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+ - How the Historical Apollo 8 Earthrise Pic Was Captured by Luck

Tablizer writes: On Dec. 24, 1968--45 years ago this week--by what is essentially coincidence and fast thinking, one of the most iconic photographs in human history was taken: Earthrise over the Moon. It occurred during Apollo 8 as astronauts Jim Lovell, Bill Anders, and Frank Borman were orbiting the Moon--the first humans in history to do so. Their orbital motion brought the Earth into view over the Moon’s horizon, moving slowly upward into the black sky...The good folks at NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center’s Scientific Visualization Studio...recreate the events that led to the history-changing moment.

+ - FireFox 23 Forcing Tabs To Protect You From WTF

Tablizer writes: [RESUBMITTED due to bad headline] "In replies to frustrated users (including me), FireFox states: "Hello, In Firefox 23, as part of an effort to simplify the Firefox options set and protect users from unintentionally damaging their Firefox, the option to hide the tab bar was removed..." There's an extension to remove tabs, but as the replies show, no-tab fans feel slighted and baffled over the "damaging" claim.

+ - De-Tabbed Firefox 23: Tabs Will Put Your Eye Out

Tablizer writes: In replies to frustrated users (including me), FireFox states: "Hello, In Firefox 23, as part of an effort to simplify the Firefox options set and protect users from unintentionally damaging their Firefox, the option to hide the tab bar was removed..." There's an extension to remove tabs, but as the replies show, no-tab fans feel slighted and baffled over the "damaging" claim.

+ - NASA Planned to Nuke the Moon in '58->

Tablizer writes: 'The military considerations were frightening. The report said a nuclear detonation on the moon could yield information "...concerning the capability of nuclear weapons for space warfare." Reiffel said that in military circles at the time, there was "discussion of the moon as military high ground."

That included talk of having nuclear launch sites on the moon, he said. The thinking, according to Reiffel, was that if the Soviets hit the United States with nuclear weapons first and wiped out the U.S. ability to strike back, the U.S. could launch warheads from the moon.

Link to Original Source

+ - Death Star is not economical: too much metal->

Tablizer writes: Washington Post: "Should we build a Death Star? This debate picked up this year after some Lehigh University students estimated that just the steel for a Death Star would cost $852 quadrillion, or 13,000 times the current GDP of the Earth...Death Star is a bit misunderstood. It is primarily a tool of domestic politics rather than warfare, and should be compared to alternative means of suppressing the population of a galaxy. Second, as a weapon of war, it should be compared to alternative uses of scarce defense resources. Understood properly, the Death Star is not worth it.
Link to Original Source

+ - Vintage Life-sized Sci-Fi Rocket Art Project->

Tablizer writes: According to Makezine, "The Raygun Gothic Rocketship is built upon a future-rustic vision of yesterday's tomorrow. Aesthetically based on 1930s to early 1950s science fiction, the rocketship is a 41-foot-tall immersive environment, designed to carry explorers into the realm of rayguns, strange planets, and aliens, friendly or otherwise. With 3 habitable decks, visitors can view and interact with a variety of ships systems and alien specimens. Visitors can enter the ship via the Engine Room & Life-Sciences Bio Lab. Once inside the engine room, look down into the engine compartment to see The Uira Plasma-drive engine. Cases and cages on the walls contain various creatures we've collected in our travels." The project looks cool, but doesn't yet appear to have a permanent home.
Link to Original Source

+ - Michael Jackson's Leaning Dance-Shoe Patent

Tablizer writes: Singer, dancer, and inventor; Michael Jackson co-filed a patent for "a system for allowing a shoe wearer to lean forwardly beyond his center of gravity by virtue of wearing a specially designed pair of shoes which will engage with a hitch member movably projectable through a stage surface. The shoes have a specially designed heel slot which can be detachably engaged with the hitch member by simply sliding the shoe wearer's foot forward, thereby engaging with the hitch member."
The Internet

+ - Is CSS Over-Compensation?

Tablizer writes: I've been annoyed by CSS-heavy sites for some time, including ol' slashie. Digging around the web for various opinions on this, I've noticed that CSS are indeed controversial, creating a lively practical-versus-idealism debate. But one blogger went beyond mere ranting and did some research:

I used the Firefox developer toolbar to take a look at the frontpages of the top 20 Alexa sites...So, the five companies that use CSS are the web powerhouses--MSN, MySpace, Blogger, AOL and Imageshack. MSN, MySpace and AOL have been maligned for years throughout the web savvy community. My hypothesis is that these companies are overcompensating for the crap that they've taken thoughtout the years by designing their site in pure CSS. Other companies that have more web street-cred like Google and Facebook don't really have to worry about how the web design community sees them.


+ - Rethinking "Deep" Menu Trees

Tablizer writes: 'Deep tree' GUI menus are getting annoying as vendors rack up the feature quantities to compete with each other. Searching in menus for some long-lost feature is becoming ever more time-consuming as the trees grow. Perhaps it's time to rethink hierarchical menus and borrow some ideas from search engines, such as Google. Consider listing (and perhaps linking) all the options or features in a database-like contraption, and key-word searching on these behind the scenes to produce a Google-like list of feature/option matches. A simple SQL "LIKE" statement(s) can be used for a simple implementation, with dedicated text indexers for fancier ones. The database could also contain synonyms to assist finds. Some options will have prerequisites, which need to be dealt with. These can be tracked via a dependency tree or graph. Has anybody tried something similar to this in a desktop app with success? If so, what technologies and techniques did you use, and what lessons did you learn?

+ - Mars Soil Frustrates Phoenix Again 1 1

Tablizer writes: The Phoenix Mars lander has been frustrated yet again by Mars' odd soil. The wet nature of the soil they are targeting appears to have made it get stuck in the scoop rather than drop into the oven. Past problems with similarly clumpy soil may have damaged the lander because the vibrator had to be used longer than designed, resulting in a short circuit.

+ - Pioneer anomaly seems 70% real->

Tablizer writes: The so called "Pioneer Anomaly" is a slight acceleration of the now-defunct Pioneer probes that doesn't match gravity models, suggesting a mysterious force. Researchers have been subtracting out known forces, such as power-cell heat, to isolate the mysterious portion.

Pioneer Anomaly Project Director Slava Turyshev presented preliminary results of the thermal modeling efforts at a meeting of the American Physical Society. ...The magnitude of the Pioneer Anomaly is so very tiny that it could conceivably result from the uneven radiation of heat from the spacecraft...Turyshev reported that the [heat] model can generate an acceleration that amounts to about 30% of the Anomaly for that distance [25AU] from the Sun.

Link to Original Source

+ - Paul Graham's new Lisp dialect now available

Tablizer writes: Paul Graham, the dot-com zillionare who created what is now Yahoo Stores, along with Robert Morris has finally released their revamped dialect of Lisp, called Arc. "Arc is designed above all for exploratory programming: the kind where you decide what to write by writing it. A good medium for exploratory programming is one that makes programs brief and malleable, so that's what we've aimed for. This is a medium for sketching software. It's not for everyone. In fact, Arc embodies just about every form of political incorrectness possible in a programming language.

+ - Animation illustrates Mobius Transformations

Tablizer writes: Science News describes a youtube sensation whereby Mobius transformations can be described simply as a linear projection through a sphere to a plane. The coolest transformation is the inversion, in which a rectangular image can be turned inside out. I'd like to see this transformation on actual images (but not goatse, please).

+ - Elaine Chao: US workers are smelly complainers 1 1

Tablizer writes: According to Parade Magazine, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao says American employees are rude and have B.O., and this is allegedly why foreign workers are preferred. "U.S. employers say that many workers abroad simply have a better attitude toward work. 'American employees must be punctual, dress appropriately and have good personal hygiene,' says Chao. 'They need anger-management and conflict-resolution skills, and they have to be able to accept direction. Too many young people bristle when a supervisor asks them to do something.'" Do we need to reshape ourselves into compliant borg?

+ - Jupiter moon pukes into space: probe movie

Tablizer writes: The New Horizons probe caught the moon Io in the act of barfing into space. "This five-frame sequence of New Horizons images captures the giant plume from Io's Tvashtar volcano. Snapped by the probe's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) as the spacecraft flew past Jupiter earlier this year, this first-ever "movie" of an Io plume clearly shows motion in the cloud of volcanic debris, which extends 330 kilometers (200 miles) above the moon's surface...The appearance and motion of the plume is remarkably similar to an ornamental fountain on Earth, replicated on a gigantic scale."

The UNIX philosophy basically involves giving you enough rope to hang yourself. And then a couple of feet more, just to be sure.