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* Posts by Tim Weigel

12 posts • joined 13 Jun 2007

Perseid meteors 'thrill star-gazers'

Tim Weigel
Go

Good viewing from Colorado

I was pleasantly surprised that we had clear skies here in Colorado last night (at least, in the part of Colorado I call home) after several nights of thunderstorms, so my two older kids and I drove out east onto the plains (about 48 miles/77 km to get far enough away from the lights of even the smaller towns) to our usual observing spot for a last hurrah before school starts back up. One nice thing about having ready access to the Great Plains in North America is that you can comparatively easily get out to where it gets seriously dark, and the Rockies no longer obscure the western horizon. The comparatively high altitude helps as well.

It was a bit humid, so there was light haze, but it was still easy to make out the Milky Way. I figure we had between 40 - 50 per hour, some leaving impressive trails. Jupiter was also in fine form in the southeast. Unfortunately, we couldn't stay out as late as we'd have liked - got back in at about 2 AM.

I'm quite pleased that next year's Perseids will be on a Friday, because I'm now very tired and depending on a coffee IV drip to get through the day at work. Still it was worth it both for the meteor shower itself, as well as doing something fun and educational with the kids. Weather permitting, we'll probably head up into the mountains next year for the show.

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Bound robbery victim IMs for help with toes

Tim Weigel
Megaphone

Shouting...

I would think that shouting would indeed be rather appropriate in this circumstance.

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Redkneck Vampire Attacks Trailer Park

Tim Weigel
Alien

Good ol' WWN

The Weekly World News was such a great tabloid - tongue firmly in cheek, but written in a great sensationalist style. The sad thing is, I knew a few people that genuinely believed it... I miss having it around to liven up a boring supermarket checkout line. It's still good as a web-only publication, but it added a welcome helping of the surreal to the shopping. The photo manipulation was classic.

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Apple to acquire music streamer Lala?

Tim Weigel

Yep, confirmed

The New York Times confirms that Apple has bought Lala.

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Melissa anniversary marks birth of email-aware malware

Tim Weigel

That takes me back

I worked on a corporate helpdesk at HP when Melissa first hit. Inbound calls to us nearly overwhelmed the Avaya switch - we shared lines with other desks in the facility, but ours had by far the largest user base. The telecom folks reconsidered their 'worst case' allocation plans after that one.

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Novo Minoru - the world's first 3D webcam

Tim Weigel
Boffin

I think they may be mistranslating 'minoru'

Big ol' disclaimer - while I'm somewhat handy with Japanese and actively studying, I'm no expert yet. With that said, I thought that translation was fishy, and a quick bounce off the wwwjdic confirms my thought - the word 'minoru' is a verb meaning 'to bear fruit' or 'to ripen'. Though 'mi' is the root of 'see', there aren't any common compound words I could quickly find that start with 'mi' and imply reality. Reality would probably be best translated as 'genjitsu' or 'jijitsu'. I will have to check another (perhaps more thorough) dictionary, though - it's possible that it's a more obscure translation that wouldn't be in the wwwjdic. Have to wait until I get home tonight, though.

Anyone with a better handle on the language, please correct me if I'm missing something!

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Four-year-old Diebold glitch silently drops votes

Tim Weigel
Joke

Re: re: "What's on TV?"

Regarding the weeds: they may be greener when the Dems are in power, but the Republicans can do it CHEAPER.

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Microtune boots up for in-car TV

Tim Weigel
Go

Aaah, the car culture in Japan

I'm not surprised that this'd be big in Japan. For various reasons, Japanese folks often seek to kit their cars out to an occasionally ridiculous degree, and it's not a new thing.

Japanese TV is indeed pretty bad, though if you're not used to it it's fascinating for a little while.

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Astronauts bring space-grown bugs home

Tim Weigel

Re: Traveller Analysis

The flip side - if we encounter alien microorganisms that we've no evolutionary defense against, what's to say the microorganisms would be able to harm us at all? Our own bacteria are generally very well adapted to survival in us, and something that's not had any experience with us might not fare well at all (look at all the little nasties on Earth that are good for infecting only certain species but travel harmlessly in others). Granted, some of them are extraordinarily resilient...

It's possible that in an encounter with alien bacteria the bacteria might not be able to thrive in our environment in general, much less our bodies, even if they can survive. I'd expect that our immune systems would still try to respond to the foreign body, but it's hard to guess just what the outcome would be.

Overall, I still prefer to see proper precautions taken when we do venture Out There, if nothing else than to prevent us from being unwitting carriers of the alien bugs. That might make an interesting soft sci-fi plot, though, in which the other intelligent species in the galaxy try to prevent humans from traveling as we're excellent carriers of disease.

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'Grim reaper' dog senses nursing home deaths

Tim Weigel

And this is news now why? Not like it's a new thing...

My wife's worked in nursing homes for years and has seen animals do this sort of thing since the start of her career. She mentioned that it must be a slow news cycle for this to be in the news now as it's not exactly new or uncommon.

In the homes with animals, many of the staff habitually watch the animals for those sorts of behavioral differences. Just like in the articles - in more than one facility, an otherwise indifferent cat would become very friendly to residents as they neared death. Dogs would similarly change behavior around people near death, spending more time around them and barking more.

My guess is that there's some change in our smell that they pick up on (and given the way pet food smells, I REALLY hope we don't start smelling like THAT), but that's just my layman's uninformed guess.

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Google in Colorado safe cracking caper

Tim Weigel

Live in Colorado Springs, have been to the place, surprised they got $12k...

Somehow I missed this story in the local media. I ought to pay more attention...

As an alternate tech connection, the facility used to be a Quantum hard disk plant, and despite some paint the exterior retains all the charm. When I worked at HP (it's just down the street and around the corner from a former DEC/Compaq site) we checked the place out as a possible location for a staff party.

We were not impressed with their facility or their rates.

I'm surprised the crooks were able to get away with $12k. Between the general dullness of the place and the interstate highway project that closed the nearest exit, it's amazing that they had that much money to be stolen!

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Apple's Safari lacks bold vision

Tim Weigel

Rolled back to Safari 2

After encountering the interesting Safari behavior on my Vista machine, I tried installing the Safari 3 beta on my older iBook G4. I rolled back to Safari 2 after about 20 minutes of experimenting with Safari 3. The main issue I had was with text overlapping on web pages. I thought it was just on the various Google sites at first, but then found the problem on other sites as well. Expanding the Safari window and refreshing the pages in question didn't help the rendering issues - text was still overlapping in many cases.

I didn't try Safari 3 on XP or a newer Mac - Vista and iBook experiences were plenty, thanks.

I've always been somewhat ambivalent about Safari. I like the idea of a browser showing off Apple's capabilities, but the implementation never really did it for me. I had higher hopes for the Safari 3 beta on either platform, but it's still a beta so I'm not that broken up. Were I tied exclusively to Safari I might be a bit more concerned, but since I habitually keep multiple browsers on every box it's more a nuisance than anything else.

Heck, Apple can't even get iTunes to work consistently on Vista, so I'm not all that surprised that the Safari beta is flaky. At least Safari doesn't make the Vista box BSOD...

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