VnutZ's Articles, Page 10 of 75

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15 Mar 13

Venezuelans ... They Be Crazy

Hugo Chavez continues to influence the world, his final act being to make a personal, elbow to elbow recommendation to Jesus on a new pope. As spoken by Nicolas Maduro, the acting Venezuelan President, “We know that our commander ascended to those heights and is face to face with Christ. Something must have influenced [Jesus] to call for a South American pope.” Of course, Maduro is also opening an investigation into his death because, “we have the intuition that our commander Chávez was poisoned by dark forces that wanted him out of the way.” The Venezuelans believe foreign agencies, particularly the United States, are responsible for giving him cancer. Such a belief probably propagated because Chavez himself alluded to exactly that in a speech to his soldiers, “would it be strange if they had developed the technology to induce cancer and nobody knew about it?”

05 Mar 13

Surrogate Mother and Abortions

A new quandary has arisen with surrogate parenthood. A family opted to pay for a surrogate mother due to fears for the biological mother’s survivability. During routine natal examinations, it was discovered the fetus had developmental abnormalities whereupon physicians declared it only had 25% of living a normal, healthy life. At this point, the family requested the surrogate mother have an abortion as they were not prepared or able to handle a medically needy child and offered financial compensation. The surrogate, however, refused.

How should a situation like this best be handled?

22 Feb 13

xBox Combat Medal

The Secretary of Defense recently authorized a new medal for military service members, the Distinguished Warfare Medal (pdf). It can be awarded for members of the armed forces “who distinguish themselves, on or after September 11, 2001, by extraordinary achievement, not involving acts of valor, directly impacting, through any domain, combat operations or other military operations” which basically gives drone operators or cyber operators an opportunity to be recognized. This is not necessarily a bad idea, until one looks at the line reading that it “provides an avenue to recognize appropriately extraordinary direct impacts on combat operations warranting recognition above the Bronze Star Medal.” The order of precedence has stirred up a number of veterans calling the award an insult to those performing valorous or heroic acts. The term “xBox Medal” is definitely being thrown around within the ranks already. A petition is already on the White House website requesting the precedence be re-evaluated.

09 Feb 13

Iran's Science - Real or Fake?

Let’s just say the Iranians have been caught fudging their weapons tests to the public before. Their recent announcement of a stealth fighter has been met with extraordinary criticism that the vehicle is a mere mockup and completely incapable of actual flight. One comment indicated it looked like, “Iranian designers went back through the catalog of cool combat aircraft, picked out some of the coolest bits, and just stuck them all together to make a new airplane with a badass look about it.” Even before that, the Iranians were hyping up their space launch with a monkey aboard that is increasingly in doubt as well. Upon it’s “return”, the Iranians apparently displayed a different monkey than the one photographed for the launch, which they now claim was a photo mixup. Uh huh.

05 Feb 13

Assassination Rules

The US government doesn’t assassinate American citizens, right? Apparently NBC has obtained a leaked 16 page memo (pdf) defining the Justice Department’s rules for assassinating Americans. At the heart of the discussion on the NBC story are Americans Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan who were killed in an airstrike in Yemen. Does the government actually have this power to kill at their discre …

03 Feb 13

Ban Nerf Guns!

I submit, the Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS-50 Blaster. It features:

  • pistol grip
  • semi-automatic functionality
  • extended 18 round magazine
  • military-like front bipod
  • military-like carrying handle
  • military-like adjustable stock

And for a Nerf gun, it’s one of the most intimidating models out there. This single weapon meets EVERY SINGLE piece of criteria for the assault weapons ban! I also submit the commonly used logic that it serves absolutely no practical purpose other than to simulate killing. These should be banned immediately.

30 Jan 13

Boosting US Cyber Security?

I’ve bitched before on OmniNerd about the DoD scraping the barrel to find “cyber savvy” people to fill the ranks. It looks like CYBERCOM is now attempting to increase its size fivefold very rapidly. With WHO? The place already staffs itself with people that preface their meetings by stating, “So I’m just a dumb infantry guy”. On the job training is one thing, but OJT from other people that don’t know what they’re doing is downright shameful.

All right, listen up. I want ten, light netbooks to flank the adversary’s network from the west under the cover of a volley of suppressing packets. The big iron mainframes will send full packets, not just with 0’s but heavy payloads of 1’s at the maximum transmit size in order to pulverize their firewalls and defenses. This will allow the flanking light netbooks to quickly transit the network in order to double-tap the remaining hosts with a flurry of light packets. Any questions? Yes, you, the nerdy looking one in the back.

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

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.

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.

18 Sep 12

New Design Brings Warp Drives Within Reason

As practical science marches on, more and more science fiction technology becomes plausible. A few years ago, a Mexican physicist named Michael Alcubierre postulated a mechanism to make warp drives possible, limited only by an enormous energy requirement. How much energy? According to Baylor University physicists if the entire mass of Jupiter were converted into energy, that would be enough to make the Alcubierre Drive possible. For years, the Alcubierre Drive has entertained researchers with various designs either attempting to reduce the energy requirements or simply to theorize what could be done. Some proposed using metamaterials to attain speeds upwards of 25% faster than light. The main premise of the design is summarized nicely by NASA:

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