Random news odd box (Blog Post)

Intelligent 'have better sperm'

"Men of higher intelligence tend to produce better quality sperm, UK research suggests."

Ha! Eat that! In your Face!

*whistles innocently*

On a different note:

Gender-confused teens drug call

"Young teenagers with serious gender identity disorders should be given drugs which will block puberty, international experts suggest.

The US Endocrine Society's draft guidelines say the move would give adolescents crucial time to decide which gender they want to live in.

New Scientist reports they are based work at a Netherlands clinic where 70 teens were successfully treated."

I cant imagine being faced with either the need for a decision like that, or to have the option of drugs to provide me with more time, especially at that time of your life, or even worse of a decision being possible and NOT being given the choice but having it made for me silently, or worse, the possibility of the decision being hidden from me and it being made for me by others with surgery. life is complex.

Relationship advice (Blog Post)

... is something I know almost fuck all about.

However, this XKCD strip has a good point. That doesn't work. Its a bad and fundamentally flawed idea.

I just don't have any others to replace it with.

Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge 2008 October 24-25 (Blog Post)

{edit, main link corrected}

Its that time again but I may not be around at the w/e to pimp it. Last year had highs and lows with armadillo looking really impressive, but not quite clinching it. This year I hope they succeed even more than they were expecting to achieve last time.

If your curious:

The Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge will be held October 24-25 at the Las Cruces International Airport in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Two teams are expected to fly during the competition: Armadillo Aerospace and TrueZer0. Although the competition is not open to the public, the event will be webcast live at http://space.xprize.org/webcast.

Here's a snipet from John Carmack about his hopes and expectations for AA this time round:

Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2008 09:50:39 -0500
From: John Carmack <***>
Subject: [AR] I think we are ready.
To: arocket

We have burned well over 10,000 pounds of propellant in the week and a
half since we finally got our tether testing waivers sorted out. We
were very fortunate to only have a couple days of rain, or things might
not have been possible, and I would have been very, VERY bitter at AST
over the tether ruling. As it is, we crammed most of the testing we
wanted to do into one quarter the time we wanted to do it in. We did
lots of full duration burns for both vehicles (Matt has a great video of
another 180 second Pixel flight with the sun literally going down behind
it), a ground liftoff and touchdown, and a bunch of trim adjustments on
Pixel. The only thing we haven't done this year is a full, untethered,
pad-to-pad free flight, although both vehicles have done several of them
in past years.

There are still a few things that aren't perfect:

Pixel has never started a significant translation with a full propellant
load. Several flights have been made at XPC '06 and in Oklahoma, but
they were all with half propellant load for 90 second flights. We could
choose to burn off the first 90 seconds of propellant over the starting
pad before doing the traverse, but that would have us in full slosh
wiggle during the motions, and I want as much time as possible to dial
in the landing on the lunar surface so we don't land on a rock or in a

Positional control gets marginal on Pixel near the end of a three minute
burn, which is another reason I would prefer to be sitting right over my
landing spot, rather than moving towards it in the last part of the flight.

Balance and trim issues are still a concern with Pixel, we had one 180
second flight that ended with the residual propellants unbalanced enough
that the engine started sucking some helium. We can control this with
manual trim if we stay on top of it.

The flight computer box we have on Pixel isn't quite as good as the one
on the module. The main battery drains faster, and the gyros drift a
bit more. If we had more time, we would have tested swapping the boxes
around to make sure they are as interchangeable as we think they are.
As it is, we are going to stick with what we have tested unless forced
to switch.

We had one communication upset post-flight with Pixel. It seems very
coincidental that the video receiving media stack was unplugged just
about at the time of the upset, so we are not going to do that in the

We had some odd problems with initial fuel valve movement on both the
Mod and Pixel that caused some no-lights. We replaced an actuator and
it seems to have gone away, but we don't understand the root cause. I
wouldn't be stunned if we experience a no-light on one of our attempts,
but hopefully just recycling and trying again will fix it.

The lunar surface may yet trip us up for level 2. In testing trim
issues for pixel, relatively minor level changes can make drastic
differences in propellant balance, and cause significant problems.

There are always worries about transporting everything long distances
over the road.

I think we have a decent chance of taking both prizes on our first try,
but we have a backup engine for each vehicle and lots of spare parts if
we need to fix anything.


John Carmack


Good luck guys

Rocket Racer test flight (Armadillo Aerospace) (Blog Post)

From: http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/08/27/1295499.aspx
"Less than a month after its public debut, the Rocket Racing League is putting a bigger, more powerful prototype plane through its first flight tests - and the results are so impressive that the craft's rocket engine will be adopted as the standard for another five racers, the league's chief executive officer says."

Armadillo's Carmack was pleased as well.

"I am very happy with how the tests are going - the first three flights were done in the first 24 hours we had clearance and cooperating weather," he told me in an e-mail today. "We have been ready for a while, but the FAA held our R&D permit until after XCOR flew at Oshkosh, then two weeks ago we were up in Oklahoma and had rain or cloud cover all week."


I'd sift this, but the "embed" (iframe) isn't valid, but does work here.

Edit, sifted a YT version

Capoeira (Blog Post)

So, I could do with a nice source of regular exercise that is fun and social and which I will sustain, so that I can restore the fitness I would have liked to have had before I fell ill. Anyone else here played at capoeira?

This is something that looks fun, and is happening just up the road from where I live. Which is cool. Aparently this guy would be my teacher. I'm up for that.


Dr. Horrible (Joss Whedon, Felicia Day) (Blog Post)

Stolen shamelly from Penny Arcade


I didn't post a link to it because I see links to it everywhere, and you've already seen it anyway, because you're a cool person who is perpetually in the know. Even so, I couldn't take the chance, because the one thing most links to Dr. Horrible don't include is a dire warning about its ephemeral nature.

That's correct: it will be dragged off the Internet very soon, to be placed on a DVD and made available for purchase. Parts one and two are already avaiable at the site, and part three comes out on Saturday. After that, it all gets pulled down on Sunday. It's a supervillain musical written by Joss Whedon, starring a bunch of awesome motherfuckers.

Why are you still here.



He's right. I would be failing you if i did not do the same.

Mutant Enemy Productions (Joss Whedon)
Neil Patrick Harris
Nathan Fillion
Felicia Day (<- We like her in The Guild)

Available on iTunes for a couple of dollars each, 3 parts. or free on the site right NOW.

Go there. Uses some kind of Hulu powered thing that works for me in the UK

BigBrother to the world (Blog Post)


Google must divulge the viewing habits of every user who has ever watched any video on YouTube, a US court has ruled.

The ruling comes as part of Google's legal battle with Viacom over allegations of copyright infringement.

Digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called the ruling a "set-back to privacy rights".


Bah (Blog Post)


I'm putting this here, because i want to read it at some point. atleast, i think i aught to read it. when im less upset/anoyed/frustrated/irritated by it. a quick glance skiming the start showed me enough similarity to my own experience that i could read no more.

And bbc news articles are a pain to find once they fall of the front page.

So im abusing VS as a post it note system. I realize i could use something else, but im not and dont want to.

BBC has embeded video and offers their top 10 (note, not embedable) (Blog Post)


That said, whilst the above article starts with "This week embedded video was rolled out." They actually mean they have learnt to "embed" clips into their own site. Woo!. Impressive. However, they have yet to master allowing others to have the embed code for their own sites. Lame.

All they can do is offer you a direct link to the vid. Poor show. This clip is funny though: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7341298.stm

More stuff here:

BBC and ISPs clash over iPlayer (Blog Post)


"A row about who should pay for extra network costs incurred by the iPlayer has broken out between internet service providers (ISPs) and the BBC.

ISPs say the on-demand TV service is putting strain on their networks, which need to be upgraded to cope.

Ashley Highfield, head of future media and technology at the corporation, has said he believes the cost of network upgrades should be carried by ISPs.

Simon Gunter, from ISP Tiscali, said the BBC should contribute to the cost."


I wonder how this will resolve...

Armadillo Aerospace Space Access 08 vids (Blog Post)

In addition to http://www.armadilloaerospace.com/ latest update being up, they have just added the vid they showed at the recent http://www.space-access.org/ 08 (http://www.space-access.org/updates/sa08info.html)

The vids (mpg):

High 77mb
Low 25mb

They contain footage shown previously on their site recut into an 8:30min summary vid which is a great introduction to their most recent work. Worth sifting if it makes it to YouTube.

Schools may rule out 'hot cuppa' (Blog Post)

My country has gone more insane

Tea and coffee could be restricted in schools to pupils over the age of 16 in plans to encourage a healthy diet.

It is an option being considered as part of a consultation exercise by the School Food Trust (SFT).

Teachers' unions say this is another example of official bodies meddling in areas where they should not interfere.

The SFT stresses it has no intention of issuing an outright ban on the traditional "British cuppa".


Anyone got a nice country they aren't using? maybe VS could build one in the middle of the pacific. Somwhere nice.

Dizzi Dulcimer to be on internet TV? (Blog Post)

Following my pimpin traditions, I've just been made aware that Dizzi Dulcimer (who has had a few vids sifted here by some of us) has a chance to be on TV, but needs votes/support for this to happen.

Here's her performing with her sister:

"This is a duet with my sister emily and me playing our own composition "Cosmic Sister" She will also be coming to teach you all how to play the dulcimer!"

... more inside ...

However much we disagree... (Blog Post)

We aren't this.

US network faces $1m nudity fine

The FCC deems "sexual or excretory activities" shown in an "offensive" way before 2200 as indecent.

ABC has rejected the claims, saying the buttocks are not a sexual organ.


I agree with some of our decisions, but not all. Which is probably like most of us. We are a community and that's to be expected. But we can always look at examples like the one above and laugh.

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