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CERN Tests First Artificial Retina Capable of Looking For High Energy Particles

VAXcat Re:400v? (60 comments)

I can't stand this kind of disrespectful joking around, with puns no less. I'm positive that we can run the negative energy displayed by your post to ground.

5 days ago

Publishers Gave Away 123 Million Books During World War Two

VAXcat Re:Not all contributions / sacrifice are equivalen (121 comments)

Robert Heinlein, in Glory road, quoted Major Ian Hay, back in the “War to End War,” who described the structure of military organizations: Regardless of T.O., all military bureaucracies consist of a Surprise Party Department, a Practical Joke Department, and a Fairy Godmother Department. The first two process most matters as the third is very small; the Fairy Godmother Department is one elderly female GS-5 clerk usually out on sick leave.

5 days ago

Northwest Passage Exploration Ship Found

VAXcat Pentangle (80 comments)

That reminds me of this great Pentangle song. You can hear it at And since it reminds me of that song. now I have to listen to all of the Pentangle's works again - it'll be a good day.

about a week ago

How the Outdated TI-84 Plus Still Holds a Monopoly On Classrooms

VAXcat HP vs TI (359 comments)

This reminds me of the first time I tried to use an HP RPN calculator. It was circa 1972, and I was taking undergraduate courses at Rice University. I showed up for my physics final only to realize Id forgotten my calculator, a TI SR-10 - an early replacement for the slide rule, the basic 4 functions, square root, inverse and squared added. There were lots of calculations to do on these tests, and it was gonna be a slog without a calculator. The TA proctoring the exam had his calculator on his desk, an HP35, but he wasn't using it, so I asked him if I could borrow it. With a sly grin he asked "ever used an HP calculator before"? I said, no I hadn't, but, how different could it be, a calculator's a calculator, isn't it? "Sure", he agreed, and pushed it over to me with a smile. So went my first encounter with RPN, which I had never heard of before....I didn't do at all well on that exam. Oddly enough, years later when I got an HP16 for my programming job, I felt in love with RPN, and prefer it to algebraic entry calculators to this day.

about two weeks ago

Aussie Airlines To Allow Uninterrupted Mobile Use During Flights

VAXcat Re:article summary is wrong (51 comments)

From my flight training, two things they say you can't have too much of - runway ahead of you, and altitude.

about three weeks ago

Slashdot Asks: Should Schooling Be Year-Round?

VAXcat Waiting for summer to end... (421 comments)

I'm looking forward to the end of summer, when all the college kids go back to school and stop spending all day taking down my Ingress portals...

about a month ago

What Do You Do When Your Mind-Numbing IT Job Should Be Automated?

VAXcat It's obvious (228 comments)

Automate it, don't tell anyone, and then get paid for doing nothing while you waste all of your time browsing stuff on the Interweb. That's what I've done...

about a month ago

HP Gives OpenVMS New Life and Path To X86 Port

VAXcat Re:VMS is dead; long live WNT (136 comments)

You are only middlin' right. WNT is like VMS as far as the general design of the kernel goes - but most of what makes VMS the wonder that it is is missing. No versioning file system, no DCL (DEC Command Language), no Distributed Lock Manager, no clustering (WNT clustering isn't even in the same league as VMS clustering), no logical name support, no RMS (Record Management System), no sophisticated Batch and Print environment, the list goes on and on. Without these things, WNT may schedule tasks and manage memory more or less like VMS does, but does not deliver the utility and user experience that make VMS legendary.

about a month and a half ago

Secret of the Banjo's Unique Sound Discovered By Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist

VAXcat Banjos...not a fan... (101 comments)

One day my old pal David has played a gig with some local musicians, including his roommate, Bob, who was a banjo player. After the set, Bob was going somewhere else with some other people, so he asked Dave to take his banjo home for him. On the way home, David stopped at the convenience store to get a six pack. As he was standing in line, he suddenly realized that he had left the car windows down, and that he was in a bad neighborhood. He rushed out, but, sure as hell, the worst possible thing had happened - exactly what he was afraid of - someone had spotted the open car windows, and thrown two more banjoes in the car.

about 3 months ago

The Rise and Fall of the Cheat Code

VAXcat Earliest I know of... (178 comments)

Inthe 70s, Zork on PDP11s had GDT (game debugging tool). It allowed you to manipulate the arrays of objects, locations, etc. It had a password prompt, that demanded your name, cat and zip code. I recall that the name was supnik, the cat was barney, and I've forgotten the zip code. Bob Supnik was the DEC engineer that translated ZORK frm MDL to Fortran.

about 3 months ago

Autonomous Car Ethics: If a Crash Is Unavoidable, What Does It Hit?

VAXcat Re:A bunch of nuns? (800 comments)

I steal the lever and see what I can get for it on Ebay.

about 4 months ago

Researchers See a Post-Snowden Chilling Effect In Our Search Data

VAXcat Re:I wonder if I'm on the list (138 comments)

Before you try using H2O2 80% as propellant, read about how dangerous it was as the monopopellant "T-Stoff" in the ME163. Lots of explosions and dissolved pilots...

about 4 months ago

US Nuclear Missile Silos Use Safe, Secure 8" Floppy Disks

VAXcat Re:Are there any old drives around that read these (481 comments)

DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) sold lots of systems that used these 8" disks. Lots of PDP-8 systems and PDP-11 systems used them for system devices. DEC's first VAX computers, the 11/780, used them as load devices for loading the microcode before the system would boot from a real hard disk. I have a bunch of them in my collection, attached to PDP-11s, still working fine.

about 5 months ago

Anonymous' Airchat Aim: Communication Without Need For Phone Or Internet

VAXcat Re:Airchat, or as I like to call it, CB Radio (180 comments)

It's a good point, that VHF allocation for CB would prevent some of the abuses it is prone too. But when it was allocated, radios that operated at 50 Mc and above . were exotic and expensive. Gear that would operate at 27 Mc was a lot cheaper and ruggeder than VHF gear would have been.

about 5 months ago

Anonymous' Airchat Aim: Communication Without Need For Phone Or Internet

VAXcat Re:Oh really? (180 comments)

Not allowed to swear? Clearly you don't spend much time listening on 20 meters, or (at least in my local area) 80 meters. The amateur operators to be found there could teach sailors a few things about swearing.

about 5 months ago

Asia's Richest Man Is Betting Big On Silicon Valley's Fake Eggs

VAXcat Mockolate (269 comments)

This reminds me of the Friends episode where Monica has to make recipes for a chocloate substitute - Mockolate.

about 7 months ago

Fracking Is Draining Water From Areas In US Suffering Major Shortages

VAXcat Re:About beta. (268 comments)

They need to remember what happened to Digg. Sites like this can lose almost all of their users in the blink of an eye.

about 7 months ago

Australian Team Working On Engines Without Piston Rings

VAXcat Re:Okay...nice and all... (368 comments)

"...and aren't exactly long lived" Model airplane glow plug engines exist in two states - not broken in yet, and slap worn out. There is no middle ground....

about 8 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Video Streaming For the Elderly?

VAXcat Re:50s TV - Antennae (165 comments)

I dunno about the whole country, but in the two big cities I'm familiar with the TV situation, Dallas and Houston, the TV stations all have their broadcast antennas located at more or less the same location, so you don't have to change the antenna aim to change the channel.

about a year ago


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