The Big Think

February 9, 2014

10 Insanely, Incredibly Close Olympic Finishes

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 8:37 pm

10 Insanely, Incredibly Close Olympic Finishes:

“Cycling Road Race, 1964 Held over 194 kilometers (120 miles), the 1964 road race saw a spectacular finish in which Mario Zanin, (right) a mechanic from Italy, emerged from the pack with 20 meters to go and won by a wheel. The finish was so close that Sture Pettersson of Sweden crossed the line only sixteen-hundredths of a second behind Zanin, yet he ended up in 52nd place.”

February 8, 2014

Lego Wars

Filed under: Hobbies,Humor and Fun — jasony @ 7:43 pm

Star Wars Lego photos. Amazing.

Little Green Blobs from Earth

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 10:22 am

Let’s Stop Wasting Money Sterilizing Our Spacecraft:

“The idea that any sample returned from Mars would first have to be sterilized, Zubrin says, is like ‘finding a viable dinosaur egg and then sterilizing it. This hysteria is an insult to the science.'”

February 7, 2014

Epic Terrain

Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 7:05 pm

Now this is impressive.

Homerville

Filed under: Space/Astronomy — jasony @ 4:48 pm

What would the Earth be like if it was the shape of a donut?:

“According to the laws of physics, a planet the shape of a donut, or toroid, could actually exist — but it’s extremely unlikely to ever form naturally. But what if an advanced alien civilization decided to build one? What properties would a toroid-Earth exhibit? And what would life be like?”

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Policy

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 9:55 am

Obamacare isn’t a train wreck, it’s a cancer:

“Covered California, the poster child for ‘successful’ Obamacare exchanges, has been misleading people looking for insurance by providing a ‘phantom list’ of doctors attached to their plans.

One guy ruined the plan after he purchased health insurance on the California exchange and then had the gall to call doctors to set up an appointment. His temerity drove him to call every doctor listed as in-network, and none of them were.

In the normal world, this would be called ‘fraud.’ In Obama’s America, it’s called a ‘snag,’ and on a national scale, the Obama regime labels it ‘Shut up, Fox News!’

After all, isn’t the goal getting everyone insured? Who cares if you can’t actually see a doctor or get health care, because everyone will get a terrific piece of paper that says ‘health insurance policy.’ Equality, at last — everyone’s got the same thing; namely, nothing at all.”

Oh, but it’s just partisanship causing the disagreements about the ACA. Partisanship and racism, right?

Meanwhile, the chorus of crickets from supporters on the left grows louder.

Uphill. Both Ways

Filed under: Travel — jasony @ 8:47 am

Breathtaking Photos of the Coldest City in the World:

“Oymyakon’s lowest recorded temperature was a frigid minus 71.2 C (minus 96.16 F) back in 1924. According to The Independent, wearing glasses outdoors can cause them to stick to the wearer’s face. This is just one of the more menial problems of the extremely cold weather.

Other adaptations locals have to make in their daily lives are more extreme than a short time of nearsightedness or farsightedness when stepping outside. The frozen ground makes it difficult for working indoor plumbing, so most toilets are outhouses. The bitter cold also makes it difficult to dig graves. The ground has to be warmed with a bonfire before a funeral. Locals use heated garages for their cars. Cars left outside need to be kept running, otherwise they will not restart. Planes cannot fly into the area in the winter. And of course the risk of frostbite is great after only a few minutes in the cold.

‘I was wearing thin trousers when I first stepped outside into minus 47 C,’ Chapple said. ‘I remember feeling like the cold was physically gripping my legs, the other surprise was that occasionally my saliva would freeze into needles that would prick my lips.'”

Wow. Some amazing pics at the link. I’d actually love to experience -96 degrees. Once. Outhouse in that weather? Not so much. You think the kid in Christmas Story had problems…

February 5, 2014

Ctrl-Alt-Del

Filed under: Computing,Humor and Fun,Technology — jasony @ 5:24 pm

Gates Spends Entire First Day Back in Office Trying to Install Windows 8.1:

“REDMOND, WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Bill Gates’s first day at work in the newly created role of technology adviser got off to a rocky start yesterday as the Microsoft founder struggled for hours to install the Windows 8.1 upgrade.

The installation hit a snag early on, sources said, when Mr. Gates repeatedly received an error message informing him that his PC ran into a problem that it could not handle and needed to restart.

After failing to install the upgrade by lunchtime, Mr. Gates summoned the new Microsoft C.E.O. Satya Nadella, who attempted to help him with the installation, but with no success.

While the two men worked behind closed doors, one source described the situation as ‘tense.’

‘Bill is usually a pretty calm guy, so it was weird to hear some of that language coming out of his mouth,’”

I’ll bet.

February 4, 2014

Tiny Universe

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 11:00 am

Space miniaturized with Tilt-Shift – Imgur: “”

February 3, 2014

Fit to Print

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 11:10 am

What has happened to the New York Times?:

“One might expect such a thin story from, say, the National Enquirer, but The New York Times? And one might wonder why the newspaper didn’t ask the very first question nearly anyone else would ask when presented with such a claim: ‘Uh, OK, you say you have evidence, can we see it?’ Then, if said evidence didn’t pan out, it’d be Spike City for the big scoop.

But no, The Times ran with the piece, which made the follow-on media follow on the story throughout the day. But few noticed the way the lede was changed — in less than 20 minutes…

So, in the end, The Times ran a thin story with an unsubstantiated claim of “evidence” directly linking Mr. Christie to the lane closures because it didn’t need a “smoking gun” — or any evidence at all. The allegation alone was enough to put the governor in a “no-win situation.”

Again, I say it: fix the media and you fix the country (or a big chunk of what is wrong with our Democracy). I’m not saying that they NYT shouldn’t print stuff that’s damning to one side or the other– the news is the news and we need the straight truth, honorably reported– but I think it’s fair that a journalistic outlet adhere to normal journalistic standards when they do go to print. Extraordinary claims demand evidence, after all, and in this case they claimed that they had the evidence, then didn’t say what it was. Then later went with the vague “he was linked to knowledge” wording. Then later “softened the lede”. And then finally turned the story into a non-event through retroactive editing. Does this seem responsible?

If they decide to print something like this w/o evidence to back it up, and then later softpedal and backtrack, doesn’t that put their objectivity and claims of neutrality into doubt? Shouldn’t that cast suspicion on other things they report?

Fairness and (at least a semblance of) objectivity should not be too much to ask from our media outlets. On both sides. Personally, I would like the truth with as little bias and slant as possible so that I can make up my own mind. It’s no wonder people don’t trust them any longer (as evidenced by rapidly declining viewership and the rise of alternative sources). I don’t like being fed bias while being told that it’s truth. That’s not the job of the media.

Fair enough?

February 2, 2014

Your Knowledge is Not Approved By The State

Filed under: Politics,Technology — jasony @ 3:35 pm

California Cracks Down on Hacker Boot Camps | Wired.com: “Hacker boot camps have sprung up across the world in recent years, offering crash courses in the art and science of computer programming. These schools are particularly prevalent in the San Francisco Bay Area, the heart of the tech world. And in a place where demand for coders just keeps going up, the schools are very popular. But now these Silicon Valley schools have a problem. Over the past month, California regulators sent cease and desist letters to many of these hacker boot camps, saying they run afoul of the state’s educational laws, as first reported by Venturebeat. ‘They’re not properly licensed, and the law requires them to be licensed to offer an educational service like they are,’ “

Later in the article it states that “They aren’t your traditional vocational schools. There are no grades, no degrees, and no diplomas. They’re usually staffed by professional coders, not licensed teachers. Many of the teachers are volunteers — even though the schools are usually private companies, not non-profit organizations”… so it’s not as if these hacker schools are misrepresenting themselves. Want to learn to code? Take a crash course in it from a hacker school. But because these places are operating outside of the bureaucratic control system they are being issued C&D letters and threatened with fines.

California should look at its own success rate with public education and instead of messing with these new ideas, try to learn from them. What a joke.

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