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Satellite Captures Glowing Plants From Space

Dan East NASA link (40 comments)

Here is a higher resolution version of the map:
http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/oco2/p...

I live in an orange area of the US, and it's not the "corn belt" either, but the Appalachians.

3 days ago
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Ars Reviews Skype Translator

Dan East Re:NSA (70 comments)

Call me when Skype supports P2P connections, or IPv6.

There are other products that let you do that already. We're talking about real-time audio translation from one language to another at the moment.

3 days ago
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Who's To Blame For Rules That Block Tesla Sales In Most US States?

Dan East Selfish states (139 comments)

It depends on how "selfish" the state is. State lawmakers are always looking to increase revenue and income into their state. Since automobile dealers are local, and they get a cut of auto sales, it is beneficial, generically, for states to only allow dealerships to sell cars and get their local, in-state cut of the revenue. So it takes lawmakers that can see beyond that immediate income and have vision enough to embrace the future even if it has some cost to their state.

Then of course you have states like Texas, that produce oil and gasoline, who don't like Tesla and their new-fangled 'lectric cars, who of course want to make it hard on Tesla because that is a threat to revenue for their state.

3 days ago
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Jaguar and Land Rover Just Created Transparent Pillars For Cars

Dan East Created? (191 comments)

Describing a concept, and making a fake CGI video of how it might work, does not mean they have "created it". They haven't even revealed where this is at in the development cycle, and the video is very clearly pure CGI. (for one thing, nothing on these augmented displays will look right except from the driver's perspective, which will be annoying for passengers, and the camera does not show the driver's perspective in this video).

With the "B column" (the column between the front and back door), why should I have to turn my head >90 degrees to see an oddly shaped screen that shows me what is only right behind the column? When I signal how about show me EVERYTHING to that side of the vehicle on a screen that's, um, like right in front of me so I don't have to take me eyes off the road or crane my neck?

about a week ago
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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Dan East Re:As a former muslim (876 comments)

As a former Muslim

Congratulations on still being alive.

about a week ago
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Google Closing Engineering Office In Russia

Dan East 50 engineers (157 comments)

According to an article at ZDNet, the office Google is closing has 50 engineers, and they've been offered positions in offices outside of Russia. Adobe already closed offices in Russia earlier this year, for likely the same reason.

http://www.zdnet.com/article/g...

about two weeks ago
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Study Explains Why Women Miscarry More Males During Tough Times

Dan East Study explains nothing (113 comments)

This study "explains" nothing.

Such a pattern would provide an evolutionary explanation for such culling. It “might be adaptive,” Lee says.

An "evolutionary explanation" isn't an explanation. WHY do more male fetuses die than female during stressful situations? What is the actual mechanism causing this to happen? The answer to that is an "explanation". Further, given the relatively long time frames involved in human reproduction, how would this trait have evolved to cover such a large percentage of the population when it is only needed during stressful situations?

Maybe males require more resources from the mother as a fetus, or maybe the difference in hormones is the tipping point that causes more male fetuses to die in these situations. But just because it appears to be beneficial in some way in the vast scheme of things does not mean that it exists because it is beneficial evolutionary or was selected in some way.

Saying "we found it is beneficial for less male fetuses to be born during stressful situations" does not mean "less males are born because it is beneficial during stressful situations".

about two weeks ago
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Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy: The Science of Misheard Song Lyrics

Dan East Poor enunciation (244 comments)

And in some cases it's purely a matter of poor enunciation and the singer not really caring that the sounds coming out of their mouth sound nothing like the words are supposed to.

about two weeks ago
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Comcast Sued For Turning Home Wi-Fi Routers Into Public Hotspots

Dan East Useful (291 comments)

I live in a rural area, and do dual-sport motorcycle riding on mountain trails in the Appalachians. There is a small "town" where we stop to fuel up and eat, and this place doesn't even have cell phone service. However, I did find that there is an Xfinity hotspot. Actually, I didn't even know what the Xfinity thing was until seeing this story, but it now makes sense why there was a "commercial" hotspot at this little crossroads. They allow two one-hour free trial sessions a month, which just happens to be about the frequency I ride through there, so it has been extremely useful to communicate while having lunch. So I give Xfinity a thumbs-up as it was that or nothing at all (and I do mean nothing) in this one particular place.

What Comcast needs to do is share just a tiny bit of this revenue with customers whose routers provide this service. It might only amount to a dollar or two a month, but that would be an incentive to have it turned on, and would offset the extra cost of electricity.

about two weeks ago
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How Relevant is C in 2014?

Dan East Re:Very relevent for small target embedded stuff. (641 comments)

The thing is, if you use structures with bit fields, C will not optimize the manipulations with them correctly.

C won't? Or a particular compiler won't? This has nothing to do with C whatsoever and is specific to a compiler / target CPU combination.

about two weeks ago
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First Star War Episode 7 Trailer Released

Dan East CGI (390 comments)

Most of the trailer is CGI, which makes sense at this point. The movie won't be released for another year, so this early on most of the finished shots would be fairly generic CGI stuff that was being worked on in parallel to the main shooting. The hard part is all the editing and incorporating CGI into the shots with the actors, and they've only just wrapped up the shooting this month. That's what they'll be working on for the next several months.

One thing about the lightsaber scene, at first I was like "that's a lame gimmicky lightsaber", but then looking at it more closely, it doesn't have a pure even glow like a normal lightsaber. It looks more like fire and less refined. So my hunch is that sith guy had to figure out how to fabricate the weapon on his own without any guidance, so it's this crude, barely controlled weapon that has to vent extra energy so it doesn't blow up or melt or something. Yeah, that was a pretty geeky analysis.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Biometric Authentication System?

Dan East Re:why biometric? (127 comments)

Exactly. Biometrics make even less sense because this is a clean room. Use clip on RFID tags on the end of their shirtsleeves or some other physical location that allows the RFID tag to be read while the worker is at the station.

about three weeks ago
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Another Hint For Kryptos

Dan East Re:Clock -- Time is running out! (50 comments)

"Sanborn also confirmed that should he die before the entire sculpture becomes deciphered, there will be someone able to confirm the solution."

about a month ago
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The Nintendo DS Turns 10

Dan East Re:Funny Timing (61 comments)

I just fired up an old beat up micro I had laying around last week. At the time it was released, the micro had one of the highest DPI color screens I'd ever seen. Still the SP is my favorite. It was the first Gameboy of any kind with an actual backlit screen, and it was beautiful to behold. Games looked so vibrant and clear compared to the Gameboy Advanced, that they almost didn't event seem like they were the same games. The clamshell design was also new and suited to the device perfectly. When closed it wasn't much larger than the screen, and the cartridge fit flush into the device - it was nice and compact when closed. It was also the first gameboy with an integrated rechargeable battery, and it seemed to last for ages. Really, the SP was the most revolutionary single portable gaming device produced by Nintendo. The one and only thing the SP lacked, which was due to the CPU / cartridge hardware being designed well before the SP came out, was a hibernate / suspend type capability when closed (it still seems to me they could have managed that somehow).

about a month ago
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Harvard Students Move Fossil Fuel Stock Fight To Court

Dan East Owning stock (203 comments)

Is it common stock or non-voting? If common stock then I would think they would want the school to have a vote in what the energy companies do. Regardless, if it's a wise investment that is generating profit, then it really doesn't matter. It's not like selling the stock is going to hurt the company or the stock value. I guess some people just can't sleep at night over these kinds of things.

about a month ago
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What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

Dan East Re:With a RTG, it couldn't have got to the comet. (523 comments)

No matter how you build them, nuclear Radioisotope Thermal Generators are heavy.

That's totally inaccurate. I went into details about this a couple days ago when Philae was discussed here. In that case someone said that because it took 10 years to arrive at the comet, an RTG couldn't have been used. I'll just copy/paste my other post since it already covers your statement.

The lander only uses 32 watts of power. The MMRTG used in Curiosity provides 125 watts of power initially, and 100 watts after 14 years. The mass of that specific RTG (the MMRTG, 45kg) would be too great for use in Philae, but then it also produces 3 times more energy than needed (even after 14 years). RTGs have been made in many sizes for many different applications, so it would simply have been a matter of designing an RTG that produces 40-45 watts of power after 10 years.

However, one of the main uses of the 32 watts of power required by Philae is just to keep the batteries warm so they don't fail. RTGs produce more "waste" heat than they do electricity. For example, the MMRTG used in the Curiosity rover produces 2 kW of heat, of which 125 W is converted to electricity. The extra heat is used to keep the various temperature-sensitive parts of the rover nice and warm so they don't fail. With Philae, a good portion of the 32 watts of the solar power it requires is just to keep the battery warm. So if an RTG were used, it wouldn't even need to produce 32 watts of electricity since it can keep the lander warm directly.

Looking at the mass and wattage produced, the RTGs ("SNAP-19") in the Pioneer probes would have been just about perfect for Philae. They produce 40 watts of power and weigh 13.6 kg. Philae's current electrical system weighs 12.2 kg, so that's at least in the ballpark. The RTGs on the surface of the moon, as manually placed by Apollo astronauts's would have been a bit heavy at 20 kg. One of those RTGs was still producing 90% of its power after 10 years.

The SNAP-9A used in the Transit 5B-2 navigation satellite launched in 1963 weighed 12.3 kg and produced 25 watts of power. That looks about like a perfect fit for Philae, and I'm sure more efficient thermocouplers are available today that could further reduce the weight.

about a month ago
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Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans

Dan East Physical constraints (335 comments)

I know they were looking at this in a very theoretical way, but in the real world there are of course physical constraints. We already have "robots" that kill people autonomously, in the form of guided missiles, cruise missiles and smart bombs. However, I think in this case we're talking about identifying an object as a human, and then killing that human. The most simple form of this, which is what we're likely to see in use next, is an autonomous gun turret. However, with any sort of weapon of this kind, it is very easy to apply physical constraints. For example, a gun turret could be mounted to protect the no-man's-land in a specific perimeter of a military base. It would be designed and mounted so that it cannot physically rotate 360 degrees, for example, and thus could not target friendly soldiers inside the base. Whenever a person needed to go out into the zone the weapon patrols, the weapon would be physically deactivated - removing power, a physical block preventing it from moving, the removal of ammunition, etc.

Now if we're talking about free-ranging robots than go out and kill, then that's a bit more complex, although as long as humans are the ones creating the robots, we can always build in physical constraints. For example the ability to disable power to the robot using a circuit that is totally external to and in no way connected to the robot's actual logic or control.

about a month ago
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After Four Days, Philae Team Gets to Rest

Dan East Re:RTG (88 comments)

It took ten years to get the Rosetta mission to the comet. By then a RTG would be fairly depleted too.

That isn't a legitimate reason to not use RTG for Philae. The lander only uses 32 watts of power. The MMRTG used in Curiosity provides 125 watts of power initially, and 100 watts after 14 years. The mass of that specific RTG (the MMRTG) would be too great for use in Philae, but then it also produces 3 times more energy than needed (even after 14 years). RTGs have been made in many sizes for many different applications, so it would simply have been a matter of designing an RTG that produces 40-45 watts of power after 10 years.

However, one of the main uses of the 32 watts of power required by Philae is just to keep the batteries warm so they don't fail. RTGs produce more "waste" heat than they do electricity. For example, the MMRTG used in the Curiosity rover produces 2 kW of heat, of which 125 W is converted to electricity. The extra heat is used to keep the various temperature-sensitive parts of the rover nice and warm so they don't fail. With Philae, a good portion of the 32 watts of the solar power it requires is just to keep the battery warm. So if an RTG were used, it wouldn't even need to produce 32 watts of electricity since it can keep the lander warm directly.

Looking at the mass and wattage produced, the RTGs ("SNAP-19") in the Pioneer probes would have been just about perfect for Philae. They produce 40 watts of power and weigh 13.6 kg. Philae's current electrical system weighs 12.2 kg, so that's at least in the ballpark. The RTGs on the surface of the moon, as manually placed by Apollo astronauts's would have been a bit heavy at 20 kg. One of those RTGs was still producing 90% of its power after 10 years.

Regardless, the fact that the Philae mission would last more than 10 years is not a reason to not have used RTG. Other issues (obtaining the radioactive material, environmentalists throwing a fit, inexperience of the ESA with that kind of power source, delays in production, etc) certainly dictated that an RTG wasn't used, but it was most certainly not due to any technical limitation.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Facebook HTML Escaping Broken?

Dan East Dan East writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Dan East (318230) writes "It appears that Facebook's HTML escaping has been bypassed or otherwise hacked. Currently this is being used to embed tags in regular FB posts to display gaudy animated GIFs. However this technique should work for any other HTML tags. The user Facebook Art's wall is the current source of these annoying posts, which other FB users are in turn sharing on their own walls."
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Zuckerberg's Generosity

Dan East Dan East writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Dan East (318230) writes "Mark Zuckerberg, billionaire founder of Facebook, has decided to share some of his wealth with dedicated FB users, who were ultimately responsible for his fortune. Each time you enter the following key presses into Facebook (max once per hour) you will receive a $5 credit on your FB account (part of the advertising system):
UP UP DOWN DOWN LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT B A ENTER
Please repost — it is for TODAY only!"

Link to Original Source
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Thousands of blackbirds fall from sky dead

Dan East Dan East writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Dan East (318230) writes "In a fashion worthy of a King or Hitchcock novel, yesterday blackbirds began to fall from the sky dead. Somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 birds rained down on the small town of Beeb, Arkansas, with no visible trauma. Officials are making wild guesses as to what happened — lightning strike, high-altitude hail, or perhaps trauma from the sound of New Year's fireworks killed them."
Link to Original Source
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$1 million to find Toyota acceleration problem

Dan East Dan East writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Dan East (318230) writes "Amid the controversy over Toyota's runaway cars, the Edmunds.com web site is offering a $1 million prize to any tinkerer who can figure out the cause of the phenomenon. The prize will go to a person who can "demonstrate in a controlled environment a repeatable factor that will cause an unmodified new vehicle to accelerate suddenly and unexpectedly." Edmunds will make details of the competition available later this month."
Link to Original Source
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Avast! Antivirus reporting massive false positives

Dan East Dan East writes  |  about 5 years ago

Dan East (318230) writes "Due to a problem with the antivirus definition update 091203-0 on December 2nd, Avast! Antivirus began reporting that many applications were infected with the trojan Win32:delf-MZG. There are widespread accounts of this on the net, and Avast's support forums have been down for close to 12 hours due to the massive amount of traffic from users seeking more information on the problem. The problem has reportedly been corrected with the 091203-1 update, but many installations may not update automatically in time to receive the update before end users are affected. Avast typically prompts end users when infected items are found, asking them how to clean it. If the user selects "Delete" then software, or the entire OS, could be rendered unusable. The Avast! Blog is still silent on the matter."
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DVD Saves Firefighter's Life

Dan East Dan East writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Dan East writes "Fire Chief Barry McRoy credits a DVD with saving his life — literally. McRoy was trying to leave a restaurant when two men, fighting over a gun, entered. During the fray the gun went off, and Chief McRoy's stomach started hurting. At first he thought the pain was from the percussion of the shot, since he was so close to the men and they were all enclosed in the small glass foyer together. However, upon reaching into his pocket he found, amongst the shattered DVD pieces, the bullet that had just been fired. In the video still it is clear the disc is a DVD-R, but the brand is not visible."
Link to Original Source
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Fake Wikipedia edit predicts murder

Dan East Dan East writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dan East (318230) writes "In a bizarre twist of fate, a bogus news post to Wikipedia predicted the death of WWE wrester Chris Benoit's wife 14 hours before her body was discovered in a presumed murder / suicide. Police believe Benoit murdered his wife and 7-year-old son before committing suicide by hanging himself in a piece of exercise equipment. The fake news posting to the Chris Benoit article read "Chris Benoit was replaced by Johnny Nitro for the ECW Championship match at Vengeance, as Benoit was not there due to personal issues, stemming from the death of his wife Nancy". The person responsible for the posting later confessed that his edit was speculative as to why Benoit canceled a scheduled appearance at a wresting event on Sunday. The editor's computer equipment has been confiscated while police try to determine if he was actually involved in the murder."
Link to Original Source
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Dan East Dan East writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Dan East (318230) writes "I volunteered to speak at my daughter's school for Career Day, and have been asked to give presentations to three different classes tomorrow. As a software developer, how can I pique the curiosity of 4th graders, while generating interest in an occupation that will need an even larger workforce in the future? I mainly do application development in the health care arena, but I've also created a 3D game engine, ported Quake and Quake2 to various platforms (Pocket PC), developed backends for a few web sites, and created a number of embedded solutions using microcontrollers. Should I limit myself to the "cool" stuff like gaming so they can at least relate to what I do? If you had to get up in front of a bunch of 4th graders, what would you say?

I know that today children are exposed to computers more than ever in school. Unfortunately, students are not introduced to software development at all in most school environments. When I was in 7th grade (1983) every class spent time in the computer room (full of TRS-80s) and were taught rudimentary programming. Yes, all of us, every single student, had to write software. Even prior to that I learned to program on my TI-99/4A by typing in BASIC programs listed in the monthly Compute! magazine. Children today are taught text editing, how to surf the net, and other very "generic" computer skills, and of course take tests and "play" various learning games on computers. Perhaps I should demonstrate some simple BASIC programming, or what that be too much?"
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Dan East Dan East writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Dan East (318230) writes "Researchers at Cornell University have determined that moderate strength solar flares can disrupt the GPS system. A graduate student first noticed the effect in 2005, and additional studies have correlated solar flares with reductions in GPS signal strength. The researches express concern over the use of GPS in "safety-of-life" situations like air travel, especially during the solar cycle peak in 2011 and 2012.

From the article:
solar flares are accompanied by solar radio bursts. Because the bursts occur over the same frequency bands at which GPS satellites transmit, receivers can become confused, leading to a loss of signal."
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Dan East Dan East writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Dan East writes "Bob Dillian, in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, bashed modern audio technology while showing an indifference to file sharing. A few key quotes, "There's no definition of nothing, no nothing, just like... static". Regarding illegal file sharing Dillian mused "Well, why not? It ain't worth nothing anyway." Finally, even the physical form-factor of the CD medium is an issue with Dillian, "CDs are small, there's no stature to it". I can't wait to hear his remarks when he learns music can be stored on SD cards."

Journals

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Mod points...

Dan East Dan East writes  |  about 4 years ago

I think this is the most mod points burnt on one of my posts so far. Looks like 20 or so mod points were used on one post.

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Interesting (+1).

It is currently scored Normal (2).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Insightful (+1).

It is currently scored Interesting (3).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Insightful (+1).

It is currently scored Insightful (4).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Insightful (+1).

It is currently scored Insightful (5).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Troll (-1).

It is currently scored Insightful (4).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Overrated (-1).

It is currently scored Insightful (3).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Insightful (+1).

It is currently scored Insightful (4).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Interesting (+1).

It is currently scored Insightful (5).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Overrated (-1).

It is currently scored Insightful (4).

A user had given a moderation of Insightful (+1) to your comment, Re:Make it static., attached to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort. That moderation has now been undone, probably due to the user posting in the discussion after moderating in it. Your comment is currently scored Insightful (3).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Overrated (-1).

It is currently scored Insightful (2).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Underrated (+1).

It is currently scored Insightful (3).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Overrated (-1).

It is currently scored Insightful (2).

A user had given a moderation of Overrated (-1) to your comment, Re:Make it static., attached to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort. That moderation has now been undone, probably due to the user posting in the discussion after moderating in it. Your comment is currently scored Insightful (3).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Interesting (+1).

It is currently scored Insightful (4).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Insightful (+1).

It is currently scored Insightful (5).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Overrated (-1).

It is currently scored Insightful (4).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Insightful (+1).

It is currently scored Insightful (5).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Troll (-1).

It is currently scored Insightful (4).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Insightful (+1).

It is currently scored Insightful (5).

Re:Make it static., posted to WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Effort, has been moderated Overrated (-1).

It is currently scored Insightful (4).

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