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The Rise and Fall of America's Jet-Powered Car

DynaSoar Turbines Past and Powerful (338 comments)

In 1967 Parnelli Jones was on the verge of winning the Indianapolis 500 in Andy Granitelli's Pratt & Whitney gas turbine racer, when a transmission part broke too close to the end of the race to recover from. So impressive was his performance that rather than risk having the race taken over by non-piston machine, they re-regulated turbines requiring them to have no more than 14 square inches of air intake, effectively crippling their performance. Parnelli commented at the time that he thought they could adapt and win anyway.

The facts of history and of mechanics remain. Turbines are one of those things suppressed, whether purposefully or not, by a status quo threatened.

more than 4 years ago
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How To Deflect an Asteroid With Today's Technology

DynaSoar Let Me Guess (264 comments)

Rusty's answer is "gravity tractor", right? Same as last time this story ran. That one included the fact that he wanted to build and presumably sell said widgets. Since he hasn't, that's hardly today's technology.

Today's technology would be something already tested. Say, the cable and reel used on the shuttle's tethered power generation experiment. Land a large reel of cable, anchor the end, and let centripedal force throw the reel out. After it's tens of kilometers out, the center of gravity will have shifted and the rotation will have slowed. Figure the best direction to throw the rock, wait for the rotation to get it close to that, and blow explosive bolts on the anchor. It doesn't take much change in trajectory to turn a hit to a miss if it's done early enough.
   

more than 4 years ago
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Study Shows Brain Responds More To Close Friends

DynaSoar Scanners (66 comments)

In the absence of specifics, I can only wonder whether they used a flat bed or a hand held.

How they get from brain activity they know virtually nothing about to the abstraction of social value is beyond me. It's beyond them too, but they don't let that slow them down.

The brain responds to familiarity. The more prior associations that had been formed due to a particular stimulus, the more those associations are re-activated when presented with the same stimulus. The brain also responds to unfamiliarity, but in a different manner. The experimental design to test for these is called 'go/no-go'. AFAICT they just did a memory test here.
 

more than 4 years ago
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Milky Way Is Square(ish), According To New Map

DynaSoar Arms to Armas (123 comments)

"Astronomers know of a number of other galaxies with straight arms, such as the pinwheel galaxy M101. So ours probably looks something like this."

Astronomers know of spirals and barred spirals. TFA says SOME of the arms are straight. There aren't many 'both' spirals. Most likely the different shapes of arms represent this galaxy's original arms and those of the galaxy it absorbed, in which our sun originated. Compared to the problems of evolving differently shaped arms, this is the simpler explanation, and testable by observation.

more than 4 years ago
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Simple Virus For Teaching?

DynaSoar 1 oh 1 (366 comments)

"I am looking for a virus with which I can infect the lab computers (only connected to local network, no outside network connection) that would be easy for the students to remove by hand. Can the Slashdot community point me in any directions?"

Yes. Teach them some useful Computer 101 stuff instead of wasting time on stuff that makes the computers useless. If you must cover the subject let them read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Tappan_Morris Before you infect any machines, you should too.

more than 4 years ago
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West Virginia Is Geothermically Active

DynaSoar How 'Green'? (239 comments)

Will they be scraping even more mountains off the planet to get to it? Will they fill the remaining creek beds up with the effluvia from getting to it? Will they keep even more public roads under a permanent state of "repair" and detour to disguise the fact that they're simply ruining more tax funded roadway with heavy machinery? Will they drive residents out of even more entire towns due to blasting damages and constant noise from heavy machinery? Are they going to do anything with the energy rather than find cheaper ways to dig coal? WV has two industries, coal and railroad. If they replaced coal money with energy money the railroads would die. They won't let that happen. They've been fighting off a 3/4 MV high tension line for years, you think they're going to allow an energy exporting industry to pop up, string wire for multi MV lines and sell electricity to its neighbors now that they're got them hooked on WV coal? I lived there are loved it. But I realized the state is owned by stockholders for whom green is considered a place to dig. Even of they took advantage of a chance to do something good, they wouldn't do it right -- they'd do it cheaply to maximize profits and the population would suffer the effects. WV *was* green. It's owners don't give a shit about green.
   

more than 4 years ago
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Comcast Warns Customers Suspected of Bot Infection

DynaSoar The Case For Internet Licenses (196 comments)

"Of course, if you have multiple machines running behind a router or modem then you're going to have a difficult time pinning down which machine might have the infection."

If you call turning off your machines and running them one at a time to check each machine's response "difficult", then you can damn well pay the neighbor kid to come over and do it for you, just like you paid him to come over and get your Internet Explorer brand computers surfing on the infotube highway in the first place. While he's there, have him take out that "MOE - DEM" thingy. Those blinking lights are just slowing things down.

more than 4 years ago
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Best Mobile Computing Options For People With RSI?

DynaSoar Re:Get a kitchen timer (178 comments)

Get a kitchen timer and a laptop and a tablet. Set the timer for 30 minutes and bang away at the desk. When the bell rings, move the laptop to the top of the filing cabinet for 30 minutes. When the bell rings again, take it to the couch. Next time the bell rings, move to the other side of the couch and use the tablet. Then take a meeting and lunch. Start back at the desk again after lunch. Get up now and then. Take a walk. Evenings and weekends, pull some weeds play WII Fit for a half hour, then billiards and table tennis or whatever. Get different motions going on. RSI isn't about excess motion. It's about repetitive motion. Different motions help make it go away.

No, different motions help prevent it. Once inflamed, repetitive motion of any sort is more likely to aggravate it. If there's permanent damage, any repetitive motions will exacerbate it to the extent that motion uses the damaged parts, and trying to force use on other parts taking up the slack can irritate them. Changing positions between equally unsuitable orientations will in turn irritate the damaged part and stress the as yet undamaged. The position that uses the injured parts least and the uninjured maximally and proportional to their abilities will be least likely to cause strain, pain and more injury. Using that position with the mechanism requiring least effort is optimal.

more than 4 years ago
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Best Mobile Computing Options For People With RSI?

DynaSoar Extreme Adaptation (178 comments)

I've got one very damaged wrist and one embedded titanium bar, both victim of several accidents and far too much surgery for body parts to endure without accumulating more damage in the repair process. I can't write with a pencil for more than two minutes due to the tendons being as much scar tissue as anything else.

But my thumbs work fine by themselves. Thus I use trackballs like the Logitech M570. Once learned and used at highest response speed, I can, for instance, play an entire game of solitaire in less than 100 seconds. The rest of the hand rests on the device with very little movement required to trigger the buttons, thus the least effort is required to support them. I tried many different methods before finding this. It's the least tiring, in fact not at all, nor do I end up hurting after. Since my arm rests on the table, I don't even use the braces anymore.

more than 4 years ago
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Brooklyn Father And Son Launch Homemade Spacecraft

DynaSoar !Spacecraft (243 comments)

1. It is a balloon. Not even the people who fly these for a living call them spacecraft. Says WikiP: "A spacecraft is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight." This thing popped when it rose above too much atmosphere. It was not designed for space. It was still in the stratosphere when it failed according to design.

2. The Karman line is the generally accepted edge of space at 100 km (62.5 mi). This is where an aircraft would have to fly so fast to get lift from the thin air that it would achieve orbital velocity in the attempt and so wings would be superfluous. The US has awarded astronaut wings to pilots flying above 50 miles. This doesn't change the objective criteria of the Karman line.

3. The CSXT GoFast achieved space altitude (72 miles) on May 17 2004 and is the only unmanned civilian craft to do so to date. It was designed for a flight profile carrying it into space and so was a spacecraft. As was SpaceShip One, the only civilian manned spacecraft to date.

4. Reaction Research Society hit 50 miles in 1996. Hunstville L5 passed this 19 mile mark, but was ballooned launched and so not entirely spacecraft.

5. No amateur spacecraft made from off the shelf or home made components has achieved even a 50K ft altitude according to Tripoli records. With Tripoli and the National Association of Rocketry's recent facing down ATFE over the definition of 'explosives', the FAA et al. is redefining amateur rocketry to include power up to 200,000 lb-ft sec and a concominant (and easily achieved with this power) 93 mile altitude. Most motors in this range are "experimental" ie. home made, but there are a few commercially available motors that can be staged and/or clustered for this power, the 152mm dia + 96" Loki Research P motor at 80kN-sec each being the largest you can currently put on your credit card. 11 of these will put you just under the FAA's proposed limit. 12, and you have to apply to NASA's office of space transportation for a permit. Expect an amateur spacecraft to make the flight, because now it's a matter of qualifying for the license and buying the parts.
 

more than 4 years ago
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How Will the Constellations Change In 50K Years?

DynaSoar Two Dimensions, One Viewpoint (69 comments)

"From The Earth" is rather prosaic when you compare it to 3 dimensions. Look at any constellation from the side. The distances are usually much greater than the apparent angular separation as seen from Earth. It makes it quite obvious that 'constellation' is as synonymous with 'illusion' as it is with anything else. But from the side you can see that some groupings hold, such as the majority of Taurus. Most of it is an open cluster, so of course things won't change much in 50K years, the members are moving together through the sky on parallel paths. And it's the cluster that's moving more than the local stars, so the one "moving" in these pictures is really just getting passed by.

Earth's (Sol's) location as it moves affects these, but not as much as its position over a much longer time scale, like 250M years. In that time you can see the milky way wash up and down the sky a few times, like a huge wave. Seen from outside the galaxy, it's obvious why. The sun and the local group of stars in traveling around the galactic center, but the orbit swings back and forth through the galactic plane two and a half times as it oscillates it way around the center. We'll lose almost all the constellations at the peaks because we'll be outside the populated arms.

All this makes 50K years from one viewpoint rather humdrum. It also suggests an answer to one of the SETI questions, why aren't they here. If technical and traveling civilizations exist in the numbers supposed, and they wanted to go to other stars, they would probably want to go to those they know would be in the neighborhood for some time. Among the last they would consider visiting would be a small group of tiny stars, none greater than 8.5 absolute magnitude, that used to belong to another galaxy ripped to shreds by this one and on a trajectory taking them out of the plane of the majority of stars. For half the next 50 million years they'll be more isolated than the present 90% of the way out from the center position. And on each pass-through more and more of these interlopers will be captured by the galactic arms, so who can say where they'll end up, IF they slow down and hang around. They could get thrown out of their own grouping entirely and end up hovering around in the galactic halo too far from anyplace to be accessible (relatively). So why go to those, when there's thousands times more stable members of the galactic arms? All that disruption makes it unlikely there's any life on those tiny galactic fast-walkers anyway.

But if we did happen to get thrown out of the local group's obit and outside the galaxy, no more constellations then. Instead we'd have the entire galaxy all on one side, in one hemisphere of the sky. With a view like that, who needs constellations?
 

more than 4 years ago
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Study Finds the Perfect Ratio of Attractiveness

DynaSoar AN Answer, not THE Answer (176 comments)

This is a very common topic in social psychology experiments. Many that are published fall prey to an error of calling the example selected most to be 'attractive'. It's more correct to say that the most common answer is the most common opinion of attractiveness. In the press to prove their point, they ignore the fact that a less common answer is also an opinion of attractiveness, just to fewer people. Just because more guys like the hard, bony ones with corners so sharp they bruise you and threaten to poke holes in the water bed doesn't mean some don't consider the softer, more squeezable ones to be attractive.

And while you're getting your 'fat chick' jokes ready to throw, keep in mind that the less likely a guy is to get a girl at all, the more likely he is to adopt an attractiveness standard in line with the majority (so he can lie as much as possible) but to an even greater degree (so he can better lies than the other guys do do). He might as well claim that's his preference since he's not likely to get any sort, and will take advantage of any chance to toss his artificial preference out for others to see, expecting them to take his preference as a history. Yes, there's an awful lot of this attractiveness research done, and only some of it tends to reach erroneous conclusions.
 

more than 4 years ago
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Destroy Entire Websites With Asteroids Bookmarklet

DynaSoar Re:It's been done before (65 comments)

Perhaps not as creatively, but back in the *last* century there was an browser addon that allowed you to throw tomatoes, or blast an offending webpage with different weapons [rifle or shotgun IIRC].

You could even screen cap the results and post the mutilated page as well. It soon lost its novelty and waddled off into the dustbin of Idle history. I'm sure this one will as well.

I just wish I could remember who published it, or what it was called.

feh, spoiled brats. Got it all handed to you.

In the century before that one, we didn't even have a browser add on. All we had was View Source and a text editor. We had to edit the page's code by hand. And then, we couldn't shoot anything at the web page -- all we could do was throw rocks at our monitors. And THEN we had to edit the page's code from MEMORY. It was tough, but we were better for it.

I tell ya, you kids got it easy. Browser add ons and asteroids and hemeroids and enemas and NURSE! NURSE, WHERE'S MY SNACK? AND WHERE'S MY CAPS LOCK? oh there it is. Was I saying something?

more than 4 years ago
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Fifty Meter Asteroid Might Hit Earth In 2098

DynaSoar The Really Bad Astronomer (295 comments)

The last time I caught Plait living up to his marketing gimmick, it was also about asteroids. He fell into the common trap of starting with the descriptive statistic (an asteroid of X size has hit every Y years on average) and assuming the predictive (last one hit Z years ago so the next one is due in Y - Z years). He should know better. These objects are independent. One has nothing to do with another (unless the happen to bump each other). If one hits today, the next may hit in a billion years or tomorrow. While you *can* make an average out of X events in Y years, it tells you nothing that can be used for anything.

This time it has to do with reporting science vs. reporting news. This NEW system has found one object that its calculations suggest something about. How accurate and precise is it? That can be estimated but can't be proven without replication and comparison with other instruments. And apparently if it has been, they haven't arrived at the same conclusion. This rock does not appear in the SENTRY data as displayed on NASA's NEO Program impact risk tables, not even as an only recently observed object, as of 27 Sept. It's not among the objects removed from the list either, so the teams contributing to SENTRY haven't seen it or the data associated in order to check the validity of the instrument, much less the claims. Things are not as PANStarrs says, or they're making claims without corroboration.

There *is* an object with a 5.5% chance of impact in 2095 -- 2010 RF12. But it's a whopping 7 meters diameter. And having been observed for a whole 3 days, that probability is extremely likely to fall drastically. That one object kicks the total cumulative impact probability up over 2% for the next century, but only for now. The cumulative will probably fall right back to the 1.5% before this object appeared.

But as for 2010 ST3, nowhere to be found. Real astronomers should know better than to announce something from a new instrument as though it's a conclusion. At best they have a data set for the SENTRY people to check over and verify their measurements. Other real astronomers should call out the ones who make such claims. Bad astronomers, masquerading as bad science writers, obviously would rather pretend to refute some aspects of the implications without bothering to talk about things like validity, replication and responsible reporting.

more than 4 years ago
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Rewiring a Damaged Brain

DynaSoar Except, No (92 comments)

The brain already does this itself. It's called neural plasticity. If they brain can do it, it will. If it can't, sticking wires into it and applying shocks and other intrusions and insults is not going to make it happen. Not properly anyway.

TFA is about neural jumper cables that can focus on only the signals they want, bypass damage and send the signal to another location. Fine idea except you kill the target quickly. But it specifically states "artificially". That makes the stuff about guiding axonal growth complete bullshit.

Neural connection is guided by glial cells, which are half the brain. If a region is damaged, both kinds of cells are damaged -- there's nothing to guide the growth of neural cells which are also damaged anyway. If you stimulate growth without the guiding mechanism, the cells form a tangle called a neuroma. The best outcome would be no result. Such neuromas caused by severed nerves, such as in amputations ('stump neuromas') are one of the causes of phantom limb pain. Neuromas in the cortex may not cause pain, but if they produce any result other than none, it'll be wrong and potentially interfering with function in the undamaged areas. Plus, stimulating growth where it can't happen properly is an excellent way to stimulate excessive, unguided, pathological growth -- tumors.

more than 4 years ago
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This Is a News Website Article About a Scientific Paper

DynaSoar I Don't Believe It (193 comments)

That's not a humorous article at all. Someone has leaked the instruction manual that those cheesy word weasels use when they have to do something more than simply rewrite a press release.

I suspect there's an addendum that says "Get someone to chop out a chunk of your main point, add a title that makes it sound like the hypothetical being tested by the research has already been proven and then some. For instance, if a physicist posits a theory that the space-time continuum is comprised of many dimensions with at least one other time-like dimension besides ours, then give it a title like "Time Runs Both Directions At The Same Time". Then submit it to Slashdot."

more than 4 years ago
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Distinguishing Encrypted Data From Random Data?

DynaSoar Yes and Probably (467 comments)

I've used recurrence plot analysis and surrogate data testing for this. Both are more suited to time series analysis, but can be used with any data. In principle these examine compressibility, and any form of compression could be adapted and give you a yes/no), but these give you meaningful statistical analyses (if yes, then how much). Be aware that your random isn't rally, and so will give you a non-zero result. But you'll get very close to the same very small result, whereas with surrogate it'll be different and some data set will acutually improve with scrambling. But you should bw ablew to trell yes/no ns how diferent dfrom random

more than 4 years ago
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Social Media Can Help You Fake Your Own Death

DynaSoar FUBS (146 comments)

"We are inundated with warnings that social media is systematically stripping away our privacy."

We are inundated with hair-on-fire cliches being used to preface a forced association between someone's inconsequential issue and some hot button topics and trigger words, in order to convince us that the association is valid and the issue is significant. Needing to use these is a good sign that the ensuing issue is too insubstantial to stand on its own.

Fear, uncertainty and uh-huh.

more than 4 years ago
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Promised Microsoft Tablet 'No Thicker Than Sheet of Glass'

DynaSoar Already Got One (352 comments)

"...that will capture stuff..."

I've got one of those. It's called a keyboard, but its primary function seems to be to capture stuff. Cookie crumbs, coffee spills, cigarette ashes...

Does anyone else find the prospect of running Windows on a window to be a bit surreal? What's next, wearable computers so you could have a Macintosh on your rain coat?

more than 4 years ago
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Preventing Networked Gizmo Use During Exams?

DynaSoar Stick To Business (870 comments)

"I'm a college physics professor."

Then your job is to teach physics, not to insure that everyone who gets a grade from you earns it honestly. Your students' job is to learn. If they decide to do a poor job of it, it's their loss. Stop wasting the time that should go to your job, chasing around after security issues. Let them use anything they want.

Then write your final exam so that rather than solving problems, they instead have to state how they would set up the problem to solve it. No need for devices, thus no devices allowed.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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SPACE ROCK! Vote On Final Shuttles Wake-up Music

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 4 years ago

DynaSoar (714234) writes "The wakeup song has been a part of the space program since the days of the Apollo missions, and now NASA is giving you two chances to be a part of this history! We need your help selecting wakeup songs to be played during the final missions of the Space Shuttle Program! In the first contest the public can vote for their favorite wakeup songs from a list of 40 that had been played on previous missions. The winners will be announced and played during STS-133. In the second, people can submit original songs. After screening by NASA, finalists will be posted for public listening and voting. Winners of this contest will "fly" the final shuttle mission, STS-134."
Link to Original Source
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Farewell, Rocketplane

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 4 years ago

DynaSoar (714234) writes "Farewell RocketPlane, We Hardly Flew You...

What started out as a dream of rockets in the Oklahoma sky and money flowing from space enthusiasts has finally ended. George French Jr., owner of Rocketplane Global, decided a mountain of debt and expectations of the same altitude were too much to burden and filed for bankruptcy http://www.personalspaceflight.info/ .

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy papers were filed June 15, one each for three separate companies — Rocketplane Inc., the parent company, and its subsidiaries Rocketplane Global and Rocketplane Kistler — and a personal bankruptcy filing by French himself. Rocketplane Global was the space tourism company, while Rocketplane Kistler was set up to handle a NASA contract to build a rocket ship for carrying cargo to the International Space Station. The company was awarded the contract in 2006, but NASA pulled the contract a year later due to the company’s failure of meeting financial deadlines.

The news was made public immediately, of course. But it spread very slowly, taking 3 weeks to make it to 'enthusiasts' media. This is probably because it was no surprise — the financial woes were public all along. Also, Kistler, despite marvelous design and prototype work, tended towards this same end. In fact it's how Kistler, Inc. became as subsidiary of Rocketplane. http://www.space.com/news/rocketplane_022606.html"

Link to Original Source
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What Not To Buy?

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 4 years ago

DynaSoar (714234) writes "SmartMoney http://www.smartmoney.com/spending/budgeting/10-things-not-to-buy-in-2010/ is carrying an article entitled "What Not To Buy In 2010". They take 10 brief looks at current products and services and evaluate them according to their version of impending obsolescence, which seems as though it's based more on what companies will have increasing or decreasing profits than whether the items will still be viable in the business sense. Intentional or not, bias is quite visible in this article, such as touting Netflix and other on demand services over DVDs, with a Netflix advertisement next to that paragraph, but this too is business oriented. Not examined is whether these things will still give the owners what they paid for despite this obsolescence, consideration of the technical aspects of the question. My questions to the Slashdot readership are which of these (or what other consumer electronics items or services) are likely to decline significantly in the business sense and/or become a bad purchasing decision in the coming year, and which of these things becoming obsolete in the business sense will become obsolete to the end user vs. which will continue to be useful for the expected lifetime of that item."
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Rosetta To Probe "Pioneer Anomaly"

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  about 5 years ago

DynaSoar (714234) writes "On Friday November 13th, ESA'a Rosetta probe will get its third and final gravity assist slingshot from Earth on its way to it primary targets, the asteroid Lutetia and Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. But the slingshot itself will allow ESA scientists to examine the trajectory for unusual changes seen in several other probes' velocities. An unaccountable variation was first noticed as excess speed in Pioneers 11 and 12, and has since been called the Pioneer Anomaly. More troubling than mere speed increase is the inconsistencies in the variations. While Galileo and NEAR had appreciable speed increases, Cassini and Messenger did not. Rosetta itself gained more speed than expected from its 2005 fly by, but only the expected amount from its 2007 fly by. Several theories have been advanced, from mundane atmospheric drag to exotic variations to special relativity, but none are so far adequate to explain both the unexpected velocity increases and the lack of them in different instances. Armed with tracking hardware and software capable of measuring Rosetta's velocity within a few millimeters per second while it flies past at 45,000 kilometers per hour, ESA will be collecting data which it hopes will help unravel the mystery."
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Lunar Lander Challenge: Masten in 1st Place?

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  about 5 years ago

DynaSoar (714234) writes "From Alan Boyle's Cosmic Log: "Masten Space Systems' Xoie rocket prototype has apparently taken the lead in a nail-biting race for a million-dollar prize from NASA. The Masten team's "try, try again" effort at California's Mojave Air and Space Port was aimed at winning the top prize in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge's Level 2 contest. Although the official results are still pending, it looks as if today's flight was good enough to best Texas-based Armadillo Aerospace, which qualified for the prize with its Scorpius rocket last month. However, questions were raised about the fairness of giving Masten an extra opportunity to launch beyond the scheduled times on Wednesday and Thursday. [Armadillo's John Carmack writes:] 'The current situation, where Masten was allowed a third active day of competition, after trying and failing on both scheduled days, is different. The rules have given the judges the discretion to do just about anything up to and including awarding prize money for best effort if they felt it necessary, so there may not be any grounds to challenge this, but I do feel that we have been robbed.'""
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Ares 1-X Ready On Pad, Launch Set For 1200 GMT

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DynaSoar (714234) writes "NASA’s new Ares I-X rocket is undergoing final preparations for its planned launch test Tuesday, October 27. Launch time is scheduled for 8 AM EDT (1200 GMT). As of noon Monday it appeared that there was a 60% chance of showers and/or high altitude clouds interfering. However, the launch has a an eight hour window of opportunity through 2000 GMT, and would require only 10 minutes of clear skies within that time to fly. Of interest to engineering types, both those who favor the new vehicle's design and its critics, will be to see whether the predicted linear "pogo stick" oscillation will occur, and whether the dampening design built into it prevents damaging and possibly destructive shaking. Extensive coverage is being presented by Space.com at http://www.space.com/special_reports/1x.html For NASA TV streaming video, schedules and downlink information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv""
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Ares 1-X On Pad 39B, Launch Set For Oct. 27

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DynaSoar (714234) writes ""20 October 2009, 9:13 a.m. EDT. NASA’s new Ares I-X rocket is settling in atop Launch Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a historic seven-hour trek from the nearby Vehicle Assembly Building. The rocket will be secured to the pad for a planned Oct. 27 launch test, set for 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT), NASA’s first-ever test flight for its new Ares I-Orion spacecraft launch system." Of interest to engineering types, both those who favor the new vehilces design and its critics, will be to see whether the predicted linear "pogo stick" oscillation will occur, and whether the dampening design built into it prevents damaging and possibly destructive shaking. Extensive coverage is being presented by Spacfe.com at http://www.space.com/special_reports/1x.html Upcoming Ares Events: Friday October 23 Ares I-X Launch Readiness; Monday October 26 Ares I-X Prelaunch Briefing; Tuesday October 27 Ares I-X Launch from KSC. For NASA TV streaming video, schedules and downlink information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv"
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Listen To The Moon

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DynaSoar writes "From time to time we hear of someone taking some time series data such as radio astronomy or EEG recordings and transforming them into sound. But what we get to hear is just a static recording of the transform. At Moonbell http://www.pinktentacle.com/2009/08/moonbell-lunar-music-generator/ you can listen to the surface of the moon dynamically transformed into music, under your control. "Moonbell is an automated music generator that plays musical scores based on lunar topographical data obtained by Japan's Kaguya (SELENE) explorer during its orbit around the moon from late 2007 to June 2009. Moonbell, which was developed in cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), has two playback modes: âoeOrbit Play" and âoeFree Scratch." In Orbit Play mode, Kaguya traverses the moon in a circular orbit and music is generated based on the topography below. In Free Scratch mode, you can use your mouse to chart a path across the moon's surface. To tweak the audio output, click the âoePreference" button on the bottom left of the screen. This opens the settings panel, where you can choose from 128 musical instruments for each track, change the playback speed, set the volume for each instrument, and more.""
Link to Original Source
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Number Six Returns: AMC Releasing "The Prisone

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DynaSoar writes "Of the many excellent TV shows to appear during the 1960s' "The Prisoner" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prisoner remains one of the most influential and enduring. This single season (1967-68), 17 episode series, starring its co-writing, co-directing executive producer Patrick McGoohan http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001526/ , already famous for his acclaimed "Secret Agent Man" (US)/"Danger Man" (UK, maintains a steady fan base and gains more with each syndication re-release. For over 40 years there have been announced intentions and projects to resurrect this surreal psychodrama combining science fiction, allegory and spy thriller in a new series or movie (but always without McGoohan, who adamantly refused, saying "he'd done it."). Finally, as of December 2008, a remake has been "in the can" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prisoner_(2009_TV_miniseries) . In November 2009, AMC will begin airing an original six-part mini-series of The Prisoner http://www.amctv.com/originals/the-prisoner/ starring James Caviezal http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001029/ as the spy who resigns only to find himself abducted and transported to "The Village", where he is renamed (or rather renumbered) Number Six, and where the minds behind his incarceration attempt to pry and/or trick secrets from his brain. Chief among those minds is the visible face of the administration, Number Two, played by Ian McKellen http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005212/ . Unlike the original, with a new Number Two in each episode, McKellen appears throughout. To promote the upcoming release, AMC is presenting (along with a ton of 'additional material' stuff) the entire original 17 episodes, free for the streaming."
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Armadillo Preparing Lunar Lander Level 2 Attempt

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DynaSoar writes "Personal Spaceflight http://www.personalspaceflight.info/2009/08/16/armadillos-level-2-llc-attempt-coming-soon/ is reporting that it appears the first team to try to capture the US$1M prize for the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge Level 2 http://space.xprize.org/lunar-lander-challenge will be John Carmack's Armadillo Aerospace, who won US$350K first prize in Level One last October. The flight rules for level 2 are identical to level 1, with the exception that the landing site is a simulated lunar surface with craters and boulders rather than a flat concrete pad. According to a post on the "Official Armadillo Q&A thread at The Space Fellowship, http://spacefellowship.com/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=396&sid=964ed27ced5678390c79f77155265326&start=1725 Carmack said at the QuakeCon 2009 convention Thursday that their Level Two attempt is planned for Labor Day weekend. That development was also picked by a GameSpot article http://www.gamespot.com/news/6215286.html about Carmack's speech, although not specifically mentioning the Lunar Lander Challenge, only an upcoming "Labor Day launch". There's nothing official yet on the Armadillo Aerospace or competition web sites. The Space Fellowship post states that Armadillo has also been busy with Rocket Racing League vehicle test flights and that "AA would make a lot more progress in the next year for reasons he couldn't announce yet." On the other hand, though, Carmack said that since his gaming company, id Software, was sold this summer, "he feels compelled to produce and deliver, rather than working on fun extracurricular projects like Armadillo Aerospace.""
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Post-Apollo: Lessons for Constellation and Beyond

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DynaSoar writes "With the Apollo 11 lunar landing nostalgia wave over, and the ongoing discussions about keeping, changing or abandoning designs and plans for Constellation, the new Ares rocket and the very Apollo-looking Orion crew vehicle, it is interesting to examine the development, evolution (including evolutionary dead ends) and the many never-were projected possibilities for the Apollo and Saturn components. Encyclopedia Astronautica offers a feast of details about Apollo developments, both successes and failure, in The Apollo Development Diaries http://www.astronautix.com/articles/apoaries.htm . Plans for the vehicles were later not so much lost as is claimed now, but were abandoned as unfeasible, unnecessary, and in the cases of some such as the high jumping Lunar Leaper and slithering Lunar Worm vehicles, just too weird http://www.astronautix.com/craftfam/apollo.htm . And while the eternal claims of a moon landing hoax are sufficiently rebutted in many places, the Encyclopedia carries a fine summary of The Real Moon Landing Hoax, the now disproven claims by the Soviet Union that they were never in a "space race" with the US http://www.astronautix.com/articles/theghoax.htm . Here you can read the details first presented in Quest (2004 issues Volume 11, numbers 1 and 2) of how the USSR tried and failed — but barely — to beat both the Apollo 8 circumlunar flight as well as the Apollo 11 landing, and then covered up their failures. But despite failures and animosity on both sides, mere years later the Cold War opponents participated in the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project http://www.astronautix.com/flights/apooastp.htm . This program serves not only as a harbinger of hope for peaceful relations through space exploration, exemplified by The Handshake In Space http://www.astronautix.com/details/ast27555.htm but also as an example showing that although a successful program might be abandoned, it is possible to re-establish the goals and develop new programs to carry on. After ASTP there was no US/Russian space cooperation for two decades, but then they came together once again to build the International Space Station."
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Virgin Galactic Signs Major Investor

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DynaSoar writes "One year after its roll out WhiteKnight Two flew from Mojave to the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture show. While there, its owner Virgin Galactic announced an anticipated important next step by signing a major investor. However, the home of origin of this investor as well as many details of the merger came as a surprise. Aabar Investments http://www.aabar.com/ of the United Arab Emirates is paying $280 million for a 32% stake in Virgin Galactic, valuing the overall company at about $900 million. Aabar is also providing $100 million for the development of a smallsat launcher that would use WK2 as the launch platform, and will build spaceport facilities in Abu Dhabi and have "exclusive regional rights" for Virgin Galactic tourism and research flights. The numbers dwarf those of Virgin Galactic, which has invested $100 million developing its space flight program since it was founded in 2004. Meanwhile, WhiteKnight Two, the world's largest all carbon composite aircraft, is performing flawlessly in flight testing, and its sister craft Spaceship Two is preparing for flight testing later this year."
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Fermilab Detects "Doubly Strange" Particle

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DynaSoar writes "While its cousin/competitor site, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN remains offline http://science.slashdot.org/science/08/09/24/1451233.shtml Fermilab's Digital Hadron Calorimeter continues to produce significant results. Recently Fermilab announced discovery of the Omega-sub-b baryon, a 'doubly-strange' particle http://www.fnal.gov/pub/presspass/press_releases/CDF-Omega-observation.html . This baryon, containing two strange quarks and one bottom quark, has six times the mass of a proton. "The Omega-sub-b is the latest entry in the "periodic table of baryons." Baryons are particles formed of three quarks, the most common examples being the proton and neutron. ... The observation of this "doubly strange" particle, predicted by the Standard Model, is significant because it strengthens physicists' confidence in their understanding of how quarks form matter. In addition, it conflicts with a 2008 result announced by CDF's sister experiment, DZero. In August 2008, the DZero experiment announced its own observation of the Omega-sub-b based on a smaller sample of Tevatron data. This result contradicted some predictions of the Standard Model, suggesting a 'new physics'. The new result leads to the possibility that the prior results are not accurate." To observe this particle, analysis of DHC data required pouring through a trillion (10^15) observations, finding only 16 instances of the predicted outcome."
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NASA Requests Help With Von Braun's Notes

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DynaSoar writes "According to a Wired article http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/06/nasadata-2/ NASA is soliciting ideas from the public on how best to catalog and digitize the collected notes of Werner von Braun. "We're looking for creative ways to get it out to the public," said project manager Jason Crusan. "We don't always do the best with putting out large sets of data like this." The notes http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/363387main_von_Braun_notes_RFI_Appendix_1.pdf [pdf] are those of rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, the fist director of NASA's Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama and are typed with copious hand written notes in the margin. According to the official request for information http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/363386main_von_Braun_notes_RFI.pdf [pdf], NASA needs ideas on what format to use, how to index the notes and how to create a useful database. The unique nature and historical value of the data, literally discovered in boxes six months ago, is what motivated NASA to ask the public for ideas."
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ISS Facing Second Debris Impact In One Week

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DynaSoar writes "NASA is considering moving the International Space Station to dodge some more debris, even as STS-119 approaches. Russia's Kosmos 1275 satellite broke up mysteriously in 1981, possibly colliding with an untracked object, resulting in a cloud of at least 310 pieces. A portion of the booster has been calculated to pass within half a mile of ISS on Tuesday. If NASA decides to move it, Discovery can easily adjust its orbit to dock at ISS near to its originally scheduled time. This would be the ninth time NASA has had to move ISS, the last time being in August 2008."
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Dark Comets: Another Planetary Threat?

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DynaSoar writes "After passing through the inner solar system enough times, a comet loses most of its light gasses and water ice, leaving behind a body covered with dark carbonaceous and organic matter. Statistically there should be around 3000 of these but only 25 are known. Bill Napier at Cardiff University and David Asher at Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland claim that many comets could be going undetected. "There is a case to be made that dark, dormant comets are a significant but largely unseen hazard," says Napier. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126954.800-dark-comets-may-pose-threat-to-earth.html Evidence from observations of Comet IRAS-Araki-Alcock and Deep Space 1's visit to Comet Borrelly http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/19P/Borrelly support the existence of these bodies. Although they may reflect little visible light, the 'good' news is they would absorb light but re-emit it as infrared (heat), which would be visible to newer space telescopes such as Spitzer http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/ . Whether the IR sensing technology will be turned towards determining if such bodies exist in numbers enough to be a threat remains to be seen."
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Banned Words List Carries Its First Emoticon

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DynaSoar writes "Lake Superior State College in Michigan's Upper Peninsula ("The land of four seasons: June, July, August and Winter") has just published its 34th annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness. Besides such unsurprising inclusions such as "green" corporations being "game changing" due to concern with their "carbon foot print", this year's list contains an emoticon for the first time — not a smiley face or variant, but the 'heart' symbol made from the characters 'less than' and 'three'. It's perhaps a sign of the evolution of language, or at least of this volunteer linguistic watchdog group, that a symbol compounded of two characters, neither of them a letter, is considered not only a word, but a particularly egregious one."
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NASA Outsources ISS Resupply to SpaceX, Orbital

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DynaSoar writes "NASA has signed two contracts with US commercial space ventures totaling $3.5 billion for resupply of the International Space Station. SpaceX will receive $1.6 billion for 12 flights of SpaceX's planned Dragon spacecraft and their Falcon 9 boosters. The agency has also doled out $1.9 billion to Orbital for eight flights of its Cygnus spacecraft riding its Taurus 2 boosters. Neither of the specified craft has ever flown. However, the proposed vehicles are under construction and based on proven technology, whereas NASA has often contracted with big aerospace for services using vehicles not yet even designed."
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Obama Transition Team Examining Space Solar Power

DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DynaSoar writes "The Space Frontier Foundation pointed out http://spacefrontier.org/blog/space-solar-power/2008/12/09/obama-space-team-seeks-public-comment-space-solar-power-white-pape that President-elect Obama's transition team has published for public comment a white paper http://www.scribd.com/doc/8736849/Space-Solar-Power-SSP-A-Solution-for-Energy-Independence-Climate-Change entitled Space Solar Power (SSP) — A Solution for Energy Independence & Climate Change. The paper was prepared and submitted by the Space Frontier Foundation and other citizen space advocates, and calls for the new Administration to make development of Space Solar Power a national priority. The SSP white paper was among the first ten released by the Obama transition team. It is the first and only space-related white paper released by the transition team to date. With 145 comments http://change.gov/open_government/entry/space_solar_power_ssp_a_solution_for_energy_independence_climate_change/ thus far, it is already among the top five most-discussed of the 20-some white papers on Change.gov."
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Journals

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DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  more than 9 years ago

After leaving Yale, we returned to the wife's home in Arlington Texas. I think I've discovered that I'm a Texan who'd been born elsewhere. My personality meshes well with the general nature of the place and people.

I left Yale because:
1a. Yale is a marketing gimmick.
1b. research is only well supported if it supports 1a.
2. I had to work at a VA hosptial where every time I reported problems, caem down on the head of research who came down on my boss, who came down on me, rather than doing something about the problem. "Reporting problems" was done by contacting the director's office, exactly as I was instructed in my new employee briefing.
3. For me, Connecticut sucks. My best wishes to anyone for whom it is an acceptable place; I express my personal reaction to it only.

My research is going private, much as Einstein did at Berne. I will continue theoretical work on some items until I see fit to report them. It is a relief to not have to waste my time with irrelevant trash simply to boost publication numbers.

For work, I am performing intraoperative physiological monitoring. I watch instruments during brain and spine surgery to make sure the surgeon doesn't do damage while trying to fix the problem. My first day at work involved watchuing removal of a midbrain tumor, an extremely delicate surgery. When it came time to close, I left like the guys in the control room in Apollo 13 when they saw the chutes were out.

On other issues, I've expanded my rocketry into high power and have obtained my HPR level 1 certification (rather like getting your first pilot's license). I expect to conduct a flight of 1+ mile altitude and Mach 1+ velocity by the end of the year.

Email is now doctor.dynasoar at
gmail.com

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DynaSoar DynaSoar writes  |  about 11 years ago

I suppose if you see this then that means you're interested in some details about me. Or you just felt like clicking something because you were bored and ended up here. Either way, here's some things and stuff:

I'm a scientist doing basic and clinical neuroscience research for the Yale Medical School Dept. of Psychiatry. Specifically, I'm an experimental psychologist, meaning I'm trained widely in psychology and deeply in methodology (at least as it pertains to my technology). My work is primarily based in analyses of EEG, MRI and other functional brain imaging techniques.

My teacher and elder Usti, a traditional Cherokee, told me that since I was hit by lightning, I was to study the Medicine of Fire. I told him I was a scientist and didn't do that stuff. He asked me what I did. I told him I analyzed EEG. He asked me what EEG was. I said it was recordings of electrical activity in the brain. He said, "Electricity. Energy. Fire. See? You're already doing it." I'm still not a traditional, but at least now I can perceive the same thing more than one way without considering either of them wrong. I'm a also member of the American Indian Science and Engieering Society. Last year I went to Alburquerque to act as a judge at their annual student science fair.

My personal scientific specialty is developing new analysis techniques based on the newest available technology, such as simultaneous time series and frequency response (or time series and signal phase alignment) mapping using continuous wavelet transform. Extremely out there, for a psychologist. But then I'm one of the few in my field with true signal analysis experience, and the only one I know of who's studied the many extreme sorts of stuff covered by the Santa Fe Institute (the chaos science people; I've worked there twice.)

I got started in electronics at age 8 (in 1964); my father took me to work with him at his TV shop. By age 11 I was working for him for money, fixing TVs. By age 14 I got my own job with a different TV shop. I learned electronics at an intuitive level. That's probably where my intuitive understanding of signal analysis theory developed from.

My first computer was an Apple II Plus. My second was a black Bell & Howell Apple II, serial number 121. I had an intranet (side-by-side on the same desk, but still) in 1981. I ran a Fidonet node on an Apple, and was moderator of several Fidonet groups including APPLE. I was also the senoir and technical editor of The Road Apple, the newsletter intending to pursuade Apple not to drop the Apple line, and which became the only Apple based publication published simultaneously in the US and the USSR (yes, Soviet. And I was still in the Army at the time. It raised questions.)

My first Linux install was a Slackware 4.something done from floppies downloaded from UNC's Sunsite. My second was a Slackware install from CDs given to me by its author, Peter Volkerding, at the SubGenius church's "X-Day" End Of The World celebration; we're both members. Anymore, I just run whatever I need to use the research package I need to at the time. And if that means pulling out the Apple IIgs with the non-linear analysis curve fitting package, then so be it. That machine hasn't crashed since 1990.

Ah yes. My description says "Cat Herder". True, in two respects. I take on those tasks that and so chaotic that it requires a mind that can become completely scattered and still functional to comprehend; it's like "herding cats" as the saying goes. Also, I do herd cats. I have six cats, and I frequently take them for walks. Cats actually do like to take walks, especially in groups, and will follow quite well if you talk to them rather than try to force (or heaven forbid, leash) them. It helps if you keep talking with them.

Yes, talk. In cat. It's not difficult. Talking in cat is not soemthing I raised often at my previous job, with the Language Section of the National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders and NIH, Bethesda. But then again, two ways of looking at the same thing, and calling neither wrong.

For fun I write and perform comedy. Some of my favorite writing has been for the Journal of Irreproducible Results, and its successor, the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR). I have a piece on AIR's first "best of" book. I'm also a member of AIR's Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists. See improb.com for deatils, or just for fun. Ont of my other major contributions was a translation of the AIR's "History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less". My translation was Klingon. I'm pretty certain that assures me a high lifetime geekdom rating.

If I could suggest one book only as required reading for every school child, in order that they understand science, it would be Collin's & Pinch's "The Golem". It's far more important to understand how real scientists really act when they're really doing real science, as opposed to what they're general taught science "should" be like.

No, there are nu URL links here. I don't care for them. Don't care much for that new-fangled webby stuff. Why, in my day we grep'ed the UUCP feed and were happy to have it! Seriously, I don't do HTML. If you want to research anything I've mentioned here, I'm sure Google will help. That, plus my real name: Dennis McClain-Furmanski. On usenet, check for Doktor DynaSoar, but much of my old usenet traffic was not archived.

Finally, I like what I do. I like it so much, I do it all the time. In fact, I like it so much that if I had to have a different job to earn money to live on, so that I could go to a lab and do this for free in my spare time, I would. and THAT is the kind of position I could only wish upon everyone; when work becomes play. I think my sons have managed to grasp this; the older one, Orion, is a grad student at Miami's Center to Cure Paralysis, the younger, Jevan, is a grad student with Berkeley's micro-electro-mechanical lab: he's a nano-tuber.

Very often, after holding forth at great length, Bucky Fuller would suddenly, and almost in mid-thought, end a lecture with "That's enough for now." I will too.

email to: dm422 at email dot med dot yale dot edu

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