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Sci/Tech

scikit-survival 0.13 Released

Filed under
Software
GNOME
Sci/Tech

Today, I released version 0.13.0 of scikit-survival. Most notably, this release adds sksurv.metrics.brier_score and sksurv.metrics.integrated_brier_score, an updated PEP 517/518 compatible build system, and support for scikit-learn 0.23.

For a full list of changes in scikit-survival 0.13.0, please see the release notes.

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What Operating System Is the Best Choice for Software Engineers?

Filed under
OS
Development
GNU
Linux
Sci/Tech

GNU/Linux is, hands down, the most highly acclaimed operating system for software engineering. It comes with an absolute ton of development tools and has unprecedented performance with regard to software development.

Linux, in case you are not aware, is a free, open-licensed operating system. This means that it is very developer-friendly and can be, to a certain extent, customized to your own desires.

But, it is not for everyone.

Linux comes with a large selection of distributions (called distros in the trade). Each one, unsurprisingly, has the Linux Kernel at its core, with other components built on top. Many Linux users will tend to switch between these distros until they find the perfect 'recipe' for their needs and tastes.

We will highlight a few of these towards the end of the article.

What are some of the pros of using Linux for software development?

1. One of the main benefits of Linux, not to mention the Linux ecosystem, according to software engineers, is the amount of choice and flexibility it provides. This really does make it the jewel in the crown of operating systems.

2. Linux is free and open-sourced. This means you don't have to fork out tons of cash on licenses for the OS and other apps used on it.

3. It is easy to install directly on your computer, or you can boot Linux from an external drive like a USB flash drive or CD. You can also install it with or inside Windows if you need both.

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Stellarium 0.20.2 Released as 20 Year Anniversary Celebration

Filed under
Software
Sci/Tech

Free open-source astronomy software Stellarium 0.20.2 was released a few days ago as the 20 year anniversary celebration.

Stellarium 0.20.2 contains many changes in AstroCalc tool and core of Stellarium, changes in scripting engline and Script Console, Oculars and Satellites plugins, updated DSO catalog, see release note for details.

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Qualcomm’s Linux-driven robotics kit taps Snapdragon 865

Filed under
Linux
Sci/Tech

The 96Boards-compatible “Qualcomm Robotics RB5 Platform” runs Linux and ROS 2 on a Qualcomm QRB5165 based on the 15-TOPS Snapdragon 865 with optional 5G and cameras including RealSense and ToF.

Qualcomm and Thundercomm have followed up on last year’s Qualcomm Robotics RB3 Platform with a similarly 96Boards form-factor Qualcomm Robotics RB5 Platform that supports 5G communications and input from up to 7x concurrent cameras. The Linux and ROS 2 driven development kit advances from a Snapdragon 845 to new custom robotics SoC called the Qualcomm QRB5165 based on the Snapdragon 865. (In other news, Qualcomm announced a 5G-ready Snapdragon 690 SoC for mid-range phones.)

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Linux at Home: Explore the Universe from your Garden

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Sci/Tech

In this series, we look at a range of home activities where Linux can make the most of our time at home, keeping active and engaged. The change of lifestyle enforced by Covid-19 is an opportunity to expand our horizons, and spend more time on activities we have neglected in the past.

Even though many European countries have made significant steps in relaxing some of the restrictions of daily life, the advice is to maintain social distancing rules. The big fear is that there will be a coronavirus resurgence. But it’s important that we don’t cocoonourselves, we need to protect ourselves and be supportive to others. There are many fascinating hobbies that can spark our imagination. Astronomy is a great example.

A widespread belief is that astronomy is an activity which cannot be enjoyed without paraphernalia like telescopes and other expensive equipment. However, astronomy is for everyone, and even with just the naked eye, it can become a fascinating and rewarding hobby for life.

It’s a learning hobby. Its joys come from intellectual discovery and knowledge of the cryptic night sky. But you have to make these discoveries, and gain this knowledge, by yourself. In other words, you need to become self-taught.

With the aid of open source software, budding astronomers can learn how to ‘read’ the stars, to know which constellations lie overhead, their trajectory throughout the seasons, and the legends ascribed to them. With the following software you can learn about the night skies of both the northern and southern hemispheres. I recommend Celestia, Stellarium, and AstroImageJ. For the first two programs, I’ve produced a short video showcasing them in action. The software is cross-platform.

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Second Debian Med COVID-19 hackathon (June 15-21, 2020)

Filed under
Debian
Sci/Tech
  • Second Debian Med COVID-19 hackathon (June 15-21, 2020)
    Dear Debian Community,
    
    Debian Med joined the virtual (online) [COVID-19 Biohackathon] from
    April 5-11 2020.  We considered the outcome a great success in terms of
    the approached tasks, the new members we gained and the support of
    Debian infrastructure teams (namely the ftpmaster team).
    
    COVID-19 is not over and the Debian Med team wants to do another week of
    hackathon to continue with this great success.  We want to do this from
    June 15th to June 21th 2020.
    
    A [recently shared pre-publication draft paper] highlights which
    software tools are considered useful "to Accelerate SARS-CoV-2 and
    Coronavirus Research".  Many of these tools would benefit from being
    packaged in Debian and all the advantages that Debian brings for both
    users and upstream alike.
    
    As in the first sprint most tasks do not require any knowledge of
    biology or medicine, and all types of contributions are welcome: bug
    triage, testing, documentation, CI, translations, packaging, and code
    contributions.
    
    1. [Debian related bugs in COVID-19 related packages]
    
    2. [COVID-19 related software that is awaiting packaging]
       please respond to the RFP with your intent so we don't duplicate work
    
    3. You can also contribute directly to the upstream packages, linked
       from the [Debian Med COVID-19 task page].  Note: many biomedical
       software packages are quite resource limited, even compared to a
       typical FOSS project. Please be kind to the upstream author/maintainers
       and realize that they may have limited resources to review your
       contribution. Triaging open issues and opening pull requests to fix
       problems is likely to be more useful than nitpicking their coding
       style.
    
    4. Architectures/porting: Please focus on amd64, as it is the primary
       architecture for biomedical software. A secondary tier would be arm64 /
       ppc64el / s390x (but beware the endian-related issues on s390x). From a
       free/open hardware perspective it would be great to see more riscv64
       support, but that is not a priority right now
    
    5. Python developers: The Debian Med team is also trying to [improve the
       availability ofautomated biomedical pipelines/workflows]  using the
       Common Workflow Language open standard. The reference implementation of
       CWL is written in Python and there are many [open issues ready for work
       that don't require any biomedical background].
    
    6. It is very easy to contribute to Debian Med team. We have a lowNMU
       policy for all our packages. Merge requests on Salsa are usually
       processed quickly (but please ping some of the latest Uploaders of the
       package to make sure it will be noticed). Even better if you ask for
       membership to the team and push directly to the salsa repository.
    
    7. The [debian-med-team-policy] should answer all questions how to contribute.
    
    8. There is a [work-needed wiki] that will help keep track of who is
       working on which projects.
    
    9. There is also a [NEW requests wiki] where we can request expedited
       NEW processing to support this effort.  In the last sprint ftpmaster
       was picking from here with high priority.  Thanks again for this.
    
    During the hackathon we will coordinate ourselves via the the Salsa
    coordination page, Debian Med mailing list and IRC:
    
    *  https://salsa.debian.org/med-team/community/2020-covid19-...
    *  https://lists.debian.org/debian-med/
    *  https://wiki.debian.org/IRC
    *  irc://irc.debian.org/debian-med
    *  https://jitsi.debian.social/DebianMedCovid19 every day at 15:00 UTC
    
    Thanks in advance for considering to join our sprint.
    
    Sincerely
    
        Andreas Tille on behalf of the Debian Med team.
    
  • Second Debian Med COVID-19 hackathon

    The Debian Med team joined a COVID-19 Biohackathon last April and is planing on doing it again on June 15-21.

Sharing, Collaboration and Free Software Code to Tackle COVID-19

Filed under
Hardware
OSS
Sci/Tech
  • Discover the open source, low-cost ventilator for areas with limited means

    A group of scientists and researchers have designed a open source, low-cost ventilator to be used in areas that have limited means within their healthcare systems.

    Researchers from the Biophysics and Bioengineering Unit of the University of Barcelona, Spain, have created an open source, non-invasive, low-cost ventilator, to support patients with respiratory diseases in areas with limited means.

    The study was led by Ramono Farré, professor of Physiology and member of the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS) and the Respiratory Diseases Networking Biomedical Research Centre (CIBERES), and the results were published in the European Respiratory Journal.

  • Easy-to-Build $75 Open-Source Arduino Ventilator With High-Quality Performance

    Ventilator could support coronavirus treatment in low-income regions or where supplies are limited.

    A low-cost, easy-to-build non-invasive ventilator aimed at supporting the breathing of patients with respiratory failure performs similarly to conventional high-quality commercial devices, according to new research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

    Non-invasive ventilators are used to treat patients with breathing difficulty and respiratory failure, a common symptom of more severe coronavirus disease. Non-invasive ventilation is delivered using facemasks or nasal masks, which push a set amount of pressurized air into the lungs. This supports the natural breathing process when disease has caused the lungs to fail, enabling the body to fight infection and get better.

  • Harnessing the Open-Source Ventilator Movement

    As hospitals in developing countries struggle with ventilator shortages, engineers and doctors are coming together to launch open-source projects to help meet demand. WSJ takes a look at whether any of these plans could become real machines that help save lives.

  • Local, Open-Source Ventilator Project Plans to Build 200 ‘Bridge Ventilators’

    The Kahanu open-source ventilator project has received a $250,000 grant from the Hawai‘i Community Foundation to build bridge ventilators for state hospitals.

    A team of Hawai‘i engineers and an emergency room doctor are working to produce simple and effective bridge ventilators with funding from the Hawai‘i Resilience Fund, part of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF).

    Named Kahanu, which means “the breath” in the Hawaiian language, the ventilator is made of durable, sterilizable materials and can be produced in Hawai‘i for about $1,200 each, according to a project press release. Medical grade ventilators can cost more than $25,000 each.

    A Kahanu ventilator can serve as a “bridge ventilator” that can be enlisted in an emergency to save a patient’s life, the release said.

  • Longford man puts his skills to good use and designs an open source ventilator

    Since the lockdown began, there are plenty of people in the local community who are putting their time to good use to help others.

    One of those people is Finian McCarthy, who is an electronic engineer and the Managing Director of county Longford-based company, Envitec Ltd.

    Finian has been making the most of the time at home by designing and building an open source ventilator, which he says can be made cheaply and shared around the world so that others can replicate the design should there be an urgent need for ventilators during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Open-source ventilator designed by Cambridge team for use in low- and middle-income countries

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a team at the University of Cambridge has designed an open-source ventilator in partnership with local clinicians, engineers and manufacturers across Africa that is focused to address the specific needs for treating COVID-19 patients and is a fully functioning system for use after the pandemic.

  • Researchers design open-source ventilator for use in low- and middle-income countries

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a team at the University of Cambridge has designed an open-source ventilator in partnership with local clinicians, engineers and manufacturers across Africa that is focused to address the specific needs for treating COVID-19 patients and is a fully functioning system for use after the pandemic.

    Built primarily for use in low- and middle-income countries, the OVSI ventilator can be cheaply and quickly manufactured from readily available components. Current ventilators are expensive and difficult to fix, but an open-source design will allow users to adapt and fix the ventilators according to their needs and, by using readily available components, the machines can be built quickly across Africa in large numbers. The cost per device is estimated to be around one-tenth of currently available commercial systems.

  • University of Cambridge designs open-source ventilator for African countries

    An open-source ventilator has been designed by a team at the University of Cambridge primarily for use in low and middle-income countries.

    In partnership with clinicians, engineers and manufacturers across Africa, the focus was on the specific needs for treating Covid-19 patients and a fully-functioning system for use after the pandemic.

  • When Ventilators Run Short, a $500 Invention May Save Lives

    Ventilators have been difficult to find at any price, sometimes forcing doctors in jammed intensive care units to decide who gets the last one available. General Motors Co. was ordered last month by U.S. President Donald Trump to make the breathing machines to help fill the gap, and announced preparations for deliveries last week.

    [...]

    On April 1, Alkaher’s team published the design for the AmboVent-1690-108 on the online forum GitHub, allowing anyone to take the idea and run with it. AmboVent is busy producing 20 prototypes on a shoestring budget of $200,000, planning to send them to various countries where other developers will navigate the process of getting regulatory approval.

  • Open science takes on the coronavirus pandemic

    Data sharing, open-source designs for medical equipment, and hobbyists are all being harnessed to combat COVID-19.

    [...]

    Perhaps nowhere is that open ethos clearer than in the way do-it-yourself (DIY) and ‘maker’ communities have stepped up. As soon as it became clear that health systems around the world were at risk of running out of crucial equipment to treat people with COVID-19 and protect medical workers, DIY-ers set about trying to close the gap.

    Facebook groups such as Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies, which has more than 70,000 members, have become dispatch centres, through which hospital workers seek volunteers to print or make supplies, and volunteers trade tips on what materials to use and where to source them, and on sterilization procedures.

    The coronavirus crisis plays to 3D printing’s strong points — rapid prototyping and the ability to produce parts on demand anywhere in the world. Prusa Research, a manufacturer of 3D printers in Prague, has designed a frame for a face shield that is meant to be worn outside a mask or respirator to protect against infectious droplets. The company says it has the capacity to produce 800 shields per day, and tens of thousands of the devices are already protecting health-care workers in the Czech Republic. But because the company made its designs open-source, they are also being made around the world in maker spaces and homes.

    Formlabs, a 3D-printer manufacturer based in Somerville, Massachusetts, leads another project that has reached production: printing nasal swabs for COVID-19 test kits. Unlike common cotton swabs, nasal swabs must have a rod that is long and flexible enough to reach deep into the nose, to the upper throat. The swabs were designed by doctors at the University of South Florida in Tampa and the Northwell Health hospital system in New York, using printers purchased from the company to produce test versions. “They are prototyping it themselves, which is crazy and really awesome,” says Formlabs’s chief product officer, Dávid Lakatos. And whereas conventional swabs feature a bushy tip coating of nylon flock, the doctors devised a tip with an intricately textured pattern that is 3D-printed.

    But unlike face shields, these parts are beyond the capabilities of most printers used by hobbyists. “If someone tried to print the swabs on a hobbyist printer, they can really do harm” in a clinical setting, says Lakatos.

  • America Makes challenging community to innovate new COVID-19 solutions

    All submissions must be open-source designs.

  • Big Tech Signs Rare Open Source Pledge During Coronavirus [Ed: Greenwashing and openwashing of monopolies]

    One bottleneck to the mass production of critical goods, from antibody (or serology) tests to face masks, necessary to keep the public safe is copyright law. These chokeholds held over the world of atoms and the world of bits are preventing the appropriate response to a global pandemic, said Mark Radcliffe, a partner at DLA Piper, a global law firm.

  • Health minister now unsure if source code for COVID contact tracing app is safe to release

    Health minister Greg Hunt has put a question mark over whether a promise to release all source code for the federal government’s forthcoming COVID-19 contact tracing app is actually possible due to security concerns.

    Talking on Triple M Hobart’s ‘The Spoonman’ show with Brian Carlton on Tuesday, Hunt would not commit or back up Government Services minister Stuart Robert’s assurance last week that the full code of the app would be available for inspection.

    According to Hunt, the app will drop sometime next week.

  • Kyle Hiebert: In the COVID-19 world, open source textbooks are the way of the future

    For post-secondary schools, the coronavirus pandemic has spurred a paradigm shift in teaching and learning, as courses have migrated online. Because of this, universities now have the chance to save students huge sums of money by ramping up the creation and use of open educational resources (OER), particularly open textbooks.

    A sober look at the trajectory of the pandemic reveals that the prospects of in-person classes resuming as normal this fall are slim to none. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared that living with COVID-19 is “the new normal” until a vaccine is found, which experts widely predict will take at least another year, if not more. The high probability of second and third waves of COVID-19 will likely prompt more intermittent lockdowns in the future, as is currently happening in Singapore, one of the countries that initially seemed to be very successful in its coronavirus response. Through this lens, widespread online learning must be seen as part of a new era of post-secondary education, not a short-term fix.

  • Open Access, Open Source, and the Battle to Defeat COVID-19

    No legal development over the past decades has had a greater impact on the free flow of information and technology than the rise of the open access and open source movements. We recently looked at how AI, machine learning, blockchain, 3D printing, and other disruptive technologies are being employed in response to the coronavirus pandemic; we now turn to how two disruptive legal innovations, open access and open source, are being used to fight COVID-19. Although the pandemic is far from over, there are already promising signs that open access and open source solutions are allowing large groups of scientists, healthcare professionals, software developers, and innovators across many countries to mobilize quickly and effectively to combat and, hopefully, mitigate the impact of the coronavirus.

  • MIT Team Races to Fill COVID-19 Ventilator Shortage With Low-Cost, Open-Source Alternative

    An ad hoc team of engineers and doctors has developed a low-cost, open-source alternative, now ready for rapid production.

    It was clear early on in the unfolding Covid-19 pandemic that a critical need in the coming weeks and months would be for ventilators, the potentially life-saving devices that keep air flowing into a patient whose ability to breathe is failing.

    Seeing a potential shortfall of hundreds of thousands of such units, professor of mechanical engineering Alex Slocum Sr. and other engineers at MIT swung into action, rapidly pulling together a team of volunteers with expertise in mechanical design, electronics, and controls, and a team of doctors with clinical experience in treating respiratory conditions. They started working together nonstop to develop an inexpensive alternative and share what they learned along the way. The goal was a design that could be produced quickly enough, potentially worldwide, to make a real difference in the immediate crisis.

  • CURA shipping container ICUs open in turin to combat COVID-19

    as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads internationally, the first prototype of an open-source project to create plug-in intensive care units (ICU) from shipping containers has been built and installed at a hospital in italy. CURA (acronym for ‘connected units for respiratory ailments’ and also ‘cure’ in latin) proposes a quick-to-deploy solution to expand emergency facilities and ease the pressure on healthcare systems treating patients infected by coronavirus — (see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here).

    [...]

    CURA has been developed as an open-source project, with its technical specifcations, drawings and design materials made universally accessible online. since the project’s launch, more than 2,000 people have shown an interest and contacted the CURA team to join the project, reproduce it, or provide technical advice. more units are currently under construction in other parts of the world, from the UAE to canada.

  • Researchers in Europe Condemn Centralized COVID-19 Tracking Approach

    Two camps have emerged within the open-source COVID-19 tracking space in Europe. One solution, DP-3T, offers privacy-preserving benefits for citizens and is backed by over 300 scientists around the world. The other, PEPP-PT, is centralized and risks being repurposed for commercial uses or worse.

  • UC Team Builds Open Source COVID-19-Tracking App

    Developers have built a new smartphone app for tracing potential novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections.

    A team of researchers at the University of California, Irvine, announced the tool this week, describing it as potentially “instrumental” in the effort to trace and track infections, which is something governors have described as a vital step in reopening the economy. The tool is called TrackCOVID, and it is a free, open sourced app that its creators say also ensures the privacy of those who are potentially affected.

  • UN launches global ‘challenge’ for COVID-19 open source solutions

    The United Nations (UN) is organizing a global contest called “COVID-19 Detect and Protect” as part of the efforts to search for a solution to the coronavirus.

    The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)— the UN’s agency for development, and Hackster.io, the largest community of hardware and software developers, will be organizing the event which will be open until August 2020.

    The UN identifies COVID-19 as an “unprecedented global health and humanitarian emergency.” The organization also said the pandemic presents a massive threat and potentially devastating social, economic, and political crises that will be felt by many countries for many years to come

    The coronavirus pandemic can also reverse the progress made in tackling global poverty over the past 20 years, “putting at risk the lives and livelihoods of billions of people,” the organization said.

  • US researchers develop open-source ventilator for Covid-19 patients

    Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US have developed a low-cost, open-source ventilator to address the shortage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Named Spiro Wave, a version of the ventilator is currently being produced by a consortium of partners, including 10XBeta, Boyce Technologies and Newlab.

    The aim is to rapidly fulfil the Covid-19-related ventilator requirements at hospitals in New York, followed by other hospitals across the US.

    Furthermore, the MIT team is working to refine the ventilator’s design to make it more compact and add a respiratory function.

    10XBeta, Vecna Technologies and NN Life Sciences are part of the project.

  • Why Open Source Is Seeing Higher Adoption During COVID-19 Crisis
  • 28 government covid apps not open source, cannot be checked for vulnerabilities

    Apart from Aarogya Setu, the Centre and state governments are using at least 28 mobile applications to tackle the covid-19 pandemic.

    These apps have varied purposes — some disseminate information on cases, deaths and so on to users while others are used by officials to track people under quarantine.

    There is one common aspect to all of them: None of them is open-sourced.

    One of the most famous apps is the Centre’s Aarogya Setu, which collects users’ Bluetooth and location data to track their whereabouts and alert them if they come in contact with a covid-19 positive patient. The app, which has been controversial given privacy concerns, has been downloaded by over 7.5 crore people.

  • Open source: Boston Dynamics just opened up this robot tech to help tackle COVID-19

    Boston Dynamics has open-sourced some of its robotics technology to help protect healthcare workers battling the coronavirus.

    The robotics firm has developed a healthcare toolkit that it hopes will allow mobile robots to carry out essential functions that reduce the exposure of frontline healthcare staff to COVID-19.

  • These open-source projects are helping to tackle the coronavirus

    Since the onset of the coronavirus epidemic earlier this year, numerous countries have found themselves running short of ventilators. Ventilators, used in hospitals' intensive care units, are crucial to helping those worst affected by the virus to stay alive. They take on some of the work of breathing for COVID-19 patients who find themselves in respiratory failure. However, a number of innovative grassroots initiatives, built in weeks by altruistic engineers with distributed design methodologies and open-source licences, have sprung up to try and solve the shortage.

Open-source firmware turns CPAP machines into coronavirus ventilators

Filed under
Hardware
Sci/Tech

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, we are woefully short of ventilators that can give the most gravely ill a chance for life. There are many efforts afoot to build more ventilators. Now, instead of building ventilators, a group of open-source developers has a new idea: Create a firmware update, Airbreak, which can transform common Constant Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines into non-invasive ventilators.

Their first effort -- a proof of concept -- converts the Airsense 10 CPAP machine, which is a common, inexpensive sleep apnea treatment device, into a ventilator. It does so by simply replacing its existing firmware with updated firmware.

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Free Software in Science and Education

Filed under
OSS
Sci/Tech
  • CADO-NFS: Crible Algébrique: Distribution, Optimisation - Number Field Sieve

    CADO-NFS is a complete implementation in C/C++ of the Number Field Sieve (NFS) algorithm for factoring integers and computing discrete logarithms in finite fields. It consists in various programs corresponding to all the phases of the algorithm, and a general script that runs them, possibly in parallel over a network of computers. CADO-NFS is distributed under the Gnu Lesser General Public License (LGPL) version 2.1 (or any later version).

  • [Cado-nfs-discuss] Factorization of RSA-250

    This computation was performed with the Number Field Sieve algorithm, using the open-source CADO-NFS software [2].

    The total computation time was roughly 2700 core-years, using Intel Xeon Gold 6130 CPUs as a reference (2.1GHz): [...]

  • Could the coronavirus be the best thing to happen to higher education?

    Universities should embrace this staff engagement and seize the opportunity to transform pedagogy to meet the needs of the next generation of students. Incoming undergraduate and graduate students will have elevated expectations about the use of technology on campuses. In fact, they may already be accustomed to technology-enabled pedagogy, since schools in an increasing number of districts are light years ahead of higher education in this regard.

    Once we get beyond the current crisis, universities should shift the focus from basic training on tools to more advanced training incorporating course design and assessment of learning. Faculty enthusiasm may well be less than we are seeing now, but if we can get the messaging to resonate with faculty, they may just start participating in droves. That messaging should celebrate their current achievements with online tools while also recognising their pain points, and offer the training as an opportunity to build on that success and solve their technology-related teaching challenges.

  • Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste

    Elsevier and the other oligopoly academic publishers have reacted similarly in earlier virus outbreaks. Prof. John Willinsky pounced on this admission that these companies normal restrictive access policies based on copyright ownership slow the progress of science, and thus violate the US Constitution's intellectual [sic] property [sic] clause:

    That Congress shall have Power...To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

    Below the fold I provide some details of his proposal.

Biogenesis - Play evolution

Filed under
Software
Reviews
Sci/Tech

Molecular biology is a fascinating thing. Combine it with computers, and you get yourself a platform for studying the evolution of life. Not an easy one, and scientists worldwide have been at this problem for many years now, trying to understand and replicate the environmental conditions that led to the creation of life on Earth.

If you're fascinated by the concepts of amino acids, RNA, cellular division and alike, you can partake in the discovery journey with Biogenesis, a free, cross-platform, Java-based visual microbiology simulator. The idea is simple: you get a primordial soup, and you get to control it, studying and creating organisms of your own. Sounds like good, solid educational fun. Let there be light. I mean Java.

[...]

Biogenesis is not your everyday program, and it will most likely appeal to a tiny, tiny niche of users with some scientific inclination. However, it's a very capable and fascinating educational tool, as it touches on many important aspects of life without forcing you to go through four years of university somewhere, not that you shouldn't. It's smartly designed, it has the right dose of simple and complex, and it entices the brain to think in just the right way.

The one thing I'm missing are the actual algorithms in the background, which determine how applicable Biogenesis is for real-life simulations. Then again, it allows us to contemplate hypothetical early-life scenarios, and maybe gain understanding into why certain organisms are more prevalent, and how they have come to dominate life. Anyway, definitely worth testing. Begin.

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