New submitter GrantRobertson writes with a question about quickly developing prototypes for new interface design concepts "My research/tinkering will be along two main lines: (1) Devising entirely new graphical user interface elements, mostly in 2D, though often in a true or simulated 3-D space. I am working on ways to visualize, navigate, and manipulate very, VERY large data-sets of academic research information. (2) Computer based education software, though of a type never seen before. This will combine some of the GUI elements invented in (1) as well as displaying standard HTML or HTML5 content via a browser engine My requirements are: (A) A decent IDE ecosystem; (B) A decent set of libraries, but ones that don't lock me in to a particular mind-set like Swing does in Java. (Boxes in boxes in boxes, Oh My!); (C) An ability to easily draw what I want, where I want and make any surface of that 3D object become a source for capturing events; (D) Ease of cross-platform use. (So others can easily look at my examples and run with them.); (E) No impediments to open-source licensing my code or for others to go commercial with it either (as I have seen when I looked into Qt). So, should I just stick with Java and start looking outside the box for GUI toolkits? Or is there something else out there I should be looking at?" I'm not sure what impediments Qt has to proprietization of software since it's LGPL nowadays; in any case, Qt Quick and GNOME's Clutter seem like they could be a useful. Read on for more context.
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First time submitter jan.van.gent writes "The European Parliament is on the verge of adopting a directive reforming standards, reform which would introduce FRAND patent licensing terms, an undefined term which has been seen as a direct attack on the fundamental principles of Free and Open Source software. The Business Software Alliance has been very active trying to get FRAND terms into the directive."
Hkibtimes writes about a recently released map of the Earth's forests. From the article: "A group of scientists from NASA and the University of Maryland have created a unique map that shows the heights of the Earth's forests. The map ... has been created using 2.5 million carefully screened and globally distributed laser pulse measurements sent from space."
An anonymous reader writes "It was an Ice Age squirrel's treasure chamber, a burrow containing fruit and seeds that had been stuck in the Siberian permafrost for over 30,000 years. From the fruit tissues, a team of Russian scientists managed to resurrect an entire plant in a pioneering experiment that paves the way for the revival of other species. The Silene stenophylla is the oldest plant ever to be regenerated, the researchers said, and it is fertile, producing white flowers and viable seeds. ... 'The squirrels dug the frozen ground to build their burrows, which are about the size of a soccer ball, putting in hay first and then animal fur for a perfect storage chamber,' said Stanislav Gubin, one of the authors of the study, who spent years rummaging through the area for squirrel burrows. 'It's a natural cryobank.'"
someWebGeek writes "From PhysOrg's 'Taking biofuel from forest to highway,' University of British Columbia biofuel expert Jack Saddler says, 'we will become less dependent on fossil fuels and will become more dependent on fuels made from the sugars and chemicals found in plants.' Nothing too new there; the idea of biofuels eventually taking over from petroleum distillates has been around for ages. However, Saddler contends further that 'Similar to an oil refinery that processes crude oil to make thousands of supplementary products like plastics, dyes, paints, etc., the biorefinery would use leftover agricultural and forest material to make many of the same products, but from a sustainable and renewable resource.' I remember my organic chem instructor back in '81 telling us that eventually the textbooks would have to be rewritten. There would be no presumption of fractional distillation of thousands of basic compounds from petroleum, and the teaching emphasis would shift to synthesis from simple hydrocarbons. He noted that we'd all miss 'the good, ole days' when synthetic fibers, plastics, etc. were cheap... or even an economically viable option. I can live without rayon, but, dang, I'm gonna miss polyvinyl chloride!"
Zothecula writes "Oxford Nanopore has been developing a disruptive nanopore-based technology for sequencing DNA, RNA, proteins, and other long-chain molecules since its birth in 2005. The company has just announced that within the next 6-9 months it will bring to market a fast, portable, and disposable protein sequencer that will democratize sequencing by eliminating large capital costs associated with equipment required to enter the field."
c0mpliant writes "Two friends and I were up until the wee hours of the morning over the weekend debating what real space combat would look like. I've spent some time looking it up online, and there doesn't seem to be any general consensus. So, I thought I'd ask a community of peers what they think. Given our current technology and potential near-future technology, what would a future space battlefield look like? Would capital ships rule the day? Would there be equivalents of cruisers, fighters and bombers, or would it be a mix of them all?"
New submitter SpockLogic writes "The Telegraphs has a tongue in cheek essay in praise of eternal copyright by the founder of an online games company. Quoting: 'Imagine you're a new parent at 30 years old and you've just published a bestselling new novel. Under the current system, if you lived to 70 years old and your descendants all had children at the age of 30, the copyright in your book – and thus the proceeds – would provide for your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. But what, I ask, about your great-great-great-grandchildren? What do they get? How can our laws be so heartless as to deny them the benefit of your hard work in the name of some do-gooding concept as the "public good," simply because they were born a mere century and a half after the book was written? After all, when you wrote your book, it sprung from your mind fully-formed, without requiring any inspiration from other creative works – you owe nothing at all to the public. And what would the public do with your book, even if they had it? Most likely, they'd just make it worse.'"
redletterdave writes "Samsung Electronics announced Monday that it will spin off its LCD business division to launch a new entity, provisionally called Samsung Display Co., set to go live on April 1, 2012. The new business will launch with about $668 million in capital, but Samsung plans to invest about $5.8 billion in 2012 to develop better displays. The move, which now awaits shareholder approval, has been rumored for months since Samsung's LCD business announced operating losses of $666 million in 2011, citing sluggish TV sales. The company's spin-off display business may eventually merge with Samsung Mobile Display, which makes the company's organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels that are currently in high demand."
An anonymous reader writes "This controversial post by Adobe's Kas Thomas asks if splash screens are just a sign of program bloat and callous disregard for users. It suggests that big programs should launch instantly (or appear to), perhaps by running against an instance in the cloud while the local instance finishes loading. Users of cell phones and tablets are accustomed to apps being instantly available. This is the new standard for performance, the author argues. Nothing short of it will do, any more."
Orome1 writes "After creating the 'Decaptcha' software to solve audio CAPTCHAs, Stanford University's researchers modified it and turned it against text and, quite recently, video CAPTCHAs with considerable success. Video CAPTCHAs have been touted by their developer, NuCaptcha, as the best and most secure method of spotting bots trying to pass themselves off as human users. Unfortunately for the company, researchers have managed to prove that over 90 percent of the company's video CAPTCHAs can be decoded by using their Decaptcha software in conjunction with optical flow algorithms created by researchers in the computer vision field of study."
ananyo writes "A burger made entirely from lab-grown meat is expected to be unveiled by October this year. But costing in excess of $250,000, it's not going to be flying off supermarket shelves quite yet. The lab meat is produced using adult stem cells, which are then grown on scaffolds in cell-culture media. Because such lab-assembled muscle is weak, it has to be 'bulked up' by exposing to electric shocks. The researchers, based in the Netherlands, had already grown goldfish fillets in 2002, then fried them in breadcrumbs before giving them to an 'odor and sight' panel to assess whether they seemed edible." While I'm not overly enthusiastic about this Dutch attempt at growing burgers, it is a huge step-up from the Japanese effort.
1sockchuck writes "Google is seeking permission to place satellite antennas on land near its data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The 4.5 meter antennas could be used to receive content feeds from broadcast networks that could be bundled with a high-speed fiber service. The FCC filings were made by Google Fiber, which is currently laying fiber for a high-speed network in Kansas City that will provide Internet connectivity 'at speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have today.'"
NetDanzr writes "I work for an IT company that has a steady stream of projects, new features to our existing products and technical support issues. As it is customary, though, our development resources are not sufficient to cover the amount of projects. As a result, our delivery dates are slipping, and as a result the average priority of projects is rising. Where the goal was to have only 10% of projects rated high, within a year nearly 50% of projects are rated as such. Our solution is to completely wipe out the project list once per year and start a new, properly prioritized list. How does your company deal with this inflation of priorities?"