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Should NASA Send Astronauts On Voluntary One-Way Missions?

theIsovist Re:Yes, for any mission (306 comments)

Sending them on a one way trip turns risk into reality. It's one thing to say there's a 20% chance of survival and another to say, we're not bringing you back. Short of suicidal people, there aren't many I know who would choose to die (not to possibly die) for the sake of science.

about two weeks ago
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How interested are you in Virtual Reality tech?

theIsovist Re:VR again? (202 comments)

The killer app probably depends on your usage. As an architect, I'm interested in seeing something like the Oculus Rift combined with 3d modeling apps like Rhinoceros. Being able to actually stick your head into your models would be a huge advance in getting to understand the feel of a space.

about two weeks ago
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Darker Arctic Boosting Global Warming

theIsovist Re:Terraforming 101: Chapter 1 - What not to do (378 comments)

Admittedly, these experiences are like one's first experiences with learning how to paint - finger painting and messy but with much larger existential consequences and no actual paint.

So it's more like "Baby's first handgun?" Let's hope we survive our first "test" here.

about 2 months ago
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Plasmonic Nanostructures Could Prove a Boon To Solar Cell Technology

theIsovist Re:I will believe it when I can buy it (107 comments)

"But at a solar/green event I went to, I use so little electricity that only after mentioning that was it *maybe* worthwhile for me."

This is a very good point. Homes, individually, don't take too much power, so powering each one of them with it's own generator (solar or otherwise) is redundant and expensive. Maintenance, too, is a pain for the average home owner. So centralizing power generation is great, for the most part. At least until you start factoring in transmission loss. What ideally will happen, and this will take time thanks to the cooperation it requires, is that district power plants will spring up. That a commercial building can produce so much power that it can sell the rest to local houses. You're starting to see this happen, and in the future, hopefully it will happen more. There's other benefits to this approach as well. Say, for instance, you run a massive server farm. This farm produces a lot of heat, and if you can capture this heat, you could use it to power your building and perhaps other neighboring buildings as well. It's an idea that's catching on in Europe and a few places in the US. So maybe solar power on your home isn't going to become viable, but that doesn't mean solar won't be in your future.

about 6 months ago
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Software Brings Eye Contact To Video Chat, With a Little Help From Kinect

theIsovist Re:there's always looking right at the camera (111 comments)

Yeah... and I didn't help myself for not fully reading their comment. Read the article and not the comments, I should be banned, right?

about 7 months ago
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Software Brings Eye Contact To Video Chat, With a Little Help From Kinect

theIsovist Re:there's always looking right at the camera (111 comments)

No where in the article does it say they are looking directly at the camera. And if you look at the photos they are showing, you should automatically realize that the viewer is looking away from the camera (presumably at the screen displaying the other person's face), and the image is adjusted to give the illusion that the viewer is looking into the camera (thus achieving digital eye contact). Come on folks, this is Slashdot. We used to be smart. Let's bring that back.

about 7 months ago
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Scottish Academic: Mining the Moon For Helium 3 Is Evil

theIsovist Re:Useless academic is useless. (462 comments)

Cultural objections: The moon is something that everyone on earth sees, and you're right, it's in a vacuum. It's (on our time frame) unchanging. Have you ever seen how terrible our clear cut forests look? Imagine if you looked up at the moon and saw nothing but tracks and the left over garbage of years of helium-3 farming. There's something impressive about seeing man's alteration of nature on that grand of a scale, but we lose out on the pure grandness of something that we, for the most part, haven't corrupted yet.

about 8 months ago
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Elon Musk's New Hologram Project Invites 'Iron Man' Comparisons

theIsovist Re: Those who do not study the past (135 comments)

Buddy, i am an architect. i spent years drafting in school and lament that we don't draft today. we don't draft because it is archaic, although we still sketch. the big thing you are missing is that drafting is a hard line drawing, meticulously constructed with rulers, parallel guides, circle templates, triangles, and a mess of other guides that help control your lines. we don't draw in mid air. even painters had a canvas to press against.

about 8 months ago
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Elon Musk's New Hologram Project Invites 'Iron Man' Comparisons

theIsovist Re:Those who do not study the past (135 comments)

Can we please stop with the karma whoring that is "gorilla arm syndrome reminder"? Everyone keeps bringing this up every time a new interface is created, as if nothing new under the sun will ever work. If you want to fault this, you would probably do much better questioning the ability of a user to create refined designs on the level of rocket science with just his hands floating in mid air. There's nothing to press against, nothing to provide feedback. That would require very intricate control indeed.

about 8 months ago
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Quadcopter Guided By Thought — Accurately

theIsovist Re:A natural progression (79 comments)

The fact that you have to learn how to produce these patterns makes me wonder what would happen if you "attached" these to a very young infant. From what I have read, their brains are wiring themselves based off of responses to their actions. I wonder if the thought controlled robot could become an extension of their own body if they are introduced to it at a very young age. I imagine it's harder to learn to control these actions once your brain has a basic understanding of what does what, hence the learning curve.

about 10 months ago
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$5 Sensor Turns LCD Monitors Into Touchscreens

theIsovist Re:Touch screen or big button? (98 comments)

I was fortunate enough to see all the work that these guys are pursuing (there's some really fun energy monitoring that they've developed, using only a single device to monitor a whole house). From what it sounds like, the sensing systems are very low resolution, useful for exactly what you said. Is something there and how big is it? As the system is just noticing a flux in energy when your hand interacts with the field given off by the monitor, they (when they spoke with us a few months ago) said it seemed unlikely.

Fun fact though, they've used the same technology to monitor the fields generated by the lights in a room, so you can actually gain a picture of movement in the room based off of only the flux in the lights' power draws. Again, this is very low resolution, but you don't always need every system to be high res.

about a year ago
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Building Better Body Armor With Nanofoams

theIsovist Re:Buildings smuildings (74 comments)

Buildings don't get bombed that often, but that doesn't mean it's not worth it to do so. All major government buildings are required to have blast resistant exteriors, and other facilities, such as factories often have blast resistant materials because, well, things sometimes explode unexpectedly. The point of the blast resistance is entirely there to protect the person. You want to minimize the amount of shrapnel that occurs when the material is hit by a strong force. In this case, with the foam, it could help disperse the force of blast, resulting in less damage, less shrapnel, and hopefully less structural damage.

As for demolition - buildings are gutted before demolition. There's a lot of scrap material that can be recycled or reused. There's also a lot of material that you don't want being blown out of the building when the charges go off. So a good portion of the demo work is stripping the building down to its structure. Blast proof material would be removed for many reasons, but in particular, you wouldn't want to mess with the precise calculations that go into dropping a building straight down.

1 year,18 days
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Ask Slashdot: Best 3-D Design Software?

theIsovist Re:Rhino (218 comments)

I'll second this. I'm currently in grad school for architecture, and we use a ton of maker-space-esque tools. We have laser cutters, cnc mills, cnc plasmacutters, a waterjet cutter, 3d printers, and now a cnc fabric cutter, and Rhino's the tool of choice to design in here. It also has a ton of free plug ins that expand its power. Grasshopper's a great visual scripting tool if you're into parametric design (I'm not exactly sold on this yet), and through Grasshopper, you can use Firefly. Firefly is a plugin for Grasshopper that lets you talk to microcontrollers/other networks/webcams, and use the data to drive design. I just finished up a project where we used firefly to prototype a mechanical louver system to be controlled by Arduino, which was then fabricated on a laser cutter. It's a good tool, and very easy to learn.

about a year ago
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Congressman Introduces Bill To Ban Minting of Trillion-Dollar Coin

theIsovist Re:Can't America get its acts together ? (1059 comments)

then let me explain a bit more. First off, I was writing with passion, which left me saying things less clearly than I would have liked to. As for the situation - I was offered a job with the school's research branch over the summer. It was a work study job that is paid partially through governement funds. Basically, the school pays half of what I get paid, and the government foots the other half of the bill. This is great for the school, and works for the student - most of the time. During the summer, a full time work study position is paid out of the total amount of money you can take out for loans. So the money I was gaining over the summer was money that was being directly removed from fall quarter's funds. Upon reaching fall quarter, I was surprised to find that my loans wouldn't cover tuition, even though I was paying far less now that I had a few waivers this year. I then found out about the summer work study issue. So I asked them to increase my loans to the maximum, in order to just pay tuition, and found that at that point, I had only 200 dollars left per month to pay for the basics - rent, food, school supplies. This was a bit of a shock. Thankfully, there's a very good work study advisor here who found every last dime I could make. This left me with around 600 a month, which was fine, but my rent, although low comparatively, would leave me with 50 dollars left to pay for everything else. That's when I found out from another student that this happened to them last year. I spoke with the school about it, and then found out that, according to the state's rules, I qualify. I had no intention of scamming the system, I simply explained my situation. In their words - "that's great, you're the person we'd like to help because you'll help us as soon as you're out of school again making money" And they are right.

So that's the story. I had back up options. My IRA's still cranking along, but the money in there is money I cannot touch without stiff penalties. And if you wonder why I would avoid touching that money now, you don't understand the goals of saving. I'll need it more when I'm older. I have a strong family, but with my age, and with my parents reaching retirement (and having suffered from the stockmarket crash), I felt burdening them was a last resort, used only when I was out of other options. I'm still working with the research group, as that money, although still counting against my maximum loans, is money i will not have to pay back. This issue came out of left field, and I was left frantically searching for any financial help i could find. I took the help of a program that's set up for just that event.

One final side note. I found out after I applied for the stamps that my parents, too, had lived off them when my older siblings were young. My father was in grad school too at the time. Although I've never asked how much my father makes, I'm starting to realize that during his best years, I would imagine he'd be up closer to the top 2%. Don't quote me on this. I bring this up because my family is exactly the type of people that you want. People willing to work, to succeed, to do what needs to be done. And we aren't looking for hand outs. But there are times when we need to seek out help. In our case, we took advantage of the programs that were available to us, rather than to burden our families who have spent so much time and money already helping us get to where we are. Either way, it's asking for help. And in my father's case, he repaid both his family and his country ten fold. It's every bit my intention to do the same.

So with that said, lumping everyone in the bottom half into poor planners, lazy workers, and idiotic fools drives me up a wall. That's a ton of hard working people that are being written off as entitled freeloaders. It's, admittedly, this stereotyping that makes me want to immediately respond with a call to eat the rich. that's not helping either.

about a year ago
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Congressman Introduces Bill To Ban Minting of Trillion-Dollar Coin

theIsovist Re:Can't America get its acts together ? (1059 comments)

The "get a job" argument is really quite annoying here. I had a job. In fact, in my area, I was one of the few that kept their jobs during the recession. My job stagnated. Moving laterally wasn't an option during this time, due to the construction bubble resulting in a glut of over qualified, underemployed workers. My field requires a masters to become licensed, and I still needed to do that. So I took a calculated risk. I knew the length of my masters and figured by the time I get out, I'll have greater skills, a better network, and both real world experience and funded research under my belt. Current estimates by those in my field show that when I graduate in 2015 (it's an annoyingly long masters), my industry will actually be severely lacking people with my skill, since so many were scared off during this time.

My point wasn't to say "oh god I'm poor." I chose this path as a calculated risk. My point was to say that the idea that everyone in the 50% is a freeloading bastard is downright wrong. I bent no rules to get the money I'm being given now, and I fully intend to use to in a way that speeds my ability to give back to the program.

about a year ago
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Congressman Introduces Bill To Ban Minting of Trillion-Dollar Coin

theIsovist Re:Can't America get its acts together ? (1059 comments)

Perhaps you're reading it wrong. I'm completely thankful for the assistance I've been given. I was making good money in the job I had before. However, my career had two issues - I'm an architect, a field that was decimated during the construction bubble collapse. I kept my job throughout the recession, which is more than most of my friends can say. My job, however, stagnated. Moving to another firm at this point was unlikely, due to the recession, but more importantly, to become a licensed architect, you need a professional degree (either attend a 5 year undergrad, or do the 4+2, with the 4+2 resulting in better pay). Since I had a 4 year undergrad, I chose to do grad school. It offers me many things - new connections with firms that I actually care to work for, new skills that I have had free reign and wonderful help to hone, and the ability to do funded research in an area I care about. My point was to combat the idea that anyone in the bottom 50% are entitled slackers. Living meagerly was expected, but not being able to feed or shelter yourself is hell. These programs have helped me out immensely, and I know that I'll be paying them back for a long time. This is ok. The point of these programs is to help people like me, who aside from the common misconception are the norm, to improve our lives and drive the engine that brings everyone up. No man is an island.

about a year ago
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Congressman Introduces Bill To Ban Minting of Trillion-Dollar Coin

theIsovist Re:Can't America get its acts together ? (1059 comments)

couple reasons - My job had stagnated during the recession. Moving to another job was unlikely during this time because my industry was decimated due to the construction bubble, but will eventually return. And finally, to become a licensed architect, it requires a masters degree. I personally find this last part ridiculous, but hey, that's the case.

As for why I quit my original job to pursue school, doing both at the same time would result in the money I paid for school being wasted, and the time I spent at work being lack luster. I am actually working during school, which perhaps i could have stated more clearly, but the amount of money it takes to go to school these days pales in comparison to the amount you could make on the side. I'm not complaining about my loans. Loans are money. Money boils down to math. Math is my friend. It's not what you make, it's what you save. The loans offer me a calculated risk to jump ahead. I could have stayed in the job that I disliked, or I could gain new connections, new skills, and an entirely new set of resume padding items to make me stand out even more from the crowd.

about a year ago
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Congressman Introduces Bill To Ban Minting of Trillion-Dollar Coin

theIsovist Re:Can't America get its acts together ? (1059 comments)

As part of the bottom fifty percent, I encourage you to come down and live on my level. I hold an undergraduate degree from a respected university (rated in the top 50 in the world), have worked for four years in the real world, and now am back in school to continue my education and further my degree (at another top 50 school). I'm living off of less than 20k a year. A wonderful flaw in the government loan system resulted in my summer income (a school research position) being counted one for one against the amount of loan money i could take out this year. In order to pay for tuition, I had to max out my loans, and was left with 200 dollars a month to pay for rent, food, and any school expenses. I'm now, at the advice of the school, on food stamps. Let me tell you, those food stamps - 200 bucks a month - offer me so much more than you can ever imagine. They only pay for food I cook myself. No alcohol, no toiletries, not even the 5 cent bag fee if i forget my bags. However, they allow me to feel like a human. In a few years, I'll be out of grad school, working and pumping far more money into the system than I ever took out. If we taxed the people making more than 200k 36% instead of 33%, they'd still have more than 5 times the amount of money that I live on each year. I work. I work for them. I work doing research to lower energy use, saving money, resources, and perhaps even saving the planet if you're so inclined. Your freeloaders are anything but. Many of us are busting our asses to afford a better life, and one day we will have it. The difference is, we'll damn well be happy to help those below us up. We know how it is down there.

about a year ago

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