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Mars Phoenix Lander Given The Go

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the to-boldly-go dept.

Mars 193

stlhawkeye writes "The BBC is running an article which indicates that NASA has green-lit Phoenix, the next Mars mission. NASA also has some details on the mission, which is centered around locating water on the red planet. Originally planned as part of the 2001 Mars Surveyor mission, the lander would launch in 2007. Among the more interesting plans for the mission is a new type of camera to photograph the landing site just before touchdown, and a robotic arm to claw through three feet of soil. The lander would touchdown near the polar ice cap. The mission is characterized as the first 'scout' mission for possible manned landing in the future."

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Late Breaking News (4, Funny)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717001)


Panic swept through the community today as the Council of Elders confirmed the rumours that the sinister blue plane third from our star is preparing to send yet another of its mechanized invaders to ravage our peaceful world.

K'Breel, Speaker for the Council, stressed yet again that there was no cause for alarm:

"By now, it is obvious to even the most peaceful among us that there must be war. But fear not...the glorious Council has spent much time preparing contingincies for such a distasteful eventuality. The impudent inhabitants of the evil blue planet will find us no easy prey. Even now, preparations are being made to launch our vast war effort, where countless young podlings will find glory and honor as we crush the enemy beneath our tendrils."

When asked to comment upon an alleged image [aceldama.com] of the latest invader, circulated by a cabal of rogue scientists, K'Breel declined.

Re:Late Breaking News (0, Flamebait)

Shut the fuck up! (572058) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717023)

Shut the fuck up, you fucking retard.

Re:Late Breaking News (1)

part_of_you (859291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717057)

K'Breel's people know that he's full of shit. He and Bush have been at this for about 15 years. Man-kind and the tendrils of Mars have been swapping planets every 2000 years, for the last 5T-quardants.

Re:Late Breaking News (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717099)

How did this get modded "Informative"???? Are you moderators on crack???

Re:Late Breaking News (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717180)

If you work around a problem, it hides from the user that the problem exists. The demand to have it fixed, therefore, dissipates and developers accept the onus to repeat work-arounds everytime they deploy something. Ultimately, the browser fails to improve, and the costs of errors are passed from the vendor (Microsoft) who never fixes the problem to the public (developers that waste time with work-arounds).

Anyway, if you write things specifically for IE -- then you've already got a more serious problem that you have to address first. There's no excuse for what you already know to be dismal practice.

Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717186)

On slashdot. It's cheaper.

Re:Late Breaking News (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717264)

Not everyone who uses a library frequently has the $$$ to plop down on a book

This isn't a matter of just not having the money - you'd think that the geeks on /. would be able to take a couple minutes out of their day to search for library history on Google. Originally, libraries were private. Then, many went 'public', but charged a membership fee. After many years of fighting for equal rights, the membership fees were abolished so that even the poorest Americans would be allowed to use the resources at the public library.

I know the idiotic /. solution is that the poor people who can't afford to plop down cash can just get an old card - one that isn't anonymous. Toss equal rights right out the window. The rich get to be anonymous. The poor get tracked.

Isn't there some old phrase about learning your history so it doesn't repeat itself?

So... how much to not scan my luggage? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717279)

If a privacy-minded user deposits $20 to get an anonymous library card, she can check out The Terror State without identifying herself. Her account balance is temporarily reduced by $15, and when the library checks the CD back in (in good condition), her balance is restored to its original value.

Borrowing The Terror State from your local library: $20

Parking your car anywhere: $50

Fast lane at the airport, bypassing extra security checks: $100k

Bypassing all important security checks: $10m

Bypassing all security checks and paying for it with American oil money: priceless.

--Bud


Re:Late Breaking News (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717371)

...I can't afford a library card.

But seriously, are you suggesting we should have universal anonymity with universal trust? You must be mad. Did you follow the 'white bicycle' and 'green bicycle' experiments?

Anyway, the 'rich' (in this case those with 20 bucks to spare) only get to be anonymous by forfeiting access to some of their money.

You might as well complain that parking schemes are only for the benefit of those who can afford a car.

Justin./p

Re:Late Breaking News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717188)

Yes but like Java, Javascript surely uses a garbage collection concept meaning it is the browsers responsibility to free memory, and any leaks are thus due to the browser.

Bubble bustin' time! Garbage collection doesn't always live up to its reputation. I have seen Java apps leak memory like a sieve. This one project I was working at would start up a production (!) EJB container in the morning, and by 13:00, it would have run out of memory and crashed. I told them to fix their leaks. When they got over arguing that the garbage collector prevents memory leaks and checked it against a memory profiler... they started fixing the memory leaks and the problem was solve.

In any case, I doubt that the garbage collection in the Javascript engines are anywhere near as sophisticated as in Java itself. So I would think it would be easier to leak memory. Anyway Mozilla has a bit of an article on this here [mozilla.org] ./p

kg/am (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717254)

kg/am

Re:Late Breaking News (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717265)

First of all, the 'value' of the material you check-out should be increased from the purchase price. I regularly use inter library loan to get materials that are next to impossible to find otherwise. If this system was anonymous and the price of CD say was $15, then all of the obscure music would quickly vanish from circulation. You would need to increase the value to say $60 to discourage stealing.

The way that libraries counteract stealing now is that they have a dollar limit above which they do not lend further materials out to you and you can only have one library card per name address pair. So even if the value is comparable to real world cost, the fact that you can only steal a limited amount before you can return to steal more, and the fact that if you steal enough at one time they will put you in collection work well enough to prevent casual theft.

Already at that increased value rate for the card, this would turn-away most people. But say that they did not mark-up the value, just wait until you have three kids like I do. Right now I have some twenty odd books/videos/CDs checked-out from the library near my home. I also have two movies, two books, and 11 CDs that I am returning today to the library near my work. I do not even know how much my wife has checked-out, but she is a pretty voracious reader too. Think about how much money we would need to set aside for that.

So why is this being proposed? It looks like it is a solution to the wrong end of the problem. The real problem are the laws that force libraries to turn-over information. So guess what the solution is? Yes that's right, change those laws.

Re:Late Breaking News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717341)

Dear TripMaster Monkey:

To prove you are not a bot who waits for Mars-related articles to post your increasingly unfunny K'Breel episodes, please reply with the solution to the following arithmetic problem:

5.6 / (5.6 + 113.3) =

Re:Late Breaking News (1)

Humorously_Inept (777630) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717382)

David Brin had a story not entirely unlike this one in a farily recent edition of Analog. Might have been the 75th anniversary one. Basically, the Martians used their advanced technology to kill off Earthlings named in a list of Planetary Society supporters sent to Mars along with a rover.

Will Phoenix be renamed ... (5, Funny)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717013)

To Firebird?

Re:Will Phoenix be renamed ... (1)

derxob (835539) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717028)

I'm still waiting for a rename of Kentucky to Kitchen Fresh. Jeez we need reform!

Re:Will Phoenix be renamed ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717223)

I would say that all librarians are very concerned about privacy issues. My IS degree was thru the graduate library school (so I had to take a few courses there) and the first thing they taught was that what and if somebody reads is that person's business and no one else's. The librarian has an interest in the book (and it being returned promptly) but not in the person or what they do with the book within their allotted time.

Re:Will Phoenix be renamed ... (1)

Husgaard (858362) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717141)

Unlikely.

Phoenix Technologies could send threaths of a trademark case against Mozilla as they had a browser product, causing this name change.

But I don't think they have a Mars lander product.

Re:Will Phoenix be renamed ... (1)

Alcilbiades (859596) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717169)

Nasa does not have to abide by patent laws so this is irrelevant however funny it is.

Library != Bookstore (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717208)

Thats great if you want to turn the library into a bookstore. Dropping $15 (or whatever) for a book is no big deal for some people and they will feel no obligation to return the book.

Not on the to-do list (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717181)

It's all about features.

See, first you ball all of the security patches together, and have them all download, even if the user already has them. That way, because it takes longer and is bigger, they think it's a more substantial application.

Second, you add some new features. Like stealing compression code from Stacker, MS will just steal one of the "Tabbed browsing in IE" Plugins and muck the variable names up a bit.

Finally, you tweak the theme. You gotta make it LOOK like a new browser. This is more important than anything else. If it LOOKS the same, people will assume it IS the same. This is why the OS has gotten so much eye candy with each release, it's to make sure the users KNOW they're on a new OS by it LOOKING cooler.

But fixing actual bugs? There's no real Return on Investment on that, so it won't be done.

Re:Will Phoenix be renamed ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717277)

And may I ask, how do you know that I don't contribute to Wiki? Because as a matter of fact I do. [...] Why don't you stop making assumptions (because you know what they say about assumptions) and take a reality check.

I'm not making assumptions, I just don't respect the "get your priorities straight / think of the children" posts (your post being an independant entity from you, btw) because they never contribute anything to the discussion. Off course there are other problems in life, more pressing, more life threatning, etc.

If you're going to say there are more pressing matters to this thread, why not write a macro that'll post the exact same thing to every. single. thread. up until such times as hunger, war and disease have been wiped out from the world? Might as well.

Claw through three feet of soil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717026)

Sounds like some of the weeds in my backyard garden!

Anti-Sand Tires?! (1)

Kjuib (584451) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717027)

Do they plan on making the new vehicle able to eject itself from sand dunes?

Re:Anti-Sand Tires?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717160)

We have a kiosk running an html application in IE6. It uses lots of javascript and the front page reloads every couple minutes when idle. It's been running for 6 months on 64mb of ram with no issues. The same browser window has been open all that time.

I remember one time writing a page which by accident, hit a memory leak in Mozilla (before there was a FireFox) which consumed about 1mb of ram a second. All the page did was draw a bouncing line, by creating a div for every line pixel of every frame and displaying them by setting the innerHTML property of another div. IE had no trouble with the page, except that it required some ugly hacks to make the page display correctly, unlike Mozilla, which displayed it perfectly as I had specified in the CSS, albiet leaky.

Re:Anti-Sand Tires?! (1)

craash420 (884493) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717184)

Get a set of 35" BFG Mud Terrain tires and an NP435 tranny, maybe throw a Detroit locker in the rear, and "Git 'er done!"

Re:Anti-Sand Tires?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717263)

I'm sure our underfunded libraries and overworked librarians will find this system easy to implement.
These fingerprint scans for PC use are a stupid idea implemented by some town in Ill. I've never heard of. I'm sure that program won't fly...


I would LOVE this thing if it were implemented. I could go to public libraries when travelling! I could borrow a book I really need for my schoolwork when I forgot my regular library card, etc.

This is a great idea, not only for privacy, but for convenience. You get to use the ressource without the hassle, and it doesn't cost you a fortune, you loan them money, they loan you a book, you exchange it back when you are done. Everyone's happy!

Let's stop creating solutions for problems that don't exist. We have enough real problems in the US that need solutions...

Why don't you [wikipedia.org] go work on solving them instead of posting on slashdot then?
Don't know where to start? Go volunteer to help out your local "overworked librarian", I'm sure they'll appreciate it.

Re:Anti-Sand Tires?! (2, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717316)

As though the current vehicles aren't? Opportunity has already moved 1.1 feet [nasa.gov] - and they've been taking their time (trying everything out on Earth before they do on Mars). There was little doubt on the part of the team that they'd be able to get out; this issue has been way overblown by the media and by Slashdot.

I dont get it ... (4, Funny)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717029)

Why would Nasa want to land a probe in Phoenix?

Re:I dont get it ... (4, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717075)

there is mounting evidence that there may indeed be intelligent life there, rather than just golfers and tourists.

Re:I dont get it ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717201)

Yeah, having to throw down $20 or so for every book I take out would just cut into the budget too much. However, I wouldn't mind seeing this as just an option to other ways to take books from a library.

Re:I dont get it ... (1)

moviepig.com (745183) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717225)

... there is mounting evidence that there may indeed be intelligent life there...

...like the Smythington-Huffs, hiding quietly and peering from behind the drapes, whenever their neighbor Mrs. Klodbutz comes calling...

Re:I dont get it ... (1)

Frumious Wombat (845680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717122)

The intelligent life was there Nov, 2003 (Supercomputing), but has since gone home. Nothing left but the golfers, I'm afraid.

Interesting question (2, Funny)

lheal (86013) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717132)

Why would Nasa want to land a probe in Phoenix?

You've obviously never been to Houston in July. Phoenix is hot, but it's a dry heat.

But your post raises serious issues. Why is NASA, an arm of the US Government, sending out aggressive missions to US cities? It really almost sounds silly, and would be funny if it weren't such a serious concern.

I believe this is all a sham, and that the real mission will be, get this: to Mars. Call me crazy, but I think "Mars" isn't just a code name. In my theory, Phoenix is the code name!

Now, I know people are going to laugh and make jokes about tin hats, but it really makes you stop and think.

Re:Interesting question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717157)

Because computers use base-12 counting

Please, tell us more about the fascinating workings of computers you seem to know so much about.


Instead of modding an AC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717219)

twit

Re:Interesting question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717176)

Haven't noticed the memory issue, but i can confirm the cpu usage being 99%. In my case it was caused by an embedded Flash movie on the site. As soon as i closed that (or even rightclicked within the flash movie and choose 'stop' or whatever) things went back to normal.

Re:Interesting question (1)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717352)

Phoenix is hot, but it's a dry heat.

Not really. Not during monsoon season.

It's not as bad as Houston of course.

Re:Interesting question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717425)

"Not during monsoon season."

Which hasn't been all that great in the past couple of years. I remember back in ~1995 when *EVERYTHING* used to be flooded. The past couple years all that happens is a few small washes get flooded, some idiots with a 4x4 try and plow through it, get stuck, and the monsoons are over two days later.

Priorities (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717295)

I would describe the the first few years of my (way too young) marriage as "first world poverty", we were easily in the bottom 20% bracket. I lost access to the library because I could not afford to pay the fine for a misplaced book. My answer was "op-shops" and second hand books, I never went without smokes because I rolled my own and to this day (25yrs later) I am still addicted. The biggest problem with being poor is that you get oh-so-fucking-sick of scrimping and chasing work. When you occasionally get a wad of cash you stock the cuboards, pay the red bills, get new clothes for the kids and blow the rest on a dirty weekend because you just want a break from it, even for a day.

I agree 100% with your sentiments (except poor does not imply uneducated), if you really want privacy you will find the $50 (~2 slabs in Australian money). If you are that dirt poor that you can't afford it then simply read the book in the library, trust me, you will have the spare time and it will cut down your smoking (librarians frown on that type of thing in thier library).

Librarians are a powerfull force in upholding everyones right to read Chairman Mao, the Koran, the Bible, the Unabomer's manifesto, Osama BL's diatribes or anything we fucking feel like. The interest from a single account would amount to the best part of nothing to anyone living in a country that has local libraries in the first place. If the system became popular, (no offence but I'm sure you would get takers in the US), the total interest could be a tidy sum and used to enhance what I consider is a service at the core of any "free" civilization.

To all the naysayers that are throwing up red herrings such as poverty what is the alternative besides the current status-quo (ie: no option of annonomous accounts for anyone)?

New camera? (2, Funny)

jasonmicron (807603) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717038)

Among the more interesting plans for the mission is a new type of camera to photograph the landing site just before touchdown. Color perhaps?

Re:New camera? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717058)

High impact too maybe.

Re:New camera? (1)

Greg Wright (104533) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717105)

...think color video!

Re:New camera? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717170)

Don't be an @$$. Remember how annoying it was when people said that sites only displayed right in IE 5.5 or "better"? Yeah, you do. Did that get you to use IE? No, it didn't, unless it was your bank or something. So guess what? 90% of people won't go to your non-IE site. Period.

Re:New camera? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717256)

If you read the article you would've noticed that offcourse with such a system they'd only allow you to borrow stuff with a total value smaller than your deposit.

In other words, if you want to check out 5 hardcovers at a time, you're going to have to deposit more than $20.


Re:New camera? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717163)

Without being too familar with Javascript I am reasonably sure Javascript uses Memory too like any other programming language on the planet.

Worst IE hammering and flamebait article ever (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717183)

It seems to me people are now attacking IE now from 3 major angles:

  • Memory and resource usage
  • Rendering and adhering to web standards
  • Security

IMHO, It's laughable to mock IE for memory leaks when Firefox is X (where X > 1) times worse at sucking up and retaining memory.

People have relentlessly said the reason IE is faster to load than IE on Win32 is because it is "embedded into the OS" and somehow brushed off this advantage in favour of it's debateable disadvantage in terms of security. What's next? Will slashdotters crying out something along the lines of "WOW! IE, an embedded part of the Windows, has memory leaks! What does that say for the Operating System? You better use Linux!"?

IE may be guilty of having a buggy implementation of web standards such as CSS2.1 but during the browser wars wasn't it IE producing functionality that hadn't even been drafted by the W3C yet?

Isn't that "Internet Explorer's architecture made this app fairly easy to build." as testament to the browser?

This tool is interesing and useful for developers and I thank jgwebber for writing it as I'm sure it'll be useful even to lowly personal developers like me.
On the other hand i'm a bit baffled as to why this article wasn't simply written as "Hey IE has memory leaks, checkout this new tool [blogspot.com] by jgwebber and see for youself. Let's discuss how sucky Internet Explorer is and cover up all the flaws in competitor browsers".

It would have had the same effect as CowboyNeal's unnecessary "(ha!)"'s and claims of IE's "horrendous memory leak issues" without a link giving some evidence for these claims for those of us without first-hand DHTML development experience.

I truly wasn't aware of any serious IE memory leaks..i'm going to, go off and Google for information now using the cumbersome Firefox. Any links would be much appreciated since CowboyNeal didn't bother.

Re:New camera? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717224)

Why is this modded up?

What do you expect libraries to do? Give out a load of books to anonymous people with no collateral. That is basically saying anyone can come in and steal whatever books they want.

Anyone that cannot afford the $20 can still go in the library and read the book.

And what bank are you with that the interest on $20 for a few weeks is actually an appreciable amount?


Further late breaking news (5, Funny)

Steve_Jobs_HNIC (513769) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717043)

NASA administrator Paul Brown was quoted as saying "We've recently discovered a pervious mission with the name Phoenix, therefor we'll need to change the name to Firebird."

This was quickly followed up by another response "Actually we've found another mission with the name Firebird, so uhhh.... we're gonna settle with FireFox".

And a few moments later, "OK, fuckit, we're just gonna call it WammyJoMammy. Take that ya name hoggin bastards"

Re:Further late breaking news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717171)

>>It's laughable to mock IE for memory leaks when Firefox is X (where X > 1) times worse at sucking up and retaining memory.

Thanks, I'm glad someone pointed this out. My system has been up for many days now and IE and Firefox are both consuming about the same amount (90-something MB).

Re:Further late breaking news (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717204)

I work in a library. $20 is a small fine... many users end up with over $50, and I've seen hundreds owing (it's not that hard.. lose 4 hardcovers and that's nearly $200 right there). I would only think this would work if the deposit was much higher.. but of course then no one would use it.

total recall (1)

super_ogg (620337) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717047)

Send Arnold
ogg

sending people to Mars or the Moon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717065)

as far as sending humans to Mars, from what I see we don't even have plans to build a launch vehicle big enough to send three guys to the Moon! So far all talk has been on the space vehicle but nothing on how to get it to where we want it to go.

Some of the concept artwork, it shows the space vehicle in the direct ascent mode. Geez, did people forget that the lunar rendezvous mode is what made Apollo successful? Did everyone forget physics particularly the rocket equation?

Re:sending people to Mars or the Moon? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717080)

let's send the colored people. mars, moon or sun. i dont care. as long as they go away.

Re:sending people to Mars or the Moon? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717130)

Some of the concept artwork, it shows the space vehicle in the direct ascent mode. Geez, did people forget that the lunar rendezvous mode is what made Apollo successful? Did everyone forget physics particularly the rocket equation?

What of it? Many NASA missions are designed to eject the parachute a few hundred feet above the ground, then use retro-thrusters to make the touchdown. (e.g. Viking 1 [wikipedia.org] ) It has become popular with NASA as of late to perform landings via inflatable airbags, but such a profile only works if the instruments aren't too delicate. In some cases it may be required to use retro-thrusters to prevent damage to the probe.

Re:sending people to Mars or the Moon? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717212)

Yes but like Java, Javascript surely uses a garbage collection concept meaning it is the browsers responsibility to free memory, and any leaks are thus due to the browser.

Carrying on the viking experiment? (1)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717074)

What about the viking experiment?

Test for life [abc.net.au]

Will this mission carry up the second stage of the experiment? I want to know the results of a reaction to right-handed molecules on mars...

Re:Carrying on the viking experiment? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717153)

Thanks for your comment! This has been driving me nuts. I installed firefox on various hardware, and on low and machines, it really really sucked. So I've been arguing for some time that the gecko engine (I notice the cpu-usage spikes as well) is really slow, compared to ie, opera or khtml. And always someone replied that he or she tried it, and it wasn't slow, like here [slashdot.org]

Re:Carrying on the viking experiment? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717205)

There were many, many leaks in Firefox, and many have been fixed for 1.1 (do a search on their Bugzilla for "memory leak"). Hopefully, the situation is now much-improved, but I suspect it will be the case that long periods of heavy-browsing will require you to to restart Firefox for quite a while yet. For this reason, I always recommend the Session Saver extension - makes closing and restarting Firefox less painful.

Memory fragmentation is a big issue for modern desktop systems as the heap used by programs written in C/C++ can't be compacted, and most memory allocation systems weren't necessarily designed to support programs that would be continually allocating and deallocating memory for days on end. Robert Love gave a (fairly detailed and technical) talk on it at while back, with some suggestions for combating it on the Linux desktop, which I recommend to anyone who is interested. It's about 126MB, Ogg format.

http://stream.fluendo.com/archive/6uadec/Robert_Lo ve_-_Optimizing_GNOME.ogg [fluendo.com]


Re:Carrying on the viking experiment? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717222)

i have an interesting story regarding my friend's incident at the airport security. at the security checkpoint, my friend was about to walk through the metal detector. he had on white sneakers, which usually aren't required to be taken off.

the metal detector guard asked if my friend wanted to take off his shoes. he didn't request it, just asked if he wanted to. my friend, being lazy, of course said he'd rather just walk through. the moment he expressed this, he was asked for follow the guard and they went into one of those corners and he closed the drapes around him and did a full body search (no cavity search though).

either way, by saying you want an anonymous card is similar to this situation, where you have the option to, but you'll be more suspicious for them to check you out, probably finding stuff about you that they wouldn't have else known.

More than just planned (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717085)

Originally part of the 2001 Mars Surveyor Program, the spacecraft that was built and tested to fly with the Mars Polar Lander mission was stored after the loss of the Surveyor. Renamed Phoenix, the craft is in preparation to finally take flight.

The damn thing was built and tested. This Phoenix is literally off the shelf.

I do wonder what elements of this design may have changed if say it had been designed in response to the recent lander successes we have had.

Re:More than just planned (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717150)

The damn thing was built and tested. This Phoenix is literally off the shelf.

At least that means the name will be appropriate

Re:More than just planned (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717251)

You do not need to be a rich snob to purchase books. Look who the largest percentage of smokers are, people in the lowest quartile of income. If 38% of the people in that income quartile can afford $8/day for fags they can certainly afford books as well. They simply choose to fund their drug addiction instead.

http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ccdpc-cpcmc/cancer/publ ications/nphs-sboc/nphs16_e.html [phac-aspc.gc.ca]

Of course you still can argue which is the cause and which the effect. Do they make this senseless choice because they are poor and uneducated or are they poor and uneducated because of this type of choice...

"Sane people will not appreciate the library holding their dough unless they credit a decent amount of interest."

If they have $50 for an entire month how much interest have you lost? At 4% APR it is a whopping $0.16. I don't think "sane people" spend much time worrying about $0.16.

Re:More than just planned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717292)

I agree with your friend's actions, even if they weren't motivated by a desire to protect his privacy. We should not submit to being treated like criminals, even if it makes us look more suspicious.

In this case it caused him to be treated more like a crook, but if everyone does the there will be no way to keep up with the volume. This is why it is important for everyone who cares about their privacy to stand up for it.

Most of us don't have anything to hide, we just don't want people prying unneccesarily./p

Not Microsoft's Fault (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717434)

The true source of IE memory leaks?

Korean outsourcing

Re:More than just planned (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717481)

While I don't think MSIE is inherently evil, I think I could argue that a browser that allows web pages (a resource that should not be trusted) to cause memory leaks is itself flawed. Part of the browser's job is to not expose the user to risk or instability while interpreting documents of unknown maliciousness and quality.

Re:More than just planned (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717198)

But your inflammatory tone would be really cool if our open source alternative in Firefox were somehow better. Right now, Firefox is using 373M on my computer (334M resident) with three windows open, none of which have anything bigger than this /. page. Mozilla is using 279M (I'm also running it) with a single page open. Firefox usually gets up to around 600-700M over the course of 3 or 4 days, after which it generally just dies. Otherwise, I have to kill it due to its slowness.

Why not leave IE to Microsoft; put your effort toward something you can actually fix rather than being an ankle-biting ass.

Re:More than just planned (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717262)

I'd rather not be anonymous at thge library. I'd rather have my reading list looked through than participate in a system meant to bypass the current political climate.

Well, sometimes librarians are the only ones fighting for you to keep having some of these rights and not having your reading habits looked through.

They seem to be the only ones who really appreciate the issues involved in the freedoms involved. Oft-times it's counrt challenges made by them that preserves such freedoms.

By participating in an anonymous system, I would feel like I was legitimising the laws and practices that I feel are attacks at my personal liberty.

By protecting your currently held rights to read what you want with privacy you legitimise attacks on your privacy?

That's effectively saying that you concede that only criminals would want to keep things private from the government, so not-guilty people have nothing to hide.

The US constitution was designed to prevent this kind of state-control of the citizenry, not make everyone who tries to uphold it into an outlaw.

Re:More than just planned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717283)

Are they going to install the latest service packs, patches, and anti-virus protection? (Gotta keep up with those Martian sand-kiddies.)

If they want to find water on mars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717128)

Why not land on its POLAR ICE CAP and melt some?

HELLO!!!!
The one place we KNOW for sure there is gound water (in any form) and it gets ignored .. NASA/ESA/RSA essentially never mention it ...

wtf?!
-GenTimJS

Re:If they want to find water on mars... (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717246)


Um...I thought the Martian polar ice caps were principally composed of frozen carbon dioxide.

Please correct if I'm mistaken...

Re:If they want to find water on mars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717328)

You are mistaken. Recent developments have shown the mars polar caps to be mostly water ice, especially the northern cap.

Notice how the NASA Mars Polar Lander "mysteriously" vanished in 1999 shortly before this discovery was made?

I'm no conspiracy theorist, but the timing is interesting..

-GenTimJS

Re:If they want to find water on mars... (1)

DrinkingIllini (842502) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717348)

From this encyclopedia [daviddarling.info]

In 2003, California Institute of Technology researchers Andy Ingersoll and Shane Byrne argued, on the basis of high-resolution and thermal images from Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey, respectively, that the Martian polar ice caps are made almost entirely of water ice - with just a smattering of frozen carbon dioxide at the surface.

Even if they are water, however, the climate at the caps is much to harsh to support human life, too damn cold, and too much seasonal change. That's the primary reason why we don't head to the poles.

Re:If they want to find water on mars... (3, Interesting)

joncue (541265) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717377)

That's the southern pole, the northern pole has much higher concentration of water ice. The latest theory on the reason is that the closest thing mars has to a jet stream runs from the south to the north, which evaporates the water ice and re-deposits it on the northern pole.

Here's the story:

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/solarsystem/ mars_poles_020320.html [space.com]

no ability to move at all (1)

cahiha (873942) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717131)

I know that lots of smart people have probably thought about this and the landing site and all that, but the notion of sending a probe completely without the ability to move just strikes me as not a smart idea. Even the ability to move very slow would seem to greatly increase the chances that this probe will yield interesting results.

Um..I'll have a shot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717158)

because it's your job?

I don't know why you geeks have such a downer on Microsoft for writing buggy software. If it didn't, do you have any idea about how many of you would be out of a job? The capitalisation that flows from Microsofts inability to write good operating systems is immeasurable. If it worked first time - would there be any engineers?

It's sort of analogous to cruise liners. Used to be, because ships weren't terribly well made, a clipper had a huge crew of dirty, scurvey suffering swabbers. Nowadays, you have one captain and a big computer. Currently, IT graduates, computer consultants and systems administraters are that huge crew of disease ridden reprobates, serving on the creaking, rotten, old fashioned Microsoft vessel. And all you want is to be out of a job?

Where's the logic in that??

Re:no ability to move at all (2, Insightful)

avalys (221114) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717268)

Speaking from a design perspective, it's pretty much a decision between "moves" and "doesn't move". The speed at which it has to move (for these probes, anyway) isn't that much of an issue: the issue is the need to include the wheels, mechanisms for turning, mechanisms for obstacle avoidance, and other things that any movement ability would require.

All of these come with an increased possibility of failure, but more importantly increased weight.

The tradeoff here is using the weight saved by making the probe immobile to carry more scientific equipment.

Re:no ability to move at all (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717301)

How would walking around with an anonymous library card with cash collateral tied to it be any different from walking around with (anonymous) cash?

Some people prefer not to, and get a card with features that reduces their potential loss at the cost of it being possible to trace transactions, and other prefer to walk around with anything from a few small bills to large wads of high denomination bills.

Why does it have to be either/or?


Ironic name. (1)

uncoveror (570620) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717135)

It is ironic that NASA will actually call this the Phoenix Lander. It will really be in Arizona's Painted Desert [uncoveror.com] , which isn't far from Phoenix.

Re:Ironic name. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717156)

Everytime I try to download ten things firefox goes up to 300 megs of memory usage and 99% cpu usage. And I took the screenshots to prove it.

Frankly, I think you can find problems and features you hate in most programs of a certain size, what matters is that you find the tool for the job that you consider the best match for your needs.

Re:Ironic name. (1)

joncue (541265) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717185)

I agree the name is ironic, but for a different reason. They are sending a probe named after a bird that rises from ashes (presumably because of fire) to find ICE?

On a more serious note, I hope they remembered to convert from English to Metric this time...

Keep on hammering, nobody's listening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717215)

during the browser wars wasn't it IE producing functionality that hadn't even been drafted by the W3C yet?

You say that like it's a good thing(!)

"Internet Explorer's architecture made this app fairly easy to build." as testament to the browser?

No; for some pretty obvious reasons: one obvious one being, you exclude anyone not using that particular browser. I thought everyone realised that was a Bad Thing - or maybe you haven't been one of those people who can't use their online bank because the bank decided to arbitrarily depend on IE. One can only hope that accessibility laws will put an end to such stupidities.

It's not surprising that both browser products have memory leaks. However one could reflect deeply on the differences in responsibility and approaches to remediation. In Firefox's case - being open source - you have complete transparency; you can file a bug on it, check the bug db, or even fix it yourself (don't laugh). In M$'s case, all you can do is kiss your money goodbye and hope they fix it "one day".

The same goes for all the rest of their system, too. It is not always obvious what a disturbing abdication of rights using a closed system is. A friend recently told me of a Visual $tudio crash triggered by a few \b backspace characters in a print statement. Not such a big deal, I thought at the time; but I found myself reflecting on his story later. Eventually the true horror of the situation sank in, which is that we have to completely trust the ability and goodwill of the vendor to deal with any and all issues in their O/S. That is no small responsibility and there is not much evidence that M$ is capable of fulfilling their end of the bargain. I would postulate, after RMS of course, that no closed and proprietary system on the scale of M$ products can be adequately maintained by one vendor. And of course maintenance becomes irrelevant when major "rewrites" are involved, such as have been prescribed by Longhr0n to fix W1ndows' fundamental ills (ref Spolsky on rewrites, Things You Should Never Do [joelonsoftware.com] what a dead-end that is, and for putting in place viable alternatives./p

Re:Ironic name. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717253)

Also, libraries do not like to be treated as book stores. A lot of them have problems with people checking out books and then deciding that they like them and keeping them and deciding to pay the library for the book. A lot of libraries have been charging processing fees to replace missing books in order to deter this practice.
Remember, a majority of the people who work there are volunteers, they don't need to constantly be worrying about how to re-stock a book someone borrow-purchased. THe scheme in TFA would make a perfect book rental store(with a few dollar rental fee) but it sounds like the scheme somebody who is only thinking of themselves and not hte library.

Rovers (1)

AAeyers (857625) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717136)

The mission is characterized as the first 'scout' mission for possible manned landing in the future."

What were those two rovers doing there then?

Re:Rovers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717154)

I'm fairly certain there's a leak somewhere in teh FF javascript handler - I've noticed memory usage rocketing on some pages which use JS.

Onboard camera to photograph touchdown? (1)

ArielMT (757715) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717143)

I wish the ESA's Mars probes had this. Then we could've finally answered the question of whether ESA's Beagle 2 landed in a crater, or whether it created a crater. ^.^

Re:Onboard camera to photograph touchdown? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717207)

I'm sure our underfunded libraries and overworked librarians will find this system easy to implement.

These fingerprint scans for PC use are a stupid idea implemented by some town in Ill. I've never heard of. I'm sure that program won't fly...

Let's stop creating solutions for problems that don't exist. We have enough real problems in the US that need solutions.../p

What is so special about having such a camera? (1)

indian_rediff (166093) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717149)

Among the more interesting plans for the mission is a new type of camera to photograph the landing site just before touchdown ...


I wonder what purpose this camera would serve? I mean, what is the point of photographing the landing site just before touchdown? What do we achieve? At best we will have a before and after image. Coupled with retro engines, that will probably be blowing up dust, the 'before' picture of the landing site is not even going to be 'pristine'!

And it is not as if the lander could take evasive action at the last minute if it spotted some Little Green Men [wikipedia.org] !

Re:What is so special about having such a camera? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12717257)

Librarians as a profession (http://ala.org/ [ala.org] ) are privacy conscious. That doesn't necessarily mean that the policies of an individual public library, funded and run by the local political system, will be.

No Mars story is complete... (1)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717155)

...without the Expensive Hardware Lobbing [anl.gov] scorecard. Play along at home.

"Possible Manned Landing" (3, Interesting)

Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717159)

I would be quite interested to learn more details about this "possible manned landing" mentioned in the article. I would especially like to hear that NASA is putting more time, money, and effort into this than the orbiting white elephant known as the "International Space Station," and that they're working on a replacement vehicle (or even a beanpoll or orbital elevator) to replace the antiquated kludge known as the space shuttle.

When I was growing up, I expected us to have made a manned landing on Mars by now. I fear that NASA's bureauscoliocis has made that event ever-more unlikely under the current bureaucracy.

Crow T. Trollbot

Well... (1)

Blue-Footed Boobie (799209) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717178)

This should be pretty exciting, if the last two missions are anything to go from.

NASA is saying that they are using even more advanced designs and materials on th Phoenix mission.

Looks like it is true too, just check out the Robotic Claw [yimg.com] they designed for digging!

Re:Well... (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717302)

Looks like it is true too, just check out the Robotic Claw they designed for digging!

No, no, THIS [assentek.com] is the robotic claw they're using.

I knew it! (1)

richdun (672214) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717218)

We do have warp drive - Phoenix is ready to launch! Now the question is whether we greet the Vulcans peacefully or do a "In a Mirror, Darkly" and pull out a shottie on them...hmm...

Vital (1, Funny)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717249)

This probe is vital to national security. We cannot risk further terrorist attacks on our turbinium mining operations.

Terraform Mars. (0)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717304)

So many millions of dollars are being invested in locating water on Mars. Instead of wasting this money in this fashion, why don't they simply devise a system to transport massive amounts of water over there?

In fact, this is what they should do: Build a gigantic ship with a hull large enough to contain billions and billions of gallons of water. Then, pump water from the oceans through a desalination plant and right into this ship. The water would be transported to Mars this way. Another ship would carry seeds, plants, and soil. All of this would be taken to the most opportune spot and placed there. Perhaps a crater could be filled with the water and then the soil and plants could be planted around it. After several hundred missions like this, there could be quite a number of lakes on Mars, with lots of plant life around them, which would create more oxygen in the air and allow a working natural cycle to begin.

This would have added benefits. There are some (misinformed) scientists on this planet who believe that global warming will cause ice caps to melt, which will raise the level of the oceans and cover the entire earth. Kind of like what's on the third page of Genesis, but then no Slashdotter reads the Holy Bible. Anyway, by removing a lot of water from Earth and using it to create lakes on Mars, we would eliminate the risk of drowning in the waters (which won't happen), the result of an overheating world (which also won't happen), and we would also create many square miles of land rich in nutrients previously untapped, which could be used to grow healthy foods for those who are starving (which is more a result of political problems in third world countries than a result of lack of land space to grow food).

This would be worth millions of dollars in investment.

How NASA got funding from Bush (0, Troll)

interstellar_donkey (200782) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717317)

Science advisors: Mr. President, we're going to launch a "scout" robot mission that will land near the polar ice caps on Mars.

Bush: I don't know fellas. Yeah, it sounds cool, but we're searching for Bin Laden right now. How is that going to help us?

Science advisors: (huddle together and discuss, then one clears his throat) Mr. President, if you remember in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back, the Empire sent a probe to the Hoth System to find the location of the secret rebel base. The probe we're sending will be very similar.

Bush (excited now): That's totally awesome! So if Bin Laden is hiding on the secret base in the Hoth system, this probe will find him?
Science advsors: Er, yeah. Sure Mr. President. It . . .It'll find him.

Bush: Good. Get cracking. Now when we find out where Bin Ladin is, we have AT-ATs we can deploy, right?

Science advisors (trying not to laugh): We're working on that now, sir.

Bush: Well what are ya waiting for! Have all the money you want! Let's send those probes out!

Re:How NASA got funding from Bush (2, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717380)

I thought they said it would be prospecting for Oil, not Water ...

Bio-Contamination (1)

applemasker (694059) | more than 9 years ago | (#12717456)

In a related vein [newscientist.com] , new laboratory studies theorize that terrestrial microbes that hitchhike on our Mars-bound spacecraft could survive the journey and harsh Mars UV environment indefinetely, and even possibly grow if they found water ice.

NASA's policy on this is summarized here. [nasa.gov]
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