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Articles related to "hackernews"


A ‘Viral’ New Bird Song in Canada Is Causing Sparrows to Change Their Tune

  • A new bird song is spreading like wildfire among Canadian white-throated sparrows, at a scale not seen before by scientists.
  • New research published today in Current Biology describes an extraordinary exception to this rule, in which a novel song sung by white-throated sparrows is spreading across Canada at an unprecedented rate.
  • Traditionally, white-throated sparrows in western and central Canada sing a song distinguished by its three-note ending.
  • The new song, which likely started off as a regional dialect at some point between 1960 and 2000, features a distinctive two-note ending, and it’s taking the sparrow community by storm.
  • By 2014, every white-throated sparrow in Alberta was singing the new doublet, with sizable bird populations in Ontario also chirping the happy tune.
  • The researchers are hoping to study these bird songs further to see if female sparrows are truly responding to novel tunes, in a process that appears to be demanding ongoing musical innovations among these remarkable birds.

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The Rabbit Outbreak

  • First, it killed Angora rabbits being raised commercially for wool, and then it burned through pet rabbits and rabbits farmed for meat, all of which are members of the same species, Oryctolagus cuniculus, or what is commonly known as the European, or domestic, rabbit.
  • A few years ago, a lawyer named Natalie Reeves, who volunteers at a rabbit shelter and has lectured on rabbit law at the New York City Bar Association, was having trouble untangling the hair of her pet long-haired rabbit, Mopsy McGillicuddy.
  • The biggest processor was (and still is) Pel-Freez, founded in 1911 by a man who was given a pet rabbit that was pregnant, and, according to Pel-Freez’s corporate history, turned “the dilemma into an opportunity.” Rabbit meat, which could be cooked like chicken, was appealingly high in protein and low in fat.

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Onyx is violating the Linux kernel's license, refuses to release source code

  • I don't think I understand what you are trying to say, but if you support China you support the violation of Human Rights, and that's a fact.
  • I avoid using Chinese products when I can, but frankly, I think we need government regulation.
  • I'm sure some components in my PC are made in China, but I'm human, and sometimes I just buy things not thinking of the consequences.
  • That all depends if you value the integrity of your data or not, some Chinese products are great but you can be certain they are sapping every single bit of information they can and sending it back to be collected by the CCP.
  • If you use the device offline, there shouldn't be an issue from Onyx withholding source code.
  • I personally want the source code as I'd like to make modifications to the kernel in an attempt to put custom software on the device.

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Lisp Badge: A single-board computer that you can program in uLisp

  • You can use it to run programs that interface to components such as LEDs and push-buttons via the I/O pins, read the analogue inputs, and operate external devices via the I2C and SPI interfaces.
  • It has a greyscale OLED display that gives 8 lines of 42 characters, and an integrated 45-key keyboard optimised for Lisp.
  • Keyboard: Integrated 45-key keyboard providing upper and lower-case characters, digits, and the symbols required by uLisp.
  • The language includes two extensions, plot and plot3d, for plotting graphs and 3d functions.
  • The Lisp Badge contains two plotting extensions, plot and plot3d, designed to allow plotting to the greyscale graphics display.
  • After generating a plot both functions wait for the ESC key to be pressed before displaying the uLisp prompt.
  • The function should return the greyscale value to be plotted, from 0 to 15.

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Our Intellectual Property Laws Are Out of Control

  • This twist on 1998's Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has encouraged people to rethink what, exactly, intellectual property laws should protect, and to wonder if they've gone too far.
  • Also, influential companies often get Congress to extend their own patent rights through special legislation.
  • The DMCA's rules make things worse by interfering with the repair or repurposing of electronic goods after they have been sold.
  • John Wiley, where it protected the right to resell books bought overseas.
  • The publisher had argued, essentially, that you might own a book you bought, but the company retained the right to sell it.
  • When you buy a smartphone or an automobile, it should be yours, and companies shouldn't be able to leverage their intellectual property rights in software to keep you from unlocking, repairing, modifying, or reselling it as you see fit.
  • Intellectual property is a good thing, all right.

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Analogue radio in the UK given 10-year stay of execution

  • Analogue radio station licences will be extended for another 10 years, the UK government has said – entirely reversing plans to shut off FM and AM radio stations in favour of DAB digital radio.
  • The move is likely to cause some chagrin at spectrum regulator Ofcom, which only a couple of months ago was brandishing DAB licences at local radio stations in the hope of tempting them off their potentially lucrative FM and AM spectrum.
  • Signal propagation (coverage) can be a problem as well with DAB compared to ye olde analogue's wiggly waves, snaking their way up, down and around hills and valleys, or through short road tunnels.
  • Although the trend seems to be accelerating, extending analogue stations' licences won't achieve the stated aim of freeing up a valuable chunk of spectrum that could be resold by Ofcom for far higher licensing fees than at present improving the radio listening experience through newer technologies.

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Tamgucalc: The terminal spreadsheet now with mouse control

  • It allows you to enter numbers, define labels, and most importantly, to enter numerical formulas in Lisp.
  • By default, the spreadsheet uses the dimensions of your terminal to define the number of rows and columns.
  • To enter a formula, simply position on a cell and type: '('.
  • When you type a formula, you can use the arrows to select the cells that go into your formula.
  • When you have selected a cell, press "enter" to save it in your formula.
  • Note that when you define a range that includes several rows and columns, tamgucalc introduces an "&&&" operator to merge all the selected rows into a single data vector.
  • You can define lambdas functions, functions (defun) or simply use the basic operators.
  • Note the use of mat[:1][10:] to extract the full column from cell 10,1.

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Beginner's Guide to Abstraction

  • You'll know you've made the wrong abstraction when after a while the interface has been expanded to support various optional flags, each for a different use case, and you need to be a genius to reason about what the code will actually do for a given use case.
  • If you want to know how the average method behaves when you're dealing with an array of strings with no nil values, you have to read through the first if condition which has nothing to do with your use case before reaching the code that does.
  • Note that looking at the Good variant, it's clear that the behaviour is quite different from one use case to the next, but that is not at all clear in the Bad variant because the method calls all look so simple and it was anybody's guess how much code inside average applied to each use case.

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Joseph Von Fraunhofer – The Glassmaker Who Sparked Astrophysics (2014)

  • Two hundred years ago, Joseph von Fraunhofer, a Bavarian glassmaker and researcher, experimented in his laboratory with simple equipment and detected dark lines in the spectrum of sunlight.
  • The improvement of lenses for telescopes and surveying instruments was a major goal of the Institute, and it was not long after his arrival that Fraunhofer began to focus on more basic research that underlay this effort, research having to do with the nature of light and its refraction.
  • In groundbreaking papers, Fraunhofer announced his discovery that the spectrum of light from the sun is interrupted by many dark lines, and that these lines are present in all sunlight, both direct and reflected from other objects on Earth or from the moon and the planets.

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New Relic CEO scolds employees in internal memo

  • Software company New Relic, one of Portland’s largest technology employers, is lagging behind rivals and needs more from its employees to catch up, the company’s CEO warned his staff in an all-company memo last month.
  • The blunt letter exhorts employees to work harder and rejects their calls for the company to take a more active role in the nation’s resurgent civil rights movement.
  • In a note to remaining employees, New Relic said it had intended to notify all laid-off workers individually “where the news could be communicated with the dignity and respect these employees deserve.” The company blamed the premature emails on an unspecified “internal systems” issue.
  • Asked for comment on Cirne’s letter, New Relic said Portland continues to be an important location for the company and said it is committed to societal issues.
  • New Relic said company matching programs helped employees raise $70,000 for civil rights organizations and $155,000 for COVID-19 relief.

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