If you're the right kind of nerd and you're of a certain age, you lusted after the Cray-1 supercomputer. Here's a loving profile of its designer, the legendary Seymour Cray. hackaday.com/2019/01/15/seymou

Citizen scientists find planet NASA missed. It had probably just fallen in between the couch cushions. Happens all the time with my glasses.

Canada's air traffic controllers are sending pizzas to their currently unpaid US counterparts, which might be the nicest thing I've read today. Thanks and well done, Canada!

His involvement in InSight has brought my friend Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu back into the news: he's from Ghana, and we drove Mars rovers together before he became the lead for InSight's robotic arm. And just to make you feel bad about yourself, he runs marathons, too. :-)

Phew: ORNL has doubled a key step in producing Pu-238 -- the fuel used in deep space missions -- and *octupled* overall annual yield. We're still not out of the woods, but we might yet avert the crisis and lift this constraint on deep space exploration.

It looks like a simple white paint job -- but this is a Mars rover, so of course it's more complicated than that. There's special paint, and special tape, and you have to do the whole job in a few hours or rust spoils it.

The engineer who got us the video of the Saturn V launch stage detaching and falling back toward Earth -- you've seen it a thousand times.

Cleopatra's birth year (69 BC) was closer to the moon landings (AD 1969) than to the completion of the Great Pyramid of Giza (2560 BC).

Average number of Americans killed annually by immigrant terrorists: 2. Average number of Americans killed annually by lawnmowers: 69. For this we need a $5B wall.

Political radicals of all stripes have poor metacognition -- their ability to evaluate their own thinking for errors is flawed. This is reminiscent of the Dunning-Kruger Effect (incompetent people can't tell good from bad performance, so they overestimate themselves) and, like it, explains a whole lot. :-/

InSight's lead scientist, Bruce Banerdt, has been working toward this moment since he was in grad school -- four decades. We have a seismometer on Mars. Well done, Bruce and team.

The 6888th -- the all-female African-American WWII unit that boosted morale by getting mail flowing to the front lines -- has a monument at last

Jezero crater flyover video: when the 2020 rover lands there, here's the path it might follow, and what it will be seeking when it does.

Computer security expert Bruce Schneier has started thinking -- with characteristic genius -- about Russia's attacks on our democracy. (It's not just our elections, it's our whole democracy.) If you want to understand what they're up to and how we might counter it, read this: schneier.com/blog/archives/201

Dear everybody: InSight is a *lander*, not a rover. The difference is simple: no wheels. No wheels, can't rove, therefore not a rover. (I'm prepared to admit that it annoys me more than it should when sites get this wrong. :-/ ) ndtv.com/science/nasas-martian

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Mastodon for Tech Folks

This Mastodon instance is for people interested in technology. Discussions aren't limited to technology, because tech folks shouldn't be limited to technology either!

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