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Comment Write (Score 1) 3

Before the trip, draw up an outline for an essay, short story, novelette, or other piece on a topic of interest to you.

During the trip, write it.

When you get back, edit the text and submit it to magazines/publishers for consideration.

Before the trip, settle on a graphics artistic project such as a book of cartoons, a pop-up book, or movie.

During the trip, draw the cartoons, sketch out the pop-up book, or storyboard the movie.

Before the trip, choose a software project that's never been done before.

During the trip, map out the block functionality, drivers, database interface, or whatever else the project needs.

When you get back, program the project and release it on Github as open source.

Get a book on sleight-of-hand and read up on the basics.

During the trip, practice the techniques with a deck of cards or a coin or a small item. (I enjoy knuckle rolls and rolling ball manipulations.)

Get a video of someone whose stage presence you like. Play 1-minute loops of the video over and over, mimicking the hand motions and gestures of the speaker while he talks. (I like James Spader, but everyone should have their own likes.) Practice until your own stage presence is animated and engaging.

Get an audio of an announcer whose style you like (I chose Morly Safer), and play 1 sentence loops of whatever they're saying over and over. Mimic their vocal variety, tonal variation, and tempo - especially the way they use pauses and emphasis to make points. When you have any one sentence down pat, switch to the next sentence. Continue until your own vocal presentation is as polished and precise as the speaker.

Choose an aspect of life that you would like to improve, or for which you think improving would benefit you, and then come up with a way to learn more or practice during your trip.

Comment IQ is not relevant (Score 1) 136

You're joking, right? You can't really be that retarded, can you?

As an outside observer, what do you think about the human race?

I have a measured IQ of 87 so yeah, I can be that retarded - but no more. What's IQ got to do with it anyway?

Here's an IQ test for you, fill in the blank:

rue is to pain as street is to ___________

Submission + - Government Admits Area 51 Exists Sans Aliens

voul writes: Philip Bump in an article writes the government admits the existence of Area 51. 'Newly declassified documents, obtained by George Washington University's National Security Archive, appear to for the first time acknowledge the existence of Area 51,' Bump writes. 'Hundreds of pages describe the genesis of the Nevada site that was home to the government's spy plane program for decades. The documents do not, however, mention aliens. '

Comment Two years to go (Score 4, Insightful) 136

It'll take about two years for this problem to disappear.

There's an enormous monetary incentive for cloud services to implement good privacy. Anyone who doesn't implement it will get their lunch eaten by someone who does.

There's already a massive exodus away from US based servers, both at home and abroad. People are thinking through the ramifications of having their sensitive information used as "incentives" to help business. Your client lists, sales information, costs and accounting - if any part of your local network is in the cloud, the US can rifle through it and trade the information to another company in return for help fighting terrorism. Many people will choose to believe that this is not happening, but what the heck - who can tell any more?

This is a self-correcting problem.

Mega has announced an encrypted E-mail service, the client software will be open for public inspection, and none of it will be hosted on US servers.

Google has admitted in court that they don't think users have an expectation of privacy.

Which E-mail service would you rather use? The one from a sleazy convicted criminal, but with impenetrable security? Or the one from a company that always rifles through the contents, but promises to only do it for the better good?

Submission + - Aging Is a Disease. Treat It Like One. 1

theodp writes: Burger Schmurger. In a Letter to Sergey Brin, Maria Konovalenko urges the Google founder to pursue his interest in the topics of aging and longevity. 'Defeating or simply slowing down aging,' writes Konovalenko, 'is the most useful thing that can be done for all the people on the planet.' Calling for research into longevity gene therapy, extending lifespan pharmacologically, and studying close species that differ significantly in lifespan, Konovalenko says 'it is crucial to make numerous medical organizations recognize aging as a disease. If medical organizations were to recognize aging as a disease, it could significantly accelerate progress in studying its underlying mechanisms and the development of interventions to slow its progress and to reduce age-related pathologies. The prevailing regard for aging as a "natural process" rather than a disease or disease-predisposing condition is a major obstacle to development and testing of legitimate anti-aging treatments. This is the largest market in the world, since 100% of the population in every country suffers from aging.'

Submission + - NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds" (

NettiWelho writes: The Washington Post: The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.
Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by law and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.

Submission + - Private investigators using license plate scanners to make their own databases

scorp1us writes: I've noticed these cars driving around in Maryland. I've seen the same green Elantra in White Marsh many times. Today I saw one in Cockeysville. I trapped the guy in a private parking lot and asked him a few questions. He would not say who he was or who he was working for other than for a private investigator firm, and that they had 9(!) cars.
He was just driving around all the parking lots he could and the public ones. To me, that is trespassing, but they get to build their database anyway, unrestricted by any law on where or retention time. And who knows for what purpose?

Submission + - Colorado Teen Designs Robotic Arm With 3D Printing (

coolnumbr12 writes: A Colorado teenager has used 3D printing to create a robotic prosthetic arm that is fully functional and costs less than $500 to make. At TedxMileHigh in Denver, Colo., 17-year-old Easton LaChappelle demonstrated his robotic arm, and how he constructed the arm to keep costs low.

“So in the end, I built this robotic arm up to the shoulder which was extremely strong,” LaChapelle said. “It could toss balls to you, it could shake your hand, it could pretty much do anything a human could if you program it correctly."

Comment Where is it practical? (Score 1) 127

But it does not allow rockets to reenter the Earth's atmosphere at orbital velocities, slow down, and land.

How about the Moon and Mars? It seems to me that the fuel capacity of Dragon isn't enough to do both lunar descent and ascent just on the Super Draco thrusters and the trunk's fuel capacity.

Comment What's really impressive (Score 2) 127

The impressive part is that they do it with an actual rocket that is 106 feet tall, and that they have launched it 7 times with 0 failures.

Using the same engine, rather than treating the engine as a disposable object that only performs one burn in its lifetime. Most rocket engines can't be throttled, can't be shut down and then restarted in flight or otherwise.

The tricky part is going to be for any stage to have enough delta-V to return to the pad after lifting a payload to orbit. Also, as far as I can tell, this takes a drag chute for lower stages, and a re-entry shield for upper ones.


Submission + - Practical mathematics for programmers? 1

Dimwit writes: The best part about programming is that I can decide that I want a new text editor or a new video game or a new multiprotocol router, and I can write it, and when I'm done, I have a new text editor or video game or multiprotocol router. Mathematics has never been that way for me — I never sit and think "I sure would like to find the area under a curve!" and then come up with a way to do it. So what's a good path for the practical programmer to take towards mathematics? One with goals and problems to solve that aren't the same old boring word problems?

Submission + - High Food Prices Are Fueling Egypt's Riots ( 1

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Two years ago, the New England Complex Systems Institute published a famous paper that sussed out the mathematical correlation between food prices and unrest: Every time food prices breached a certain threshold, riots broke out worldwide. That all-important threshold is about 210 on the FAO Food Price Index... In May 2013, right before millions of angry Egyptians took to Tahrir Square, the index was at 213. For most of the spring, it had hovered well above 210, meaning that food was prohibitively expensive for Egypt's poor for a full three months before people took to the streets in dissent. And sure enough, food acces is a crippling problem in Egypt even today. UPI reports that "Bassem Ouda, the minister of supplies in the government of President Mohamed Morsi—who was ousted by the army July 3—admitted last week the state has less than two months' supply of imported wheat in stock, or about 500,000 metric tons."

Submission + - Datacenter Gives Internet to 70 Percent of Navajo Nation (

Nerval's Lobster writes: The Navajo Nation cut the ribbon August 13 on an $8 million data center that has been under debate and development since 2000, when then-President Bill Clinton expressed shock that a 13-year-old Navajo girl who just won a new laptop couldn’t connect to the Internet. At the time that girl won the laptop in a school contest, the Navajo Nation--a 27,425 square-mile region that covers portions of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico--had barely any IT infrastructure. The incident helped drive debate among leaders of the Navajo Nation, many of whom said they believed adding telecommunications and computing facilities were secondary to other concerns for the chronically poverty stricken region. The 50,000-square-foot facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico includes 25,000-sq.-ft. of datacenter and an equal space for computer training and business incubation, according to Nova Corp., an IT services company owned by Navajo Nation and formed in 2004 to execute an IT plan to create the “Digital Navajo Nation” (PDF). The drive to get it built also helped push development of a $46 million broadband project designed to cover about half of Navajo territory with 550 miles of fiber, 32 new cell towers and upgrades to another 27. It will eventually connect more than 30,000 households and 1,000 businesses.

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