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Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

SternisheFan I got this beat (325 comments)

I have the very special CHP 11/99 "Gold" plate, gets me off for up to 5 vehicular homicides.

about a week ago

Saturn's Moon Enceladus Has Underground Ocean

SternisheFan Re:Bah, he only says that (51 comments)

because he wants to live out his captain Kirk fantasy of banging a green skinned alien woman.

And what's so wrong with that? ;^)

about two weeks ago

Ad Tracking: Is Anything Being Done?

SternisheFan Re:The whole point of advertising... (303 comments)

... is to sell us shit that we do not need. If we 'needed' something, we would find a way to get it.

It's possible that wants sell better than needs.

Well, I've learned to seperate my 'needs' from my 'wants'. While I may want that flashy $60,000 car, what I 'need' is just a decent reliable car. So instead of going into hock and having to make large monthly payments for the car I want, I got a used 99 Ford Taurus from off of Craigslist for $1300. Threw a new tire on it, replaced the fuel pump, and it has served me well for almost a year now, and I'm damned happy with it. I don't think I'd be so happy with a new car with all the latest bells and whistles in it.

My point is, my needs are small, a roof over my head and enough food to eat. Anything else is a 'want' that I don't 'need' to live. I don't need 1000 channels of cable tv (that I don't have time to watch anyway). Needless to say, any attempt by advertisers to sell me something I don't need falls on deaf ears. If you cant prove to me that I have to have it, chances are I will not be buying it (so sorry admen).

about two weeks ago

Ad Tracking: Is Anything Being Done?

SternisheFan The whole point of advertising... (303 comments)

... is to sell us shit that we do not need. If we 'needed' something, we would find a way to get it.

Advertisers try to sell 'happiness', trying to convince us that if we buy their product (car, soda or laundry detergent), we will be happy. It's all a con job.

I lost interest in internet ads back when they started inserting 'flashing strobe lights' to get my attention, totally annoying! The ad people haven't gotten any better at not annoying me since.

about two weeks ago

Wil Wheaton Announces New TV Show

SternisheFan Re:You should be nicer to Hwil Hwheaton. (167 comments)

Hwil Hwheaton seems like a nice guy.

I kid, I kid the Wheat-man. He is a nice guy. I have enjoyed his work on ST-TNG. And since that episode when he became a god, I have nothing but the utmost of respect/fear of him.

about two weeks ago

Wil Wheaton Announces New TV Show

SternisheFan Re:Sooooo... (167 comments)

"The 'Shut Up, Wesley' Hour!"

about two weeks ago

Social Media Becomes the New Front In Mexico's Drug War

SternisheFan Re:Legalize all the drugs . . . (120 comments)

Kids/teens here in Long Island, N.Y. start off by stealing legal opiate pain pills from their parents medecine cabinet. Parents lock away the pills, which are quite expensive to buy on the street, so kids have no choice but cheaper heroin. Big Pharm is the big drug dealer now, making billions.

Teach kids in middle/high schools about drug addiction along with English, and stop making our own kids into addicts, thieving to support their habit.

Alcohol makers don't want the competition of legal drugs, and alcohol is the most destructive drug in the world! Combine all other drug use, and it still doesn't match alcohol's social, physical and societal damage.

Alcohol lobbyist pay lots of $$$ to our politicians to keep alcohol the only legal recreational drug.

about two weeks ago

Social Media Becomes the New Front In Mexico's Drug War

SternisheFan Re:Same as the US TLAs (120 comments)

So true, sadly this is the U.S. govt. From 'Contragate' when crack cocaine was allowed to flood American cities in order for Col. Oliver North to pay for his little wars. Our own government created the 1980's crack epidemic, then made money as it prosecuted the addicts. Courts and lawyers had plenty of work, a lot of money changed hands all around while the addicted citizens and their families suffered. All 'approved' by those in power.

Just legalize all drugs already. Take the profit motive away, and soon we won't have to hear any more of these drug gang stories.

about three weeks ago

The Connected Home's Battle of the Bulbs

SternisheFan Re:..and we need this technology why exactly? (176 comments)

The remote gimmick is to distract you from the hidden microphone and cameras built into the bulbs. The "problem" they are addressing is that they can't hear you when you're in the bathroom with the water running.

Upmod either Funny or Insightful.

about three weeks ago

Astronauts' Hearts Change Shape In Space

SternisheFan Spinning Space stations (113 comments)

So, we will need to have a spinning station that will create an artificial gravity. (As seen in '2001 A Space Oddessy')

about three weeks ago

Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

SternisheFan Re:Viva USA (440 comments)

Thank you for that excerpt, quite an illuminating read. I saw the Henry Fonda movie, now I will make a point of reading the book that inspired it.

Some things don't change, it seems. Corporate thinking stays the same, very sad. I hope fhat the future generations reading this finally 'get it'.

about three weeks ago

Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

SternisheFan Re:Viva USA (440 comments)

Over 20 years ago I watched news video from California plowing a HUGE mountain of perfectly good, edible oranges into the ground. They could have easily given them away to food banks, but I think they were more worried about keeping the store price of their oranges high.

about three weeks ago

Security Evaluation of the Tesla Model S

SternisheFan "Vulnerable"? (93 comments)

FTS: "The password is vulnerable to several kinds of attacks similar to those used to gain access to a computer or online account."

Has any hack of these 'vulnerabilities' ever been proven to have actually occurred yet?

about three weeks ago

Crows Complete Basic Aesop's Fable Task

SternisheFan Re:Crow behavior (87 comments)

That would easily explain it, the bodies were always dumped into pits left open for days or longer. Lots of available 'food' left out for the taking. (shudder!)

about three weeks ago

Crows Complete Basic Aesop's Fable Task

SternisheFan Re:Crow behavior (87 comments)

On a morning when the Nazis had a mass killing of concentration camp victims, Goring remarked on the mass gathering of crows and other birds, amassed along wires and roofs. There were tens of thousands of the birds assembled, but only on the days when many people were to be exterminated, and this unsettled Goring. Perhaps there is more to our avian and animal friends than meets the eye?

about three weeks ago

Small World Discovered Far Beyond Pluto

SternisheFan Links... (63 comments)

NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03...

Discovery of Planetoid Hints at Bigger Cousin in Shadows


Astronomers have discovered a second icy world orbiting in a slice of the solar system where, according to their best understanding, there should have been none.

“They’re in no man’s land,” Scott S. Sheppard, of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, said of the objects, which orbit far beyond the planets and even the ring of icy debris beyond Neptune known as the Kuiper belt.

Intriguingly, the astronomers said that details of the orbits hint at perhaps an unseen planet several times the size of Earth at the solar system’s distant outskirts.

The new planetoid, an estimated 250 miles wide, is now 7.7 billion miles from the sun, about as close as it gets. At the other end of its orbit, the planetoid, which for now carries the unwieldy designation of 2012 VP113, loops out to a distance of 42 billion miles. Neptune, by contrast, is a mere 2.8 billion miles from the sun.

Much farther out, a trillion miles, the solar system is believed to be surrounded by a sphere of icy bodies known as the Oort cloud, where many comets are thought to originate. But between the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud, astronomers had expected empty space.

In 2003, astronomers unexpectedly discovered the planetoid Sedna, orbiting the sun beyond the Kuiper Belt, an area of frozen objects just outside Neptune’s orbit. Astronomers have now discovered a second object in this region, which has the current designation 2012 VP113.

Source: Scott S. Sheppard/ Carnegie Institution for Science The discovery, by Dr. Sheppard and Chadwick A. Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii, is reported in the journal Nature.

For convenience, the scientists shortened the 2012 VP113 designation to VP, which in turn inspired their nickname for the planetoid: Biden, after Vice President Joseph R. Biden. Dr. Trujillo said they had not decided what to propose for the official name.

The existence of 2012 VP113 could help explain why there is anything out there at all.

In the 2000s, when Michael E. Brown, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology, scanned the outer solar system, his biggest discovery was Eris, a ball of ice in the Kuiper belt that was Pluto-size or slightly bigger, the impetus for the demotion of Pluto to dwarf planet.

Dr. Brown’s oddest discovery, however, came a couple of years earlier: Sedna, a 600-mile-wide planetoid also beyond the Kuiper belt, three times as far from the sun as Neptune. Its 11,400-year orbit stretches farther than that of 2012 VP113.

In the youth of the solar system, there would not have been enough matter out there to coalesce into something as large as Sedna. It was too far out to have been flung by the gravitational slings of big planets, but too close to have been nudged by the gravitational tides of the Milky Way.

Having found one such body, astronomers expected to quickly find more, and they came up with a name for them: Sednoids. But for years, no one found any.

For the latest search, Dr. Trujillo and Dr. Sheppard used a 13-foot telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. In November 2012, they spotted a moving point of light beyond the Kuiper belt — 2012 VP113. Follow-up observations last year confirmed it was a Sednoid. Scientists have come up with various ideas to explain such bodies. Dr. Brown, for one, thinks the Sednoids were pushed there when the sun was part of a dense cluster of stars — “a fossil record of the birth of the solar system,” he said.

Others suggest that a rogue planet, ejected from the inner solar system, dragged the Sednoids along as it flew through the Kuiper belt. Dr. Trujillo and Dr. Sheppard point out that the orbits of Sedna and 2012 VP113 have similarities to those of several other Kuiper belt bodies, which could be a sign of an unseen planet’s gravitational influence.

Computer simulations showed that the similarities could be explained by a planet with a mass five times that of Earth about 23 billion miles from the sun, too dim to be seen.

Harold F. Levison of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., who models the beginning of the solar system, agreed that this was a possibility. “I think they’ve convinced me there’s something going on,” he said of Dr. Trujillo and Dr. Sheppard. “But I think it’s too early to say that it’s a planet.”

The astronomers expect to find more Sednoids in the next few years, which could solve the mystery of their origin. “When we find 10 of them, I’ll tell you what the answer is,” Dr. Brown said.

Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/science...

By Amina Khan March 26, 2014, 12:53 p.m.

Astronomers searching for the faintest glimmers of light beyond distant Pluto say they’ve discovered a new dwarf planet – and that this planetoid’s movements hint that an invisible giant planet perhaps 10 times the size of Earth could be lurking around the dark fringes of our solar system.

The new dwarf planet 2012 VP-113, described Wednesday in the journal Nature, helps confirm the existence of an “inner Oort cloud” in an interplanetary no man’s land that was once thought to be empty but could potentially be teeming with rocky denizens.

“We had high hopes, and our hopes were confirmed,” said Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science who co-wrote the paper with Chadwick Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii.

2012 VP-113 measures about 280 miles across and comes to within about 80 astronomical units of the sun, or about 7.4 billion miles. (One astronomical unit is the distance between the Earth and the sun.) That’s far beyond the Kuiper belt, an icy field of debris that sits beyond Neptune’s orbit between 30 and 55 astronomical units.

While the dwarf planet is incredibly far out, it’s still not far enough to be part of the Oort cloud, a hypothesized cloud of icy debris that surrounds the solar system’s disc in a spherical shell that stretches a mind-blowing 5,000 to 100,000 astronomical units from the sun. 2012 VP-113’s orbit stretches for a few hundred astronomical units, in what scientists thought was an empty doughnut ring of space between the Oort cloud and the Kuiper belt.

That assumption began to change in 2003 with the discovery of Sedna sitting near the inner edge of this no man’s land. Roughly 600 miles wide, Sedna is big enough to qualify as a dwarf planet. So scientists were puzzled: Was Sedna a freakish one-off, or was it part of a population of rocky bodies in that supposedly empty area – an inner Oort cloud?

An inner Oort cloud would be valuable to study, scientists said, because these objects are so far away from the gravitational pull of either the planets or the distant stars that they’re like a dynamic “fossil” of interplanetary movement in the early solar system.

Sheppard and Trujillo wanted to look for more Sedna-like objects in this area; if they could find more, they’d show that it wasn’t an anomaly.

Looking for such distant, dim objects is not easy. Unlike the distant stars in the night sky, rocks don’t make their own light. So the astronomers have to look for faint, moving glints of reflected sunlight off these distant bodies. That means the sun’s rays have to travel all the way out to this dark, cold interplanetary fringe and then come all the way back to us.

The researchers used the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) on the NOAO 4-meter telescope in Chile and scanned the sky looking for such dim, slow-moving objects. After months of analysis, the scientists picked up on an intriguing signal in the sky.

“It was the slowest moving thing I’d seen in the discovery process, so immediately I knew it was interesting,” Sheppard said of finding 2012 VP-113. “It was very exciting to know that you’ve discovered this object that’s way out there.”

The scientists estimated that there could be about 1,000 objects in the inner Oort cloud with diameters of 1,000 kilometers or greater – and some of them could be as large as Mars.

What’s more, Sedna and 2012 VP-113 seem to be making their closest approach to the sun at similar angles – which could mean that there’s a giant planet out there, tugging at both of their orbits in the same way. This ghost planet could be from 1 to 20 Earth masses, Sheppard said, though it’s still also possible that the dwarf planets were pulled there by the tug from a passing star in the sun’s early history.

“It’s not a complete explanation, but it’s a possible explanation,” said UCLA astronomer David Jewitt, who first discovered Kuiper belt objects and was not involved in the new discovery.

Astronomers will have to find far more of these distant objects and catch enough of them traveling in the same direction before they can say whether a giant planet is lurking in the inner Oort cloud, Jewitt said.

“It isn’t watertight,” he added, “but it’s very, very interesting.”

Nature: http://www.nature.com/news/dwa...

about three weeks ago

Turkey Heightens Twitter Censorship with Mandated IP Blocking

SternisheFan Re:Democracy is like a bus trip for Erdogan (102 comments)

You gonna cry?

If freedom of the internet loses another notch, yes, I might shed a tear over that, it would "suck". I've cried over less.

He's trying to get re-elected. Maybe blocking free speech is a tactic that will win it for him in his country, I don't know, hence the curiosity and the popcorn popping. I'm curious to see if his 'strategy' works out for him or not.

about a month ago



Nest halts sales of high-tech smoke detector, cites fire alarm glitch

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about two weeks ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Nest is halting sales of its Nest Protect fire alarm and smoke detector, citing a problem with the hand-waving feature that could delay an alarm in case of a real fire.
The company, which discovered the problems through its own internal tests, is offering to refund customers. The much-hyped Nest Protect was rolled out last year at a price point of $129.
In the next 24 hours, the company said that the Nest Wave will be automatically disabled, though the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will continue to work."

Link to Original Source

"Meeting of the Mines" Minecraft convention accused of scamming attendees

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about three weeks ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "New Yorks Long Island's News12 reports:

WANTAGH — Many Long Island gamers who had been looking forward to a MineCraft convention in Nassau County this weekend say they were victims of a scam.

Lovers of the popular game spent $200 on tickets to the “Meeting of the Mines” convention at the Marriot in Uniondale. Management at the Marriott says it was never booked for the convention.

Matthew Berner, 10, and his father Alan, of Wantagh, recently learned that the convention organizer, Kevin Roman, is under fire for a similar convention that, parents say, failed last weekend in Orlando. Attendees say the games and prizes that were promised by the organizer never materialized, and many demanded a refund.

Berner says he cannot get his money back because he paid more than 45 days in advance using PayPal. He contacted the New York Attorney General's Office to file a complaint. The Florida attorney general reports 20 parents there have already filed complaints.

Attempts by News 12 to reach Roman by phone and email were not successful.

Gamers tell News 12 that "Meeting of the Mines" should not be confused with the annual "Mine-Con" event, which they say is a legitimate MineCraft convention."

See linked News12 page for the full video report."

Link to Original Source

How Secure is your WiFi? Not Very,...

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about three weeks ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "HowToGeek.com explores the question of how secure WiFi really is. I'll insert a quick paste from the (well written) article below, though the linked article really needs to be read fully (including the comments) in order to be properly discussed on Slashdot. The answer seems to be, 'Not very secure at all.' "

"At the end of the day, maybe the question to ask is “What do I need to do to make it not worth a casual hacker’s time to penetrate my network?” or “What is the real cost of having my network compromised?”, and going from there. There is no quick and easy answer..."

Link to Original Source

Lego robot solves Rubik's Cube puzzle in 3.253 seconds

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about a month ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "For further proof the robot apocalypse is nigh, CTV News reports...

The Cubestormer 3 took 18 months to build but only needed 3.253 seconds to solve the puzzle, breaking the existing record.

Unveiled at the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, U.K., the Cubestormer 3 is constructed from the modular children's building-block toy but uses a Samsung Galaxy SIV smartphone with a special ARM chip addition as its brain. It analyzes the muddled up Rubik's Cube and powers each of the robot's four ‘hands', which spin the cube until all sides are in order.

Created by ARM engineer David Gilday and Securi-Plex security systems engineer Mike Dobson, Cubestormer 3's new record shaves just over two seconds off the existing record, set by Cubestormer 2, which the pair also built.

"We knew Cubestormer 3 had the potential to beat the existing record but with the robot performing physical operations quicker than the human eye can see there's always an element of risk," said Gilday. "In the end, the hours we spent perfecting the robot and ensuring its motor and intelligence functions were properly synchronized paid off. Our big challenge now is working out if it's possible to make it go even faster.""

Link to Original Source

CIA accused: Senator sees torture probe meddling

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about a month ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "In an extraordinary public accusation, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee declared on Tuesday that the CIA interfered with and then tried to intimidate a congressional investigation into the agency’s possible use of torture in terror probes during the Bush administration.

The CIA clandestinely removed documents and searched a computer network set up for lawmakers, said Sen. Dianne Feinstein in a long and biting speech on the Senate floor. In an escalating dispute with an agency she has long supported, she said the CIA may well have violated criminal laws and the U.S. Constitution."

Link to Original Source

Snowden: NSA Leaders Have Harmed Our National Security 'More Than Anything

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about a month ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "America's most high-profile fugitive visited one of the country's most popular entertainment festivals in Texas on Monday, drawing thunderous applause from a crowded room filled with his adoring fans.

Edward Snowden, appearing from Russia through a live video stream, told attendees of the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin that Congress had fundamentally failed to do its job as an overseer of the government's bulk surveillance programs, declaring that "we need a watchdog that watches Congress."

The former National Security Agency contractor, in a conversation with the American Civil Liberties Union's Christopher Soghoian and Ben Wizner, also charged the current and most recent chief of the NSA as the two people most responsible for jeopardizing the country's national security due to their preference for aggressive collection of data rather than protection of it after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"More than anything, there are two officials who have harmed our Internet security and national security," Snowden said, his image backdropped by an enlarged copy of the U.S. Constitution. "Those two officials are Michael Hayden and Keith Alexander."

He added: "When you are the one country that has a vault that is more full than anyone else's, it doesn't make any sense to be attacking all day and never defending your vault. And it makes even less sense when you're setting the standards for vaults worldwide and leaving a huge back door open."

Snowden also told SXSW that the technology community can push for changes to the way Internet data is collected and stored even in the absence of action from Capitol Hill, specifically citing the need for end-to-end encryption of data, which he likened to a "defense against the dark arts for the digital realm."

"The people who are in the room in Austin right now are the folks who can really fix things even when Congress hasn't yet gotten to the point to protect our freedoms," Snowden said. "There's a policy response that needs to occur but there's also technology response that needs to occur.""

Link to Original Source

ArsTechnica reviews leaked Windows 8.1 update

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about a month and a half ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "ArsTechnica's Peter Bright reviews leaked Windows 8.1 update.

Leaks of upcoming versions of Microsoft's software are nothing new, but it's a little surprising when the source is Microsoft itself. The Spring update to Windows 8.1, known as Update 1, was briefly available from Windows Update earlier this week.

The update wasn't a free-for-all. To get Windows Update to install it, you had to create a special (undocumented, secret) registry key to indicate that you were in a particular testing group; only then were the updates displayed and downloadable.

After news of this spread, Microsoft removed the hefty—700MB—update from its servers, but not before it had spread across all manner of file-sharing sites...

Just because it was distributed by Windows Update doesn't mean that this is, necessarily, the final build, but it does present a good opportunity to see what Microsoft is actually planning to deliver."

Link to Original Source

The county sheriff who keylogged his wife

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 3 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "From Ars Technica:

On April 22, 2013, Miles J. Stark of Clay County, West Virginia made a bad decision. Stark was going through a divorce at the time and had grown concerned about his wife's relationship with an "unnamed individual." So he entered his wife's workplace after normal business hours, located her PC, and installed a tiny keylogger between her keyboard cable and her computer. The keylogger would record his wife's e-mails and her instant messaging chats as she typed them out letter by letter, along with the usernames and passwords she used for various online services. Stark left the office without getting caught.

Installing hardware keyloggers can be risky even in low-security circumstances, but Stark had made his offense far worse by installing the device on a computer belonging to the West Virginia Supreme Court. Stark's wife worked for the Clay County Magistrate Court and often had occasion to enter the financial details of defendants convicted in court—including the credit cards they used to pay their fines. Stark's bid to spy on his wife's e-mails was also vacuuming up private court information, which the government was bound to take extremely seriously if it found out.

Making the whole situation just that much worse was the fact that Stark was a cop. Not just any cop, either; Stark was the county sheriff. He had served as a Clay County deputy sheriff for 16 years and in November 2012 won an election to become the chief law enforcement officer in all of Clay County. At the time of the keylogger job, Stark had been in office only three months, and if the device were ever found, Stark stood to lose his career.

It took less than three weeks. On May 6, a Supreme Court technician was out at the magistrate office doing a scheduled replacement of many of the machines; he noticed the keylogger and reported it. When the West Virginia State Police questioned Stark about the matter, the sheriff "pretended not to know what a keystroke logger was," according to a later government court filing, "a response unworthy of a law enforcement officer."

Stark held out for several months before resigning, but eventually quit his job and pleaded guilty to a federal charge of wiretapping. Federal prosecutors, outraged that a county sheriff was essentially wiretapping the judiciary, wanted a tough sentence. Anything more modest "would erroneously equate this offense with the wiretap of a private citizen by a private citizen." But Stark argued that, stupid as his scheme was, the goal had only been his wife's information—not the court's. He asked for probation.

On December 19, Stark was sentenced to two years of probation and a $1,000 fine. "You have lost your position as sheriff, lost your career in law enforcement... That alone is enough," said Judge John Copenhaver, according to the Charleston Gazette. Stark's ex-wife requested leniency and hugged Stark after the ruling.

Original Charleston Gazette story here: http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201312190019"

Link to Original Source

Google Doodle remembers computing pioneer Grace Hopper

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 4 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Monday’s Google Doodle honors computing genius Grace Hopper (remembered as a great pioneer in computing, as well as in women’s achievements in science and engineering), on what would have been her 107th birthday, doodling her right where she spent much of her time – at the helm of one of the world’s first computers.

At Harvard, Hopper would go on to work with the subsequent Mark II and Mark III computers. She is often credited with coining the term “bug” for a computer malfunction: In 1947, she is said to have tweezed from the Mark II computer an actual moth that had been bugging up the machine, caught between Relay #70 and Panel F. She was also at the forefront of designing computers that would communicate to the user in a language similar to English, not in numbers. The language that she and her colleagues produced, Common Business-Oriented Language (COBOL), is still in use in 2013.

When, in 1982, David Letterman asked her how she knew so much about computers, in order to work with Mark I, her reply was: “I didn’t. It was the first one.”"

Link to Original Source

NASA's Cassini Spacecraft Obtains Best Views of Saturn Hexagon

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 4 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "NASA's Cassini spacecraft has obtained the highest-resolution movie yet of a unique six-sided jet stream, known as the hexagon, around Saturn's north pole.

This is the first hexagon movie of its kind, using color filters, and the first to show a complete view of the top of Saturn down to about 70 degrees latitude. Spanning about 20,000 miles (30,000 kilometers) across, the hexagon is a wavy jet stream of 200-mile-per-hour winds (about 322 kilometers per hour) with a massive, rotating storm at the center. There is no weather feature exactly, consistently like this anywhere else in the solar system.

"The hexagon is just a current of air, and weather features out there that share similarities to this are notoriously turbulent and unstable," said Andrew Ingersoll, a Cassini imaging team member at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "A hurricane on Earth typically lasts a week, but this has been here for decades — and who knows — maybe centuries.""

Link to Original Source

Something (we're not sure what) survived ISON's closest approach to the Sun.

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 5 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "This ArsTechnica article (by Natalie Starkey Dec 1 2013) contains a detailed animated GIF from the NASA STEREO Ahead spacecraft. From the article:

"It looks like comet ISON, or most of it, did not survive its encounter with the Sun yesterday, when it made a close approach at just 1.2 million kms from that fiery surface. This distance may seem large, but it is close enough to have subjected the comet to temperatures of around 2,700C. To survive such a close shave with the Sun may sound unlikely, but a few other sungrazing comets have managed the feat during even closer passes. So some people hoped ISON would perform a death-defying stunt and emerge intact.

ISON did not leave us without a final serving of mystery though. Soon after reaching its nearest point to the Sun (known as perihelion), there was no sign of it emerging afterwards. Twitter and news agencies were alight, lamenting its loss and assuming it disintegrated—RIP ISON.

But then, moments later, new images emerged showing a hint of something appearing on the other side of the Sun. Was this still a diminished comet ISON or a ghostly version of its former self? Well, even comet experts are not sure.

The image below shows that whatever appeared after perihelion had enough matter in it to produce a tail, which started fading as it got farther from the Sun.""

Link to Original Source

The Volocopter: 18-propeller electric helicopter takes flight

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 5 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "(CNN) — There's a lot to be said for determination. Two years ago, a contraption that looked a bit like a bouncy ball attached to a clothesline, took flight in a pioneering experiment in the German countryside.
A YouTube clip of a man flying the electric "Multicopter" attracted over 8 million hits, with comments ranging from: "AMAZING MACHINE!" to "Not sure you could pay me enough to sit in the middle of flying blenders bolted together."
Regardless, the three German engineers behind the baffling creation plowed ahead with their dream of making an electric helicopter. Last week it paid off.

There wasn't a bouncy ball in sight as the slick white "Volocopter" took to the air for the first time, quietly hovering 20 meters high, while its ecstatic creators cheered below.
Featuring 18 propellers on a lightweight carbon frame, the futuristic copter — which has been around €4 million ($5.4 million) in the making — could change the way we commute forever.

"What we're looking at now, is in the future where everyone is traveling not by car, but by some kind of aircraft," explained Stephan Wolf, co-chief executive of e-volo, the company behind the remarkable flying machine.
"Normal helicopters are very hard to fly. But we thought 'what if you could have a helicopter that is easy for the pilot to fly, and cheap compared to other aircraft?'"
Clever copter
Powered by a 100 kilogram battery, the two-passenger Volocopter can travel at least 70 kilometers per hour, recently making its first remote-controlled flight in a hanger in Karlsruhe, southwest Germany.
The chopper weighs just 300 kilograms in total. One limitation is that it currently only has enough power to fly for 20 minutes — though designers are looking at ways of increasing this, or introducing a hybrid engine.

Many small rotors — attached to a 10-meter wide circular frame — also help the eco-friendly machine hover more easily than other helicopters.
"If you let the joystick go, the Volocopter will just hover in the current position, so there's nothing the pilot has to do," said Wolf.
"But if you do that in another helicopter it will crash immediately."

Indeed, the Volocopter's simplicity sets it apart from other helicopters, and its creators hope in the future commuters will be able to take their electric aircraft to work, instead of languishing in gridlocked cars below.
The European Union is already looking at ways personal aerial vehicles (PAVs) could revolutionize urban spaces. It might sound like a scene from the Jetsons, but a city where flying machines replace cars isn't as far off as it seems.
"The most helicopters in the world are in Sao Paulo, Brazil," explained Wolf. "They have several thousand movements per day because the streets are congested and everyone who can afford it is taking the helicopter to go from one building to the next.
"You can imagine this happening in a big city in Germany. And already we've been approached by several companies who'd like to do it, maybe with landing pads on buildings."
The team hopes to sell its first Volocopter by 2015, with each machine setting you back €250,000 ($338,000). They're now on the lookout for further funding to develop their unique design."

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Snowden rebuts Feinsteins statement that NSA spying is not surveillance

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 6 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Note to Eds: Entire Ars Technica story pasted here, edit as you like...

by Cyrus Farivar — Oct 25 2013, 12:17am +0200
National Security
NSA leaks
US official handed over 35 foreign leaders’ phone numbers to NSA
Germany accuses US of spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone
France angered by new revelations of NSA surveillance
Snowden’s NSA post in Hawaii failed to install “anti-leak” software
The top 5 things we’ve learned about the NSA thanks to Edward Snowden
View all

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden went into a relatively long silent period after being charged with espionage and fleeing to Russia. But it seems that he is becoming more comfortable about speaking out. Today, new Snowden comments emerged in which he directly took on Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), who last week defended the NSA spying programs in a controversial op-ed in USA Today.

“We've learned that the US intelligence community secretly built a system of pervasive surveillance,” Snowden wrote in the statement, published today by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“Today, no telephone in America makes a call without leaving a record with the NSA. Today, no Internet transaction enters or leaves America without passing through the NSA's hands. Our representatives in Congress tell us this is not surveillance. They're wrong.”

In her October 20 op-ed, Feinstein argued that the “call-records program is legal and subject to extensive congressional and judicial oversight,” adding that “[t]he Supreme Court has held this ‘metadata’ is not protected under the Fourth Amendment.”

Snowden called on his supporters to join the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and other groups who will be holding a rally called "Stop Watching Us" at Union Station in Washington, DC on Saturday, October 26, at 12:00pm local time."

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Steve Wozniak's views on current technology

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 6 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Speaking at AppsWorld in London, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak gave his thoughts on the shifting mobile industry; wearable tech, connected devices, voice assistants, the Cloud, and the iOS competition from rivals such as Android and Windows Phone. Some snippets from articles on "The Woz":
        On talking about who’s “doing the most” for mobile; Woz is still on the iOS-side of the fence for reasons of reliability. When asked if he’d like to see a larger iPhone – it was a certain ‘yes’ — with the sentiment echoed by the crowd. He says: “I have been thinking they’ll do it for a while – but they have with the iPhone 5 just in one way only!” — Speaking in regards to the iPhone 5’s extra screen length; not width. Woz rightfully points out: “You walk into a store and iPhone has got the smallest screen of all” .
    He admires the competition drive by Google’s open-source OS, Android, and was quoted as saying: “It came to the Galaxy S3 and the Note and I said these are pretty good!” Whilst his “eye is often drawn to the big, glowing screens” by the likes of the HTC One and Galaxy S4.
    In smartwatches he states: “I got this iPod Nano and I wear it all the time on flights; and I think; what a nice interface to swipe with my hand” but he really wants integration with iOS voice assistant Siri. Steve is hoping to see devices which are standalone products: “I want a wearable phone – I don’t want to carry this thing in my pocket – I want it all on my wrist.” As for Cupertino, he says: “Apple will have something different. Something which will shock the world."
    On wearable tech he says: Your smartphone becomes a friend you talk to it and sometimes it talks back! They’re becoming closer and closer to you and what’s closer than on you?” When asked what his favourite app is; he replied ‘Siri’; but even explained how it was better before Apple’s acquisition in terms of relevant results. The one reason Woz gave for not liking Windows Phone 8 devices is “because I can’t operate them by voice.”
    He admires and is excited for the possibilities of ‘Google Glass’ — the wearable technology which you wear as if they were standard spectacles. The device doesn’t place information in your direct sight; but in your field of view as to be useful without distracting. As a man with many contacts; including within Google; he says he would’ve been able to get hold of the current “Explorer” development testing units but says: “I felt for a new product like Google Glass, I should leave it to people who can properly test – but I drool over people with it.”
    The moderator, Wired’s Nate Lanxon, said: “What we really need – is an AppleScript for phones.” Woz responded: “That’s what I’ve been saying for years!” (AppleScript is a scripting language created by Apple Inc. and built into Macintosh operating systems since System 7. It was built for inter-app communication; something which Android excels at.)
    It was a great time to catch-up with Steve Wozniak; as only the previous day Apple announced updates to their range of products – most notably an updated tablet newly dubbed as ‘iPad Air’.
    On the new iPad, Woz didn’t seem necessarily blown-away. Speaking of in regards to his own requirements he says: “Yes, it’s thinner, it’s lighter — but I carry a lot of my personal media. 128GB for the current iPad? I had hoped for 256GB.”
  Many would, again, see the new iPad as an iterative upgrade; which as Woz states: “The fact that Apple seems to be at a plateau for a while is fine with me." He continues: “You can’t come up with brand-new, innovative products every year.”
  Whilst fairly disinterested in the new iPad; the new MacBook Pro took his fancy – now with a 1TB SSD – a technology he is passionate about. To make the many of you with slow broadband speeds feel a little bit more content; Wozniak, a pioneer, doesn’t even have a connection at home. As he states: “40% of Americans don’t have it – not out of choice – they don’t run the wires through my town.” His connection to the outside world comes via LTE – which displays the power of the technology for internet access in rural areas."

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Supernova Explosion Seeded the Early Solar System, Meteorite Study Suggests

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 6 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "by Charles Q. Choi, SPACE.com Contributor

The explosive death of a star seeded matter into the solar system soon after its birth, analysis of a meteorite now reveals.

Earth and the rest of the solar system coalesced from a giant cloud of gas and dust more than 4.5 billion years ago. Many of the details about the galactic neighborhood in which the solar system arose still remain a mystery.

Meteorites contain some of the oldest material in the solar system, dating back to its formation. As such, researchers often analyze these objects in order to discover what materials were present when the sun, Earth and other planets were born. This study sheds light on where these solar system bodies might have come from."

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Tesla car fire worries investors

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 7 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "DETROIT
Tesla Motors Co shares fell 6 percent on Wednesday after an automotive blog published images of a Model S electric sedan in flames after an accident on Tuesday morning just south of Seattle, Washington.

The blog, called Jalopnik, posted pictures and a video of the Model S fire on Wednesday. Tesla confirmed the authenticity of the images and said the car caught fire after the driver ran over a "large metallic object" causing extensive damage to the front end of the car.

Tesla shares fell 6.2 percent to $180.95 on the Nasdaq, their biggest one-day decline since mid-July.

It is unclear if the Model S lithium-ion battery pack was damaged. Firefighters found it difficult to quash the flames, and fire damage made it tough to determine the impact of the object on the car, Chris Webb, a spokesman for the Washington State Patrol said.

The driver told state troopers that he struck metal debris while on State Route 167 around 8:18 a.m. local time on Tuesday, in Kent, a city located some 20 miles south of Seattle, he said.

The car's alert system instructed the driver to pull over and he got off the highway and out of the vehicle, Tesla said in a statement.

"The driver stated that he began to smell something burning and a short time later the vehicle caught on fire," Webb said, citing information from the state trooper investigating the incident.

"It took the fire department several attempts to extinguish the flames as it kept reigniting," Webb said in an email. The car's tires were burned up and officials dispatched a flat bed truck to remove the car, he said."

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Elliptic Labs Launches Android SDK For Its Ultrasound-Powered Mid-Air Gesture Te

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 7 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Elliptic Labs, a startup founded back in 2006 which uses ultrasound technology to enable touchless, gesture-based interfaces, has finally pushed its tech into smartphones. It’s been demoing this at the CEATEC conference in Japan this week (a demo of Elliptic’s tech running on a tablet can also be seen in this TC video, from May) but today it’s announcing the launch of its first SDK for Android smartphones.

Elliptic’s technology is able to work with any ARM-based smartphone, confirmed CTO Haakon Bryhni in an interview with TechCrunch. “That is completely new to us, that we’re able to make the technology available on a low-powered platform,” he said. ”A major part of our technology development for the past half year has been to optimise our algorithms for smartphone use.”

Gesture-based user interfaces which turn mid-air hand movements into UI commands have pushed their way into console-based gaming, thanks to Microsoft’s Kinect peripheral, and also mainstream computing via the likes of the Leap Motion device and webcam-based alternatives. Mobiles haven’t been entirely untouched by ‘touchless’ interfaces — Samsung added limited mid-air gesture support to the Galaxy S4 earlier this year, for instance (and back in 2009 the now defunct Sony Ericsson tried its hand at motion-sensitive mobile gaming) — but most current-gen smartphones don’t have the ability to respond to mid-air swiping.

That’s set to change in 2014, as Elliptic Labs is currently working with several Android OEMs that are building devices that will include support for a gesture-based interface. Bryhni would not confirm the exact companies but said he expects several gesture-supporting mobile devices to hit the market in the second half of next year."

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NASA Picks 10 Innovative Space Tech Ideas for Funding

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 7 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Below is a list of the universities and proposal titles that NASA selected:

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; "Detection, tracking, and identification of asteroids through on-board image analysis"
Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Mich.; "A new experiment for determining evaporation and condensation coefficients of cryogenic propellants and development of an efficient computational model of cryogenic film stability in microgravity"
Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.; "Broadband electrically tunable monolithic mid-infrared laser"
Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.; "Innovations in understanding and modeling cryogenic propellants for long-duration spaceflight"
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; "Asynchronous A/D converter for in situ instruments operating under extreme environments"
University of Colorado, Boulder; "Comprehensive modeling of the effects of hazardous asteroid mitigation techniques"
University of Florida, Gainesville; "Bio-inspired broadband antireflection coatings at long wavelengths for space applications"
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; "Broad bandwidth metamaterial antireflection coatings for measurement of the cosmic microwave background"
University of South Carolina, Columbia; "Oxygen recovery via carbon dioxide electrolysis with microtubular solid oxide cells"
University of Utah, Salt Lake City; "A lightweight compact multi-spectral imager using novel computer-generated micro-optics and spectral-extraction algorithms""

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Colassal hydrogen bridge between galaxies could be fuel line for new stars

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about a year ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "The Christian Science Monitor: Pete Spotts reports: New observations of a bridge of tenuous hydrogen gas stretching between two nearby galaxies may help solve a longstanding puzzle: Billions of years after star formation peaked in the universe, what continues to fuel the formation of new stars in spiral galaxies like the Milky Way.

Newly published radiotelescope observations of this segment of what researchers have dubbed the “cosmic web” reveal that about half of the neutral hydrogen gas in the bridge is contained in rotating clumps the size of dwarf galaxies. Neutral hydrogen – atoms with one proton and one electron – represents the raw material for new stars.

“If this gas is being accreted by the galaxies, then we need to understand how they're doing that. That information could, in principle, help us understand how galaxies like Andromeda, like our own Milky Way, can acquire gas to form new stars,” says Spencer Wolfe, a PhD candidate in astronomy at West Virginia University and the lead scientist on the project.

Over the past decade, astronomers have come to appreciate the potential of gas between galaxies to provide fresh fuel for making stars in spiral galaxies.

Star formation in the universe appears to have peaked some 10 billion to 11 billion years ago. Stellar birthrates these days are less than 10 percent of what they were then, notes Robert Braun, an astronomer at the Australia Telescope National Facility in Epping, New South Wales.

Left to their own devices, galaxies have on average about 1 billion to 2 billion years worth of gas in the cosmic tank, a condition that has existed throughout most of the universe's history, Dr. Braun writes in an e-mail. Many of them, therefore, should have stopped forming stars billions of years ago. Moreover, the total mass of stars in the universe today is about five times higher than the amount of neutral hydrogen available 12 billion years ago, suggesting that the universe's larger inventory of ionized hydrogen kept star formation going in some way.

Researchers have identified other mechanisms for the galactic equivalent of in-flight refueling. For instance, gas gets recycled for a time through successive generations of stars. Collisions, mergers, and even near-misses between galaxies can trigger bursts of star formation. But filaments of ionized hydrogen appear to be the only features persistent enough to keep galaxies stocked with stars over billions of years of cosmic history. Somehow, within those filaments, enough of the ionized gas condenses into the neutral form to serve as new stellar nurseries.

The filament or bridge Mr. Wolfe and his team studied appears between the Milky Way's nearest neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Triangulum Galaxy. Andromeda is some 2.5 million light-years from Earth, while the Triangulum is roughly 3 million light-years away.

The presence of neutral hydrogen in the bridge was first reported in 2004 and confirmed in follow-up observations published last year. But it's fiendishly difficult to detect. One way neutral hydrogen betrays its presence is via radio waves, with a tell-tale signal at about the same frequency that a typical cell-phone uses. But the clumps are so wispy that their radio emissions were too faint for detailed studies with the radio telescopes used in the early work."

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