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CSIRO Scientists' Aquaculture Holy Grail: Fish-Free Prawn Food

StefanJ Bugs? (116 comments)

There was an interesting piece on Radiolab* last year about some guys who'd found an protein-rich insect whose larva at almost anything, including agricultural waste and pig manure. They reduced the amount of waste that had to be dealt with and result in copious quantities of nutritious bug flesh.

One of the suggested uses was food for farmed fish.

* I think . . . I'm having trouble finding the segment in the archives.

about a week ago

70% of U.S. Government Spending Is Writing Checks To Individuals

StefanJ Uh? (676 comments)

Was that a hit song in an alternate universe where the wealthiest people were actually getting less rich and getting taxed more?

about a month ago

Can Science Ever Be "Settled?"

StefanJ Re:question objectivity (497 comments)

"evolutionary criticism . . . is completely forbidden in US schools."

Well, unless you go to school in one of those states where the school boards also don't think children should be trusted to learn about puberty, carbon dating, and history that wasn't vetted by the Club for Growth and the Daughters of Confederate Heroes.

about a month and a half ago

3D Maps Reveal a Lead-Laced Ocean

StefanJ Re:Not everything observed... (266 comments)

Based on these comments, Slashdotters are also experts on moving goal posts.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Essays and Short Stories Should Be In a Course On Futurism?

StefanJ Brunner, Dyson, Pohl (293 comments)

Any number of novels by John Brunner, but Stand on Zanzibar if you have to choose one.

Fred Pohl's short-short "Day Million," about a cyborg spaceman and a transgendered otter-woman meeting, falling in love, exchanging virtual reality sex profiles and never meetin again.

Freeman Dyson's essay "The Greening of the Galaxy."

about 2 months ago

VA Tech Experiment: Polar Vortex May Decimate D.C. Stinkbugs In 2014

StefanJ The benefits of good cold winters (112 comments)

I sometimes hear the effects of climate change blown off with glib remarks about longer growing seasons.

The truth is, good hard winters are good for certain types of agriculture. Freezing and thawing churns up the soil. Hard frosts kill off weeds and pests.

Now we have another data point.

about 2 months ago

Book Review: Survival of the Nicest

StefanJ Re:altruism (176 comments)


Everybody inherits a 3 x 8 foot plot of earth.

It might be concealed under tons of vanity, but in the end, that is all you get.

about 2 months ago

Ask "The Fat Man" George Sanger About Music and Computer Games

StefanJ The Suit (66 comments)

I used to run into you at trade shows . . . gosh, going on 24 years ago.

Do you still have that big red jacket with the gold coins?

Is your comic book a collector's item?

about 2 months ago

Dyson Invests £5 Million To Create 'Intelligent Domestic Robots'

StefanJ "We've got another one, Captain." (125 comments)

"Flesh stripped from their bones, like they were attacked by a super-powerful vacuum."

"Damn. Third one this week."

"Place sure is tidy, though."

about 2 months ago

FEC Will Not Allow Bitcoin Campaign Contributions

StefanJ Money is free speech! (49 comments)

If you can't anonymously donate to a political campaign, your voice can't be heard!

Um, wait . . .

about 5 months ago

Scientists Says Jellyfish Are Taking Over the Oceans

StefanJ Obvious Solution! (274 comments)

Build ships which vaccuum up jellyfish, puree them, and use the proteins as feed stock for 3D printing of food. The stingers can get filtered out, or just left into the low-grade product used in prisons and orphanages.

I'm sure that Red Lobster can come up with some clever marketing term for this stuff. After the actual lobsters, cod, and king crabs die off they'll have plenty of motivation.

Interesting Geek-culture historical note: In the 1973 movie "Soylent Green," the titular product is supposed to be made from krill scooped from the oceans. The underlying horror of the movie isn't that the crackers are made of dead people, but that the ocean ecosystem has collapsed due to pollution. The movie also has Edward G. Robinson bitching about how the greenhouse effect has made it hot and damp year-round.

about 5 months ago

Lost Star Wars Footage Found On LaserDisc

StefanJ Cycle Trooper Losing his Helmet (157 comments)

I don't recall if I saw this scene in the theater, during "Jedi's" initial run, or in preview clips shown on TV, but:

There's a scene in Return of the Jedi in which Luke goes mano a mano with a storm trooper riding one of those cycles used to zip around Endor.

Luke knocks the guy's helmet off, revealing a dark haired guy with a rather skinny face.

I do know that this brief reveal was cut out of the sky cycle chase as it was shown on the Laserdisc.

Could it be on this new find?

about 6 months ago

Grocery Store "Smart Shelves" Will Identify Customers, Show Targeted Ads

StefanJ Try that a few times . . . (274 comments)

. . . and suddenly masks will be deemed a threat to Free Enterprise, and wearing one will put you on a terrorism watch list.

Anyway, you'd better wear gloves too, because shopping cart handles will eventually have DNA sensors and galvanic skin response detectors.

about 6 months ago

Linux-capable Arduino TRE Debuts At Maker Faire Rome

StefanJ D'oh! Tre-not-Galileo (47 comments)

You are correct sir! I didn't realize Arduino had released multiple new boards.

The Galileo is pretty cool, though.

about 6 months ago

Linux-capable Arduino TRE Debuts At Maker Faire Rome

StefanJ Unboxing Flickr Set (47 comments)

SF author / design maven Bruce Sterling picked up one at the Maker Faire and posted an Unboxing photo set:


Scroll to the bottom for the first picture in the set.

The display box is rigged with a sound chip that plays portentous music when the board is removed.

about 6 months ago

Microsoft Azure Platform Certified "Secure" By Department of Defense

StefanJ "Secure" meaning . . . (90 comments)

. . . the backdoor for the NSA is really well protected.

about 7 months ago

US Killer Robot Policy: Full Speed Ahead

StefanJ Nothing to worry about. I'm sure that . . . (202 comments)

. . . the targeting algorithms will be vetted by legal teams every bit as diligent and committed to human rights and Constitutional law as the people in FISA courts who have helped keep the NSA from misusing their powers.

In related news, if you have legitimate business in areas of cities frequented by anti-war protestors, you can purchase a RapidPass Trusted Citizen(tm) badge which will eliminate time-consuming drop-and-freeze inspections by SecuriCorps (tm) PeacePal(tm) hover-drones. F%$ing hippies need not apply! (We'll know.)

about 7 months ago

Emotional Attachment To Robots Could Affect Battlefield Outcome

StefanJ Make them ugly! (194 comments)

Make the battlefield robots look like gnarly insects, with stink generators that make being around them unpleasant. If they can "talk," make them sound like tedious doofuses.

Of course, the enemy could counter by making their robots able to shape-shift -- as soon as they are out of site of their own side -- into beautiful, elegant shapes that no one would want to kill.

Uh . . . .

Cripes, I just wrote the background for an anime series, didn't I?

about 7 months ago

Final Mars One Numbers Are In, Over 200,000 People Applied

StefanJ Re:Hardly enough enough bodies . . . (176 comments)

I only read the first Artemis Fowl book, and it didn't make much of an impression.

Was a later one set on Mars?

about 7 months ago

Final Mars One Numbers Are In, Over 200,000 People Applied

StefanJ Hardly enough enough bodies . . . (176 comments)

. . . to fertilize King Barsoom II's lawn and flower gardens! MARS NEEDS MULCH!

But seriously: Initial training for the would-be colonists will consist of living for five years in trailer homes buried beneath the soil of Antarctica's "dry deserts." People who can't cope with the psychological pressure, or who are judged insufficiently entertaining by the casting group of the MARS LIVE! production company and its advertisers and charter sponsors, will be summarily kicked off of the program. (They will receive copies of the home game, which consists of a refrigerator box equipped with fake controls and a framed color print of a Mars probe landing site.)

about 7 months ago



Internal passports for U.S. citizens?

StefanJ StefanJ writes  |  more than 6 years ago

StefanJ writes "Oh, for cripes sake:

(CNN) — Americans may need passports to board domestic flights or to picnic in a national park next year if they live in one of the states defying the federal Real ID Act.
If George Orwell were alive today, he'd be banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming "Ahhh! Let me out!""

Link to Original Source



StefanJ StefanJ writes  |  more than 8 years ago

One: It is surprisingly easy to train a dog to jump through a hula-hoop.

Two: It is surprisingly difficult to train a dog not to eat cat shit.


StefanJ StefanJ writes  |  more than 9 years ago

  • Being able to trade in unused Mod points for valuable prizes!
  • If Humane Societies took bids for adoptable dogs. I saw this awesome shepherd mix at the pound the other day. Couldn't adopt her because someone beat me to her by, like, five minutes. A silent auction with a respectable minimum bid could bring in a good amount of money.
  • A site that generated impressive BS responses to BS job self-evaluation questions like "What objectives relative your job do you consider important to achieve during the coming year?" (As far as I can tell, the six questions on this self-evaluation amounts to: "What have you done and what could you do better?")
  • A computer case that looked like a miniature Warp Core.


StefanJ StefanJ writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I was in New York last week. Specifically, upstate New York. Just south of the Catskills mountains.

I went to The City one morning, via a far-ranging suburban rail line.

The train station had a ticket machine. It wasn't working when I arrived. Specifically, it had frozen during boot-up. The little screen displayed a Award BIOS style hardware status table: Amount of memory, attached drives, IRQ allocations, and the like.

The processor?

A _Tillamook 266 MHz_.

Tillamook is a small city on the coast of Oregon (where I live), best known for a big dairy of the same name.

It was kind of surreal, seeing that name in that circumstance.



StefanJ StefanJ writes  |  more than 10 years ago I don't know why I bother clicking on my Amazon Gold Box. I find its wiggling and shaking obnoxious, and I can't remember finding anything I'd ever order in the specials list.

(On a few occasions, I've peeked at the description of an item, more out of morbid curiosity than anything else. I think Amazon mistakes these peeks as interest, and thus skews my selection.)

Here are things that I would be pleasantly surprised to find in my Amazon Gold Box:

  • Nanobots that would restore my bulging L-5 spinal disk to proper shape.
  • A 1988 Honda Civic DX hatchback with A/C and prototype airbags. No miles. Mint in the box.
  • A litter of sapient GMO coyote pups I can mold into the first minions of my Army of Darkness.
  • A George Foreman Grill actually big enough to grill George Foreman.
  • A case of Reggie Bars.
  • A new copy of Tom Weller's Science Made Stupid.
  • A little plastic plug exactly designed to fit into the overflow drain in my bathtub, so I can efficiently employ my plumber's helper and finally uproot whatever is plugging up the drain.



StefanJ StefanJ writes  |  more than 10 years ago

My workplace has two buildings. Physically checking on the state of a server means donning an anti-static robe and toddling over from Broadway to Hollywood. (We do movie-on-demand hardware and software, so our buildings and meeting rooms are cinema-related.) Not a long walk, but there's a bit of tedious threading through cube farm along the way.

This morning I had made it to the other building to reset a machine when I realized that I needed to check with someone who might have been diagnosing a bad drive. I made a call to him from a phone in a cafeteria.

When I was done I hung up the phone, or at least tried to. The handset flopped off the body of the phone, right into a trash can. I hauled it out to discover it covered with coffee grounds.

I dusted the mess off with a paper towel, trying to be discrete because a bunch of guests were being shown around the cafeteria.

After the worst of the crud had been wiped off I hung up the phone, taking care that the handset hook was squarely in its slot.

It tumbled off immediately. Into the garbage can.

I wiped it off again, moved the garbage can aside, and replaced the handset.

It fell off.

I inspected the little hook that was supposed to hold the handset in place; it was in the "vertical mounting" position, but was just too wimpy to do the job. I noticed that the handset had smudges of paint on it. It had, apparently, smacked into the wall on many previous occasions, when it fell off its hook when the garbage can *wasn't* there.

I finally managed to balance the handset in place, then backed away.

Time to find some velcro . . .



StefanJ StefanJ writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I work in a nicely landscaped office park. The landscaping elves recently laid down a nice fresh layer of shredded bark mulch around the plantings.

Just now, while crossing between buildings, I came across a squirrel burrowing in the mulch by the edge of a shrub. He was waist-deep in the stuff, worrying away at something underneath.

He seemed totally oblivious to what was going on up above. It seemed very un-prey-like behavior. I stepped really close, maybe two feet away, and waited. Just stopped and watched and waited for him to notice me.

After a moment, he kind of spazzed out. Jumped straight up a foot and a half while thrashing around frantically. He kind of melted into the shrubbery, vibrating like some kind of insane wind-up toy.

I'll give him points for a quick get-away, but a Zero as far as wariness goes. If I'd been a raccoon or fox or coyote, I'm sure he'd be digesting by now.


StefanJ StefanJ writes  |  more than 10 years ago

American Science & Surplus is a great place. They sell stuff ranging from Russian microscopes to surplus ammo boxes to kiddie toys. The catalog (printed and on-line) has great item descriptions.

I recently purchased from them a resin coyote skull. An amazingly real-looking resin coyote skull:


It's on top of my monitor here at work, next to my THE ONION calendar.

After seeing how small the brain-pan is, I'm not surprised that coyotes keep buying defective gear from ACME.



StefanJ StefanJ writes  |  more than 10 years ago I'm not sure what this journal is intended for, so I 'll be a self-promoting schmuck and write a plug here for:

GURPS Uplift

This is my first Role Playing Game product since 1993 or so. It's the official worldbook for David Brin's "Uplift" SF series. You can use the source material any way you want, but the stats for the characters and species are given in GURPS form.

Details at:


There's also a support site at:


I wish I could say this experience was going to get me back big-time into writing and game design again, but it was a reall tough haul. The quality standards have gone way up since I wrote this stuff to pay for pizza and crack* when I was in college.


* No, not really. Unless you read "computer games" for "crack."

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