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October 9, 2016

Eternity is 20 Seconds Long, by Paul Trembling

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1

     Kev adjusted his position in the hammock, just enough to look round.

     Beyond the shade cast by the trees, the beach was ablaze with sunlight. The glare from the white sand would have been painful if it hadn't been for his sunglasses. Even with them, the flicking pinpoints of light from the sea stabbed sharply into his retina.

     There was still ice in the bucket, though, and the drinks were cold.

     Along the beach, he could see the girl coming back towards him. The bright orange bikini glowed against her tanned skin. She waved.

     He'd promised her a special experience. She didn't know how special it would be. They would have the time of their lives. A very long time. He waved back.

     Everything was perfect. Now was the moment.

     The device resting on his chest looked like an irregular collection of cylinders, in several different shades of red to purple. The interface unit attached to the side was a crude human intrusion, but necessary. He picked up his PalmPC, linked in to the interface, brought up the programme.

     Took a deep breath and hit go.

     The rush of alien symbols across the screen was as expected - but surely that configuration was wrong? Alarmed, Kev reached a finger to the abort icon….

     DISCONTINUITY

     "That's the loop point."

     Kev adjusted his position in the hammock, just enough to look round.

     Beyond the shade cast by the trees, the beach was ablaze with sunlight. The glare from the white sand would have been painful if it hadn't been for his sunglasses. Even with them, the flicking pinpoints of light from the sea stabbed sharply into his retina.

     "How come he doesn't see us?"

     "Different time streams. We weren't there then."


2

     There was still ice in the bucket, though, and the drinks were cold.

     Along the beach, he could see the girl coming back towards him. The bright orange bikini glowed against her tanned skin. She waved.

     "What about the girl?"

     "Outside the field, fortunately. If he'd set it differently, she'd be in there with him."

     "How big could it have got?"

     "We're not sure. Perhaps the entire planet."

     He'd promised her a special experience. She didn't know how special it would be. They would have the time of their lives. A long time. He waved back.

     "What was he trying to do?"

     "We're not sure. Extend his holiday, perhaps."

     Everything was perfect. Now was the moment.

     The device resting on his chest looked like an irregular collection of cylinders, in several different shades of red to purple. The interface unit attached to the side was a crude human intrusion, but necessary.

     "What is that thing?"

     "Temporal field node. Part of a star-drive. Isha'hassat technology."

     "How did he get hold of it?"

     "That's being looked into. There's quite a black market in alien tech, but this is new. The Isha'hassat are upset about it."

     He picked up his PalmPC, linked in to the interface, brought up the programme.

     Took a deep breath and hit go.

     The rush of alien symbols across the screen was as expected - but surely that configuration was wrong? Alarmed, Kev reached a finger to the abort icon….

     DISCONTINUITY


3

     "So what happened?"

     "He set up a self-perpetuating temporal loop."

     Kev adjusted his position in the hammock, just enough to look round.

     "Can we stop it?"

     "No. The controls are inside the loop. No one from outside can reach them."

     Beyond the shade cast by the trees, the beach was ablaze with sunlight.

     "So how long does it last?"

     "Twenty seconds. Twenty point two five to be accurate."

     The glare from the white sand would have been painful if it hadn't been for his sunglasses. Even with them, the flicking pinpoints of light from the sea stabbed sharply into his retina.

     "No – I meant how long will it last? The time-loop-field thing?"

     "From his point of view, twenty seconds. From ours – eternity."

     There was still ice in the bucket, though, and the drinks were cold.

     Along the beach, he could see the girl coming back towards him. The bright orange bikini glowed against her tanned skin. She waved.

     "But what happens if the sun explodes – or something like that?"

     "If the sun explodes in five billion years, will that affect you?"

     He'd promised her a special experience. She didn't know how special it would be. They would have the time of their lives. A long time. He waved back.

     "No."

     "And it won't affect him either. For the same reason. He's in a different time. Always."

     Everything was perfect. Now was the moment.


Short science fiction story found at http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/scifiindex.html

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August 30, 2016

NRL Plasma Formulary: Hard copies for free

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Maybe you are a plasma scientist and a lover of real books; not those e-books you have stored in your smartphone or laptop in that folder where several megabytes of .pdf files are waiting to be read (and you will probably never read). In that case let me inform you that you can obtain a hard copy of the NRL Plasma Formulary for free. You only need to fill some fields related to your job and position as well as your postal coordinates in the link below :

http://www.nrl.navy.mil/ppd/content/nrl-plasma-formulary

This formulary is one of the most complete I have seen (no matter if you work with cold or hot plasmas) and, in addition, comes in pocket size.


NRL : U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

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June 5, 2016

Editing .sce and .sci files on your smartphone

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Ok, you have been programming Scilab functions and scripts all day on your favorite desktop computer. You assume it's all you can do for the day and you decide to leave the desk for a little distraction far away Scilab (an Irish pub and a fresh Belgium beer is a very good solution), and suddenly, in the pub, you find the missing algorithm solution for your functions/scripts. Dam ! How I can edit this functions on my smartphone ??!! Once again the solution is right there on your smartphone and it is unnecessary to waste money and time searching for dedicated applications on the Apple store or on the Play store. You're surely a file manager/browser native application on your smartphone, so the only thing to do is to replace the .sce and .sci extension for .txt and then edit the file with your favorite text editor (like Polaris Office or Simple Notepad, ...).

Note: I assume you are using also a cloud-Web solution like Dropbox, Copy, Drive, ... where you upload the Scilab scripts from your desktop computer, so you can download them to your smartphone when you want.

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June 2, 2016

Labview and Scilab

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Labview generates .lvm files. Don't waste your time looking for dedicated Scilab scripts or functions for read this kind of files. You can easily read this files with the function csvRead.sci because the Labview files are just like Excel files in csv format.

If you use the csvRead function directly with only the name of the file as argument, you will obtain a vector or a matrix with NaN (the header and other comments) and the numerical data. With the function thrownan you can obtain a new vector or matrix without the NaN.

If you're looking for interfacing Labview with Scilab during the signal acquisition, you should take a look on "NI Labview to Scilab Gateway":

http://sine.ni.com/nips/cds/view/p/lang/fr/nid/210055

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