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Earth, Night Glow, Aurora and Atmosphere (Video)

Roblimo posted more than 2 years ago | from the science-can-be-beautiful dept.

Earth 40

Alex Rivest has created one of the most visually riveting videos we've seen. Alex says, "In looking at the pictures taken from the International Space Station of the earth at night, I find my attention drawn to that thin line separating earth from space: Our atmosphere." He also says, "A good photograph is one that sparks a question." Since this video runs at 30 (really 29.97) frames per second, and it's about 290 seconds long, that's close to 8700 questions. Luckily, Alex has written a blog post that answers most of them. This doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy his work for its sheer beauty. Or that you shouldn't wish Alex well in his attempt to get into NASA's 2013 Astronaut Candidate Class. A fine art photographer who also has a PhD in Neuroscience from MIT... what better qualifications could there possibly be for astronauthood?

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Northern Lights Dazzle (2)

ArmageddonLord (607418) | more than 2 years ago | (#40661705)

Coincidentally today has a slideshow of the northern lights [] from a more terrestrial view.

what better qualifications could there possibly be (4, Insightful)

smoore (25406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40661715)

Better qualifications would be Test Pilot like they were originally. Part of our problem with risk aversion in the space program is we are sending guys with PhDs up to take snapshots and run experiments for high school kids. Then we tell tourists its too dangerous for them to go up there. Which is it? Safe for a academics or dangerous?

test pilot (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40661867)

you know there's a crew there, right? Only 2 of them need test pilot qualifications. The rest are researchers who collect data. High school teachers don't collect data and analyze them. More importantly, high school teachers are less likely to fix the experiment if something goes wrong. It's the same reason why we still have pilots when an airplane's electronics can practically fly and land itself. The pilots are there when something goes wrong.

Re:what better qualifications could there possibly (1, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40662037)

Fluency in Russian.

In a few years, fluency in Chinese.

Re:what better qualifications could there possibly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40663937)

What's with the either-or? You're aware, perhaps, that generally any craft crewed by two or more generally is comprised of people with different skills, training, and duties? From pilot and bomb/nav to pilot, co-pilot, bomb/nav, flight engineer, etc. With six people additional tasking is standard.

Absent the Shuttle or the like, piloting skills for ISS are mostly relevant for their possible use during a few moments of capsule re-entry. It's the skill set of those who come from flight test that are most valuable and relevant: deep knowledge of components, assemblies, systems, the craft itself; knowledge and sense of how they 'feel' when working in concert or no; skill and experience in working to an exacting set of tasks within mission parameters - all of which also give rise to clear-headed risk/reward assessment. With that skill, proficiency, experience comes the chance of greater ability to recover when things go wonky.

There are at any given time three to six crew on ISS. How many need flight test background? Roughly ninety-percent of tasking there are things tedious, not counting housekeeping which generally comes out of 'free' time. When something doesn't work right or breaks, then add in annoying or problematic. Taking snapshots and doing high school experiments, while important in their own right, are generally done with time creatively liberated from normal tasking owing to the crew being very good at what they do and how they go about it.

Safe? Dangerous? Perhaps it's 'safe' for anyone willing to cleanly accept the risks (which are sufficiently abundant that it will be a long time if ever before venturing most anywhere will be 'safe'.)

Re:what better qualifications could there possibly (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#40665361)

Today's astronauts need to be (and generally are) scientists rather than (test) pilots. Space missions consist of very little piloting and lots of science, which is exactly how it should be. Test pilots test stuff in order that later on, their experience can be translated into something useful. Like doing scientific experiments.

Re:what better qualifications could there possibly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40665545)

It's neither; it's "useless". Sure, as an amusement ride for the idle rich, it'll be fun. Wheee, I'm in a tin can and I paid a house for 5 minutes in the upper atmosphere! It's totally a spaceship! Yay! For taking pictures, just send a camera, no need to send people. The 1960s Space Age visions are dead, people. There won't be burly, crew-cut macho men risking their lives for their country to take pictures of the enemy, there won't be brave pioneers going forth to grow corn on Mars.

Is it really necessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40661717)

To start the ad at the start of a video with a fucking alarm clock and a 2 second pause before being able to mute it? I'm at work and cannot watch this as a result.

Re:Is it really necessary (1)

chromas (1085949) | more than 2 years ago | (#40665477)

Well it sounds like you already did. Or do you have an alarm clock under your desk? Get back to work, Costanza!

Adobe Flash required (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | more than 2 years ago | (#40661721)

Any chance of a YouTube version of the video?

Re:Adobe Flash required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40662177)

There’s always things like the WildFox add-on for Firefox.
(Replaces embedded Flash video players by your system’s native player.)

(Or just use e.g. Video DownloadHelper, and then save the video, to play it with your favorite player.)

Re:Adobe Flash required (1)

Roblimo (357) | more than 2 years ago | (#40663291)

The link to Vimeo didn't do it for you?

well (2)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 2 years ago | (#40661733)

"A good photograph is one that sparks a question." Since this video runs at 30 (really 29.97) frames per second, and it's about 290 seconds long, that's close to 8700 questions.

better yet, since a picture is worth a thousand words this video is the longest novel on earth.

Re:well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40661807)

Not as long as the Lord of the Rings trilogy (director's cut)...

Re:well (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 2 years ago | (#40661855)

The 3000th frame made me ask the question "I wonder if any of my torrents have finished yet?"

Re:well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40671517)

At 273 seconds, THIS video clip reveals more answers to life's persistent questions. Hogman's Pork & Beans []

"If you look at that map of the globe at night.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40661739)

..the one where all the lights are - and imagine next time you look at it that you're looking at a network graph instead of a electrical infustructure graph, you will feel a kind of pulsing coming off the North American continent; where all the world's datamining is being done. Think of it that way. North America is becoming the heart of the global datamining industry; its job is becoming knowing everything about everyone everywhere."

- Eben Moglen (

Fine art photographer? (0)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40661823)

So where are the b&w nudes?


Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40661829)

Nobody Seems To Notice and Nobody Seems To Care - Government & Stealth Malware

In Response To Slashdot Article: Former Pentagon Analyst: China Has Backdoors To 80% of Telecoms 87

How many rootkits does the US[2] use officially or unofficially?

How much of the free but proprietary software in the US spies on you?

Which software would that be?

Visit any of the top freeware sites in the US, count the number of thousands or millions of downloads of free but proprietary software, much of it works, again on a proprietary Operating System, with files stored or in transit.

How many free but proprietary programs have you downloaded and scanned entire hard drives, flash drives, and other media? Do you realize you are giving these types of proprietary programs complete access to all of your computer's files on the basis of faith alone?

If you are an atheist, the comparison is that you believe in code you cannot see to detect and contain malware on the basis of faith! So you do believe in something invisible to you, don't you?

I'm now going to touch on a subject most anti-malware, commercial or free, developers will DELETE on most of their forums or mailing lists:

APT malware infecting and remaining in BIOS, on PCI and AGP devices, in firmware, your router (many routers are forced to place backdoors in their firmware for their government) your NIC, and many other devices.

Where are the commercial or free anti-malware organizations and individual's products which hash and compare in the cloud and scan for malware for these vectors? If you post on mailing lists or forums of most anti-malware organizations about this threat, one of the following actions will apply: your post will be deleted and/or moved to a hard to find or 'deleted/junk posts' forum section, someone or a team of individuals will mock you in various forms 'tin foil hat', 'conspiracy nut', and my favorite, 'where is the proof of these infections?' One only needs to search Google for these threats and they will open your malware world view to a much larger arena of malware on devices not scanned/supported by the scanners from these freeware sites. This point assumed you're using the proprietary Microsoft Windows OS. Now, let's move on to Linux.

The rootkit scanners for Linux are few and poor. If you're lucky, you'll know how to use chkrootkit (but you can use strings and other tools for analysis) and show the strings of binaries on your installation, but the results are dependent on your capability of deciphering the output and performing further analysis with various tools or in an environment such as Remnux Linux. None of these free scanners scan the earlier mentioned areas of your PC, either! Nor do they detect many of the hundreds of trojans and rootkits easily available on popular websites and the dark/deep web.

Compromised defenders of Linux will look down their nose at you (unless they are into reverse engineering malware/bad binaries, Google for this and Linux and begin a valuable education!) and respond with a similar tone, if they don't call you a noob or point to verifying/downloading packages in a signed repo/original/secure source or checking hashes, they will jump to conspiracy type labels, ignore you, lock and/or shuffle the thread, or otherwise lead you astray from learning how to examine bad binaries. The world of Linux is funny in this way, and I've been a part of it for many years. The majority of Linux users, like the Windows users, will go out of their way to lead you and say anything other than pointing you to information readily available on detailed binary file analysis.

Don't let them get you down, the information is plenty and out there, some from some well known publishers of Linux/Unix books. Search, learn, and share the information on detecting and picking through bad binaries. But this still will not touch the void of the APT malware described above which will survive any wipe of r/w media. I'm convinced, on both *nix and Windows, these pieces of APT malware are government in origin. Maybe not from the US, but most of the 'curious' malware I've come across in poisoned binaries, were written by someone with a good knowledge in English, some, I found, functioned similar to the now well known Flame malware. From my experience, either many forum/mailing list mods and malware developers/defenders are 'on the take', compromised themselves, and/or working for a government entity.

Search enough, and you'll arrive at some lone individuals who cry out their system is compromised and nothing in their attempts can shake it of some 'strange infection'. These posts receive the same behavior as I said above, but often they are lone posts which receive no answer at all, AT ALL! While other posts are quickly and kindly replied to and the 'strange infection' posts are left to age and end up in a lost pile of old threads.

If you're persistent, the usual challenge is to, "prove it or STFU" and if the thread is not attacked or locked/shuffled and you're lucky to reference some actual data, they will usually attack or ridicule you and further drive the discussion away from actual proof of APT infections.

The market is ripe for an ambitious company or individual to begin demanding companies and organizations who release firmware and design hardware to release signed and hashed packages and pour this information into the cloud, so everyone's BIOS is checked, all firmware on routers, NICs, and other devices are checked, and malware identified and knowledge reported and shared openly.

But even this will do nothing to stop backdoored firmware (often on commercial routers and other networked devices of real importance for government use - which again opens the possibility of hackers discovering these backdoors) people continue to use instead of refusing to buy hardware with proprietary firmware/software.

Many people will say, "the only safe computer is the one disconnected from any network, wireless, wired, LAN, internet, intranet" but I have seen and you can search yourself for and read about satellite, RF, temperature, TEMPEST (is it illegal in your part of the world to SHIELD your system against some of these APT attacks, especially TEMPEST? And no, it's not simply a CRT issue), power line and many other attacks which can and do strike computers which have no active network connection, some which have never had any network connection. Some individuals have complained they receive APT attacks throughout their disconnected systems and they are ridiculed and labeled as a nutter. The information exists, some people have gone so far as to scream from the rooftops online about it, but they are nutters who must have some serious problems and this technology with our systems could not be possible.

I believe most modern computer hardware is more powerful than many of us imagine, and a lot of these systems swept from above via satellite and other attacks. Some exploits take advantage of packet radio and some of your proprietary hardware. Some exploits piggyback and unless you really know what you're doing, and even then... you won't notice it.

Back to the Windows users, a lot of them will dismiss any strange activity to, "that's just Windows!" and ignore it or format again and again only to see the same APT infected activity continue. Using older versions of sysinternals, I've observed very bizarre behavior on a few non networked systems, a mysterious chat program running which doesn't exist on the system, all communication methods monitored (bluetooth, your hard/software modems, and more), disk mirroring software running[1], scans running on different but specific file types, command line versions of popular Windows freeware installed on the system rather than the use of the graphical component, and more.

[1] In one anonymous post on pastebin, claiming to be from an intel org, it blasted the group Anonymous, with a bunch of threats and information, including that their systems are all mirrored in some remote location anyway.

[2] Or other government, US used in this case due to the article source and speculation vs. China. This is not to defend China, which is one messed up hell hole on several levels and we all need to push for human rights and freedom for China's people. For other, freer countries, however, the concentration camps exist but you wouldn't notice them, they originate from media, mostly your TV, and you don't even know it. As George Carlin railed about "Our Owners", "nobody seems to notice and nobody seems to care".

[3] []

Try this yourself on a wide variety of internet forums and mailing lists, push for malware scanners to scan more than files, but firmware/BIOS. See what happens, I can guarantee it won't be pleasant, especially with APT cases.

So scan away, or blissfully ignore it, but we need more people like RMS[3] in the world. Such individuals tend to be eccentric but their words ring true and clear about electronics and freedom.

I believe we're mostly pwned, whether we would like to admit it or not, blind and pwned, yet fiercely holding to misinformation, often due to lack of self discovery and education, and "nobody seems to notice and nobody seems to care".

better qualifications (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40661899)

"A fine art photographer who also has a PhD in Neuroscience from MIT... what better qualifications could there possibly be for astronauthood?"

Flight training.

Re:better qualifications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40661943)

His name is Rivest. Is he related to *that* Rivest?

Re:better qualifications (1)

LocutusMIT (10726) | more than 2 years ago | (#40662047)

Yes. He's Ron's eldest son.

Edgar said it best. (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40662169)

You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that, you son of a bitch."

â" Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut, People magazine, 8 April 1974.

Re:Edgar said it best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40664245)

One slight modification - take the whole fsckin' lot of 'em and leave them there.

Re:Edgar said it best. (1)

DrVxD (184537) | more than 2 years ago | (#40666075)

One slight modification - take the whole fsckin' lot of 'em and leave them there.

One (additonal) modification: leave 'em there without life support.

right (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 2 years ago | (#40662271)

The music is different but it shares the same beauty as the Slashdot version.

...except its divorced from the advertising revenue slashdot has grown so fond of in this new video medium.

Don't use VIMEO ! (-1, Troll)

dargaud (518470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40662419)

Their video player hasn't been working on Linux for at least 2 years and they don't give a shit about it. Simply ignore them.

Re:Don't use VIMEO ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40662581)

What are you talking about? I've never had a problem with Vimeo on any Linux system I've ever used. This video works fine too.


Vimeo works fine, it's Slashdot video that doesn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40664003)

You're on drugs. Vimeo has always worked perfectly on Linux, and continues to work today. It even cooperates perfectly with Video DownloadHelper in Firefox so that you can capture them.

In contrast, Slashdot's crappy video site not only doesn't cooperate for video captures but also ruins the video with its huge "Slashdot" corner overlay. Not that we'd expect any different of course. The early years of technical cluefulness of Slashdot are long gone.

The music is nice but... (4, Interesting)

misterthirsty (1102101) | more than 2 years ago | (#40662481)

Watching it on mute gives it an eerie and much more realistic experience. The silence is chilling.

Re:The music is nice but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40669685)

You've access to such thing as silence, just tell me where that is to show to my offspring one day?

29.97?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40662545)

Yeah, sure, if you're watching it on a NTSC color television. We're not, so stop trying to sound "nerdily authoritative" by invoking obsolete, overly-precise numbers to try to impress people. You're not impressive, you're a child.

Re:29.97?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40666189)

I love asstwats who don't know what they're on about, but have GOT to criticize someone else...

Guess what, moron -- your computer plays videos at the framerate set in the video, unless you tell it to do something else. It's kind of important, because it makes the fucking sound play in sync and on-key.

Slashdot logo ruins Alex's inspiring video work (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40662563)

You heap praise on Alex Rivest's lovely and inspiring video composition, and then you destroy part of it by overlaying the beautiful imagery with the huge and distracting Slashdot logo?

WTF Slashdot, just WTF.

Think, occasionally. There's a time and a place for screen logos, and this wasn't it.

Re:Slashdot logo ruins Alex's inspiring video work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40663455)

Or, stupid me, I clicked to read the blog post, then clicked to watch at Vimeo, in HD. No probs, even from Linux.

It's been done... (1)

Briareos (21163) | more than 2 years ago | (#40663979)

This video is nice and all, but it's been done before [] ; and to be honest I like Jan Jelinek's soundtrack better... :D

I'm not impressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40665107)

Uh, a slideshow of NASA stills with a soundtrack qualifies as news for nerds, or something that matters?

Aurora boerealis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40665783)

Dude, hope you make it. Great demonstration of how the atmosphere is just like dermal layer between us and space, thanks.

Thank you for the watermark. (1)

tbird81 (946205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40666709)

I had no idea I was on Slashdot.

But I guess the watermark is important, because the filming couldn't have happened without Slashdot.

Petri dish? (1)

stoatwblr (2650359) | more than 2 years ago | (#40666939)

Is it just me or do the cities at night look like something out of a bacterial culture?
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