Articles, Page 10 of 208

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24 Jan 13

National Hacking Day

According to a press release by the White House Office of Science and Technology, 1-2 June 2013 will be a national hacking day. From the article:

“Civic Hacking Day is an opportunity for software developers, technologists, and entrepreneurs to unleash their can-do American spirit by collaboratively harnessing publicly-released data and code to create innovative solutions for problems that affect Americans. While civic hacking communities have long worked to improve our country and the world, this summer will mark the first time local developers from across the Nation unite around the shared mission of addressing and solving challenges relevant to OUR blocks, OUR neighborhoods, OUR cities, OUR states, and OUR country.”

18 Jan 13

Why don't you vote on OmniNerd?

I’m curious as to why the regulars on this site are so reluctant to vote on content. You’re logged in, you’re reading and commenting, but the 1-second process of casting a vote rarely seems to occur. Is there a reason you’re not? If not, I suggest voting for things that you both read and didn’t feel was a waste of you’re time. In doing so you accomplish two things: you move good content to the top, and you let the writer know you read their stuff and thought it was a useful read.

18 Jan 13

100 Best Companies to Work For

Fortune has released their annual 100 best companies to work at listing for 2013. Still topping the chart is Google with a smattering of industries populating the rest. For lazy reference, the following were the top ten:

  1. Google
  2. SAS
  3. CHG Healthcare
  4. Boston Consulting Group
  5. Wegmans
  6. NetAPP
  7. Hilcorp Energy
  8. Edward Jones
15 Jan 13

If An Assault Rifle Ban Is Passed?

A whole slew of new firearm restricting legislature is brewing at various levels of government from Federal to State. Depending on which state you reside in, the degree to which that legislature will impact your ownership rights vary. In some of the more restrictive states, the discussion regarding assault rifle bans has even extended into the “grandfathering” rules to a degree that current owners may find themselves felons if they do not turn their weapons in.

For the sake of discussion, let’s ignore for a moment the matter of whether a regular person should or should not own an assault rifle. Focus instead on the government’s ability to require you to relinquish present, legal property for … partial face value or possibly even nothing.

11 Jan 13

Watson Learned to Swear

It would appear the IBM’s Watson, of Jeopardy fame has learned to curse and swear. With concern that Watson needed to understand slang to effectively handle natural language queries, its developers incorporated the Urban Dictionary into the machine’s repertoire. According to the article, "in answering one question, Watson even reportedly used the word “bullshit” within an answer to one researcher’s question."

02 Jan 13

Guns versus Cars

So social media has been littered with pro-gun and anti-gun memes since the school shooting. Each party tends to view the other as incomprehensibly stupid (amazingly just like politics). But there is one joke meme that I would like to toss out to the OmniNerds.

Reference the attached image regarding the Assault Vehicle. It makes the same arguments against sports cars that many anti-gun advocates make – which ultimately boil down to no law abiding citizen needs it. Cars are clearly a significant vector for deaths in America. From the CDC :

Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. More than 2.3 million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as the result of being injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2009. The economic impact is also notable: the lifetime costs of crash-related deaths and injuries among drivers and passengers were $70 billion in 2005.

14 Dec 12

How to end gun violence?

After the latest gun tragedy in Connecticut, the gun control issue debate has to get another kick start. The current situation is just too revolting for good people to tolerate any longer.

We have been through this many times on ON so my position is well known. I think it is too late to get adequate control over gun ownership to make much difference in this country, and it would be hopelessly divisive to even try.

Nevertheless, I think this tragedy makes it clear that there is an onus on all of us, and particularly those that support the freedom to own guns, to propose ways of reducing gun violence while still assuming that everyone has access to powerful firearms.

25 Nov 12

Apple's Disc-less OS X Installation Sucks

With OS X Lion (10.7), Apple decided to cold turkey phase out the notion of the installation DVD opting instead to utilize recovery partitions on hard drives or upgrades via the App Store. This … really pisses me off.

After patching my system to 10.7.5, I encountered monstrous instability with kernel panics and arbitrary freezes and reboots occurring roughly every other day. Often times, I didn’t even need to be present but would be watching TV from the sofa and hear the computer behind me die and reboot while idling. So I went about attempting to do the usual deed of downgrading by re-installing the system and just patching up to 10.7.4 and waiting for a series of fixes to 10.7.5 or simply the release of 10.7.6.

25 Nov 12

Highest PowerBall Jackpot ... Ever

The PowerBall Lottery is now up to its highest level … ever. The largest previous jackpot was $365 million, but without a winner on Saturday (the 24th), the PowerBall lottery ballooned to $425 million. The nerd in us all knows that a random draw is as random as random can be with no correlation between numbers or mystical “it’s time is due” strategies to winning. But if you’re going to play, it’s hard to not look at statistical patterns in the numbers for making selections. Based on the same analysis previously published here on OmniNerd for MegaMillions, the dynamically updating Pattern Analysis of the PowerBall Lottery site shows trends in most frequent appearance, least frequent appearance, position stratifications, and winning ball combinations to appease anyone’s need for number selection.

21 Nov 12

Whining about Palestinian unguided missiles

If the Israel apologists want to maintain their outrage about unguided Palestinian missiles, then perhaps they should admit that an oppressed people will use any weapons that they can get to attain their freedom. Americans and Jews should appreciate that better than any other people. Americans because they did it to the Indians (and accepted many incoming unguided missiles in the process); and Israelis because the Jews were treated like this for many centuries.

You want them to use more accurate missiles, then give them some.

Look at the human rights for dolphins thread running now, and tell me that the Palestinians have no human rights.

05 Nov 12

Do Dolphins (And Other Cetaceans) Deserve The Same Rights As Humans?

Back in February the BBC reported that,

“Dolphins should be treated as non-human ‘persons’, with their rights to life and liberty respected, scientists meeting in Canada have been told. Experts in philosophy, conservation and animal behaviour want support for a Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans. They believe dolphins and whales are sufficiently intelligent to justify the same ethical considerations as humans.”

As far as I can tell, this is still an open proposal. I’m curious what this crowd thinks. Is this going too far, or is it simply a heightened awareness of our planet’s intelligent co-inhabitants?

01 Nov 12

Amazing Radio Control

Are Radio Controlled model airplanes a nerd-worthy hobby?

I have just taken it up, or more correctly, gone back to it after an absence of 40 years. Back in the 1970s I played with 10ft wingspan gliders having a pod fixed to the top of the wing with a small gas motor and just enough fuel to take it up to soaring altitude. This was a lot of fun, but my aircraft gradually grew heavier under the weight of its repairs until it was not much use as a glider. My last memory of it was screaming towards me, low over a cow paddock as I frantically tried to mentally reverse the rudder and aileron controls. Sadly, one wing caught the ground, it cartwheeled, and stampeded the cattle. There were only balsa wood fragments left after that one, and I handed in my wings in order to spend more time with the new baby.

18 Oct 12

Charts: xkcd Style

Ever read xkcd and wish you could whip up a chart like the one in the comic? Now you can. Check out Dan Foreman-Mackey’s XKCD-style plots in Javascript using D3.

11 Oct 12

OmniNerd Version 6

If you’re a regular, you definitely noticed some changes today. We’re trying to simplify the site to ease maintenance, but hopefully also make it a little easier to use. Here are some key changes:


  1. Death of NerdRank – I know, it’s like we killed our first born. Ultimately though the number had become meaningless and the backend to maintain it was just overkill. If it ever comes back, it will certainly be in different form.
  2. Death of Auto-Moderation – It seemed like a good idea, but all it created was a bottleneck. Now the computer isn’t judging your writing as you type, or deciding what is/isn’t front page worthy.
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