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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 a month ago
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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 a month ago
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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 3 months ago
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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 3 months ago
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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 3 months ago
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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 3 months ago
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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 3 months ago
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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 5 months ago
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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 6 months ago
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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 7 months ago
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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.

1 year,15 days
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Lead Developer of Yum Killed In Hit-and-run

VAXcat Re:North Carolina drivers are the worst in the US. (413 comments)

Clearly you've never driven in Boston...I had a summer job there driving a patient transport van for the Boston State Hospital (a mental asylum), and I always felt like the lunatics I was driving around in the van weren't a patch on the maniacs driving the other cars.

1 year,20 days
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Lead Developer of Yum Killed In Hit-and-run

VAXcat Re:When you ride at night, (413 comments)

He's not blaming the victim, he's quoting a Roling Stones song lyric. Jeez....woooshhhh

1 year,20 days
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Malcolm Gladwell On Culture and Airplane Crashes

VAXcat Re:Take the men in the silos out of the loop ... (423 comments)

They say in the future, airliners will no longer have a pilot and a copilot. Instead, there will be just a pilot and a dog. The dog is there to bite the pilot if he tries to mess with any of the controls.

1 year,21 days
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FCC Considering Proposal For Encrypted Ham Radio

VAXcat Re:Harmless? (371 comments)

It goes back to the origins of radio. Originally, it was all amateurs messing arouind. Then, as it became more useful and of interest to companies and governments, amateur radio types were quick to restrict themselves as harmless and non-competitive to these interests, in order to keep from being squashed as nuisances. I think it ought to be more like licensing of pilots - those licensed at the lowest skill levels can't charge for flying and can only fly for personal gain under strict rules. As pilots progress in skill levels, they can perform a wider range of flying for hire. Something similar could be done for radio operations. As it is, it took decades to get legal permission to use a radio link to order a pizza.

about a year ago
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FCC Considering Proposal For Encrypted Ham Radio

VAXcat Re:It's dead either way, why not try this? (371 comments)

Can't swear? You clearly haven't spent much time listening to 20 meters, or, at least in my part of the country, 80 meters. Sailors could learn a thing or two about swearing by listening in....

about a year ago
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Keyless Remote Entry For Cars May Have Been Cracked

VAXcat Re:Seems an unnecessary feature (398 comments)

Never get into a car with a carjacker. People who do that wind up at the secondary crime scene, where the homicide (yours) takes place. Run away if you can, fight if you must, but don't get in the car.

about a year ago
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New Drugs Trail Many Old Ones In Effectiveness Against Disease

VAXcat Re:The inability to research? (230 comments)

Not exactly true. Thalidomide does indeed have two mirror image isomers,. and there is some research to indicate that indeed only one of these isomers causes damage. BUT - thalidomide undergoes racemization in the human blood stream - that is, even if you start only with "good" thalidomide in your drug, it will be metabolized into a mix of good and bad in the bloodstream - so, even if you only ingest the "good twin", you wind up with the damage causing "bad twin" in your body anyway.

about a year ago
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'Smart Gun' Firm Wants You To Fund Its Prototype

VAXcat Re:I'm sorry (558 comments)

I'd like a smart rifle, like the one in Vernor Vinge's Bobble series, that lets you designate several targets in the scope, and then, when given the command to fire via trigger pull, actually fires when the barrel is properly aligned to hit the designated target or targets - you mark the targets, then pull the trigger and wave the weapon in their general direction.

about a year ago
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Curiosity Rewarded: Florida Teen Heading to Space Camp, Not Jail

VAXcat Re:I Think This Is A Bad Thing (241 comments)

BTW - October Sky is an anagram for "Rocket Boys".

about a year ago

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