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Slashback It's funny.  Laugh. NASA Operating Systems Space BSD

Slashback: Randomness, Donations, Ramp 127

Posted by timothy
from the hello-from-harrisburg-pa dept.
Slashback (below) brings another round of updates and clarification to recent and continuing stories here on Slashdot. This evening, there's more video of the recent space shuttle launch, a reminder about the other 10th planet, an encouraging update about open source medical software, another approach to structure-as-PC-enclosure, and more. Read on for the details.
Shuttle launches are easier to fake than moon landings. Rex Ridenoure writes "Shuttle External Tank RocketCam video highlights from the STS-114 'Return to Flight' launch on July 26 have been posted on Ecliptic's website. Ecliptic supplied this RocketCam system to ET builder Lockheed Martin Michoud [Louisiana] Operations. A slow-motion clip of the now-famous ET foam shedding event has been inserted at the time it occurred -- about 1:40 after liftoff.

Still on the 'things in space' front: Sedna isn't nearly as sexy a name. Martian Anthropologist writes, of the recently announced discovery of a tenth planet in our solar system, "Actually, there's good reason to say that this is really the 11th planet, not the 10th. Another large body, now named Sedna, was discovered last year. It is slightly smaller than Pluto."

(Here's some earlier coverage of Sedna on Slashdot.)

Software for the Commonwealth. Aaron writes "As a followup to a recent story about the U.S. Government giving away its Electronic Medical Record Software, a small practice of physicians describes their experience transitioning from paper to electronic charts. Not everything goes well, from training staff to use Windows XP and tablet computers to viruses that crash their system to physicians complaining about being relegated to data-entry clerk status. In the end, however, they would never go back to paper.

From the article:'"Doctor, do you find you are spending more time interacting with the computer than with your patients?" For a while, the answer was clearly yes.'"

Aw, shucks, he might have done it anyhow. David writes "Thanks to my Ask Slashdot porting query, Ryan Gordon (aka icculus), the man who ported Unreal Tournament and many other popular games to Linux, is going to be working on the Linux version of Lugaru. It should be ready soon!"

You have to watch the quiet types, and never let them near your obscure hardware. jschauma writes "About a month ago, NetBSD made a Plea for 'Cold, Hard Cash', a Call for Donations. The results were very positive: an impressive $27K were donated since then, allowing the NetBSD Foundation to purchase five new machines; three of those machines will be added to the nightly build infrastructure and two of those machines will become anonymous cvs servers. See Christos Zoulas's email for detailed specifications of the hardware, and feel free to continue the donations!"

Definitely not for snowboarding helmet cam use. The CVS one time use camcorder has now been hacked so that videos can be downloaded over USB -- no need to desolder the flash memory.

How to spot a future writer-of-Federal-grants. Jason Schroeder writes "The recent story on the guy who put a Mac Mini in the wall reminded me of something I'd seen a while back: The Parabolic Heat Transference Case Mod for his Red Hat server. Pretty good idea with lots of scientific tidbits to make it interesting."

Hey, these fakes are a bunch of phoney frauds! strib writes "Remember SCIgen, the program that randomly-generated an accepted paper at WMSCI 2005? Well, thanks in part to the generous donations of Slashdotters, we made it down to the conference and gave a session full of fake talks. And it's all on video. Thanks to everyone who helped!"
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Slashback: Randomness, Donations, Ramp

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  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @07:06PM (#13245971) Homepage Journal
    I should point out most commentary - as indicated on space.com and sciencemagazine.com - is that it is highly likely that Pluto will be downgraded to non-planet status, as well as the eleventh orbital body that is larger than Pluto.

    So, while I'm sure Disney may object, it looks like Pluto's just a pet and no longer a planet.

    But, cheer up, since we can clone dogs now, maybe this is a good thing.
    • Yeah, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ShaniaTwain (197446)
      ..Wouldn't it be appropriate to keep pluto's status as a planet, but a planet of a few other planets?
       
      -after all, pluto the dog is the pet dog of a mouse, sometimes a duck and occasionally another dog..
    • by Incadenza (560402) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @07:48PM (#13246157)

      No, Disney won't object. But the family of Percival_Lowell [wikipedia.org] may:

      Lowell's greatest contribution to planetary studies came during the last 8 years of his life, which he devoted to the search for Planet X, which was the designation for a planet beyond Neptune. The search continued for a number of years after his death at Flagstaff in 1916; the new planet, named Pluto, was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. The symbol for the planet is a stylized "PL", chosen in part to honor Lowell.
    • - is that it is highly likely that Pluto will be downgraded to non-planet status

      OK, but I sure wouldn't want to be the one to tell the king of the underworld about it.

      Chief Astronomer: Hey! Pluto, come in, have a seat. Look, let me be the first to say you've done a splended job as a planet all these years. But, ahem, you know, things change, and we all, ah, have to be ready to change with the times. Frankly there have been a lot of new discoveries lately and, well, we feel you would be happier in the role
    • How many asteroids have their own moons?

      I say, keep Pluto as a planet, and just add new planets to the solar system as they pop up. It's good for the memory: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Sedna, Persephone (possible name for 2003 UB313).

      And it reminds us that there's still so much to learn about our our solar system, let alone the universe beyond.
    • by AoT (107216) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @08:20PM (#13246281) Homepage Journal
      First the brontosaurus, now Pluto!

      I am so sick of these modern revisionist scientists.

      This is the last straw.

      Vive la brontasaurus!
    • by jd (1658) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {kapimi}> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @09:18PM (#13246547) Homepage Journal
      The definition of what is a planet is very much up in the air. I'd have argued that anything that:


      • Is gravitationally self-rounding
      • Is of non-uniform composition
      • Has a clearly-definable core


      could be called a planet and not have anyone argue too much about it. It would mean that in order to know if Pluto is a planet, we'd have to go there and carry out seismology experiments - but that's good, as there's a better chance of NASA getting the funds to see if Pluto is a planet than for them to get funds to see why Pluto is even there at all.

      • Somewhere I read that a common definition of planet is 'an offspring of the sun' -- a body in orbit of the sun that was formed in the original spinning disk of matter that formed the sun, or was formed from matter ejected from the sun, etc. Something that was not captured after the sun became a star.

        Of course, if there was a collision of an outside body with a planet, that might create a messy explosion that was a mix of outside and solar system material. So maybe your definition is better.

        • ...plus it hasn't been ultimately proven that ANY of the planets was created from the Sun matter.
        • A workable definition, but only if you want to include "minor planets" -- I don't see anything in your definition to exclude asteroids.
        • Problem is, all of the asteroids and most of the comets will likely be formed from the original accretion disk from the sun.

          The trick, then, is to find something that asteroids and comets have (or probably have) that those things we're certain are planets don't. Then, you simply use that to exclude asteroids and comets.

          Lets start with comets. They have rocks in the middle, frozen together by ice. We know this from the remains of dead and dying comets as these have trails of rock where the comet's nucleus on

      • by Anonymous Coward
        I'd argue that the definition was very much up in the vacuum. Anything you see up in the air is most likely a bird.
      • By that definition, several satellites of Jupiter and Saturn are planets.
        • By that definition, several satellites of Jupiter and Saturn are planets.

          Next thing you know, you'll tell us that one of those two gas giants just barely missed becoming a star, and is technically a proto-star ...

          • Next thing you know, you'll tell us that one of those two gas giants just barely missed becoming a star, and is technically a proto-star ...
            Well, no, IIRC Jupiter would need to be 40 times more massive to start a fusion reaction. (I forget the exact figure, but it's large :)
      • Is gravitationally self-rounding Is of non-uniform composition Has a clearly-definable core Uhh, like a raindrop seeded on a dust particle?
      • I searched wiktionary for the etymology of the word planet. To make a long story short, it turns out that Latin "plane" means plain, clear or distinct, while Greek "planes" gives us "wanderer." OK, not much help there, the original choice of words wasn't itself all that well thought out, so we wouldn't be breaking some meaningful ancient tradition even if we called it a "rock" instead.

        Why not settle the debate by saying that Pluto is a "Kuiper Belt Planet?" Kuiper Belt Planets can have their own defin

    • it is highly likely that Pluto will be downgraded to non-planet status

      Again?! But that trick never works!

      Seriously, this whole Pluto-isn't-a-planet argument's been made before, and the public didn't buy it.

  • One other thing... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Azadre (632442)
    The lack of high moderation... There have been so few 5s this week it is depressing.
    • I dunno why this was modded offtopic, but anyway... I also noticed a lack of +5's this week (but if you browse over to the Intelligent Design story, you'll find plenty, I'm sure), and I assumed it was some side effect of the poll glitch (some people were having trouble posting/voting in/seeing the poll, and I think Jamie was notified, though I dunno if a fix was issued yet).
    • Seriously, as much as we like to joke about crack smocking moderators this place can be hard to read without some filtering. The Signal to Noise Ratio is way too low without someone pointing out the good threads.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @07:11PM (#13246001)
    this is really the 11th planet, not the 10th. Another large body, now named Sedna, was discovered last year. It is slightly smaller than Pluto.

    Or, more sensibly, they could just declassify Pluto as a planet and reclassify it as just some Kuiper belt object (which is what it is) with an classification number and a cute, historical name.

    That would leave us with 9 planets, big asteroids, some of which are named Pluto, Sedna or Bernard for historical or affectionate reasons, and all the others being called XYZ-some-number. That would make much more sense, and kill the slightly silly debate over how many numbers of planet there are in the solar system once and for all.
    • That would leave us with 9 planets, big asteroids

      I meant 8 planets of course.
    • by SatanMat (757225) <PowellS@gmail.com> on Thursday August 04, 2005 @07:22PM (#13246053) Journal
      Rupert... You forgot Rupert...


      sheesh, I'm gonna go get my towel now...
    • I think without Pluto, we'd have 8 planets.

      I'm not sure anyone's really set down formal guidelines for classifying all the celestial bodies. I'm not so sure it's possible to do so in generic terms such as "planet" or "moon" when there are so many possible variations. What we probably should have done was formalize a classification system based on size (which largely determines physical appearance) and location. But now that people are used to Pluto being a planet like the other 4 solid ones closer to the Su
    • I sit in sad repose as I put pen to paper concerning an issue I find most deeply disturbing. I assume you already know that Slashdot's hangers-on have been trained, organized, and motivated to calumniate helpless wonks, but I have something more important to tell you. Although I respect Slashdot's right to free speech just as I respect it for crotchety disreputable-types, demented good-for-nothings, and tyrannical euphuists, one of the things I find quite interesting is listening to other people's takes on
    • This whole topic is quite interesting to me. I teach 8th grade science, and one unit we cover is an introduction to astronomy.

      Being 100% geek, I add in way more than the curriculum calls for (worms holes, space-time continuum, SETI, Doom3 'cause it's on Mars.) and mentioning this possible reclassification of Pluto and the newly discovered celestial bodies is also something I think my students will find interesting.

      I have found that the astronomy unit is quite interesting to the students, and exposing them
    • >they could just declassify Pluto as a planet and reclassify it as just some Kuiper belt object

      Good idea, but it will never happen. There have already been "save Pluto!" campaigns from people and groups emotionally attached to the idea that Pluto is a "planet".

      Thoughts that Pluto might be "demoted" to non-planet status created an emotional response in certain sectors of the public. Such news outlets as the BBC News Online, the Boston Globe, and USA Today all printed stories noting that the International
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2005 @10:41PM (#13246924)
      I've never understood this argument--what's the problem with having 50 planets? What's this weird thing about sanctity of the term "planet"? People are either sanctimonious about the status of Pluto, or sanctimonious about the status of the word "planet". There's no need to be so obsessive about either.

      I'm swiftly coming to the conclusion that the best thing to do is to classify Pluto, Sedna, and whatever this new object will be called as planets.

      I think we need to stop talking about "what's a planet" and start talking about types of planets.

      I think a very good solution would be to call these KBOs planets, and then refer to them as such: "KBO planets" or "icy planets." We already have "rocky planets" and "gas giant planets." I think there's no problem with calling these KBOs "icy planets" and saying there's 4 "rocky planets", 4 "gas giant planets", 30 "icy planets" and so forth.

      This discussion needs to move away from classifying things as planets versus non-planets and into classifying them as types of planets. I think it would be much more productive.

      I shudder to think what will happen when we actually start having detailed knowledge of another solar system, and this issue arises again then.
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @07:13PM (#13246009)
    > A slow-motion clip of the now-famous ET foam shedding event has been inserted at the time it occurred -- about 1:40 after liftoff

    A slow-downloading clip of the soon-to-be-famous halon fire extinguisher video has been inserted into the server room at the time it occurred -- about 1:40 after a link to a page with a 14-megabyte STS-114 video went live on Slashdot.

    • > A slow-motion clip of the now-famous ET foam shedding event has been inserted at the time it occurred -- about 1:40 after liftoff Sadly, the video did not recieve the wide appraise it expected, and the golden globe went instead to "ET foam home".
  • I keep hearing about these things on slashdot. This must be a US only product. I cannot find anywhere in Canada that sells these things. Perhaps someone can buy a bunch and sell them on ebay with a slight markup? I'd buy one.
    • I keep hearing about these things on slashdot. This must be a US only product. I cannot find anywhere in Canada that sells these things. Perhaps someone can buy a bunch and sell them on ebay with a slight markup? I'd buy one.

      Hurry up to get one, because being a US product hacked by US hackers, the sequence is as follow

      CVS camera --> hack --> DMCA lawsuit + new "improved" camera (ooh, the hack doesn't work with that one!)
      • by morcheeba (260908) * on Thursday August 04, 2005 @08:16PM (#13246265) Journal
        This is the third camera from the same company that I've reverse engineered and made reusable. So far, no lawsuit. While I wouldn't want a lawsuit, I think this would be an excellent test case for a few reasons:
        - Numero uno, I am not breaking the DMCA. Hopefully people only sue when a law is violated, but, sadly, that's not always the case.
        - I am accessing my own pictures, to which I have the copyright. The DMCA only protects rights-owners (me).
        - I am reverse-engineering for interoperability, which is permitted. Some judges think this only applies to personal computers and not "other" computers (like printer controllers, like in the Lexmark case) -- but I'm interfacing to a plain old PC.
        - Cameras have direct parallels to the "analog world". People have been developing kodak film with fuji chemicals for ages. It's a case that judges and juries can understand.
        - The courts have found for the defendants even in much less clear-cut cases (like Lexmark).

        Here's my webpage about the DMCA and these cameras. [maushammer.com]

        One very good trick Pure Digital has that keeps people out of their cameras is changing the architecture. The three cameras have had 3 different processors (8051, 8-bit RISC, MIPS), 3 kinds of toolsets (one big program, mini-OS, and full-blown embedded OS), and 3 IP vendors. This means the work I don on one camera doesn't apply to the next one... and will eventually tire me out -- it's a lot of work to do, and it takes them less effort to modify an existing camera than it does me to unlock it.

        (p.s. my Make submission contained essentially the same text as my earlier, rejected slashdot submission [slashdot.org]
        • You are a hero. You're hacking disposable cameras into reusable ones: both saving waste and making cheap cameras available. You're cutting through the DMCA "chilling" BS that is freezing developers even more than is the overboard law. And you've got a sense of proportion - and even a sense of humor. I almost wish some fool at CVS would sue you, so we'd get a precedent. But I'm not that foolish to think that you're a superhero, so I don't wish that :).
    • no shit....do we have cvs pharmacies in canada? I guess not even Pharmaprix/Shoppers Drug Mart will touch these.
      • Pharmaprix? Pharmaprix?

        Do they specialize in Cialis or something?

        Or is it the French pronunciation "Farm-a-pree"?

        • Losely translated: "Drug Price", implying that the price of the drugs is noteworthy, i.e. low. There's also "Uniprix" (One Price, albeit not).

          It took me about a year and a half after moving to the U.S. to start saying "convenience store" instead of "depaineur" (literally, "de-breader": one that removes bread (or facilitates the same, from its shelves)).

          Almost failed my WA Drivers' License eye test, when I read off "Zed" instead of "Zee". :-)

          • Given that googling for depaineur gives zero hits, and googling for depanneur gives 12700 hits, I conclude that my memory that it is written as depanneur is correct.

            This means of course that it has nothing to do with bread, which is a pity, since your explanation was quite creative.

  • "and in conclusion, this prevents the World Wide Web."

    Classic shit.

    • Now if they posted an invitation here on Slashdot, I am sure their room would have been packed. It was such a show! :) All that was missing was an appreciative audience asking randomly generated questions and a bored couple making out in the corner.
  • My wife is a doc at the VA and uses Vista. It is a nice application. She loves to be able to VPN into the hospital and do her notes at home. It seems like the program was written in Delphi. Can anyone confirm this?
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @07:38PM (#13246119)
    CVS one time use camcorder has now been hacked so that videos can be downloaded over USB

    Last I checked, cvs co works well enough.
  • New Names? (Score:2, Funny)

    by pyr0r0ck3r (702602)
    So since this new planet is bigger than Pluto, and most likely affects Pluto's orbit, I say we call it Mickey.

    Also, what happens to the moons of Pluto - IIRC, Pluto has two satellites orbiting it...Chip and Dale, I think. If Pluto becomes a non-planet, do these just become asteroids?
  • What I find interesting the more we are exposed to fiction,reality seems more fake. Sure there is the big brother thing and all. But if the world is so full of these conspiracies then why aren't they completely uncovered more. I am not saying there is no corruption in the world and we as normal citizens are getting the full picture. I mean some of these are so large and will require so many people to pull off and knowing human nature someone will slip up. Like Deep Thought, and the Nixon Conspiracy is r
  • by sanermind (512885) on Thursday August 04, 2005 @08:08PM (#13246236)
    I'm seriously tempted to go out and buy one of these right now, but for the fact that I am one of those in the minority who actually don't own or use windows at all. The code is windows only. But, since the program for the camera occupies flash memory, I would suspect that their is some facility for re-flashing the programming on the camera to avoid this hack... and I could concievably see employees at CVS's plugging in all the cameras to load them with updated software soon, thus eliminating the reusable utility of a camera purchased in the future.

    I wonder how hard it would be for someone to port the code to a useable linux application?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...as Surectum, but I don't think they'll go for it given the problems with that other planet's name.
  • I've read the links and I can see where the "Insert USB cable, download data" step is." Any idea?

    +++
    Cache In, Trash Out!
  • Sedna and Quaoar?
    Although I've heard that Quaoar has been classified as a non-planet, I'm not sure about Sedna.
    Besides, according to New Scientist, there could be many, many more planets [newscientist.com] out there.
  • I watched the shuttle launch live on MSNBC.

    I think it was when the E.T. tank had separated, you could see a dot that appeared to be in the distance moving from right to left above the curvature of the Earth. The speed appeared to be steady, but I didn't time it and it appeared slow. Just guessing, the dot was:

    • chase plane
    • reflection off of something
    • satellite
    • launch debris
    • SRB

    It was there for a chunk of time. If it was a chase plane, it was darn high up and moving very fast in a weird geometry. If it

    • I forgot to mention: I think that's the dot visible right at the end of the clip on Ecliptic's website [eclipticenterprises.com]. It's there for 3, maybe 5 seconds at the end. There's not much of it in the video.

      One other possibility is that it's a piece of E.T. debris. If it is, it would have had to fly away from the shuttle significantly to produce such pronounced right-to-left motion.

    • Looked for it in the video, could not find what you were talking about.
      • 3:49 in the video (you probably have to enlarge the screen to as big as your monitor will take), if you look at the orbiter forward attachment [nasa.gov] (upside down "v") that's sort of "pink" with a "blue bottom" to the "v" (since it's upside down, the "blue" is at the top). Just below the blue on the left hand side, you'll see a little dot come out from behind the shuttle forward attachment. There's very little in this video -- it continued across the screen for a while after the E.T. sep.

        The E.T. is no longer ac

        • do you mean that brief left-to-right flashing dot? runs from about the top of the OFA to the right of the screen? seems to me to pretty closely parallel the horizon which would likely make it a satelite? or non-shuttle debris (ie space junk)? interesting.
        • Ok, I think I found it, but I saw 2 things:

          1) A second or two before the shuttle starts moving away after ET separation (around 3:25) you see some pieces shoot out to the right, then appear to come back to the left. These pieces are fluttering and spinning as indicated by the cycling of light/dark coming from them. These are most likely debris from the separation mechanism due to the time that they occur and that the "leftward" movement is actually them trailing off into the background.

          2) After ET separati
  • by imr (106517)
    I'm not surprised he is going to port lugaru.
    Not because he is porting more projects than anyone, not because he is talented, not because he is blazzing fast, not because he has swear to have every other linux porter to starve, not because he wants the money, no, just because the moves of the rabbit are really cool and i'm sure he liked them.
    • What's disappointing about Lugaru, beyond the graphics, is that they spelled it so terribly wrong.

      That's Loup Garou, or werewolf for you English speakers.

  • by dtfinch (661405) * on Thursday August 04, 2005 @11:35PM (#13247154) Journal
    We'll just classify the rest as nothing more than gigantic rocks orbiting the sun. We will no doubt find dozens more rocks out there a that are a lot like Pluto.

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