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Why Trump? February 20, 2017

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brilliant words, Geek Stuff.
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https://medium.com/@DaleBeran/4chan-the-skeleton-key-to-the-rise-of-trump-624e7cb798cb#.jmnimypj1 contains the answer to that puzzle.  Be warned: it is a long, thoughtful piece with some uncomfortable ideas for both left and right alike (but not alt-right).

My Next Hobby February 7, 2017

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Mutants, Uncategorizable.
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HR 8799 Image Animated With Hot Jupiters January 28, 2017

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Geek Stuff, Photography, Science.
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Scientists have detected thousands of exoplanets in recent years, by watching varying brightness as they occlude their stars. This animation comes from direct imaging methods (not radio telescopes), meaning that the telescopes saw the Jupiter-sized planets directly (hot Jupiters are young planets that still glow in the infrared portion of the spectrum).

Jason Wang at the University of California, Berkeley has combined several observations of HR 8799 into the delightful GIF below. This is years of optical data, folks. “In this video you’re seeing real data,” he told Gizmodo1 of the video above. “I smoothed out the orbits so that it’s as if we’re watching [the planets] constantly in real time.”

orbitin beta pictoris hot jupiters

 

1 I stole the picture from Giz.  I feel no shame at all.  Follow that link, though; there’s much more!

Getting There, One Piece at a Time January 24, 2017

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Geek Stuff, Star Trek Technology, Toys.
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Open the Alexa app on your phone.

Use the More icon (the hamburger) in the upper left corner.

Select Settings.

Select the device whose wake word you wish to change.

Tap the Wake Word setting.

Select Computer from the drop-down.

You are done.

I would like to point out that Star Trek has so influenced culture that the United Federation of Planets is likely to happen any time now…we just need more planets.  We already have Majel Barret’s voice phonemes.  Now we need Google to sync up, a bit better response to voice meaning (the voice vector thing should help), a truthiness evaluator and bingo! Star Trek in your phone/home/office/laboratory/dungeon/whatever.

Amazon Moto G Play Phone January 19, 2017

Posted by stuffilikenet in Applications, Geek Stuff, Science, Star Trek Technology, Toys.
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People in the know (i. e., my readers) are aware that I take my phones seriously, and have for three smart phones now. Well, smart-enough phones, I guess.  I mean I had an HTC 8125 ancient creaking phone with one of Microsoft’s many, many failed phone operating systems (are they really up to FOUR commercially-failed systems, and about to go for FIVE?), which did some things I needed in a phone: calculator (never used it, but could have), texting (would have used it but did not…not sure that it could, now that I think on it), took [execrable] photographs (look back in this blog far enough and you will find them, along with scathing reviews of the image quality) but at least ran the flash card app I wrote for it, among others (my writing them would not have been necessary if MS has anything like an app store.  Just sayin’), and played my beloved audio books during my [endless] commute.1

Still, it was not the optimum device.  My next phone (Samsung Galaxy S3 i9250) was a considerable improvement, in that the camera focused closely enough to copy text.  It ran Android apps mostly without complaint (even ones I had written myself), texted my children and played Bluetooth music and audio books without complaint, even after having survived several cracked glass incidents (to be fair, I never did repair the glass.  It looked like a vandalized cathedral when it finally died). It was a vast improvement, and I cried bitter tears indeed2 when it suddenly stopped letting me make telephone calls.

Now I have the aforementioned Amazon Moto G Play phone, and I must say it is an improvement on my previous experiences (except for the annoying notifications.  How the #$%^&* do I turn them off?) in speed, in reception and in sound clarity (although not volume).  The camera is much better (see recent postings about the weather, blue jay invasion, etc.) and the Android version is 6.0, which is 1.7 better than previous.  And it was cheap: $99 for the phone with advertising, $149 without.  I have been unable to figure out how to replace the bootloader to get rid of the advertisements (which would violate my agreement and would be Bad And Wrong), but it works so well I don’t care at all.

 

1Not sure that’s the longest run-on sentence I have ever written, but Baron Bulwer-Lytton must feel somewhat threatened in his cozy grave.

2Mostly because I had spent a fortune on it.  Don’t fear; this story DOES have a happy ending.

White Newtonmas Eve December 24, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Uncategorizable.
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IMG_20161224_072254605 It’s Newtonmas Eve, and all the nuclear family is here.  Merry Newtonmas to all.

 

Don’t worry about the snow; it’s mostly gone already.  : )

His Plan to Own Lakefront Property Advanced December 18, 2016

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I hope my new weather machine does not work better than I thought.

EXCITING UPDATE: everyone knows about the flooding and the two atmospheric rivers.  Very sorry about that.

IMG_20170208_153539079

And He Can Fall Eight Times! November 28, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Hello Kitty, Video.
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As Reported Previously, the Ice Caps Are Gone November 28, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Applications, Awesome, Mutants, Science, Toys.
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https://i1.wp.com/media.gizmodo.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/s--awA5Xrmi--.gif

Each BigDog(tm) has 8/3 reindeer power.

I’ve Had Enough Out of You Guys November 27, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Video.
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Don’t mess with me;  I have a stick.

I’m So Stuffed I Could Just Burst November 25, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Geek Stuff, Mutants, Photography.
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13

From BoingBoing.

Exciting update: Apparently aliens are a thing.  Who knew?

First Real Snow November 23, 2016

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first real snow

My postings have been delayed by iceberg calving down the road. Fortunately, the local market is open, and I can still get egg nog and brandy.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong? November 23, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Brilliant words, Mutants.
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View image on Twitter

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Newtonmas November 21, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Mutants, Toys, Uncategorizable.
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Can’t get it on Amazon…can it be real?

Gluten-free Bread Machine Adventures 5 November 21, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Mutants, Science, Toys, Uncategorizable.
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Wherein we find Our Hero has found that Pamela’s Gluten-free Bread Mix can be had from Amazon Prime for $2.42/lb delivered, which is no small thing here in the Frozen North, where the only town bigger than 2,000 is an hour away…

See previous Bread Machine Adventures for correct use, misuse and abuse.

What I Want for Newtonmas This Year November 18, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Geek Stuff, Japan, Science, Toys, Video.
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A realistic dinosaur costume.

Or a T-Rex.  Either way.

Too Much Science to Read, Let Alone Review November 15, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brain, Brilliant words, Geek Stuff, Science, Star Trek Technology, Toys, Uncategorizable.
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It’s been a banner week for science geeks, nerds, and squints. The locked-in lady gets to at least shout from her prison quietlyGoogle has radar sensitive enough to not only find objects but identify them by their radar signature and perovskite is once again breaking solar-conversion efficiency records.

Ordinarily I would give you a breakdown of each of these nifty developments, but more are coming and I may want to return to these later when I am not pressed for time.  Follow the links above; there are others as well that you will find more well constructed than my chicken scratchings, I’m sure.

Brain-Computer Interface Now in Use at Home!!! November 15, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Applications, Awesome, Brain, Geek Stuff, Science, Star Trek Technology, Toys, Uncategorizable.
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A 58-year-old woman (“HB”) with ALS has had a functioning brain-computer interface (BCI) for a while now, and is able to communicate (slowly) with the outside world. She was facing total lock-in Real Soon Now, so any device which offers communication ability is welcome.

What it is:

A diagram illustrating the setup and use of the ECoG implant.

Electrode strips at the top laid across her brain like band-aids read faint electrical signals.  With training HB was able to “type” fairly quickly (words per minute, but still).  More work remains to be done on the interfacing software (I am imagining more inputs and a neural network to interpret her thoughts more and more efficiently), and HB is ecstatic to have a way t live in the world.  She would like to use the interface to control a wheelchair, for example, but that is a ways off.

 

Homework:  Vansteensel, Mariska J. et. al., Fully Implanted Brain–Computer Interface in a Locked-In Patient with ALS, New England Journal of Medicine November 12, 2016 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1608085

Update: New Scientist has an excellent writeup as well.

Morning and Evening Here in the Frozen North November 15, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Photography.
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 morning pano

evening pano

Scary, isn’t it? Forecast calls for rain, but I imagine I will see snow on that little mountain tomorrow. Maybe.

A Walk Around the Neighborhood November 15, 2016

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What I said about living in a forest meadow?  It’s pretty much the truth. Yesterday I went for an evening constitutional and found some traces of fungus among us:

IMG_20161112_113309

IMG_20161112_113232

IMG_20161112_113239 

IMG_20161112_114650

Men’s size eleven clodhoppers for reference:IMG_20161112_114716

 IMG_20161112_114535

IMG_20161112_114553

IMG_20161112_114601

I’m not sure any of them are edible; after all, the bear doesn’t seem to have eaten any of them.

IMG_20161112_114443

As far as I can tell with, uh, casual observation, those are Manzanita berries.