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The Murky Origins of Zork's Name 70

mjn writes "Computational media researcher Nick Montfort traces the murky origins of Zork's name. It's well known that the word was used in MIT hacker jargon around that time, but how did it get there? Candidates are the term 'zorch' from late 1950s DIY electronics slang, the use of the term as a placeholder in some early 1970s textbooks, the typo a QWERTY user would get if he typed 'work' on an AZERTY keyboard, and several uses in obscure sci-fi. No solid answers so far, though, as there are problems with many of the possible explanations that would have made MIT hackers unlikely to have run across them at the right time."

Comment Re:watching commercials (Score 1) 297

And yet if you had no pause button and needed to take a longer bathroom break you'd be SOL. So trying the "pause" button, and you can stop far a break for however long you need.

I like breaks where natural breaks happen. Sure, if the phone rings or someone is at the door I stop where I am. But otherwise I will take breaks at a commercial.

I have been known to hit the slow button at the beginning of a break to leave the room. That way I have much longer than the break and I am not burning anything into my screen. A few times I have gotten into a conversation and it has even gone into the show. But not so far that a few presses of the 8 seconds back button on my Tivo won't set me up.


Submission + - Green Cement Absorbs Carbon

Peace Corps Online writes: "Concrete accounts for more than 5 percent of human-caused carbon-dioxide emissions annually, mostly because cement, the active ingredient in concrete, is made by baking limestone and clay powders under intense heat that is generally produced by the burning of fossil fuels. Now Scientific American reports that British start-up company Novacem has developed a "carbon-negative" cement that absorbs more carbon dioxide over its life cycle than it emits. The trick is to make cement from magnesium silicates rather than calcium carbonate, or limestone, since this material does not emit CO2 in manufacture and absorbs the greenhouse gas as it ages. "The building and construction industry knows it has got to do radical things to reduce its carbon footprint and cement companies understand there is not a lot they can do without a technology breakthrough," says Novacem Chairman Stuart Evans. Novacem estimates that for every ton of Portland cement replaced by its product, around three-quarters of a ton of CO2 is saved, turning the cement industry into a big emitter to a big absorber of carbon. Major cement makers have been working hard to reduce CO2 emissions by investing in modern kilns and using as little carbon-heavy fuel as possible, but reductions to date have been limited. Novacem has raised $1.7 M to start a pilot plant that should be up and running in northern England in 2011."

Comment Re:Ya I would compare it to long division (Score 1) 731

Regardless of if you are in a math heavy career or not, you aren't going to waste your time doing it by hand, you'll use a calculator which is faster and more accurate.

Well, strictly not if that calculator gives you decimals instead of a remainder besides the whole number and that number has to be carried over elsewhere.

Or you need a better calculator or learn to better use the one you have. Even the MS Calculator has an Int function and a memory.

big/little = big / little MS = - Int = * MR =

The superior RPN is left to others.

Comment Re:Well... (Score 2, Interesting) 481

Also, your email address increases in value when being sold inbetween spammers. Effectively, you make the A-list among spammers.

More like B-list. A-list is for those saps who actually buy the stuff. I've helped someone whose mother fell for a "charity" that ended up with more spam that I thought an individual could get. It even got to be a hassle dealing with tons of snail mail.


Doctor Who Series Four Is A Go 259

netglen writes to mention that the fourth series of Doctor Who is a go. The BBC confirms that another season of the popular sci-fi series will be made, although the article is sketchy about the current doctor and his attachment to the next season. The third series starts at the end of this month in Britain with new companion Martha Jones, played by Freema Agyeman, replacing Billie Piper's Rose. "Tennant, who plays the time-travelling hero, would not talk to reporters about his role in future series. 'Do you know how many times I have been asked that question? Do you know how many times I have answered it?' said the actor. "

Submission + - Arizona gov admits to seeing Phoenix lights

stratjakt writes: The governor of Arizona now admits to having seen the Phoenix lights.

Symington says he saw a large triangular "craft of unknown origin" with lights, moving slowly. "It was dramatic. And it couldn't have been flares because it was too symmetrical", he says. "It had a geometric outline, a constant shape."
I for one welcome our crazy republican overlords.

Submission + - FBI in Cohoots with Verizon, AT&T, MCI

mrbluze writes: "In the ongoing FBI probe, Wired News confirms that the FBI did enter into contracts with telephone companies to "harvest" telephone records.

"The contract essentially pays for the man hours or the personnel cost for the people who have to do the work," said FBI Assistant Director John Miller in an interview with Wired News last night. "We want dedicated people who handle our requests or do nothing else."

I have read elsewhere that security organizations have deals with operating system and other software manufacturers to provide back-doors to PC's. How widespread is all of this privacy invasion in reality?"

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