Archive for the ‘Nerdiness’ Category

Wheels Down on Mars

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Curiosity” made it. In a landing sequence that sounds like something straight out of Buck Rogers, the little rover traversed 352 million miles, entered the Martian atmosphere at thousands of miles per hour, slowed to a few hundred mph via various applications of shields, parachutes, and rocket thrusters, and then, hovering above the surface, the rover was lowered onto the red planet by a winch.

The best line of the CNN article: “Let’s go to an interesting place with good tools and find out what’s there”

“Curiosity” was an appropriate name. Looking forward to the first pictures.

Edit: Here’s Mars:

Contour Crafting

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

An interesting TED talk on building huge, concrete-loaded 3D printers in order to┬áconstruct buildings from the ground up. This reminds me a lot of Thomas Edison’s concrete house research, except much quicker and less error prone. Cool stuff.

Health Care Quiz

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Think you know what evils Obamacare will wreak upon our democracy? Take this fun quiz and find out!

Why Nigeria?

Friday, June 29th, 2012

An interesting paper (Warning:PDF) from Microsoft Research answers the timeless question: why do email scammers claim to be from Nigeria?

The short answer is because making an outrageous claim like that convinces only the most gullible potential victims, thus weeding out the “false positive” condition of initially receptive contacts who don’t end up paying off.

235th Flag Day

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

One of the lesser-celebrated Holidays, Flag Day has always held some importance to me. Perhaps it’s because it’s mostly a forgotten Holiday that I try to keep it alive. It also happens to be my parents’ anniversary- a date my dad claims he chose so that he’d always remember their anniversary. Whatever the reason, hoist those Stars and Stripes high, and join such towns as Quincy, MA, Fairfield, WA, and my alma mater’s town of Troy, NY for their annual Flag Day parades and celebrations.

Birthday

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

No, not mine. But one of the engineers who sits near me had one today. So a fellow engineer (whose name I shall not divulge, but no, it wasn’t me) decided to upgrade the decor of his workspace:

The little touches were especially thoughtful:

Perspective

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

The red line is the distance that the Voyager probe will travel in one million years.

Umwelt

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Check out xkcd (www.xkcd.com) this morning (Comic # 11037)

Now try it in a different browser.

Now look at it on your Android or Iphone

Now try it in Chrome. Now adjust the window width.

How the hell…???

Hopeful Future

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Slashdot QoTD, from an article about Africa and agriculture:

“Thirty thousand years ago mankind had yet to discover agriculture and animal husbandry. One thousand years ago mankind used wood as the primary source of energy. Two centuries ago mankind had yet to understand the causes of common diseases and infections. Within the last century, mankind has begun to harness the power of the atom, so far only by fission, but perhaps soon also by fusion. Only 51 years ago did Man first venture beyond Earth’s atmosphere. During the past half-century, mankind has started to explore the nature of the gene and DNA. Today, mankind is growing ever more able to harness the power of wind, wave and sunlight. Soon, perhaps, hydroponic meat will no longer be a prohibitively expensive experimental technique, but will be the cornerstone of a nutritional revolution unheard of since the discovery of agriculture. As we venture deeper into the nature of the universe, we will discover even greater sources of power, and in turn devise manners to harness them to our advantage.”

I find it incredibly refreshing when someone sees the future positively, rather than as something to be feared.

Disinvited

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Bruce Schneier, a world-renowned security researcher and critic of the “security theatre” of the TSA, was recently disinvited from testifying before Congress. Apparently they don’t want actual experts weighing in on the effectiveness of the Mandatory Nudie Booth program.