What are some small facts that might save your life one day?

Quicksand isn’t nearly as dangerous as it looks in movies, take proper steps, YOU CAN GET YOURSELF OUT.

First, understand that quicksand is liquefied land, if you panic and struggles, you’re creating air pockets which sucks you down. So take fast reaction but MOVE SLOWLY~

  • Always remember to relax! Drop all possible weight.
  • Bend backward or lean back with arms opened to spread your weight. The more you spread out your weight, the harder it will be to sink.
  • Once you’re on your back, you first need to get your feet unstuck by creating a larger footprint and pull up one at a time SLOWLY~ Allow yourself to float.
  • Then SLOWLY start to roll or wiggle to sides and free yourself from the grip of quicksand.
  • When your body is free of suction, SLOWLY and smoothly propel yourself backward with your arms in a sweeping motion, as if you were swimming and get yourself to the edge of the quicksand. OR move your limbs horizontally across the surface to get out and onto solid land. Whichever is closer.

Remember these steps and you will get yourself out! AGAIN~ Act quickly but move SLOWLY. Slow movements will prevent you from agitating the quicksand, prevent you from sinking deeper.

WALKING STICK: I always recommend bringing a walking stick when going hiking. You can use it to keep your balance, prop up your pack, push aside spider webs, AND… use it to test the ground in front of you!

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What are some of the strangest luxury products on the market today?

Shaving Razors from http://www.zafirro.com

The titanium ones are the cheapest at $2000, Gold at $18000 and the Iridium ones come at $100000 for a limited edition of 99.

The following applies to Iridium – http://www.zafirro.com/products/…

Each razor is engraved with a serial number to ensure authenticity, and can be monogrammed to your specifications.

The website says this – Utilizing expertise in fields as varied as rocket engine manufacturing, nanotechnology, and particle physics, the Zafirro Iridium combines some of the rarest, strongest, and most technically advanced materials in existence.  The resulting combination of exotic materials pushes the boundaries of technology while creating an aesthetic that could be the centerpiece of a gallery collection.

The result of years of R&D, utilizing experts from around the world, our solid white sapphire blades launch a new era of shaving. Hypoallergenic, impervious to oxidation and corrosion, and an order of magnitude more durable than any other shaving blade. Zafirro sapphire blades are sharpened using high-energy, ionized particles creating a blade edge less than 100 atoms across, or 5000 times thinner than a human hair.

It also includes 20 years of servicing –
Zafirro provides complimentary servicing and professional cleaning for Iridium customers, as well as resharpening when necessary, to make sure your razor remains one of the most advanced and finely tuned consumer products. Twenty years of servicing is included.

Each Zafirro Iridium is custom made from the strongest, purest, and most durable materials available anywhere. Every component is designed to last for generations.

  

What is it like to be a geek in a prison?

I’m a hacker who served 4.5 months of a 9 month sentence 5 years ago. I was in two jails in that time, spending the majority of the time in the second, lower security place. The experience totally changed me, but in a positive way.

First of all, I actually had a lot of fun in jail. My education made certain aspects of the prison system very easy for me to navigate, such as legal documentation and debating with guards. My ability to mend broken electronics very quickly became known. These things made me feel very safe, since people were actively protecting me. It also made me feel quite important in the community.

It started when someone came to me and asked what I knew about mending mobile phones. In UK jails, many people have mobiles, usually obtained by over-the-fence smuggling. Pay-as-you-go credit vouchers are a major form of currency. This guy was very important on the wing – he had a crew of other guys who walked around with him and people often came to pay him. I said I knew enough about phones, and what did he want? He explained that someone had owed him money but couldn’t pay. He’d taken the guy’s phone as payment, but the phone was pin-locked and he couldn’t get in. The phone was an old Samsung, one which I knew (having previously owned one) didn’t impose any limit on the number of pin attempts. So I told the guy: yeah, I know a few tricks. But I need to get my tools out so I’ll do it overnight. (Note: I didn’t have any tools). The guy left me with the phone overnight, and I sat up through the night to try all 10,000 possible 4-digit combinations. Thankfully, the correct code turned up in the mid 2000s. So the next day this guy turned up and was amazed that I had figured out the code. He went round telling everyone that I was some tech wizard and that people should always come to me with their problems. In return for the job he arranged for me to have a Playstation 2 in my cell for two weeks, and to get access to a phone whenever I wanted. For the rest of my time, people would bring me trivially broken electronics and I would retire for the evening to make it out like I was doing something difficult, then return the fixed item the next day. It massively increased my quality of life in there.

Secondly, it opened my eyes to how people less fortunate than me live their lives, and how terrible the prison system is for most people. Many, many people in jail were severely mentally ill. There was no support for them. Some were killed in jail, either by inmates or staff, because they flipped out and people got scared. Another large group of people were hopelessly addicted to very harmful drugs. People who exploited this group were the most powerful – they would have drugs smuggled in, then build an army of addicts who would do their bidding to get the next fix. It was a really explosive situation. Almost every act of violence was drug debt related. Immigrants were completely screwed in jail, because there was no way for them to navigate the bureaucracy. I helped several people avoid deportation, including one cell-mate who had a hit contract out on him in Jamaica because he defended his business when yardies tried to extort him. He couldn’t read or write, so he couldn’t fill out the asylum application. His patois was so strong that his lawyer couldn’t really understand what he said, and the border agency was going to send him back to Jamaica to be killed. I wrote letters to the border agency, the prison governor and the home secretary and he was granted asylum and an interpreter was arranged so that his legal visits would be more productive. Hundreds of others in similar situations go without that help every year.

Thirdly, I saw some horrible things. For example: ‘syruping’ – when someone mixes sugar into a bucket of boiling water and dumps it on someone’s face. The dissolved sugar makes the boiling water cling to the skin longer, and the skin peels off leaving the raw flesh exposed. I also saw someone held down by four guys, who performed anal surgery on him with a sharpened spoon to extract drugs he was hiding. He later maimed all four of his assailants, stabbing them in the neck with a pen (saw that too). Another was a guy who was clearly paranoid schizophrenic. His cell was opposite mine. He started screaming one night and barricaded himself in. He then stripped off and covered himself with baby oil, and started setting fire to his cell. The guards came in riot gear to tackle him, but he was so slippery it was like trying to catch an eel. He gave them the run around for quite a while before they eventually held him down and injected him* and he was carried away screaming. He died in hospital.

Fourthly, I felt so ashamed of myself that I changed my life forever. I was a middle class white kid with a great education who got obsessed with hacking and document security as a teenager and went down for figuring out how to perfectly replicate the driving license, thus throwing away many of the advantages that luck, society and my parents had given me. Everyone else in there had no such advantages. Most of them were born to a life where poverty, drugs, violence and lack of education all being concentrated in their environment led to them being systematically channeled into prison. I was there essentially through misplaced intellectual curiosity, while others were there because their lives were so bad out of jail that crime was actually a rational survival choice. Society failed them, while it tried to hold me up with both hands. I was, and am, disgusted with myself. Upon leaving jail I learned programming, worked freelance to pay for my tuition while I got a degree, got a PhD position, and am now working towards spending my life using my skills as efficiently as I can to improve the lives of as many people as possible. If I ever have a lazy moment, I just have to cast my mind back to prison, and the disgust with myself rises up again, and I launch myself back into work with an energy I never knew I had before prison.

Finally, I would say that my criminal record has not held me back. I no longer have to legally disclose it**, but when I did I always did so with a letter explaining some of the circumstances and how deeply it had affected my life. I had several positive comments about my disclosure, and I have never been turned down for a job I’ve applied for. It doesn’t have to hold you back – your attitude has to convince a potential employer that your background makes you a great candidate, not a worse one.

*This has been corrected: In my haste to write the post I previously wrote that a dart was used, when in fact it was a needle. Thanks to Marty Bee for pointing out that this was not likely.
**For those who are curious, a conviction becomes ‘spent’ in the UK after a certain time. The times were recently reduced in a little publicised law (

legislation.gov.uk
 

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012), so my conviction was ‘spent’ after 48 months.

Link on Quora

How can I prepare myself to be a software engineer at Google?

6 Important Points from a Googler’s Perspective.

  • Before I provide you the list of courses, read Point 1, 2.
  • Full-time working professionals—Read this answer “selectively” on the basis of your industry experience and academic knowledge.
  • Pre-University Students—Skip everything and Jump to Point 7.

Point #1: Lets Get to the actual Question i.e.

How can I prepare myself to be a “good” software engineer?

Yep! Rest of the question is optional. Joining Google is not a moonshot. Any Good software Engineer has Good chances to be part of Google work-culture.
Problem is how you define “Good”.


Point #2: Attitude Adjustment.

Before you impress recruiters at Google, Lets see if a software engineering role at Google is something you actually want.

Software engineering is not as fun as the popular notion says about it. Apart from UI/UX positions, in general, no matter what text editor you use—Eclipse, Vim or Emacs—Your screen will be Black, Boring & Dull. A full-time software engineering role not only requires an ability to work on complex algorithms but enough tolerance and patience to focus on meticulous details of a large program.

At Google, in general, most software engineering role comes down to nothing but mathematics. It doesn’t matters how many languages you know or How cool you are with Java, C, C++ etc.

What matters are these four objectives:

  • Your ability to create efficient algorithm.
  • Your meticulous skills to read codes written by others and spot issues in it, if any.
  • Your curiosity to learn and implement new technology trends and adaptwith demand.
  • Last but most important: What you Build, how you Build?

I must point out that attaining these four objectives is not easy. Most of us at Google have hard time reaching these objectives but we try, so should you.

Everyone has different approach towards learning. For me, I read one research paper links I find on Quora(May/May not be related to CS) and one research papers at Google(Internal records)—everyday.

When you join Google, you will have access to all code base, database, forums, research papers and projects which will provide you a great support in learning things which you won’t find on Wikipedia…

…but while you are preparing on your way to be at Google, there are few things which are common in the process of learning. In point #5, you will learn more about it—how to reach these four objectives—but before there’re some pre-requisites that needs to be looked upon. So, Lets go to next step. i.e.


Point #3: Guide for Technical Development in 2014—From Google.

Having a solid foundation in Computer Science is important in being a successful Software Engineer. Following guide from Google is a suggested path for University students to develop their technical skills academically and non-academically through self paced hands-on learning. You may use the following course guide to determine courses to take but please make sure you are taking courses required for your major or faculty in order to graduate. The online resources provided in this guide are not meant to replace courses available at your University. However, they may help supplement your learning or provide an introduction to the topic.
Using this guide:

  • Please use this guide at your discretion
  • There may be other things you want to learn or do outside of this guide –go for it!

Point #4: Recommendations for Academic Learning


Point #5: Recommendations for Non-Academic Learning

  • Work on project outside of the classroom.
    Notes: Create and maintain a website, build your own server, or build a robot.
    Online Resources: Apache List of Projects, Google Summer of Code,Google Developer Group
  • Work on a small piece of a large system (codebase), read and understand existing code, track down documentation, and debug things.
    Notes: Github is a great way to read other people’s code or contribute to a project.
    Online Resources: Github, Kiln
  • Work on project with other programmers.
    Notes: This will help you improve your ability to work well in a team and enable you to learn from others.
  • Practice your algorithmic knowledge and coding skills
    Notes: Practice your algorithmic knowledge through coding competitions like CodeJam or ACM’s International Collegiate Programming Contest.
    Online Resources: CodeJam, ACM ICPC
  • Become a Teaching Assistant
    Notes: Helping to teach other students will help enhance your knowledge in the subject matter.
  • Internship experience in software engineering
    Notes: Make sure you apply for internships well in advance of the period internships take place. In India and US, Internships take place during the summer, May-September, and applications are usually open several months in advance.
    Online Resources: google.com/jobs


Point #6: Google Recommended/Sponsored Programs and Groups.

Few Additional Course you may choose to subscribe with respect to your domain or interest. These courses and programs are a great place to learn but they don’t increase or decrease your chances to join Google—They are not equivalent to Internship. (More Info from Robert Love)

  1. Google Course—Making Sense of Data

    This self-paced, online course is intended for anyone who wants to learn more about how to structure, visualize, and manipulate data

  2. Google Course—BOLD Discovery
    This two-day interactive conference will provide students between their first and second years of college with an introduction to Google culture and potential careers at the company.
  3. Google Summer of Code
    Google Summer of Code (GSoC)
    A global online program offering post-secondary student developers ages 18+ stipends to write code for various open source software projects.
  4. Google Policy Fellowship
    This program offers students the opportunity to spend the summer working on Internet and technology policy issues at public interest organizations
  5. Google Student Veterans Summit
    The Google Student Veterans Summit includes a professional development curriculum geared towards veterans’ transitions into the workplace.

Also Read: Ellen Spertus‘s views on How can I effectively use my last two years of college to prepare for a great Software Engineering job at Google/FB or a startup?


Point #7: Recommendation for Courses in Mathematics.
(For Pre-University Students)

Personal View: Any attempt to ignore these subjects will put you in the category of average programmers who learn things in completely wrong way.

Staying prepared much before would make coding much more enjoying. There are few pre-requisites for a software-engineers which would help you to understand the core of algorithm. Most mistakes created by software engineers could have been avoided if they would’ve recalled the simple things from school education.

In your further studies in Maths or Computer Science, You will realize the importance of “Data Structure in your college days” and importance of “Machine Learning in your post-graduate days”. So, Following are detailed list of courses you must master in-order to design complex algorithms. For college-graduates, if you had ignored these subject, I highly recommend you should revise it in the best possible way you can.

After you’re done with introductory syllabus from your school books, practice the following courses for deeper understanding. Most college students (even working professionals) underestimate the importance of these courses and end up being just another average programmers:

Pre-University: Google Recommended/Sponsored Programs.

  • Google Code-in (GCI)
    A contest introducing pre-university students, ages 13-17, to the many kinds of contributions that make open source software development possible.
  • RISE Awards
    Google RISE is a partnership and awards program designed to promote and support STEM and Computer Science education initiatives for K-12/Primary and Secondary/Class 10th and 12th students around the world.
  • LEAD Computer Science Institute (LEAD-CSI)
    This program exposes middle and high school students from diverse communities to colleges and careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.
  • Made with Code
    Coding is the new literacy – it carries the potential to create, to innovate, and quite literally change the world. This initiative is designed to inspire millions of girls to experience the power of code.
  • High School Symposium
    This is a one day program designed to provide high-achieving high school seniors with valuable business skills before starting college.
  • Trailblazer
    Trailblazer is a global network of leaders, advocates, and ambassadors for computer science education who will be charged with empowering youth and educators around the globe to be connected to and inspired by computer science.
  • Google Science Fair
    The Google Science Fair is a global competition open to 13-18 olds. Students submit a project online for a chance to win amazing prizes.
  • Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI)
    CSSI is a 3-week summer program for incoming college freshmen (current high school seniors) who are interested in studying computer science.
  • Maker Camp on Google+
    30 days of Do It Yourself and making. Maker Camp is a free virtual summer camp on Google+, open to all
    Maker Camp 2013: Supercharge Your Summer!
  • Connected Classrooms
    Collaborate with teachers and education organizations to offer experiential learning opportunities for K-12 students on Google+.

Link On Quora

What are some amazing knots/coincidences/events that are untied in the Harry Potter series?

All seven of Voldemort’s horcruxes were destroyed by different wizards. 

1. Harry destroyed the Riddle’s diary with the basilisk fang.
2. Dumbledore destroyed Marvolo Gaunt’s ring with the sword of Gryffindor.
3. Ron destroyed Slytherin’s locket with the sword of Gryffindor.
4. Hermione destroys Hufflepuff’s cup with the basilisk fang.
5. Crabbe destroys the Ravenclaw’s diadem with fiendfyre.
6. Voldemort destroys the horcrux inside of Harry using the killing curse.
7. Neville cuts off Nagini’s head with the sword of Gryffindor.

Another interesting fact is that it was Voldemort who enabled each of these to be destroyed. 

Five were destroyed by basilisk venom (three using the sword of Gryffindor which had absorbed basilisk venom to make it stronger, and two by basilisk fang). Voldemort opened the Chamber of Secrets which lead to the death of the basilisk by the sword of Gryffindor. If Voldemort had not opened the Chamber of Secrets, Harry, Dumbledore, Ron, Hermione, and Neville would not have had access to the basilisk venom they used to destroy the diary, ring, locket, cup, and snake (1-4, and 7). 

The fifth horcrux was destroyed by Crabbe when he conjured fiendfyre, a spell taught to him by Voldemort’s Death Eaters, the Carrows, who were sent to teach at Hogwarts by Voldemort himself. 

The sixth horcrux was destroyed by Voldemort’s own killing curse.

Link on Quora