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Man Builds His Own Subway 174 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the everyone-needs-a-hobby dept.
jerryjamesstone writes "Everybody is into rail these days; it is the greenest way to get around next to a bike. Leonid Mulyanchik has been into it for years since before the Berlin Wall fell, since before the first Macintosh, building his own private underground Metro railway system. English-Russia says that he has been doing it with his pension, that it is all legal and approved and that he is still at it. Gizmodo calls it 'Partly the traditional, inspiring, one man against all odds type of persistence, but more the obsessive, borderline insane persistence.'" Update: 06/02 07:33 GMT by T : And if you're the type to visit Burning Man, you can actually ride a home-made monorail this summer, too.

Comment: Re:hospital model... (Score 1) 735

by ahoehn (#30274296) Attached to: Should You Be Paid For Being On Call?

Physicians have been fighting this battle for quite some time. Traditionally, they only get paid for the services they actually render on call, so if a surgeon gets called in at 3:00AM to do an emergency appendectomy, they only get paid for doing the appendectomy, and nothing extra for having their sleep interrupted.

One of my family members just moved to an area where the physicians have negotiated a "Pay for Call" system with the local hospitals. Whatever specialist is covering a service gets paid a flat fee for covering call for a 24/hour period (IIRC, ~$800), in addition to getting paid for the actual services rendered. It's a pretty sweet deal - and while $800 might be excessive, I think the principle is correct. You want the ability to interrupt my life and restrict my travel / recreation options? You get to pay for that.

+ - Apple says booting OS X makes an unauthorized copy 9

Submitted by recoiledsnake
recoiledsnake (879048) writes "Groklaw has an extensive look at the latest developments in the Psystar vs. Apple story. There's a nice picture illustrating the accusation by Apple that Psystar makes three unauthorized copies of OS X. The most interesting however, is the last copy. From Apple's brief: "Finally, every time Psystar turns on any of the Psystar computers running Mac OS X, which it does before shipping each computer, Psystar necessarily makes a separate modified copy of Mac OS X in Random Access Memory, or RAM. This is the third unlawful copy." Psystar's response: "Copying a computer program into RAM as a result of installing and running that program is precisely the copying that Section 117 provides does not constitute copyright infringement for an owner of a computer program. As the Ninth Circuit explained, permitting copies like this was Section 117’s purpose." Is Apple seriously arguing that installing a third party program and booting OS X results in copyright infringement due to making a derivative work and an unauthorized copy?"

Comment: Re:Who needs to be a billionaire? (Score 1) 318

by ahoehn (#29483725) Attached to: Who Wants To Be a Billionaire Coder?

I hope I'd do something half as cool as what's Greg Carr's up to. He made his millions selling voicemail services to the baby bells right after the big bell was broken up. Now, he's more or less leased 1,500 square miles of Mozambique's largest wild area, Gorongosa National Park. It was once arguably the most magnificent game park in southern Africa, but has been decimated by years of civil war on Mozambique, and when Carr's foundation took over a few years ago, was nearly devoid of wildlife. His deal with the government is that he has 20 years to try and rehabilitate the park, bring back the animals, stop poaching and bring back tourists. Then he'll turn it back over to Mozambique, hopefully in something like it's former glory.

That's the kind of "work" I dream of doing after I somehow become a billionaire. Hell, why wait? I should email the Carr foundation right now and see if they have any need for a copywriter who's deathly afraid of snakes. I don't see how they could get by without that incredibly useful skillset.

Comment: Re:Intrepid? RV'er? It Hurts. (Score 4, Interesting) 438

by ahoehn (#29445161) Attached to: (Near) Constant Internet While RV'ing?
I donno, these are pretty #&$**!@ intrepid. Or at least, built to allow for some rather intrepid RV'ing. So, you know, it could happen. We live near the hospital that commissioned this particularly ridiculous piece of machinery, and every time I see it, I get filled with the desire to drive over some shit. In a very manful way.

Comment: Re:"scholarly" information (Score 4, Insightful) 160

by ahoehn (#29345677) Attached to: Google Books As "Train Wreck" For Scholars

Sorry if I sound bitter, but I spent a lot of time reading this crap, and very little of it was as insightful or interesting as even my classmates' comments.

That sounds like more of a you problem than an academia problem. If you don't enjoy using a work's minutiae to accuse perfectly innocent authors of misogyny, innuendo, (to add a couple you forgot) blatant colonialism or latent homosexuality, what the fuck were you doing in an English Lit program? The rest of us live for that shit.

As someone who should not have majored in English Literature in college

There. I fixed it for you.

Books

Google Books As "Train Wreck" For Scholars 160

Posted by kdawson
from the mishmash-wrapped-in-a-muddle dept.
Following up on our earlier discussion, here's more detail on Geoffrey Nunberg's argument that Google Books could prove detrimental to academics and other scholars. Recently Nunberg gave a talk at a conference claiming that the metadata in Google Books is riddled with errors and is classified in a scheme unfit for scholarly use. This blog post was fleshed out somewhat a few days later in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Quoting from the latter: "Start with publication dates. To take Google's word for it, 1899 was a literary annus mirabilis, which saw the publication of Raymond Chandler's Killer in the Rain, The Portable Dorothy Parker, [and] Stephen King's Christine... A search on 'internet' in books written before 1950 and turns up 527 hits. ... [Google blames some errors on the originating libraries.] ...the libraries can't be responsible for books mislabeled as Health and Fitness and Antiques and Collectibles, for the simple reason that those categories are drawn from the Book Industry Standards and Communications codes, which are used by the publishers to tell booksellers where to put books on the shelves. ... In short, Google has taken a group of the world's great research collections and returned them in the form of a suburban-mall bookstore." The head of metadata for Google Books, Jon Orwant, has responded in detail to Numberg's complaints in a comment on the original blog post — and says his team has already fixed the errors that Nunberg so helpfully pointed out.

Comment: Re:iPhony (Score 3, Informative) 43

by ahoehn (#29327355) Attached to: Recovery tool Includes Leak of Palm's WebOS 1.2
Was that mac-bating, or a joke? I'm not sure. I've had a Pre since release day, and there are some things I like quite a bit better than the iPhone, and some things I get jealous about.

The iPhone wins at:
  • Apps - it's got a gajillion, the Pre has like 40 in the App store, and like 50 homebrew.
  • Autofocus & Video (In the 3GS)- The Pre's got a good camera, but no autofocus, and no video. I personally don't care about video too much, but it does seem lame to not include an autofocus camera.
  • The Compass - I'm not really sure what I'd do with the compass, but I wants it.
  • iTunes Ecosystem Integration - The Pre's pretty flexible about syncing media, but its media player kind of sucks, and it's integration with Amazon's MP3 store isn't perfect.

The Pre Wins at:

  • Price - At the moment, both phones are exclusive to one US carrier. If I were to replicate my Sprint plan on an iPhone, I'd be paying an extra $60/mo for my wife and I. $1,440 over the course of a two year contract.
  • The Keyboard - I like the slide out physical keyboard better than the onscreen keyboard.
  • Linux - The Pre is a little linux box. I can download a terminal app, then type in things like, "sudo apt-get" etc... How awesome is that? It means I come much closer to really owning this device than I would with an iPhone.
  • Multitasking - This is the one thing that really bugs me on an iPhone. I've gotten so used to switching back and forth between apps on my Pre, that it feels ridiculous to not be able to do it on an iPhone.

The Conclusion: Different strokes for different folks. They're both great devices - but I think for the Slashdot crowd, there's plenty to love about the Pre.

Science

People Emit Visible Light 347

Posted by timothy
from the lots-of-girls-I-know-glow-visibly dept.
An Anonymous Reader writes "The human body literally glows, emitting a visible light in extremely small quantities at levels that rise and fall with the day, scientists now reveal. Japanese researchers have shown that the body emits visible light, 1,000 times less intense than the levels to which our naked eyes are sensitive. In fact, virtually all living creatures emit very weak light, which is thought to be a byproduct of biochemical reactions involving free radicals."

Comment: Re:Younger (Score 1) 369

by ahoehn (#28732225) Attached to: Checked out from the library right now, I've got ...

The metaphorical forcing of literature down your throat, wringing all enjoyment out of books leaving them, in the eyes of students, not as masterpieces, but as text to be analysed and pondered over, their only purpose to be wrung dry of meaning and subtext.

...even after it was nearly destroyed by some mindnumbingly boring Teachers.

One man's mindnumbingly boring teacher is another man's gateway to another world.

I read from the library voraciously from the time I learned to read. But when I finally got into an AP english class in high school, it was like a whole 'nother world opened up to me. That meaning and subtext that made things boring and dry for you illuminated whole new levels of understanding for me.

One specific example - I remember that my mind was blown the first time a teacher explained to me that an author and a narrator are different characters, and that sometimes, narrators aren't telling the entire truth. I was in a Poe phase at the time - and I suddenly understood that nearly every Poe narrator was nutso. It was like a veil had been lifted.

As I made my way through a degree in English Literature during University, the process only intensified. The more I learn about literature, the more I can find in books to enjoy.

Let me put this in terms of a car metaphor for Slashdot: Anyone can look at a Ferrari and see that it's a beautiful car. But if you happen to know the history of the company, it's F1 heritage, the story of Enzo's life, its collaboration with coachbuilders like Pininfarina, the advances from the F1 team that are incorporated into the company's road cars - you're going to appreciate that vehicle on a whole different level than someone who just walks up and says, "nice car."

So, I'm sorry that your exposure to some perhaps bad teachers ruined your appreciation of literature and literary criticism - but for me it's a toolset that greatly enhances my reading experience. I still have a great time reading Harry Potter and The Da Vinci Code - but now I have a chance to get my mind boggled by the subtext of Heart of Darkness and The Scarlet Letter. And maybe - if I really push myself, even begin to understand what Henry James is going on about.

Comment: Re:I agree with the feds on this one (Score 3, Informative) 335

by ahoehn (#28723149) Attached to: Three Arrested For Conspiring To Violate the DMCA

If businesses then go and market that way in the form of hacked decoder boxes... still 'tough tits' for the satellite company? In your legal frame of mind, I mean; it's obviously 'tough tits' for them in practice anyway and they have to introduce the next generation of encoding (or a different key.. whatever).

It took me a while to understand how the whole business works, but that's basically the way things work now.

Essentially the way you buy a 3rd party satellite receiver out of the box, it can only receive unencrypted satellite streams. But the decoder box manufacturers pay groups of coders to surreptitiously create and release software which allows the box to decrypt encrypted streams. For the last couple years, DirecTV has been on the as of yet uncracked N3, while Dish and Bellvue (Canada's main provider, with a signal that you can get throughout the US) have been on the cracked N2. A few months ago Bellvue switched to N3, and a week or so ago Dish completed its switch to N3.

In the meantime, a couple companies have implemented something they're calling Internet Key Sharing for their receivers - a system that shares decryption information from a paid subscription with that company's unauthorized receivers. I'm not sure of the technical details, but apparently this doesn't work as well as a true crack - and of course requires an internet connection to receive the frequently chancing keys.

Viewsat, who Kwak represents, doesn't currently have an Internet Key Sharing program, so, unless they can get someone to crack N3 - nobody's going to be buying their receivers.

Comment: Re:Ok...and? (Score 4, Informative) 232

by ahoehn (#28354405) Attached to: Palm Pre Does Not Get US Tethering Either

Plus, the summary does a pretty awful job of getting to the real story. I've been following the development thread and chat since the rooting of the Pre was first announced. The motivation for the development forum's choice to stop talking about tethering wasn't eagerness to avoid lawsuits, it was appreciation for the way that Palm engineers have been interacting with the "underground" community.

Palm engineers have been involved in the unofficial dev forum threads and chat, dropping hints, giving the "hackers" knowledge that might have otherwise taken weeks or months for them to discover unaided.

The big stories here are:
1) Palm DIDN'T send a cease and desist. They nicely said, "Hey, if you want us to keep helping you out here, stop talking about tethering."

2) The Pre Dev community is doing some amazing things, thanks to the fact that the Pre is essentially a little Linux box with a nifty GUI.

3) It doesn't really matter that the affected wiki and forum aren't discussing tethering, since solutions have already been released elsewhere.

Want to get involved yourself? Head over to the most active dev thread at Precentral.net, contribute to the Wiki, or join the chat at #webos-internals on FreeNode (irc.freenode.net).

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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