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Rosetta Probe Awakens, Prepares To Chase Comet

Soft Re:ISEE-3/ICE says "get me a glass of water, junio (72 comments)

Not to diminish ICE's accomplishments, but it didn't do rendezvous, only flybys. Rosetta will place itself in orbit then drop a lander on its target comet.

about 7 months ago
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Rosetta Probe Awakens, Prepares To Chase Comet

Soft Re:The real question.... (72 comments)

If you worked in this particular mission control group, how could you possibly resist setting all the clocks forward about 2 minutes on the day in question?

Hold that thought, think of the tense wait... Then consider that the signal was actually received 18 minutes later than expected.

about 7 months ago
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Twin Probes Crash Into the Moon

Soft Re:Dark != Far (79 comments)

...the rotation of the moon just about exactly matches the revolution around the Earth

I think we can say exactly, as it's not a coincidence that the rotations align like that, it's a stable configuration of two bodies in orbit

Yes but there's still libration. Although the Moon's rotation and revolution periods are indeed exactly the same, its orbital speed changes slightly over each orbit. So "just about exactly" is justified too.

about a year and a half ago
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Quantum Experiment Shows Effect Before Cause

Soft Re:Quantum Physics @ Home (465 comments)

What is different about the quantum case is that you can send, say electrons, through the slits *indivdually*, one at a time and they somehow interfere, that is what is intuitively strange.

Correct, but you can also send individual photons and have the same counter-intuitive result. It is not a different case, electrons and photons are both quantum particles.

more than 2 years ago
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Leap Second Coming In June, 2012

Soft Re:I won't care (142 comments)

Not just NTP; the reference implementation. On the machines I checked last time around, those with the reference implementation handled time correctly; those with OpenNTPD just ignored the leap second and resynchronized later. I'll check again next summer, we'll see what happens.

more than 2 years ago
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Superluminal Neutrinos, Take Two

Soft Re:Applied particle physics? (98 comments)

Actually, there was a piece of news today, warning against possible blackouts next winter: although France does usually produce more electricity that it consumes, it imports power dto handle strong peak loads--especially from Germany, it was said. If Germany shuts down its own reactors, and the winter is again especially cold, there might be problems.

OTOH, next year is an election year in France, nuclear power is sure to be an issue, and the news I mentioned originates from the (pro-nuclear) government. Who knows how reliable it is?

more than 2 years ago
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Superluminal Neutrinos, Take Two

Soft Re:Applied particle physics? (98 comments)

Yeah? Just wait until Germany gets hit with a tsunami, like Japan did. That decision won't seem so dumb then.

Switzerland is an even better example on that point. :-) They too are heading towards shutting down their nuclear reactors.

more than 2 years ago
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7 Days With a Google Chromebook

Soft Re:Questions... (127 comments)

How about a Let's Note R9 or J10 (...)?

Interesting, thanks. I couldn't find detailed specs in English, but they indeed seem lighter than the MacBook Air.

However, what I'd really been drooling about when checking out the Vaio X was the 0.7-kg weight without the extra battery. Even the R9 is over 0.9, and (to answer Anonymous' reply) so is the Eee PC X101. That's not light enough that I'd consider changing my current Eee PC.

Now, only tablets seem to be really lightweight, but they don't have a physical keyboard, and suffer more or less from the same problems as the ChromeBook in terms of usability. Though I could imagine working on an Android tablet if I could find a LaTeX distribution for it (not just an online compiler)...

more than 3 years ago
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7 Days With a Google Chromebook

Soft Re:Questions... (127 comments)

The device sounds great for travelling with its light weight and long battery life.

It's still half again the weight of a Sony Vaio X + extra battery, which could last almost 10 hours.

Why don't they make them anymore? I was looking for a replacement for my Eee PC 901 (1.1 kg); the 2009-vintage Vaio X sounded great (0.7 kg, or 1 kg with the larger battery), but the best I found currently on the market was the MacBook Air (1 kg, half the battery life, not worth the change).

more than 3 years ago
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James Webb Space Telescope Closer To the Axe

Soft Re:Don't cancel it (226 comments)

Don't cancel it, just go through the project management and fire everyone who was mismanaging it causing it to go so far over-budget.

AFAICT, the reason why it's going so high over budget is that the budget itself was massively low-balled to begin with, so that the project would have a chance of being approved. In other words: lie about the true costs, they'll have to give you more later, when it's too high-profile to cancel.

The "mismanagement" here is that it wasn't spotted earlier. You can fire them, but you'll still have to either double the budget or cancel it all...

more than 3 years ago
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New SMS Trojan Found In Android Markets

Soft Re:For a new Android user (114 comments)

As someone who is about to get their first Android device, is there a good resource for practices for protecting it?

You may want to read this earlier Slashdot story, from which the suggestion that made the most sense to me was to install DroidWall and just not let applications access the network. Of course, they might not work then, and it can be difficult to single out a single app among, say, Google Services.

more than 3 years ago
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Space Shuttle Atlantis Launches On Final Flight

Soft Re:Godspeed Atlantis (275 comments)

Your comment resonates with what Arthur C. Clarke wrote in the post-Apollo preface to Prelude to Space:

Yet when, in 1947, I set this novel exactly thirty years in the future, I did not really believe that a lunar landing would be achieved even by that distant date [...] Still less could I have imagined that the first nation to reach the Moon would so swiftly abandon it again. ...

In one sense, the Apollo Project was indeed a Prelude to Space. Now there will be a short interlude; and sometime in the 1980s, the real story will begin.

The hiatus has been somewhat longer, but hopefully the rise of the commercial manned spaceflight will bootstrap a self-sustaining economic sector, which will no longer be at the mercy of the whims of governments and lobbies, and ossified agiencies crumbling under their own weight.

Only when spaceflight reaches that point, will that story begin.

more than 3 years ago
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Historic Pairing: Shuttle Docked To the ISS

Soft Re:Labels? (133 comments)

Great, thanks a lot! How did you figure which was Soyuz and which was Progress?

more than 3 years ago
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Historic Pairing: Shuttle Docked To the ISS

Soft Re:It's all about the angle (133 comments)

The ISS equivalent would be that one, which gives you a better view of Endeavour, but misses out a lot of the ISS.

more than 3 years ago
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Historic Pairing: Shuttle Docked To the ISS

Soft Re:Now that the station is up there... (133 comments)

Answering your quip seriously, they'd have to be in geostationary orbit to do that (the ISS is in a much lower orbit, in an inclined plane), and then it would be called a space elevator. Lots of unsolved problems, not the least of which is spinning out at least 36,000 km of strong enough material. But yes, it is theoretically possible, and hopefully will revolutionize spaceflight when it is done.

more than 3 years ago
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Historic Pairing: Shuttle Docked To the ISS

Soft Re:Labels? (133 comments)

For clarity I mean more than 1) Space Shuttle 2) International Space Station. I think I got that part figured out.

And 3) Soyuz 4) Progress 5) ATV, for there are three other vehicles docked to the ISS in this picture.

I'll try (just from memory; hopefully people will correct my mistakes). From top to bottom:

  • 1) Space shuttle Endeavour.
  • 2) Connecting node (which one? There are 3 but I see only 2), with I believe European lab Columbus partly hidden on the left and two-module Japanese lab Kibo on the right. There ought to be a logistics module somewhere there, maybe behind?
  • 3) US lab Destiny.
  • 4) The big truss, with 4x4 solar panels, the big radiators and the arm on its chariot.
  • 5) Connecting node Unity (second launched), with a couple of smaller modules I'm not sure about.
  • 6) Russian module Zarya (first launched), with a dedicated EVA airlock facing the camera.
  • 7) Russian module Zvezda (third launched), with a Soyuz spacecraft and a Progress cargo (don't know which is which) on its ring of docking ports
  • 8) European cargo Johannes Kepler (the X-wing-like thing docked to Zvezda's aft docking port).

more than 3 years ago
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Historic Pairing: Shuttle Docked To the ISS

Soft Re:It's not just an image... (133 comments)

True enough. But now that the money is spent, shouldn't we at least enjoy the view?

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Android security practices?

Soft Soft writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Soft (266615) writes "Smartphone security recommendations seem to boil down to Windows-like practices: install an antivirus, run updates, and don't execute apps from untrusted sources. On my own computers, running Linux, I choose to only install (signed) packages from the distribution's or well-known repositories, or programs I can check and compile myself, or run them as a dedicated user--and I don't bother with an antivirus.

What rules should I adopt on my soon-to-be-bought Android device? Can I use it purely with open-source apps and still make the most of it? Are Android's fine-grained permissions (accessing the network, contacts...) reliable? Can apps be trusted not to scan your files and keyboard for passwords and emails? What precautions do security-conscious Slashdotters take to keep control of their phones?"
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Soft Soft writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Soft (266615) writes "Citing Islamist terrorists traveling with European passports as a threat to America, the Secretary of the DHS announces that visitors to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver program will have to register online 48 hours in advance, and fill out a questionnaire. According to other articles, this would include personal data such as previous travel destinations and credit card number; this in addition to data already requested directly from airlines, from name and address to luggage ticket number and frequent flier miles collected. Presumably the questions will also include whether the traveler intends to blow himself up in the coming 90 days, or has ever done so in the past? The questions on the back of Form I-94 also come to mind."
Link to Original Source
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Soft Soft writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Soft (266615) writes "`Did you hear the one about (...) the astronaut who became so despondent after his orbital experiment failed that his colleagues feared he would blow the hatch on the space shuttle?' Jon Clark, a former NASA flight surgeon, tells Alan Boyle's cosmic log about a number of horror stories which happened in space over the course of the space program. (To ward off predictable jokes, there are none with diapers; that didn't happen in space, anyway.)"
Link to Original Source

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