Hello geezers, how're things going over here? Haven't been around these parts in a while. Might try to get on here more now since I'm spending most of my free time bored out of my skull hehe. Took some pictures of contrails/clouds this morning on my sister's phone that I'll try to remember to upload later on. There were loads of them, but I'm pretty sure the majority were just clouds. Should make for some nice photography if nothing else. 'Nice' here being by my particularly low standards . CAS.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1622 on: Oct 22nd, 2010, 1:19pm »
City's 'Most Tattooed Man' Injects Ink Into Eyes Portland Man Gets Eyeballs Tattooed
POSTED: 11:59 pm PDT October 19, 2010 UPDATED: 7:15 am PDT October 20, 2010
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Tattoo enthusiast Matt Gone has become known around Portland as a man with checkerboard tattoos that cover much of his body.
"I picked the the checker pattern because nobody had done it," Gone said.
Now he's done something else that few have tried: He injected ink into both of this eyes -- by himself.
"I picked different colors cause I like mutations because I have birth defects," Gone said.
Gone said birth defects that left some of his muscles underdeveloped inspired him to start tattooing his body nearly 20 years ago as a means to disguise his deformities. He estimates more than 98 percent of his skin is covered with ink.
"I never really knew how far I would ever go, and [tattooing my eyes] is about as far as you can go," Gone said.
But some doctors believe Gone has gone too far with his latest design. Dr. Douglas Meier, an ophthalmologist with the Portland Clinic in Beaverton, said Gone is at risk for infection that could lead to blindness or could even cause him to lose his eyes.
"The risk of putting a needle near your eye is grave," said Meier. "Someone at home does not have access to the equipment nor the expertise."
Gone said he knew the risks and he proceeded with caution.
"I patch tested it and was successful. I had to take the risk; I've done that a lot of times before," said Gone. "I'm not crazy. I'm trained. I have a lot of experience."
Gone has shared that experience in cyberspace. One of his videos posted on the Internet details how he tattooed his tongue. But Gone said his most recent lesson is for his eyes only.
"I'm glad I [tattooed my eyes] - I got lucky - but it's your risk and I'm not going to help you," said Gone. "I did this for me, this is my project, my body."
Meier said the state of Oklahoma has banned the practice of tattooing the white portion of the eye. He also said the Board of Medical Examiners in Oregon is reviewing the practice.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1628 on: Oct 23rd, 2010, 09:14am »
Opening of spaceport's first runway brings space tourism closer The world's first commercial spaceport has opened its runway in the New Mexico desert, bringing the dream of mass tourism in space a step closer.
By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent Published: 9:42AM BST 23 Oct 2010
The first flight to Spaceport America, the world's first commercial spaceport, circles the airfield in Upham, New Mexico Photo: AP
Spaceport America is the world's first facility designed specifically to launch commercial spacecraft.
Virgin Galactic, the space tourism company set up by Sir Richard Branson, plans to operate flights from the spaceport with the first flights taking place within the next 18 months.
The opening of the two mile runway was marked with a fly-past of an aircraft carrying SpaceShip Two, Virgin Galactic's rocket powered vehicle that will carry paying tourists to the edge of space and back.
It comes less than two weeks after Virgin Galactic made the first solo flight of SpaceShip Two, another significant milestone.
Sir Richard said he expects flights for space tourists to begin in nine to 18 months, and he will be among the first passengers.
"Today is very personal, as our dream becomes more real," Branson said. "People are beginning to believe now."
"I think the drop flight two weeks ago, which went beautifully, I think it made people sit up and realise this is really reality."
Until now, space travel has been limited to astronauts and a handful of wealthy people who have shelled out millions to ride Russian rockets to the international space station.
Stretching across a flat dusty plain 45 miles north of Las Cruces, New Mexico, the new runway is designed to support almost every aircraft in the world, day-to-day space tourism and payload launch operations.
Virgin Galactic is the anchor tenant of the taxpayer-funded $198 million spaceport and plans to use the facility to take tourists on what will first be short hops into space.
State officials want to add companies for other commercial space endeavours, such as research and payload delivery, once the spaceport's terminal hanger facility is complete next year.
Virgin Galactic's White Knight Two — the special jet-powered mother ship that will carry SpaceShipTwo to launch altitude — also made an appearance Friday, passing over the spaceport several times before landing on the new runway.
Tickets for suborbital space rides aboard SpaceShipTwo cost $200,000 (£128,000). The 2 1/2-hour flights will include about five minutes of weightlessness.
Some 380 people have made deposits totalling more than $50 million, Virgin Galactic officials said.
Tourists who have already paid their deposits for a seat into suborbital space and Buzz Aldrin, who walked on the moon in 1969 as part of NASA's Apollo 11 mission.
Branson, the president of Virgin Group, which counts airlines, entertainment and mobile communications among its businesses, partnered with famed aviation designer Burt Rutan on the venture.
While space tourism projects such as Virgin Galactic's receive plenty of publicity, the commercial space industry is rapidly developing with companies like SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, seeking to supply the International Space Station for NASA.
SpaceX has successfully placed a dummy payload into orbit and has contracts to lift satellites next.
Other firms, including Masten Space Systems of Mojave, California, and Armadillo Aerospace of Rockwall, Texas, are testing systems that would carry unmanned payloads to space.
Last month, Congress approved legislation that affirms President Barack Obama's intent to use commercial carriers to lift humans into near-Earth space.
"Each flight we make, we'll learn more, we'll experience, we'll open up more opportunities that we cannot even conceive of today," Branson said. "This history, we're making it right now."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1630 on: Oct 23rd, 2010, 09:27am »
Wired Danger Room
WTF Weapons, From Spy Saucers to Flying Lightsabers By Spencer Ackerman October 22, 2010 | 2:08 pm | Categories: Bizarro
Grenade shooting Robo-Scout
Adm. Gary Roughead, the Navy's top officer, is all about practicality these days. In a document he issued to his sailors earlier this week, he vowed that when it came to military gadgets, the Navy would "only develop those capabilities we need, not just want." In these tough economic times, Roughead speaks for a lot of the military's top brass.
Except when he doesn't. R&D in the American military -- and other militaries, ally and enemy alike -- is a story of madcap engineering, oddball design, and loose definitions of "need" and "want." Think rocket launchers that shoot nukes, flying saucers and laser-blasting jets. Definitely laser-blasting jets.
We take a look at some of the crazier guns and vehicles to make it to the prototype stage, here and abroad. Sure, the admirals and generals say they're being practical. But we all know they can't resist a good WTF weapon.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1631 on: Oct 23rd, 2010, 09:31am »
Suicide attackers hit U.N. compound in Afghanistan One assailant is killed at the outset, two others apparently detonate their suicide vests, and the last is shot dead by police. The incident sets the aid community on edge.
By Laura King Los Angeles Times Staff Writer 5:22 AM PDT, October 23, 2010
Suicide attackers burst into the main United Nations compound in the western city of Herat on Saturday, setting off a battle with Afghan police and troops. All four assailants were reported killed, but the U.N. said there were no casualties among its staff.
The incident roiled the aid community in Afghanistan at a time when a number of international humanitarian and development groups are considering curtailing or halting projects in response to an upcoming ban by President Hamid Karzai on the use of private security guards. Western diplomats are pressing the Afghan leader to ease the restrictions, which are to take effect at the end of the year.
The attack in Herat, the biggest city in western Afghanistan, began with a detonation at one of the complex's entry gates, according to provincial officials, and three assailants then managed to push their way inside. One or more of them wore a burqa, or a body-length veil, said Naqib Armin, a spokesman for the provincial governor.
The compound, on the city's edge near the airport, houses several U.N. agencies which employ both foreign and Afghan staff. There would have been about 40 people inside at the time, said U.N. spokesman Dan McNorton.
One of the attackers was killed at the outset of the strike when he set off explosives inside a car, provincial authorities said. Two others apparently detonated their suicide vests, and the last was shot dead by police.
Herat province is considered a relatively calm part of the country -- so much so that it is being considered as one of the first places where the NATO force will attempt to hand over security responsibility to Afghan forces.
With Western military officials claiming major success in driving the Taliban from strongholds in Kandahar province, however, the insurgency has been making a push into parts of the country that were previously considered relatively safe, such as the north.
Attacks inside Kandahar have diminished since the Western military offensive began in earnest about a month ago, but insurgents are still able to move about despite the security cordon around the city. A motorcycle-borne suicide bomber at a main traffic circle in the city killed one passer-by and injured two others on Saturday, provincial authorities said.
Outside Kandahar city, veteran New York Times photographer Joao Silva was seriously injured Saturday when he stepped on a buried bomb, the newspaper reported on its website. Although NATO officials say Taliban fighters have been mainly driven out of the district, Arghandab, the insurgents have seeded the area with IEDs, or improvised explosive devices, which are the principal killer of Western troops.
Most of the 30,000 American troops who arrived this year under President Obama's "surge" are deployed in the south, mainly in Helmand and Kandahar provinces.
NATO troops were not involved in responding to the attack in Herat, said Lt. Col. Regina Winchester, a spokeswoman for the International Security Assistance Force. However, witnesses said Western forces were seen helping cordon off the scene, and a NATO helicopter circled overhead. NATO troops in the west of Afghanistan are under Italian command.
McNorton, the U.N. spokesman, said it was "too early to speculate" about steps the world body might take in response to the attack on its compound. The U.N. sent hundreds of foreign staffers out of the country after a Taliban attack last October on a U.N. guesthouse in the capital, in which five of its foreign staff were killed.
This year has been a perilous one for foreign aid workers in Afghanistan. In August, insurgent gunmen killed a 10-member medical team, including six Americans, in Badakhshan province, in the north. Earlier this month, a Scottish development worker was killed during an attempt by American troops to rescue her after she was abducted by the Taliban.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1632 on: Oct 23rd, 2010, 2:52pm »
The Black Ops Department that's on the monsters' side by Lauren Davis
Everyone knows that the government is hiding the existence of genetically enhanced lifeforms. But the webcomic Skin Horse reveals the government agency you never suspected: Black Ops Social Services – complete with transgenic and undead social workers.
In Narbonic Shaenon Garrity took a look inside the workings of a mad scientist's lab. In Skin Horse, she teams up with Jeffrey Channing Wells to reveal what happens to the living (or unliving) products of mad science. Project Skin Horse (named for the character in The Velveteen Rabbit) is a shadowy government organization, albeit one with a (you'll forgive the term) humanitarian bent. Skin Horse provides services and resources for nonhuman sapients, from the irradiated silverfish living in the shadow government's basement to sentient weapons liberated from the US military.
There is, of course, an appropriately eccentric team of social workers behind Skin Horse. Captain's Fancy Valentine Sweetheart, a transgenic battle dog created by a Canadian mad scientist with a beef against the American Kennel Club, serves as the field commander and the team's most stable member. Unity is a rageholic Frankenstein-type monster – you can call her a zombie, and she might even oblige by eating your brains. Tip is the group's token non-enhanced, cisspecies human, a former Army captain and CIA profiler whose preference for women's clothing belies his penchant for bedding every human female he crosses paths with. The project director Gavotte is a literal hive mind:
Garrity and Wells have a knack for playing with monster and mad science tropes, and piling absurdities onto absurdities without overcrowding their stories. All of the more monstrous characters have rampage stories in their backgrounds – although Sweetheart's definition of rampage is a bit more liberal than, say, Unity's. Anthropomorphic sapients have their own anti-defamation league. (A word of advice: never ask bears to prevent forest fires; they don't take kindly to that sort of stereotyping.) The government really is out to steal your brain – not to mention chop up your body for MREs. When you give a pair of civil servants an irradiator, you're going to end up with a building full of talking centipedes and xenocidal crystalline entities. Sometimes, though, the day is saved through good old-fashioned government bureaucracy (though violence tends to help).
Yes, there's a goofy fun that runs through Skin Horse. The mad scientists revel in their madness. There's zombie-on-panda violence. There are adorable baby cobras who just want a hug and a talking helicopter whose attempts to swear are thwarted by his programming. But Garrity and Wells know their genre well, and they do a neat job of twisting classic tropes to fit a world where monsters and bioweapons join the civil service and fight for equal rights and respect within their government bodies. Skin Horse's investigations are ripe for the X-Files, but instead of ending up dead or locked in a government facility, these sentients get job training or a nice home in the cybernetic kitty sanctuary.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1634 on: Oct 23rd, 2010, 7:15pm »
Chrysler Plans Call of Duty: Black Ops Jeep Wrangler By Jason Schreier October 20, 2010 | 2:17 pm | Categories: Culture
Videogame publishers used to scramble to license automobile brands for use in their games. Now the tail’s wagging the dog.
Chrysler said Wednesday that it will produce a 2011 Jeep Wrangler Call of Duty: Black Ops Edition that will arrive in dealerships this November. Activision will release the highly anticipated first-person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops Nov. 9 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and PC.
Based on the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon model, the vehicle will feature a black exterior, massive 32-inch off-road tires and Call of Duty: Black Ops graphics on the roof and front quarter panels.
The sticker price is $30,625 for the two-door model and $33,500 for the four-door model. As a piece of limited-edition game swag, the Jeep makes those who bought last year’s Modern Warfare 2 night-vision goggles look positively frugal.
“Our work with the Jeep team focused around using the Jeep Wrangler in our levels, and gameplay experiences, and translating the style and look of the vehicle in Black Ops to the Jeep on the showroom floor that our fans can own,” said Mark Lamia, head of Black Ops developer Treyarch, in a statement.
Fingers crossed that Sikorsky makes a Halo helicopter next.