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Comments

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Maps Suggest Marco Polo May Have "Discovered" America

braindrainbahrain Re:Newsflash!!! (276 comments)

I don't want to excuse the "History" channel's many transgressions (and there are many) but they did air a well received documentary on the subject a couple of years back. Search the intertubes for "WHO REALLY DISCOVERED AMERICA". Most of the theories presented are speculative, though some are supported by circumstancial evidence. No aliens involved (this time).

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

braindrainbahrain Journal Articles (234 comments)

I am late to the party here, but want to leave one last tidbit: read astronomy journal articles. Many you will not understand, many, you will understand the language, but not the math (especially articles, they omit many many steps since they are so short), but ultimately, you will understand some, and understand the data they took to arrive at a conclusion, and maybe even question the data, the measurement, or the data processing. Maybe even enough to contact the authors and ask for clarification, or suggest alternate methods. At this point, you are doing astronomy. One added bonus to being a college student: Awesome libraries that can access all these journals at no cost to you (except your tuition of course).

Some suggestions for more hands on stuff:

Kewl book: Exoplanet Observing For Amateurs, by Bruce Gary (free! courtesy of the author)

edX Courses: They actually teach from journal articles! Math is at the high school level.

Citizen Science projects:

Find Exoplanets
Dicover and measure KBOs

Age? Phooey on that. Upon completing my 2nd M.S. degree in my mid 50's, I got letters of recommendation for PhD school (which I chose not to pursue).

about 1 month ago
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Newly Discovered Asteroid To Pass Within Geostationary Orbit Sunday

braindrainbahrain Re:3:2 resonance (101 comments)

Not to worry! Jebediah Kerman has been launched in a special purpose rocket and is on his way for rendezvous!

about a month and a half ago
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Anomaly Triggers Self-Destruct For SpaceX Falcon 9 Test Flight

braindrainbahrain Government Lawsuit? (113 comments)

SpaceX has been suing the government to be able to bid on launching military satellites. Will this hurt their chances of getting access to that market?

about 2 months ago
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By 2045 'The Top Species Will No Longer Be Humans,' and That Could Be a Problem

braindrainbahrain Wrong date, should be 2084 (564 comments)

Clearly, he got the date wrong: Inspired for his never ending quest for progress, in 2084 man perfects the Robotrons, a robot species so advanced that man is inferior to his own creation. Guided by their ineffable logic, the Robotrons conclude: The human race is inefficient and therefore must be destroyed. Because of a genetic engineering error, you possess superhuman powers. Your mission is to stop the Robotrons and save the last human family.

about 3 months ago
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Saurabh Narain and His Homemade Lego-Based Rubik's Cube Solver (Video)

braindrainbahrain Encourage STEM? (43 comments)

I don't think the youngster needs any encouragement to go into STEM. For that matter, I don't think we need to encourage any young people to go into STEM - the field is crowded enough already.
However, for those whose true passion lies in that direction, just stay out of their way.

about 4 months ago
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Recommendations For Classic Superhero Comic Collections?

braindrainbahrain Understanding Comics (165 comments)

Rather than read what somebody think is a classic, why don't you strive to get a better understanding of the medium of comics in general? For that, there is no better resource than Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. It's not a book about comics, it is a comic about comics!

That being said, I haven't read any superhero stuff since I was 12, but in my ripe old age, I still enjoy Prince Valiant

about 4 months ago
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Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel

braindrainbahrain Re:No Stereo!!! (583 comments)

The gar costs $9.99, the mobile Google Play license is $5000 a year.

about 5 months ago
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Chernobyl, In Games and In Real Life

braindrainbahrain Flight Simulator (20 comments)

I remember the first time I flew into San Francisco decades ago. I was looking out the window when I got a weird deja-vu feeling I had been there before (I hadn't). It dawned on me later that I had recognized the scenery from playing MS Flight Simulator and flying into SF from Oakland many, many times.

about 5 months ago
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Brazilian Kids Learning English By Video Chatting With Elderly Americans

braindrainbahrain Outsourcing! (147 comments)

Horrors, hell, and damnation! Are they paying those senior citizens for their labor? I thought not! They have effectively outsourced Brazilian language teachers with unpaid labor from the US!!

about 5 months ago
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Average American Cable Subscriber Gets 189 Channels and Views 17

braindrainbahrain Re:Same problem as always... (340 comments)

I tell my wife, the baseball fan, that watching baseball games on TV costs us over $600 a year. Personally, I've been ready to cut the cord for a while, there are plenty of better quality on-line options that are cheaper. Since watching on-line, just seeing TV commercials makes me ill anymore.

about 5 months ago
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How To Find Nearby Dark Skies, No Matter Where You Are

braindrainbahrain Dark Sky Parks (55 comments)

A simple (but unfortunately short) list is provided at the following site. Rumor has it these parks actually enforce rules. If you show up with a flashlifght, you will be escorted off the premises. Support your nearest dark sky state park!

http://www.darksky.org/night-s...

about 5 months ago
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NASA Honors William Shatner With Distinguished Public Service Medal

braindrainbahrain Re:What about Nichelle Nichols? (111 comments)

I second the motion to nominate Nichelle Nichols. She's one hell of a public speaker and was responsible for recruiting Sally Ride as an astronaut (if we can believe Wikipedia. Can anyone confirm?).

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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Intelsat is 50 years old

braindrainbahrain braindrainbahrain writes  |  about a month ago

braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "Now a private company, The International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium, aka Intelsat, is 50 years old this year. Created as an international organization with as many as 80 countries signing on, its mission was to bring “nations, and ultimately the world, together through communication and video” using new cutting edge space technology. The organization “bought people around the world to one organization with a common goal in an almost utopian concept”. “It looked like the United Nations”, said one member.

Satellite technology was in its infancy and the people at Intelsat had to make it all work. “We were doing something new; there was almost no precedent You were able to get bright people with a bag of tools but no experience”.

In our present day, accustomed as we are to instant news and communications worldwide, we forget the astonishment of people seeing things unfold in real time half a world away. The phrase “live via satellite” preceded broadcasts such as the 1969 moon landings and the 1978 World Cup. Intelsat even linked the White House and the Kremlin by the infamous hot line."

Link to Original Source
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NASA seeks private telecommunications provider for Mars missions.

braindrainbahrain braindrainbahrain writes  |  about 3 months ago

braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "NASA is seeking information on private businesses to provide telecommunications services to/from Mars. Seems that MAVEN (the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution space probe) is going to be the last spacecraft orbiting Mars for a while and when its gone, there will be no one left to relay communications between Earth and surface probes and rovers. Hence the need and opportunity for the private sector to step in and offer this service."
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NASA seeks private telecommunications provider - to communicate with Mars

braindrainbahrain braindrainbahrain writes  |  about 3 months ago

braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "NASA is seeking information on private businesses to provide telecommunications services to/from Mars. Seems that MAVEN (the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution space probe) is going to be the last spacecraft orbiting Mars for a while and when its gone, there will be no one left to relay communications between Earth and surface probes and rovers. Hence the need and opportunity for the private sector to step in and offer this service.

Now's your chance to contact your favorite VC to invest in this new adventure in the private space industry!"

Link to Original Source
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Crowdsourcing a Time Capsule to send to Mars

braindrainbahrain braindrainbahrain writes  |  about 4 months ago

braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "In what is claimed to be (and probably is) the largest crowdsourced project ever, a group of students, advisors, and industry sponsors are planning to send a "time capsule" to Mars by charging 99 cents for each person that wants to upload a file, be it a photo, text, or what have you, to their website. They need to raise $25 million to pull this off (that's a lot of files!). The uploaded files will be loaded onto a small form factor satellite which will be launched to land on Mars and (hopefully) be found by explorers sometime in the future."
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New "Acandescent" Light Bulbs to Challenge LEDs and CFLs

braindrainbahrain braindrainbahrain writes  |  about 4 months ago

braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "An outfit in Massachusetts is poise to offer — no, make that "is offering" — consumer light bulbs based on induction technology, challenging the market share of LED and CFL light bulbs. Induction lighting, long used in industrial applications, was invented by none other than Nikola Tesla, and said Massachusetts company has miniaturized the technology enough to fit an implementation in a standard light bulb size."
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Mars One studying how to maintain communications with Mars 24/7

braindrainbahrain braindrainbahrain writes  |  about 9 months ago

braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "Mars One, the low credibility effort to colonize Mars, is at least funding some interesting concept studies for their alleged plan to colonize the red planet. One of the most interesting is the effort to maintain uninterrupted communications with Mars. This is not as trivial as it may sound, as any satellite in Martian orbit will still have to deal with occultations between Mars and Earth due to the Sun. Surrey Satellite Technology will be performing the study."
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Sculpture on the Moon!

braindrainbahrain braindrainbahrain writes  |  about 10 months ago

braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "Slate magazine has written the story about the only work of art placed on the Moon , the Fallen Astronaut sculpture, placed on the Moon during the Apollo 15 mission to commemorate both American and Soviet deceased astronauts. The little statue, rather than bringing fame and fortune ended up being nearly forgotten and got both Apollo astronaut David Scott and Belgian sculptor Van Hoeydonck in hot water with the US government."
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America Needs More Scientists and Engineers

braindrainbahrain braindrainbahrain writes  |  more than 2 years ago

braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "Here we go again! A Slate author, who conveniently dodged science classes, is making the claim that "America Needs More Scientists and Engineers". Some choice quotes:
"I ducked organic chemistry for economics, real science for social science"
"Instead of paying smart kids reasonable wages to design drugs and engineer cars that benefit almost everyone, we’re paying them unreasonable wages to develop financial models that benefit almost no one."
The difference this time is that the site is open to ideas to increase the amount of scientists in the US. "If you’ve got a notion...for how American can mint more scientists"
OK, so we missed the deadline. So between us (a) How would you increase scientists in America and (b) Do we really need to increase the number of scientists in the first place?"

Link to Original Source
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Cyber Security is Booming!

braindrainbahrain braindrainbahrain writes  |  more than 2 years ago

braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "It must be great to be in cyber security! First, Lockheed Martin announces the win of a half billion dollar contract providing cyber security services to several government agencies. At the same time, a senior adviser for innovation at the State Department, has a piece of advice for students : "If any college student asked me what career would most assure 30 years of steady, well-paying employment...I would respond, cyber security.". The latter article goes on to discuss the shortage of cyber security professionals, how the government needs to hire at least 10,000 experts in the near future, and how the NSF is trying to promote an interest in computer science at the high school level.

So, for cyber security experts out there: Is this field really all roses? Do you get frequent calls from recruiters? Big raises? Retention bonuses? Or is this all a bunch of hooey?"

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Netflix CEO accuses Comcast of not practicing Net Neutrality

braindrainbahrain braindrainbahrain writes  |  more than 2 years ago

braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, has a facebook page in which he posts a short gripe about Comcast. Seems watching video through Xfinity is subsidized by Comcast by not counting towards your cap on your data plan. All other services, Netflix included, do.
T quote him:

"When I watch video on my Xbox from three of these four apps, it counts against my Comcast internet cap. When I watch through Comcast’s Xfinity app, however, it does not count against my Comcast internet cap"

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Scientists Discover Science Fiction

braindrainbahrain braindrainbahrain writes  |  more than 2 years ago

braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "Coincidence or conspiracy? Two new science fiction magazines have just been announced and they are both being published by more serious science publications. New Scientist magazine has announced the publication of Arc, "A new digital magazine about the future". Arc features such articles as "The best time travel movie ever made" and "The future of science fiction, games, galleries — and futurism". They are advertising new fact and fiction from the likes of Maragret Atwood and Alastair Reynold.
The MIT Technology Review has announced the TRSF, dubbed "the first installment of a to-be-annual 'hard' SF collection". Some authors: Joe Haldeman and Cory Doctorow.

As an interesting note, both publications will be printed on paper for the first ("collectable") issue only, all forthcoming ones will be e-books."
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Rick Santorum's Google Problem (NSFW)

braindrainbahrain braindrainbahrain writes  |  more than 2 years ago

braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum has a Google problem. Due to remarks made by Santorum many years ago about homosexuality, columnist Dan Savage asked his readers for a slang to "memorialize the scandal". The result has become a website (NSFW) which ranks high enough that it shows up whenever someone google's Rick Santorum's name. Fortunately for him, people are already starting to provide advice on how he can solve this problem."
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The Hackerspace Global Grid - An Uncensorable, Sat

braindrainbahrain braindrainbahrain writes  |  more than 2 years ago

braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "The members of the Stuttgart Hackerspace have taken it upon themselves to launch their own space program. The immediate goal of the Hacker Space Program is to create an uncensorable internet in space beyond the control of terrestrial entities using a network of ground stations and communications satellites. In the longer term (think the year 2035), they'd like to put a hacker astronaut on the moon!"
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Pay for your trip to Mars with advertising revenue

braindrainbahrain braindrainbahrain writes  |  more than 3 years ago

braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "Is it time to think out of the box for funding space exploration? Governments are reluctant to commit money, and even private space tourism will only get us to low Earth orbit, but what about beyond that? In this article from the Journal of Cosmology, the author argues for a commercial, sponsored approach to finance the trip to explore and colonize Mars using advertising, naming rights, and merchandizing to raise the cash, not to mention reality TV. FTA: "The Human Mission to Mars, can be marketed and sold as the ultimate sports and reality TV extravaganza ...What could be more "real" than a Human Mission to Mars, where Astronaut heroes must overcome a grueling, competitive ordeal, with the "survivors" winning the right to face death while taking part in the ultimate adventure of all time? ""
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LRO photographs Soviet lunar landers from the 70's

braindrainbahrain braindrainbahrain writes  |  more than 4 years ago

braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "Photographs of the Sea of Crises on the Moon taken by The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, show the Soviet lunar landers, Luna 20, Luna 23, and Luna 24, which landed on the Moon in the 1970s. In addition to the landers, it is possible to see the tracks made by the Lunokhod lunar rover! The Soviet Lunokhod lunar rover predates the first successful Mars Rover by some 30 years

(BTW: Very kewl old-style artists drawings of the soviet crafts on the wikipedia links above)"

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Get hooked up for Fiber, but say goodbye to Copper

braindrainbahrain braindrainbahrain writes  |  more than 7 years ago

braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "In a story carried by the wires (AP, pun intended!), it is reported that subscribers to the Verizon Fiber Optic Service FioS are getting disconnected from the conventional copper-wire phone network when the fiber is installed. While I'm sure everyone believes fiber to the home is the future, is Verizon implementing the future, or just using the service to create a monopoly?"
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braindrainbahrain braindrainbahrain writes  |  more than 7 years ago

braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "Yet another story about an engineering shortage, this time in Aerospace and Defense. The AIAA is claiming there will be huge shortages in those industries due to an aging and retiring workforce. Buried deep within TFA , there is talk about outsourcing design services overseas. Will the next (US) moon rocket or fighter plane be designed overseas, or by people holding H1-B visas?"

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