Broadcast Engineer at BellMedia, Computer history buff, compulsive deprecated, disparate hardware hoarder, R/C, robots, arduino, RF, and everything in between.
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If Bob Ross taught math

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From Toby's "Tibees" YouTube channel: "A math lesson about logarithms inspired by the legendary painter Bob Ross."

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tekvax
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Burlington, Ontario
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Remembering Johnny Cash on the day he died

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Any day is a good day to remember country music legend Johnny Cash.

Today, September 12, 2019, is an especially good one because he died on this day, in the year 2003, at the age of 71.

Here are some images, music videos, and details about the man and his work you may not have seen. Share whatever you feel like in the BBS comments, I'd love to hear from other fans.

Here's Johnny Cash singing 'I Walk The Line' on the early television music showcase program Town Hall Party in 1958.

Because you're mine, I walk the line.

Chills.

Photo by Moviestore/Shutterstock (1597211a)
Johnny Cash
Film and Television

Photo by ITV/REX/Shutterstock (933130bd)
'Johnny Cash at San Quentin' - Johnny Cash
ITV ARCHIVE

Photo by Shutterstock
'Johnny Cash at San Quentin' - Johnny Cash
ITV ARCHIVE

Really cool post on IMGUR from a regular high-poster:

John R. "Johnny" Cash was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 90 million records worldwide. His genre-spanning songs and sound embraced rock and roll, rockabilly, blues, folk, and gospel. This crossover appeal won Cash the rare honor of being inducted into the Country Music, Rock and Roll, and Gospel Music Halls of Fame.

At birth, Cash was named J. R. Cash. When he enlisted in the United States Air Force, he was not permitted to use initials as a first name, so he changed it to John R. Cash. In 1955, when signing with Sun Records, he started using the name Johnny Cash. After basic training at Lackland Air Force Base and technical training at Brooks Air Force Base, both in San Antonio, Texas, Cash was assigned to the 12th Radio Squadron Mobile of the U.S. Air Force Security Service at Landsberg, Germany. He worked as a Morse code operator intercepting Soviet Army transmissions. On July 3, 1954, he was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant, and he returned to Texas. During his military service, he acquired the distinctive scar on the right side of his jaw as a result of surgery to remove a cyst.

Some of our past posts about Johnny Cash:

Johnny Cash's smart-alecky to-do list / Boing Boing

Music: 'Busted,' Johnny Cash and Ray Charles - Boing Boing

It's Johnny Cash's birthday!

[IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK]

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tekvax
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Burlington, Ontario
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The existential endtime pleasures of watching silent restoration videos

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It is perhaps in the spirit of our anxious, rickety age that antique tool, machinery, and toy restoration videos are becoming increasingly popular. There is something oddly comforting and therapeutic about seeing the old, the forgotten, the previously reliable (now seized with rust and neglect) being lovingly restored to life.

These videos are simple, quiet (usually with no spoken narrative), and most of the restoration process is carefully shown, from disassembly to cleaning, sanding, repainting to re-assembly and testing. This is a world in which time, Evapo-Rust, a wire wheel, and some rattle-cans of enamel paint can repair the past to near show room luster.

I can't get enough. And for makers, there are lots of great repair and restoration tips embedded in these videos. Here are a few of my favorite channels.

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tekvax
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Burlington, Ontario
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The largest source of plastic in our fresh water is laundry lint

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On average, you consume between 74,000 and 121,000 microscopic pieces of plastic every year. Probably much more. Where does it come from? According to new research from Penn State Behrend chemist Sherri Mason, 60 percent of the microplastics in our freshwater comes from laundry lint making its way from your washing machine through wastewater treatment plants. From American Scientist:

As we clean our clothing, sheets, and towels, tiny threads—commonly called microfibers—break off and wash away. To better understand how microbeads and microfibers—collectively making up microplastics—move through the Great Lakes and other freshwater systems, we wanted to understand whether they are removed at wastewater treatment plants.

After collecting and analyzing 90 samples taken from 17 different facilities across the United States, we confirmed that microplastics travel through wastewater treatment plants. On average, each wastewater treatment facility was releasing more than four million pieces of microplastic into U.S. waterways every day: 60 percent fibers, 34 percent beads, and 6 percent films and foams. With 15,000 such facilities in continual operation around the United States, billions of microplastic particles are finding a pathway through our wastewater from our homes to the fresh water we rely on.

(via Scientific American)

image: Amy/Bunnyfrogs (Flickr) Read the rest

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tekvax
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I talk about punch cards, AI and "CODERS" with Joel Spolsky

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Earlier this summer I stopped by the office of Joel Spolsky, CEO of Stack Overflow, the mammoth forum for software developers, to talk about my new book Coders, which is all about the subculture of programmers and their impact on reality. (And which you can acquire right here folks, step right up.)

We were supposed to talk about coding but at first got totally sidetracked when I noticed Joel had a huge archive of issues of OMNI, so we spent 15 minutes excitedly babbling about the role that magazine played in our nerd youths. (They even hunted down some of the original ads for Heathkit robots.)

When we finally got around to talking about the culture of software creation, it was pretty fun, and they transcribed parts of our talk. Here's Joel talking about how he originally got into coding:

Clive: What was your original pathway into coding?

Joel: My parents were professors at the University of New Mexico, and the University bought a mainframe and didn’t know what do with it. They gave every professor an account. And the professors gave those to their kids.

So I was part of a group of teenage kids just hanging around the computer center trying to figure stuff out.

Clive: So what was it, FORTRAN?

Joel: It had an interactive operating system because those had gotten trendy at universities. They had an interactive terminal system that had BASIC, FORTRAN, and PL1. Many, many years later I realized there was no way they had enough memory for three compilers and in fact what they had was a very simple pre-processsor that made Basic, Fortan, and PL1 all look like the same mush. It was a very crappy subset of each of those three languages.

Clive: Oh my god, that’s trippy. For me, it was the generation of BASIC computers you could plug into a TV, that’s what got me in. But also, hilariously, my high school in Toronto had set up a computer programming course you could take in your fourth year, where we learned FORTAN on punchcards. You fed them in and came back two hours later for them. I’m glad to have done it, because when I interview coders in their 70s and 80s, we can bond over tripping while walking down the hallway carrying a stack of 100 cards you forgot to number.

True story, that latter one. In my high school I took the single class they offered in computer programming, which for me was 1986. I and my friends had already been programming for years in BASIC, so we showed up thinking that we'd learn that, or maybe Pascal or Assembly.

Nope. It turns out that some years previously -- likely, a decade previously -- they'd signed up for an agreement to use a semi-decommissioned PDP-somethingorother parked in the basement of the University of Toronto, on a timeshare basis, to teach us FORTRAN on punchcards, batch-style. We were kind of baffled; by the mid-80s, punchcards seemed pretty retro, since realtime coding on a screen seemed the Way of the Future. But like I said in the interview, I'm now glad I got a chance to try my hand at that craft.

I've occasionally toyed with the idea building a punchcard reader for programming Javascript, just because why not. Maybe some weekend I'll roll up my sleeves and do it.

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tekvax
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Explosion at Russian lab that holds smallpox samples

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There's been an explosion and fire at the Russian State Centre for Research on Virology and Biotechnology (Vector), a facility near Novosibirsk in Siberia that happens to hold live samples of smallpox. Vector officials say there's currently no risk of contamination. Vector and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are the only two approved labs known to hold live samples of smallpox. The World Health Organization certified the eradication of smallpox in 1980 thanks to a global immunization effort. However, concern remains that the deadly virus could still be used as a bioweapon. From CNN:

In its statement, Vector said that no biohazard material was being stored in the room where the explosion took place. The city's mayor also insisted that the incident does not pose any biological or any other threat to the local population, according to TASS...

Dr. Joseph Kam, Honorary Clinical Associate Professor at the Stanley Ho Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases (CEID) told CNN that rules for storing viruses are very strict and highly dangerous diseases such as Ebola and smallpox would be stored in the highest "Level 4" laboratory.

Access to the samples would be limited, special containers are used and the storage mechanism is different from other laboratories, Kam said.

He added that while fire would be hot enough to destroy viruses, an explosion could risk spreading the virus and there would be a danger of infecting those in the room or contaminating the immediate area.

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tekvax
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