother-to-be.  Previously, "Not only was [abortion] murder, it was lazy and irresponsible, and in working-class redneck America there are no two greater sins"
On seeing the results of the test, she immediately began thinking of termination.

She researched the procedure, and her options in general, and went ahead with it, with her husband's support. 
She now is active in ensuring that other women in such a situation have both the right to a choice of termination and access to the facilities required.
In a reaction that surprised me to my core, my first thought was, "Get an abortion.”
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Someone I know went through this a couple of years ago. About the only comfort she gets in life is from her faith, but real life is messy and she got pregnant. The father was abusive and not about to take responsibility for it. She was in a bad position financially, so after much thinking about it she decided to terminate the pregnancy. It was much harder on her than it would have had to be if it weren't for this kind of attitude pervading the society around her. She felt terrible about making the decision. 
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Elon Musk's SolarCity is selling smart microgrids to cities and businesses

These microgrids have distributed software controlled nodes, and can work either with an existing power grid, or independently, using a combination of solar panels and batteries. 

So this is where that particular offshoot of Tesla's energy research is going?

Interesting sidenote: "The first decade of the 21st century saw 3,496 natural disasters, nearly a fivefold increase over the 1970s," SolarCity states in its marketing material.
SolarCity, a solar panel installer, is offering to set up mini-power grids that include battery backup, which can be deployed by corporate campuses, military bases and even cities.
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+Alex Waardenburg "with only a fraction of your appliances participating"  This has a degree of truth but needs a qualifier.  Its success is proportional to the ratio between the variability of the capacity of dispatch-able loads and dispatch-able generation sources.  And obviously, storage, being able to play both roles, plays a significant role.  The good news is that this gives incentive to all three.

https://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/the-living-smart-grid/
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Finland making major education reforms: switches 'subjects' for 'topics'
So rather than having a class on maths, a class on geography and a class on economics, a student might take a class on cafeteria skills that combines skills in various subjects.
The reforms are intended to make skillsets more relevant as they move into the world.
The changes to the education system are beginning now, but will start off only with small amounts of time allocated to topics over subjects.  The changes will be rolled out over several years.

That's a pretty bold undertaking.
For years, Finland has been the by-word for a successful education system, perched at the top of international league tables for literacy and numeracy.
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All I know is that their existing model of no schooling before the age seven / eight works. They top leaderboards from what I've seen, so you have to assume they know what they're doing. Home schooling.
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For St Patrick's Day.
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That's a lovely one!
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Ninj
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softdev of oz, sci-fi aficionado, connoisseur of fine metal
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Transhumanist under construction.
A master of the dark arts.  A weaver of threads, a composer of wonders, a wordsmith in waiting.


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Contributor to the shapley supercluster article on wikipedia. Cold-blooded killer of innocent computer hardware.
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