Ask Slashdot: When Do You Include 'Unnecessary' Code?

Slashdot - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 2:35pm
"For more than 20 years I've been putting semicolons at the end of programming statements in SAS, C/C++, and Java/Javascript," writes Rick Wicklin, a researcher in computational statistics at SAS. "But lately I've been working in a computer language that does not require semicolons. Nevertheless... I catch myself typing unnecessary semicolons out of habit," he writes, while at other times "I include optional statements in my programs for clarity, readability, or to practice defensive programming." While Wicklin's post is geared towards SAS programming, Slashdot reader theodp writes that the question is a language-agnostic one: ...when to include technically-unnecessary code -- e.g., variable declarations, superfluous punctuation, block constructs for single statements, values for optional parameters that are the defaults, debugging/validation statements, non-critical error handling, explicitly destroying objects that would otherwise be deleted on exit, labeled NEXT statements, full qualification of objects/methods, unneeded code from templates... He's wondering if other Slashdot readers have trouble tolerating their co-workers' unnecessary codes choices (which he demonstrates with a video clip from Silicon Valley). So leave your answers in the comments. When do you do include 'unnecessary' code in your programs -- and why?

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Categories: Science

Thirty Years Later, Newt Remembers Filming Aliens

Wired News - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 2:00pm
Carrie Henn now has a nine-year-old of her own, but she still remembers forging a bond with Sigourney Weaver. The post Thirty Years Later, Newt Remembers Filming Aliens appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Tinder Scam Promises Account Verification, But Actually Sells Porn

Slashdot - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 1:30pm
itwbennett writes: Tinder users should be on the lookout for Tinder profiles asking them to get "verified" and then sending them a link to a site called "Tinder Safe Dating." The service asks for credit card information, saying this will verify the user's age. Once payment information has been captured, the user is then signed up for a free trial of porn, which will end up costing $118.76 per month unless the service is cancelled. In Tinder's safety guidelines, the company warns users to avoid messages that contain links to third-party websites or ask money for an address.

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Categories: Science

The Most Amazing Space Stories This Week!

Space.com - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 1:10pm
SpaceX landed another rocket, NASA marked the 40th anniversary of the Viking mission's first landing on Mars and astronomers spotted more potentially habitable exoplanets. Here are the most amazing things that happened in the universe this week.
Categories: Science

Oculus’ Newest Tool Is For Comic Artists, Too

Wired News - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 1:00pm
Oculus' Medium tool is for sculpting in VR, but just about anyone who wants to draw can use it—even the guy behind "Batman Beyond." The post Oculus’ Newest Tool Is For Comic Artists, Too appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Marvel's 'Rocket and Groot' Space Station Mission Patch Debuts | Video

Space.com - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 12:48pm
The 'Guardians of the Galaxy' characters have been integrated into an International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory (Managed by CASIS) patch in partnership with Marvel's Custom Solutions Group.
Categories: Science

Please Do Enjoy This Game of Thrones Blooper Reel

Wired News - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 12:00pm
Man, Peter Dinklage really can't pronounce "benevolent" can he? The post Please Do Enjoy This Game of Thrones Blooper Reel appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

The Name of This New Rogue One Character Does Not Sound Cool

Wired News - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 11:00am
His costume is pretty cool, though. The post The Name of This New Rogue One Character Does Not Sound Cool appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Space Photos of the Week: These Galaxies Got a Warped POV

Wired News - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 11:00am
Space photos of the week, July 17—23, 2016. The post Space Photos of the Week: These Galaxies Got a Warped POV appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Back Up Your Phone While Charging It With This Spendy Cable

Wired News - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 11:00am
A pricey little cable with a built-in storage module, Meem is an ingenious way to back up your photos, contacts, and text messages without the cloud. The post Back Up Your Phone While Charging It With This Spendy Cable appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Sega Announces Two New Sonic Games That Seek To Recapture The Glory Days

Slashdot - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 10:00am
An anonymous reader writes: In celebration of Sonic the Hedgehog's 25th anniversary, Sega has announced two new Sonic games at Comic-Con in San Diego. The first game is called Sonic Mania and it's a 2D platformer that features visuals and gameplay reminiscent of the classic Genesis games. "It revamps zones and acts from Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic CD, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Sonic and Knuckles, in addition to introducing new ones into the fold," writes Mat Paget from GameSpot. The second game has no title [besides "Project Sonic 2017"], but it does have a holiday 2017 release date for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo NX consoles. It reportedly features both classic and modern versions of Sonic, similar to 2011's Sonic Generations. Sega made two additional announcements. "Mobile game Sonic Dash has passed 200 million downloads and will receive a special in-game event that adds the Green Hill Zone and Classic Sonic as a playable character," reports GameSpot. "The event only lasts a week, but players can unlock both the classic level and character for use after the event." The second additional announcement is that the animated Sonic Boom series will be renewed for a second season. "Sonic Mania was born out of our fans' love of the classic Sonic 2D platform games,â said Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka. "This type of collaboration is a first for Sega and we hope everyone will be both surprised and delighted by this title. Sonic Mania has been a passion project for the entire team and we look forward to sharing more details about it later this year. Having the game actually playable at the event itself tonight was testament to the dedication of the team behind it.â

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Categories: Science

The Most Amazing Space Photos This Week!

Space.com - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 7:29am
See the best photos on Space.com this week, including amazing images from a SpaceX rocket launch and landing, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos dressed as an alien and a super-deep photo from the Hubble Space Telescope.
Categories: Science

CRISPR: Chinese Scientists To Pioneer Gene-Editing Trial On Humans

Slashdot - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 7:00am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: A team of Chinese scientists will be the first in the world to apply the revolutionary gene-editing technique known as CRISPR on human subjects. Led by Lu You, an oncologist at Sichuan University's West China hospital in Chengdu, China, the team plan to start testing cells modified with CRISPR on patients with lung cancer in August, according to the journal Nature. CRISPR is a game-changer in bioscience; a groundbreaking technique which can find, cut out and replace specific parts of DNA using a specially programmed enzyme named Cas9. Its ramifications are next to endless, from changing the color of mouse fur to designing malaria-free mosquitoes and pest-resistant crops to correcting a wide swath of genetic diseases like sickle-cell anaemia in humans. The Sichuan University trial, it is important to note, does not edit the germ-line; its effects will not be hereditary. What the researchers plan to do is enroll patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, Nature reported, and for whom other treatment options -- including chemotherapy and radiotherapy -- have failed. They will then extract immune cells from the patients' blood and use CRISPR to add a new genetic sequence which will help the patient's immune system target and destroy the cancer. The cells will then be re-introduced into the patients' bloodstream. The Guardian does note that CRISPR was approved for human trials in the U.S., but if it begins on schedule in August the Sichuan University study will beat them to the punch of being the first of its kind.

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Categories: Science

Mining Black Hole Collisions for Hints of the Elusive Axion

Wired News - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 5:00am
The physicist Asimina Arvanitaki is thinking up ways to search gravitational wave data for evidence of dark matter particles orbiting black holes. The post Mining Black Hole Collisions for Hints of the Elusive Axion appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

There’s a Trailer for the New Blair Witch Movie! Wait, What?

Wired News - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 4:43am
It's a sequel! But not the original sequel. Also, it has the same name? We're just as surprised as you are. The post There's a Trailer for the New Blair Witch Movie! Wait, What? appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Cyanogen Inc. Reportedly Fires OS Development Arm, Switches To Apps

Slashdot - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 3:30am
An anonymous reader writes: Android Police is reporting that the Android software company Cyanogen Inc. will be laying off 20 percent of its workforce, and will transition from OS development to applications. The Android Police report says "roughly 30 out of the 136 people Cyanogen Inc. employs" are being cut, and that the layoffs "most heavily impact the open source arm" of the company. Android Police goes on to say that CyanogenMod development by Cyanogen Inc "may be eliminated entirely." Ars Technica notes the differences between each "Cyanogen" branding. Specifically, CyanogenMod is a "free, open source, OS heavily based on Android and compatible with hundreds of devices," while Cyanogen Inc. is "a for-profit company that aims to sell Cyanogen OS to OEMs." It appears that many of the core CyanogenMod developers will no longer be paid to work on CyanogenMod, though the community is still free to develop the software." Android Police details the firing process in their report: "Layoffs reportedly came after a long executive retreat for the company's leaders and were conducted with no advanced notice. Employees who were not let go were told not to show up to work today. Those who did show up were the unlucky ones: they had generic human resources meetings rather ominously added to their calendars last night. So, everyone who arrived at Cyanogen Inc. in Seattle this morning did so to lose their job (aside from those conducting the layoffs)." Early last year, Microsoft invested in a roughly $70 million round of equity financing for the then-startup Cyanogen Inc. Not too long before that, Google tried to acquire Cyanogen Inc., but the company turned down Google's offer to seek funding from investors and major tech companies at a valuation of around $1 billion. Cyanogen Inc. CEO Kirt McMaster once said the company was "attempting to take Android away from Google" and that it was "putting a bullet through Google's head."

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Categories: Science

Comic-Con Hath Blessed Us With an American Gods Trailer

Wired News - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 2:00am
From Neil Gaiman's book to Bryan Fuller's direction to your TV screen. Amen. The post Comic-Con Hath Blessed Us With an American Gods Trailer appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Auto Industry Publishes Its First Set of Cybersecurity Best Practices

Slashdot - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 1:40am
chicksdaddy quotes a report from Security Ledger: The Automotive industry's main group for coordinating policy on information security and "cyber" threats has published a "Best Practices" document, giving individual automakers guidance on implementing cybersecurity in their vehicles for the first time. The Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) released the Automotive Cybersecurity Best Practices document on July 21st, saying the guidelines are for auto manufacturers as well as their suppliers. The Best Practices cover organizational and technical aspects of vehicle cybersecurity, including governance, risk management, security by design, threat detection, incident response, training, and collaboration with appropriate third parties. Taken together, they move the auto industry closer to standards pioneered decades ago and embraced by companies like Microsoft. They call on automakers to design software to be secure from the ground up and to take a sober look at risks to connected vehicles as part of the design process. Automakers are urged to test for and respond to software vulnerabilities, to develop methods for assessing and fixing security vulnerabilities, to create training programs, promote cybersecurity awareness for both information technology and vehicle specific risks, and educate employees about security awareness. The document comes after a Kelly Blue Book survey that found that 62% of drivers think "connected cars will be hacked," and that 42% say they "want cars to be more connected."

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Categories: Science

E-cigarette nicotine labels not always accurate

Science Daily - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 1:25am
A study found that 51 percent of labels on e-cigarette liquid nicotine containers from 16 North Dakota stores don’t accurately reflect the levels of nicotine found in the products. In one instance, actual nicotine levels were 172 percent higher than labeled. The majority of e-cigarette liquid containers also did not provide child-resistant packaging.
Categories: Science

Newly discovered material property may lead to high temp superconductivity

Science Daily - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 1:22am
Researchers have discovered an unusual property of purple bronze that may point to new ways to achieve high temperature superconductivity.
Categories: Science