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U.S. Air Force

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Embedded systems are typically so complex, with so many
interrelated components, each of which must be perfect, that practically anyone
can do an very effective job of botching a development project.

 Still, it's instructive to examine some of the
habits of the most defective engineers, some of whom have honed dysfunctional
development to a high art.

 It's important to understand the dynamics of
embedded systems: promise the world, start writing code, and let the project
fall completely apart. There's no penalty for non-performance! As the
deadlines draw near, and then pass by, and then fade away as old forgotten
memories, your employer will have so much vested into you and the project
there's no chance you'll be disciplined, no matter what bizarre work habits
you display.

 In fact, a few carefully placed comments about
greener pastures may result in winning a bonus from your panicked employer!

 So, here are a few ways of maximizing your job
security through proper dysfunctional design and management of your next
embedded project.

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Blended Learning: Frank Baxter at TEDxManhattanBeach

Frank Baxter has been an enlistee in the US Air Force, CEO of an Investment Bank, Ambassador to Uruguay, inveterate non-profit Board member. He has run 17 marathons and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Since 1986, Frank has been an activist in improving K-12 education for low income students. Since the 90′s he has been a supporter of charter schools in Oakland and Los Angeles. In 2004, he was one of the founders of the Alliance for College Ready Public Schools, a high performing Los Angeles charter management organization which now has 6 middle schools and 15 high schools serving 9500 inner-city students. He has served as Chairman and Co-Chairman since. In 2010, the Alliance started a transition to blended learning, a model which integrates teachers with 21st century technology. Now seven schools are BLAST (Blended Learning Alliance School Transformation) schools. The students are learning much faster and are much happier than in the traditional vintage 19th century model. He has a BA in Economics with honors from the University of California, Berkeley. His wife, Kathy, and he have 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 1 great granddaughter. AboutTEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are <b>...</b>
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X37-B OTV-2 space plane

The US Air Force’s top-secret, unmanned X37-B space plane successfully touched down at Vanderberg Air Force Base in California on Saturday (video below), ending a 469-day marathon mission. The flight was nearly 200 days longer than originally planned, and more than twice as long as the inaugural mission in 2010, which lasted a mere 224 days.

NASA originally started the X-37B project in 1999, but the jet it envisioned was never built, and control transferred to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in 2004. Since so little is known about the plane, speculation about its design runs the gamut from a simple transport vehicle to possible military applications. Whatever the case, we're just hoping the development of smaller,...

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Located on a rather nondescript industrial estate in a suburb of Leicester you'll find an equally nondescript warehouse unit. Nestled amongst the usual glut of logistics companies and scrap metal merchants, the building in question once housed a firm that was poised to dramatically alter the world of interactive entertainment as we know it, and worked with such illustrious partners as Sega, Atari, Ford and IBM.

That company was Virtuality. Founded by a dashing and charismatic Phd graduate by the name of Jonathan D. Waldern, it placed the UK at the vanguard of a Virtual Reality revolution that captured the imagination of millions before collapsing spectacularly amid unfulfilled promises and public apathy.

The genesis of VR begins a few years prior to Virtuality's birth in its grey and uninspiring industrial surroundings. The technology was born outside of the entertainment industry, with NASA and the US Air Force cooking up what would prove to be the first VR systems, intended primarily for training and research. The late '80s and very early '90s saw much academic interest in the potential of VR, but typically, it took a slice of Hollywood hokum to really jettison the concept into the global consciousness and create a new buzzword for the masses.

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Yesterday I decided to try an experiment: I solicited reader requests for news photos. I asked people on Twitter and Google+, "Would you like to see a good photo of a particular subject? A high-res version of a photo you've already seen somewhere else? A photo from a particular photographer or event? If I have access and can find it, I'll try to post it" (details). The response was great, the subject matter was varied, and the task of finding the images and composing this entry was great fun. Images ranged from massive solar flares to tiny insects, taken in places from Thailand to outer space. If you enjoy this experiment, let me know in the comments, and I may develop it into a more regular feature. To all those who made requests, thanks so much, I hope you like what I was able to find. [29 photos]

Beth Winter (@bwinter) and Spidler both asked for a higher resolution version of "Anonymous in Polish parliament". -- Lawmakers from the leftist Palikot's Movement cover their faces with masks as they protest against ACTA, or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, during a parliament session, in Warsaw, Poland, on January 26, 2012, after the Polish government signed the agreement. Poland's plans to sign ACTA sparked attacks on Polish government websites and street protests in several Polish cities this week. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

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As the war in Afghanistan passes the 10-year mark, the security outlook still looks bleak. Nevertheless, the Obama administration has just asked the Pentagon for initial recommendations for the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan in 2014 -- the first step in planning the final U.S. withdrawal. According to the Associated Press, as of yesterday, November 1, 2011, at least 1,704 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan. U.S. diplomats are now asking Afghanistan's neighbors to sign on to an ambitious plan for the future of Central Asia -- ambitiously being called the "New Silk Road" -- that would link the infrastructure of surrounding countries from Kazakhstan to India. Gathered here are images from there over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. [41 photos]

A severely wounded US Marine hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) is carried by his comrades to a medevac helicopter of U.S. Army's Task Force Lift "Dust Off", Charlie Company 1-171 Aviation Regiment to be airlifted in Helmand province, on October 31, 2011. The Marine was hit by an IED, lost both his legs and fights for his life. (Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images)

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