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Best Cube?

coldsalmon Non-fictional vs. fictional cubes (265 comments)

The best cube I've actually seen would be a Rubik's Cube. They're super cool, clever, and pretty. The only other non-fictional cube is the ice cube. I have only once seen ice cubes that were actually cubes, and they were a huge pain to get out of the ice cube tray. So, cubic ice cubes fail for being crappy, and non-cubic ice cubes fail for not being cubes.

My choice for fictional cubes is the Borg Cube. It is an iconic departure from typical spaceship designs in science fiction, in the same way that the Daleks were a departure from typical space monsters. The lack of overtly menacing characteristics makes it the more menacing, and its simplicity adds to a sense of foreboding mystery. I think it was a very clever and successful design choice. It narrowly beats the Companion Cube, which is similarly well-designed.

about two weeks ago
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The Interview Bombs In US, Kills In China, Threatens N. Korea

coldsalmon Culture and information matter. (288 comments)

The North Korean regime's survival depends on keeping its people completely uninformed. Here's an article about how even a little bit of information about the outside world can destroy the carefully constructed myths that sustain North Korean society: http://articles.latimes.com/20...

"About two years ago, a North Korean who worked in the state fisheries division was on a boat in the Yellow Sea when his transistor radio picked up a South Korean situation comedy. The radio program featured two young women who were fighting over a parking space in their apartment complex.
A parking space? The North Korean was astonished by the idea that there was a place with so many cars that there would be a shortage of places to park them. Although he was in his late 30s and a director of his division, he had never met anyone who owned their own car.
The North Korean never forgot that radio show and ended up defecting to South Korea last year."

The article is old, but I don't think things have changed much in North Korea.

about a month ago
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Army To Launch Spy Blimp Over Maryland

coldsalmon Aerostat definitions (177 comments)

Aerostat -- a lighter than air craft that gains its lift through the use of a buoyant gas
Balloon -- an unpowered aerostat, which remains aloft or floats due to its buoyancy
Moored/Tethered Balloon -- a balloon that is restrained by a cable attached to the ground or a vehicle and so cannot float freely
Airship or Dirigible -- a type of aerostat or lighter-than-air aircraft which can navigate through the air under its own power
Blimp -- an airship without an internal structural framework or a keel
Rigid Airship -- a type of airship (or dirigible) in which the envelope is supported by an internal framework
Zeppelin -- a type of rigid airship named after the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin

I am sick and tired of people using improper terminology to refer to aerostats. The proper term for the subject of this article is a "moored balloon" or "tethered balloon." All definitions above are from Wikipedia. You're welcome. Now get off my lawn, because a zeppelin will be landing on it shortly.

about a month and a half ago
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Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor of Typing

coldsalmon "Please Print" (523 comments)

I spent years in grammar school trying to write cursive well, because everyone told me that when I got to middle school, cursive would be required! When I actually got there, cursive was forbidden because nobody can read anyone else's cursive handwriting. And besides, we were already typing everything. Every handwritten form I've ever seen says "Please print" on the top. Why did I spend all of that time learning cursive if everyone always tells me to print?

about a month ago
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I'm most interested in robots that will...

coldsalmon Automating basic tasks means sales/investment (307 comments)

Robots that do mundane tasks are easier to make than the others on this list (many already exist, such as the Roomba). They also already sell well, meaning that incremental innovation in this sector will probably be profitable and easy to finance -- and will eventually help to produce much more complex robots. It seems to me that this is where much of the innovation will likely happen, so I'm interested in watching this sector. Yes, we can already spend billions of dollars to make a specialized robot that will explore a planet/moon/comet/etc., but this is pretty far from general advances in robotics that will make it feasible to have lots of robots perform lots of generic tasks easily -- and thus to have robots become a part of everyday life.

about 3 months ago
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The Students Who Feel They Have the Right To Cheat

coldsalmon Re:Ok... just turned two score, but... (438 comments)

About to hit 42 myself and completely agree. And we were thought to be completely rotten teens by adults.... today's kids make us look like genius saints.
-said every 42 year old in history...

"Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers." -- Socrates

about 3 months ago
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Alienware's Triangular Area-51 Re-Design With Tri-SLI GeForce GTX 980, Tested

coldsalmon Cool story, bro. (138 comments)

I liked the part about the triangular PC case.

about 3 months ago
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Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days

coldsalmon Re:Why Is This Still A Thing? (986 comments)

I'm following the E-CAT stories because I am really curious how Rossi is managing to fool everyone over and over again. It seems like everyone knows it's a scam, but nobody knows how he's actually pulling it off. That is the interesting part: I want to find out HOW he's doing it.

about 3 months ago
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A Production-Ready Flying Car Is Coming This Month

coldsalmon Re:Roadable aircraft aren't "flying cars" (203 comments)

It also entails all of the safety issues of an airplane; the platonic ideal of a "flying car" is as safe and intuitive as a road car.

about 4 months ago
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Seattle Passes Laws To Keep Residents From Wasting Food

coldsalmon Re:Weight or volume? (385 comments)

By the time the bag of garbage is offered as evidence in court, the compostable portion will likely have shrunk to below 10% by volume.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

coldsalmon Exoplanet detection, for example (234 comments)

I recall hearing a few stories about amateur astronomers and/or teams detecting exoplanets. See this previous Slashdot article, for example:

http://science.slashdot.org/st...

Is this the kind of thing that you're interested in?

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

coldsalmon Has anyone done this? (234 comments)

If anyone on Slashdot has made a major career shift into the sciences later in life, I would be very interested to hear that story.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?

coldsalmon My RAID horror story (268 comments)

I once had a RAID5 array with 4 disks on my home computer. Two disks were connected to the motherboard, and two were connected to a SATA PCI card because the MoBo didn't have enough SATA slots. One day, the PCI card had a little hiccup, and two of the 4 disks got out of sync. The array was toast. Note that my RAID5 array contributed to this failure -- it would not have happened if I had not been running RAID (and if I hadn't made a poor configuration choice). Fortunately, I had a backup.

RAID is great for protecting mission-critical systems from HDD failure when uptime is a major concern -- but it can also cause more problems than it solves. Now, my business server uses RAID but my home computer does not.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?

coldsalmon My office backup (268 comments)

For my office data, I have an external HDD that uses rsnapshot to create incremental snapshots every hour, day, week, and month. The server data is also mirrored to each desktop in the office, and my laptop, daily. For offisite backups (other than my laptop), I use duplicity to backup to Amazon S3, which costs about $3 per month. I realize that there are some security issues with this setup.

about 4 months ago

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