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+ - Mars Rover finds evidence of Taco Bell?->

Submitted by ColdWetDog
ColdWetDog (752185) writes "Most methane on earth has a biological origin — microbes, cows, burritos. It has been long observed that there is a very low level of methane production on Mars. It's specific origin is unclear. Certainly one answer would be some sort of biologic process. The Mars Rover, Curiosity has been sampling methane levels on a regular basis and has noted several small spikes.

A BBC article discusses the data further and offers some clues and further areas of research. Unfortunately it is a bit premature to postulate that the Martian Counsel can order takeout."

Link to Original Source

+ - China officially became the world's largest economy, ahead of the United States

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "For the first time in 150 years, the USA has lost its title of the largest economy in the world to China. China officially became the world’s largest economy, ahead of the United States, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to the latest figures of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) just released in December 8th, 2014, China has come ahead the United States as the world’s largest economy. China’s GDP will indeed reach 17600 billion in 2014 against 17400 billion for the United States. These data are calculated using the method known as “purchasing power parity”, which is economically significant. It measures the purchasing power of different currencies in a common unit as opposed to changes in exchange rates. Now China represents 16.5% of the global economy in terms of real purchasing power, ahead of the US, 16.3%. According to IMF estimates, the gap should continue to widen in the coming years. By 2019, China would reach more than 26,800 billion of national wealth, against just 22,000 billion for the United States. The United States had become the leading economic power in 1872 after overtaking Britain."

Comment: Re:Conventional roasted but want to do a smoked on (Score 1) 189

by StatureOfLiberty (#48506321) Attached to: I prefer my turkey ...
I smoke turkeys and chickens quite often. The Weber Smokey mountain cooker (18.5 inch diameter one) is a great and affordable smoker. The larger one (22.5") looks compelling but takes a lot more charcoal to cook. The temperature is also harder to regulate. Make sure you brine the bird. It will keep the white meat from getting dry while the dark meat is coming up to temperature. When done right, smoked turkey and smoked chicken are both wonderful.

Comment: Community is just as important as car (Score 4, Informative) 195

by StatureOfLiberty (#48435555) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Hackable Car?
You need to find a car that has a strong community of people who like to make these kinds of changes. I have a Prius (actually 2). There is a ton of information on the car. For example, someone posted instructions for ordering parts and wiring in accessories that allow you to unlock the car by touch from the passenger door handle and the rear hatch. That feature was only offered by Toyota on the top models in 2011.

PriusChat is my favorite place for researching maintaining and enhancing my 2 Priuses. Good luck and have fun!

Comment: Most interesting fight - M0xer-4 (Score 2) 48

by StatureOfLiberty (#48090557) Attached to: Send Your Own Radiosonde 90,000 Feet Into the Sky (Video)

Leo Bodnar launched a small balloon with a 11 gram payload. The payload is solar powered and has telemetry. Balloon hobbyists have been watching the flight since July 12th 2014. It is still flying. It has circled the earth (not at equator) about 5 times now I believe.

B-64/M0XER-4 Flight Web Page
APRS Position

Simply amazing. The longest flight I can recall prior to this was one that was launched in California and made it to somewhere near the Mediterranean sea a few days later.

Comment: Re:Bad way to conduct policy (Score 1) 131

by StatureOfLiberty (#47912727) Attached to: The FCC Net Neutrality Comment Deadline Has Arrived: What Now?
That certainly sounds good. But, the reality is that many times the elected officials' and their appointees' involvement is the problem. And most of the time the public doesn't know and doesn't care. When the 'broadband over power lines' debacle was going on during the FCC Powell years, a friend of mine privy to some of the discussions said that when FCC engineers were talking to industry engineers things progressed in a reasonable way. As soon as the political appointees showed up, things went stupid. The engineers could no speak frankly and just work through the issues. And in the end the FCC literally created regulation based on incorrect physics. Fortunately, BPL pretty much died on its own. So, we dodged one there.

Comment: Re:I asked them which Windows computer (Score 1) 251

by StatureOfLiberty (#47757987) Attached to: TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers
Same here. I still managed to keep him on the line for maybe 10 minutes. So, at the very least, that was 10 minutes he could not be scamming someone who didn't know better. Someone needs to develop some kind of phone bot that you can just transfer these calls to. Then it could waste their time in some automated fashion.

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 5, Insightful) 200

Sure it might be better, but it definitely can be much worse.

Worse than no high speed broadband service? Wilson built their system because Time Warner and others refused to. So, the city decided to solve the problem themselves. When you refuse to serve a community, you can't complain about 'unfair competition' when they decide to serve themselves.

(Time Warner thanks you for your loyalty)

Comment: Re:Illegal? (Score 1) 192

by StatureOfLiberty (#47336567) Attached to: An Army Medal For Coding In Perl

It is wonderful that someone took the time to have him recognized. So many times people don't take the time to do things like this.

Regarding contracting out:

I was a boom operator in the Air Force (inflight refueling specialist). In my free time, I wrote an aircraft weight and balance calculation application in basic that ran on desktop PCs (which were brand spanking new at the time). We had been filling a form out (called a Form-F) by hand using numbers looked up in charts. It took about 20 minutes to fill this form out. The Air Force had contracted out the creation of an app that ran in an HP programmable calculator to do this same task. It took about 5 minutes to fill the form out using the calculator. My program could generate this form in about 2 minutes. And my program was also more accurate (and it printed on a full page instead of 2" wide thermal paper). After I wrote my app, nobody used the calculator to generate the Form-F unless they filling it out on the airplane.

I was already out of the Air Force at the time. But a buddy of mine who took on maintaining the program I wrote said it was used to 'load plan' every KC-135 flight in the first gulf war. Not bad for a program that I could not even get certified (if you used it on a check ride you would have actually failed the check ride, even though the result was actually more accurate).

I certainly never got a medal for my app. It did get me Airman of the Quarter at our base. But, the real reward was that it worked and that people loved it. The fact that it worked better than the contracted solution was icing on the cake. I think this guy's story is great.

Old programmers never die, they just branch to a new address.

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