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Practical Jetpack Available "Soon"

mattnyc99 Jet Packs Are Still Hype! (237 comments)

We've discussed this before! I mean have you watched that video? The thing barely gets off the ground!

more than 6 years ago

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The Manliest Best Picture Winners According to Math

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "Acclaimed math geek Garth Sundem has attempted to create an algorithm for manly movies over at Esquire.com, and the results are both surprising and illustrative of how math can't always account for taste: Two Godfathers comes in the top 10, but so do American Beauty and Gandhi. From the article: "His formula... takes into account both critic and audience scores (so the everyman counts); the Google returns for a title's association with "greatest"; genre (anything along the gritty continuum is good; musicals are not); whether a character dies (a little morbid, but an important indicator nonetheless); extra wins for awe-inspiring visual effects and lead male performances (bonuses for Brando, Bogart, and the like), and memorable quotes." What do you think? Should we be making math account for culture?"
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Tibco to Unveil 'Facebook for Global Leaders' at D

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "After all the SOPA and PIPA talk about what to do with all that information out there, along comes Esquire's new profile of Vivek Ranadive, Silicon Valley mega-mogul and Golden State Warriors owner, which attempts to cast him as the man who understands how best to "harness the ocean of data in this world." But perhaps the story's more interesting revelation is the introduction of his company's new software TomCom, which will be unveiled next week at the World Economic Forum and used by the 200 most powerful people on the planet, and some of their important friends. From the article: "It is basically a customized, ridiculously secure version of tibbr, a platform developed by Tibco as a kind of combination Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, texting, and Skype. It is a private social network, essentially — in this case, for world leaders.""
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The End of Privacy?

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "In the new issue of Esquire, author Stephen Marche has a thought-provoking essay on why the privacy era is coming to a close. Citing everything from Google+ ("basically Facebook with privacy") to Charlie Sheen, he makes the case that something happened to us as we all got used to the idea of privacy: we got it back. From the article: "In the information age, privacy becomes more important, not less. It has taken a riotous release of the innate curiosity of human beings to see and to know all the squalid details of all the squalid stories for everybody to realize that seclusion is necessary to becoming and remaining a person. Human beings, like mushrooms, grow in the dark.""
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What Happens After the Super-Hero Movie Bubble?

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "In the wake of a not-that-exciting Comic-Con come some (perhaps premature) reports on the so-called "Death of Superheroes" — what one financial group calls "the top of the (comic book) character remonetization cycle." In response, Esquire.com's Paul Schrodt has an interesting look down Hollywood geek road. From the article: "What happens after The Avengers, or Christopher Nolan's third and final Batman movie — after we've seen all there is to see of the best comic-book blockbusters ever made?""
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Are Fake Geeks Dooming Real Ones?

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "In the wake of the Best Buy "geek" trademarking and Miss USA calling herself "a huge history geek," writer (and self-proclaimed geek) Eryn Green has an interesting piece for Esquire on how so-called "geek chic" is pervading the culture so much that no one appreciates an actual geek anymore. From the article: "The difference between brains and beauty is that you're more or less born into good looks — entitled, if you will. Intelligence? That takes work. If the hallmark of real geekiness — of America — is determination, then we seem too determined to have an entitlement problem.""
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Inside the World of Pixar, "Steve Jobs's Movie"

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "Tom Junod, the great Esquire writer who penned that famous Steve Jobs profile a couple years back, is back with a new story on John Lasseter, Pixar, and how CGI movies turn good boys into men. But Junod also gets gets glimpses that other recent profiles haven't — at Lasseter's incredible house (steam engines in glass ceilings, hidden chambers, braided wiring) but also inside Jobs' influence on the Pixar machine. From the article: The building in Emeryville is, in Lasseter's words, "Steve Jobs's movie." Jobs not only designed it; he designed it so that people inside it would behave a certain way. "Steve really believes in the accidental meeting," Lasseter says, and to that end he designed the building around a cathedral-like atrium, which is also where he located all the bathrooms and the subsidized company commissary. "Steve really believes that it's important to have great food," Lasseter says."
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Beyond Rapture: Peak Humanity Real End of Humanity

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "Tom Junod, the award-winning Esquire writer whose work on deanimation we've explored here before — and who finds himself "trying to avail myself of the consequences of faith" — has a fascinating look at the concept of Peak Humanity on the occasion of the looming "judgment day" on Saturday. For anyone who's ever read a population report from the UN, this seems a lot scarier than religious conspiracy theories. From the article: "Humanity's final number is also, by definition, its final sustainable one, and life on earth is going to have to get pretty unpleasant for us to reach it. Already we have succeeded all too well in erasing what was left of the buffer between humanity and nature, leaving us to lurch from catastrophe to catastrophe; add global warming to that already accelerating dynamic, not to mention possibility of Peak Oil and the inevitability of war, and there is reason to wonder if the end of humanity's expansion will result in — or be the result of — the end of humanity, at least as we know it.""
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Schneier: US Will Overreact to Moscow Airport Bomb

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "This morning we talked briefly about Moscow's additional security in the wake of a terrorist attack on its airport. But the bombers did, in fact, dodge security checks that were already in place, you can bet America's Homeland Security people will come back with the equivalent of a baggage-claim body scan. Security guru Bruce Schneier has weighed in on Esquire's politics blog: "This is the sort of thing that yes, people are likely to overreact to, and do all sorts of things that'll do nothing to solve the problem but make people feel better.... it doesn't matter how much money Moscow spent on security checkpoints and passenger screening and ID checks. All that was irrelevant. The attackers said 'Oh yeah, airport security's too hard. I'm going to go someplace else.'"
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Was the Wheel of Fortune 'Miracle' Really a Hack?

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "By now everyone's seen the video of Caitlin Burke's one-letter solve on Wheel of Fortune last Friday. But not everyone knows how easy it is to game the system of game shows, how easy it is for an addicted viewer to prepare for a big on-air win. Esquire writer Chris Jones pulled back the curtain a bit on the Price Is Right's perfect showcase, but now he's got something of an investigation into America's latest gamebreaker. From the article: "At a remarkably fast rate — "I wanted to show everyone what I've got," Burke says — she can cycle through her shortened lists of possibility. As more letters are guessed and either lit up or discarded, she can permanently drop those from contention, too. Her brain has a one-way valve built into it. Eventually, everything gets distilled, each puzzle boiled down to its most likely combination — two-letter words, three-letter words, and so on. Burke has trained her brain so that the impossible falls away, never to return, and eventually, out of the crowded ether, only a handful of solutions emerge.""
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The Future of the Most Important Human Brain Ever

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "About a year ago, we watched live as neuroanatomist Jacopo Annese sliced the brain of Memento-style patient Henry Molaison (aka H.M.) into 2,401 pieces. Since even before then, writer Luke Dittrich — whose grandfather happened to be the surgeon to accidentally slice open the H.M. skull in the first place — has been tracking Annese and a new revolution in brain science for Esquire. From the article: "If Korbinian Brodmann created the mind's Rand McNally, Jacopo Annese is creating its Google Maps... With his Brain Observatory, Annese is setting out to create not the world's largest but the world's most useful collection of brains... For the first time, we'll be able to meaningfully and easily compare large numbers of brains, perhaps finally understanding why one brain might be less empathetic or better at calculus or likelier to develop Alzheimer's than another. The Brain Observatory promises to revolutionize our understanding of how these three-pound hunks of tissue inside our skulls do what they do, which means, of course, that it promises to revolutionize our understanding of ourselves.""
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Sonic Skydive's Real Aim: Help Astronauts Survive

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "Earlier this year came reports that Felix Baumgartner (the daredevil who flew across the English Channel) would be attempting to jump from a balloon at least 120,000 feet altitude, break the sound barrier, and live. Now comes a big investigative story from Esquire's issue on achieving the impossible, which details the former NASA team dedicated to making sure Baumgartner's Stratos project will instruct the future safety of manned space flight (including Jonathan Clark, the husband of an astronaut who died in the Columbia disaster). From the article (which also includes pics and video shot by the amateur space photographer we've discussed here before): "that's also precisely what makes Stratos great. It's more like Mercury than the shuttle: They're taking risks, making things up as they go along. But they're also doing important work, potentially groundbreaking work. They're doing what NASA no longer has the balls to do. Hell, he'd do it for free. He is doing it for free. Stratos only picks up his travel expenses. Clark looks at his friend, shrugs. 'This is new space.'""
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More Than 75% of #worldcup Tweets Deemed Useless

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "We've talked about the constant, frustrating drone of vuvuzelas, but what about the non-stop blabbering that has become Twitter this month? Esquire has a handy analysis of tweets during the last USA game, and the results are shocking — even for the usually frenzied Twitter: Out of 1,000 tweets with the #worldcup hashtag during the game, only 16 percent were legitimate news and 7.6 percent were deemed "legitimate conversation" — which leaves 6 percent spam, 24 percent self-promotion, about 17 percent re-tweets, and a whopping 29 percent of useless observation (like this). Is the mainstream media making too big a deal out of the avalanche of World Cup tweets, or is the world literally flooding the zone?"
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GE's Sodium Fast Reactor Cleaning Up Nuclear Waste

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "No matter what you think of Esquire's Augmented Reality issue, inside it are the magazine's always illuminating Best and Brightest profiles, including this extra-illuminating story on Eric Loewen, the average-geek GE engineer whose nuclear-waste transformation process might provide the world with a plan for when the oil reserves dry up. At least one Republican seems to tentatively support the fourth-generation "PRISM" reactor, and while Bill Clinton shut it down and Obama has yet to approve, Steven Chu might push liberals behind a suddenly advanced version of what was once a McCain-campaign agenda. From the article: "I was intrigued because from [Dr. James] Hansen's description, it sounded like we must be nuts for not pursuing this. If you discovered a machine that turned lead into gold, you'd think the government would exploit the machine for the good of the country.""
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Stats Say Americans Still Aren't Drinking, Gamblin

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mattnyc99 writes "Nate Silver from the great geek politics blog FiveThirtyEight.com has an interesting column in this month's issue of Esquire, essentially crunching the numbers to find out there are no sins left to tax. That is, for all the broke states out there looking for answers, they're not going to find money in people wanting to go to new casinos or wash away their sorrows in booze. From the article: "Conventional wisdom has long held that gambling is recession-proof. In Las Vegas, it's been anything but. Gaming revenues received by local casinos were down 12 percent in 2008 as compared with a year earlier. (This figure and all others in this article are reported on an inflation-adjusted basis.) And 2009 will be even worse: So far, revenues are off almost 15 percent from 2008's already depressed figures. The recession, then, appears set to cost Las Vegas more than a quarter of its business.""
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What Would You've Said If You Were Neil Armstrong?

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "Monday, as we all know, is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Esquire.com is running a cool archival story today from its July 1969 issue, in which they asked heady famous people — Asimov, Nabokov, Ayn Rand, even Leonard Nimoy — what the first lunar quote should be. Which leads to my question: What would good space geeks like us have made our first words spoken on the moon if we's gotten their before Neil Armstrong?"
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Air Force Planning New Drone Fleet for Pakistan

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "With tensions high on the border, a new commander in Afghanistan, and complaints of civilian deaths from robotic U.S. strikes in Pakistan raising anti-American sentiment, the Air Force is sketching out concepts for new robotic hitmen, reports Esquire.com. Among the new drones (which are all very small) are the Suburb Warrior (loaded with four or five mini missiles for semi-urban environments), the Sniper targeting system ("that can lock on to multiple targets, allowing a single drone pilot to coordinate the attacks of a squadron of robots"), and a backup fleet of flying buggies that act as suicide-bomber snipers. From the article: "Picking through the dozens of systems in this briefing, many of which will be flight-tested within five years, there's a clear set of goals: build smaller, even microscopic drones with smaller weapons that can hunt in swarms and engage targets in the close quarters of urban battlefields. And hunt as soon as possible.""
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A Full-Blown Map-Based Location-Aware Mobile World

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "Two weeks after the launch of Google Latitude, your inbox is probably full of requests and privacy advocates probably have even more concerns than they did at first. But some tech pundits are already seeing the bigger picture of a digital lifestyle based around the always-on, GPS-based mobile map. The NYT's always reliable John Markoff, who called for a new Internet on Sunday, has a great piece in today's Science Times about the map as metaphor for a time when "future systems will probably begin to blur the boundaries between the display and the real world." Over at Esquire.com's Tech Therapist, Erik Sofge talks to the geek behind Latitude and offers a similar reality check. From the article: "Latitude will be precisely as annoying as e-mail and social networking sites and cell phones themselves — and just as useful. What won't stop Latitude, or the wider rollout of location-based tracking, is bitching about it. These are juggernauts of free, culture-reorienting technology. And you and me, we are but posts on the massive Facebook profile of history.""
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Inside Obama's Plan for All Those Email Addresses

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "At this point, many Slashdot users are used to receiving emails from Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, who had a spam war of his own until November. Now his plans for Grassroots 2.0 (aka Organizing for America) in 2009 and beyond have been revealed, first quietly by Obama himself just before inauguration and now in this great new profile from Esquire: "The idea is a national operation, likely named Organizing for America, that will resemble Obama's grassroots operation in reach and love. It will be as finely tuned as the campaign behemoth and funded the same way — no money from third parties. If Obama has a policy initiative he wants to push, or a message he needs to disseminate, or a gaffe he wants to bat down, he will call David Plouffe and Plouffe will unleash the many-million-mouthed dog, just as he did all across America for these past two years. If you believe in Obama and in the need for change and for a new, streamlined, hyperlinked Democratic party, then this is a watershed idea. It is a mechanism that could truly morph the power structure in Washington — waking up the unused, overslept public, as Plouffe successfully did on the campaign, and making an end run around lobbyists and interest groups.""
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Remembering NASA Disasters with Eye Toward Future

mattnyc99 mattnyc99 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mattnyc99 (1008511) writes "This next week marks the anniversary of three sad days in NASA's history: three astronauts died in a capsule fire testing for Apollo 1 exactly 42 years ago today, then the Challenger went down 23 years ago tomorrow, followed by the Columbia disaster six years ago this Super Bowl Sunday. Amidst all this sadness, though, too many average Americans take our space program for granted. Amidst reconsiderations of NASA priorities from the Obama camp as the Shuttle nears retirement, then, the brilliant writer Chris Jones offers a great first-hand account in the new issue of Esquire — an impassioned argument against the impending end of our manned space program. In which camp do you fall: mourner or rocketeer?"

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