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Is there science behind the VW scam?

The first time I’ve read about the VolksWagen strategy to bypass emission controls in the US it was from the perspective of business responsibility. People started to wonder how deep into the company is this scamming moral entangled. I honestly don’t care about this, since I always assume huge corporations have no such things as moral, regardless of were they are based. I was however really surprised and interested by the chosen strategy. In my mind, if I ever develop a product that doesn’t fulfill the regulations I would try just to bribe the people...
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Why saving data in binary format saves s...

Recently we had a short group discussion regarding saving and storing data. For some experiments it may become a real bottleneck since they may be generating billions of data points per second. However saving the data in the proper format may not only prevent you from running out of space in the hard drive, it will make opening and handling files much faster, without even mentioning the time you’ll save if you send them from one computer to another. I think it is wise to explain a bit what does it mean to save in plain “ascii” and why the binary format...
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Sunday Reading: Prostitution the Swedish...

Last week I’ve read an article by Evie Embrechts, comparing the Swedish and the Dutch take on prostitution. Both countries adopted a defined public policy between 1998 and 2000 and now it is possible to see the impacts of both approaches. Basically in Sweden selling sex is egal – to make sure prostitutes cannot be arrested or blackmailed – and buying sex is illegal: the customer needs to stop abusing his power and make better choices. The Netherlands approach is quite different, in 2000 the laws against brothels and pimping were struck. These forms of prostitution –...
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Musical Saturday: Iggy Pop – The Passenger

Musical Saturday: Iggy Pop – The P...

Is there a better way for starting a Saturday than with this song? The lyrics, written by Iggy Pop allegedly aboard Berlin’s S-Bahn, have been interpreted as embodying the nomadic spirit of the punk outcast. Check it out! I am the passenger and I ride and I ride I ride through the city’s backsides I see the stars come out of the sky Yeah, the bright and hollow sky You know it looks so good tonight I am the passenger I stay under glass I look through my window so bright I see the stars come out tonight I see the bright and hollow sky Over the city’s...
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How to encrypt a hard drive using LUKS

Since a long time ago and through the hard way, I’ve learned how important it is to back-up periodically my files. Without any doubts the easiest is using an external hard drive and the command rsync (later I’ll write a post about this). If you have the /home folder in a different partition it becomes incredibly easy to recover from a disaster (voluntary as changing computers, or involuntary as the death of the drive.) External hard drives became fundamental with new laptops that only possess SSD drives and the available space is insufficient. However there is...
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Musical Saturday: David Guetta – Hey Mama

Musical Saturday: David Guetta – H...

This summer Saturday is time to bring a different song from what I was bringing in the past. David Guetta is a french DJ that this season nailed it with his son Hey Mama, playing in all radios and parties. In this song you can find the voice of Nicki Minaj and Bebe Rexha and the collaboration of DJ Afrojack. From Wikipedia: Several music companies and reviewers chose “Hey Mama” as the highlight of the album, with Billboard describing it as a “bombastic island-flavored jam”[5][6] and the Associated Press stating Minaj and Afrojack had produced...
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How to simulate the plasmon resonance using discrete dipole approximation

How to simulate the plasmon resonance us...

For those of us working with nanoparticles, it became a common task to simulate the plasmon peak position as a function of geometry. Even if most papers claim it is an easy task, we all know that it is easy once you know how to do it; this article therefore aims to help those who are starting with simulations using the excellent ADDA (Amsterdam-Discrete Dipole Approximation) package, aiming to have spectra of gold nanoparticles. I will focus on gold nanorods, but the examples provided below should be easily extendable to other geometries. Installing the ADDA package has...
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Musical Saturday: Yo-Yo Ma – Playlist For An Extreme Occasion

Musical Saturday: Yo-Yo Ma – Playl...

Today is time to bring a different album; Playlist For An Extreme Occasion is the work of the Silkroad Ensemble, a collective of artists gathered by Yo-Yo Ma in pursuit of showing a music without borders. It is not at all easy listening, but worth checking over the weekend. Composer Vijay Iyer created “Playlist for an Extreme Occasion,” a work that included a type of musical dialogue between the cello and the tabla — a pair of Indian drums — along with the use of the piano as a percussive instrument, and segments of improvisation. In creating the work, Iyer said he tried...