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26  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Group two windows so they get focus together. Possible? on: November 30, 2014, 07:20:18 PM
I just opened up 2 Windows Explorer windows, then did a Win+Left key to one and a Win+Right key to the other, then set each screen as topmost using Autohotkey:
Formatted for Autohotkey with the GeSHI Syntax Highlighter [copy or print]
  1. ^>+T:: ; Ctrl+RightShift+T  - OnTop - TOGGLE FUNCTION
  2. WinGetTitle,title,A ; this code cribbed from MilesAhead (DonationCoder) TopMost Toggle script.
  3.  WinSet,Topmost,Toggle,A ; toggle TopMost state
  4.  WinGet, ExStyle, ExStyle, A ; DLLCALL to tell if window AlwaysOnTop
  5.  if (ExStyle & 0x8) ; 0x8 is WS_EX_TOPMOST.
  6.    tiptext := "Topmost ON"
  7.  else
  8.    tiptext := "Topmost OFF"
  9.  ToolTip,%tiptext%
  10.  Sleep, 500

Is that the sort of thing wanted in the OP? I know it doesn't make the two screens "sticky" to each other.
You can "Peek" under each window using another bit of Autohotkey script.

By the way, I have remapped my keyboard's Right Shift key to the CapsLock key (using Microsoft's remapkey).
27  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Microsoft OneNote - Windows Desktop Search issues. on: November 30, 2014, 06:33:01 PM
This is just a quick, general summary of what seem to be the current issues relating to WDS (Windows Desktop Search) and ON (OneNote) search.
  • 1. WDS searches local (i.e., on the client PC) files only. Thus:
    • (a) if you have the primary working copy of ON Notebooks on the Client, then - assuming that search for the relevant file types has been enabled (per @wraith808's point, above) - the WDS will have indexed those Notebooks.
    • (b) if you have the primary working copy of ON Notebooks on SkyDrive, and are syncing those to the Client, then the WDS will not have indexed those Notebooks.

  • 2. WDS on Win7-64 worked fine with ON in this regard, though you could find problems - e.g., ERROR (Solved): The protocol "oneindex" does not have a registered program..

  • 3. WDS on Win8-64 and Win 8.1-64 seems to have had some so far not always explained problems with ON searches, according to discussions on user forums. A lot of these problems seem to hinge on issues relating to iFilters and the proper registration of same in the Registry. It's a real PITA. I am unsure whether what are termed "search connector protcols" are also involved in this.

  • 4. Searching ON Notebooks using the built-in ON search functionality seems to work fine whether the Notebooks being searched are on SkyDrive or the Client, or both. The only caution is that they may need to be open in ON for indexing/search to take place successfully.

Refer also to the comprehensive Microsoft Windows Search Overview (Windows)
28  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft OneNote - some experiential Tips & Tricks on: November 30, 2014, 04:13:13 AM
@dantheman: How did @wraith808's good advice work out for you?

Also, you did not say: What version of Windows do you have?

The version may be relevant, because Microsoft apparently somehow messed up the Windows Index/Search for OneNote file extensions (and some other file extensions) in Win8. To fix it, you needed to install the iFilters pack for MS Office 2013, but that iFilters pack was apparently only momentarily released and then promptly withdrawn without explanation. The prevailing advice following that seemed to be to use the iFilters pack for MS Office 2010, but that led to some instances of the iFilters not being properly registered (in the Registry) for certain file types, so they would still show up in searches almost exactly as you described above:
If use Windows Search key, (after finding specific text to search for), all i get is a folder icon with nothing to tell me what its from and it won't open to wherever the data is either. On the other hand, if i search within OneNote itself, there are no problems.
29  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: Visualization of Algorithms on: November 29, 2014, 10:36:38 AM
That animation reminds me of a similar thing I saw a couple of years ago where you watched a larger (but similar) animation of each kind of sort algorithm and it had sound that went with it.
Sorts are rather beautiful when looked at like that.
30  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft OneNote - some experiential Tips & Tricks on: November 29, 2014, 10:17:32 AM
Glad you found my notes useful!

Where you say:
...One thing i miss with this program is a better integration with Windows own search engine. ...
- I don't quite understand. OneNote is already integrated with Windows Search.
What version of Windows and OneNote (MS Office) do you have?
What sort of things does Windows Search not pull out of OneNote (on your system)?
If you tell me, then maybe I can help.

Regarding www.tiddlywiki.com - yes, it is rather good. Frustratingly, it seems that nothing comes close to OneNote if you:
  • (a) want or can make use of all that functionality (e.g., including rich text, voice sound as data, OCR, hyperlinking, tagging, etc);
  • (b) want the integration with the Windows OS and Windows Search;
  • (c) want the integration with MS Office and OLE (Object Linking and Embedding), and IE and want it to run on a stand-alone PC/laptop client and the Cloud (as necessary).
31  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / The Peer Review Scam: Why not review your own paper? on: November 28, 2014, 06:39:54 AM
I thought this was a spoof at first, but no, it's true. Not sure whether this shouldn't be in the silly humour thread as well...it certainly gave me larf.
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
The Peer Review Scam: Why not review your own paper?
If you suffer from an uncontrollable urge to claim that peer review is a part of The Scientific Method (that’s you Matthew Bailes, Pro VC of Swinburne), the bad news just keeps on coming.  Now, we can add the terms “Peer Review Rigging” to “Peer-review tampering”, and “Citation Rings”.

Not only do personal biases and self-serving interests mean good papers are slowed for years and rejected for inane reasons, but gibberish gets published, and in some fields most results can’t be replicated. Now we find (is anyone surprised?) that some authors are even reviewing their own work. It’s called Peer-Review-Rigging. When the editor asks for suggestions of reviewers, you provide pseudonyms and bogus emails. The editor sends the review to a gmail type address, you pick it up, and voila, you can pretend to be an independent reviewer.

One researcher, Hyung-In Moon, was doing this to review his own submissions. He was caught because he sent the reviews back in less than 24 hours. Presumably if he’d waiting a week, no one would have noticed.
Nature reports: “THE PEER-REVIEW SCAM”

Authors: Cat Ferguson, Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky are the staff writer and two co-founders, respectively, of Retraction Watch in New York City.

Moon’s was not an isolated case. In the past 2 years, journals have been forced to retract more than 110 papers in at least 6 instances of peer-review rigging. What all these cases had in common was that researchers exploited vulnerabilities in the publishers’ computerized systems to dupe editors into accepting manuscripts, often by doing their own reviews. The cases involved publishing behemoths Elsevier, Springer, Taylor & Francis, SAGE and Wiley, as well as Informa, and they exploited security flaws that — in at least one of the systems — could make researchers vulnerable to even more serious identity theft. “For a piece of software that’s used by hundreds of thousands of academics worldwide, it really is appalling,” says Mark Dingemanse, a linguist at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen,

Even Moon himself thinks the editors should “police the system against people like him”.

“editors are supposed to check they are not from the same institution or co-authors on previous papers.”

That would rule out half the publications in the climate science world.

The worst case involved 130 papers:

….a case that came to light in May 2013, when Ali Nayfeh, then editor-in-chief of the Journal of Vibration
and Control, received some troubling news. An author who had submitted a paper to the journal told Nayfeh that he had received e-mails about it from two people claiming to direct contact with authors, and — strangely —the e-mails came from generic-looking Gmail accounts rather than from the professional institutional accounts that many academics use (see ‘Red flags in review’). Nayfeh alerted SAGE, the company in Thousand Oaks, California, that publishes the journal. The editors there e-mailed both the Gmail addresses provided by the tipster, and the institutional addresses of the authors whose names had been used, asking for proof of identity and a list of their publications. One scientist responded — to say that not only had he not sent the e-mail, but he did not even work in the field.

This sparked a 14-month investigation that  came to involve about 20 people from SAGE’s editorial, legal and production departments. It showed that the Gmail addresses were each linked to accounts with Thomson Reuters’ ScholarOne, a publication-management system used by SAGE and several other publishers, including Informa. Editors were able to track every paper that the person or people behind these accounts had allegedly written or reviewed, says SAGE spokesperson Camille Gamboa. They also checked the wording of reviews, the details of author-nominated reviewers, reference lists and the turnaround time for reviews (in some cases, only a few minutes). This helped the investigators to ferret out further suspicious-looking accounts; they eventually found 130. As they worked through the list, SAGE investigators realized that authors were both reviewing and citing each other at an anomalous rate. Eventually, 60 articles were found to have evidence of peer-review tampering, involvement in the citation ring or both.

Those 60 papers were retracted.

Nature, of course, is happy to air problems that mostly apply to its competitors. When will Nature admit that namecalling, and failures of logic and reason are every bit as damaging to science as rank corruption?

Ht to Willie.
32  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: autocorrect on: November 28, 2014, 04:24:37 AM
There is one application I recall that does just what seems to be asked for in the OP, and I was testing it a few weeks ago, but for the life of me I can't recall it's name. Sorry.    embarassed
(I uninstalled it as it was too good at what it did and seemed rather intrusive.)
I think it might have been an Autohotkey app from Lifehacker.

Also, try:
33  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: November 28, 2014, 03:32:54 AM
My daughter showed me this link: http://www.staggeringbeauty.com/
34  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Lifehacker Faceoff: OneNote vs. Evernote on: November 27, 2014, 04:30:08 PM
I just now stumbled upon this Lifehacker overview (not too detailed) and comparison: Lifehacker Faceoff: OneNote vs. Evernote
The post is dated 2014-03-25.
I think it could be pretty useful if OneNote and Evernote were somehow merged...   undecided
35  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Wiki-like hyperlinking. on: November 27, 2014, 04:19:29 PM
Made an EDIT to Re: Microsoft OneNote - some experiential Tips & Tricks above:

EDIT by IainB on 2014-11-28 1059hrs: This functionality was replaced in OneNote 2007 and later. All you have to do now is type out a word or phrase with double square brackets at both ends - e.g., [[this phrase]] - and if a page in your open Notebooks already exists with that word/phrase as its title, then OneNote will underline the text of the word/phrase you have just typed in and turn it into a hyperlink to that existing page, otherwise OneNote will create a page with that word/phrase as a title, in the section you are currently in, and will underline the text of the word/phrase you have just typed in and turn it into a hyperlink to that newly-created page.
This is Wiki-like hyperlinking, and potentially incredibly useful.
36  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: The potential time/cost benefits of improved code efficiency. on: November 26, 2014, 07:08:13 PM
Well, it's food for thought, isn't it?
Operational code efficiency was not only a salient point when I was learning assembler on mainframes, but also later when I was developing/supporting analysis and reporting programs written in FORTRAN (mostly for cross-tabulation, mathematical programming and financial modelling).
The advent of the conventional 3-tier client-server model tended to somewhat obscure the relevance/need for code efficiency, but it was still relevant to mainframe operations which were being used on some kind of shared service (or time-sharing) basis - which is arguably what the current cloud-based models are.

So what @40hz says is likely to be true:
In and of itself, it may not be that important to some developers. But to their clients, who are increasingly buying CPU cycles from cloud providers like Amazon, it's will inevitably become a major concern. ...
- i.e., it's a business issue.
For much the same reason, the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of an IT operation will tend to remain a business issue.

@Renegade's joke about:
Or, they could hire crappier programmers for cheaper, fire the expensive ones, save $8,000 a month, and not care about the $400. ...
- would tend to be useful only in a relatively very short-term view, as, in the longer-term, it would frustrate/defeat the theoretical objective benefits of improving the processes of software development per Humphrey's CMM, and software operation per Deming's 14-point philosophy - i.e., in the former, improvement of software development process efficiency and in the latter improvement of operational software efficiency would be synergistic business objectives.

Thus "producing the optimum cost-effective capital cost and optimum cost-effective design for fuel-efficiency for fleet vehicles" - to use @40hz's analogy.

@40hz and @Renegade - I thought you might find it interesting!
37  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / The potential time/cost benefits of improved code efficiency. on: November 26, 2014, 06:32:00 AM
With the increasingly higher speed processors and faster disk access times that we may be accustomed to nowadays, code efficiency (including, for example, execution efficiency and the utilisation of CPU secs. and I/O operations) is not necessarily such a pressing matter of concern for developers as it was in times past. So I was quite interested in reading the case study below about how relatively marginal efficiency improvements in a relatively large-scale computing platform could lead to significant time/cost savings.
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
How shaving 0.001s from a function saved $400/mo on Amazon EC2 | Ben Milleare

If premature optimisation is the root of all evil, then timely optimisation is clearly the sum of all things good.

Over at ExtractBot, my HTML utility API, things have been hotting up gradually over several months; to the extent that, at peak, it’s now running across 18 c1.medium instances on Amazon EC2. Each of those weigh in at 1.7Gb memory and 5 compute units (2 cores x 2.5 units).

At standard EC2 rates that would work out at around $2.52/hr (almost $2000/mo).

Amazon states that one EC2 compute unit is the “equivalent CPU capacity of a 1.0-1.2 GHz 2007 Opteron or 2007 Xeon processor”. So that’s like having 90 of them churning through HTML; and it takes a lot of it to keep them busy.

It’s not so much the number of requests that dictates CPU load with ExtractBot, but more what the assemblies look like (think of an assembly as a factory conveyor belt of robots passing HTML snippets to each other). Now, most of our beta testers are fairly low volume right now, but one of them is a little different; over ~18 hours of each day they pump around 2.2M HTML pages into the system. In their specific assembly, each page runs through a single CSS robot and the results (~10 per page) then get fed into a further 11 separate CSS robots along with a couple of Regex robots.

If we look at just the CSS robots for now, that’s around 244 million over the course of the 18 hour run. Or to put it in a way that’s easier to visualise – over 3,700 per second.

Normally, shaving 0.001s from a function would not exactly be top of my optimisation hit list, but after looking at where requests were spending most of their time it was obvious it would make considerable difference. 0.001s on 3.7k loops means we could save a whopping 3.7 seconds of CPU time in every second of real time. To put that another way, we could effectively drop about four of our c1.medium instances, a saving on standard EC2 pricing of over $400/mo.

So, what does shaving 0.001s from a single function look like?

cpudrop_500px [the graph shows a 17% step drop in CPU utilisation]

This entry was posted in Crawler.io on September 25, 2013.
38  DonationCoder.com Software / N.A.N.Y. 2015 / Re: NANY 2015 Pledge: Installer Crapware Wrapper Detection DLL on: November 24, 2014, 07:48:30 PM
Saw this today and thought it could be of interest:
Unchecky Trusted Freeware download and reviews - SnapFiles.com
Prevent accidental installations of third party offers.
Unchecky is a small tool that can help you prevent accidental acceptance of third party sponsor offers during software installations. The program runs as a background service and monitors your software installations. If it detects any unrelated offers, it automatically unchecks them for you, so you don't accidentally install any unwanted software. We tested Unchecky with a handful of different installers and it worked particularly well with OpenCandy, AVG and some others (see our screenshots). Keep in mind that there are many different types of third party offers and installation schemes and Unchecky will not work with all of them - it missed a few during our tests. Nonetheless, Unchecky works well with most of the popular installers and uses very little resources. If you frequently find yourself overlooking third party offers and end up with unwanted toolbars or application, you definitely want to give Unchecky a try! The current version has a rather minimalist interface without any additional configuration options. We'd like to seem some logging features or notification options that keep the user informed of Unchecky's actions.

It is described briefly on the developer's website, and there's some interesting discussion/comment about it:
Unchecky v0.3
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Introducing Unchecky v0.3!

The new version of Unchecky provides you with more visual feedback:

    A tray icon is visible as long as the Unchecky service is running.
    When an offer is rejected, a notification message is shown (see screenshot below).


Also, Unchecky v0.3 has an activity log, which was the most requested feature on UserEcho. You can see which installers were handled by Unchecky, how many offers were rejected, and how many warnings were displayed:

As you can see from the above screenshot, there are also social network buttons, which allow you to tell your friends and family about Unchecky. Please use them! We have great plans about Unchecky, and we need your help to spread the word.
Posted in Software, Updates by RaMMicHaeL at October 7th, 2014.
Tags: unchecky
39  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates on: November 24, 2014, 04:08:40 PM
German bureaucracy is pragmatic - and ironic, but honest with it:
German Government Refuses FOI Request By Pointing Out Document Already Leaked | Techdirt
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
rom the well-played dept

Freedom of information requests are a powerful way of finding out things that governments would rather not reveal. As a result, requests are often refused on a variety of grounds, some more ridiculous than others. The Netzpolitik blog points us to a rather unusual case concerning a request by the politician Malte Spitz for a letter from the Chief of Staff of the German Chancellery to members of a commission investigating intelligence matters. The request was refused on the grounds that the document was already freely available (original in German):
    The information you requested may be obtained free of charge on the Internet by anyone, in a reasonable manner. The letter from the Chief of the Federal Chancellery, Federal Minister Peter Altmaier, to the chairman of the first committee of inquiry of the 18th legislature, Professor Dr. Sensburg, is publicly available and published in full at the following link:


The Netzpolitik link included there leads to an article that a few weeks earlier had not only leaked the document requested by Spitz, but also noted wryly that the letter from Altmaier threatens anyone leaking documents with legal action.
The German bureaucracy should be applauded for taking the adult view that once a document is leaked, it is publicly -- and officially -- available. This contrasts with the childish attempts by the British government to pretend that Snowden's leaks never happened, and its refusal even to pronounce the name of some of the surveillance programs he revealed.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+
40  Special User Sections / Site/Forum Features / Re: v\View first unread in thread? on: November 24, 2014, 06:44:58 AM
Oh, sorry, yes. I would have mentioned it, but I assumed you would have already known that Google Reader was killed off some time ago.
I now use Bazqux reader, which looks just like Google Reader and behaves almost the same too. Only thing is, it cannot use the Google Reader Filter extension. I am wondering whether to rewrite the filter myself, or ask the developer to provide something that does the job.
The filter seems to be in Java script, and I am unfamiliar with writing that, but I could probably figure it out if I decided to give it the necessary time...
41  DonationCoder.com Software / Clipboard Help+Spell / Feature request: automatic OCR of captured images. on: November 24, 2014, 01:42:44 AM
@mouser: Could you consider this please?
Based on this: Inside Microsoft OCR Libraries.

- I would really like to see if CHS could accommodate this:
...Perform OCR on any text in images as they are clipped ...
(i.e., similar to OneNote.)

- so that CHS would be able to do this with the captured images - i.e., just like with ordinary text capture clips:
...Look at this:
I have set up a child group in the CHS "tree" called "Auto-Tags". ...

Ideally, it might be most useful if the OCR'd text was attached somehow to the image file in the database, say to the CHS "Clip Text" part of the clip, so it would be searchable and copyable within CHS.
Or - just thinking aloud - this might (say) imply saving such images as .JPG files with the OCR'd text saved/appended as Alternative Text(?) or to (say) the Caption field in the IPTC section of that file. The idea would be to also enable things like Windows Search and image management tools (e.g., Picasa) to pick up the OCR'd text, though I am unsure whether that would even be possible with Windows Search without some kind of iFilter (e.g., as is required to index/search for text in .TIFF files).
42  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Inside Microsoft OCR Libraries. on: November 24, 2014, 12:24:57 AM
In the light of what I wrote here:
...In our OCR case, I can better explain if I make a comparison: OCR is to data gathering/extraction what push-button dialling was to the telephone. ...

- this could be useful to know about:
Inside Windows Platform – Inside Microsoft OCR Libraries
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
November 21, 2014 by Emilio Salvador Prieto // PC, Phone, Tablet // 2 Comments   

In this episode of Inside Windows Platform, we talked with Ivan Stojiljkovic, the Dev Lead of the OCR team at Microsoft.

OCR is acompelling developer scenario which can empower all sorts of useful mobile apps. Microsoft has been developing OCR functionality for its apps for some time now. In order to get real world data, the OCR team first published their code as part of the Bing Translator app, which gave them extensive data, allowing them to deliver near real-time translation of any camera captured text.

Now, the OCR team is giving you the ability to leverage the power of character recognition to your applications. The OCR team has published their libraries to NuGet, for you.

Video here, source below

Here are some links to the related materials:
    Microsoft OCR library NuGet page
    Microsoft OCR library sample app
    Microsoft OCR library MSDN documentation
    DevRadio show featuring the Microsoft OCR Library

Let us know if you have any feedback.
43  Special User Sections / Site/Forum Features / Re: v\View first unread in thread? on: November 23, 2014, 10:19:59 PM
Most forums have a "view first unread" button for threads.  I found one reference to pressing the "new icon" to show the first unread in the thread.  Bit I don't see the icon or anything that looks like it will view the first unread post.  I've been hitting "Go Down" then backing up..  kind of awkward.  Is there a button that does the View First Unread in Thread function?

...I can only assume the board software somehow makes it awkward to implement or everyone is fine with a chain of new posts from mixed threads.  Either way it looks like no joy.
 guess I'll just switch to newest post at top of thread instead of chronological order.

Though it's neither a "button" nor a solution, the closest approach to a solution that I had for this same requirement was in Google Reader, which had  a rather good Firefox add-in - "Google Reader Filter", that was really handy on DCF where you could have lots of new posts on the same/different threads, interspersed with new topic posts. I managed to get it so that the filter displayed only the latest post in any ongoing discussion, thus, you only saw the latest post (with a prefix "Re:") or the first post of a new topic. This got rid of all the "noise" and greatly assisted skim-reading:


44  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process on: November 23, 2014, 09:37:34 PM
There have been several scientific frauds covered in this discussion thread, and today I was reading a new review of one of the biggest such frauds - a fraud with an effective lifetime that spanned approx. 40 years, even getting into school textbooks on prehistory as a bona fide discovery of palaeontology: Piltdown Man: Untangling One of the Most Infamous Hoaxes in Scientific History—Blog—The Appendix
What is especially interesting here is that several very distinguished scientists apparently collaborated in this deliberate fraud, in peer review and invention, and even today we are not entirely sure about the "why"/motivation for doing it. The urge that some scientists evidently sometimes succumb to - to create a fraud - is nothing particularly new or peculiar to modern-day science, though the motives are not necessarily fully understood or the same in each case.
(The review is copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Piltdown Man: Untangling One of the Most Infamous Hoaxes in Scientific History

Posted by Lydia Pyne on May 16, 2014

Few scientific forgeries have captured the scientific and public imaginations as completely as that of the 1912 Piltdown Man hoax. While examples of blatant fraud can be found in many scientific disciplines over the centuries, out-and-out forgeries and hoaxes prove to be relatively rare. The Piltdown Man is one of the most studied and least resolved incidents in the history of paleoanthropology – an episode surrounded by mystery and intrigue.

It would seem that just about everyone who is anyone in the paleo-community of the last sixty years has a theory about who perpetrated the fossil hoax; why it lasted as long as it did (forty years); and what Piltdown meant (and means) to paleoanthropology. Suspects charged with perpetrating the hoax have included the fossil’s discoverer Charles Dawson, scientific notables like William J. Sollas and Sir Arthur Keith, and even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

A 1915 group portrait by John Cooke, Charles Dawson and others associated with the Piltdown find. Wikimedia Commons

In the first decade of twentieth-century, the fledgling discipline had few fossils to hang its science on. A couple of Neanderthal skulls, a few specimens from France, some scattered skeletal elements from around Europe, a skull from Australia – to say nothing of Eugene Dubois’s famous 1891 find in Java (which he termed Pithecanthropus erectus) which firmly established Southeast Asia as an epicenter of human evolution for the scientific communities of Europe. Equally as debated as the geographic origin of human ancestry was the evolutionary sequence of “human-like” traits and the order that these traits appear in the fossil record. For the early twentieth-century paleo-community, the question of whether brains (read: a surrogate for culture) developed before or after bipedalism (read: non-cultural anatomy) occupied a good proportion of paleo-research efforts.

The Piltdown material itself came to the attention of British intellectuals, like paleontologist Arthur Smith Woodward, via the British Museum upon the fossil’s excavation in 1912. The Piltdown fossil consisted of a mandibular fragment (the lower jaw) as well as portions of the crania (the skull), recovered from the Piltdown gravels of East Sussex by antiquarian Charles Dawson. The find was promptly and rather grandiosely named Eoanthropus dawsoni.

Skull of the “Eoanthropus Dawsoni” (Piltdown Man). Wellcome Images

Woodward claimed that the find pointed to a “missing link” in the chain of human evolution – a fossil that could be reconstructed as a human ancestor with a large brain. This would have been a testament to the long-term significance of culture and intellectual prowess in the evolution of Homo sapiens.

Woodward wasn’t alone in his interpretation. The Piltdown fossils became readily accepted by the paleo-community. Indeed, many fossils found in subsequent decades (such as the 1925 Taung Child in South Africa) were ignored due to the influence of Piltdown. Even prominent American paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn (then-president of the American Museum of Natural History) declared the skull and jaw a perfect fit and the specimen fascinating.

A photograph by John Frisby of Uckfield, showing excavations at the Piltdown gravels in 1912. Standing centre left in the picture is the white-bearded figure of Arthur Smith Woodward and working in the trench on the right is Charles Dawson, the local solicitor who had "discovered" the skull of "Piltdown Man." Photo and caption courtesy of http://www.photohistory-sussex.co.uk/index.htm.

Arthur Smith Woodward and Uckfield photographer John Frisby inspect the excavations at Piltdown in 1912. Arthur Smith Woodward was a palaeontologist and Keeper of Geology at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. http://www.photohistory-sussex.co.uk/index.htm

In 1953, a committee of sorts convened to evaluate the growing dissatisfaction with the fossil and the evidence against it being legitimate. In the end, “fossil” was demonstrated to comprise three “modern” species – a human skull, an orangutan jaw, and chimpanzee teeth. The teeth had been filed down and the entire set of bones stained with an iron solution. A few scientists in the early days of the fossil’s fame (like Franz Weidenreich, discoverer of the 1930s fossils ascribed to the so-called Peking Man) declared the fossil a forgery, but it wasn’t until 40 years after the fossil’s entry into the paleo community that is was exposed for what it was.

But what was it? A forgery? A hoax? A joke? A gross error in bending facts to fit a theory?

On some level, the Piltdown “fossil” is all of these things. However, it is also an important lesson not only about early twentieth-century science's search for a missing link, but also our own. In a discourse where chains, links, and linearity are treated not only as helpful metaphors ("the Great Chain of Being," "the Tree of Life"), but as actual explanation for biological phenomenon, Piltdown Man serves as a reminder that missing links can also be invented ones.

A reconstruction of the Piltdown man in three quarters profile. Wellcome Images

Acknowledgments: The author would like to acknowledge the Pennoni Honors College, Drexel University and the generous time and conversations of Dr. Francis Thackery (University of Witwatersrand.)
Recommended Links
    The Piltdown Inquest by Charles Blinderman
    Piltdown: A Scientific Forgery by Frank Spencer
    Bones of Contention by Roger Lewin
45  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: 58 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Everything We Do on: November 23, 2014, 09:12:32 PM
Tying in with my comment above re the "Nullius in verba/verbo." motto of the Royal Society, London, I have cross-posted this from the "Peer Review" discussion thread:
A new Decalogue for Peer Review and the Scientific Process
Here is some sage advice on thinking from Bertrand Russell, in regard to teaching, and which could equally well be applied to science and peer review. I have copied it below from an RSS feed I subscribe to at brainpickings.org: (well worth a read)
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
British philosopher, mathematician, historian, and social critic Bertrand Russell endures as one of the most intellectually diverse and influential thinkers in modern history, his philosophy of religion in particular having shaped the work of such modern atheism champions as Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Richard Dawkins. From the third volume of The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell: 1944-1969 comes this remarkable micro-manifesto, entitled A Liberal Decalogue — a vision for responsibilities of a teacher, in which Russell touches on a number of recurring themes from pickings past — the purpose of education, the value of uncertainty, the importance of critical thinking, the gift of intelligent criticism, and more.
It originally appeared in the December 16, 1951, issue of The New York Times Magazine, at the end of the article “The best answer to fanaticism: Liberalism.”
Perhaps the essence of the Liberal outlook could be summed up in a new decalogue, not intended to replace the old one but only to supplement it. The Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate, might be set forth as follows:
  • 1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
  • 2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
  • 3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
  • 4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
  • 5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
  • 6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
  • 7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
  • 8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
  • 9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
  • 10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.
The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell is a treasure trove of wisdom in its entirety — highly recommended.
46  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Paper: Assumptions in Cryptography - Koblitz and Menezes (2010) on: November 23, 2014, 08:49:48 PM
An interesting paper from 2010: http://www.ams.org/notice.../201003/rtx100300357p.pdf
The Brave New World of Bodacious Assumptions in Cryptography - Neal Koblitz and Alfred Menezes (2010)

Also some accidental irony in the conclusions where there is an implication of the role of the NSA as some kind of approving authority on the matter, rather than as we know it today  - i.e., as an apparently State-sponsored national and international security hacking authority.
47  DonationCoder.com Software / N.A.N.Y. 2015 / Re: NANY 2015 Pledge: Installer Crapware Wrapper Detection DLL on: November 23, 2014, 06:51:01 PM
...That's what I meant Iain, today it didn't seem to be there.
Yes, I realised that. I was posting not so much to agree with you as to say that I thought it used to be there (until very recently).
By the way, I forgot to mention that, depending on the source one used to download Java/Flash from, it could make a difference as to whether it had a PUP installed.
48  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ello.co - new social network/forum (no advertising or membership data-gathering) on: November 23, 2014, 06:40:39 PM
My very quick input:
The design:  Horrific.
The Profile Layout: I think my eyes are bleeding.
The Features: Nothing Interesting.
My consensus:
Yet another social network I won't be joining.

Hahaha. Not too dissimilar to my first impressions on trying it out today...    Wink
It's a bit kludgy too, but that's OK, it's early days yet, still in Beta.
49  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Ello.co - new social network/forum (no advertising or membership data-gathering) on: November 23, 2014, 04:37:48 PM
Not sure whether Ello.co  has been mentioned on DCF already, so I apologise in advance for any duplication.
In early October this year (2014) I requested an invite to join Ello - an interesting newfangled social network that I had read about that was starting up in Beta.
They responded to the effect that they were taking people on board in groups for the Beta, and would invite me at a later stage.
Today they sent me an invite, and so I have now registered.
I have listed below some relevant details about Ello.
However, I would first like to mention that amongst their discussions was one where I came across a very interesting link to this article: Younger Users Spend More Daily Time on Social Networks - eMarketer

I tend to take all market research with a pinch of salt, but if there is any truth in the above article, then the amount of time that people are apparently prepared to dedicate to expending their cognitive surplus (which occupies their their awareness during their waking hours) on social networks is pretty interesting.

Now, about Ello.co (from their own blurb):
  • email 2014-10-05:
    Thank you for your interest in Ello.
    We will invite you as soon as we can. Ello is currently in beta, and we are inviting new users in small groups as we roll out new features.
    In the meantime, please share our Manifesto — and help us spread the word.

  • email 2014-11-24:
    Lucian Föhr (@lucian) has invited you to join Ello. Simple, beautiful & ad-free.
    Created by seven artists and designers, Ello is the social network you have been waiting for. Simple, beautiful & ad-free.
    Click the link below to create your account and get started.

  • Ello | wtf | # Ello ManifestoYour social network
    Ello Manifesto
    Your social network is owned by advertisers.
    Every post you share, every friend you make, and every link you follow is tracked, recorded, and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.
    We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity, and transparency. We believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.
    We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce, and manipulate — but a place to connect, create, and celebrate life.
    You are not a product.


  • Take a look at: Ello | wtf | # About Ello[What is Ello?](/wtf/post/about-ello)Updated
50  DonationCoder.com Software / N.A.N.Y. 2015 / Re: NANY 2015 Pledge: Installer Crapware Wrapper Detection DLL on: November 23, 2014, 03:23:15 PM
Not sure if this is true today but I think Oracle's Java and/or Adobe/Macromedia Flash Player installs used to (and may still do) come bundled with the Ask.com web browser search installer.
From memory, I recall that MBAM (Malwarebytes) is able to detect some candyware as PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) that it has recorded in its virus signature database. It detects the signature files for PUPs in software installers and I think (but am not sure) that it may even sometimes be able to isolate/remove the PUP components from the main software install, leaving the basic software installer intact.

I shall post a query for clarification about this in the MBAM support forum and drop the answer in this thread.
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