Raw thoughts from Alex Dong

Python console debugger, Kamikaze pilots with a puppy, water powered space coach and hash sharing system to fight spam.

PuDB: console based visual debugger for python: Its goal is to provide all the niceties of modern GUI-based debuggers in a more lightweight and keyboard-friendly package. Come with ipython integration. Reminds me of the Blue and Yellow of Turbo C 2.0 from 1989.

Kamikaze pilots play with a puppy, before their flights. 1945: War time stories tend to paint a black and white picture of enemies. But really it’s just people. They smile. They huddle their pets. They are young, shy and thought they were dying for a purpose.

A Stage Coach To The Stars: This article discussed the idea of building a spacecoach, a fully reusable interplanetary spacecraft whose mass is mostly water.

It turns out that water is highly desirable in an interplanetary spacecraft, not just for life support (for people and plants), but can be used for many purposes on a long flight, including radiation shielding (its comparable to lead on a per kilogram basis), thermal regulation (its an excellent heat sink), oxygen generation (via electrolysis), attitude control (by pumping water around ring shaped reservoirs) and propulsion (water vapor can be heated to very high temperatures in microwave electrothermal engines to produce thrust several times more efficiently than chemical rockets). Water is also easy to handle, meaning the craft can be resupplied as needed, something that is much more difficult to do with chemical rocket fuels, especially cryogenic fuels. […] None of this is to say that this would be easy to do, but the technology needed to build these ships exists and improves with each year.

Hash-Sharing Systems: collaborative spam fighting.

One of the approaches used to identify spam goes like this; if I see a spam message at 8:30 in the morning, I send a checksum of that message to an online database of spam. When you get that message a little later on in the morning, your mail system asks that online database, “Has anyone reported this as spam?”. The online database can report back “yes”, allowing your mail system to raise the spam score for that message.