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Denise Case
Works at Northwest Missouri State University
Attended Kansas State University
Lived in Minnesota
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Denise Case

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How (and why) SpaceX will colonize Mars. Another interesting and informative "Wait But Why" article.


Part 1: The Story of Humans and Space

Part 2: Musk’s Mission

Part 3: How to Colonize Mars
→ Phase 1: Figure out how to put things into space
→ Phase 2: Revolutionize the cost of space travel
→ Phase 3: Colonize Mars

A SpaceX Future

In celebration of +ScienceSunday​​.

#spacex #mars #colonization #interplanetaryspecies #boldlygo
One of life’s great leaps may be just around the corner.
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Denise Case

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8,000 Apollo moon mission photos now online. "Every photo ever taken by Apollo astronauts on moon missions is now available online, on the Project Apollo Archive's Flickr account. That's about 8,400 images, ".

Thanks +NASA​ and +Betsy McCall​ for sharing.

#apollo #lunar #moon #pictures #images #photographs #nasa #humansareamazing
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This is so cool!!!!
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New dark matter candidate proposed. National lab physicists "combined theoretical and computational physics techniques and used the Laboratory’s massively parallel 2-petaflop Vulcan supercomputer to devise a new model of dark matter."

"The key to stealth dark matter’s split personality is its compositeness and the miracle of confinement. Like quarks in a neutron, at high temperatures these electrically charged constituents interact with nearly everything. But at lower temperatures they bind together to form an electrically neutral composite particle. Unlike a neutron, which is bound by the ordinary strong interaction of quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the stealthy neutron would have to be bound by a new and yet-unobserved strong interaction, a dark form of QCD.

“These interactions in the early universe are important because ordinary and dark matter abundances today are strikingly similar in size, suggesting this occurred because of a balancing act performed between the two before the universe cooled,” said Pavlos Vranas of LLNL, and one of the authors of the paper, “Direct Detection of Stealth Dark Matter Through Electromagnetic Polarizability (link is external).” The paper appears in an upcoming edition of the journal Physical Review Letters and is an “Editor’s Choice.”

Excepts from:

Direct Detection of Stealth Dark Matter through Electromagnetic Polarizability

Lattice at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

#darkmatter   #physics   #llnl   #darkQCD  
New theory may explain the mystery of the Universe's missing mass!

Read more at:-

       (Image credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)
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Denise Case

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View from the Maryville Fly-In. Beautiful day - thanks to the Hawk Road Flyers EAA Chapter 1540!

#flyin #aviation #flight #borntofly

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Interplanetary migration.  It's going to take a few good men and women. "Even at a million, you're really assuming an incredible amount of productivity per person, because you would need to recreate the entire industrial base on Mars,' [+Elon Musk ]said. 'You would need to mine and refine all of these different materials, in a much more difficult environment than Earth. There would be no trees growing. There would be no oxygen or nitrogen that are just there. No oil."

Colonization of Mars

#mars  #elonmusk #interplanetarymigration
Elon Musk has long been a vocal proponent for the quest to send humans to Mars, regularly suggesting that humanity must become...
Dylan Carlson's profile photoChris McClelland's profile photoDenise Case's profile photoJim Donegan's profile photo
+Chris McClelland​ "We are what we choose to be." <-- this.

I believe we will choose to be space-faring. :)

We will spread to Mars and throughout our solar system, and from there, who knows how far we will go? :)
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Computer system learns elements of spoken language without training.

#computationallinguistics #machinelearning
System learns to distinguish words’ phonetic components, without human annotation of training data.

Full open access research in Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics.
A new computer system has learned to distinguish words' phonetic components independent of human training or interaction.
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Joe Repka's profile photoValdis Klētnieks's profile photoTrond Arild Tjøstheim's profile photoAnvesh Kolluri's profile photo
The unsupervised paradigm of ML is the most important for the long run.

The title of this article is misleading hyperbole, but the work is interesting and a valuable small step in the right direction, which is unsupervised online (real-time) learning through experience, as opposed to the big data approach of using inflexible, specially-designed algorithms that need preprocessing of the data they take as input, usually by the massive work of human experts. 
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Denise Case

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Postcard from Mars. Beautiful image of Mt. Sharp under a clear (white-balanced) sky.

Credit +NASA​ and +NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory​.

#mars #spaceexploration #humansareamazing
NASA Mars Curiosity Rover's Location is Picture Perfect!
On Tuesday, Sept. 29, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover drilled its eighth hole on Mars, and its fifth since reaching Mount Sharp one year ago. The drilling of the hole 2.6-inches (65 millimeters) deep in a rock the team labeled "Big Sky" is part of a multi-day, multi-step sequence that will result in the analysis of the Martian rock's ingredients in the rover's two onboard laboratories—the Chemistry and Mineralogy X-Ray diffractometer (CheMin) and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite.

"With Big Sky, we found the ordinary sandstone rock we were looking for," said Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada. "It also happens to be relatively near sandstone that looks as though it has been altered by fluids—likely groundwater with other dissolved chemicals. We are hoping to drill that rock next, compare the results, and understand what changes have taken place."

The analyses of the Big Sky rock-powder samples by CheMin and SAM will occur over the next week. Meanwhile, the team will be turning the rover's attention and its wheels towards the second rock, where the sample analysis process will begin anew.

Curiosity is currently on the lower slopes of Mount Sharp in a region covered in sandstone called the Stimson Unit. Two weeks ago, still in the same general vicinity, Curiosity took a pair of long-range images toward higher regions of the mountain. In the foreground—about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the rover—is a long ridge teeming with hematite, an iron oxide. Just beyond is an undulating plain rich in clay minerals. And just beyond that are a multitude of rounded buttes, all high in sulfate minerals. The changing mineralogy in these layers of Mount Sharp suggests a changing environment in early Mars, though all involve exposure to water billions of years ago. The Curiosity team hopes to be able to explore these diverse areas in the months and years ahead. Farther back in the image are striking, light-toned cliffs in rock that may have formed in drier times and now are heavily eroded by winds.

"The only thing more stunning than these images is the thought that Curiosity will be driving through those lower hills one day," Vasavada said. "We couldn't help but send a postcard back to all those following her journey."

Image Description: This composite image looking toward the higher regions of Mount Sharp was taken on September 9, 2015, by NASA's Curiosity rover. In the foreground—about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the rover—is a long ridge teeming with hematite, an iron oxide.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project is using Curiosity to assess ancient habitable environments and major changes in Martian environmental conditions. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech, built the rover and manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information about Curiosity, visit and

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

+NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 
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mari po's profile photoRainbow Wang's profile photoJohn Dye's profile photosnewi sedranreb's profile photo
Would be informative to add a virtual height and distance indicator to covey the area size.
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Denise Case

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Sounds like your device has a virus.
Even the sounds your computer makes can be used to identify the presence of malware. +Nextgov takes a look at a new DARPA effort to use acoustic and other emissions to protect the growing Internet of Things. #IoT #cybersecurity  
The program\'s goal is to detect attackers on the Internet of Things by monitoring electronic devices\' emissions.
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So IoT access just get rolled out... and connectiion paid by the Consumer themselves. What a "brilliant" plan!
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Liquid water on Mars. :)

[Edited to add link to AMA] "We're NASA Mars scientists. Ask us anything about today's news announcement of liquid water on Mars."

#mars #spaceexploration #interplanetaryspecies
New findings from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars.
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Politics, Society, and the Law. Setting prices on life-saving treatments. Fascinating discussion on what is and ought to be illegal. Includes an interesting introduction on the challenging notion of what constitutes crime.
In the past few days, quite a few people asked me to write something about the case of Martin Shkreli, the hedge fund manager who acquired a pharmaceutical company and promptly raised the prices of various lifesaving drugs (which no competitor made) by four to five thousand percent. While there's a lot of interest in the economics of the situation (would a single-payer health care system prevent this?), I don't actually know enough about health care economics to have anything very interesting to say about that. But there's something else about this that I found interesting.

The large majority of people reacted to Shkreli's actions with profound revulsion. (Even before he decided to up the ante by answering a reporter's question about why he did this with "You're a moron.") There was a general sense that there oughta be a law, and many (I suspect) feel that the fact that there isn't, actually, a law about this points to a fundamental failure in our society.

The hard part about this is figuring out what that law ought to be.

The sense of revulsion is clearly not random. Shkreli's decision to raise prices (since reversed) would have netted him a handsome profit, at the expense of the lives of some patients who could no longer afford it, the health of other patients who would not take enough medicine, and the financial ruin of yet others who would be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in a year, or as much as they could before their finances gave out completely. It was "conduct that unjustifiably and inexcusably inflicts or threatens substantial harm to individual or public interests."

That last sentence is one that I've always found very interesting. It comes from the Model Penal Code, a 1962 attempt by a collaboration of jurists around the United States to write a reference standard for what criminal law should be. (No state uses it verbatim, but most states have since based their criminal codes on it) That sentence is an attempt to answer the question of "what is 'crime,' anyway?:" that is, what are the things that there oughta be a law against?

Most of the rest of the MPC is trying to put meat on that one sentence: what is justified? (It answers by starting from the concept of "necessity," and ideas such as self-defense and so on follow from that) What is excusable? (That is, can the person be held responsible for the act?) It's a fascinating discussion, but the key point in this is that the MPC's authors were attempting to capture a very fundamental question about what types of behavior society ought to defend itself against.

I think that most readers would agree that Shkreli's behavior very much fits within the bounds of that concept – the general notion of "what ought to be a crime." However, there's a second layer to making something a crime, which in this case is the hard part. 

The problem is that law in general, and criminal law in particular, is absolutely terrible at subtlety. It is possessed of big hammers and bigger hammers, and even a criminal investigation is a significant harm to someone. (Although our legal system works rather hard to pretend that it isn't, which is an issue for another day) And because we attempt to be "a nation of laws, not judges," we don't want laws (especially criminal laws) which are vague in their definition, and up to the whims of individual judges to interpret. There are very good reasons for that, of course: if law is up to judges, then the law becomes hard to predict, so everyone shies away from being even close to a gray area; it becomes subject to the personalities of judges, so knowing them becomes more important than knowing the law, and thus creates a situation rife for two tiers of justice.

So for a law to be useful, it needs to delineate a fairly clear category of conduct which is against the law, and which can be determined by the procedures of criminal investigation and trial to have happened or not to have happened.

And for this reason, it's fundamentally impossible, and even undesirable, for "what is legal" and "what is ethical" to coincide. The reason is that ethics are always situational: (sorry, Kant) that is, they depend on the totality of the circumstances surrounding the event. To take a simple example, if you say that "killing people is wrong," you're certain to be asked "well, what if someone is coming at you with an axe?," or "well, what if someone is coming at your family with an axe?" There are plenty of possible answers to this question, but each of them highlights that the abstract statement about killing must always be qualified with the possibility of situational modifiers. Laws, on the other hand, need to be specified clearly and crisply, so that they can be enforced, and their boundaries cannot pre-specify every possible situation.

As a result, we expect that there should be things which are both legal and ethical (say, giving people cookies) and things which are both illegal and unethical (say, hacking strangers to death with an axe). There should also be things which, while ethical, are illegal, and for good reason. (My favorite example of this is "killing Nazis," but I recognize that many people will argue the ethics of this with me. However, ethical or not, there's an excellent reason that it isn't legal for ordinary citizens to go around shooting people in the streets, which is that this would lead to utter chaos as everyone decided that they had a good reason to shoot someone different. The meta-purpose of having civil order outweighs the individual ethical value of killing some individual malefactor) And likewise, there are things which will be unethical, but still legal.

Sharp business practices will inevitably fall into this category, because it's impossible to enumerate ahead of time all of the ways in which people will attempt to cheat or rob one another. No matter where your laws are, so long as business is possible, someone will find a way to do something malicious. (And this is hardly specific to business; even if you ban that outright, extreme Bolshevik style, people will misuse one another in plenty of other ways)

I should note that this fourfold division is simply for the case where the law attempts to mimic justice as closely as possible; it's not even counting the fact that law is by no means constrained to do that, and can just as easily be a tool of injustice as of justice. (Its history is quite full of that)

Justice as an aim of law is a nontrivial statement: it implies that the purpose of having a rule of law, beyond the establishment of predictable civil order and predictable consequences for action, is to legitimize and stabilize the state monopoly on force by having the law act as a fair arbiter of disputes, so that people will be willing to accede to its decisions rather than take matters into their own hands. This is far from a universal concept: when those in power are secure enough in their power, they do not necessarily need any legitimization of their monopoly on force, and so law becomes simply an instrument of civil order, which includes the maintenance of their power. And conversely, we often see cases where this power is not universal but the law nonetheless fails at those aims, and indeed in those cases the result is a collapse of the state monopoly on force. It's no coincidence that criminal gangs, run by powerful warlords, tend to be powerful precisely in the places where people have good reason not to turn to the police for help.

But returning to the ideal case, where the law attempts to embody justice as closely as it can while still being equally predictable by all, we see that there will always be differences between the two concepts. And I strongly suspect that Shkreli's conduct is in one of those areas where the difference is most significant and will always be hardest to minimize.

The challenge would be to draft a law against what Shkreli did which doesn't either rely on knowledge of his mental state ("in order to make money at people's expense" – it seems exceptionally likely to all concerned that this is why he did it, but how would you go about defining that in a way that could be proven in a court?) or also bar practices which are rather important. (e.g., we probably don't want to say that it's illegal to have any business relating to a lifesaving good, or that any business which touches on such a thing is required to have its prices set by popular vote, because then we will have a sudden and significant lack of such businesses)

I haven't thought through the particulars of whether this case could be legislated against in depth, but I suspect most strongly that even if it could, a Shkreli2.0 would promptly show up and find some way around that, as well. The fact is that it is not possible for criminal law to defend against all ills, and we shouldn't expect it to.

So what should be done in such a case? Well, I'm tempted to suggest that an appropriate response would have been for him to get a good, swift kick in the nuts – another one of those actions which likely falls under "ethical, but illegal for good reason." (Although this may also raise the question of the category of "... but worth it anyway") 

What did end up happening, a public outcry which forced him to reverse his decision, is sort of a model of what you would like to happen in general: because while the law is constrained to be very black-and-white, social pressure is not. 

However, this is far from a reliable mechanism. First, it's not always effective: I'm still not certain why he decided to fold to public pressure in this case, as he doesn't seem overly concerned with being considered harmful. Second, it's often misaimed: how often does public pressure go against things which are simply unpopular? We should remember that one of the main reasons we have a Constitution and a judicial branch (and a rule of laws, rather than judges) is to try to prevent the rule of the majority from becoming the oppression of the minority – and even with all these mechanisms, our record on that is spotty to say the least. Essentially, a trust in social mechanisms alone is trust in a system which is as dangerous as the law itself; more flexible, but also far more unpredictable.

The only real answer, I think, is defense in depth: a combination of laws and social pressures which regulate one another, each understanding that the other will frequently fail, and each responsible for holding the other in check when they do.

The system worked in this case, as it fails in many others. It is nowhere near perfect. But it's at least a start.

Those who wish to read more about the Model Penal Code may find a good place to start in Markus Dubber's Criminal Law: Model Penal Code, ( one-third of which is the MPC itself, and the rest of which is a discussion of the whats and whys of the MPC, and a study of its reasoning. It's an invaluable tool in helping to understand the ideas underlying many theories of law and justice.

Those who like the "there are four kinds of..." approach to things in general may find a good place to continue in Pirkei Avot, a chapter of the Mishnah which consists of discussions of wisdom and ethics, and which heavily uses this style. It's available both online and in printed form at many places (e.g., and there's an excellent introduction to it – really, a discussion of the underlying concepts of ethics and why we have them – by the Rambam. (
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He is on the big #KarmaList
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Denise Case

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A great visualization of how out of scale every picture of the solar system you've ever seen is:
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Good news for honeybees.

And the plants they pollinate. And us who depend on the pollinated plants. :)

An appeals court ruled that the E.P.A. erred in approving an insecticide linked to the loss of honeybee colonies.
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+Madeleine DeRome cheers will continue within friends... That's friendship 
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  • Kansas State University
    PhD Computer Science, 2013 - 2015
  • Kansas State University
    MSE Software Engineering, 2013
  • University of Missouri–Columbia
    BS Chemical Engineering
Basic Information
The secret of life is two words: not always so :)
A Few Favorite Quotes

"A ship in harbor is safe. But that is not what ships are for." 
- Rear Admiral (and Computer Scientist) Grace Hopper

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it." 
- Gautama Buddha

"There should be no boundary to human endeavor."
- Stephen Hawking

"My undergraduate experience convinced me that I was not smart enough to be a physicist, and that computers were quite neat."
- Dennis Ritchie
“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both. ” ― James A. Michener
  • Northwest Missouri State University
    Asst Professor, present
  • Johnson County Community College
    Adjunct Asst. Professor, 2013
  • Black & Veatch
    Consulting Engineer, 2015
  • Kansas State University
    Graduate Student, 2011 - 2015
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Minnesota - Kansas