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Comment Re:Anything by Feynman... (Score 1) 66

At the end of a course, (call me greedy), _I_ want to know how to do everything in the course, not merely have a warm fuzzy WEE-WOW feeling that something exciting just went by that I can't quite reproduce.

Holy flamebait; you are talking about America's most famous physics teacher. You were expecting a "how to" book from a nobel laureate?

Security

TSA Pats Down 3-Year-Old 1135

3-year-old Mandy Simon started crying when her teddy bear had to go through the X-ray machine at airport security in Chattanooga, Tenn. She was so upset that she refused to go calmly through the metal detector, setting it off twice. Agents then informed her parents that she "must be hand-searched." The subsequent TSA employee pat down of the screaming child was captured by her father, who happens to be a reporter, on his cell phone. The video have left some questioning why better procedures for children aren't in place. I, for one, feel much safer knowing the TSA is protecting us from impressionable minds warped by too much Dora the Explorer.
Image

Debt Collectors Using Facebook To Embarrass Those Who Owe 266

Not even the tranquility of FarmVille can save you from the long arm of debt collectors. Melanie Beacham says that a collector from MarkOne Financial contacted her relatives about her past due car note via Facebook. She is filing suit alleging that the company is harassing her family. Tampa based consumer attorney Billy Howard of Morgan & Morgan says, "Now Facebook does a debt collectors work for them. Now it's not only family members, it's all of your associates. It's a very powerful tool for debt collectors to use."
Science

Immaculate Conception In a Boa Constrictor 478

crudmonkey writes "Researchers have discovered a biological shocker: female boa constrictors are capable of giving birth asexually. But the surprise doesn't end there. The study in Biology Letters found that boa babies produced through this asexual reproduction — also known as parthenogenesis — sport a chromosomal oddity that researchers thought was impossible in reptiles. While researchers admit that the female in the study may have been a genetic freak, they say the findings should press researchers to re-think reptile reproduction. Virgin birth among reptiles, especially primitive ones like boas, they argue may be far commoner than ever expected."
Crime

Thief Returns Stolen Laptop Contents On USB Stick 352

While it's true that Sweden is responsible for unleashing IKEA and ABBA on humanity, not everything they produce is terrible. Their thieves are some of the most considerate in the world. An unnamed professor at Umeå University received a USB stick with all his data after his laptop was stolen. From the article: "The professor, who teaches at Umeå University in northern Sweden, was devastated when ten years of work stored on his laptop was stolen. But to his surprise, a week after the theft, the entire contents of his laptop were posted to him on a USB stick. 'I am very happy,' the unnamed professor told the local Västerbottens-Kuriren newspaper. 'This story makes me feel hope for humanity.'"

Comment Article is not about SSNs (Score 2, Interesting) 100

SSNs are used as an example. The real problem, alluded to in the article, is that the government attempts to classify personally sensitive, business sensitive, and military critical information (to name a few) under the same system. Unfortunately there is plenty of overlap and specific cases within these categories, resulting in a ridiculous number of labels - thereby resulting in mass confusion. However, this situation is often the case when one attempts to take a single system and apply it to such a wide audience. The US fed is going through a similar situation in IT and HR Management; at some point the benefits of consolidation result in less efficiency...
Hardware Hacking

Grad Student Invents Cheap Laser Cutter 137

An anonymous reader writes "Peter Jansen, a PhD student and member of the RepRap community, has constructed a working prototype of an inexpensive table-top laser cutter built out of old CD/DVD drives as an offshoot of his efforts to design an under $200 open-source Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printer. Where traditional laser cutters use powerful, fixed-focus beams, this new technique dynamically adjusts the focal point of the laser using a reciprocating motion similar to a reciprocating saw, allowing a far less powerful and inexpensive laser diode to be used. The technique is currently limited to cutting black materials to a depth of only a few millimeters, but should still be useful and enabling for Makers and other crafters. The end-goal is to create a hybrid inexpensive 3D printer that can be easily reconfigured for 2D laser cutting, providing powerful making tools to the desktop."
Crime

Girls Bugged Teachers' Staff Room 227

A pair of enterprising Swedish schoolgirls ended up in court after they were caught bugging their teachers break room. The duo hoped they would hear discussions about upcoming tests and school work, allowing them to get better grades. It worked until one of them decided to brag about it on Facebook, and the authorities were called in. The girls were charged with trespassing and fined 2,000 kronor ($270) each in Stockholm District Court.
Image

Justice Department Seeks Ebonics Experts 487

In addition to helping decipher their Lil Wayne albums, the Justice Department is seeking Ebonics experts to help monitor, translate and transcribe wire tapped conversations. The DEA wants to fill nine full time positions. From the article: "A maximum of nine Ebonics experts will work with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Atlanta field division, where the linguists, after obtaining a 'DEA Sensitive' security clearance, will help investigators decipher the results of 'telephonic monitoring of court ordered nonconsensual intercepts, consensual listening devices, and other media.'”
Image

Man Takes Up Internal Farming 136

RockDoctor writes "'A Massachusetts man who was rushed to hospital with a collapsed lung came home with an unusual diagnosis: a pea plant was growing in his lung.' Just that summary should tell you enough to work out most of the rest of the details, but it does raise a number of questions unaddressed by the article: How did the pea roots deal with the patient's immune system? What would have happened if the situation had continued un-treated? I bet the guy has a career awaiting him in PR for a pea-growing company."

Comment Re:After almost forty years in the business (Score 1) 337

Totally agree. As much as owning a oscilloscope might warm the cockles of your inner nerd, a $2000 scope will likely not meet all your needs (assuming that you expect to get some millage out of the instrument.) In that price range you can buy an old (used) high end analog scope (or an old sampling scope with a negligible waveform memory) or a newer low bw digital sampling one with more recording capability. The new high end Lecroy Waverunners and Agilent Infiniiums that I use at work, but cost more than my car, combine both of these capabilities and are a electronic hobbyists wet dream. (Side note: No self respecting CS/CENG should put down 2k for an NI/Labspew product for personal use).

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