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Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

dangle Astroscan (187 comments)

Speaking to their durability, a family friend gave his childhood Astroscan to our son for his fifth birthday. Our son is an adult now, and we still enjoy using it at home and on trips.

Dan Rutter has a nice Astroscan review that includes some other telescope suggestions:

http://www.dansdata.com/astros...

-Dangle

about 3 months ago
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Study Finds That Astronauts Are Severely Sleep Deprived

dangle Re:how dark can it be on the ISS? (106 comments)

This phenomenon also seems to occur in the darkness of caves as well.

about 4 months ago
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New Russian Fighter Not Up To Western Standards

dangle Per Cryptonomicon (354 comments)

“Ask a Soviet engineer to design a pair of shoes and he’ll come up with something that looks like the boxes that the shoes came in; ask him to make something that will massacre Germans, and he turns into Thomas Fucking Edison.”
  Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon

about 10 months ago
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Why Competing For Tenure Is Like Trying To Become a Drug Lord

dangle Re:Overstating their case (168 comments)

Exactly. For a while I was "going for it" to see how far I could rise in academics. I used to joke that I had risen from street thug to one of the guys that gets to sit at the bar in the local don's place. But I always added the caveat "at least I don't have to kill anyone or worry about being killed."

about a year ago
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State Rep. Says Biking Is Not Earth Friendly Because Breathing Produces CO2

dangle Re:Cars produce more (976 comments)

This is why I kept an objectively ugly plant alive in my office, since it had previously been in the office of a dear mentor of mine prior to his death. I liked the fact that it was made out of some of the CO2 he had exhaled over the years.

about a year and a half ago
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Hyundai Overstated MPG On Over 1 Million Cars

dangle Thank you (238 comments)

People forget, or never knew, how much bigger of a pain car ownership used to be. I spent the first part of my young adult life keeping the family's '71 Super Beetle alive. Easy to fix is very different from reliable. Brakes that don't self-adjust, carburetor disassembly and cleaning to allow the engine to keep from stalling for a few more months, different starting and driving methods for different temperatures. Maybe a relaxing hobby for some, but a source of life shortening stress if you depend on it for daily transportation.

Now I look forward to the time that we feel sorry for people that had to struggle with 21st century computer hassles.

about 2 years ago
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As Gas Prices Soar So Does City Biking

dangle Re:Unexamined Lives and All That (342 comments)

To clarify, the car is a great example of what society is capable of, but the way they are being used is not.

I own a car, but the more it stays in the driveway to rust in peace, the better things are for the world and for me.

Cars can have their place, but with car sharing, car rentals, public transport, I don't plan to replace my car after it dies.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Dedicating Code?

dangle Beautiful Idea (186 comments)

How about adding her name in the 'credits' after the other developers' names, perhaps with a short compliment on her qualities as a person? Or associated more closely with your name to avoid the team feeling as if you've appropriated the entire project.

more than 2 years ago
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As Gas Prices Soar So Does City Biking

dangle Unexamined Lives and All That (342 comments)

It took me a while to make the decision to bike to work. In retrospect, my whole life was colored by car culture. They're beautiful machines, and my friends and I spent large amounts of time talking about them and using them.

I also finally realized that our understandable desire to make our lives more comfortable and effortless is ultimately unhealthy.

All my notions and excuses left me, and I've been biking to work every day, unless snow and ice preclude it.

It's such an amazing way to start and end the day, even though it's not glamorized on TV.

On business a few years ago, a nice young man who was shuttling me into downtown Copenhagen in a company car described to me his intense interest in buying his own car, despite the tax disincentives to do so. And China is abandoning their bike culture, making single occupancy vehicle trips a sign of progress. And as an American I've found myself thinking: "It's not obligatory to copy every mistake we've made, feel free to learn from our bad examples."

more than 2 years ago
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FOIA Request Shows Which Printer Companies Cooperated With US Government

dangle Re:Interesting (355 comments)

I'm feeling a scene from Office Space coming on...

more than 2 years ago
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FOIA Request Shows Which Printer Companies Cooperated With US Government

dangle Interesting (355 comments)

Because I've been wondering for a while why the yellow ink was always disappearing faster than the other colors on our printers, I wonder if this accounts for some of the loss?

more than 2 years ago
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TMS9918A Retro Video Chip Reimplemented In FPGA, With VGA Out

dangle I don't have VGA (126 comments)

I have ColecoVision and a black and white TV.

more than 2 years ago
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Banks Using Mobile Phone Usage To Gauge Credit Risk

dangle Another Step to Total Information Awareness (196 comments)

I'm not a tinfoiler (in fact, part of my job is to try to help tinfoilers) but this is just another (? inexorable) step towards total information awareness. MasterCard and others have demonstrated an almost spooky ability to make future predictions based on seemingly irrelevant data, predictions that hold true and provide valuable guidance for large populations, despite the fact that individuals will be harmed. With a little more database interconnectivity, coupled with a gigantic complex of computers, there's no limit...

-Dan

more than 2 years ago
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Wikipedia Losing Contributors, Says Wales

dangle Women to the Rescue? (533 comments)

I attended a talk this year that Jimmy Wales gave at a local university, where he described wanting to actively increase the number of women contributing and editing Wikipedia. Barriers he cited included the fact that "Men are very comfortable making authoritative statements about things they know nothing about."

more than 3 years ago
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The Gulf's Great Turtle Relocation Project

dangle Not Clear We'll Know the Outcome (104 comments)

Nowhere have I seen any information about tagging the turtles to monitor their progress. It might be impossible given their small size at birth in comparison to their adult size, and the fact that this population takes about 18 years to reach sexual maturity. The LAT has a few more details: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-spill-turtles-20100715,0,2244379.story

more than 4 years ago
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Tiny Cube Drags Space Debris From Orbit

dangle 3 kg? (77 comments)

That actually seems pretty heavy to someone like myself with no aerospace engineering experience. Is this par for the course in satellite design?

more than 4 years ago
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Humans Nearly Went Extinct 1.2M Years Ago

dangle That was the reason! (356 comments)

More evidence supporting the B Ark theory of human origins...

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Endeavor stack being rebuilt piece by piece

dangle dangle writes  |  about 8 months ago

dangle (1381879) writes "The Exposition Park museum in LA is working to rebuild the Endeavor launch stack, a display that will take thousands of pieces to complete due to parts that are scattered at NASA facilities, museums and other places across the U.S. Most are one of a kind and impossible to replicate. Dennis Jenkins, who spent his entire 30-plus year career sending the shuttles into space, is playing a key role in locating essential parts using his own and his colleagues' institutional memory. Employed by NASA contractor Martin Marietta, he helped write the software used in loading and controlling the liquid oxygen needed to launch the 2,250-ton shuttle assembly into low Earth orbit. Now, with the program part of a bygone era of exploration, the 57-year-old works for the California Science Center, helping officials figure out how to rebuild Endeavour."
Link to Original Source
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NSA to cut 90% of Sysadmins

dangle dangle writes  |  about a year ago

dangle (1381879) writes "In an attempt to prevent future data leaks, Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the NSA’s director, has announced plans to cut almost all the agency's system administrators. “What we’re in the process of doing – not fast enough – is reducing our system administrators by about 90 percent,” he said last week at Fordham University in New York. Many of those systems administrators are contractors, like Snowden was. Instead of the 1,000 systems administrators NSA uses, Alexander wants to move more of the operation to the cyber cloud, called the Intelligence Community’s Information Technology Enterprise (ICITE), which relies on a network of computers linked on the Internet. “We’ve put people in the loop of transferring data, securing networks and doing things that machines are probably better at doing,” Alexander said."
Link to Original Source
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NAVSOP: A robust solution to GPS jamming?

dangle dangle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

dangle (1381879) writes "BAE Systems has developed a positioning solution that it claims will work even when GPS is unavailable. Its strategy is to use the collection of radio frequency signals from TV, radio and cellphone masts, even WiFi routers, to deduce a position.
BAE's answer is dubbed Navigation via Signals of Opportunity (NAVSOP). It interrogates the airwaves for the ID and signal strength of local digital TV and radio signals, plus air traffic control radars, with finer grained adjustments coming from cellphone masts and WiFi routers. In any given area, the TV, radio, cellphone and radar signals tend to be at constant frequencies and power levels as they are are heavily regulated — so positions could be calculated from them. "The real beauty of NAVSOP is that the infrastructure required to make it work is already in place," says a BAE spokesman — and "software defined radio" microchips that run NAVSOP routines can easily be integrated into existing satnavs. The firm believes the technology could also work in urban concrete canyons where GPS signals cannot currently reach."

Link to Original Source
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3D printer instructions for Lego, K'Nex, adapters

dangle dangle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

dangle (1381879) writes "F.A.T. Lab and Sy-Lab have officially released their Free Universal Construction Kit, allowing builders to freely interconnect parts from Lego, K'Nex, Fischertechnik and other common building sets. ZomeTool and Zoob patterns will be available after related patents expire. The makers have also spent considerable effort investigating and anticipating legal complaints from manufacturers, using an Inverse Think of The Children Argument:

Some may express concern that the Free Universal Construction Kit infringes such corporate prerogatives as copyright, design right, trade dress, trademarks or patents of the supported toy systems. We encourage those eager to enforce these rights to please think of the children — and we assert that the home printing of the Free Universal Construction Kit constitutes protected fair use."

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Power System Failure Cancels 140 Flights

dangle dangle writes  |  more than 3 years ago

dangle (1381879) writes "Technicians were installing a backup power-supply system for the combined Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air computer system this weekend when a transformer malfunctioned, taking down the system around 3 a.m. Saturday, affecting approximately 12,150 passengers through the cancellation of 140 flights, equalling 15% of the airline's scheduled departures on Saturday.

"We're almost pretty much" back to normal following the transformer malfunction, airlines spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said Sunday. "We should be right on track by the end of today.""

Link to Original Source
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Voyager 2 Speaking in Tongues

dangle dangle writes  |  more than 4 years ago

dangle (1381879) writes "Voyager 2's flight data system, which formats information before beaming it back to Earth, has experienced a hiccup that has altered the pattern in which it sends updates home, preventing mission managers from decoding the science data beamed to Earth from Voyager 2. The spacecraft, which is currently 8.6 billion miles (13.8 billion km) from Earth, is apparently still in overall good health, according to the latest engineering data received on May 1. "Voyager 2's initial mission was a four-year journey to Saturn, but it is still returning data 33 years later," said Voyager project scientist Ed Stone of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "It has already given us remarkable views of Uranus and Neptune, planets we had never seen close-up before. We will know soon what it will take for it to continue its epic journey of discovery." The space probe and its twin Voyager 1 are flying through the bubble-like heliosphere, created by the sun, which surrounds our solar system."
Link to Original Source
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Solar Radiation Ended Chandrayaan-1 Mission

dangle dangle writes  |  more than 5 years ago

dangle (1381879) writes "The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has determined that higher than anticipated levels of solar radiation led to the premature end of the Chandrayaan-1 mission after 10 months of data collection. "We have learnt some valuable lessons," said Madhavan Nair. In future missions, ISRO would look for devices that are less susceptible to radiation, he added. High levels of solar radiation led to the destruction of the power supply units for two computers on board the spacecraft. This ultimately led to loss of communication to or from the spacecraft. Failure of the primary and redundant star sensors in April and May of this year was also blamed on solar radiation. The spacecraft is hovering 200 kilometers above the moon's surface, and is estimated to impact the moon in about 1,000 days."
Link to Original Source
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iPhone Straining AT&T Network

dangle dangle writes  |  more than 5 years ago

dangle (1381879) writes "More than 20 million other smartphone users are on the AT&T network, but other phones do not drain the network the way the nine million iPhones users do. Because the average iPhone owner can use 10 times the network capacity used by the average smartphone user, dropped calls, spotty service, delayed text and voice messages and glacial download speeds are the result as AT&T's cellular network strains to meet the demand. AT&T says that the majority of the nearly $18 billion it will spend this year on its networks will be diverted into upgrades and expansions to meet the surging demands on the 3G network. The company intends to erect an additional 2,100 cell towers to fill out patchy coverage, upgrade existing cell sites by adding fiber optic connectivity to deliver data faster and add other technology to provide stronger cell signals. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/03/technology/companies/03att.html?hp"

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