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Chris Dolan
Works at Sony Creative Software
Attended University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Chris Dolan

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+Henk Poley yes, then you could tell if that "?" is a ❤ or a 💔
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Ha! Love it.
 
“I really didn’t foresee the Internet. But then, neither did the computer industry. Not that that tells us very much of course–the computer industry didn’t even foresee that the century was going to end.”
— Douglas Adams
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Despite the similarity of our names, I don't actually know Christian or the context of this photo. But I've got to say, this is one of the best photobombs I've ever seen!
 
The best day of our lives... 
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StageFright+MMS workaround for KitKat
The image-parsing bug in the Android module called "StageFright" is making a lot of headlines because it can be triggered just by receiving a malicious MMS.There's a workaround to turn off auto-parsing of MMS -- this workaround is well-documented around the web but not well-publicized, so here's my PSA. :-)

If your phone runs Android and is not yet patched for the bug in StageFright, here are the steps to reduce your risk. These steps are for KitKat -- See below for notes about Lollipop.

1) open the Hangouts app
2) open the hamburger menu in upper left and select Settings
3) click SMS
4) If Hangouts is not your default SMS app then make it so by clicking the topmost setting (yes, this does mean that you have to switch texting apps but it won't lose your past texts)
5) scroll down to "Advanced" and disable "Auto retrieve MMS"

Once you've done this, you have to explicitly click on a malicious MMS to be hacked by the bug in StageFright.

If you're running Lollipop (I'm not yet) then I believe the default Messages app now has the "Auto retrieve MMS" checkbox too, so you don't need to switch apps. Jellybean is probably the same as Kitkat.
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How strange... The black scale supports iOS and Android, but the white one requires an iOS device for initial setup. What?? This is mentioned nowhere except in the support pages.
Wi-Fi setup Bluetooth setup Wi-Fi setup This walkthrough is a step-by-step description of the setup of a Wireless Scale WS-30 for usage with your Wi-Fi network. This setup is performed from th...
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If you like APoD or astronomy photography in general, you should follow +Dylan O'Donnell. I first became aware of him through his popular "ISS transiting the Moon" photo that many of you probably saw. This photo below is my favorite of his.
 
Another photo from my night in the desert in Western Australia, this is the duller side of the milky way showing the dark squarish "coalsack" nebula. With skies this dark however, and stacking the stellar regions for greater signal-to-noise ratio, the star density and brightness can be imaged intensely! 

In this image you can see not only our galaxy, but also the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, which are actually separate irregular looking galaxies, though they appear to have classic "spiral bar" morphology that has been distorted. The source of this distortion is our much larger galaxy, the Milky Way. The LMC and SMC are small by comparison and have likely been twisted out of shape by the gravitational interaction with our own galaxy. 

3 x 30s f2.8 ISO 3200 / Canon 70D / Tokina 11-16mm 

#astrophotography   #thepinnacles   #canonaustralia  
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This post is a little more technical than most of Brian's, but it's dense with a lot of important insights into our solar system in contrast to others that we've discovered in the past couple of decades. A key implication is this: without Saturn's gravitational influence on Jupiter, there would probably be no habitable planet like Earth in our solar system.

(To be clear, Brian doesn't go as far as to state that implication -- those are my words and interpretation)
 
How Special is the Solar System?

Our solar system follows a clear pattern. Small, rocky planets close to the Sun, large gas planets farther out, and a belt of astroids between them. On a broad level that would seem to make sense. As the Sun formed, the intense energy of its newfound solar wind would tend to push lighter elements such as hydrogen and helium toward the outer solar system, leaving only rocky material behind. It’s tempting then to imagine that most solar systems would follow a similar pattern of close rocky planets and more distant gas giants. But as we’ve discovered more exoplanetary systems, we find that isn’t the case. In fact it increasingly looks like our solar system might be the exception rather than the norm.

When we look at other star systems, we find that a gas planet far from its star is rather unusual. One way to categorize planets is by the energy they receive from their star. Hot planets, such as Mercury and Venus in our solar system, warm (possibly habitable) planets such as Earth and Mars, and cold planets such as Jupiter and beyond. The cut-offs for a particular system depend upon the energy produced by a particular star, but it gives a good idea of near, mid-range and distant planets. In our own solar system, all the gas planets are “cold” planets. But among all confirmed exoplanets, less than 20% of gas planets are cold. The most common type of gas planets are “hot jovians.” These are large, Jupiter-mass planets close to their star.

To be fair, the methods we use to detect exoplanets, such as watching a star dim when a planet passes in front of it (transit method) or measuring the oscillation of a star due to the gravitational tug of an orbiting planet (Doppler method) make it inherently easier to discover large, close planets. But even when this bias is taken into account, it appears that hot jovians are more common than cold ones.

Through computer simulations, we have some ideas as to why that is. In a young system, planets form within a protoplanetary disk, which is basically a fluid of gas and dust. The gas is typically at least partially ionized, so it interacts with the magnetic field of the central star. Because of the dust collisions and clumping, there is also turbulence within the disk. In physics, such a system can be described by magnetohydrodynamics. The equations for such a system are extremely difficult to analyze, but with modern supercomputers we have been able to discover some general trends.

Low mass planets (less than 10 Earth masses) don’t strongly disturb the overall structure of the protoplanetary disk. Their interactions with the disk induce what is known as a spiral density wave within the disk. One wave spirals inward in the leading direction of the planet’s motion, while another wave spirals outward on the trailing edge. Since the drag from the outer spiral is typically larger than the drag from the inner spiral, the planet will tend to move closer to the star fairly quickly. This is known as Type I migration.

For high mass planets (greater than 10 Earth masses, or just below the mass of Uranus and Neptune) not only is a density wave induced, but the planet creates a gap in the protoplanetary disk. You can see this in the right figure above. This means that while there is still a net inward drag, it’s substantially smaller. So the planet would gradually move inward during its formation. This is known as Type II migration. The net effect of both of these dynamics is that planets formed in the disk will tend to move toward the star, and thus close, hot, planets are common.

So why did Jupiter form so far away from the Sun? Trick question: it didn’t.

According to the Grand Tack model, Jupiter likely started to form at about the current distance of Mars. Due to the drag forces of the early solar system it migrated toward the Sun, perhaps as close as the modern orbit of Venus. It was on track to becoming a hot jovian planet were it not for the gravitational interactions of Saturn. The two planets entered a gravitational resonance, where Jupiter would make 3 orbits for every 2 of Saturn. This 2:3 resonance gradually drove the planets outward. Subsequent interactions with Uranus and Neptune drove those planets outward as well.

Jupiter’s journey through the inner solar system explains why our solar system has no hot jovian worlds. It also explains why we have no “super-earths,” when such large worlds — with rocky cores like Earth but much smaller hydrogen-helium envelopes than Neptune — are much more common in other planetary systems. Jupiter’s migratory journey would have cleared any young super-earths from the inner solar system. The rocky worlds we see today began forming afterwards, and were thus much smaller than expected.

The simple division of our solar system into rocky and gassy worlds is the result of a complex planetary dance that in many ways defies the odds, and lies on the outskirts of what’s “normal” or, at least, average. But the galaxy is a very large place, with somewhere around 300 billion stars, and therefore, 300 billion chances at life, and of having rocky, Earth-like planets in their habitable zones. While there are likely many other planetary systems similar to ours, the vast majority will be devoid of anything like our home world. As we seek out new worlds with life — and potentially, new civilizations — on them, our best chance for an Earth-like planet might not be a planet like ours, but rather on a world that’s right out of Star Trek: the twin moons Remus and Romulus, orbiting a gas giant which in turn orbits its parent star.
It increasingly looks like our solar system might be the exception rather than the norm.
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I liked this comment on the original: "Were they mrace conditionaking a  joke there?"
 
Nice performance win for Wikipedia! Async all the scripts!

Source: https://twitter.com/mediawiki/status/630865572654264320
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I got home the other day to see a note on the kitchen counter: "dog is fed". I kept my cool and didn't let on that his cover was blown.
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Oh, excellent, a maintained wiki of Xcode DMG direct download links. I find this so much more convenient than re-downloading from the Mac App store for every machine.
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I just started reading "The Martian" by Andy Weir. I'm only 65 pages in, but I can already tell this is going to be one of my favorite books. XKCD nailed it, as usual (http://xkcd.com/1536/)
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This is a series of superb photos from the NOAA satellite DSCOVR which houses the NASA camera called EPIC. EPIC took the photos looking back at Earth while the Moon passed between Earth and the satellite.

The video shows some really interesting properties: 1) you only see the far side of the Moon, which is never visible from the Earth, 2) you see just how low the Moon's reflectivity (aka albedo) really is. I've always heard that the color of the moon is about the same as asphalt and you can tell that's about right from these photos.

More info: http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/from-a-million-miles-away-nasa-camera-shows-moon-crossing-face-of-earth

h/t +Planetary Resources  via https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PlanetaryResources/posts/37DpMtXiuiR
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LOL: "Moon photobombs Earth in amazing video from DSCOVR satellite"

http://www.geekwire.com/2015/moon-photobombs-earth-in-amazing-video-from-dscovr-satellite/
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Chris's Collections
People
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Work
Occupation
Programmer, software architect
Employment
  • Sony Creative Software
    Staff Software Engineer, 2012 - present
  • Avid Technology
    Sr Principal Software Engineer, 2007 - 2012
  • Clotho Advanced Media
    Sr Software Developer, 2001 - 2007
  • Univ Wisconsin, Astronomy Dept
    Research Assistant, 1994 - 2000
Story
Tagline
programmer, cyclist, gamer, former astronomer
Bragging rights
#1 Google result for "constellations"; Toughest bicycle ride: 125 miles + 11,000 ft climbing
Education
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Astronomy, PhD, 1994 - 2000
  • Cornell University
    Astronomy, 1990 - 1994
  • Derryfield School
    1986 - 1990