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Matt Plec
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254 followers
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Particle Day continues... next up: nanoscale sculpture aka multi photon lithography aka making art with quantum physics...

http://www.jontyhurwitz.com/nano

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The scale of this blows my mind, from individual particles to heat 100,000 times the core of the sun. Amazing.

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Tons of great stuff to listen to on NPR music's Youtube channel:

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If you do product demos, save yourself the trouble of learning the hard way like I did and read this article right now:

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Not quite the past, but not entirely the future either... well worth 56 seconds of your life!

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Different approach to Amazon/Azure/Google, sounds like a RHEL model of using open-source, but I wonder if it all won't end up in more or less the same place, just a question of which vendor is either shipping you racks of machines or making them virtually-private inside data centers they maintain.

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I saw a 512GB USB stick the other day, too. Incredible.
Moore's Law has never been better illustrated than in this image. A factor of 1000 in less than ten years.
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Spotted this in Taiwan last trip.... can you guess what it is?

.... look closely ....

A water powered music box!
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One of the things I love about Taiwan is frequent surprises like this.
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A cogent observation worth pondering.  That for thirty years a major dogma of conservatism has been to "privatize government functions" on the theory that civil servants are always inherently bloated and corrupt functionaries and that the same services could be done better by hired contractors, lean and competitive.  This nostrum was so persuasive that democrats bought into it, as well.  Much of the privatization and reduction of the civil service happened under Bill Clinton. Only then…

Only then came the Iraq Wars, when those contractors were NOT hired by competitive bidding.  A state of war allows "emergency over-rides" of the government's meticulous competition rules… and boy did George Bush sign those over-rides!  Granting gigantic no-bid, no competition "emergency" contracts to Bechtel and Halliburton and Blackwater and dozens of other big contractors, all with one common trait… extensive historical and financial ties to the Bush or Cheney clans.  Contracts adding up to half a trillion dollars or more… in fact the contractors were the only overall winners to come out of those wars, at all. Certainly we did not win.

Put aside for now one basic principle, that wars of policy are not "emergencies that sufficed for over-riding contract law.  Wars of urgency are another matter, but we had already toppled the Taliban enablers of Osama, so the remaining (and 99% of the cost) wars of nation building -- even if they had been competent (a big if!) were wars of policy. In which (among other things) the US National Guard and reserves should not have been devastatingly overused and shattered.)

Study after study has shown that the older military practice, maintaining units of soldiers capable of doing the logistics and maintenance and base-construction themselves, in-house, would have cost immensely less. But there are now actual laws on the books preventing much of that from being reinstated.

But let's move on to the latest example of bad outcomes from the privatization fetish. The farming out of functions for the security establishment. By some estimates, the NSA and CIA and other intelligence agencies had, up till the Snowden events, up to half a MILLION subcontractors with clearances!

It wasn't naievte that created Snowden. It was the Ronald Reagan privatizers of our national security state that led to rampant fraud, waste, abuse, and greed. The NSA et. al. are recapturing their functions from the private military contractors ASAP.

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2013/11/liberals-you-must-reclaim-adam-smith.html
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