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Submission + - How Close Are We To a Mission on Mars? (

destinyland writes: "NASA is developing the capabilities needed to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars in the 2030s," reads the official NASA web site. But National Geographic points out that "the details haven't been announced, in large part because such a massive, long-term spending project would require the unlikely support of several successive U.S. presidents." And yet on November 4th, NASA put out a call for astronaut applications "in anticipation of returning human spaceflight launches to American soil, and in preparation for the agency’s journey to Mars," and they're currently experimenting with growing food in space. And this week they not only ordered the first commercial mission to the International Space Station, but also quietly announced that they've now partnered with 22 private space companies.

Comment Re:Non JVM (Score 1) 163

The "Compilers" section at talks about Rakudo as being "a compiler running on MoarVM, the JVM and other backends."

At the presentation last night, Larry said they'd plan to focus just on MoarVM, but they were pleased with the progress of the JVM, so there's some support for that too.

Comment What are they searching for? (Score 1) 67

If a candidate is popular, articles will be written about them, and their SEO will increase. (Yes, this may further increase their popularity, but they were already popular.) If anything, their original popularity is driving their Google rank *and* their likelihood of winning the election. I think the researcher takes two "effects," and says one is actually causing the other.

This study is really only interesting for its focus on "undecided voters," but in many electorates this is a really small sliver of the general electorate, so it's hard to say what exactly is swaying them. I mean, are people really Googling "Who should I vote for?", and then just reading the first few articles and deciding "Okay, this first one sounds good.,,"

Submission + - Wired Shares "Tech Time Warp" Video from 1996 (

destinyland writes: On a day when America looks back on those who came before, Wired is remembering a pioneering technology magazine named Mondo 2000 — and sharing video of its editors' legendary appearance on a mid-90s PBS series, "The Internet Cafe". When its host questioned them about cyberpunk, they turned the interview into an ironic media stunt by providing a live, sneering cyberpunk model named Malice (wearing a fake neural implant on his head), as the words "real cyberpunk" jokingly flashed on the bottom of the screen. "At a time when few people outside academia had access to the internet, Mondo 2000 was many a wannabe hacker's introduction to the online world," Wired remembers fondly, even acknowleding that they'd "borrowed" their own magazine's design motif from Mondo 2000, in those early years before ISPs started popularizing consumer internet access.

Submission + - How Java Changed Programming Forever

snydeq writes: With Java hitting its 20th anniversary this week, Elliotte Rusty Harold discusses how the language changed the art and business of programming, turning on a generation of coders. 'Java’s core strength was that it was built to be a practical tool for getting work done. It popularized good ideas from earlier languages by repackaging them in a format that was familiar to the average C coder, though (unlike C++ and Objective-C) Java was not a strict superset of C. Indeed it was precisely this willingness to not only add but also remove features that made Java so much simpler and easier to learn than other object-oriented C descendants.'

Submission + - Geeks Hack City Issues in Four-City Event (

destinyland writes: Over the weekend four city governments hosted geeks and concerned citizens for a civic hacking summit organized boy Code for America. “We plastered the grand staircase of City Hall with session notes ideas," one Oakland organizer remembered, tweeting a photograph showing at least 25 easel-sized sheets of paper. Events were also held in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, according to the City Camp web site, with public officials collaborating with the geek community to create actionable projects and more uses for city data.

Submission + - Boo! The House Majority PAC is watching you. (

An anonymous reader writes: I received some interesting mail this week from the House Majority PAC. First, a "voter report card" postcard telling me my voting record was "excellent" (I'm a good citizen!), but also letting me know that they "plan to update this report card after the election to see whether you voted". OK, so one of the Democratic Party's super PACs want me to vote, but it seems to be something of an attempt at intimidation. Today, I received a letter in which they really put the pressure on. Here are some excerpts: "Who you vote for is secret. But whether or not you vote is public record. Our organization monitors turnout in your neighborhood, and we are disappointed that many of your neighbors do not always exercise their right to vote." So why contact me instead of them? Voting is a civic duty, but it isn't illegal to abstain. That's my neighbors' business, not mine. It's one way of expressing dissatisfaction, isn't it? And if there are no candidates you wish to vote for, then why should you vote for someone you don't want? But Big Brother PAC has other ideas: "We will be reviewing the Camden County [NJ] official voting records after the upcoming election to determine whether you joined your neighbors who voted in 2014. If you do not vote this year, we will be interested to hear why not." The letter is signed "Joe Fox Election day Coordinator". So what happens if I don't vote? Well, at least I got a scare this Halloween. Are PACs using similar tactics in other states?

Comment Are we being used, right now? (Score 1) 226

This may be the only question that really needs to be answered. There's very strong feelings about "Big Bang Theory" -- some negative -- and for this to be a real conversation, it probably needs to be addressed in some way.

In fact, I'm curious what made Dr. Saltzberg come to Slashdot. Are the producers aware of a "geek backlash", and are they attempting to address it by sending their show's technical adviser to Slashdot? Are we secretly being monitored for a later article about how real geeks all love "Big Bang Theory" which will just cherry-pick anything vaguely positive that's said in this discussion? Maybe we need some more clarity about how this "Ask David Saltzberg" event come together...

Once we understand what's going on here, maybe then we can segue into examples of Dr. Saltzberg's input on the show -- and how its one true geek interacts with the rest of its production staff

Submission + - XKCD Author's Unpublished Book Remains a Best-Seller for 5 Months (

destinyland writes: Tuesday is the official release date for the newest book from the geeky cartoonist behind XKCD — yet it's already become one of Amazon's best-selling books. Thanks to a hefty pre-order discount, one blogger notes that it's appeared on Amazon's list of hardcover best-sellers since the book was first announced in March, and this weekend it remains in the top 10. Randall Munroe recently announced personal appearances beginning this week throughout the U.S. (including Cambridge, New York, Seattle, and the San Francisco Bay Area) — as well as a Google Hangout on Friday, September 12. Just two weeks ago he was also awarded the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story — and now many of his appearances are already sold out.

Submission + - Arizona Minister Conned by a Photoshopped Fake (

destinyland writes: An Arizona minister mistook a photoshopped parody of a 1965 suntan lotion ad for a real ad promoting birth control — then used it as the basis for a controversial sermon about how "the birth control movement" is destroying the US. The ad featured wholesome Disney star Annette Funicello — who, ironically, was actually pregnant (and married) when she appeared in the original ad. On the one-year anniversary of her death, the minister's mistake resulted in an erroneous summation of his sermon appearing whenever you searched Google News for Annette Funicello — along with the headline "Childless women on birth control have destroyed the U.S."

Intel CPUs are not defective, they just act that way. -- Henry Spencer