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Python Code Glitch May Have Caused Errors In Over 100 Published Studies

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Over 100 published studies may have incorrect results thanks to a glitchy piece of Python code discovered by researchers at the University of Hawaii.

An anonymous reader quotes Motherboard: The glitch caused results of a common chemistry computation to vary depending on the operating system used, causing discrepancies among Mac, Windows, and Linux systems. The researchers published the revelation and a debugged version of the script, which amounts to roughly 1,000 lines of code, on Tuesday in the journal Organic Letters.

"This simple glitch in the original script calls into question the conclusions of a significant number of papers on a wide range of topics in a way that cannot be easily resolved from published information because the operating system is rarely mentioned," the new paper reads. "Authors who used these scripts should certainly double-check their results and any relevant conclusions using the modified scripts in the [supplementary information]."

Yuheng Luo, a graduate student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, discovered the glitch this summer when he was verifying the results of research conducted by chemistry professor Philip Williams on cyanobacteria... Under supervision of University of Hawaii at Manoa assistant chemistry professor Rui Sun, Luo used a script written in Python that was published as part of a 2014 paper by Patrick Willoughby, Matthew Jansma, and Thomas Hoye in the journal Nature Protocols . The code computes chemical shift values for NMR, or nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, a common technique used by chemists to determine the molecular make-up of a sample. Luo's results did not match up with the NMR values that Williams' group had previously calculated, and according to Sun, when his students ran the code on their computers, they realized that different operating systems were producing different results.

Sun then adjusted the code to fix the glitch, which had to do with how different operating systems sort files.

The researcher who wrote the flawed script told Motherboard that the new study was "a beautiful example of science working to advance the work we reported in 2014. They did a tremendous service to the community in figuring this out."

Sun described the original authors as "very gracious," saying they encouraged the publication of the findings.
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jepler
301 days ago
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an assumption about operating system directory sorting order may have affected the result of published studies
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm
ilya_o
265 days ago
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Milton Keynes
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Carefully Molded Paper is Shaped into Personality-Filled Animal Portraits by Tiffany Miller Russell

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Colorado-based wildlife artist and natural history illustrator Tiffany Miller Russell uses carefully molded paper to express the unique characteristics of her animal subjects. To start the sculptural works, the artist first creates an original drawing. She then she cuts and forms found specialty papers by hand to build a three-dimensional collage atop the underlying illustration. “I delight in the unique and unusual,” she shares with Colossal, “and my goal when creating is to communicate with my viewer that excitement. I hope to pass along a little bit of wonder for the world around us.”

In addition to creating paper sculptures for the past fifteen years, the artist has also volunteered in a zoology prep lab and paleontology lab to further her knowledge and personal passion for evolutionary history. Miller Russell explains, “I’ve always felt a connection to animals. They have personalities and go about the world in their own ways that matter to them. Humans can anthropomorphize them, and cultures can bound them up in symbols and mythology, but that makes little difference to these creatures which have been going about their business and doing their own thing for millennia.”

The video below offers a time-lapse view of Miller Russell’s hands-on process. The artist tells Colossal that some of her larger tableaux can take up to 300 hours to complete. You can discover more of her three-dimensional animal portraits on her website and Facebook, as well as Etsy, where the artist offers originals and prints for sale.

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ilya_o
578 days ago
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Milton Keynes
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Mozilla mourns Microsoft

jwz
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Because we live in the Stupidest Timeline, Mozilla find themselves needing to point out that MICROS~1 leaving the web browser market is bad for the web.

Stupidest. Stupidest, stupidest, stupidest timeline.

Mozilla Blog: Goodbye, EdgeHTML:

Microsoft is officially giving up on an independent shared platform for the internet. By adopting Chromium, Microsoft hands over control of even more of online life to Google. [...]

From a business point of view Microsoft's decision may well make sense. Google is so close to almost complete control of the infrastructure of our online lives that it may not be profitable to continue to fight this. [...] From a social, civic and individual empowerment perspective ceding control of fundamental online infrastructure to a single company is terrible. This is why Mozilla exists. We compete with Google not because it's a good business opportunity. We compete with Google because the health of the internet and online life depend on competition and choice. They depend on consumers being able to decide we want something better and to take action.

So that "this is why Mozilla exists" sentiment is great and all, but....

Remember back in the 90s when Gates was claiming that Internet Explorer was an inseparable part of the Windows operating system, and then someone asked him a question he couldn't answer: "Which part of Windows is Internet Explorer for Mac"?

Well, what part of "the health of the internet and online life depend on competition and choice" is served by Mozilla's partnership with vertically integrated, predatory multinational monopolists like Live Nation? Or by implementing DRM?

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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ilya_o
608 days ago
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Milton Keynes
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Perspectives

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Perspectives

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ilya_o
915 days ago
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Milton Keynes
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gif87a-com:Photographer finds locations of 1960s postcards to...

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gif87a-com:

Photographer finds locations of 1960s postcards to see how they look today [x]

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ilya_o
927 days ago
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Milton Keynes
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Release day

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Release day

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ilya_o
929 days ago
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Milton Keynes
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