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Showing posts from March, 2014

Amazing Resources

It's quite incredible that NASA seems to just upload all the data they gather straight on to the Internet.

Look at all the stuff here:

I mean, this is just incredible.

The whole fricking data and everything is here.

One could spend a day or a year browsing.

I guess this would be of maximum interest to geologists.

History Via Los Alamos

From B 61 images to a lot else.

It is somewhat unbelievable that these stuff are even in the public domain.

Here are a few samples:

"Adobe was a free fall airburst that was a successful LASL verification test of the XW-50X1-Y2 warhead in a Mk-39 Mod-1 Type 3 drop case. The device was similar to those tested in Aztec, Kingfish, and Bluegill Triple Prime. The W-50 warhead was eventually deployed in three yields: Y1 (60 kt), Y2 (200 kt), and the Y3 (400 kt) and deployed on the Nike Zeus SAM (surface-to-air missile), and the Pershing surface-surface ballistic missile. The mushroom cloud rose to about 60,000 ft.

"This was a generally successful LASL of the the XW-50X1-Y3 in a Mk-39 Mod-1 Type 3 drop case. It was the highest yield variant of the W-50 warhead (used on the Nike Zeus and Pershing missiles), giving a yield-to-weight ratio of 2.21 kt/kg. This device used a spherical secondary stage. The device was similar to those tested in Adobe, Kingfish, and Bluegill Triple …

Stephen Fry On The Meaning Of Life

“The humanist view of the meaning of life is different. Humanists do not see that there is any obvious purpose to the universe, but that it is a natural phenomenon with no design behind it. Meaning is not something out there, waiting to be discovered, but something we create in our own lives.” “And although this vast and incredibly old universe was not created for us, all of us are connected to something bigger than ourselves, whether it is family and community, a tradition stretching in the past, an idea or cause looking forward to the future, or the beautiful natural world on which we were born and our species evolved. “This way of thinking means that there is not just one big meaning of life, but that every person will have many different meanings in their life.”


In Memory Of The Emergency

Like the partition and its accompanying riots, Emergency was an abomination. It's good to remember lest we repeat the same mistakes again.

Khuswant Singh was one of those who initially supported it but then opposed it when they realized how grotesque it was. It turns out that Jayprakash Narayan was sort of like an Arvind Kejriwal of his day. Or, to put it in another way, Kejriwal is trying to be the JP of the present age.

A new generation or two has come of age since Indira Gandhi's time. Who remembers the ghouls such as Jagmohan or Naveen Chawla or the other chamchas of Sanjay Gandhi and their misdeeds. There were a few heroes too of course, such as George Fernandes.

The death of Khuswant Singh is an occasion for a bit of looking back.

Search Engine Algorithms

How do you create search logic that works globally on the WWW and returns the most meaningful results?

How to make sure that the top result is and someone searches for 'Harvard'? It may seem trivial but it is not.

How to ensure that websites for 'Honda' or 'Toyota' turn up in the search results when someone searches for 'automobile manufacturers'? After all, those websites are not likely to contain the phrase 'automobile manufacturer' on them?

There's a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes. Here's a paper about some such stuff.

Here's a Google patent about a method for ranking hyperlinked pages using content and connectivity analysis.

A Google patent about determining reachability. One more Google patent.

Google Fellow Jeffrey Dean. Google Research home page.

A paper about the 'Temporal Dynamics of Online Information Streams."

Primary Sources: Permissive Action Links and the Threat of Nuclear War

The dangers of nuclear Armageddon as existed during those oh-so-long-ago years ... 50 years since the Cuban Missile Crisis ... how many of the humans alive now have been born since then!?

Perhaps for the inhabitants of the planet now, nuclear war is an improbable thing. But who knows? Look at the unnecessary war-mongering by the Republicans in the U.S. over Ukraine and Crimea.

Look at Israel's sabre-rattling over Iran's nuclear program. Look at the occasional border tensions between India and Pakistan, those two famously 'nuclear-armed' neighbors in South Asia. Things can always 'escalate.' Humans seem loath to let go of their ever-present prejudices.

Hence, this New Yorker article is quite important. Since the United States and then former Soviet Union pioneered both the development and deployment of ever-more ferocious nuclear weapons in those bygone days, the evolution of the thinking in those nations during those days gives important insights.

There would be…

Satoshi Nakamoto

So, the Bitcoin founder was 'outed' by a newly resurrected Newsweek magazine. He denies being the founder though. So the Whodunit continues?

That and other article links in this article.

But really, this post is mainly a tribute to that 'priceless' expression on the face of the man in the image above. I wanted to preserve that expression.

Redditers are skeptical that Dorian Nakamoto is Satoshi Nakamoto, the founder of Bitcoin.

Is NASA Going to Europa?

After the White House asked for $15 million in the FY 2015 budget request for Europa mission-related expenses, there's vigorous speculation about whether it's actually going to take off.

Remember that this is going to be either a Flagship class mission costing $4 billion to $5 billion or a Frontier class mission in the $1 billion range.

Here's a WaPo article that surveys the landscape.

Related article about how the sudden cancellation of the Constellation program and Ares I rocket has affected the space coast in Florida and left behind a brand-new, unused $500 million launch tower.

A quite exhaustive article on NASA and its cost constraints.

A collection of articles by Joel Achenbach.

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