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More on "easy" problems vs. hard [Jan. 14th, 2017|04:47 pm]
[Mood |geekygeeky]

"Pfft, how hard can that be, any two year old can do that" - words that would haunt roboticists through the late 20th and 21st centuries. (The usual answer involves five years, a big grant, and a lot of researchers sitting in corners twitching.)

Consider "easy" tasks like "pick up the red ball, without dropping or crushing it, and throw it to this other person." (ohgod)

This entry was originally posted at http://cmdr-zoom.dreamwidth.org/506126.html.
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The Birth of Special Effects [Jan. 8th, 2017|08:02 am]
[Mood |impressedimpressed]

An Imgur gallery demonstrating how various silent films pulled off their effects - with forced perspective, matte paintings, etc

Of course, for at least one of the examples with Buster Keaton, there is no trick; he just did it, and they filmed it.

I have a sudden urge to bridge time and space so that he can co-star in something with Jackie Chan.
No insurance company would cover the production, but it would be amazing.

This entry was originally posted at http://cmdr-zoom.dreamwidth.org/505875.html.
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2017 [Jan. 1st, 2017|12:02 am]
My resolution is simple:
Get through it.

yeah, that's where we are now.

This entry was originally posted at http://cmdr-zoom.dreamwidth.org/505705.html.
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hour come round at last [Dec. 31st, 2016|08:29 pm]
[Mood |worriedworried]

2016, ancient and bearded, lies upon his deathbed. The crowd gathered to observe his passing is larger than for most years, and while the range of sentiments displayed is typical, the proportions are not - the genuine mourners are fewer, those waiting for the end with bitter or hateful anticipation more numerous. Most common of all, this time, are those who appear anxious and uncertain; they are all but silent in their collective dread, as the outgoing year breathes his ragged last.

It is to one of the latter that the year raises one withered claw of a hand and beckons. Nervously, the witness approaches the bier and, at another gesture, leans closer. Cracked lips move almost soundlessly; the listener's eyes widen, blood draining from their face, and they straighten and step back. Then, with a choking spasm, a sigh and a rattle, the old and much despised year finally expires... with what can only be described as a look of unholy triumph on his deeply lined face.

"What did he say?" someone asks.

The horrified witness turns to the multitude. "He said... 'now, it gets worse.'"

Somewhere, in a darkened nursery, there is a crib. And within, peering through the bars, two points of red light like hot coals.

This entry was originally posted at http://cmdr-zoom.dreamwidth.org/505200.html.
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we've all been there, right? [Dec. 31st, 2016|04:56 am]

"quick, do something! ... not that!"

This entry was originally posted at http://cmdr-zoom.dreamwidth.org/505087.html.
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well, damn [Dec. 27th, 2016|12:26 pm]
[Mood |sadsad]
[Music |John Williams - Princess Leia's Theme]

I kind of figured, as soon as I first heard the news. Since then, I've just been waiting.
Any other year, I might have held out hope, but...

This entry was originally posted at http://cmdr-zoom.dreamwidth.org/504645.html.
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for what ails you [Dec. 10th, 2016|07:53 am]
[Mood |impressedimpressed]

Today I learned where "ipecac", as in syrup of - a word that a friend says always makes them think it's reversed or rot13d or something - actually comes from: a Central and South American plant, which means of course that its naming doesn't follow any of our rules. (By contrast, one of the alkaloids in it, "emetine", does exactly what you'd expect if you know any Greek and/or Latin; that is, blaaaaaarf.)

So here we have a plant which actually succeeds in making humans sick, as opposed to all the ones that we laugh at and say "nice try", then grind up and put on our food. But we've found another use for it - controlled self-poisoning to make the body expel other, potentially worse substances. (Or, as the article notes near the bottom, small doses to keep prisoners too nauseous and/or weak to cause trouble. Ick.)

This entry was originally posted at http://cmdr-zoom.dreamwidth.org/503885.html.
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Celtics of Unusual Size [Dec. 1st, 2016|12:15 am]
[Mood |geekygeeky]

From the comments of the latest Wilde Life:

Pascalle Lepas
I think most pro bbal players are actually 7,000 feet tall. Please don't quote me on this, as I am not an expert.

Pascalle Lepas
Prove to me there isn't a 7,000 foot tall bbal player!

Holding a teapot?
wait, no, that'd be a foul.

I am, of course, referring to Bill Russell's Teapot, which may or may not exist somewhere between half-court and the three-point line.

This entry was originally posted at http://cmdr-zoom.dreamwidth.org/503782.html.
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not the cyber dystopia we imagined [Nov. 14th, 2016|09:45 am]
[Mood |cynicalcynical]

(regarding yet another "Internet of Things" exploit)

[Meagen] You know the funny thing?
[Meagen] Back when people were predicting ubiquitous surveillance, it was a chilling thought because everyone sort of assumed it would be done *competently*.
[Meagen] I mean, if you wrote a dystopian sci-fi novel in the 90s and have your protagonist do this exact thing, people would've said it's unrealistic because who in the world would just make all cameras be unsecured internet access points?
[Meagen] I mean, hacking into a camera to make it turn off or tamper with its footage, sure.
[Meagen] But hacking into a bunch of cameras to use them as launch points for an attack on someone else? Come on. Why would cameras even be able to *do* that?
[PyroWork] Sad truth: The future doesn't belong to megacorps. It belongs to the technology equivalent of the double glazing firm.
[seebs] "double glazing firm"?
[PyroWork] They will sell you double glazing for your house!
[PyroWork] It will be installed wrong, and leak.
[PyroWork] When you attempt to seek remedy for this it will be to the discovery that the company does not actually exist anymore, but there is a new double glazing firm with a different name operating out of the same yard with the same phone number.
[PyroWork] They will also attempt to sell you double glazing.

This entry was originally posted at http://cmdr-zoom.dreamwidth.org/503548.html.
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you all know the old joke about English, here's a new one [Oct. 31st, 2016|01:24 am]
[Mood |amusedamused]

"English isn't a language, it's three languages stacked on top of each other wearing a trenchcoat."

-- des-zimbits @ tumblr

This entry was originally posted at http://cmdr-zoom.dreamwidth.org/502628.html.
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