X-Files: I Want to Believe Movie Trailer

It’s great to hear the old X-Files theme again. Here we have the first trailer for the latest X-Files movie that is due out on July 25th, just one week after Dark Knight is released (July 18th). The trailer itself isn’t that great, doesn’t whet your whistle but it’s enough to get me looking forward to renting the movie when it comes out next Winter 🙂

The X-Files: I Want to Believe is directed by X-Files creator Chris Carter.

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NASA Successfully Completes First Series of Ares Engine Tests

Ares Engine

NASA engineers Thursday successfully completed the first series of tests in the early development of the J-2X engine (link to artists rendition of the final engine) that will power the upper stages of the Ares I and Ares V rockets, key components of NASA’s Constellation Program. Ares I will launch the Orion spacecraft that will take astronauts to the International Space Station and then to the moon by 2020. The Ares V will carry cargo and components into orbit for trips to the moon and later to Mars.

NASA conducted nine tests of heritage J-2 engine components from December to May as part of a series designed to verify heritage J-2 performance data and explore performance boundaries. Engineers at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss., conducted the tests on a heritage J-2 “powerpack,” which, in a fully assembled engine, pumps liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the engine’s main combustion chamber to produce thrust. The test hardware consisted of J-2 components used from the Apollo program in the1960s through the X-33 program of the 1990s.

Watch NASA’s Ares Quarterly Video Update: May 2008 (pops WMP)

How Valid Are T.V. Weather Forecasts?

Weather Guesser

The NY Times has a guest opinion piece about the analysis experiment one man and his daughter performed on their local weather forecaster’s predictions of temperature and precip in the nightly news.

Not surprisingly they found a monkey could probably make better predictions outside of a 3 day forecast, beyond that you might as well throw dice to make the predictions for you; and you might be accurate just as often.

The results were quite enlightening, as were some of the comments of the local meteorologists and their station managers. Here a few of the quotes we received:

“We have no idea what’s going to happen [in the weather] beyond three days out.”

“There’s not an evaluation of accuracy in hiring meteorologists. Presentation takes precedence over accuracy.”

“All that viewers care about is the next day. Accuracy is not a big deal to viewers.”

Simulating TRS-80 BASIC in a Browser


Here’s a recreation of TRS-80 computer system. The simulator is based on TRS-80 Level I BASIC which debuted back in 1977. It is not an emulator but rather a recreation of Level I BASIC that runs entirely within a browser.

The author has included a library of programs for you to experiment with as well, like a variant of the Lunar Lander or Trek III.

Brings back fond memories, it has everything but the cassette tape drives and the keybounce problem.

The Little Mermaid Cosplay

I ran across a great mermaid costume online that does well in keeping to the original cartoon movie The Little Mermaid. What do you think?

Mermaid Cosplay

EDIT: I was linking to the original location for this pic but it looks like the url is no longer valid. Here’s the original url in case you can dig around and find it again, if you do please feel free to let me know: http://www.rainstars.net/sito/cosplay/contest/partecipanti.htm

What do women wear to tech conference?

Someone recently stumbled onto Geeknews by searching for the term:

What do women wear to tech conference

Good question. Any first timer probably would want to know how to act and dress and wants to know what to expect, not wanting to stand out looking like the first timer they are.

And we know how many women (not all) are concerned about their appearances, so it’s natural to expect Ms. First Timer to launch herself at the internet to find out how to dress for success and enable the networking opportunities and at the same time not go overboard by letting her clothing make an incorrect statement (makes me glad to be a guy).

Andy’s general rule of thumb when it comes to how to dress is:

You can’t go wrong with business casual

Here’s my idea of business casual for women:

Business Casual

For a woman this is usually slacks, nice shoes, blouse (not loud), blazer is optional. If you’re speaking at the conference then you should wear a blazer when speaking to the crowd.

For the shoes, don’t wear high heels, not ‘power shoes’, take spiffy looking comfortable shoes because you may be standing in lots of lines for food, registration, restrooms, more food, more restrooms, airport security lines…

Go light on the jewelry, something to complement the blouse. Same thing goes for smelling great, don’t get too flowery. If you must have a scent applied then keep it to a minimum, you’re not here to pick up a date so keep the artificial pheromones at home, please.

I did an image search on Live and Google for women at tech conferences and for the most part the clothing description i’ve given above seems to apply, excluding the perfume.

If you already know how formal or informal your conference is, you can probably make some safe bets wrt dressing down or up as appropriate. For instance, there are some tech conferences that are pretty low key on the west coast of the US and folks can get away with wearing jeans and sandals, though these conferences usually have smelly hippy linux coder types that wouldn’t know business casual if it hit them upside the head.

Below is a promotional photo for the Society of Women Engineers National conference, you can’t go wrong as a women dressing like this at any tech conference. It’s smart, low key yet professional.


Feel free to correct me if i’m wrong anywhere here, while i’m not a conference expert i’ve attended my share and I’ve seen some disastrous attempts to be too dressed up and too dressed down, so aim for the middle with business casual.

Medical News: 5-7-08


Scientists discover why the plague is so lethal– Bacteria that cause the bubonic plague may be more virulent than their close relatives because of a single genetic mutation

Bacterial slime helps cause serious disease – Leptospirosis is a serious but neglected emerging disease that infects humans through contaminated water. Now research published in the May issue of the journal Microbiology shows for the first time how bacteria that cause the disease survive in the environment.

Ferreting Out HIV – Compound that pulls the virus out of hiding is synthesized.

China rushes to quell viral outbreak as Olympics approach – A viral outbreak in China has sickened more than 6,300 people and killed another child, raising the death toll to 26 children

Reprogrammed Stem Cells Work on Parkinson’s – A study in rodents suggests that skin cells can be transformed into neurons to treat neurodegeneration.

Mini Milky Ways Pack a Big Punch

Astronomers looking at galaxies in the universe’s distant past found nine young, compact galaxies, each weighing in at 200 billion times the mass of our Sun. Each compact galaxy is only 5000 light years across which is a fraction of our own grown up Milky Way but contains roughly the same number of stars.

A planet in a compact galaxy would see 200 times more stars in the sky than you do from Earth. Get the full story from HubbleSite.org.

Compact galaxies

Made in Mexico: Domesticated Sunflowers


New evidence confirms that the sunflower was domesticated in Mexico more than 4,600 years ago, contrary to the widely held belief that it was converted into a food crop only in the Mississippi Valley. Researchers use to believe Spanish conquistadors were responsible for bringing domesticated sunflowers to Mexico from the north. But genetic research on ancient seeds found at formerly inhabited sites indicate that indigenous people in different parts of Mexico were using sunflowers 1800 years before being conquered by the Spaniards.

LA Times has the story.