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James Taji
hiker, engineer, techno geek
hiker, engineer, techno geek

James's posts

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h/t +Shane Volpe​
If you work in education and you aren't doing something about this, then you aren't really doing education at all.

Millennials have been lied to and we must find the courage to tell them the truth. Millennials have been systematically addicted and we have to help them become sober.

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Hidden inside the network protocol that powers the Internet is a system designed to fight a nuclear war, even if Washington were destroyed by a surprise Soviet attack. Today, it mostly powers cat videos.

This is the system of "precedence," the mechanism that lets the network know that some traffic is more urgent than others. While this may seem like a straightforward idea, the levels of the precedence system -- before the "great renaming" which gave them anodyne names like "AF4/1" -- have a very interesting history indeed.

The first four levels came from US Army standards developed during the Korean War: "routine," "priority," "immediate," and "flash." (With flash priority being for messages that had to be sent in real time -- like "messages recalling or diverting friendly aircraft about to bomb targets unexpectedly occupied by friendly forces," which I think you'll agree is something you want people to know about quickly so they'll STOP SHOOTING AT YOU)

The fifth level, "flash override," was developed in the late 1950's -- a special precedence level which only the President and Secretary of Defense (or their deputies, if they were killed) were allowed to use, intended to let them override all other traffic and give the orders to end the world.

On top of this is a sixth level, "CRITIC/ECP." This level was almost entirely forgotten: it was introduced between 1958 and 1963, and then promptly ignored by every generation of documentation afterwards. It remained not quite secret, but never really discussed; a drastic highest priority never used, until mathematical necessity forced its introduction into the Internet Protocol./

The story below is a dive into the rabbit-hole of Cold War planning: how the system designed in secret for the Air Force ultimately ended up powering realtime games and video chat.

The next time you’re streaming an old X-Files episode on Netflix that you’re actually using a mechanism designed to ensure that nuclear war could be reliably fought, even if it had to be done from a modified Boeing 707 after Washington was destroyed. The truth, in this case, is in there.

(Footnote for interested readers: This is, I believe, the first time the entire story, from the military side through to the network side, has been in one place. Many thanks to +Lauren Weinstein, among others, for helping me trace the various threads that led to this.)

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This is an image of Pluto. Not an artist's interpretation, but an actual image. It's a testament to what humans can achieve when we truly work together.

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Pluto is red
What color is Pluto? NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is closing in on it, and new images are revealing something completely different.
It's red.

According to NASA, New Horizons' principal investigator, Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute, says scientists have known about Pluto's reddish hues for decades, but because images have never been taken from this close, they didn't know for sure. But thanks to the maps developed from New Horizons' data, recorded from roughly 7.8 million miles away between July 1 and July 3, researchers are now able to see the real detail of its coloring and texture.

As it turns out, the sneaky thing is red. Or, at least, reddish brown, similar to Mars. But while the coloring on Mars is from iron oxide, Pluto likely has a different agent. According to NASA, the reddish color is likely caused by hydrocarbon molecules that are formed when cosmic rays and solar ultraviolet light interact with methane in Pluto's atmosphere and on its surface."



#nasa   #space   #pluto   #NewHorizons  
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Leap Second
Today, we all get 1 extra second - a leap second - which is added to our clocks to adjust for Earth's rotation. The time morsel will be added tonight at 23:59:59 - so make sure to enjoy that 61-second minute!

#leapsecond   #science   #time  

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Are you expecting your kids to be too specialized?? I love this post over at +Bonbon Break from Stacy Tornio....
And high fives for raising (we hope) generalists ;)

Read it here:
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