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When archaeologists swap tales from the field, they tend to use hand-drawn images of relics. But hand drawings can be time-consuming, expensive, and rife with error. Three-dimensional laser scans are beginning to gain traction, but without additional analysis, a 3-D scan can miss meaningful details, especially after it’s reduced to a 2-D image. Automatically tracing an object’s curves helps. The question is how to identify the best curves to trace.

One technique traces the ridges and valleys defining each bump on a surface [third from left]; another finds features by analyzing how a silhouette changes with small shifts in perspective [third from right]. A group of computer scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the University of Haifa, in Israel, has found a new set of curves to make 3-D scans really pop [far right]. Known as demarcating curves, these lines capture the strongest points of transition between a ridge and a valley. Here, a fragment of a Hellenistic lamp from between 150 and 50 B.C.E. becomes clear.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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