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Journal Journal: help with math 1

Hopefully somehow out there is better with math than I.

Suppose a giant ball of ice, 130km in diameter (water volume significantly greater than the Great Lakes) were to strike the moon at a speed of 3km/s (just above the moon's escape velocity). If my math is right, most of the water will remain on the moon in the newly formed crater, though I'm sure a significant amount would sublimate away over time.

Any help would be appreciated.

Oh, and this is for a possible scifi story. I just want to make sure the basis for the drama is at least plausible, it doesn't have to be 100% exact.
The question, how much water would end up left behind? I'm not sure if it would rival Lake Superior, Lake Erie, some other lake, or essentially none at all.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Tags? 3

Am I the only one who can't see tags on stores in the new Slashdot 3.0? No matter which story I'm looking at, there are no tags showing up. Which is too bad, because there's usually a lot of meta-humor contained in those things.

If anyone else had this problem and fixed it, please let me know what to do. I'm using the latest Firefox on WinXP SP2.

User Journal

Journal Journal: HTC EVO Review

So I've had the phone for about a week now. There are some issues I'm working around with Sprint - a long story, suffice to say that I'm having to deal with two phones for a bit here. That aside, the phone is pretty damned good.

I have a few friends with iPhones - including one with a 3G S - and they all seem to agree that this thing blows their phones out of the water.

The keyboard interface is better than any others I've used before. Until now, the best virtual keyboard I'd used was on the iPhone. This one takes all of the good of the iPhone keyboard, and adds on a "learning" ability. It learns your thumb-typing style as you use it, making automatic fixes to typos you might make while rapidly padding out words.

The video playback is simply amazing. When I'm on a 4G network or on Wi-Fi, the buffering is almost instantaneous, even for HQ/HD videos. When I'm on 3G there's a bit of a wait, but once it's done with the buffering, it streams pretty smoothly with great quality.

The rotation to get from portrait to landscape is a little clunky. Sometimes I find myself having to tilt the top back and forth to get the phone to "recognize" that it's been turned sideways. I think it's application-specific, as some applications just pick it up immediately.

The phone's sound quality is superb in all three modes - speaker, handset, bluetooth. The bluetooth in my car picked it up quick and setup was painless. I tried to pair an iPhone with it once, and had nothing but trouble!

All in all, I'd say this is probably the best phone I've ever owned, hardware and OS included.

Software, on the other hand...

The Sprint crap-ware is there, and it's not going anywhere. You can remove it from your home pages, but you can't actually delete it without rooting the phone first, mounting the flash core OS storage and removing it from there. This is, I'm told, a dangerous proposition.

The Facebook application and synch features seem very last-minute and annoying. It doesn't ask you if you want all of your facebook friends in your phone contact list - it just assumes you do and imports them all. This was VERY annoying, considering there's some people on my FB that I'd never consider calling. I stopped using the HTC app and instead installed the apps from FB directly. At least there I can just see FB contacts. Unfortunately, the damage was done to my Google Contacts account, and I now have the unfortunate task of removing a butt-ton of users from that account. Ugh.

I've had a couple of applications simply not work on the phone, even though they work on a standard 2.1 build in an android VM. Not to mention, though I think this is a problem with the app and not the phone, Fennec has no way to actually type anything. So unless I want to just sit there and stare at the default start page, I'm not going anywhere with it. Fennec, for those who do not know, is the name of "Firefox for Smartphones". I know it's still in beta, but no calls to the built-in keyboard libs on the phone? Really??

All in all, the apps that came with the phone are fine, and I like the fact that the built-in browser supports Flash. Without those few minor unnecessary, impossible-to-remove apps, the phone is nearly perfect.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Dam! Slashdot Journal Code Sucks 1

Why the hell do I have to scroll all the way to the bottom of my journal page to find a button to post new content? But guess what? I have to do it fast, because the oh so helpful AJAX auto loads the next page of entries if I scroll down, so that means I have to scroll down and quick click the post button or else I have to keep scrolling down. WTF were they thinking?

Have they never seen any other social media site? That sort of basic functionality needs to be front and center at the top so you can... you know.... use the site.


Journal Journal: Dang I feel old in /. terms 10

I've returned to occasional /. use due to no longer working from home, and dang my user ID is low compared to a lot of the account comments I'm seeing. Did /. experience a mass exit recently and are only newbies and fresh troll accounts posting?


Journal Journal: Diffusion Cloud Chamber Observations with Video 3

Ever build an apparatus to study subatomic particles out of stuff sitting around your house? Well my friend did and this video is the result of our replication (sort of) of the Wilson Cloud Chamber. We used the updated diffusion cloud chamber design from Andy Folannd with a bit of info from

The apparatus is a bit finicky and prone to getting too cold, but it worked. We observed several dozen alpha particles zipping through the room interacting with the alcohol vapor. Unfortunately, no muon decays or scattering was observed. It would be interesting to try this again with a different chamber shape / height, a different temperature differential (measuring it next time), and possibly with a magnet to observe the magnetic field affects of the paths on the charged particles.

Observation notes: It greatly aided the observation to have the live video feed piped via s-video to nearby TV, so more than one person could observe the interactions. Only close proximity ~12" makes in person observation possible due to breath condensation and freezing on the cold chamber wall.

We are looking for other experiments that can be performed at home with out significant investments / highly specialized materials that exhibit the ordinarily invisible elements of our universe that also show well on video (or can be made to so so with appropriate pre-planning). Any suggestions?

Notes on the video: shot with GL2 on Matthews tripod at F1.8, 1/60th, WB to sunlight (led light source ~5400K), 0dB gain (except opening scene which had some gain) and MF locked. No specialized color / exposure profile used, no post WB. Opening text plain with background fractal keyframed movement. "Highlight" effect applied to duplicate additive track placed above source with exclusion mask applied to select sections of the video. Video trimmed to exclude empty segments. Cinescore Soundtrack. Rendered as 3Mbps Peak VBR single pass WMV.
Linux Business

Journal Journal: Crash Course in Linux & OSS for a Win32 QA guy 5

I need to help someone get a crash course in QA work on an OSS stack, as opposed to their previous few years of QA work on a Win32 stack. We will be installing Ubuntu tomorrow for a quick and easy workstation. Then we need to find or write a series of tasks to learn the skills to help said person get a crash course in working in / with the LAMP OSS environment.

Again, not a SW dev, or admin, just a QA guy, so tasks, reference material, etc need not be super low level. I have the perl trifecta (learning Perl, Perl Cookbook, and Reg Ex with Perl), but everything else I have relating to Linux is +5yrs old.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Long time no see: (I know). Test DB app questions 2

I'm trying to figure out how to keep working at my current contracting company beyond my contract end date (next Wed). One thing I know they are working on is a test config DB; a system to store all the possible test configurations and the status of those tests. Unfortunately for them (and me) they are an all MS all the time shop. But I wonder if I could make some substantial progress towards a system (agile method with some real quick cycles) and peak their interest.
The system would need to be able to create new records for "revision B" of PCB board, revision X of the chip on the board, revision Y of the firmware for the chip, revision A of expansion board type Blah, firmware rev G for expansion board Blah, PDF quick start doc for entire kit Goop, etc.
The system would need to then be able to say "has this been tested before?" by looking at a "tests" section which would have some list of valid test IDs to run against a specific combination of components. The test lead would like to look at a page and see "board F + FW v0.1 + chip B + exp board J + exp board FW v0.0.2" has been tested on the following....... and then see a list / chart of tests performed, and tests not performed.
Has anyone heard of any such software? I've found TestLink via Freshmeat, TestTracking on SourceForge, TestCaseWeb (SourceForge, but hasn't been touched in 3 years), and VarTrack again on SourceForge wihthe last modificatio nat the Epoch (system time fail?). I'm not sure these are specific enough. But that doesn't mean they could not be modified to do so.
I would appreciate pointers on any commercial packages, but only so I could compare them. My goal is to find an existing project I can learn and be the admin for, or get a project to use as a good jump start for my own internally developed one.
  (cross posted to my multiply account. use the user name and multiply.... if you need more clues.... I cannot help you.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Freedom is free 2

I had a realization the other day, and thought I'd share it with my fellow Slashdotters.

I was watching one of the viral videos for McCain, by a former Army sergeant who lost his leg in Iraq. He was speaking to Obama, telling him why he wouldn't vote for him, and ended his message with the cliche that "freedom isn't free".

I beg to differ. Freedom is most certainly free. None of us are free because we are Americans; we aren't free because of the men and women who have risked their lives to safeguard our borders and national interests; and we certainly aren't free because of politicians who give rousing speeches before thousands.

We're free because we're human beings. We have an inherent freedom, built into the fabric of our beings and selves. It's not something that can be taken away or given by another. And it's something that all people, throughout the world and throughout time, have.

Yes, we are fortunate to live in a land where the laws recognize this freedom, at least for the most part. But don't ever think you owe your freedom to the actions of any person, or groups of people. They didn't make you free; you were free long before they made whatever sacrifices they may have made, and will remain free long after those sacrifices are forgotten.

The reason this is important to remember is, if we start thanking our servicemen and women "for their service", with the understanding that they somehow gave us our freedom, well, anyone who can give a thing, can take that thing away. We mustn't allow ourselves to fall into the trap of worshipping our military, or thinking that all we have in our lives comes from their beneficence. It's a very small step from that kind of thinking to giving up control of our lives and our liberties to men in uniform.

former IT1, USNR

User Journal

Journal Journal: Frustration with local Libertarian Party 7

UPDATE: Problem solved, I've gotten in touch with other local officials, and apparently the whole thing was just a misunderstanding. Everyone's happy and working together again. Thanks for the input and words of encouragement I've received from everyone who sent them.

I don't think I've been this frustrated with a party official in my life. I so much want to start helping the Libertarian Party get candidates elected (just see my sig and about a hundred different comments from me in the last month to show that), and the first time I really reach out to a local party official, this is the response I got.

At least when I contacted the Republicans in Arizona eight years ago, they welcomed me with open arms. It's guys like this that will keep the Libertarians from ever holding elective office in this country. Considering the fact that I consider the Republican party broken and the Libertarian party the way of the future for social libs/economic conservatives, guys like this will have to be pushed aside to make room for others who are more willing to welcome change.

Who wants to help me do that?

(all phone numbers and email addresses left intact...please feel free to email or call Mr. Benedict and let him know what you think of him...or email me and flame me all you want, as the case may be)

I'd like to forward your emails to other people and post it on blogs. Let me know if you don't want me to do that.

--Wes Benedict
Executive Director
Libertarian Party of Texas

Cory Waddingham wrote:
> Wes,
> Your arrogance is extremely infuriating. I may not have had the time in the past to help out, but what am I supposed to do when the person I reach out to shuts me down?
> You need to reach out to new people, and pull your head out of your ass.
> Cory
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Wes Benedict <>
> To: Cory Waddingham <>
> Sent: Saturday, August 23, 2008 1:30:52 AM
> Subject: Re: work before November
> Cory,
> I suspect you are trying to sell something.
> Since you have no money to contribute, have never contributed to the LP Texas or the National LP according to my records, and no reputation as a volunteer in Texas, and I get solicited constantly, I'll let you know right now that I am getting irritated by your solicitations.
> After you have spent 20 hours or so putting up 1,000 door hangers in Texas, we can talk about your new ideas.
> --Wes Benedict
> Executive Director
> Libertarian Party of Texas
> 512-442-4910
> Cory Waddingham wrote:
>> Wes,
>> Last time we corresponded over email, I mentioned that I'm working in Virginia. I've arranged to come back home and work from there for the next two months, starting Labor Day weekend. I'd like to schedule some time to present some ideas on how to get out the Libertarian vote in November in Collin County. I can't access the group websites from work, are there any planned events coming up in the near future? Have you already scheduled any phone banks, mailings, or anything like that?
>> Cory

User Journal

Journal Journal: hosting on the dark side

First, let me state up front: I don't trust Google. I think they track entirely too much data about their users, and I don't trust them to use it wisely or fairly enough of the time.

That said, I've had to move the hosting for my Open Source project, Power Time, from SourceForge to Google Code. SourceForge was just too unresponsive, and it took forever to simply add a release file. Google Code makes it much easier to release updates; so much so, that I didn't think I had a choice but to use the service.

Besides which, a Google search for "time management", "power time", "consultant billing", or related keywords didn't find my project. I'm hoping that'll change now that they're the hosting provider, and maybe I'll get a few more downloads (which might lead to more consulting gigs, eg more money for me).


Journal Journal: hacked?

Apparently, some time this evening, (Comcast's user portal) got hacked. That, or Network Solutions has been hacked, and Comcast was their first target. I didn't get a screen shot, but this was the text on the page:

sHouTz To VIRUS Warlock elul21 coll1er seven

There was also an unsafe javascript that got blocked by NoScript, but it was down before I could analyze it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: New site

I'm working on something new, I don't know what it is yet, but when I'll do I'll let you know if you're curious.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Plagiarism on Slashdot? 2

Maybe I missed something, and "martinsslaves" is actually someone who works at Engadget, but if not, wow. Just, wow.

First, read this article

Then, read the summary for this /. article.

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