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Nico Kempe
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Sometimes I find myself configuring VIM again. I've had several .vimrc 's and one really complicated big all-in-one vim config with scripts and all, but I haven't found the right config yet.

This handy little online vim config generator seems pretty good though, so I thought I'd share it.
VimConfig allows you to easily configure vim and vimrc files
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Nico Kempe

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Sometimes I find myself configuring VIM again. I've had several .vimrc 's and one really complicated big all-in-one vim config with scripts and all, but I haven't found the right config yet.

This handy little online vim config generator seems pretty good though, so I thought I'd share it.
VimConfig allows you to easily configure vim and vimrc files
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Haha. Same here. I have the awesome version as well but never took the time to read about them either. I don't even know what most of the plugins do. I keep telling myself that I will sit down and go through all of them but I never get around to it.
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I'm easily entertained by the sound and sight of a multirotor whizzing by at 100 kilometres an hour, but equipping it with a defibrillator and using it for remote emergency assistance, that's just awesome.
 
The flying defibrillator drone created by Dutch TU Delft student Alec Momont flies at 100kph for a response time of just 1 minute. Theoretically increasing the chance of survival from 8 percent to 80 percent. The drone tracks emergency mobile calls and uses the GPS to navigate. Once at the scene, an operator, like a paramedic, can watch, talk and instruct those helping the victim by using an on-board camera connected to a control room via a livestream webcam

#soon   #exciting   #technology  
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I really dislike websites that don't work without JavaScript.
Even worse is this site, which has perfectly readable content, but then obscures it with a unclosable warning about disabling JavaScript. D'oh!

Never let the visibility of your content depend on scripts or CSS, especially in this time where every device can access the World Wide Web.
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"For some reason people keep sending me penguins." :'-)
 
Pretty sweet Linus, but I think I'll stick with my elliptical+xbox combo.
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#Hemlis is at closed beta, nice! Unfortunately Peter Sunde, one of The Pirate Bay's founders and co-founder of Hemlis, got arrested and will serve 5-8 months jailtime for copyright infingement.
We agree with you! It has taken us far to long to get Hemlis ready and we’ve been terrible at updating you of our progress. We had the ambition to fill the void between the existing secure apps and...
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So WhatsApp is now in the hands of Facebook.
Myeah..

Apart from Hangouts, you might like to try +Telegram Messenger .
Telegram is very much like WhatsApp and also based on phone numbers, but it seems to value privacy much more.

Check it out at:
- Android:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.telegram.messenger
- iOS (iPhone enzo.. :P ):  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/telegram-messenger/id686449807?mt=8

[end of necessary spam :p ]
Telegram is a messaging app with a focus on speed and security. It’s superf...
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So I decided to look who knocks at my server's door the most:
$ grep "invalid user" /var/log/auth.log{,.1} | cut -d " " -f 9 | sort | uniq -c | sort -nr
    290 root
     42 admin
     25 vyatta
     25 ubnt
     24 arbab
     20 PlcmSpIp
     13 edit
     12 pi
      8 oracle
      6 log
      5 user
      5 debug
      4 zhangyan
      4 dff
      4 default
      3 cisco
      2 test
      2 info
      1 support
      1 nan
      1 nagios
      1 guest
      1 erika
      1 bin

Explanation of commands:
> grep "invalid user" /var/log/auth.log{,.1}
   this gets the failed login attempts from both auth.log and auth.log.1 (a log rotation file)
> cut -d " " -f 9
   treats the output as columns separated by single spaces, and only shows the 9th column, which contains the usernames
> sort | uniq -c | sort -nr
   sorts the output, summarizes it with totals for each username, and sorts that again numerically and in reverse order

My server hardly does anything these days, so imagine how many break-in attempts a more popular server gets each day.
This specific threat can be battled with a good sshd configuration (NEVER allow remote root logins!) and the pretty sweet fail2ban, which automatically blocks abusers by looking at logfiles.

Who is this vyatta character anyway? :)
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I've just realized that this one-liner shows only invalid usernames. Allowed usernames with bad passwords are not shown.
The line to look for containing bad password attempts would be:
"Wrong password given for user '<login-name>'.", according to https://support.ssh.com/manuals/server-admin/43/User_Authentication_-_Password.html

(+Michael Meyling, you might want to look into securing your sshd, as I don't see root listed in your reply, meaning your sshd might actually allow root logins.)
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Why do so many East-Asians wear masks?
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It's a known theory thought up by Galileo in 1638(?): in a vacuum objects with different mass will fall at the same speed.
This was demonstrated by Apollo 15 astronaut David Scott in 1971, when he dropped a hammer and a feather on the moon, both hitting the ground at the same time.

In this video the physicist Brian Cox shows the experiment once again, but this time it's in a huge vacuum chamber, with a bowling ball and feathers, and it is pretty awesome.

At the end he concludes with an interesting thought by Isaac Newton.
 
Remember the feather vs bowling ball in order to explain #gravity? Well, it is demonstrated at NASA's Space Power Facility in Ohio, by creating an enormous vacuum chamber. It's quite impressive to watch it despite it's a known fact.
Brian Cox visits the world's biggest vacuum chamber - Human Universe: Episode 4 Preview - BBC Two 
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TL;DR: Scientists mapped the motions of thousands of galaxies around the milky way to reveal our home on the grand scale: the Laniakea super cluster. For the first time, we are capable of defining the boundaries between these super clusters based on the flows of galaxies, and it's awesome!
====

So earth sits in our local solar system, which bundles up with a bunch of other solar systems to form our solar interstellar neighbourhood. Then, we take thousands of those to make our galaxy: the Milky Way.
That's just the start, or hardly a start really, since we then take a bunch of these galaxies to make a local galactic group and then, we use thousands of those groups to make the Virgo super cluster.

But wait, there's more. A recent discovery showed that this Virgo super cluster is a part of again thousands of other super clusters, forming a sort of super super cluster.
..and of those super super clusters there are, err, well a lot I imagine..

The thing is, it's all connected. Our local planets swing around the sun just like it happens in the other solar systems, they act upon each other. The galaxies are connected too and bundle up in beautiful brain-like webs, and then those clusters are connected again, and again, eventually forming this super super cluster in which you can clearly see it's not just all scattered about but instead it's forming lines, grouping into something that looks organic, structured in some way.

If the scale of all this isn't enough to make your run outside to get some air, then imagine all these stars, planets, galaxies, clusters and super clusters grouping and moving together in a way that we'd see in various organisms and in nature, but on a huge scale, across distances I can't even begin to imagine, let alone describe.

"They should've sent a poet". :)
 
Scientists have mapped the motions of thousands of galaxies around the milky way to reveal our home on the grand scale: the Laniakea super cluster. For the first time, we are capable of defining the boundaries between these super clusters based on the flows of galaxies.

Check out the video for more: Laniakea: Our home supercluster
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An interesting post about chili peppers.
 
The science of chili peppers

There is an arms race going on. Farmers are competing to breed the hottest chillies ever, with terrifying names such as Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and Carolina Reaper. Sauce manufacturers are selling more and more potent hot sauces, some of which have to have “not for people with respiratory or heart problems” warnings on the label. It seems as though humanity’s quest for hot, searing pain is never ending.

But, why are chillies hot and why do we like them so much?

Chilies, or chilli peppers or chile peppers, are the fruits of a plant that originates in South America. Before the “discovery” of the Americas in the late 15th century, they were unknown to Europeans, Africans and Asians.

Chiles are known as peppers because when Europeans first encountered them they equated their effects to that of black pepper, which originates in southern India and botanically has no relation at all to chillies, whose proper scientific name is capsicum.

The key ingredients in the spiciness of chili peppers are capsaicin and other related chemical compounds (known as capsaicinoids). Capsaicinoids are produced in by the surface cells of the placenta (the pithy white tissue inside the chillies). They accumulates in droplets under the surface. These can burst and spread to the inner walls and the seeds.

There is much less capsaicin in the flesh of the chilli, which is why it is advised to scrape away the seeds and the placenta when we want the flavour of chillies without too much spiciness.

Capsaicin is quite oily and hydrophobic and hence quite hard to wash off, which often causes us to spread it on less pleasurable areas of our body like our eyes, ears and nose (and sometimes to other, ahem, more private areas). Capsaicin is used in pepper sprays, as it causes breathing difficulties and blurred vision for an hour or so.

Capsaicin, in mammals, triggers the TRPV1 (transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1), which is also known as the capsaicin receptor. This neuroreceptor is activated not only by capsaicin, but also by heat (over 43 degrees Celsius), acidic conditions and the organic compound Allyl isothiocyanate which is found in wasabi, mustard and horseradish.

When this receptor is activated it causes a strong sensation of pain and heat. In fact, eating chillies fools our brain into thinking our mouth is on fire. Unlike fire, however, capsaicin does not cause any damage. It merely causes the temporary illusion of pain.

So we have answered why, chemically, spicy food is spicy. But a more interesting question is why chillies have evolved the production of capsaicin in the first place.

There are a few hypotheses. The most commonly argued is that capsaicin is a very good mammal repellant.

Mammals chew and destroy the seeds of the plant in the process of eating it. However, birds swallow the seeds whole and hence can spread them — intact — far and wide. Birds also lack the neuroreceptors with which capsaicin interacts, so chillies do not have the same effect at all on them as on mammals.

It seems as though chilli plants have evolved spiciness as a way to select which species of animals eat their fruit to maximise the spread of their seeds, to “discourage seed predators without deterring beneficial seed dispersers”. Counterintuitively, humans’ fondness for chillies has contributed far more to their spread than birds ever have.

Another hypothesis is that it is simply another defensive chemical. Capsaicin has been shown to inhibit the growth of fungi and is also an insecticide. Chilli plants at a higher risk of fungal infection or being eaten by insects produce fruits with a higher concentration of capsaicin.

This has been used by some farmers as a way to produce hotter chillies. The Australian farmers cultivating the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T apply “worm juice”, the runoff from a worm farm which contains plenty of bits of insects, to the roots of the plants. The plants, supposedly thinking they’re under attack, produce more of the hot stuff.

Which of these two explanations is the right one? Probably a mix of both, we’re not entirely sure.

How hot is a chili pepper?

The “hotness” of chillies has traditionally been measured using the Scoville scale, first devised in 1912.

An extract of the chilli oil is diluted until a panel of five tasters can no longer feel the heat. It’s not a particularly accurate scale as it relies on human tasters, the results vary widely between panels.

The hottest chile ever tested clocked in at a blisteringly painful 2.2 million Scoville Heat Units (SHUs). In comparison, Tabasco sauce, reaches a miserably plain 2500-5000 SHUs.

Why do humans like chillies so much?

Filming yourself eating a ghost chilli, one of the hottest cultivars at over 1 million SHUs, is up there with other silly Youtube trends, such as eating a spoonful of cinnamon or chugging a gallon of milk. It usually ends in tears.

One could infer that we like chillies so much because they cause us such pain. However, there are many other things that cause us pain (such as walking into lampposts or stabbing yourself in the leg) that most of us don’t do on a regular basis.

It’s been suggested that we like the heat of chillies because it gives a controlled thrill (as discussed before, capsaicin gives us the illusion of pain). We like riding roller-coasters and watching horror movies but we’d be quite scared if we were on a stalling plane or actually stalked by a serial killer. One is a controlled thrill, the other is not.

So, maybe, we like chillies because they give us a similar sensation. Paul Rozin, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, calls it “benign masochism”. Under this term he groups various activities that are initially disgusting, painful or unpleasant which we then grow to like. These include eating spicy foods and stinky cheeses, getting painful massages, riding roller coasters, watching sad movies, listening to sad music and exercising until physically exhausted (“It hurts so good”). All activities loathed by some and treated as a pleasure by others.

- Francesco

Article originally published on my blog: http://piecubed.co.uk/why-are-chillies-hot/

References and further reading

Capsaicin Technical Fact Sheet – National Pesticide Information Centre

Harold Mc Gee – “On Food and Cooking”, Chapter 8
“Food bacteria-spice survey shows why some cultures like it hot” – Cornell University

The Chile Pepper Institute FAQ – New Mexico University

Everaerts W, Gees M, Alpizar YA, Farre R, Leten C, Apetrei A, Dewachter I, van Leuven F, Vennekens R, De Ridder D, Nilius B, Voets T, Talavera K (2011) – “The capsaicin receptor TRPV1 is a crucial mediator of the noxious effects of mustard oil”- Curr. Biol.

Caterina MJ, Schumacher MA, Tominaga M, Rosen TA, Levine JD, Julius D ( 1997) – “The capsaicin receptor: a heat-activated ion channel in the pain pathway”- Nature

Tewksbury JJ, Nabhan GP(2001) -”Seed dispersal. Directed deterrence by capsaicin in chilies“ - Nature

“Why chillies are hot: the science of heat” – Australian Geographic

“Why do we eat chilli?” – The Guardian

“A Perk of Our Evolution: Pleasure in Pain of Chilies” –  New York Times

Paul Rozin et al. (2013) – “Glad to be sad, and other examples of benign masochism” – Judgement and Decision Making

“World’s hottest chilli grown by Aussies” – Australian Geographic

Tewksbury et al (2002) – “Evolutionary ecology of pungency in wild chilies” – PNAS

Photo by Gerald Pereira 
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Today the coffee machine, tomorrow the world!
Introduction
Dutch guy, interested in personal development, nerdy stuff, loving the Open Source spirit and appreciates good coffee.
I'd say I'm a browncoat, but I mostly wear black..)
Bragging rights
I have a collection of 30+ t-shirts with mostly geek references. Latest addition: an awesome Firefly shirt. Other than that, I've hacked and created lots of handy little things ranging from a multi-setting keep-the-kitchen-window-slightly-closed device (or in other words: intricately bend metal wire), a script that let the TuxDroid robot read irc chat highlights and using the siphon technique and some bolts to make an automatic plant-watering system, to building a legless organicly shaped desk and an LED ceiling lamp. I also keep the kitchen top meticulously clean (though the stove is often a mess) and have four different ways to make coffee. Well, five if you count Turkish coffee.
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