100 Year Starship

Basically, NASA is looking at sending people to MARS. And that's it: just sending, no bringing them back.

This is something that has been discussed in space circles for quite some time now. The reason? It is a lot easier to send something from Earth into the gravity well of Mars, and leave it there, rather than trying to get it back again. Even without an atmosphere, lifting off from Mars is still much more difficult than getting off of the surface of something like the Moon.

And so the discussion at NASA (and DARPA for some reason is also funding this) focuses on a 100year spaceship: you get sent to Mars. And then you live there. Until you die.

And the basic public reaction to this is oh my god they are going to send them there to die! Well, sorta. You are giving people the opportunity to be the first humans to live (yes, live) on another planet. If you also end up being the first humans to die on another planet, let us hoe they would have a long and productive life. These people could be some of the most famous and important in the history of humanity: and yet the general reaction is that it would inhumane to let them go.

Basically, and it should be obvious at this point, I think this mission should be given the green light. Hell, it should be given a lot of resources: we are talking about the first colonization of another planet by human beings, a damn important goal. We first flew into space over 50 years ago. In 50 years, planes went from skipping over dunes, to jet-engined marvels which could break the sound barrier. In 50 years, we have gone from needle-shaped rockets which can launch 1 man into space to... well.. yeah... in a few months, we wont be able to launch one man into space. Which is pretty sad really. Mars, to me, is the obvious next goal (for manned flight) and the obvious way to get there is a one way trip.

GE to buy Tens of Thousands of Electric Cars

This is an interesting one. Obviously, General Electric is invested in the idea of electric cars.. but this is a big order. Right now there are probably less than 10,000 current-model mass-produced electric cars on the road. And in the next few weeks, GE wants to place an order for "tens of thousands" all on their own.

Basically, they want to replace much of their sales fleet of 45,000 vehicles with electric cars, as soon as possible.

Seeing as how they are involved in the production of 1/3rd of the world's electricity, one might say that they have a vested interest. Even still, this is a very aggressive move for a company which historically has been very cost sensitive.

The majority of the orders will likely be for the Nissan Leaf, and the Renault something or other, because Renault has a partnership with Better Place, who GE is also working with.

An interesting move, and one that is clearly timed to jump-start the electric car market.

Thats awkward: Democrat Gov Candidate tells Obama "shove it"

I love it. Absolutely love it. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Rhode Island told Obama to shove it. Literally.

Just hours before the Obamination was scheduled to arrive in Rhode Island today, he was given a nice warm welcome by this fine gentleman:

Frank T. Caprio at a gubernatorial debate in Providence last month.

This fine gentleman is
Frank T. Caprio, who is locked in a three-way race that includes former senator Lincoln Chafee, who is running as an independent.

What kind words did he have for our nation's president and the leader of his party?

"He could take his endorsement and really shove it, as far as I’m concerned,”

Thing is, Obama is friends with the independent and so wont be giving Mr. Caprio his endorsement (which these days is probably a good thing for Mr. Caprio).

His further comments?

"I will wear as a badge of honor and a badge of courage that he doesn’t want to endorse me as a Democrat because I am a different kind of Democrat,” I really have no clue what Mr. Caprio's politics are, but I am hoping he, like many, think that Obama has lost it.

WiFi Direct

Tired of bluetooth? Tired of devices not really working together? Tired of having to set passwords etc etc.

Wi-Fi Direct is coming - and it sounds good.

  • Wi-Fi Direct enlists a technology known as "Soft AP": Soft AP, in a nutshell, is software-based access point functionality built into Wi-Fi Direct certified devices. These devices are capable of routing and directing network traffic just like access points and routers.
  • Wi-Fi Direct is expected to provide superior connectivity over Bluetooth: Wi-Fi Direct is not just an alternative to Bluetooth connectivity; it delivers a better connection and has greater range than Bluetooth.
  • Legacy Wi-Fi devices are supported: If you have one Wi-Fi Direct certified device; that device can connect with 802.11n as well as b and g devices.
  • Wi-Fi Direct has built-in security: WPA2 is bundled into this wireless standard and unlike traditional wireless routers and access points, cannot be disabled.
  • Applications are a driving factor of this technology: Portable devices will be able to connect to the myriad of applications available without need to connect to a Wi-Fi network.
  • Wi-Fi Direct is not the same as ad-hoc networking: The most significant difference between traditional ad-hoc wireless networking (traditional peer-to-peer networking) and Wi-Fi Direct is security. In Windows ad-hoc networks, the highest level of security supported is WEP. Wi-Fi Direct, as mentioned, supports WPA2. Another difference, Wi-Fi Direct devices can also simultaneously connect to existing wireless networks. More granular control and better discovery of devices also differentiate Wi-Fi Direct from ad-hoc networking.
  • Wi-Fi Direct is not meant to replace traditional wireless networks: Wi-Fi Direct devices may not provide the overall range of a wireless router or AP. There's more flexibility with APs and routers, as they can be placed strategically to provide optimized signal strength. Also, there are security considerations with Wi-Fi Direct; there is a good chance that IT departments with corporate wireless networks may have issues with controlling Wi-Fi Direct devices.
  • There are products already Wi-Fi Direct certified: Wi-Fi Direct certified products include Atheros XSPAN® Dual-band 802.11n PCIe Mini Card (AR928x); Broadcom BCM43224; Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N 6200 internal PCIe half mini card; Ralink MIMObility 802.11n Reference Design ; Realtek RTL8192CE-VA4 HM92C00 PCIe mini card. In addition, Cisco and Netgear are rolling out Wi-Fi direct networking devices.
  • Italian Trucks, Farming, Russia, and the invisible hand

    Turns out that automakers are making a lot more money then they did last year. Which is not really that surprising. But looking a little deeper into the numbers, it tuns out that Ford and GM are making a lot of their money through selling full-sized pickup trucks.

    The big reason for this? Farming. The agrarian economy is booming, because of droughts in Russia and China which have lead to rising wheat and other commodity prices, they have made $9 billion more this year than at the same point last year. One of farmer's favorite pastimes is spending their hard earned cash on a new workhorse. The sale of pickup trucks is up 14% year over year, versus about 9% for the overall industry.

    Why do automakers love trucks? Because along with SUVs and luxury cars, trucks make $$$. On big trucks, they can often make $15,000 or more... even though the "big 3" have figured out how to make money on cars (unlike the years of losses on cars they took in the 90's), $15,000 per transaction is still very needed margin.

    Interestingly, Ford and the new F-150 (with its more capable engine and more masculine - and Silverado-copying looks) are the big recipients of consumer love, with sales up 31%. Chevy has done well too, with a 17% increase in sales. Surprisingly, the Tundra is also up 21%, surprising because it has not done well at all. Interestingly, what do farmers not like? The Dodge Ram, which is down 1%. Even more interesting because the Ram has just been redesigned and is in the middle of a major advertising campaign.

    Turns out that farmers are ok with Japanese trucks, they just really dont like Italians.

    The V6 Muscle Car

    For the past... 48 1/2 years, the v6 option on a muscle car was always.. well.. awkward. Yes, it often accounted for a big chunk of sales, but the idea of owning something that looked like a muscle car but went like a Toyota? There has always been a certain type, or types, who owned the v6 muscle cars... and well... you wouldn't invited them to your son's pool party. And, excluding divorces, mid-life crises, and your teenage years (see - I said you would not invite them to your son's pool party), you would never have bought one either.

    All that has changed.

    The current crop of muscle cars are defined by modern, and rather impressive, v6's. They all have over 300hp, and let me tell you, that is a lot. A few years ago 300hp was only available for $50,000+. A few years before that, it was only available in Italian cars shaped like doorstops.

    The Dodge Challenger was the latest to join the fray, ditching its old, 220hp unit for a thoroughly modern v6. Which gives this, rather amazing lineup:


    Base Price Engine Size Horsepower Torque MPG Weight
    Dodge Challenger $23,245* 3.6 liters 305 @ 6350 268 @ 4800 N/A*** 3819 lb
    Chevy Camaro $22,680** 3.6 liters 312 @ 6400 278 @ 5200 17 / 28 3741 lb
    Ford Mustang $22,145** 3.7 liters 305 @ 6500 280 @ 4250 19 / 31 3453 lb

    So when it comes down to it, the Mustang is still clearly the best car here. It is the one that I would buy, it handles the best, and it is the best performer. Oh, and its the cheapest. That said, the other two are still pretty incredible deals, especially the Camaro which sits on the fantastic Aussie chassis which underpinned the GTO and Pontiac G8, before Pontiac was sadly left behind in the great car-brand graveyard. Unfortunately, the Challenger is still part of Chrysler, which means it was made on a budget of $500 and all-you-can-chew-double-bubble for the engineers. What that means is that though the engine is new, the rest of the car is really a '95 Mercedes E-Class... yeah...

    Anyway, still a great time to buy an amazing muscle car. Get one of the 'base' models with a 6-speed manual (good luck finding one though) and you will be on your way to motoring nirvana (at least in the camaro and mustang anyway).

    A cup of tea.

    I don't normally get drawn into human interest stories - but I found this one particularly interesting, and rather moving.

    He invites suicide jumpers for a cup of tea

    Don Ritchie moved to a house outside Sydney, Australia, for the clifftop view. But soon he was stopping suicides by inviting potential jumpers inside for a cup of tea.

    Don Ritchie has been awarded a medal for bravery and an Order of Australia (the nation’s second highest honor) for averting hundreds of would-be suicides by approaching people and offering them a cup of tea. ‘I used to sell kitchen scales and bacon cutters,’ he says. Now, ‘I’m trying to sell people life.’

    Jeremy Piper/AP

    By Kathy Marks, / Correspondent / October 18, 2010

    Sydney, Australia

    Don Ritchie bought his house for the beautiful views it affords of Sydney Harbor and "the Gap," the tall sandstone cliffs that guard the harbor mouth. Rather than simply admiring those views, though, he has spent the past 40 or so years persuading tortured souls not to jump to their deaths.

    When he moved here with his wife, Moya, Mr. Ritchie was aware of the Gap's reputation as Australia's most notorious suicide spot. But he didn't think much about it.

    Almost from Day 1, though, he found himself keeping an eye on the rugged cliff tops. Since then, he has coaxed hundreds of people back from the brink: the desperate, the depressed, and the mentally disturbed.

    Ritchie, now an octogenarian, has been awarded a bravery medal and an Order of Australia, the country's second-highest honor.

    To some, he's the "Angel of the Gap." It's an accolade that makes him smile with embarrassment. "Now I'm an old angel," he says during an interview at his home in Vaucluse, a suburb east of Sydney.

    He and Moya live across the road from the Gap. Through the picture window in their living room, he has a bird's-eye view of the cliffs, which attract a steady flow of tourists and joggers. If he sees someone lingering a little too long, he crosses the road and offers them a cup of tea.

    Over the years, many have followed him home. Others have not – his kind words have been the last thing they heard.

    The self-effacing former salesman shrugs when you ask him why he does what he does. "I'm just trying to save a life," he says. "I used to sell kitchen scales and bacon cutters, then I was state manager of a life insurance company. At the Gap I'm trying to sell people life."

    Australians have been committing suicide at this spot since at least 1863, when a local woman, Anne Harrison, leapt to her death. An estimated 50 people kill themselves there every year.

    The municipal council wants to install taller, curved fences; emergency telephones; and closed-circuit TV cameras. But it needs $2.1 million (Australian; US$1.96 million) and the federal government has twice turned down its request for funds.

    Over the decades, Ritchie says, many of the faces of the people he's saved have blurred. But some he still remembers clearly, such as the woman he spotted from his bedroom window early one morning, sitting right on the cliff's edge.

    "I quickly got dressed and went over," he recalls. "She had already put her handbag and shoes outside the fence, which is pretty common. They very often leave something behind – sometimes it's a note, but generally a piece of clothing.

    "I said to her: 'Why don't you come over and have a cup of tea?' She came with me, and Moya made her breakfast. When she got home, she rang to say she was feeling much better. Two or three months later, she walked up the garden path with a magnum of French champagne."

    Dawn O'Neil, chief executive of Lifeline Australia, a counseling service for the suicidal and depressed, says the intervention of someone like Ritchie can be crucial when people are considering killing themselves.

    "We know from research around the world that most people who are suicidal are ambivalent about dying," she says. "Most don't want to die; they just want to end their pain.

    "So there's a hesitation, and anyone or anything that can distract them, or assist them to get help, can save their lives."

    Gordon Parker, executive director of the Black Dog Institute, a clinical facility that treats people with depression, says: "People go to places like the Gap in a state of perturbation. They pace up and down, and in that period of time there's a window of opportunity. Don has saved lives because he has gone up to people and chatted to them."

    Tragically, Ritchie's efforts are not always successful. He recalls a 19-year-old who jumped as Ritchie stood beside him. As he fell, his hat flew off, and the wind blew it into Ritchie's hand.

    "It turned out that as a little boy he had lived in the block of flats just behind our house, and he used to play with our grandkids," Ritchie says. How did that make him feel? He removes his glasses and rubs his eyes. "It's just another case," he says.

    In years past, Ritchie would scale the fence and sometimes physically drag people to safety. Once a woman nearly hauled him over the edge with her. He claims not to be troubled by those he couldn't rescue. "You can't do much about it," he says, turning his palms upward.

    Dianne Gaddin, whose daughter, Tracy, committed suicide in 2005, says Ritchie may have been there for Tracy when she went up to the Gap on previous occasions. "Maybe he changed her mind those times," says Ms. Gaddin, who now campaigns for better suicide-prevention measures.

    She is full of admiration for Ritchie's work. "It takes an enormous amount of courage just to go up to a person who is going to jump," she says.

    "Don has a charisma about him. He makes people feel safe, secure, and calm. I really think he is one special man."

    Apple builds $999 netbook

    Yeah... so there is now a 11.6' MacBook Air. Which basically means it is a netbook.

    All in all, it has marginally better spec's than my Acer Aspire One. Which I bought for $200, brand new, from Target on sale.

    So... lets see how they compare.

    Yeah.. the MacBook maintains a slight edge all the way down to the final hurdle... which is that it costs 5x more than the Acer. Honestly, I could buy the Acer, an iPad (which is also overpriced) an iPod Touch and still have money left over to buy a nice digital camera. You would have to be out of your mind to buy the MacBook. Of course, as they are selling to Apple users, they will likely sell many of them, and then cackle all the way to the bank.
    whatthefuckasaurus

    Automotive X-Prize FAIL

    I am a big fan of the original X-Prize, and the current X-prize foundation. However, in this one case, I never thought that what they were asking for was possible, and well, it wasn't.

    Basically, for years, consumer advocates have been going on and on about how it is easy to build a 100mpg car if only car companies tried and were not tied up with big oil. BS.

    The two main things holding back mpg's are 1) safety regulations and 2) consumer preference for cars that move faster than granny on a penny-farthing.
    http://archivesoutside.records.nsw.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/A1473-No03-Page-21-Booloominbah-and-Nurse-on-Penny-farthing-resize.JPG
    Yeah - you try merging onto a highway on this...

    The issue is basically this: if you want to build a light, high-mpg car which is drivable, you have to not pass safety regulations. How do you not pass safety regulations? You take away one wheel and call your car a motorcycle (which is what tricycles currently count as).

    And you get this, which won the side-by-side automotive X-Prize:

    Li-Ion Motors Wave II – Yeah, it's that fugly

    I would never want to be seen in one, let alone own one. And the only safety regulations it has passed are the ones which apply to motorcycles. Which, as far as I can tell, means that it has headlights and some form of brakes. Not exactly inspiring.

    No real car, not a single one, was able to hit the 100mpg mark, even in controlled tests. These were meant to be cars that could be put into production, with the X-Prize foundation showing the world that all along the big-evil car companies just had not been trying. They were custom built for the competition, they had high hopes, and they failed. Every single one. The closest was this, the Very Light Car - it got 100mpg but would not have a hope in hell of passing safety standards, let alone convincing anyone to pay for one. It was the only "car" to break 100mpg.


    What does this teach us? If you want 100mpg, go to VW and buy a Lupo bluemotion and get 70mpg, and then wait a few years for something else. Or buy a Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt. Or *shudder* a 2012 plug-in Prius when that goes on sale. You see, car companies really are not the bad guys, they are the good guys. Building a car which gets 100mpg is damn hard, or right now maybe even impossible (not counting electric cars). Car companies are very very good at engineering cars. While there are some markets where the capital investment simply has not been there -- as was the case with private space ventures before the X-Prize -- the automotive market is not one of them.

    Spend your money elsewhere X-Prize foundation, stop wasting it on tinfoil 'cars'.

    Norm Reviews the Chevy Volt

    First, full disclosure - I have not driven the Chevy Volt. But I will give you my quick and dirty analysis.
    2011 Chevrolet Volt side view
    Essentially - this is the perfect commuter car, if you drive about 50miles or less per day. It is not a great car for pretty much everything else. And let me tell you why:

    First of all, there has been a lot of controversy recently about whether the Volt is a range extended electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid. What's the difference, and why does it matter? Well, basically the issue is that GM told everyone that the Volt was going to be the world's first mass-produced range extended electric vehicle. And all of the enviro bloggers got their patagonia panties in a twist when they found out that the little 88hp iron-block 4-banger under the hood is attached to a clutch which can both send power to the 55kw generator and to the front wheels. Turns out that this is 10-15% more efficient that just having the motor powering the generator under range extended mode... but the ecomentalists don't care about that, because they cant call it an electric car anymore. Whatever. That's just idiotic: the whole point of this car is efficiency.

    And efficiency is where things get interesting. When the Volt is running under range-extended mode, it gets 33mpg. Gulp. That's not a lot. Why? Well - you have about 3,800lbs being pushed around by a very complex drive system with a fair bit of friction. Would you pay $40,000 for a compact car which gets 33mpg? Errr... no.

    But, this is the big kicker: the first 30-50 miles are free. Or basically free - they are all battery powered. And the car can run up to its 100mph limited top speed on the battery. This, I have to say, is pretty damn sweet.

    Which leads to the following mpg numbers:
    Electric only 40miles: almost no cost, infinite mpg
    Extended range only: 33mpg
    Drive 40miles on electric, then empty the extended range tank:38mpg

    So, if you drive mostly 40 miles or less to work, every day, the Volt could save you a lot of money. And over time, your mileage could - very much - vary.

    And what it is like as a car? Well - pretty much a nice, normal, compact car. You could test drive it back to back with a civic, corolla, and cruze and not think it was anything out of the ordinary. And that is extraordinary. Basically, the amazing clutch system, the electric drive, the extra weight, the just general amazing feat of engineering makes this car feel and drive just like your regular compact 4-door. If you were shopping for a nice $18,000 car, the Volt would fit right in. Its nothing sporty, but its not too bad.

    Which brings me to my final point: price. It will cost $40,000. Which is a lot. But it will get $7,500 in federal tax credits - which brings it down to the price for an Audi A4 with a few options... a much nicer car.

    In essence it all comes down to this:
    1) Do you drive about 20-50miles per day to get to work?
    2) Do you not drive long distances, or have a second car you would use (truck, minivan, etc)?
    3) Do you have a garage spot where you can keep and charge up the Volt?
    4) Do you not care about having a sporty, fun to drive car?
    5) Are you okay with buying a compact car?
    6) Are you able to front the cost in order to reap potential long-term benefit?

    If you answered yes to all of the above, GM has a car for you. And I think that is totally valid. I would never buy the Volt, but I think it is a pretty cool car, and GM has done an amazing job engineering it. GM is hoping there are 45,000 of you out there, because that is how many Volts it plans to generate (har har) in 2012.

    Palm Pre 2.0!!

    Palm has announced version 2.0 of what I still think was the best phone in the world... nine months ago.

    And it will be completely revolutionary!

    And by completely revolutionary, I mean it is completely identical to the palm pre which is sitting next to me on the couch right now. Yeah...

    I mean really, pretty much identical. It has a 5.0mp camera instead of 3.0. And 16gb instead of 8gb, but the Pre+ on Verizon already had that... It also comes with the obligatory upgrade from 600mhz to 1ghz, and 256mb RAM to 512 - but every other phone that went through that (the Droid comes to mind) showed very little real world speed improvement. So... this is basically the same phone...

    What is new however, is webOS 2.0 - which is a good thing. Because webOS is still, and in my opinion with no ambiguity at all, the best mobile operating system in the world. Honestly, its just so much better than Android or the iPhone it is silly - but it does not have the same quality of apps, the major downfall. The other downfall being that there is no on-screen keyboard in landscape mode... yeah....

    So what does webOS 2.0 do?
    1) Allows you just start typing, and not only search for anything (which it already does), it lets you start writing a text or an email also. Which is pretty cool.
    2) Cards is updated (the only true multitasking phone OS) so that similar tasks are stacked, kind of like windows 7. Not sure what I will think of this - but useful for email probably.
    3) 'Exhibition' turns the phone into a sort of desk-phone-clock-widget-photoframe thing, like a chumby
    4) better flash support
    5) and still... no keyboard in landscape mode it seems... wtf

    Anyway, what all this means is that the hardware guys over at Palm have pretty much spent the last year inventing novel torture devices for the marketing team which decided that an exclusive with Sprint and a creepy pale lady would be the way to launch the most revolutionary phone since the original iPhone.

    I mean, honestly, its what I would have been doing also.

    I just hope that by the time my contract expires (next Sept), Palm has decided to launch a 4+ inch screen Pre 3, with a 1.5ghz snapdragon dual-core, 8mp camera, 1gig RAM, 16+GB hard drive, and 4G.

    Get a move on Palm, I want my damn phone.

    France Fail

    The entire country (well - the old-line socialist part of it) of France is currently in revolt. They are burning trash, blockading fuel depots, and refusing to go to work, go to school, or wear deodorant.

    Of course, they never wear deodorant, but they have occasionally been known to go to school and go to work.

    The reason for all of this gnashing of teeth, destruction of public property, and increasingly malignant odor is because the govt, lead by one of my favorite world leaders Sarkozy, wants to raise the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62.

    Ahhhhh the horror.


    The End Result?
    http://img.radio.cz/pictures/networkeurope/071130-france-riots-2.jpg

    France - you are one big country of fail, with a few standout truly exceptional individuals that keep the whole damn thing running, and have prevented you from being completely worthless.

    Cheap and Wonderful: Finding Water on the Moon

    We recently found out that the Moon, or part of it anyway, has twice as much water on its surface as the Sahara desert. Obviously, thats still not a lot, but it is at the same time a pretty incredible finding. This is the quick, and very impressive story of how some extra payload capacity and efficient operation lead to one of the most memorable space missions of recent years:

    NASA's Explosive Findings on the Moon

    The Brilliant Idea: Sending a spacecraft made from off-the-shelf parts careening into the moon at 2.5 kilometers per second to find water ice.

    By Logan Ward and the Editors of Popular Mechanics
    October 4, 2010 6:30 AM
    NASA LCROSS Moon
    (Illustration by Michael Tschernjajew)
    1. Shepherding Spacecraft
    Rather than commission expensive new devices for the shepherding spacecraft, the team beefed up non-aerospace technology, including near-infrared spectrometers designed for carpet recycling and Nascar engine-block thermal-imaging equipment.
    2. Centaur
    The Atlas V’s empty upper fuel stage, called Centaur, smashed into the permanently dark Cabeus Crater on Oct. 9, 2009, blasting a swimming-pool-size hole and ejecting a 6-mile-high plume of vapor and dust that had not seen sunlight for more than a billion years.
    3. Moon Dust
    LRO spacecraft analyzed the ejecta, as did Hubble and Earth-based telescopes. Before crashing into the moon itself, LCROSS’s shepherding spacecraft relayed the most intriguing data: evidence of water ice, which may have been deposited by the impact of an ancient comet.


    Innovators: Daniel Andrews, Anthony Colaprete, NASA’s Ames Research Center; Stephen Carman, Craig Elder, Northrop Grumman

    It’s hard to decide what’s more impressive: the confirmation of water ice on the moon, or the scrappy way that a team of scientists and engineers pulled off the mission—by slamming 2 tons of equipment otherwise destined to become space junk into the moon’s south pole and then analyzing the dust plume it kicked up.

    Yet the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, mission began as an afterthought. When the leaders of NASA’s $491 million Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) found themselves with an extra 1000 kilograms of payload capacity, they sent out a call for shoestring proposals for a companion mission. Led by principal investigator Anthony Colaprete, a team from NASA’s Ames Research Center proposed using the Atlas V launch rocket’s empty upper fuel stage to impact the moon. Northrop Grumman would turn the rocket’s hot-tub-size payload ring into a makeshift spacecraft that would trail in the stage’s path, gathering data via instruments bolted to its six satellite ports.

    The team came in under its $80 million budget—and the mission was a headline-screaming success. Essentially, says Colaprete, “we reached out and touched the water.” The spacecraft calculated a 4 percent moisture concentration in the plume, double that of the Sahara. “We take that for granted here on Earth, but 1 to 2 percent water on the moon or an asteroid is potentially a lifeline,” he says. “From an exploration standpoint, we realize there are a wealth of resources that we can take advantage of. Suddenly, the moon is a more interesting and active place.”

    Planned Portuguese Eco-City Is Controlled By A Central Computer Brain

    Ambitious green city project strives to emulate Silicon Valley's R&D culture

    Urban Operating System Living PlanIT via Fast Company

    A new eco-city planned in Portugal takes a cue from biology, using a centralized computer “brain” to control functions like water use, waste processing and energy consumption. It’s the biggest attempt at urban metabolism, which attempts to compare cities to living organisms.

    PlanIT Valley, in southern Portugal near the town of Paredes, will use a network of sensors much like a nervous system to collect data and control the city, New Scientist reports. A firm called Living PlanIT is leading the effort, and aims to make PlanIT Valley a low-carbon city that also provides a European alternative to Silicon Valley.

    The $19 billion city could be built by 2015, beating Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City by five years. As a centrally operated smart municipality, it’s more ambitious than Masdar or China’s stalled Dongtan project. Everything is connected through a cloud to an Urban Operating System, which acts as the city’s brain.

    Cisco Systems, McLaren Electronic Systems and Accenture are among the project’s partners, according to Fast Company. Cisco signed a deal in June to build a technology innovation center in the city — the idea is that many of PlanIT Valley’s 150,000 future residents will work in R&D for Living PlanIT’s partners.

    In addition to the brain, the city has several other body-esque functions: A renal system of reeds and bamboo that filters water; a digestive system that involves dishwasher-sized contraptions that process human waste and food to produce biofuel; and even a visual sensing system that can track lost kids and connect them with their parents. Special apps will inform residents about traffic and other local issues.

    The city operates as an efficient loop — everything is recycled for something else. Cooking water is recaptured to flush toilets, for instance. Plants in a water treatment lagoon will be cut down when fully grown and harvested for biofuel. And hot air from a massive data-storage center will be circulated to heat other buildings.

    Buildings are designed as hexagons to maximize space, and construction is supposed to start at the end of this year.

    It's nothing if not ambitious, and critics point out that significant funding obstacles remain — the project needs to raise around $10 billion more, according to one estimate from Business Green. Still, it's an interesting concept that could inform future urban planning and revitalization projects.

    PlanIT fails to answer one key question, however: What happens when the brain becomes self-aware and rebels against us?

    Satellite Shows Toxic Sludge In Hungary: Big Pics

    Pretty wild story, which I am sure you all have already seen. But this pictures really bring it home in a new way.

    Oct. 13, 2010 -- In the wake of last week's toxic sludge spill in Hungary, NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite snapped these images of the disaster area, showing a wide swath of destruction.


    The spill immediately killed four people in the area and poured into the Raba River before reaching the Danube later in the week. The bright red sludge is an iron-rich byproduct of refining aluminum ore. It is highly alkaline, and several people who came in contact with it were hospitalized with chemical burns.

    UN against solving problems

    Well, this is really nothing new, as the UN is one of the most ineffective organizations ever created. Calling it a force for world peace would be like calling Goat Island good at stopping Niagara Falls...
    http://www.newyorkartworld.com/images-reviews03/acatlin/BrdsIVuOfNiagFals-586x696.jpg

    Nonetheless, the UN is determined that it is going to save us from ourselves. Even if that means preventing us from saving ourselves. What I am talking about is geoengineering - the controversial concept of using engineering to affect the planet as a whole. Generally this means things like cutting back on the amount of energy we are getting from the sun, or other measures to prevent global warming.

    I don't see the issue here. What we have done for the last 200 years - that was geoengineering. This would just be doing it directly. For me, it is the same argument as genetically modified foods. We have been genetically modifying foods for the past 10,000 years, but now when we do it directly, it has become a huge issue.

    Humanities best asset is our ability to solve problems. What the UN is saying is "no, don't engineer a solution, instead you are forced to screw your economies and leave millions (Billions?) more in poverty." Want to challenge my numbers? The costs associated with not raising the global temp by 4 degrees over the next hundred years would be in the trillions. That money, spent on poverty, disease, safe drinking water, and geoengineering would lead to billions more individuals rising above the poverty line and you know, not being dead. Personally I consider that a rather worthy goal.

    UN - you suck.

    Blotting Out Sun May Soon Be Banned

    Analysis by Tim Wall
    Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:01 PM ET

    Sunshade solar

    Blotting out the sun has been the dream of many arch-villains, including The Simpson's Mr. Burns. Their schemes may soon be foiled by the United Nations' Convention on Biological Diversity.

    Super villains aren't the only ones who want to shade the Earth from the sun. Blocking some of the sun's rays could slow climate change by reducing the amount of sunlight warming the Earth, say some researchers, such as Roger Angel of the University of Arizona.

    The Convention may consider banning or limiting research into space sunshades. Some question their wisdom. A space sunshade would have a rapid effect on global warming and provide time to develop more permanent measures, they say. The technique has already received serious attention from NASA and other organizations.

    But others, such as the ETC group, an environmental and social advocacy group, fear simply blocking the sun is a bandage, meant to cover up the problem, and allow humans to continue using fossils fuels. Another fear is that geoengineering, as techniques like this are called, could have unforeseen consequences on the weather, ecosystem and agriculture.

    Past regulations by the Convention have proven controversial. A decision in 2008 limited the use of iron to fertilize the ocean to cause carbon dioxide absorbing algae blooms. When the algae die they carry the carbon to a watery grave at the bottom of the ocean. The Convention decided to limit the technique until more research was completed.

    Can geoengineering really be a long term solution to climate change? It seems UN officials instead advocate working with the forces of nature, not bending them to allow us to keep our fossil fuel addiction.

    First truly synthetic organism created using four bottles of chemicals and a computer

    Not sure how I missed this - it happened back in May. Amazing stuff though regardless... absolutely incredible really.

    Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 - the world's first synthetic organism

    Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 - the world's first synthetic organism

    Image Gallery (2 images)

    A research team, led by Craig Venter of America’s J. Craig Venter Institute (JVCI), has successfully produced the first self-replicating, synthetic bacterial cell. Called Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 the synthetic cell is the proof of principle that genomes can be designed in the computer, chemically made in the laboratory and transplanted into a recipient cell to produce a new self-replicating cell controlled only by the synthetic genome. The resulting bacterium could be regarded as the first truly synthetic organism. The researchers now hope to be able to explore the machinery of life, and to engineer bacteria designed for specific purposes such as producing drugs, biofuels or other useful chemicals.

    "This is the first synthetic cell that's been made, and we call it synthetic because the cell is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, made with four bottles of chemicals on a chemical synthesizer, starting with information in a computer," said Venter. "This becomes a very powerful tool for trying to design what we want biology to do. We have a wide range of applications [in mind].”

    The Science

    To complete this final stage in the nearly 15 year process to construct and boot up a synthetic cell, JCVI scientists modeled the artificial genome after that of the bacterium M. mycoides. Beginning with the accurate, digitized genome of M. mycoides the team designed 1,078 specific cassettes of DNA that were 1,080 base pairs (bp) long. These cassettes were designed so that the ends of each DNA cassette overlapped each of its neighbors by 80bp.

    Using the 1,078 cassettes the JCVI team employed a three-stage process to build the genome using a yeast assembly system. The first stage involved taking ten cassettes of DNA at a time to build 110, 10,000 bp segments. In the second stage, these 10,000 bp segments are taken ten at a time to produce eleven, 100,000 bp segments. In the final step, all eleven, 100 kb segments were inserted in yeast cells, the DNA-repair enzymes of which linked the strings together. These medium-sized strings were then transferred into E. coli bacteria, then back into the yeast. After three rounds of this process, they had the complete synthetic genome that was over a million base pairs long.

    The complete synthetic M. mycoides genome was isolated from the yeast cell and transplanted into Mycoplasma capricolum recipient cells that have had the genes for its restriction enzyme removed. The synthetic genome DNA was transcribed into messenger RNA, which in turn was translated into new proteins. The M. capricolum genome was either destroyed by M. mycoides restriction enzymes or was lost during cell replication. After two days viable M. mycoides cells, which contained only synthetic DNA, were clearly visible on petri dishes containing bacterial growth medium.

    Because the initial synthesis of the synthetic genome did not result in any viable cells the JCVI team developed an error correction method to test that each cassette they constructed was biologically functional. They did this by using a combination of 100 kb natural and synthetic segments of DNA to produce semi-synthetic genomes. This approach allowed for the testing of each synthetic segment in combination with 10 natural segments for their capacity to be transplanted and form new cells. Ten out of 11 synthetic fragments resulted in viable cells; therefore the team narrowed the issue down to a single 100 kb cassette. DNA sequencing revealed that a single base pair deletion in an essential gene was responsible for the unsuccessful transplants. Once this one base pair error was corrected, the first viable synthetic cell was produced.

    Dr. Gibson stated, "To produce a synthetic cell, our group had to learn how to sequence, synthesize, and transplant genomes. Many hurdles had to be overcome, but we are now able to combine all of these steps to produce synthetic cells in the laboratory." He added, "We can now begin working on our ultimate objective of synthesizing a minimal cell containing only the genes necessary to sustain life in its simplest form. This will help us better understand how cells work."

    According to Dr. Hutchison, "To me the most remarkable thing about our synthetic cell is that its genome was designed in the computer and brought to life through chemical synthesis, without using any pieces of natural DNA.”

    Genetic Watermark

    In 2008 the same team reported on the construction of the first synthetic bacterial genome by assembling DNA fragments made from the four chemicals of life - ACGT. The final assembly of DNA fragments into the whole genome was performed in yeast by making use of the yeast genetic systems. However, when the team attempted to transplant the synthetic bacterial genome out of yeast and into a recipient bacterial cell, viable transplants could not be recovered.

    For that case the team designed and inserted into the genome what they called watermarks. These are specifically designed segments of DNA that use the "alphabet" of genes and proteins that enable the researcher to spell out words and phrases. The watermarks are an essential means to prove that the genome is synthetic and not native, and to identify the laboratory of origin.

    The team used the same process to insert watermarks into Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0. Encoded in the watermarks is a new DNA code for writing words, sentences and numbers. In addition to the new code there is a web address to send emails to for anyone who can successfully decode the new code, the names of 46 authors and other key contributors and three quotations: "TO LIVE, TO ERR, TO FALL, TO TRIUMPH, TO RECREATE LIFE OUT OF LIFE." - JAMES JOYCE; "SEE THINGS NOT AS THEY ARE, BUT AS THEY MIGHT BE." - A quote from the book, "American Prometheus"; "WHAT I CANNOT BUILD, I CANNOT UNDERSTAND." - RICHARD FEYNMAN.

    The Ethical Implications The creation of the world’s first truly synthetic organism throws up some serious ethical questions. In designing and creating life, they are “playing God” - something that is sure to concern those that believe such practices should remain the province of their deity of choice. The team’s work also challenges the traditional views of what life is and further blurs the line between living things and machines – the synthetic bacterium possesses features of both.

    However, from the very beginning of their quest to build a synthetic genome, Dr. Venter and his team say they have been concerned about the societal issues surrounding the work. In 1995 while the team was doing the research on the minimal genome, the work underwent significant ethical review by an independent panel of experts at the University of Pennsylvania who reached a unanimous decision that there were no strong ethical reasons why the work should not continue as long as the scientists involved continued to engage public discussion.

    Dr. Venter and the team at JCVI continue to work with bioethicists, outside policy groups, legislative members and staff, and the public to encourage discussion and understanding about the societal implications of their work and the field of synthetic genomics generally. A 20-month study that explored the risks and benefits of this emerging technology, as well as possible safeguards to prevent abuse, including bioterrorism, resulted in a report being published in October 2007 outlining options for the field and its researchers.

    Most recently in December of 2008, JCVI received funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to examine ethical and societal concerns that are associated with the developing science of synthetic genomics. The ongoing research is intended to inform the scientific community as well as educate policymakers and journalists so that they may engage in informed discussions on the topic.

    What Next?

    The JCVI scientists envision that the knowledge gained by constructing this first self-replicating synthetic cell, coupled with decreasing costs for DNA synthesis, will give rise to wider use of this powerful technology. They now plan on designing algae that can capture CO2 and give off hydrocarbons for use in refineries. They also hope to improve vaccine production, create new chemicals and food ingredients, and clean up polluted water.

    "This is an important step we think, both scientifically and philosophically. It's certainly changed my views of the definitions of life and how life works," Dr. Venter said. “It's part of an ongoing process that we've been driving, trying to make sure that the science proceeds in an ethical fashion, that we're being thoughtful about what we do and looking forward to the implications to the future.”

    FACEBOOK ABUSES PRIVACY!!$%%!*&!!

    WOW. OMG. FACEBOOK ABUSES YOUR PRIVACY!

    FRONT PAGE OF THE WSJ!!!

    OMG OMG OMG

    yeah.

    related news:
    Chávez nationalizes a company
    Google buys something
    Apple makes a shit ton of money
    The earth is, indeed, round

    How the hell is this news?

    whatthefuckasaurus

    Recession Taking a long time? Blame the Robots.

    Yes, robots are taking your job.

    Well.. sorta.

    In what has become the modern standard for recovering from a recession, the first place that companies put their money is capital expenditures - hiring comes later. This is because capital is just a lot more reliable than people. You've already downsized, you have (hopefully) kept your best people, and now you are going to give them additional resources in order for them to be able to do more.

    Or in some cases, you just don't need anyone anymore, and you replaced them all with robots.
    http://www.good.is/post/automation-insurance-robots-are-replacing-middle-class-jobs/

    Economists (in the article and other places) call this "the destruction of the middle class." I call it "replacing semi-skilled manufacturing workers with robots that are faster, more efficient, more cost effective, and the long-term path to a better world." In other words, low-paying jobs (non-manufacturing unskilled blue collar) are hard to replace with robots. Janitors. Construction. Security guards. But the UAW guys? Yeah - hopefully they are gone soon. I am not against people doing manufacturing jobs... ok, yeah, I am against it. Eventually automation should be the way to go, and service jobs are the way of the future. We need to invest a lot in education to make the whole thing work, and create the highest-per-capita-GDP the world has ever seen.

    Eventually of course is a long way away - but I would love to see in my lifetime a world where the majority of people live life in comfort and productivity is massively enhanced by robots digital automation (think Google vs. phone operator).

    Ahh the future. I can't wait.

    http://www.theawl.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/matrix-pods1-350x249.jpg

    EPIC FAIL: UAW protests the UAW

    Hahhahahah. Love it.

    The United Auto Workers are protesting against the United Auto Workers. Fantastic.

    Obama's favorite union, and the one which was given almost all of GM and Chrysler rather than, oh I dont know... the secured and unsecured creditors who owned it and were owed back their money (this whole capitalist system we have? It relies on the ability to lend money and expect certain legal security - not that Obama has ever really cared about being legal) is now eating its own tail.

    Basically what they are protesting is the two-tiered solution the UAW came up with. Back when the government, the UAW, and the management of GM and Chrysler realized that they had managed to collectively destroy the US auto industry, the UAW agreed (oh so gracefully) to take wage cuts. Sorta.

    You see, they did not take wage cuts. They said that any NEW workers would be paid 1/2 of what current workers were paid. Regardless of skill, ability, productivity or any of those other silly metrics the capitalist pigs use to try and figure out what the labor product from an individual is worth, because really, we know that each of us is actually worth the same. Unless you were not here a year ago. You are worth 1/2 of what I am worth. Suck it.

    The UAW in its search for fair and equal wages, while protecting the ridiculous practices of job banks, full-salary for union reps, and the inability to fire anyone for being completely and ridiculously inept, had thus struck upon the most communist of communist policies: we are all created equal, some are just more equal than others.

    And now, the new employees, paid 1/2 as much for the same work, are protesting the fact that they are paid 1/2 as much for the same work.

    Ahh socialism. You know what I love about it? It's all just so fair.

    uaw_fail.jpg UAW fail image by CiscoKiDD

    Gamers Nerd Out - Build Computers Using Computer Games

    Turns out a little bit of a trend among hardcore gamers is building calculators and even basic full-fledged computers using materials inside of computer games. While this might sound a little like using laser-cannons to invent the bow-and-arrow, I think it is damn cool.

    Here are a few examples:

    Computing Inside Videogames

    • Dwarven Computer: A complete 8-bit programmable computer built inside Dwarf Fortress. It has 672 pumps, 2,000 logs, 8,500 mechanisms and thousands of other assorted bits and knobs like doors and stone blocks. The Dwarven computer is Turing complete, which means it meets the definition of a universal computer.
    • The Minecraft ALU: A 16-bit arithmetic unit built using 8,507 blocks of ‘Redstone,’ a cube with special properties found in the Minecraft game. The entire ALU uses 6,835 wires and 1,672 torches — the most basic logic unit in the game.
    • Little Big Planet Calculator: An extremely complex yet fully functioning calculator created inside one level of the game. The calculator has 1,600 parts, including 610 magnetic switches, 500 wires and 430 pistons.
    • MineSweeper Logic Gates: A single player PC game that comes bundled with Windows OS, Minesweeper has been used to create basic logic gates that can be used to solve problems.

    It can happen here...

    I have always looked to the UK, specifically the 1950's-1980's UK, as an example of what can happen to a country where it takes its position for granted, when it retreats into its shell, when the primary concern of the population is 'security' rather than growth. And I still think it is the closest example, and a clear sign of what can and in my opinion already is happening.

    But there is another example out there. Japan. Today.

    In 1991, economists were predicting that Japan would overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy by 2010. In fact, Japan’s economy remains the same size it was then: a gross domestic product of $5.7 trillion at current exchange rates. During the same period, the United States economy doubled in size to $14.7 trillion, and this year China overtook Japan to become the world’s No. 2 economy.

    Takeaways from this? Even the greatest can fall. Oh yeah, and China is not on a path to unlimited growth - though I think growth is more limited by population in the end - and they do have a fair ways to go on that in the long run, in the short run I think we might see some years of Chinese stagnation.

    Read on for excepts from the NYT article:

    The original Asian success story, Japan rode one of the great speculative stock and property bubbles of all time in the 1980s to become the first Asian country to challenge the long dominance of the West.

    But the bubbles popped in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and Japan fell into a slow but relentless decline that neither enormous budget deficits nor a flood of easy money has reversed. For nearly a generation now, the nation has been trapped in low growth and a corrosive downward spiral of prices, known as deflation, in the process shriveling from an economic Godzilla to little more than an afterthought in the global economy.


    Now, as the United States and other Western nations struggle to recover from a debt and property bubble of their own, a growing number of economists are pointing to Japan as a dark vision of the future. Even as the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, prepares a fresh round of unconventional measures to stimulate the economy, there are growing fears that the United States and many European economies could face a prolonged period of slow growth or even, in the worst case, deflation, something not seen on a sustained basis outside Japan since the Great Depression.

    Many economists remain confident that the United States will avoid the stagnation of Japan, largely because of the greater responsiveness of the American political system and Americans’ greater tolerance for capitalism’s creative destruction. Japanese leaders at first denied the severity of their nation’s problems and then spent heavily on job-creating public works projects that only postponed painful but necessary structural changes, economists say.

    “We’re not Japan,” said Robert E. Hall, a professor of economics at Stanford. “In America, the bet is still that we will somehow find ways to get people spending and investing again.”

    Still, as political pressure builds to reduce federal spending and budget deficits, other economists are now warning of “Japanification” — of falling into the same deflationary trap of collapsed demand that occurs when consumers refuse to consume, corporations hold back on investments and banks sit on cash. It becomes a vicious, self-reinforcing cycle: as prices fall further and jobs disappear, consumers tighten their purse strings even more and companies cut back on spending and delay expansion plans.

    “The U.S., the U.K., Spain, Ireland, they all are going through what Japan went through a decade or so ago,” said Richard Koo, chief economist at Nomura Securities who recently wrote a book about Japan’s lessons for the world. “Millions of individuals and companies see their balance sheets going underwater, so they are using their cash to pay down debt instead of borrowing and spending.”


    - Yeah. So basically, what is saving the US, and what the economists are counting on, is that we are a bunch of aggressive over-spenders who will never back down and decide "Gee, I really can't afford that BMW right now, and I do like my nice house." So... in other words, what economists are counting on is that all of the tenancies which landed us in this recession will also mean that we will be the first out of it.

    I guess you don't set transatlantic crossing records without going full steam ahead....

    BELTWAY ADVENTURE

    WELCOME TO ADVENTURE! WOULD YOU LIKE INSTRUCTIONS?

    >YES

    YOU ARE SOMEWHERE IN BELTWAY FOREST, WHERE SOME HAVE FOUND TREASURES OF GOLD ALTHOUGH SOME HAVE ENTERED AND NEVER BEEN SEEN AGAIN. MAGIC IS SAID TO WORK IN THE FOREST. I WILL BE YOUR EYES AND HANDS. DIRECT ME WITH SIMPLE COMMANDS.

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. THERE IS SNOW OUTSIDE. YOU ARE BEHIND A DESK. ON DESK THERE IS A BUST OF CHURCHILL.

    YOU HAVE A CONGRESS.

    YOU HAVE A SENATE.

    YOU HAVE A MEDIA.

    YOU HAVE A TELEPROMPTER.

    YOU HAVE A MILITARY.

    YOU HAVE A BIG JET.

    YOU HAVE $3 TRILLION OF GOLD.

    YOU HAVE 82% APPROVAL HEALTH.

    THERE IS 7.2% UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE FOREST.

    YOU HAVE A RACE CARD.

    YOU HAVE INAUGURAL PARTY LEFTOVERS.

    WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >EAT LEFTOVERS

    >RETURN BUST

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOU ARE BEHIND A DESK. ON DESK THERE IS NO BUST OF CHURCHILL. THERE ARE NO MORE LEFTOVERS. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >GIVE SPEECH

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOUR APPROVAL HEALTH IS 81%. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >NAME TEAM

    ENTER TEAM NAMES. GIVE THEM WEAPONS AND SPECIAL POWERS SEPARATED BY COMMA. WHEN YOU ARE DONE PRESS CTL-T

    >BIDEN, BRAIN
    >HILLARY, RESET BUTTON
    >HOLDER, LAW
    >GEITHNER, GOLD
    >RAHM, CURSES
    >JARRETT, FASHION
    >AXELROD, MUSTACHE
    >SEBELIUS, HEALTH
    >LAHOOD, LIGHT RAIL
    >CULVER, FOOD
    >CHU, AIR
    >GOOLSBY, BLACK MAGICK
    >GIBBS, MOUTH
    >DUNN, FEMALE MOUTH
    ^T

    DO YOU WANT CZARS?

    >Y

    ENTER CZAR NAMES SEPARATED BY COMMA. WHEN YOU ARE DONE PRESS CTL-T

    >JONES, JENNINGS, HOLBROOK, CROWLEY, RATTNER, MONTGOMERY, BERSIN, HAYES, ROSS, STERN, ROSENTHAL, VOLKER, BROWNER, DUBOIS, DAVIS, FRIED, DEPARLE, KUNDRA, BLAIR, MITCHELL, FEINBERG, SUNSTEIN, HOLDREN, DEVANEY, GRATION, ALLISON, CHOPRA, BRENNAN, CARRION, CARTER, SAMORE

    I'M SORRY. THAT IS AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >IGNORE CONSTITUTION

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOU ARE BEHIND A DESK. YOU ARE BORED. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >GIVE RESET BUTTON TO RUSSIA, BUY CAR COMPANIES

    HOW MANY CAR COMPANIES?

    >2

    THIS WILL COST $85 BILLION OF GOLD. YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOU HAVE 2 CAR COMPANIES. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH THEM?

    >GIVE TO UNIONS

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOUR APPROVAL HEALTH IS 67%. UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE FOREST IS 8.1% WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >STIMULATE ECONOMY

    HOW?

    >$1 TRILLION TARP

    YOU DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH GOLD FOR THAT. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >BORROW GOLD

    FROM?

    >CHINA

    WHO DO YOU WANT GOLD TO GO TO?

    >BANKING AND INSURANCE FRIENDS

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOUR APPROVAL HEALTH IS 61%. UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE FOREST IS 8.3% THE FOREST PEASANTS ARE COMPLAINING. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >DEMONIZE BANKS, DEMONIZE INSURANCE, BLAME BUSH

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOUR APPROVAL HEALTH IS 61%. UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE FOREST IS 8.5% WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >GIVE SPEECH

    CONGRATULATIONS! YOUR SPEECH HAS WON NOBEL PEACE PRIZE. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >FLY JET

    WHERE?

    >EUROPE

    YOU ARE IN A PALACE. YOU ARE STANDING IN FRONT OF QUEEN. WHAT DO WANT TO DO?

    >GIVE QUEEN IPOD

    YOU ARE IN OSLO. YOU ARE IN TUXEDO. WHAT DO WANT TO DO?

    >ACCEPT PEACE PRIZE

    YOU ARE IN COPENHAGEN. YOU ARE IN FRONT OF COMMITTEE.

    >REQUEST OLYMPICS

    YOU ARE ON BIG JET. WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO?

    >MIDEAST

    WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO THERE?

    >APOLOGY SPEECH

    YOU ARE IN A PALACE. YOU ARE STANDING IN FRONT OF FAT KING. HE SMELLS BAD. HE IS WEARING BED SHEET. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >BOW

    YOU ARE ON BIG JET. WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO?

    >BELTWAY

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOU ARE BEHIND A DESK. ON THE DESK IS A NOBEL PEACE PRIZE. YOUR APPROVAL HEALTH IS 58%. UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE FOREST IS 8.6% WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >STIMULATE ECONOMY

    HOW?

    >$1 TRILLION RECOVERY ACT

    I'M SORRY, YOU DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH GOLD FOR THAT. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >BORROW FROM CHINA

    I'M SORRY, CHINA DOES NOT WANT TO LEND YOU GOLD. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >PRINT GOLD

    WHERE DO YOU WANT GOLD TO GO TO?

    >CONSTRUCTION SIGNS, WHATEVER

    DO YOU WANT CONGRESS TO HELP?

    >Y

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOU ARE BEHIND A DESK. YOUR APPROVAL HEALTH IS 55%. YOUR CONGRESS HAS 31% HEALTH. UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE FOREST IS 8.9% YOUR FRIEND AT HARVARD IS ARRESTED BY POLICEMAN.

    >CALL POLICEMAN STUPID, PLAY RACE CARD

    I'M SORRY, THAT DID NOT WORK. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >BEER SUMMIT, BLAME BUSH

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOU ARE BEHIND A DESK. ON THE DESK IS A TELEPHONE AND A TV. THE TELEPHONE RINGS. IT IS COPENHAGEN. YOU DO NOT GET THE OLYMPICS FOR CHICAGO. A PEASANT ON TV FROM CHICAGO CALLS FOR TEA PARTY REVOLT. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >NATIONALIZE HEALTHCARE

    I'M SORRY, THIS NAME WILL NOT WORK. DO YOU WANT TO CALL IT SOMETHING DIFFERENT?

    >REFORM HEALTHCARE

    YOU WILL NEED A CONGRESS AND SENATE TO "REFORM HEALTHCARE" IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

    >TELL CONGRESS TO REFORM HEALTHCARE

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOU ARE WITH GENERALS. AFGHANISTAN IS GOING BAD. IRAN IS BUILDING NUCLEAR BOMBS. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >PLAY GOLF

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. ON THE TV ARE TOWN HALLS. AT THE TOWN HALLS ARE PEASANTS. THEY ARE YELLING AT YOUR CONGRESS. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >ATTACK PEASANTS

    WITH WHAT?

    >MEDIA

    WHAT WEAPON?

    >RACE CARD

    THE PEASANTS ARE NOW ANGRIER. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >ATTACK PEASANTS

    WITH WHAT?

    >UNIONS

    WHAT WEAPON?

    >FISTS, NIGHTSTICKS

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. ON THE TV ARE YOUR CZARS. YOUR CZARS ARE PRAISING COMMUNISM. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >PLAY RACE CARD, VOICE SUPPORT FOR CZARS

    I'M SORRY, THIS DOES NOT WORK. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >THROW CZARS UNDER BUS

    CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE A SUPREME COURT VACANCY. WHO DO YOU WANT TO APPOINT?

    >WISE LATINA

    YOU SEEM TO BE HAVING PROBLEMS. DO YOU WANT TO SET PRIORITIES?

    >Y

    ENTER TOP PRIORITIES SEPARATED BY COMMAS.

    >HEALTH CARE, CHILDHOOD OBESITY, ECONOMY, GAS MILEAGE, GITMO, JOBS, CONSTRUCTION SIGNS, LIGHT RAIL, MUSLIM SELF ESTEEM, GOLF HANDICAP, WAR

    DO YOU NEED A CIGARETTE BREAK?

    >Y

    ADVENTURE WILL RESUME WHEN YOU PRESS F12

    >[F12]

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOU ARE STANDING IN FRONT OF CONGRESS. ON THE DESK IS DRAFT HEALTH CARE BILL. DO YOU WANT TO READ?

    >N

    YOU CANNOT SIGN HEALTH CARE BILL UNTIL IT PASSES THROUGH CONGRESS RULES. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >CHANGE RULES, RAM THROUGH

    CONGRESS SAYS THEY ARE AFRAID OF PEASANTS.

    >TELL CONGRESS TO ATTACK PEASANTS

    HOW?

    >RACE CARD, CHOKE HOLDS

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOU ARE BEHIND A DESK. YOUR APPROVAL HEALTH IS 49%. HEALTH CARE BILL IS STALLED. YOUR CONGRESS HAS 16% HEALTH. UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE FOREST IS 9.5%. YOUR TEAM IS SHOPPING THEIR RESUMES. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >ADD PAGES TO HEALTH CARE BILL

    HOW MANY?

    >1826

    DO YOU WANT TO READ NEW HEALTH CARE BILL?

    >N

    HEALTH CARE BILL NOW COST $1 TRILLION. HOW WILL YOU PAY?

    >PRETEND IT COSTS $0

    CONGRATULATIONS! YOU NOW HAVE HEALTH CARE BILL. DO YOU WISH TO SIGN?

    >Y

    WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH HEALTH CARE BILL?

    >GIVE TO PEASANTS AS XMAS GIFT

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOU ARE BEHIND A DESK. YOUR APPROVAL HEALTH IS 46%. YOU HAVE LOST 3 CONGRESSMEN TO PEASANTS IN SPECIAL ELECTION REVOLT. YOUR CONGRESS HAS 11% HEALTH. UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE FOREST IS 10.0%. WAR IS GOING BAD. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >PLAY GOLF, RENAME WAR

    GIVE NEW NAME TO WAR.

    >OVERSEAS CONTINGENCY OPERATION

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. THE GOVERNOR IN ARIZONA FOREST IS THREATENING TO ENFORCE YOUR IMMIGRATION LAWS. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >ATTACK ARIZONA

    HOW?

    >RACE CARD, HOLDER

    HOLDER IS BUSY LOOKING FOR NEW YORK COURT FOR TRIAL FOR TERRORISTS. I MEAN UNDOCUMENTED GUEST DISSENTER. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >PLAY GOLF

    YOU ARE ON A GOLF GREEN. YOU ARE STANDING NEXT TO A GOLF CART. ON THE GOLF CART IS A SUITCASE WITH A RED PHONE. THE PHONE RINGS. IT IS CONGRESS. THEY ARE EVEN MORE SCARED OF PEASANTS, WHO ARE EVEN MORE PISSED OFF. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >CALM CONGRESS

    HOW?

    >TELL TO WORK ON CAP AND TRADE

    YOU SEEMS TO BE HAVING PROBLEMS. WOULD YOU LIKE HELP?

    >Y

    ENTER YOUR HELPERS SEPARATED BY COMMAS.

    >MSNBC, NYT, ACORN, SEIU, MOVE ON, NETROOTS, SOROS

    ARE YOU SURE?

    >Y

    SERIOUSLY, ARE YOU SURE?

    >Y

    I'M NOT TRYING TO TELL YOU HOW TO PLAY THE ADVENTURE, BUT I'M NOT SURE THAT REALLY QUALIFIES AS "HELP." ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY SURE?

    >Y

    OKAY, YOU'RE THE BOSS. PLEASE ENTER THE NUMBER OF PUFF PIECES YOU WANT.

    >180

    PLEASE ENTER THE NUMBER OF ATTACK PIECES YOU WANT.

    >5276

    ATTACK PIECES HAVE BACKFIRED. MEDIA IS AT 0% HEALTH. ACORN IS AT 0% HEALTH. CONGRESS IS AT 7% HEALTH. THERE ARE A LOT MORE PEASANTS OUT THERE THAN YOU THOUGHT. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >BLAME BUSH

    THAT DOES NOT WORK ANYMORE.

    >BLAME BANKS

    THAT DOES NOT WORK ANYMORE.

    >BLAME PALIN

    WOULD YOU LIKE TO BUY A DISTRACTION?

    >Y

    I'M SORRY, THE PEASANTS ARE NOT EASILY DISTRACTED. YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOU ARE BEHIND A DESK. YOU HAVE LOST RAHM. PEASANTS ARE LOSING THEIR HEALTH CARE. PEASANTS ARE MARCHING ON THE BELTWAY. THERE IS 9.6% UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE FOREST. YOUR APPROVAL HEALTH IS 42%. YOUR CONGRESS HAS 1.3% HEALTH. YOUR CONGRESS WILL NOT RETURN YOUR CALLS. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >TURN LEFT

    EXCUSE ME?

    >TURN LEFT

    WHOA. FOR A MINUTE THERE I THOUGHT YOU TYPED 'TURN LEFT'.

    >I DID! TURN LEFT

    UMM, ANY PARTICULAR REASON?

    >ENERGIZE BASE

    BY "BASE", DO YOU MEAN THAT REPULSIVE COLLECTION OF SNIDE FUCKWIT URBAN HIPSTER TWATS?

    >Y

    HOW?

    >CAR DITCH SLURPEE JOKE

    BASE ENERGY FAIL. STIMULUS FAIL. HEALTH CARE FAIL. TARP FAIL.

    YOU ARE IN AN OVAL OFFICE. YOU HAVE 41% APPROVAL HEALTH. YOU HAVE NO GOLD LEFT. YOU HAVE NO CONGRESS LEFT. YOU HAVE NO MEDIA LEFT. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >BLAME BUSH

    I'M SORRY, THAT DOESN'T WORK ANYMORE.

    >PLAY RACE CARD

    I'M SORRY, THAT DOESN'T WORK ANYMORE.

    >PLAY GOLF

    GOLF COURSE IS CLOSED.

    >TURN LEFT

    DUDE.

    >FAKE TURN RIGHT

    ADVENTURER PLEASE, YOU'RE JUST EMBARRASSING YOURSELF.

    >^C

    >^C

    >^C

    I'M SORRY, THERE IS NO ESCAPE KEY. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >

    WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >

    WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

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    WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >

    WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    >