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Playing with Syntax stevelosh.com
27 points by jsnell  49 minutes ago   4 comments top
expression 17 minutes ago 3 replies      
I guess I'm never to actually get Lisp to appreciate its syntax.

>Aside from the prefix ordering, Common Lisps syntax is already a bit more elegant because you can set arbitrarily many variables without repeating the assignment operator over and over again:

 ; Have to type out `=` three times x = 10 y = 20 z = 30 ; But only one `setf` required (setf x 10 y 20 z 30)
I utterly fail to see the aforementioned elegance, although I certainly can't miss the line where it happens.

The Japanese Urban Zoning System marginalrevolution.com
41 points by Osiris30  2 hours ago   7 comments top 6
irq11 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
Japan's property values haven't risen in the last 20 years because their economy is in the toilet, they're struggling with deflation, and their population is declining.

When the economy was growing like crazy in the 80s, Japan had the most expensive real estate on the planet, and the same zoning they do now.

codyb 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
Very neat. I love reading about cities and urban planning. I have "The Death and Life of American Cities" by Jane Jacobs laying around which I need to read and I read another book about architecture here in New York City and how it has evolved over time in response to things such as fires and 9/11. Really really very interesting stuff.

This was a great post. Mixed use cities are generally much more desirable in my eyes. The American suburbs are a blight on the land which make our nation so much more carcentric than it needs to be spreading the population out and reducing the efficacy of our now underfunded and sprawled out public transportation system.

Of course it's not a shocker that such a system evolved in a nation with such a staggering amount of land available to it's citizens who live and have lived in a nation with huge amounts of racial segregation.

The idea of a set of national guidelines makes sense from an engineering perspective because small towns can't afford engineers often (or may not even think to seek out their expertise) and in the end you have a group of individuals with no qualifications determining the fate of their town with arbitrarily decided rules.

And rating things by their nuisance (traffic plus noise) levels is a really neat way to quantify whether a building should exist in a given area.

Awesome! Lots of new things to entertain the mind.

contingencies 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
It's not untrue to say that Japanese society as a whole does have a culture of Confucian orthodoxy/heirarchy, ie. people do not 'rock the boat' or 'aggressively agitate for change'. This means that tradition survives well and a cultural premium on internalizing discontent and preserving outward peace rules the land. Urban zoning is probably one of the areas most affected by this cultural property. That said, in my mind even traditional Japanese urban architecture is pretty well optimized for high density, itself largely based on Tang Dynasty Chang'an in China, arguably one of the greatest periods of multicultural tolerance and philosophical debate in the history of the planet (terminus of the Silk Road, vast exchange of ideas).
saosebastiao 33 minutes ago 1 reply      
I'm glad Tyler is talking about this, as he tends to be the leading edge of a lot of policy discussion around newish ideas, and the Japanese zoning system is a marvel of both efficacy and simplicity.

While the Japanese system is implemented and managed on the national level, I can imagine this being more effective on a more granular level, while still being much higher up than the city level as to avoid the political repercussions of local special interest landowners.

Cyph0n 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
I read the original article when it was posted to HN a while back. It's a bit too detailed, but provides a very comprehensive analysis of why the Japanese system just works.
atemerev 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
SimCity is to blame. It cemented the current system. :)
Sad Trombone Exoplanet Reality Check antipope.org
92 points by cstross  5 hours ago   108 comments top 20
deanCommie 5 hours ago 8 replies      
When I was a boy in the Soviet Union in the late 80's, I picked up a book on computers. It was targeted towards children, and talked about a lot of different components and ideas from bits and bytes to RAM to networking, and interesting applications like barcodes.

I remember my mind being blown by barcodes. But the idea seemed far-fetched and unrealistic. To put a barcode on EVERY single item in the grocery store? That would take decades to implement!

Then we emigrated to Canada and I was shocked to see it was already in place (and must have been for a while).

Maybe this isn't the best example of tremendous human achievement but it taught me to not take for granted what is unrealistic and how quickly humanity could achieve it if we put our minds to it.

With apologies to Cliff Stoll and his magnificent brain, let's not forget a pretty common perspective on the Internet from 1995: http://europe.newsweek.com/clifford-stoll-why-web-wont-be-ni...

Space exploration and rocketry is not cheap, and requires new innovation. Only SpaceX is doing anything on that front. But if humanity set getting to Proxima Centauri as a goal, I have no doubt we could achieve at least kicking off a single-generation journey within my lifetime (ie sub-80 year journey time in the next 80 years)

alanbernstein 3 hours ago 0 replies      
> note that 4.25 light years isn't an order-of-magnitude improvement over the previous winners for Earthlike proximity, such as Wolf 1061c (13.8 light years away) or Kapteyn B* (12.76 light years away). We're talking about the difference between 40 arbitrarily-huge-units and 100 arbitrarily-huge-units. So how should we contextualize these arbitrarily-huge-units?

This is nonsense. The point is that the exoplanet was (potentially) found orbiting the nearest star, which means it's as close as it can be.

douche 5 hours ago 4 replies      
The physics of space travel are harsh, and the distances involved even harsher. Plus, unless you want to go screaming by on a fly-by mission, you have to burn all that delta-V you generated to get there in order to slow down again.

The only real solution will be some kind of essentially magical faster than light technology - never say never, but it doesn't seem likely without some staggering breakthroughs in areas of physics we don't even have an inkling about.

Maybe it's the American exceptionalism and internalization of Manifest Destiny as the natural order of things, but the idea of being effectively stuck, as a species, on this one rock for eternity is pretty depressing. Especially if that is the fate, not just of ourselves, but of all life intelligent enough to look up at the stars and imagine walking among them. If the best we can hope for is a Motey-like[1] Malthusian cycle, it's not much to look forward to.


JumpCrisscross 31 minutes ago 0 replies      
Sounds like a riveting to-do list, with lots of big implications for the folks back home.

> We'd need a whole raft of breathroughs, including radiation shielding techniques to kick the interstellar medium out of the way of the probe

Game changer for nuclear power and propulsion, in terms of safety. If we did this with matter, that means we can get closer to hot things [1]. If we did this with energy, ha! - we can now start harvesting edge-of-magnetosphere antimatter and explore mining and terraforming using directed energy.

> as well as some sort of beam propulsion system

If we can beam massive amounts of power out that means we (a) have massive amounts of power up there and (b) can beam (a) home [2].

> and then some way of getting data back home across interstellar distances

Either we figured out how to keep lasers (or some other stream of stuff) columnar over super-long distances or we broke new ground in information theory. Either way, getting a grainy picture home from Proxima Centauri on an apple of an energy budget means getting lots more closer to home around faster and more efficiently.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_lifting

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyson_sphere

Sniffnoy 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Note in the comments Peter Erwin points out that Charlie has overestimated the density in the (relevant portion of the) interstellar medium by several orders of magnitude: http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2016/08/san-trom...
makmanalp 47 minutes ago 1 reply      
> This veritable speed racer of an interplanetary probe would thus require a mere 31,600 years to reach Proxima Centauri (if indeed it was pointed in the right direction, which it isn't).

Holy cow, that's multiple times longer than humanity has even existed as a civilization, and in all likelihood it might perish before that probe could even make it there. What a reality check. I don't think incremental improvements are going to cut it for space travel.

DanBC 5 hours ago 0 replies      
> Currently, the most distant visited body in the solar system is Pluto, at 7.5 billion kilometers. The New Horizons probe flew past Pluto on July 14, 2015. It was launched on January 19th 2006 by a booster and upper stage combination that blasted it straight up to solar escape velocity, with a speed of 16.26 km/sec (58,536 km/h), making it the fastest human-made vehicle ever: it then executed a Jupiter gravity-assist flyby to slingshot it out past Pluto, where it arrived nine and a half years after departure.

Lots of people have no clue just how big the solar system is, and how small the planets are in comparison. (Never mind the distance to exoplanets). Here's one video that gives a nice demonstration using a soccer ball and pin heads, from Mark Rober (who worked on a Mars rover at Nasa): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pR5VJo5ifdE

throwawaytire 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The title of this article sounds like a password [1].

Whenever one of these articles comes out I like to think of this fun paper: [2] Are Black Hole Starships Possible?", http://arxiv.org/pdf/0908.1803

[1] https://xkcd.com/936/[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole_starship

lmm 5 hours ago 2 replies      
It's disingenuous to talk about Fukushima as a "meltdown", or imply that it was dangerous (on the scale of space-travel dangers).

The Project Orion design was for 10% of light speed, and didn't assume any scientific breakthroughs like fusion - it would require a massive amount of engineering , but the core technology (that used in nuclear weapons) was mature in the '70s.

We're still talking about a 40+ year journey, for a craft whose cost was estimated at $367B at the time - about $2.5T now. It's not easy by any means. But it is doable. We'll get there.

Udo 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I wasn't aware this reality check was needed, but it's worth noting that we haven't even left Earth yet (going to the Moon doesn't really count, and we've since lost that capability again). If we were a solar-system-wide civilization, I can see how it would make sense to talk about the feasibilities of interstellar travel, but today we are so far off it's not even an issue. We also don't have any ambitions to change that, so extrapolating from today's state of affairs, we'll probably remain thoroughly Earth-bound until we reach a tech level that enables individual people to have space programs (if we ever get there).

It's fun to think of probe-based exploration, but apart from acceleration/energy based problems we haven't even figured out how to make machines last that long. This is all very, very far off.

bluejekyll 1 hour ago 1 reply      
So what you're saying is, "we need a bigger rocket!"

I agree. It's high time we started on near light speed space travel.

Sharlin 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting that he doesn't mention the Breakthrough Starshot concept at all.
StreamBright 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Excellent read, so much insight. We really need those gates from "The Expanse" series.
sklivvz1971 2 hours ago 1 reply      
> 4.25 light years isn't an order-of-magnitude improvement over the previous winners for Earthlike proximity, such as Wolf 1061c (13.8 light years away) or Kapteyn B* (12.76 light years away).

Wrong. It is, quite literally, just about a order of magnitude better.

heisenbit 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Just finished reading "The three body problem". A civilization on planet in a system with 3 suns would have some interesting challenges.
digi_owl 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Thermodynamics is a real downer...
bogomipz 3 hours ago 3 replies      
The title of this blog post is one of the funniest I've read on HN, really made me laugh.

The author states:

"We might get a small probe up to arbitrarily high velocities if we cheat by using an engine that stays back home where we can keep it running, but then we run into other problems."

Does anyone know which rocket propulsion technology he is referring to there? In the paragraph before he is referring to plasma beam but he doesn't say what this is.

mozumder 3 hours ago 0 replies      
NASA should over the next 100 years build a hyper-telescope, so that people can begin to actually see these planets in detail before before a probe can be sent.

Even with current technology, a hyper-telescope could be self-assembled in space, built from billions of 3-d printed & smoothened mirror segments, all aligned to half wavelength of visible light. We need to have a 1000px x 1000px resolution of earth-like planets out to 100 light years away, which would be several thousand miles in diameter.

exratione 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Focusing on habitability from our perspective seems somewhat parochial.

From the perspective of colonization: by the time future sentients descended from or created by present humanity get to other planetary systems, we-for-some-definition-of-we would be capable of living anywhere, and space and novelty will be things that you get by computing more efficiently, not by going places.

From the perspective of adding data to the Fermi Paradox: assessing the possibilities of life being out there by looking for places in which bacteria of the known varieties could survive probably tells us little about the true range of life.

From the perspective of resource assessment: by the time descendant entities get to other systems, it won't much matter how the matter there is distributed. It will used efficiently whether a gas disk, rock and ice condensations, or (improbably) somehow all in the star.

Synaesthesia 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Same story for colonising Mars, or even sending astronauts there. It's pretty much unfeasible. Yes maybe we could send some people there but the costs involved are so astronomical that it really can't be justified. We're stuck on this planet and we need to make the best of it.
PyCNN: Cellular Neural Networks Image Processing Python Library github.com
24 points by bane  2 hours ago   5 comments top 3
anc84 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Those examples seem like standard image processing to me, could someone explain why a neural network is useful for these?
dancsi 1 hour ago 2 replies      
The name CNN is quite unfortunate, as it is most often used for convolutional neural networks.
nzjrs 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
Making a play for the CNN TLA I see...
Anonymouth Document Anonymization Tool github.com
20 points by q-_-p  1 hour ago   1 comment top
rahkiin 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
Last change is 3 years old. That means it is quite dead. Also, so many libraries but no Maven :(
Building PokemonGo in Pure HTML, JavaScript and CSS geofenceapi.org
35 points by jonthepirate  5 hours ago   3 comments top 2
tomyws 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
Tiny nitpick, but supporting desktops to demo a location-based game seems odd!
marktangotango 1 hour ago 1 reply      
This is really awesome, fantastic timely example. I love the ability to rapidly prototype with html, css, javascript and third party api's.

Edit; probably a bit too much self promotion, as commented below.

Paleontologists find huge T. Rex skull in Montana theverge.com
35 points by Tomte  5 hours ago   3 comments top 3
celias 1 hour ago 0 replies      
losteverything 49 minutes ago 0 replies      
Is this still a dig until you find something or accidentally find something process or is there some "x-ray - sonar-whatever" that can see below the ground?

I remember some cool shops in Montana where you could buy slabs for $20. Awesome for science class

Mans paralyzed hand moves again 18 months after surgery ottawacitizen.com
24 points by speg  5 hours ago   2 comments top 2
ape4 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Public health system for the win.
mgkimsal 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Holy cow that's exciting to think about!
Japanese writing system basics candyjapan.com
876 points by bemmu  15 hours ago   295 comments top 46
viraptor 14 hours ago 4 replies      
This was an interesting symbol to choose for an internet explanation. It took me a while to realise that the rectangle is actually the symbol that I'm supposed to see, rather than a missing glyph.
imron 9 hours ago 2 replies      
In Chinese is pronounced sh.

As someone who speaks Chinese, I got a chuckle out of reading 'put your favorite snack in your and t it!' due to the association in my mind of that character and its Chinese pronunciation, immediately followed by a 't'.

primitivesuave 6 hours ago 4 replies      
Another interesting aspect of traditional Chinese characters is that complex words are expressed by combining simpler symbols. For example, the Chinese word for computer is . The first character represents "electricity", and the second character represents "brain". Which is really what a computer is, an electric brain. Similarly, a computer programmer is , where the three symbols are "rule", "order", and "person" - one who orders rules.

An interesting consequence of this is that you only need to learn around 3000 symbols to read a Chinese newspaper, just like how you can ascertain the meaning of an unfamiliar English word by having knowledge of a small set of Latin/Greek roots.

euske 7 hours ago 5 replies      
Yeah yeah, this all makes sense until you see , which isn't "a three-mouthed monster" but "goods".

Languages are weird, man.

anqurvanillapy 11 hours ago 4 replies      
In Chinese, 'eat' is usually ''. We use ' (le)' to say we 'ate' and ' (zi) ' or ' (zh)' for 'eating'.

It is really interesting that in China people often ask their friends '? (Have you eaten?)' rather than ' (Hi)' in daily life. So initially I thought this post was describing something in Chinese w/o my noticing the URL.

andreygrehov 14 hours ago 5 replies      
I liked the beginning and expected the next word after "mouth" to look almost the same, with a subtle change, which would be a logical extension. But it was quite a jump from a simple square () to god-knows-what ().

Also, why is translated as "Eclipse" in Google?

sideproject 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Really like the live streaming of Google Analytics at the bottom. :) Now I have an idea how much traffic you receive when you reach the #1 spot on HN on the weekend.
daveheq 3 hours ago 1 reply      
"Since we already have symbols for all the sounds we can pronounce"... Not with 26 letters we don't. Other languages have other sounds that English can only try to emulate, and even English has sounds that require multiple letters.
dhfromkorea 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Another interesting side-effect that the compactness of Chinese symbols(other variations: Hanja in Korean, Kanji in Japanese and so forth)allowed was a higher chance of survival against natural disasters like wild fires or crimes like thefts or vandalism.

It was/is far easier to ensure redundancy of scripts and books since the costs of reprinting/copying was far lower compared to other forms of phonetic systems.

The compactness explains how so many archaic, buddhist scripts could survive to this day.

zatkin 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Aren't we sort of starting to doing this with the introduction of emojis? They're a little bit ambiguous, but they do have meaning behind them, nonetheless.
raverbashing 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
Sniffnoy 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Not sure how great an explanation that really is. I like Zompist's explanation: http://www.zompist.com/yingzi/yingzi.htm
rett12 13 hours ago 4 replies      
Sometimes I wonder if all these people that criticize or that think that a Latin alphabet can be adapted seamlessly to all languages have tried to study past a beginner level anylogographic language.
codedokode 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The problem is that many characters look similar but have nothing in common. For example, the article mentions the character meaning "food". So when after reading the article you see similar character like you might think it is somehow related to food. Well, it is not, it just means "good". And another similar character meaning "long" or "leader" also has no relation to previous two.

And when you get to more complicated characters like it becomes even more confusing.

Grue3 9 hours ago 2 replies      
means "enter", means "mouth". means... "entrance". Actually for most kanji there is no single meaning. Some meanings might even have nothing in common with each other, because they've been based on ancient Chinese wordplay or something.
danielrhodes 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm interested in how this compactness changes the expressiveness and evolution of the language. In English, as in other languages written in the latin alphabet, you can make changes to the spelling of a word and create new meanings rather fluidly and it's usually easy for the reader to comprehend. I have no knowledge of Japanese, but are there similar possibilities? How do new words/slang get created?
frostymarvelous 5 hours ago 3 replies      
After viewing this a couple of hours ago, ads for Candy Japan are popping up for me on Facebook.
dghughes 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I just discovered NativLang on YouTube so this really is in my zone of interest today.

I've just spent the last few hours learning all about languages how they developed and each culture's spin on adding as much meaning as efficiently as possible to written symbols. I've always loved languages so this was more of a brush up plus learning.

It seems and rightly so ambiguity is death to any characters and efficiency is also fundamental to the character.

I'm not Korean but I like their style literally I like how their language style is so efficient in context to mouth position. It was created because Chinese characters didn't suit Korean language. Japan also streamlined Chinese characters to better suit their culture.

Mayan is another wild language full of meaning in such compact symbols. I had a hard time following their characters.

haddr 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This article is cool, I love the way is actually encourages to learn something by starting with something simple that you can grasp in seconds.

I was like ()!!!

falcolas 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Everything old is new again.

I have no , but I must ...

Edit: Nevermind, HN swallowed the Emojis.

ryao 3 hours ago 1 reply      
and are also Chinese characters for mouth and eat, although I had to check google for . Initially, I thought that he was teaching Chinese until I read was eat (which needed Google) and that it was "Japanese".
fiatjaf 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Can I believe this? Does Japanese really mix characters that mean things with characters that mean sounds?
paradite 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This has the added advantaged of being recognized by both native Japaneses and Chinese speakers instantly, as long as we keep it to kanji.

I recognized what the author is doing from the start as a Chinese speaker.

billmalarky 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Love the live video analytics! Such a simple yet effective hack.
alecsmart1 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This is off topic, but I can't find any pricing on the candyjapan.com website when visiting on mobile (iPhone). Anyone can tell me how much it costs per month?
rezashirazian 14 hours ago 2 replies      
That was cool. Interesting enough, you can come to the same conclusion with emojis.
kevindeasis 14 hours ago 6 replies      
How many symbols are there? And how would the keyboard look like though?
Joof 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Japanese is an unusual language to write. It's influenced by Chinese (in two separate eras), English and perhaps many other systems. Symbols alone aren't a perfect fit for the language (since they add tense and such), but neither is an English style alphabet.
drwicked 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm kindof fascinated by the idea of livestreaming the pageview statistics. I had a surreal moment realizing the weird recursion. Is this something people do now?
giancarlostoro 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Ancient Pictographic (before Paleo) Hebrew is like this too. Except they only have 22 letters, there's a 23rd but it is no longer part of the 'Aleph Bet'. Hebrew originally had no vowels, and thus today they only put the vowel system in when it's a word people don't normally know how to pronounce. Chinese is similar as well, and I'm sure there's a couple more languages.
smnplk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm struggling to find a comment that is actually related to the story of CandyJapan and not that character.
fogleman 13 hours ago 2 replies      
That was fun. Will there be a second lesson?
wch4999 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, reading the first part I just realized this is japanese/chinese! In Chinese all characters are like or . Sometimes we can also break the character down to several parts to understand its meaning.
sova 12 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone who has spent years of their life dedicated to mastering Japanese, I must say, you sir are a genius.

By the way, I'm happy your site is rockin! I saw it when you launched candyjapan and I am happy for you =)

nxzero 3 hours ago 1 reply      
>> "Since we already have symbols for all the sounds we can pronounce [in English]"

English has 26 letters, but there are 40+ sounds; which is to say that there are NOT symbols for all the sounds.

dingo_bat 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Slightly off-topic but can anyone here comment on the candies they ship? Are they just ordinary sweets? I've never heard about Japan being famous about candies like Switzerland is about chocolate.
bootload 14 hours ago 1 reply      
@bemmu is that a square symbol or something else?
itaysk 3 hours ago 1 reply      
why is this post getting so many voteups?
BlakePetersen 11 hours ago 0 replies      
That path tho, /%E5%8F%A3 rendering as /, so slick
partycoder 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The only problem is that you learn all 2000 at the very minimum and more than that if you actually want to do something practical.

Each one has more than 1 reading, a particular stroke order, and many other things.

seanmcdirmid 13 hours ago 3 replies      
thaumasiotes 14 hours ago 4 replies      
If substitutes for mouth -- the adjective form of "mouth" is "oral", an etymologically (and audibly!) distinct word. Should that use too?

If king is , kingly is ly, and royal is al, what is regal?

If mouth is and mouthed is ed, why would ate be t rather than ed?

Japan misinterpreted the Chinese writing system (already terrible) into easily the worst writing system known to mankind. It won't look cute when you go beyond two symbols.

ChuckMcM 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Ok, thats a fun hack.
weinzierl 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Flagged for moderator attention: The link of the article just goes back to this page on HN. Is this an error or did I miss the joke?

Other articles are fine. Reload, clear cache and reload didn't help.

EDIT: Unflagged and sorry for the noise. I clicked on the article's domain and not on the article's title () just as fenomas suspected.

monomaniar 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Nobody said these are all Chinese letter? Japanese is "invented" and forced educated by Meiji government one hundred years ago. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meiji_Restoration
disruptalot 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Finding it surprising no one has corrected the article in that you technically learned Chinese and by proxy Japanese. Chinese traditional characters + meanings largely carried over from Chinese as well.I'm studying mandarin and i was enjoying it until I was told I just learned "Japanese".
New evidence for grain specific C4 photosynthesis in wheat nature.com
26 points by okket  5 hours ago   8 comments top 3
a_bonobo 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't understand why this is in Nature Scientific Reports - a relatively new, small journal that has published some bad things in the past. If this is true and well-supported it would belong into the 'main' Nature or Science journal!
robbiep 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Fascinating that they take the 'bred in' approach as opposed to suggesting GM, as an article would have done 15-20 years ago - the scaremongers have won
cmrdporcupine 3 hours ago 0 replies      
So what I take from this is that C4 photosynthesis could be arrived at through marker assisted selection, i.e. traditional breeding, rather than through GMO.
New Brazilian Banking Trojan Uses Windows PowerShell Utility threatpost.com
20 points by vezycash  5 hours ago   3 comments top
joshstrange 47 minutes ago 2 replies      
It's not clear from the article (or maybe I'm missing it) but this isn't a vulnerability with PS right? The article would be the same if it "New Brazilian Banking Trojan Uses PHP", it's just a language/style that is new not what it is doing or how it's doing it AFAICT.
MySQL founder tries a new software licensing model techcrunch.com
92 points by phire  11 hours ago   36 comments top 14
evanelias 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
Applying BSL to the MaxScale proxy is proving to be, so far, an unpopular decision among a large segment of the MySQL community.

The TechCrunch article didn't address this specifically, but the license for MaxScale requires a MariaDB Enterprise Subscription if you use MaxScale with just 3 or more database servers at your company.

Since MaxScale is a proxy, it isn't particularly useful for companies that only have 1 or 2 database servers, except as a very limited trial. So this move effectively makes MaxScale commercial software for most production use. This is a strange business decision, considering there are other third-party proxies available, such as ProxySQL, that have same (or better) functionality and no requirement for purchasing a commercial license.

I also wonder how MariaDB Enterprise Subscription pricing works for companies that just want to use MaxScale to connect to stock Oracle MySQL or Percona Server MySQL? Seems strange to tie the licensing to MariaDB Enterprise even for companies that just want to use MaxScale alone. Although a good proxy takes a lot of development work, it's still tiny compared to building a relational database. I wouldn't expect the two to be priced the same.

CraigJPerry 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Its easier to procure paid for software than open source in many large enterprises.

There was a culture of fear for open source promulgated by proprietary vendors and major consultancies in the early 00's - the "know the facts" campaign by Gartner and Microsoft springs to mind.

Although this idea is generally dead now, the scars live on in the purchasing and licencing approval flows at many large enterprises.

I am familiar with several organisations where a paid for software licence can be acquired with nothing more than trivial approval for the spend. Yet adoption of an open source product requires multi layer approval of the licence and recording of licence risk against the project.

There is a valid case for that due diligence but its not a particularly strong case and if it were the reason for this situation, then proprietary software licences would be subject to the same scrutiny.

tomcam 10 hours ago 3 replies      
I don't say this lightly, but wasn't the open source license of MySQL the main source of its success? As I recall, it didn't really get huge until they loosened up the licensing terms. And wasn't that one of the main reasons it made $1 billion? Not criticizing his business is his business. Just curious.
athenot 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great from the perspective of contributing intellectual property back to the ecosystem. They are trying to balance the revenue aspect with growing an open community which benefits the product as a whole.

My one concern is that the thrifty users will ride the expiration line, installing versions that don't cost money but which are outdated. I can see where that would be an acceptable tradeoff in many situations where the latest-and-greatest is not required. But from a security aspect I wonder if that also means that vulnerability fixes would only be available to the paying users. They are definitely worth paying for, no doubt; but would that then foster an ecosystem of not-really-patched installations out there?

(Then again, that might not be that different from the current situation.)

teddyuk 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it is a great idea, you can charge when people use it in production and it reverts to oss on a specific date.

I worked at a startup and companies would want us to put a version of the software into escrow and were wary of us going under, giving them something like this would have been perfect.

quickben 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Is he trying to sell mariaDB now too?

I mean, it's genius from the business side. Unless i got the story wrong, he sold MySQL after people helped him create it. Forked it, and now it's turning the fork into MySQL/Oracle profit cow.

Either somebody correct me, or I'm going to assume "for as long as there's are sheep..."

jpalomaki 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This might create some complicated situations when the older versions become free and somebody decides to fork it to fix bugs that are present in the old (free) version, but fixed in later (not-free) releases. I believe then you end up with the question was this fix back ported from new version or did the developer come up with it independently.
trengrj 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Interesting concept, like how code will turn into GPL after a few years. Glad though that MariaDB is and could not be BSL.
supersan 7 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a little off topic and maybe controversial because it is against the spirit of open source but in all earnestness if you make a software that you want to make available to all open source projects but then you want to charge a recurring monthly fees if the software is being used to make money - is there a standard license for that?

I've seen sites do this like readme.io but can you do that for a software library?

boyter 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Very interesting. It's a bit like the fair source license model https://fair.io but more open in event the project looses traction is abandoned etc...

Sold. I will be moving my project searchcode server over to this within a week.

cheriot 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Giving up revenue from customers that don't want to change and are happy to pay is a huge loss. AOL still makes 600m/yr from dial up.

The open source freemium is cool, though. Those are two powerful forces.

simbalion 56 minutes ago 1 reply      
They are switching to a BS License?

Are we supposed to take this seriously?

Grishnakh 2 hours ago 0 replies      
When I see the abbreviation "BSL", I can't help but think it stands for "bullshit license"....

However, it actually sounds like a great idea to me, and a great way for companies to make money licensing software to commercial users while still keeping it free and open source for individuals, while providing a safety mechanism in case the company goes belly-up.

oolongCat 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Going to be interesting seeing how they will figure out where to draw the line (in legal terms) between testing and production. Would health checks be considered as testing the system or production type work?
San Francisco Wants You to Design Its Future Transit System citylab.com
16 points by treigerm  4 hours ago   3 comments top 2
cpitman 38 minutes ago 1 reply      
Do municipalities collect and release any data on how people move around the area? For example, start and end points, with usual times for leaving or arriving. A large enough sampling of something like this seems important for planning, and I assume the real planners have it.
karma_vaccum123 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The peninsula routes drawn are not fantasy at all, the stations in San Jose are already determined and are being worked on
       cached 20 August 2016 16:02:01 GMT