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Comment: Ashes to Ashes (Score 1) 955

by Brackney (#32323464) Attached to: <em>Lost</em> Ends

The BBC series "Ashes to Ashes" also finished up over the weekend, and it was a far more satisfying conclusion to both that series and its predecessor "Life on Mars." Well done, and a great send off for DCI Gene Hunt. I highly recommend both BBC series to folks who enjoyed Lost. Avoid the American remake of LoM though...

Graphics

How To Build a Winscape 161

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-that's-pretty-cool dept.
hoagaboom writes "You take your plasma TVs, mix them with a healthy dose of OpenGL and a dash of Wii Remote. Bake for a year and enjoy something called a Winscape." Although I'm not sure I'm quite willing to wear a special necklace to make the effect work, it's a super sweet little project, although they want $10 for the software and then $10 for many of the actual video loops.
Books

Hollywood's Growing Obsession With Philip K. Dick 244

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the can-we-call-him-pip dept.
bowman9991 writes "Even after Blade Runner, A Scanner Darkly, Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck, Impostor, and Next, it appears Hollywood's lust for movies based on Philip K. Dick material continues. The Adjustment Bureau, starring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, and Terence Stamp, is the latest, and features some classic Dick themes, including the fragile nature of reality and a fight against a world controlled and manipulated by powerful unseen entities. When Congressman David Norris meets the love of his life after a political defeat, he must peel back the layers of reality to discover why a mysterious group is so desperate to make sure they never meet again. He is up against the agents of fate itself — the men of The Adjustment Bureau. The Adjustment Bureau adaptation follows news that Terry Gilliam will adapt Dick's novel The World Jones Made, that Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said and Ubik are being adapted, and that a remake of Total Recall is being developed by the ironically named Original Films Studio."

Comment: Re:Free Public Colleges (Score 1) 419

by Doc Ruby (#31803224) Attached to: Chicago Mayor Calls For "Brainiac High"

Why is the Education Department bad, even if all it did were collating info? It's the smallest Cabinet agency, with only 5000 employees in about 30 offices. Its work in organizing finance is of course essential, and has just been reformed to kick out the worthless middlemen banks previously given free profit for little work or value, recapturing all that money and reinvesting it in direct financing to students. Its other activity is in enforcing "No Child Left Behind", which is also being dismantled after a decade of failure. The total budget is about $70B, which it spends on those activities along with enforcing Federal privacy and civil rights laws ensuring equal access to education, and restricted access to personal information generated by our educational systems where most people spend at least 20% of their lives.

"Abolish the Department of Education" is, however, a bedrock agenda of Republicans. Is the reason you want it gone because you're a Republican?

Comment: Re:Free Public Colleges (Score 1) 419

by Doc Ruby (#31802930) Attached to: Chicago Mayor Calls For "Brainiac High"

You're unusual, because you pieced together seemingly every possible source of revenue and savings to pay for your tuition, which people around the 50th %ile of HS grads generally can't figure out how to do. And you did it by both working a job enough time while going to school that your loans were smaller than your income taxes, which makes it harder to get the most out of school - especially for people around the 50th %ile of HS grads. And you did it I expect without going to a public school as expensive as, say, UC Berkeley. But even a school like SUNY at Albany costs over $12,500 a year, for students commuting from their family home (ie. room & board is extra). $12,500 would be a lot for a $30K income family of five.

It's not impossible to get an education in the US for free (net after many years working to earn it, and not just in the classroom). Your achievement is a testimony to both your own effort and to the fact that it is at least barely possible. But what I described was a system that would increase the value of millions of Americans' entire future lives, every year, for half what we're spending on Iraq and Afghanistan; for about 5% of what we spend on our entire defense system - but which would create a lot more value even in just our national security. You yourself, under a system like that, would have spent probably up to double your time during college learning, instead of flipping burgers, and likely gone to a better college - even if the same school, but with more tuition money to spend on educating more students with more focus on their education.

That shouldn't be just possible. It should be the baseline.

Comment: Free Public Colleges (Score 2, Insightful) 419

by Doc Ruby (#31801024) Attached to: Chicago Mayor Calls For "Brainiac High"

Public school should be free at least through college. At the very least loans should have their interest rates set, or be refundable, depending on one's graduating scores.

If we spent $10,000 a year on only the (1.5 million) top half of graduating students for each of four college years, that $60B would buy more than the $120B+ a year we spend in Iraq and Afghanistan (plus the "business as usual" $TRILLION+ annual expenses for the Pentagon and intelligence budgets). That's free education and expenses for every American above the median performance. If we gave $1000 to everyone who graduated high school on time, and $500 to everyone graduating only a year late, cash and no strings attached, the extra $1.5B would pay for itself in the drop in people who instead "graduate to jail" at $40,000 a year (plus the cost of whatever damages put them there, and the loss of their taxable productivity).

And more Americans who can think and research for themselves would reduce how often we go into these expensive wars.

Education investment is the best investment. We've got plenty of places from which we can redirect the wasteful expenses instead into education, where the public is really building something that protects and benefits the public.

Comment: Recipe For Collapse (Score 1) 204

by Doc Ruby (#31798124) Attached to: Completely Farm-Bred Unagi, a World First

The problem with farmed fish is that their environment is not as varied and robust, as diverse, as the natural one they evolved to thrive in. Which is why salmon farms, for example, breed unhealthier fish, and not infrequently collapse. Even land farms turn into incubators for very serious diseases, like mad cow etc.

Free range farming is the most sustainable. When the eel population collapses, there's more going wrong than just less eels for our sushi. The canary in the coal mine problem isn't fixed by simply keeping canaries in zoos.

NASA

NASA Summoned To Fix Prius Problems 380

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the tang-is-not-always-the-answer dept.
coondoggie writes "If you want to solve a major engineering mystery, why not bring in some of the world's best engineers? The US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today said it was doing just that by bringing in NASA engineers with expertise in areas such as computer controlled electronic systems, electromagnetic interference, and software integrity to help tackle the issue of unintended vehicle acceleration in Toyotas. The NHTSA review of the electronic throttle control systems in Toyotas is to be completed by late summer." We're really in trouble when NASA has no choice but to call Bruce Willis.
Entertainment

+ - Cool Top Ten List Of The Best Fan Created Tron Art->

Submitted by productdose.com
productdose.com (903083) writes "The groundbreaking geek movie favorite Tron, which brought us the original (and still the best) hacker hero in the character of Flynn, influenced and inspired a whole generation to take computing to the next level. Proving the films lasting appeal, here's a top ten of the best Tron fanboy art collected from around the web. Showcasing a diverse range of works, from lightcycles made from Legos to photo-realistic computer rendered re-imaginings, the list goes beyond the excellent ten and includes an extensive gallery of pieces that "were all awesome but didn't quite get their initials on the high scores screen". Contains one possibly NSFW picture halfway through."
Link to Original Source

+ - Convicts on the run better stay off Facebook->

Submitted by frinkster
frinkster (149158) writes "It's time to make an addition to the list of things you should not post on Facebook: According to Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Januari Smith, Luebke's Facebook saga began the evening of St. Patrick's Day. "Mr. Luebke broke custody at about 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17," Smith said. A mere 18 minutes later, there was an important news update on his Facebook page. "On da run!" The entry amazed many of his 526 Facebook friends, some of whom may actually know the guy. To properly capture the emotion of it all, I've decided not to clean up the spelling. "Waaaat u better not be," wrote Gina, two minutes later. "JOOOEEE YOUR SO DUUUMMBBB!!!!!!" chimed in Danielle. To be fair, the Illinois Department of Corrections will not confirm or deny how they tracked him down about 6 hours later."
Link to Original Source
Space

+ - Balloon and Duct Tape Deliver Great Space Photos-> 1

Submitted by krou
krou (1027572) writes "With a budget of £500, Robert Harrison used cheap parts, a weather balloon, some duct tape, a digital camera, and a GPS device to capture some great photos of the earth from space that resulted in NASA calling him to find out how he had done it. 'A guy phoned up who worked for Nasa who was interested in how we took the pictures,” said Mr Harrison. 'He wanted to know how the hell we did it. He thought we used a rocket. They said it would have cost them millions of dollars.' The details of his balloon are as follows: he used 'an ordinary Canon camera mounted on a weather balloon', 'free software' that 'reprogrammed the camera to wake up every five minutes and take eight photographs and a video before switching off for a rest.' He also ensured the camera was 'wrapped in loft insulation' to make sure it could operate at the cold temperatures. The GPS device allowed him to pinpoint the balloon's location, and retrieve the camera when it fell down to earth attached to a small parachute."
Link to Original Source
Image

Supersizing the "Last Supper" 98

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-meal-fit-for-a-king-of-kings dept.
gandhi_2 writes "A pair of sibling scholars compared 52 artists' renditions of 'The Last Supper', and found that the size of the meal painted had grown through the years. Over the last millennium they found that entrees had increased by 70%, bread by 23%, and plate size by 65.6%. Their findings were published in the International Journal of Obesity. From the article: 'The apostles depicted during the Middle Ages appear to be the ascetics they are said to have been. But by 1498, when Leonardo da Vinci completed his masterpiece, the party was more lavishly fed. Almost a century later, the Mannerist painter Jacobo Tintoretto piled the food on the apostles' plates still higher.'"

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