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Red Flayer (890720) writes "Popular Mechanics is running a story that describes one of the more interesting explanations for the Tunguska explosion of 1908:
Now, a controversial new scientific study suggests that a chunk of a comet caused the 5-10 megaton fireball, bouncing off the atmosphere and back into orbit around the sun. The scientists have even identified a candidate Tunguska object--now more than 100 million miles away--that will pass close to Earth again in 2045. Is there a hidden, but powerful, danger inside the seemingly harmless comet?
Please note that Popular Mechanics definition of "close to" is something different that most people's. At any rate, the key to this theory is that hydrogen and oxygen in the ice shard exploded upon entering the atmoshphere, resulting in the difficult-to-explain explosion pattern (previous theories contend that the object must have "skipped" on the atmosphere and then re-entered at the exact same spot). This would also sadly dash the theory that Nikola Tesla was responsible." Link to Original Source
Red Flayer writes "It appears that Microsoft has rediscovered that the best way to do something is to find a company that already does that thing, and buy that company. Despite Microsoft's insistence that their search function is great, CNN Money is reporting that Microsoft has made a bid for Yahoo in the amount of US$46 Billion. This offer represents a premium of about 60% over what Yahoo shares were worth Thursday, and comes on the heels of the announcement that Yahoo will be laying off a thousand employees in the next month due to "headwinds" Yahoo will be facing in the coming year. Interestingly, though Yahoo futures shot up prior to the market opening Friday morning, Microsoft futures took a slight tumble (about 5%). So is Microsoft just looking to narrow the field of competitors, do they see real value in Yahoo's IP and/or client base, or both?" top
Antigua, the smallest country to successfully litigate a case in the World Trade Organization's 12-year-history, also threatened to target American trademarks, copyrights and telecommunications companies after the WTO on Tuesday formally adopted a landmark decision reached in March that the United States' restrictions on online gambling were illegal.
Red Flayer writes "National Geographic has an article up about an unprecedentedly bright supernova. David Pooley (of UCal Berkeley), one of the coauthors of the study referenced by the article, has stated that the likely source of the light is from materia ejected into space, which has been theorized for supermassive stars, but never observed. FTA:
The finding has ramifications for Eta Carinae, the most massive star in our galaxy, which lies just 7,400 light years away. This star, estimated to be 100 to 120 times the sun's mass, has been experiencing preliminary eruptions that could mean it will explode in a manner similar to SN 2006gy.
The results of the study by Smith and Pooley will be published in an upcoming issue of Astrophysical Journal." top
Red Flayer writes "PCWorld reports that Microsoft has announced its intentions to make a $3 suite of products available to students in developing nations.
More information about the Student Innovation Suite can be found on Microsoft's Web site. The low-priced software suite is part of Microsoft's Partners in Learning program, a five-year, $250 million plan to help educators distribute software and training to students.
Altruism, you might ask?
"You'll find that Microsoft would be fairly open if pushed that they don't go into a market for philanthropic reasons," said Clive Longbottom, founder and analyst of Quocirca, a technology research firm in London. He said Microsoft has to find more creative ways to distribute its software in emerging markets where open-source software and Linux have a foothold.
I guess this will help partly replace the wink-wink-nudge-nudge policy regarding piracy of Microsoft Products in developing nations." top
Red Flayer writes "Slate Magazine reports that the US's recent actions to clarify restrictions of on-line gambling may have some very important unintended consequences. Antigua has challenged the legitimacy of the US's partial restrictions under the WTO, claiming that the laws represent a free trade infringement. What is so significant about this is that Antigua would be fully justified (and I imagine, would get a lot of support from other nations) in ignoring the US's patent and trademark laws. Freetrade.org has a more in-depth analysis (albeit with a predetermined opinion on the topic). Pre-register now for your copy of Antiguasoft Vista." top
Red Flayer writes "Like almost every Slashdotter, I'm often asked to help with problems friends, family, and acquaintances have with their computers. Almost always, these users have an infected windows box that needs to be cleaned (sometimes rebuilt). I hate leaving people in the lurch, but no one has the time to help everyone. Also, a lot of the users are not very computer literate — I have a hard time explaining important concepts to them when we don't share a vocabulary.
What I'd like to do is create a one-page 'manual' I can laminate and give to people requesting help, to get them started on the path to clean browsing. I figure several Slashdot users have already done something similar, so I thought I'd give a holler and see what's out there.
(1) Must define malware. (2) Must describe how malware is typically acquired. (3) Must *clearly* describe basic hard drive cleansing (running AV/AS software, where to acquire it) (4) Must *clearly* describe forbidden activities.
Typically, the people who ask me for support out of the blue think that AOL is 'the internet' or some such nonsense — so I'm dealing with less-than-competent users, for whom a one-sheet reference could make a big difference."
In some respects, I do this in real life too. But that's beside the point and is best left for a different journal entry.
So anyway, I decided to take a look at my friends, fans, foes, and freaks lists and see if I could identify any of the people listed, if I could recall _anything_ about them. I think I hit around 80% on my friends and foes and freaks lists, and maybe 20% on my fans list. I'm not sure if that says something about me, or even if it says anything at all.
But every once in a while when I look at my fans list, I'm haunted by a single fan -- ^Z. There in my fans list -- the very last fan -- I see that his or her last journal was in the very early morning on Sept 11, 2001.
I worked in downtown Manhattan at the time, and lived across the river in Hoboken. I lost several acquaintances on that day, and one close friend. Was ^Z one of them*? Was ^Z some other person who lost their life that day? Or perhaps someone who gained some perspective, and realized slashdot is insignificant to them in the grand scheme of things?
Every time I look at my fans list, I'm reminded of that day and the people whose lives were lost. And I wonder how that day changed America, made us a nation of line-toers and protofascists, instead of making us celebrate and honor our freedoms even more. Was it a failure of our leadership? A failure of our modern culture?
And then, today, for the first time, I actually clicked on ^Z's profile, and I see that he or she kept on posting until sometime in 2009, and I realize I'm a sentimental, navel-gazing, analytical fool who lets himself get swept up in revery based on a false premise.
*Probably not, since he journaled in a different alphabet than the one I use.
Red Flayer writes | more than 4 years ago
Pudge has apparently been cured of last-post-itis, at least temporarily.
I stated that Pudge claims someone is lying because he disagrees with them on a matter of opinion. He, of course, claimed I was lying, and that he does no such thing -- multiple times. I then trapped him in his lie by providing incontrovertible evidence that he does, in fact, do what I claim he did.
I'm waiting on a response from him (of course, he claimed he wouldn't respond to any more posts of mine because I was lying -- let's see if he changes his tune because I proved that I was telling the truth).
And Pudge, if you happen to read this journal entry, please go ahead and comment freely. Feel free to crapflood it if you like, since you have no forced waiting periods on posts. Unlike those who are afraid of having their lies and inconsistencies pointed out, I let my foes and freaks post in my journal. I'm curious to see how you might try to explain the fact that you indeed falsely accused me of lying, and lied yourself in the process.
Red Flayer writes | more than 4 years ago
Well, it's happened again. I let myself get caught up in another "debate" with someone who has last-word-itis.
This time, it was Pudge. I've got to remember to stop reading his comments... they're infuriating, because he sometimes make good points, but tends to imply or assume invalid statements to lead to his insight. And heaven forbid that you call him out on his assumptions, or you'll spend the better part of two days' free time going back and forth while he makes sure that he can out-endure you for last post status (if you have the last post, apparently you win the discussion!).
Well, now I've finally gotten around to marking him as a foe, so I'll have a nice clear visual reminder not to get involved in a time-wasting discussion with him.
It just bothers me that, as a slashdot editor, he's got some additional weight to what he says... he gets upmodded a lot for very questionable posts. And if you disagree with him, it tends to be an automatic down-mod (not sure how that happens, I know a lot of the fundie capitalists/anarchists on slashdot have mod points, too), no matter how well-written or polite the response is.
But, no matter... maybe if I find myself in another discussion with him, I'll troll him with facts and just take satisfaction in his apoplexy.
Red Flayer writes | more than 5 years ago
So time is running out for me to post the third episode of Googol the Destroyer this week. I know I'd promised yesterday or today, but I did not finish the episode until last night... and today there have been no MS, Google, or Stallman articles relevant enough for me to work into the plot. Wish I had it ready to go yesterday, there were a couple.
I'll be offline tomorrow through Sunday, so it looks like Episode 3 will need to wait until next week. Sorry.
I know there's quite a bit of hubris in me making this post in my journal, but a few people did ask when it would be published:)
Just be aware that in Episode 3 we'll find out what Stallmanx has been working on in his secret laboratory, and we'll get a big clue towards what lies beneath his Beard of Druidic Prowess.
At any rate, I'm always happy to get feedback on the serial, tips, ideas, etc. It's a 12-episode arc so far, might be longer if I need to work in new plotlines based on relevant articles, or if I come up with something great.
I'll be republishing on a blog site somewhere after an extensive rewrites of each episode, probably on a six-week delay. Can anyone recommend a good blog site? (Preferably one with revenue sharing:) )?
Red Flayer writes | more than 5 years ago
So, due to this post, or rather the inspiration for that post, I've decided that I should resume writing regularly.
I've been pretty busy for a couple years (having a kid will do that), and I've had a dearth of ideas and inspiration, until now.
We've all seen the humorous portrayals of the cult of Jobs, but I think this is an idea that can be expanded and fleshed out into several novels based on the history of PCs in the US. The key would be in working out how computing could be transformed into some kind of karmic or religious power while maintaining the key factors that led them to develop as they did.
So now I've got to get my nose into research, and begin reading (and re-reading) everything I can about the early years of PCs... I've got a list I'll be tackling shortly, but anyone have any suggestions? I'm particularly interested in the individuals involved.
Red Flayer writes | more than 6 years ago
Well, another quarter has passed on by, and the world looks much the same as it did three months ago. There were some notable events that will stick with me for a while.
The Olympics in China -- awesome presentation, marred only by a few technical glitches. More confirmation of the fact that the IOC has no balls, not calling China out on the Mystery of the Underaged Gymnasts (maybe the Hardy Boys will get on the case). Michael Phelps was phenomenal, but for some reason he rubs me the wrong way... he doesn't act like a hero should act, and that bothers me subconsciously. I wish for the (imaginary, I think) halcyon days when we had heros we could worship because they had heroic values, not just because they did heroic deeds.
Banking meltdown in the US... saw this coming for the past couple years. Hopefully we'll let the market adjust so we can begin recovery, rather than postponing and exacerbating the problem. I have a great sense of unease about the next few years economically, but I'm not sure how to put myself in the best position to ride it out.
Presidential politics... same bat time, same bat channel as last election cycle, and all the ones I remember. Quick thoughts: Palin's in over her head, McCain is good at dissembling, Obama is gliding on the winds of change, Biden should've stayed in the Senate.
Rutgers football has gotten a rude awakening, Schiano better get his team to a competitive level before all his recruits de-commit.
Being a father continues to bring new joys constantly, I can't wait until my daughter can actually tell me she loves me, even though I can see it in her outstretched arms when I get home before her bedtime. On the plus side, she does signal 'touchdown' by raising her arms if I say it. Makes watching football even better:)
A good friend got married after living with his girfriend for over a decade. Congrats to them! Great people, maybe they'll be contributing more to the gene pool soon... don't know why else they would decide to get married after ten years together.
Other good friends had their first child... good luck to them, they'll need it. I thought I had a hard time adjusting to life with a baby, I think they're in for some real eye-opening.
Anyway, here's to hoping I remember to continue quarterly updates for some future retrospection.
Red Flayer writes | more than 6 years ago
This comes via ShadowWrought from stoolpigeon, JC, Smitty, and originally, ShadowWrought thinks, RM6f9.
Post a comment to this thread, and I will:
1. Tell you why I befriended you.
2. Associate you with something - fandom, a song, a color, a photo, etc..
3. Tell you something I like about you.
4. Tell you a memory I have of you.
5. Ask something I've always wanted to know about you.
7. In return, you must post this in your Journal/Blag/whatever.
Red Flayer writes | more than 6 years ago
So I happened to click on my comments tab today, and see that I have made 4095 comments. This means my next comment will be my 2^12th comment.
After a little consideration, I thought that it should be _really_ meaningful. A little more consideration, and I thought, "Wow, that's a lot of comments (nts: need to get out more) -- I wonder how my posting style has changed over the years."
Sorry for the navel-gazing (not that anyone reads my journals, anyway -- I'm averaging less than one entry every two years), but this got me thinking about personal numerical significance. Anytime I see a power of two greater than 2^10, I get a little warm fuzy feeling. I've got most of the powers of two memorized to some ungodly power, due to the influence of Telengard on the Commodore PET. I dimly remember that spell points were calculated by the formula for x = 1 to level: SP = SP + x. I remember also that exp need for the next level was 1000*2^(current level). I think the highest character I ever had was level 65, so I guess that's why I memorized 2^x all the way to the 65th power. I currently can spot powers of two to about 2^20.
I think it's interesting that this was what led me to a lifelong interest in mathematics, and in particular, formulas. Sure, maybe my affinity for math drew me to such silly pursuits while playing Telengard... but computer gaming had a big impact on my development. I still recall trying to build my own code for Telengard in Basic -- it's how I began to teach myself to code. It was the READ code that completely stumped me and taught me that sometimes you need to ask for help.
It's two and a half decades later, and I still remember my own personal summers of code. Adding functionality to Telengard, like magic weapons with 'charged' abilities and stat-gain abilities -- I think I got started just a bit early (and on the wrong machine) to have a blast tweaking Rogue. Who knows what might have come of it.
To continue the divergence from why I initially started this journal entry, I remember about 7-8 years ago my parents finally packed up and moved to their "retirement" house. I had a last look-over the items they were getting rid of, and in that pile in the basement was a box full of mildewed cassette tapes. Some were of music (the Hooters, Talking Heads, the Fixx, Dire Straights, Quiet Riot, to name a few groups) but the vast majority were of games and programs for the PET. I let them be discarded, but now I wish I could pull the data off and see what my earliest attempts at code were like -- especially the BASIC programs of over 2,000 lines before I learned about GOSUB:). I wonder if it'd be scarier than deciphering some of the perl code I've seen in recent years.
Anyway, it's been a nice short trip down memory lane this afternoon.
Seeing as its been a couple years since the last entry
Red Flayer writes | more than 8 years ago
Just wanted to clear the air.
It would be a shame if anyone reading my last (and until now, only) journal entry thought it was from a few days ago, rather than 2y+. I no longer learn much new from reading slashdot, since topics are recycled so much... other than reinforcement of the fact that I know a lot less than I once thought I did. And some current events, though it seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Anyway, that's enough disjointed Friday rambling for now.