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Comment TINT (JOVIAL), 1968 (Score 1) 630

In 1968, my father brought home the user manual for TINT, the Timeshared INTerpreter for JTS, JOVIAL for Time Sharing. The rule of the house was that I could read anything except the books on abnormal psychology (and I didn't want to read those, they were yucky). I read the TINT manual, and said, "I can do that." A few months later, my father brought me in for a few hours to where he worked, System Development Corporation, Santa Monica, CA. I demonstrated sufficient proficiency on the AN-FSQ/32 timesharing system to have passed the programming class, had I taken it. In 1970, I spent some of the summer working at UCLA, translating statistical programs from JOVIAL to FORTRAN (F40 on the DEC PDP-10). In 1971, I was old enough to be paid as a programmer, working on statistics programs, novel user interfaces, and operating system modifications. I never did learn how to flip burgers or serve ice cream, like my high school friends did.

JOVIAL (Jules Own Version of the International Algorithmic Language) was an ALGOL-class language created to program US Air Force systems, such as SAGE (the Strategic Air Ground Environment), starting in 1958. System Development Corporation (SDC) was the world's first software company. DEC built the most fun computers in the 1960's and 1970's. UCLA is the home of the Bruins.

Comment We Are All Made of Stars (Score 1) 683

Let me give you an example of what I mean. To the best of our ability to tell, there's only one place where elements heavier than carbon (such as nitrogen, oxygen, sodium, etc. etc.) can be formed in large amounts -- and that's inside a star. Only elements as heavy as carbon or lighter can be formed in the early universe (and, for that matter, the amounts of Li, Be, B and C formed in Big Bang Nucleosynthesis are very very small); for heavier elements, and for larger amounts of carbon etc., you need a star. Now, if you didn't already know this, stop and think about it for a second. A huge chunk of you, perhaps all of you, was inside a star at one time. It appears that you and I are star debris. And it gets even better. The way that large amounts of these elements, forged within a star, can get out of the star is if the star supernovas -- dies at the end of its lifetime with a big boom. That big boom also serves to make very heavy elements -- such as uranium, for instance -- that cannot be made even in a star while it's burning away. There's uranium, and other similar very heavy elements, on our planet. Do you see what I'm getting at? Much of the atoms that make all of us up, that make this planet up, were at one time inside a star (or stars) that lived its life, supernovaed, and spewed out debris. Eventually, maybe a few hundred million years later, that stuff is part of our planet, part of our atmosphere, our water, part of you and me. We are all brothers and sisters; we all came from the same place, sorta.

Now, that knowledge will never make me any money.

You might not be able to figure out how to make money, but Moby appears to have done well with it.

Submission + - Wikileaks posts mysterious "insurance" file

betterunixthanunix writes: Wikileaks has posted a mysterious "insurance" file, which has no description but is encrypted with AES256. Cryptome has posted some speculation that this file may have been posted in case something happens to the Wikileaks website, in which case the passphrase would be divulged by Wikileaks staff.


Submission + - Medical Nanobots to Harvest Bloodstream Energy (blogspot.com)

An anonymous reader writes: They say its 7 years out, so don't get too excited, but these researchers claim a piezoelectric energy harvester will someday power nanobots that patrol our bloodstreams, which reminds me of a new sci-fi saga "Nanobot Wars"!

"In the future, nanobots could swim in your bloodstream, constantly on the lookout for early signs of disease, according to researchers creating a piezoelectric power source that harvests mechanical motion. Look for self-powered pacemakers and other medical implants using piezoelectric energy harvesting within seven years."

PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - New PS3 firmware causing HDD upgrade problems? 1

Channard writes: While there have been occasional reports of previous PS3 firmware upgrades causing system crashes and so forth, Sony's new firmware upgrade for the system, 3.41, is apparently stopping PS3 owners upgrading their hard disks, Slim PS3 owners at least. This problem has been encountered by many users on Sony's forums and occurs when you try to put a new hard disk into a PS3 that already has the firmware upgrade installed. The general course of action for upgrading a PS3's drive is that you download the latest PS3 firmware onto a memory stick and after swapping the hard drive in the PS3, plug the stick in allowing the PS3 to properly prepare the disk for use. But as of upgrade 3.41, the PS3 fails to recognize the firmware on the stick, complaining that it can't proceed until you insert the correct firmware. Repeating the process and re-downloading the does not fix the problem, as I can confirm, having encountered the problem myself.

Users can put the old hard disk back in, provided they've not reformatted it for some other purpose, so all is not lost. Sony have apparently told gaming website CVG that 'The information available to our Consumer Services Department does not suggest that this is a problem PlayStation(R) owners are likely to experience when upgrading the HDD with 3.41 update.' This seems to fly in the face of the currently available information — although whether or not this statement was issued by Kevin Butler is unclear. Either way, PS3 owners encountering this problem will likely have to wait a few days for a fix and use their old HDDs for now.

Submission + - New fast, reliable method to detect gravesoil (scienceblog.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Gravesoil. Yes, just what it sounds like. Nothing against bloodhounds, but finding bodies buried by someone who wanted them to stay undiscovered can be difficult. A new technique developed by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, can reliably detect biochemical changes in a decomposing cadaver. Typically, cadaver-sniffing dogs or ground penetrating radar are used to detect clandestine gravesites. But these methods are not always useful in all scenarios, such as if a body is buried under concrete.

Steampunk Con Mixes In More Maker Fun 50

California has once again been blessed with another steampunk convention, this time to be held in Emeryville, CA on March 12-14 as the "Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition." This year's event promises to mix in much more of the DIY/maker flavor for a greater hands-on feel. Steampunk has been gaining much broader appeal in recent months with the continued growth of maker communities, and the many delightful varieties of music and literature. The con will feature, among other things, a 2 day track of 2-hour how-to, hands-on, and interactive workshops gear towards makers, DIY-ers, mad scientists, and evil geniuses. Of course, if you are an evil genius you probably don't need a workshop except as a gathering for potential test subjects.

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