Thursday, August 26, 2010

Trans-Neptunian Scattered Disk Objects

I was reading this morning about Eris, the infamous object that caused all manner of trouble for Pluto's status as a “planet.”  I thought Eris was a Kuiper Belt Object but apparently it's a trans-Neptunian scattered disk object.  Who'd have thought.

The solar system refuses to be simple.  I like this diagram though and these linked-to Wikipedia entries are nice.

Oh, and I guess we're now calling Eris a dwarf planet.   (Where now is defined as 2006).

“It's headed toward that trans-neptunian scattered disk object.”

“That's no trans-neptunian scattered disk object.  That's a space station!”

Image link and  credit

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What About Comments (Updated)

You may ask, “What if I'd like to write  comments about posts on Monolith149 Daily?”

Here are some options:


You can reach me on Buzz via my profile here:  stargate149 on Buzz


You can tweet comments to @stargate149.  They can include links to comments you've posted somewhere and/or links to the post you are commenting on.  This is the simplest, easiest to access, most public and most direct method.  (Often I'm slow to see it, though).


If you are reading these posts on Facebook, you can comment there.  If you aren't reading this on Facebook now, you can find them here

Leo Laporte Gets Buzz Back

“It is fixed. Thanks so much to the Google Buzz team which tracked down a pretty nasty bug in Buzz that had made me invisible for 17 days…”  Leo reports  on his blog, Leoville.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Leo Laporte's Buzz Kill

“I was shouting into a vast echo chamber where no one could hear me because they were too busy shouting themselves. ”

Leo Laporte blogs about Buzz breaking and the failure of social media.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Check your Facebook Privacy Settings Early and Often!

The new Location feature has been turned on for you by default.  The default setting is limited to friends but you'll need to turn it off if you don't want it on at all.

Location lets any of your friends tell all the rest of your friends and family where you are, or even the whole world if you allow it.  Oh yeah, that's another brilliant idea.

Amazing View of 1999 Made in 1967

This video predicting 1999 from 1967 is amazing to watch.  It was made by Philco.  In case you didn't recognize him, the dad there is Wink Mortendale.

Here's more about the video including links to the whole thing.

(Thanks to Wayne for passing this on!).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Check your privacy settings early and often!

I log onto Yahoo this morning (yes, I still have an active Yahoo account and I only log in to keep it active), first to see this picture.  Then, second, I quickly notice that Yahoo has attempted to turn itself into sort of FaceYahoo (I guess that's what the picture is).  Finally, and most importantly, I quickly discover that I have a Yahoo profile, and they've decided to share my information with all of my “connections.”   Even better, spammers have decided to comment on my various profile entries.  I don't think they can see them because I don't actually have any connections yet, but apparently they can see that some of the particular items in my profile have changed.

So this is the latest brilliant assault on one's privacy by deciding the the thing I'd just forgotten to do myself was share as much information as possible with the world, and helping me out by doing it for me.

I'll be slightly fair.  All of the defaults that share anything are to Connections Only and there aren't any connections until I create them.  Okay, so they switched the power on but nothing happens until I actually plug something in.   I'd much rather the power be OFF, since that was my tacit assumption, until I turn it on.  I consider that a much safer and saner approach.  Maybe that's just me.

If you're a regular Yahoo user, you'll already probably know about this.  If you're an occasional or casual user, you'd better log in and carefully see what's going on.

So now we add Yahoo to the list to which this advice applies:

Check your privacy settings early and often!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Super fast spray paint artist

creates paintings in 39 seconds!  [Video] from Holy Kaw.   Wow!

HTML5 Local Storage

Building Persistent Sticky Notes with... by Andrew Burgess.  Impressive!

Learn Programming and Python

This free, PDF book looks very well done.  If you want to learn computer programming and/or the Python language (recommended for programming in general), check out Learn Python the Hard Way.

I actually set off to write something similar once upon a time and this work echoes my effort almost verbatim, as far as I went anyway.

The author has even created a proposed exercises wiki.

Even though I've only spent a few minutes looking at it, I recommend this book and the process it presents.

For many years I worried about a suitable programming language for starting off and learning to program.  It seemed like the cupboard was bare.   I've now concluded that Python fills that void quite handsomely.  I'm excited to hear that Georgia Tech and other schools are now switching to Python for their intro courses.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

The Windows Shortcut Vulnerability

Be sure to update Windows XP to SP3.  If you haven't ever done this, now is the time.  The Windows shortcut vulnerability gives malware a wide open door to attack Windows systems.

Microsoft Security Advisory (2286198)

Trend Micro

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Scientists Watch an Atom’s Electrons Moving in Real Time For the First Time Ever

From LBNL:  For the First Time Ever, Scientists Watch an Atom’s Electrons Moving in Real Time.

An international team of scientists led by groups from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) in Garching, Germany, and from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley has used ultrashort flashes of laser light to directly observe the movement of an atom’s outer electrons for the first time.

“With a simple system of krypton atoms, we demonstrated, for the first time, that we can measure transient absorption dynamics with attosecond pulses,” says Stephen Leone of Berkeley Lab’s Chemical Sciences Division, who is also a professor of chemistry and physics at UC Berkeley. “This revealed details of a type of electronic motion – coherent superposition – that can control properties in many systems.”

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


Many of you will remember MacPaint as being one of the applications bundled with the first Macintosh computers.  Apple has made the source code available via the Computer History Museum.   It was written in beautiful Pascal (the wonderful language that I loved!) by Bill Atkinson.


(If you want to read more Macintosh history and anecdotes, check out by Andy Herzfeld).