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Comment: Find a local amateur astronomy club (Score 4, Interesting) 234

by Shadow2097 (#47938445) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?
The best place to start is by connecting with other people who share the same passions as you. I've similarly been fascinated by astronomy since I was a young child. A few years ago I rekindled my interest by buying a telescope and joining a club in Pittsburgh. I learned more from a few casual conversations with members than I had in months and months of reading and practicing on my own. Now I practice astrophotography and engage in lots of educational and community outreach events, and I owe just about everything to the club I joined. Best of luck, and clear skies!
User Journal

Journal: in which i am a noob all over again 17

Journal by CleverNickName

I haven't posted a journal here in almost three years, because I couldn't find the button to start a new entry. ...yeah, it turns out that it's at the bottom of the page.

So... hi, Slashdot. I used to be really active here, but now I mostly lurk and read. I've missed you.

Comment: Re:Intelligent (Score 1) 138

by Shadow2097 (#38155176) Attached to: Lost Russian Mars Probe Phones Home
That's certainly an option that will be looked at if they can't revive the probe in time, but it might be tricky. That would just about double the expected mission lifetime. It's tough to say that the mission-critical hardware (batteries, most importantly) will still be serviceable in 18 months. The rapid day/night cycles of earth orbit put a lot of strain on electrical systems from constantly switching power supplies.

Comment: Re:Intelligent (Score 5, Informative) 138

by Shadow2097 (#38151302) Attached to: Lost Russian Mars Probe Phones Home
The location/position of the probe has been known almost from the beginning. It was never that they couldn't find it, the problem was that the booster pack that was supposed to send the probe on to Mars never fired and the probe wasn't responding to the Russian's radio commands. What has changed in the last day is that receivers here on Earth are finally picking up radio signals from the probe itself, indicating that it is still alive and at least theoretically operational. Telemetry hasn't yet been received, but now there is a possibility we can communicate with it and try to diagnose the failures it suffered. As for if it can be recovered, I've not heard a definitive answer on this. One source will say the window has already closed, another says it's open until sometime in December. The window can probably be extended if they have enough fuel to try some exotic gravity assist with the Earth or Moon, but if it hasn't already passed it will soon.
Education

Quantum Physics For Everybody 145

Posted by kdawson
from the this-time-without-the-math dept.
fiziko writes in with a self-described "blatant self-promotion" of a worthwhile service for those wishing to go beyond Khan Academy physics: namely Bureau 42's Summer School. "As those who subscribe to the 'Sci-Fi News' slashbox may know, Bureau 42 has launched its first Summer School. This year we're doing a nine-part series (every Monday in July and August) taking readers from high school physics to graduate level physics, with no particular mathematical background required. Follow the link for part 1."
Java

Sun's Project Darkstar Game Server Platform No More 82

Posted by timothy
from the dropped-off-the-moving-truck dept.
sproketboy writes "Project Darkstar, an open source software platform from Sun labs that simplifies the development of horizontally scalable servers for online games, is being discontinued as of the Oracle acquisition. This project, mentioned a couple of years back on Slashdot, was a unique concept for building an application server specific to on-line gaming. Sadly they were so close at version 0.9.11 (which is still very stable). Hopefully the open source community can get involved and help continue work on this project."

Comment: Re:Wash your hands! (Score 1) 374

by CleverNickName (#29392669) Attached to: Swine Flu Outbreak At PAX

This is good advice, and gives me an opportunity to speak to the community at large: some of us who go to cons and are in a position to shake tons of hands politely decline. It's not because we're being dicks, it's because we know it's a good way to substantially decrease our chances of catching and spreading any germs.

Comment: Oh, cruel irony (Score 2, Interesting) 374

by CleverNickName (#29392641) Attached to: Swine Flu Outbreak At PAX

I played the PAX Pandemic game, where the Enforcers handed out stickers to attendees that read [Carrier] [Infected] or [Immune] (There was also a [Patient Zero].

I got the [Immune] sticker, and by the time I got home on Monday, it was clear that I had the flu. I've had a fever between 100 and 104 all week that finally broke last night, but I'm going to the doctor today because I think whatever I had settled into my lungs. I'll tell him about the H1N1 outbreak and get tested if he wants to run the test, but at this point I think it's safe to assume that I was [Immune] to the Pig Plague, but definitely [Infected] with the damn PAX pox.

Even though it's been a week of misery, it was entirely worth it, and I don't regret going to PAX for a single second.

Comment: Re:That's what you get (Score 2, Insightful) 124

by QuantumFTL (#29308627) Attached to: Take-Two Faces $20 Million Settlement For "Hot Coffee" Scandal
I'm pretty sure Take Two is doing just fine, even considering this. Also, nothing says "edgy" like "we got sued for something that wasn't even part of our game, because we're just that badass."

Seriously, I'm sure the execs are laughing all the way to the bank. And the shareholders, well WTF do you expect if you invest in a company that makes games where you can get your money back after fornicating with a professional via vehicular homicide?

Comment: I was an alpha playtester (Score 1) 41

by QuantumFTL (#29248663) Attached to: Developer Explains Clone/Transhumanist RPG
I enjoyed playtesting a (very unfinished) version of this system last summer with a local gaming group. I'm under NDA so I cannot say much, but I would recommend that anyone serious about science fiction RPGs check this out when it's released. If nothing else, you won't find the experience boring.

Comment: Re:Perfect... (Score 1) 170

by QuantumFTL (#28136143) Attached to: Google's "Wave" Blurs Chat, Email, Collaboration Software
I read this as "Perfect for PNP RNGs." I thought that using user input from multiple users just to generate random dice throws was a bit much, but... interesting at least.

Start a google code project for this, I'm sure you'll be surprised how much help you get. email me if there's anything I can do.
AMD

AMD Overclocks New Phenom II X4 To 7 GHz 288

Posted by timothy
from the adult-supervision dept.
CWmike writes "Advanced Micro Devices on Thursday introduced the latest member of its Phenom II X4 family of high-performance quad-core CPUs, which the No. 2 chip maker said it had run as fast as 7 GHz in extreme overclocking tests. Out of the box, the new X4 955 Black Edition, which is aimed at gamers and hobbyists, runs at 3.2 GHz, giving it similar performance to Intel's fastest desktop chips at lower cost, AMD says. The company was able to more than double the CPU's speed during its tests using extreme cooling technology that is not safe at home, said Brent Barry, an AMD product manager. The Web site Ripping.org notes that hobbyists with early access to the X4 955 chip have been able to clock it at up to 6.7 GHz. AMD said the chip was safe with fan cooling at up to 3.8 GHz."

Mirrors should reflect a little before throwing back images. -- Jean Cocteau

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