Oculus Co-Founder and Rift Creator Palmer Luckey Leaves Facebook

bongey writes: Palmer Lucky has left Facebook, which bought Oculus for $2 billion. The anti-Hillary memes controversy led to the resignation. UploadVR reports: “According to Oculus, this will be Palmer’s last week with Friday marking his official last day as an employee of Facebook. In an official statement, the company said that: ‘Palmer will be dearly missed. Palmer’s legacy extends far beyond Oculus. His inventive spirit helped kickstart the modern VR revolution and helped build an industry. We’re thankful for everything he did for Oculus and VR, and we wish him all the best.’ When asked if Luckey’s departure was voluntary, Facebook representatives declined to comment, citing a policy of not discussing internal personnel matters. This revelation comes around one year after Luckey himself hand-delivered the first consumer Oculus Rift to a pre-order customer in Alaska. In just over 12 months, the 24-year-old transformed from the face of one of the tech world’s most well-known teams into a bit of a recluse, disappearing from public view during the 2016 US presidential election and emerging only for an appearance in court.” UploadVR has provided a timeline of events leading up to Luckey’s departure in their report.


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Profile of Anthony Papa, the only person to have received clemency and a pardon in New York state

Socialist Worker has a profile of Anthony Papa of the Drug Policy Alliance. He has a book out about his experiences after being released from prison, where he served a sentence for a drug crime that he’d been entrapped into committing. The book is called This Side of Freedom: Life After Clemency.

Snip:

On January 24, 1985, Anthony Papa, a young radio and auto repair worker, was entrapped in a bust planned by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Papa, in his late 20s, was living in the Bronx with his wife and young daughter, and struggling to provide for his family. Down on his luck, he took a chance to make some quick cash by delivering a package of cocaine to nearby Westchester County. When Papa handed over the package to two undercover narcotics officers, he was arrested. Papa was found guilty and sentenced to two 15-years-to-life sentences under the Rockefeller Drug Laws, with their mandated minimum sentences for low-level, nonviolent drug crimes.

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Steve Wozniak on how he became passionate about computers

https://youtu.be/deITLnM73uo

Apple computers was founded on April 1, 1976. In this commercial for the Japanese human resources brand PERSOL, Steve Wozniak talks about how he “stumbled into a journal about digital computer topics” and how it changed his life.

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Rogue System Administrator Faces 10 Years In Prison For Shutting Down Servers, Deleting Core Files On the Day He Was Fired

Joe Venzor, a former employee at boot manufacturer Lucchese, had a near total meltdown after he got fired from his IT system administrator position. According to TechSpot, he shut down the company’s email and application servers and deleted the core system files. Venzor now faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. From the report: Venzor was let go from his position at the company’s help desk and immediately turned volatile. He left the building at 10:30AM and by 11:30, the company’s email and application servers had been shut down. Because of this, all activities ground to a halt at the factory and employees had to be sent home. When the remaining IT staff tried to restart them, they discovered the core system files had been deleted and their account permissions had been demoted. Eventually the company was forced to hire a contractor to clean up all of the damage, but this resulted in weeks of backlog and lost orders. While recovering from the attack was difficult, finding out who did it was simple. Venzor was clearly the prime suspect given the timing of the incident, so they checked his account history. They discovered he had collected usernames and passwords of his IT colleagues, created a backdoor account disguised as an office printer, and used that account from his official work computer.


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I made my own ink for the apocalypse

Meg Elison is a high school dropout and a graduate of UC Berkeley. Her debut novel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, won the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award. Its companion, The Book of Etta, is now available. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and writes like she’s running out of time.

As an author of apocalyptic fiction, I get letters from all over the globe from people who are more prepared for the end of the world than the average individual. Many of them focus on the more popular aspects of prepping: growing and/or storing food, conserving water and even building their own cisterns, and weapons training and storage to be ready for the worst. When I first started writing in this subgenre, I thought about my own odds of survival in the worst sort of worlds. Nobody really survives nuclear war, so I didn’t build a bomb shelter. I’m not the fastest of my friends, so I hope to provide means of escape for them by being tasty zombie food. But those slow apocalypses allow for me to examine what my own role might be in another kind of world. The question is: would writers still write? Could I, if I had the time?

In my second book, it’s been a century since Bic and Parker and Pilot shut down. There are no new pens and ink isn’t as simple as one might think. In most cases, it’s a complicated combination of pigments, fixatives, and preservatives. When imagining a post-industrial future, it helps to examine the pre-industrial past. What did people do before pens and ink were cheap?

In my research, I found that most inks start with a natural source of pigment. Many plants like berries and grasses have a little color, as anyone who’s ever stained the knees of their jeans can tell you. Better still are the inky secretions of deep sea creatures: octopodes, squids and cuttlefish. However, these are deep sea creatures and even though I live on the Pacific, I’m not sure how I would catch one. I dug deeper.

In a public library’s photo archive, I came across high-quality digital images of letters written in the nineteenth century in the U.S., many of them around the time of the Civil War. Their homely ink was brown, not quite opaque, and seemed handmade. A little more digging led me to fascinating descriptions of how walnut hulls (the fibrous material surrounding the shell of a walnut as it grows on a tree) could be boiled to produce this black-brown colored substance that was passable as ink and was commonly used to hastily dye clothes into mourning-dark hues. In isolated and rural places, where true black was costly or inaccessible, everything was rendered in this dark brown by careful work.

From the pages of a 250-year-old diary, I found instructions. Gather walnut hulls from a tree; even better if you can pick up slightly rotted ones from the ground, for these are darker. Boil in clean water for half a day, until liquid is reduced by half. Lit sit overnight. Strain, and add a dash of aged spirits, for preservation. In my case, I used 100-proof vodka.

On the website for my city, I found historical markers for walnut and oak trees that were over 200 years old. It wasn’t quite a walk back in time, but I did go out gathering after dark. That felt more like a dystopian adventure. I found the rottenest hulls I could, largely piled up in the gutter near the tree. I put them on the boil and left the stove on overnight.

In the morning, I strained it and added the vodka. When the slightly thickened mixture had cooled, I had two small bottles of brown, sour-smelling ink. I used a dip pen with a fine nib to test it out and found that it printed clearly and stayed visible even after drying. It didn’t clog my pen or bleed out into the paper. I could make it with what was lying around; I could even brew my own spirits if I had to. (That, too, is another common way to prepare for the apocalypse; scratch the surface of a home brewer or distiller and you’ll find paranoia running wild and deep.)

Writing is a luxury born of a leisure class. In most apocalyptic scenarios, people will need to scramble for food, shelter, and safety as life resumes it nasty, brutish, and short default settings. Any world’s end that offers us the time to brew ink to tell our stories is a good one. But like those preppers who write to me from their carefully cataloged canned-food empires, I am ready. I am prepared to keep telling stories long after the world that gave them to me is gone.

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Scientists use magnetic fields to remotely control biologically inspired soft robots

 The field of soft robotics has been the subject of increasing interest in recent years for the alternatives it presents to the rigid machines we tend to associate with the space. A team of scientists at North Carolina State University is offering an interesting take on the space, utilizing magnetic fields to move around the biologically inspired robots. Read More

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