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Submission + - Gravitational waves spotted for the first time. (sciencemag.org)

NecroBones writes: Long ago, deep in space, two massive black holes—the ultrastrong gravitational fields left behind by gigantic stars that collapsed to infinitesimal points—slowly drew together. The stellar ghosts spiraled ever closer, until, about 1.3 billion years ago, they whirled about each other at half the speed of light and finally merged. The collision sent a shudder through the universe: ripples in the fabric of space and time called gravitational waves. Five months ago, they washed past Earth. And, for the first time, physicists detected the waves, fulfilling a 4-decade quest and opening new eyes on the heavens.

Comment A modest configuration (Score 1) 287

I used to salvage all sorts of gear from my job, saving rackmount gear that would otherwise have been junked.

However, as my rack (a small 22U unit) tended to get rather full, and it was generating a lot of heat and noise, I eventually looked to consolidate. Now, I keep one physical server that runs a couple of VMs, cisco router, switch, UPS, and the remaining space contains a shelf and a sliding drawer to keep spare parts, hard disks, etc. Now it's much more quiet, and doesn't heat my house all through the summer. :)

Comment Re:technically (Score 3, Interesting) 92

I really feel it was a combination. It was dramatically over-hyped, but at the same time that did serve to increase awareness and thus diminish the overall impact, much like the Y2K issue as mentioned.

The article correctly calls it a panic, IMHO.

I think also the virus was much less effective than people realized for a few important reasons:

1. Back then people were a lot less likely to have the internal clock set properly on their computers.

2. When and if the payload would trigger, the virus would eliminate itself. Much like a biological virus, if it kills the host, it ruins its chances for further infections.

Of course I found it amusing that some of the more interesting viruses saw a lot less press. Such as "Casino", which would trash your disk's system area, but it would restore it from a backup in RAM if you could win in the slot-machine game it popped up. That's much more evil and amusing. :)

Comment Talking skulls (Score 2) 249

I set up a large display on the front of my house, in what little space I have. But the only real technological bit, other than lights and flickering LEDs, and a Flying Crank Ghost, is a set of talking skulls. I use the "Scary Terry" servo control system, which is sold as a kit from Cowlacious.

Test of my routine during assembly

Same routine, deployed into the display (gradual echo effect was accidental)

My display's web gallery

Comment Re:Been done (Score 2) 106

I'm glad people are pointing out that there's really nothing special going on here. Eliza and other similar chat bot programs have been around for a very long time, and this certainly isn't the first time anyone has had two of them talk to each other. The only difference being that this one has visible avatars and speech synthesis, recorded for all of youtube to enjoy. It's amusing and worth sharing for that reason, but there's no breakthrough here.

The conversation strikes me as actually quite typical for this sort of chatbot, not unlike transcripts easily available for the last couple of decades. Many of the Loebner Prize competitors have much more natural conversations. And I should know, my entry in the competition many years ago failed horrendously. :)

Comment Re:Not much to do (Score 1) 459

Even static-IP VPS solutions are under fire for this. I host my own mail, and had been using my VPS for out-bound mail for quite a while, but I was increasingly having mail delayed for hours or blocked completely by some of the larger ISPs. My only solution was to add a static route to use comcasts outbound mail servers instead of my VPS, since I'm behind a comcast business line.

For a small business mail server, apparently your best bet is to use your ISP's mail server with a static mail route, unfortunately. And don't forget to set up SPF records with a proper include.

Comment Re:didn't ask the right people (was: Re:Yes) (Score 1) 646

That's a very good point (in reference to the anti-glare surface), and it probably has to boil down to personal preference. Even on typical matte-finish screens, individual pixels are still pretty clearly defined. Personally, I wouldn't describe the difference with a glossy screen using the word "vivid", but perhaps more "sharp".

But in my case, I find the reflections far more distracting and problematic than the mild loss of image quality that an anti-glare matte surface provides.

Comment Re:didn't ask the right people (was: Re:Yes) (Score 1) 646

I've never gotten why people think glossy screens are inherently more vivid. I think you're right about it just being coincidental that they're also newer displays.

The underlying LCD isn't necessarily any different between a glossy or matte finish in front of it. So why do people prefer to see reflections in their screen? I've gone to considerable effort at times to position displays so as to reduce glare and reflections, so I certainly have no desire to make the problem worse by design.

I still have yet to see an argument in favor of glossy screens that seems valid.

Comment Re:Starflight (Score 1) 325

I'm glad someone mentioned Starflight! This game was truly ahead of its time. Back when PC games were clunky with non-intuitive interfaces, this game reduced the controls to simple menu-based systems using the arrow keys and spacebar, and yet was robust enough to have a level of depth as a space RPG game that had never been seen before.

At the time, I played it on an original 4.77MHz IBM PC. The game was on two 360K floppies (and you could benefit greatly from having 2 drives to use both disks simultaneously).

The universe was fractal generated, allowing for over 800 unique planets with explorable surface maps.

It was highly influential on many games to come, including Star Control II which was another excellent game.

Comment Re:UO wasn't that much fun really (Score 1) 480

I was about to say that this was a well-thought out post, one I might have written about UO myself, until I got to the part about "a screenshot comic series", and then thought maybe I _did_ write this in my sleep or something. :)

Hey there Delusion, good to see you. Long time no see! I was Bones Dragon, in another life. :)

I urge everyone here to read Delusion's post if you want to understand UO and its player-base, in the context of the nascent 1997 MMO community. He really nails it.

Comment Re:Heh.. you will find a lot of hostility (Score 1) 290

Occasionally? Apparently you either:

A. Are a spammer, or
B. Are completely clueless

VPS is rapidly becoming *the* most popular hosting method used by non bot herder spammers.

Or C. Neither. Thanks for assuming I don't know what I'm doing.

I'm referring to Linode.com. It's possible that it's getting abused by spammers occasionally, but I'm not aware of such complaints, it's a relatively small operation, and the staff seems pretty on-the-ball. The times that UCE-protect has added us to their blacklist that I'm aware of, it has been entirely due to IPs outside the Linode ranges as far as I could tell (which is supported by their arguments on the forum). I could be wrong, of course.

Whether it's a fair world or not, blacklisting entire blocks and not just the bot-infected or spammer hosts does more harm than good, especially when you're talking about blocking entire netblocks that cross multiple businesses full of non-spammer customers.

I am a mail admin, and I'm aware of VPS reputation, but that's not what this is about. I wouldn't use UCE-protect because I see it as nothing but a source of false-positives. Stopping spam is an important service to your users, but getting their legit mail through is more important.

Full STOP yourself.

Comment Re:Heh.. you will find a lot of hostility (Score 1) 290

You're complaining about SORBS but you use uceprotect? Yikes.

Uceprotect is one of those zealots that blocks entire /16 blocks because of a few spam sources, across entire ISPs.

On the VPS service I use, we occasionally get blocked because of some spammer IPs on an entirely different service, because further up the chain we share a common provider. To make it even more ridiculous, if we complain about this amongst ourselves on the VPS service's forum, the uceprotect folks come into the forum (they don't use the VPS service themselves as far as I know) and ARGUE WITH US, trying to tell us why WE'RE TO BLAME, as customers of a VPS service whose datacenter's ISP is shared by a few bots somewhere in the chain.

I'm not defending SORBS, but if you're going to complain about poor practices, you need to unclude uceprotect too.

Comment Re:Make an offer (Score 1) 800

You can start with one of the other TLD alternatives, and get the .com from the squatter later. Possibly for free.

This worked for me once-- I owned a .org and happily operated it with the .com variant already held by a squatter. As the .com came close to its expiration date, they approached me with an offer that was higher than I was willing to pay. A week later it expired and they renewed, they lowered the price, and I still ignored it. A few days later, during the renewal "grace period", they canceled their renewal, and the domain was up for grabs. So I got it from GoDaddy for about $10.

If you're patient enough, and they realize you're the only potential serious buyer, they may eventually give up.

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