Ian Bogost is a professor of game theory at Georgia Tech, a game designer, a prolific writer, an entrepreneur, and a bit of a prankster. These roles which sometimes overlap, notably in his surprise success satirical Facebook game Cow Clicker, which you can think of as the Anti-Zynga. Wired has a fresh article up about Bogost (which cleverly embeds a sort of micro version of Cow Clicker). It also mentions another game — my favorite of his projects — that should be on the mind of every TSA employee, the 2009 release Jetset. Ask Ian about clicking cows, being an academic provocateur as well as a participant in the world of gaming, and breaking into the world of social gaming. (Please break unrelated questions into multiple comments.)
A few weeks ago you asked security guru Moxie Marlinspike about all manner of security issues, being searched at the border, and how to come up with a good online name. He's graciously answered a number of your inquiries which you will find below.
Greg Leyh is an electrical engineer who has spent most of his career working around particle accelerators and high-voltage machinery. Recently Leyh has been working on The Lightning Foundry, a project to see if humans can replicate the voltage economy effect of lightning. With the help of a Kickstarter campaign and a pair of 10-story Tesla Coil towers he hopes to generate man-made lightning. Greg has agreed to take some time away from his lightning machines and answer your questions. Ask as many as you like but please confine your questions to one per post.
As a security researcher, Moxie Marlinspike has played a big role in explaining what can go wrong in using Certificate Authorities to authenticate SSL traffic, an issue that's been top of mind this year thanks to compromised and faked certificates. On that front, he's lately come up with a system designed to circumvent CAs entirely, which means bypassing compromised (or invidious) authorities, rather than trying to patch the CA system. Another line of research, but not the only one, is mobile security and privacy; his Whisper Monitor Android firewall, released earlier this year, gives Android users notifications (and fine-grained permissions) when apps — including location-tracking or malware apps — want to make outbound connections. Possibly related: Moxie can also speak first-hand about what new border-search policies mean for travelers, having had his laptop and phones seized on returning to the U.S. from a trip. (And by the way, he's also an accomplished sailor and film-maker.) Moxie's agreed to answer your questions. Ask as many questions as you'd like, but please, be kind of rewind^wask don't ask unrelated questions in the same post.
You asked Phil Plait, aka The Bad Astronomer, questions on topics ranging from debunking superstition to extraterrestrial life to funding space exploration; read on below for his answers. Thanks for taking part, Phil!
Agit-prop? Absurdist pranksterism? Unsubtly subversive PowerPoint-based performance art? Yes, Yes, and Yes. Specifically, The Yes Men, whose brand of straight-faced media manipulation has raised eyebrows at staged events and on international news, have agreed to answer questions about their activities. These include social engineering of a certain peculiar variety ("Impersonating big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them"), and multi-media lampooning of major corporations and political bodies — and, sometimes, committing the results to film. (Their 2010 film The Yes Men Fix the World is CC-licensed; the torrent version includes a bonus short, the making of which is the subject of a lawsuit by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the target of a mock press conference it depicts.) So, please ask your questions of The Yes Men, bearing in mind (especially if you've never read them before) the Slashdot interview guidelines. (Major takeaway: for unrelated questions, please use separate posts.)
For the next year, it will be hard to escape the political season already in full swing in the U.S., as candidates aim for the American presidency (and many other elected positions). There will be plenty of soundbites and choreographed photo-ops to go around. Candidates will read speeches from TelePrompters, and staffers will mail out policy statements calculated to inspire political fealty to one candidate or another — finding unscripted answers from most of the candidates is going to be tough. Slashdot interviews, by contrast, give you the chance to do something that interviews in more conventional media usually don't: the chance to ask the questions you'd actually like to have answered, and to see the whole answer as provided. But there's a hitch: we need to know which candidates or other figures we should attempt to track down for a Slashdot interview. So please help narrow the field, by suggesting (with as much contact information as possible, as well as your reasoning) the people you'd like to hear from. It doesn't need to be one of the candidates, either: if you know of a pollster, a campaign technical advisor, an economist (or even a politicians's webmaster, say) who should be on our list, make the case in the comments below. And if you represent or are affiliated with a particular campaign, that's fine — but please say so. We'll do our best to find a number of your favorites in the year to come.
The Impossible Project, first mentioned here in 2009, has a goal that might be quixotic, but (despite the name) is looking ever more possible, after all: to bring back film for the millions of Polaroid instant cameras that have mostly become paperweights in the wake of the near-total discontinuation of instant film. This takes a sort of modern alchemy; the chemistry of instant film is tricky, and the knowledge had been dying out quickly. The Impossible team members didn't start from nothing, though: besides hiring a core of former Polaroid employees, they bought part of the former production facility in Enschede, the Netherlands, as well as production equipment. Now you can ask project founder Dr. Florian Kaps about the technical hurdles the project faces, as well as the motivations that led him to take on such a task. Note; though it's not all in stock right now, the project has successfully created various kinds of instant film, both monochrome and color. (If you have multiple unrelated questions, please post them separately.)
Earlier this month you got a chance to ask They Might Be Giants about DIY albums, nerd culture, and science songs. Below you'll find their responses. Thanks to the band for taking time to answer questions. I wish them another 30 years of making music and success!
Last week, you asked questions of "father of the Internet" Vint Cerf; read on below for Cerf's thoughts on the present and future of IPv6, standards and nomenclature, the origin of his beard, and more. Thanks, Vint!
Astronomer, author, columnist, and successful populizer of science Phil Plait, perhaps best known as The Bad Astronomer, is a regular sight on Slashdot for his unusual ability to find lucid explanations of esoteric scientific claims and controversies. Phil has graciously agreed to answer Slashdot readers' questions, so ask him below about space, science, debunking conspiracy claims, and anything else that makes sense. Asking more than one question is fine (and encouraged!), but please separate unrelated questions into separate posts, lest your questions be moderated down.
As co-designer of TCP/IP (along with Robert E. Kahn), and former chairman of ICANN, it is no exaggeration to say that Vint Cerf is certainly one of the fathers of the internet, and is often referred to as simply the father. His lifetime of network engineering accomplishments — meriting, among many other laurels, the Turing Award — leaves little doubt as to why he's now a full-time internet visionary for Google (and formerly with WorldCom) as well as a Google VP. Now, Cerf has graciously agreed to answer Slashdot readers' inquiries about the past and future of this little thing called the Internet, and his role in it thus far. This short call for questions is inadequate to sum up his contributions to engineering the data flows that entangle and enlighten us in 2011, but read through a few of these capsule descriptions to get a sense of them. In accord with the interview guidelines, please try not to lump together unrelated questions. (You may find that your questions are moderated downward if they aren't concise; if you have several distinct questions, simply submit separately as many as you'd like.)
You asked William Shatner questions, and Shatner replied. It's not the first time he's answered questions for Slashdot (that was in 2002), but Shatner's given a bit more insight this time into what makes an 80-year-old actor-author-sportsman-father-filmmaker tick as fast as ever. Did he mention that he's got a one-man show about to open? And a new album? Note: Typically Shatner, he's also chosen to ignore (or transcend) the usual Slashdot interview structure, and written his answers in his own style, which is why the format looks a little different from most of our interviews. Thanks, Bill. (Read on for his answers.)
A few days ago, we posted about Derek Deville's mind-blowing high-altitude rocket-launch in the Nevada desert. His 14-foot, GPS-equipped (four GPS units, actually) home-made rocket ("Qu8k") managed to hit 121,000 feet, an effort that took more than a trip to the store for more Estes "D" engines. Derek has graciously agreed to answer questions about Qu8k and other rocketry projects. Please confine your questions to one per post, but ask as many as you'd like.