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Comment An S100 CPM-based system (Score 1) 856

I built a 64k RAM 8080 computer on an S-100 bus. I started it out with CPM but transitioned to a UCSD Pascal environment so I could run a 6502 cross compiler.

I used the computer to learn how to program the Atari VCS game machine using a "Magic Card" that provided an interface to the Atari's 6502. I built a keyboard interface that emulated key presses on the Magic Card to load and test my game code. The Atari VCS had 128 bytes of RAM and the Magic Card provide around 1 or 2 K of RAM that served as a ROM emulator for the VCS. You really had to hoard RAM when all you had were 128 bytes to work with.

The whole rig cost around $2,000 in 1980 dollars but more than paid for itself in that I ended up working at Imagic, an Atari video game startup. That was one of the best jobs I had as the people I worked with were amazingly talented.

Comment X-33 was going to use an Aerospike engine (Score 4, Insightful) 44

The Lockheed X-33 Single Stage to Orbit Vehicle Skunk Works team was making identical claims back in the mid 90's.

They blew through $1 Billion before grinding to a halt when their carbon fiber oxygen tank delaminated during testing. Their budget was so tight, that a single setback like that one killed the project. They considered ditching CF in favor of an aluminum oxygen tank but the added weight didn't leave enough for any significant payload.

Perhaps this group has better carbon fiber manufacturing skills than Lockheed's Skunk works did back then and they'l be able to make good or perhaps it's just a "let's find some rubes and fleece them" scheme.

Time will tell.

Side story. I took a group of middle school students to Palmdale to see the X-33 chassis that was then under construction. It was the first time any of us had seen anything made with Carbon Fiber. The engineer giving us the tour handed us a CF strut to pass around and said "Carbon fiber is very light and much stronger than steel. It'll take a lot of abuse." When the strut was handed to this one particular kid, he started banging on it to see how much abuse it would take. The kid's mother freaked out while the engineer laughed it off and said "send him to work for us when he graduates. We need his kind of thinking."

  The strut survived the kid's abuse.

Comment Silly me. (Score 0, Offtopic) 590

All this time I had thought the archive was non-partisan. Sorry to see them choose a side. I'm a conservative and now I can't be sure I can trust them to be even handed when I archive pages that have a conservative slant.

Now to figure out how to stop auto-donating each month.

Comment Re:Odd... (Score 2) 66

>Sorry, can you outline how many fly overs the russians made vs how many the americans did?

I don't ordinarily respond to cowards but this really needs addressing.

The Russians didn't fly over the U.S. for two reasons. One, they didn't have U2 or SR71 technology so they couldn't do flyovers without getting shot down. Two they didn't need to. Russia had entire cities that foreigners weren't allowed to travel. We on the other hand only restricted access to military bases. Hell, Khrushchev rode a train through one of our nuclear missile bases when he toured the U.S.

The USSR was a huge entity spanning 11 time zones so missiles in Turkey weren't anywhere near as threatening to Moscow as Cuban missiles were to Miami. Nonetheless, Kennedy agreed to remove them in exchange for the Soviets withdrawing their missiles from Cuba.

Comment A simpler idea (Score 1) 262

My thought is that cancer at its core is a bit error that is disabling apoptosis (cell suicide in response to its neighbors telling it to). Once a cell ignores apoptosis, all bets are off as to what that cell will do. It's free to reuse any genetic code that's available just like a virus can.

Consider that metastasis, the migration of cancer cells, is how we all got our start. After we were conceived, the fertilized egg migrated from a free floating organism in the fallopian tubes to attach itself to the uterine wall. Cancer uses those routines.

Once at the uterine wall, the fertilized egg sends out signals to the uterus to build a blood network to feed the egg. Cancer uses those routines.

The egg grows in an organized fashion into us. Perhaps because cancer has disabled apoptosis, it grows into a disorganized mess. Apoptosis is a pruning mechanism that keeps cells from varying too much from their neighbors. Sort of an HOA on steroids.

Consider that roughly 10^9 cells engage in cell divisions every day, that each cell has to copy around 10^9 base pairs which entails a huge number of parallel processes that have to coordinate during mitosis and it's amazing we don't all die from the errors that are bound to arise.

Comment 4 random words (Score 1) 637

I have a scrambled 100,000+ English word dictionary. I have a javascript script that I feed 100 random bits drawn from John Walker's Hotbits. The script produces 4 random words when taken together are at least 16 characters long. To remember the four words, I construct a single sentence story that says something about the site.

Since I have the source code which I run in a browser that has never seen the web, I don't have to trust the author - that's me - to keep my passwords secret. The only thing I need to trust are the 72 bits are what Walker says they are and that his site isn't recording the bits he's handing out. If it ever comes to thinking otherwise, I have a lava lamp. Yeah, I'm that old.

I only use the script on moderately and very important to secure like email and work. For sites that I don't care if someone pretends to be me, I use one word passwords.

There are 10^20 possible combinations . Adding a fifth word for banking cranks that up to 10^25 combinations. I can type quickly so 4-6 word phrases aren't a problem for me.

I suspect a clever cryptologists could find several weaknesses in the approach (etaoin shrdlu comes to mind) but I think the resulting pass phrase will defeat most attacks.

Comment Dubious calculations (Score 2) 73

Your prodigious display of math is all for naught since you've essentially proved 1=2.

I grew up in the early 60's when sonic booms were part of the background along with Duck and Cover. Nuclear war was just around the corner, or so we thought, and jets routinely generated sonic booms. Sometimes they'd sound like distant thunder and other times they'd rattle the house. Those were far louder, and more objectionable, than your putative 10 mph breeze.

Thankfully, they tapered off towards the end of the 60's as the Air Force realized people *really* didn't like being rattled and those same people objected to Congress. Since the later controlled the budget, the Air Force cut back on high speed overflight over the cities.

Booms weren't just domestic issues. NOVA interviewed a British Consul who was sitting in a tent in the Middle East discussing trade issues with his Middle Eastern counterparts. The Concorde flies overhead and the resultant boom startled all the conferees. The Consul said one of the men pointed at the sky and said "Concorde." at which point the Consul realized another trade issue had just been raised.

Some of those booms were anything but quiet and they sure weren't FUD as you assert.

Comment Re:More religious whackjobs (Score 4, Insightful) 286

Hard to worry about what happened over a 100 years ago. Had the issue bothered a lot of people, Hawaii wouldn't have voted to join the U.S. in 1959 by 93%.

The "rightful owners" wouldn't stand a chance against whatever power chose to occupy the islands were they to secede from the union.

It's hard to see this as anything more than a routine "pay us off and we'll shut up" shakedown.

Comment Re:As a private citizen (Score 1) 213

We don't have to break the treaty. We can withdraw from the treaty instead. From the treaty

Article XVI
  Any State Party to the Treaty may give notice of its withdrawal from the
Treaty one year after its entry into force by written notification to the Depositary
Governments. Such withdrawal shall take effect one year from the date of receipt of
this notification.

Comment Re:Not worth it (Score 1) 161

Having a degree from a state school hasn't hurt me as I am close to making upper management wages at a prestigious McCompany.

Had you gone to MIT or Stanford, you would have been surrounded by students who wanted nothing to do with being a wage slave but were looking to start the next fortune 500 company when they graduated. The lessons learned at college depend on the aspirations and talents of the student body.

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