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Comment: Slooh (Score 1) 234

by Wormholio (#47941335) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

You might be interested on Slooh (http://www.slooh.com) which is pronounced like "slew", as in the motion of a telescope turning on its mount.

Slooh lets you control telescopes in the Canary Islands or Chile, for a modest subscription fee. You might start out getting your own images of nearby planets, or collect the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, and then move on to more distant objects. You can do this on your own, but you can also collaborate with other Slooh members. Some of them are working to track comets, others are tracking asteroids, and in some cases submitting their findings to the IAU Minor Planet Center.

As others have already mentioned, paid jobs in astronomy are tight even for those with a degree. But if you are an interested adult learner there are lots of ways to learn more and satisfy your curiosity. As Mark Twain supposedly said, "never let school get in the way of your education" (or in your case lack of school).

Comment: While driving a car (Score 1) 310

On a long drive from LA to Portland I was the driver and I was bored, so I wrote a simple moon lander game (modeled from one I'd seen written in BASIC) for my new HP-25 programmable calculator by dictating instructions to the guy riding in the shotgun seat. The display showed your altitude on one side of the decimal place, velocity on the other side (and with the +/- sign) and remaining fuel in the exponent. After each iteration you entered how much fuel to burn on the next step and pushed R/S (Run/Stop) to continue. If you got down to zero altitude (or below) with a velocity less than some maximum value then you had made a successful landing. Otherwise you crashed.

Comment: Make it easy for them (Score 1) 205

by Wormholio (#44251641) Attached to: How Do You Get Better Bug Reports From Users?

Writing a good bug report is not easy, and users should not be expected to know what information the developer will need to find and fix the bug. They only want to report that there is a problem, and that they'd like it fixed.

That said, you can guide them to give more useful information. I found that making a form to fill out with all the details broken out into separate pieces gave us more useful information. Want to know how to reproduce the bug? Make that an individual question on the report. Which component where you using, or what web page were you on? Make that a specific question. A real person can follow up if necessary to get other information, and then they can file the "official" bug report in the form that the developer can understand and use.

Comment: Even crashes the crash reporter! (Score 5, Funny) 425

I tried this in Safari on Lion. Capital F required, but indeed just "File:/// " crashes it.
Then you get a pop-up asking if you want to report the problem to Apple? Sure.
But then that crashes with a pop-up reporting that crash reporter has crashed. Bonus!

Comment: Bird's eye view (Score 1) 350

by Wormholio (#37704528) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How to Exploit Post-Cataract Ultraviolet Vision?

Birds supposedly have UV vision, and some of their markings are for each other, and are more clearly distinguished by other birds that can see UV.

So you might consider observing birds and making sketches of their markings, much like the naturalists of 100 years ago, so that the rest of us can see what the birds can see of each other.

Google

Google Patents Telling Time 267

Posted by timothy
from the ok-ok-I'm-with-theo-on-this-one dept.
theodp writes "Will Google's battle against Microsoft and Apple over their use of 'bogus' patents result in greater scrutiny of its own IP holdings? Take Google's new patent on 'Electronic Shipping Notifications' (please!), which might pique the interest of Amazon.com, UPS, the USPS and others in the shipping business, since providing customers with guesstimates of what time The King of Queens will show up at their door with Christmas presents could now constitute patent infringement. From the patent: 'The broker sends an electronic message, such as an email or text message, to the customer prior to the estimated shipment arrival time to inform the customer of the impending arrival. The customer can thus arrange for someone to be at the shipping address to receive the shipment at the estimated arrival time.' To help the USPTO understand its invention, Google supplied this diagram."
Censorship

Chinese Censors Crack Down on Time Travel 154

Posted by samzenpus
from the leaving-the-past-alone dept.
H_Fisher writes "Disrespect the Chinese government at your peril ... and this includes anything you do with the past. Time magazine's Techland blog reports that China is banning references to time travel which are disrespectful to the nation's culture and history. No word on whether this includes a travel ban on time lords."
Science

Is Science Just a Matter of Faith? 1486

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-can't-test-faith dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Pastabagel writes that the actual scientific answers to the questions of the origins of the universe, the evolution of man, and the fundamental nature of the cosmos involve things like wave equations and quantum electrodynamics and molecular biology that very few non-scientists can ever hope to understand and that if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that we accept the incredibly complex scientific phenomena in physics, astronomy, and biology through the process of belief, not through reason. When Richard Fenyman wrote, 'I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics,' he was including himself which is disconcerting given how many books he wrote on that very subject. The fact is that it takes years of dedicated study before scientific truth in its truest, mathematical and symbolic forms can be understood. The rest of us rely on experts to explain it, someone who has seen and understood the truth and can dumb it down for us in a language we can understand. And therein lies the big problem for science and scientists. For most people, science is really a matter of trusting the expert who tells it to us and believing what they tell us. Trust and belief. Faith. Not understanding. How can we understand science, if we can't understand the language of science? 'We don't learn science by doing science, we learn science by reading and memorizing. The same way we learn history. Do you really know what an atom is, or that a Higgs boson is a rather important thing, or did you simply accept they were what someone told you they were?'"

Comment: Verizon blocks at the "free" router (Score 1) 459

by Wormholio (#35273820) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is There a War Against Small Mail Servers?

I've run my own mail and web servers from my home for years, so I was worried about this when I was making the switch from Time-Warner cable (who didn't care, BTW) to Verizon Fios. One person I know reported that Verizon did indeed block port 25 (and port 80) inbound, while another told me his setup worked fine, once he replaced the free router they gave him with his own router.

And indeed, after making the switch, I still am able to get mail inbound on port 25. The modem/router they gave me does have controls to adjust security settings, which look a lot like Windows trusted -vs- untrusted controls. But I can't really tell if they do much. The key thing I found was to set up port forwarding to send port 25 to the machine in my internal network with the mail server. Same for port 80 to the web server.

Outbound I route through the ISP. Postfix makes that easy. I found a few years ago that certain domains I sent to, though not all of them, started bouncing mail even though I had an SPF record, just because my IP address was in a range listed as "dynamic" (i.e. "residential"). Clearly that's for spam control. Not everybody does this, and I could send direct to those who do not, but it was simpler to just send everything out via port 587 to the ISP.

Apple

The iPad Will Get Playboy In March 223

Posted by samzenpus
from the clean-the-screen dept.
Stoobalou writes "Playboy boss Hugh Hefner has confirmed that — despite Steve Jobs' protestations that Apple is pure and Android is for porn — an app for browsing uncensored back issues of Playboy is to launch later this year on the iPad. The news, which is likely to generate significantly more buzz for Apple's popular tablet as a publishing device than Rupert Murdoch's delayed digital newspaper The Daily, comes courtesy of Hefner's Twitter stream, in which he proclaimed: 'Big news! Playboy — both old & new — will be available on [the] iPad beginning in March.'"
Censorship

WikiLeaks Under Denial of Service Attack 870

Posted by samzenpus
from the good-timing dept.
wiredmikey writes "WikiLeaks has reported that its Web site is currently under a mass distributed denial of service attack. The attack comes around the time of an expected release of classified State Department documents, which the Obama administration says will put 'countless' lives at risk, threaten global counterterrorism operations and jeopardize US relations with its allies."

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