×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

mbone It's hard to take this article seriously (556 comments)

The primary problem we have today is not automation, it is over-concentration of wealth. Automation will destroy jobs to the extent that the people running the companies implementing the automation wish it to. If those companies are run by people who are happy to deliver worse service as long as they can pay fewer people, then, yes, we have a problem, but it is not with the technology.

There is no such thing a technological determinism. It's people all the way down.

yesterday
top

Massive Volcanic Eruptions Accompanied Dinosaur Extinction

mbone Re:Antipodal eruptions (60 comments)

Uh, if you look at the correct map and note that the Deccan traps were on the triangular Indian plate sailing around in the middle of the ocean, you'll note that the alignment is actually reasonably good.

yesterday
top

Massive Volcanic Eruptions Accompanied Dinosaur Extinction

mbone Re:Antipodal eruptions (60 comments)

Gee, I can't even blame autocorrect :

that the Deccan traps were formed at the antipode of a major impact

yesterday
top

Massive Volcanic Eruptions Accompanied Dinosaur Extinction

mbone Re:Antipodal eruptions (60 comments)

Cool, thanks for the reference. (A paper from the time of the modern dinosaurs, when the AGU still had a Spring Meeting in Baltimore.)

It looks like it is even in the right place (see above).

yesterday
top

Massive Volcanic Eruptions Accompanied Dinosaur Extinction

mbone Antipodal eruptions (60 comments)

This may revive the theory that the Deccan traps were formed at the antipode of a major eruption - the seismic waves will focus there, and could crack the Earth's crust (for a really big impact).

It seems logical, and the positions more or less fit, but the question was always whether the timing was viable.

Now, where is the crater that formed the Siberian traps. And, did it end the Permian period?

2 days ago
top

The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

mbone Bayesian Response (378 comments)

I have come to regard this as basically religious, so this is somewhat like arguing about conservation of mass in transubstantiation, but I have a thick skin.

From what we know, carbon biologies last ~3 billion years or more, silicon biologies have so far 0 years behind them. Bayesians bet on carbon.

By the way, anyone who thinks that robotic / silicon life wouldn't be biological, and wouldn't evolve, doesn't understand evolution. Evolution is like entropy in that you can't get out of the game.

2 days ago
top

Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

mbone The return of Alternic (387 comments)

This would not really work. In practice, it would likely mean a return of Alternic system, with multiple roots - i.e., a dark DNS for the dark net, probably temporary DNS extensions for file sharing, etc.

Somewhere, I suspect Eugene Kashpureff is smiling.

4 days ago
top

Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier

mbone Darwin Awards (security department) (388 comments)

This is like a weird case of the Darwin awards; i.e., being so stupid you don't know that Egypt is not going to be interested in replicating the latest state of the art in nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

about two weeks ago
top

'Mirage Earth' Exoplanets May Have Burned Away Chances For Life

mbone Unless they migrated (62 comments)

We really don't have much idea how much migration goes on in early planetary systems, but it looks like there is a lot. So, a "mirage Earth" won't be a mirage if it sent its formative years further out from its star.

about three weeks ago
top

Security Experts Believe the Internet of Things Will Be Used To Kill Someone

mbone The end user is not the customer (165 comments)

From my observation, the Internet of Things is being sold to companies that want big data and lower costs obtained by monitoring end-users and their gear. Since the end-user is not the customer, it is not surprising that there is lots of very sloppy IoT code and gear out there. A few lawsuits will help this situation, but it is unfortunate that some people will have to suffer for that to happen.

about three weeks ago
top

Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

mbone "Why would you call that uncompetitive?" (413 comments)

When we had so many political consultants bidding for the contract to make those district maps?

about three weeks ago
top

Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

mbone Re:Federal law has an effect, too (413 comments)

Please quote that provision of the Voting Rights Act.

about three weeks ago
top

Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

mbone Re:I am dubious (307 comments)

The point is really that we don't nearly know enough to answer any of these questions. We can provide "best current thinking," but with only 1 actual sample (Earth) and no experience with GRBs, these are just guessitmates at best.

That's not true. We know the luminosity output of GRBs very well, as well as their spectrum across the electromagnetic spectrum. For a number of exoplanets (and the planets in the solar system) we know their main atmospheric content. For each composition of atmospheres you can predict the effects of a GRB for any chosen distance in terms of photo-dissociation, heating and radiation pressure. I don't see great unknowns there.

- How many planets might have other special circumstances that protect their ozone (such as a lack of N2 in their atmosphere, or an ozone generating biology in their stratosphere, etc.)

Not sure. I think it is possible to come up with such scenarios as you stated, but it has to be shown that they are frequent occurrences to be relevant for changing the survival rate of complex life.

Exactly. To say that GRB==doom means that all of these possibilities must be very infrequent indeed, and I just don't see how we can say that at present. That makes me dubious about the hypothesis.

I think it can be argued that due to the luminosity output of GRBs, that "GRB==doom" holds, within a certain radius and for typical orientations. That serves as a useful starting point. For special orientations, or special atmospheres that one could imagine, this may not hold. But then the burden is on the person dreaming up these scenarios to show that these can more happen frequently than expected due to random orientations and atmospheres representative of the gas make-up of observed stellar and star-forming systems (which is well-studied as well, the technical term is metallicity and (heavy) element abundance). Until then, I think "GRB==doom" is a suitable working hypothesis we can adopt.

I do not. The trouble with GRB==doom is that you have to bring in statistics, and we don't know what they are, but we do know that they have to be pretty extreme. For example, a galaxy might have 100 billion "Earths." Suppose that there 1/1000th that number of "warm Venus's," (a Venus type planet, but far enough out from its star that there never was a run-away greenhouse), and that the chance of advanced life forming on such a body is 1/1000th of the typical "Earth," but none of the Venus's are wiped out due to GRBs. That still leaves 100,000 warm Venus's to form complex life. Now, are those numbers reasonable? Sure. Are they true? You guess is as good as mine. However, even if the Venus situation had a probability of one chance in a billion of occurring it would still leave 100 systems where complex life could arise, and that is a lot more than 0.

I think that there are a lot of these situations - I think the proponents of "GRB==doom" have to show that each one has probability 10^-11 or so, and I don't see how they can do that.

about three weeks ago
top

Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

mbone Re:Looking Down the Barrel (307 comments)

As I understand it in order to sustain catastrophic, life eradicating damage from a GRB you need to be looking directly down the "barrel of the gun" so to speak, or rather directly in the line of fire emanating from the star's poles. This forms a fairly narrow beam of intense energy that decreases with distance. It doesn't seem that likely to me that 90% of life supporting planets in the universe would find themselves in just this predicament.

Yes, but all of the GRB we see are "looking down the barrel" and so the statistics already take that into account. (In other words, if each GRB irradiates 1% of the sky, and 100 go off "near" you, you are still likely to be in deep trouble.)

about a month ago
top

Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

mbone Re:I am dubious (307 comments)

The point is really that we don't nearly know enough to answer any of these questions. We can provide "best current thinking," but with only 1 actual sample (Earth) and no experience with GRBs, these are just guessitmates at best.

I can not answer about the deadliness of GRBs, but I think you will find those answers in Phil Plaits book "Death from the Skies!".

- How many civilizations might form on bodies with very thick atmospheres, far from their Suns? (Venus does not need a ozone layer to keep the UV out, and might be very habitable a few AU out.)

Yes, insulation is a good idea. But the planet will always radiate as a black body and loose energy, which has to be re-supplied by the suns radiation. The radiation drops with the square of the distance, so rather quickly. These considerations (make-up and size of planets) go into calculations for the habitable zone.

I can also imagine that a GRB comes with considerable photon pressure and might strip the entire atmosphere off a planet, or heat it to a point where it dissipates into space.

The threat model is ozone, not atmospheric stripping. With the hypothesized existence of Steppenwolf planets, I don't even think that the notion of a habitable zone is necessarily that useful, except as a guide as to where exobiologists should look first. The real question is, how many civilizations might arise on "Earth's" at 1 AU from their (G type) star, versus "warm Venus's" at, say, 2 AU. (Scale distances as necessary if you want to include other type stars, such as M dwarfs.) If this ratio is anywhere near unity, the "GRB==doom" hypothesis falls to the ground.

- How many planets might have very long rotation periods (years), so that the night hemisphere never is subjected to the daytime UV?

I think the rotation of planets around their own axis (spin) is not known outside the solar system. Generally, the spin is generated from formation of planets in the rotating protostellar disk, but interactions and changing orbits may modify the spin (Venus, Uranus).

Of course, but the real question is, how many life-bearing planets have a very long rotation period? My guess is, this is pretty rare, but pretty rare is still enough to invalidate the GRB==doom hypothesis.

- Are there rotation axis directions and orbital precession constants for planets that would keep GRB radiation mostly in one hemisphere, leaving the other to develop?

If you do not have the problem of heating and evaporation of the atmosphere I mentioned above, then yes, that is probably possible. For example if the GRB goes off from the direction of the spin axis ("below/above the solar system"). This may safe you from one GRB, but since GRBs come randomly from all directions it is not failsafe across many billion years.

- How many planets might have other special circumstances that protect their ozone (such as a lack of N2 in their atmosphere, or an ozone generating biology in their stratosphere, etc.)

Not sure. I think it is possible to come up with such scenarios as you stated, but it has to be shown that they are frequent occurrences to be relevant for changing the survival rate of complex life.

Exactly. To say that GRB==doom means that all of these possibilities must be very infrequent indeed, and I just don't see how we can say that at present. That makes me dubious about the hypothesis.

about a month ago
top

Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

mbone I am dubious (307 comments)

I am dubious that gamma ray bursts are invariably a sentence of doom. The actual mechanism is due to the destruction of the ozone layer due to nitrogen molecules formed in the upper atmosphere; these molecules would "eat" the ozone for maybe 4 - 5 years after a GRB event, but would not (in that sort of lifetime) go from one hemisphere to another. Questions I would have include

- How many civilizations might form on bodies with very thick atmospheres, far from their Suns? (Venus does not need a ozone layer to keep the UV out, and might be very habitable a few AU out.)
- How many planets might have very long rotation periods (years), so that the night hemisphere never is subjected to the daytime UV?
- Are there rotation axis directions and orbital precession constants for planets that would keep GRB radiation mostly in one hemisphere, leaving the other to develop?
- How many planets might have other special circumstances that protect their ozone (such as a lack of N2 in their atmosphere, or an ozone generating biology in their stratosphere, etc.)

I am sure that there are others, but even these I think show that, while GRB might be bad for habitability, they need not be fatal. Note, too, that if I was running a Kardashev Type III civilization, one of my action items would be to find any possible GRB progenitors and disarm them. So, in a KIII galaxy, GRB would likely no longer be a problem; maybe that would be a good way to determine the number of KIII galaxies in the universe.

about a month ago
top

CERN Releases LHC Data

mbone Re:Huge Change (42 comments)

I was told, at a NSF meeting not many months ago, that CERN never makes its data openly available and never would and that US scientists should just plan on getting European collaborators if they want to work on it.

Now, if we just get ESA to start releasing the Rosetta data...

Most of the instruments (e.g. electronics) have a large US contribution. CERN operates the ring, but the instruments are "clients", which are international research teams. That was the vision of CERN after the second world war -- bring leading science to Europe, and make research in Europe attractive. Particle physics was chosen back then.

Yes, that is what I meant (and, even, what I said). To get the data you had to join one of the teams and collaborate with the other scientists in the team. Now, apparently, you don't.

about a month ago
top

Harvard Scientists Say It's Time To Start Thinking About Engineering the Climate

mbone Re:How about we beta test on Venus? (367 comments)

I ran some numbers on this, and concluded it would take a good while to cool Venus - you would have to get rid of the clouds somehow to make the cool-down reasonable, and that means an intervention beyond just the shade. There will be plenty of opportunity for note taking and even PhD theses during the process.

about a month ago
top

Harvard Scientists Say It's Time To Start Thinking About Engineering the Climate

mbone Re:How about we beta test on Venus? (367 comments)

You're forgetting one important thing: any shade large enough to provide sufficient cover for either planet will also effectively be a giant solar sail. Reaching a given location in space would be relatively cheap and easy compared to keeping it there in a useful orientation.

There are two proposed solutions to that

- have a swarm instead of a shade - i.e., lots of little shades, which makes the orbital dynamics (and probably the manufacture) of the system much easier to manage.
or
- put the shade not at the Lagrange point, but a little bit sunwards, where the solar gravity, planet gravity and the shade radiation pressure give an orbit period matching that of the planet. There, the shade can be pushed by the Sun's radiation pressure and still be in static equilibrium.

about a month ago
top

Harvard Scientists Say It's Time To Start Thinking About Engineering the Climate

mbone Re:How about we beta test on Venus? (367 comments)

Rosetta getting to P67 was much harder energetically than sending a spacecraft to Venus.

You are certainly correct that any of these would be huge engineering tasks, but they are just engineering tasks. They can be done if there is sufficient will.

about a month ago

Submissions

top

The first private Lunar mission.

mbone mbone writes  |  about 2 months ago

mbone (558574) writes "The Daily Beast reports that China is moving ahead with its lunar sample return mission (which will place it in a very exclusive club; only the USA, Russia and Japan have returned samples from celestial bodies) with the Chang’e 5-T1 lunar orbiter, but they also have another first, the first lunar get-away special, which has given a Luxembourg company LuxSpace its own first (sorry Google X Prize): the first private Lunar Mission, the " Manfred Memorial Moon Mission (4M)."

Now, the 4M is not much of a spacecraft, just a transmitter at 145.980 MHz with the handle JT65B for hams to communicate with (it's not clear from the article if this is a transponder, or just send only), together with a radiation dosimeter, but you can bet that this is not just the first private Moon mission — there will be more."

Link to Original Source
top

Mars (One) Needs Payloads

mbone mbone writes  |  about 5 months ago

mbone (558574) writes "Mars One has announced that their first, unmanned, lander, targeted for 2018, needs payloads. Along with their 4 experiments, and a University experiment, they have two payloads for hire :

Mars One offers two payload opportunities for paying mission contributors. Proposals can take the form of scientific experiments, technology demonstrations, marketing and publicity campaigns, or any other suggested payload. “Previously, the only payloads that have landed on Mars are those which NASA has selected,” said Bas Lansdorp, “We want to open up the opportunity to the entire world to participate in our mission to Mars by sending a certain payload to the surface of Mars.”

The formal Request for Proposals for all of this is out now as well."
Link to Original Source

top

A Lunar Space Elevator in our (near) Future?

mbone mbone writes  |  about 10 months ago

mbone (558574) writes "After the IAA sponsored a study on the terrestrial space elevator which concluded that it should be possible to build one, in 30 years or so, if that pesky unobtanium for the tether material can be actually invented in that time, now is the time for some press on the Lunar Space Elevator, which has the advantage that existing tether materials (such as Zylon) are strong enough to support it.

A Lunar Space Elevator would be the biggest structure ever made in much the same way as the Great Wall of China is bigger than a kiddie sandbox. The current prototype design (scaled for a deployment in a single SLS launch) would involve 270,000+ km of tether material, stretching from Sinus Medii, past the Lagrange point, deep into cis-lunar space. With all of that string, the prototype payload mass is only 128 kg, but you have to start somewhere, and it could be (and, if it works, would be) built up over time.

The goal is to open the Moon up to mining. Let the games begin!"

Link to Original Source
top

Server Sky - internet and computation in orbit

mbone mbone writes  |  about a year and a half ago

mbone (558574) writes "Even if SpaceX and other companies can drastically lower the cost of going to orbit, what are we going to do once we get there? Since the 1970's, NASA has been searching for commercial applications for space, such as making crystals or medicines in zero-gravity, but, except for communications and navigation, space as yet barely figures into commerce, largely because it is expensive to send materials there, and expensive to send finished products back. Now there is Server Sky, which is trying to build on the realization that information is the cheapest product to send to and from space, and that "traditional data centers consume almost 3% of US electrical power, and this fraction is growing rapidly. Server arrays in orbit can grow to virtually unlimited computation power, communicate with the whole world, pay for themselves with electricity savings, and greatly reduce pollution and resource usage in the biosphere." What do slashdotters (who tend to be interested in computation) think? Is there money to be made in putting the cloud above the clouds?"
Link to Original Source
top

Violation of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 2 years ago

mbone (558574) writes "A very interesting paper has just hit the streets (or, at least, Physics Review Letters) about the Heisenberg uncertainty relationship as it was originally formulated about measurements. They find that they can exceed the uncertainty limit in measurements (although the uncertainty limit in quantum states is still followed, so the foundations of quantum mechanics still appear to be sound.) This is really an attack on quantum entanglement (the correlations imposed between two related particles), and so may have immediate applications in cracking quantum cryptography systems. It may also be easier to read quantum communications without being detected than people originally thought."
Link to Original Source
top

US Government loses confidence in ICANN

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 2 years ago

mbone (558574) writes "The "no cost" contract between the US Department of Commerce and ICANN over hosting the Internet Assigned Names and Number Authority (IANA) was supposed to be re-let this March. Now, it has been withdrawn, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) says that "we are cancelling this RFP because we received no proposals that met the requirements requested by the global community." This is a pretty stunning vote of no confidence in ICANN by the US Government, on the eve of the 43rd ICANN meeting in Costa Rica. Speculation is that this is related to the attempts of the ITU-T to take over Internet governance, but it also could be over the new Global top level domains. I am sure we will be hearing a lot more about this in the weeks to come."
Link to Original Source
top

Why did the Government cancel the IANA RFP?

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 2 years ago

mbone (558574) writes "Friday afternoon (a classic time to bury bad news), the Department of Commerce put out a laconic cancelation of the zero dollar RFP for IANA, the Internet Assigned Names and Numbers Authority : AMENDMENT 0003 — Request for Proposal (RFP) SA1301-12-RP-IANA is hereby cancelled. The Department of Commerce intends to reissue the RFP at a future date, date to be determined (TBD). This contract may be for zero dollars, but it is a crucial one for the Internet, as it ties IANA, and thus ICANN, the global root for DNS, and such matters as the new global top level domains, to the US Government. Anyone have any idea what is up?"
Link to Original Source
top

That's it for IPv4 - it had a good run

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mbone (558574) writes "The last regular Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) address assignment, a /8, has been handed out, by IANA to APNIC, which will trigger the final distribution of IPv4 space to all of the Registries. So, February 1, 2011, marks the end of business as usual for IPv4. The future holds (hopefully) the wholesale adoption of IPv6 and (probably) a market in IPv4 address space."
Link to Original Source
top

Wikileaks looses its DNS

mbone mbone writes  |  about 4 years ago

mbone (558574) writes "The DNS provider for wikileaks.org, EveryDNS, has booted it off and the site is no longer reachable by name. EveryDNS say on their main web site EveryDNS.net provided domain name system (DNS) services to the wikileaks.org domain name until 10PM EST, December 2, 2010, when such services were terminated. As with other users of the EveryDNS.net network, this service was provided for free. The termination of services was effected pursuant to, and in accordance with, the EveryDNS.net Acceptable Use Policy. I guess that being DOSed is not part of the AUP. http://www.wikileaks.info/ has a list of mirror sites, some of which no longer work, due to wikileak's loss of Amazon.com EC2 hosting."
top

Domain Seizures no Hoax

mbone mbone writes  |  about 4 years ago

mbone (558574) writes "Despite some suspicion, including on slashdot, the seizure of the file linking site rapgodfathers.com and various torrent sites are apparently real, as Eric Holder is having a press conference and has issued a press release touting the seizure of sites "engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works."

Among other things, this shows that the DOJ is using both Google Analytics and Piwik Open Source Web Analytics, as there is analytic javascript for both in the index.html on the banned sites. And, based on look at the jpeg used, at least some of the ICE use Macs, as the take-down jpeg was prepared with Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Macintosh on 2010:11:18 09:37:21"

Link to Original Source
top

Customs and TSA Raid RapGodFathers Hosting Site

mbone mbone writes  |  about 4 years ago

mbone (558574) writes "The Torrentfreak site is reporting that DHS and ICE (i.e., Customs) agents arrived at a Dallas datacenter Tuesday with orders to take down the 146,500 member RapGodFathers site (RGF). Equipment was seized, and they report that their domain name is being blocked and is likely to be taken as well. The RGF admins say that the site has no content itself, just links to other sites, and that they always respect DMCA takedown notices. RGF reports on their twitter account (@rapgodfather) that they are looking for "for more offshore hosting to support RapGodFathers."

If the facts are as reported, there are a number of troubling issues about this, not the least of which is why US Customs troubles itself with link-sharing sites in Dallas, far from any US borders."

Link to Original Source
top

Robots in space

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mbone (558574) writes "The crew for this Wednesday's Space Shuttle launch includes a robot bound for the ISS — Robonaut 2, or R2, "the first dexterous humanoid robot in space." For now, it will be deployed on a fixed pedestal inside the station, but the plans include giving it mobility (not that hard in micro-gravity) and taking it outside to help with space walks. Now, the New York Times has an article about "Project M," sending a humanoid robot to the Moon — which at least has its own NASA promotional video.

Is our form really the best there is for space exploration ? Should our robotic explorers look like us, or like the Mars Rovers ?"

Link to Original Source
top

Hands on Airport Searches

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mbone (558574) writes "As it happens I was talking to a TSA person socially today and they brought up their new "aggressive" policy for pat down searches. Now I see it has made the Boston Herald. It will be done for any secondary screening, or if you opt out of the X-ray machines.

They are supposed to feel under a woman's breast and under a man's genitals, and also to feel the separation in a woman's genitals, and likewise into one's bottom. They are apparently not very happy about having to do this, but have been trained on the new technique and will be given performance review demerits if they don't perform properly. (Maybe the TSA will send ringers through security to evaluate performance, I didn't think to ask.)

I have to wonder if it is to convince people to go through the backscatter X-rays now that it is becoming widely known that you can opt out of that. I have a feeling that this will cause a major push-back from the traveling public."

Link to Original Source
top

20 meter tsunami in New York after asteroid hit

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mbone (558574) writes "According to an article in LiveScience, an 200 meter diameter asteroid impact in the Atlantic 2300 years ago may have caused a 20 m (60ft) high tsunami to hit what's now NYC. They have found 30 cm of disturbed sediments in the NYC area with shocked minerals, which is generally regarded as conclusive evidence for a meteor impact. They go on to speculate that 'One possible reason why Indian tribes only moved into the area relatively recently is that the people who were once there were all wiped out'. Of course, it would not be a pretty picture if this were repeated in the same area today."
Link to Original Source
top

In Court ? Be careful what you post on Facebook.

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mbone (558574) writes "Going to Court ? Seeking damages for injuries ? Be careful what you post on Facebook (and, presumably, elsewhere). ! In the first case of its kind (analyzed in the Courtroom strategy blog, a Suffolk County NY Judge allowed a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit to obtain access to the Facebook profile of the plaintiff suing them, saying "Plaintiff has no legitimate reasonable expectation of privacy." You have been warned. I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, but I would expect this to become common."
Link to Original Source
top

Facebook has issues, goes down for some users

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mbone (558574) writes "Apparently Facebook is having issues, and is intermittently and maybe regionally down. The Wall Street Journal DIgits blogs says that they are having “an issue with a third-party network provider." but it may be more than that. From Northern Virginia, it is possible to pingFacebook servers, but the server throws a "500 Internal Server Error" if you try and conect via http."
Link to Original Source
top

Google is testing Airborne Camera Drones

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mbone (558574) writes "According to the German language site WirtschaftsWoche (an English version is available from the IBTimes) Google has purchased a German "Microdrone" for evaluation. These devices can take off, fly a mission and land automatically using GPS, and can carry night vision cameras or even "see through walls" Far IR cameras. Of course, the maker of these drone assures us that they cannot be a "Big Brother der Lufte" because that is "verboten."

Is it just me, or is Google entering into dangerous airspace here ? It seems like the ruckus from a backyard-after-dark addition to Street View could make the legal tussles Google has already encountered with the driving vans seem minor by comparison."

Link to Original Source
top

NIAC is Back !

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mbone (558574) writes "Do you have an idea on how to do space travel right ? Think it could pass peer review ? Well, the NIAC (NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program) is back ! In a two day "Industry Forum," the new NASA Chief Technologist, Bobby Braun, described an ambitious new program of NASA initiatives to encourage new thinking and new ideas, including funding for "Game Changing Technologies, and the new NIAC. These new initiatives are explicitly modeled on DARPA, and are an attempt to "push the reset button" on an increasingly hide-bound bureaucracy. I attended the forum, and the reaction from non-NASA participants I talked to was overwhelmingly positive. They also announced 3 new Centennial Challenges. The Centennial Challenges are an X-Prize like program with a total of $ 5 million in new awards, for a successful nanosatellite launch system, an solar-powered electric vehicle capable of night-time operations, and a sample-return robot capable of autonomously retrieving geological samples.

In many ways, NIAC is the most interesting of the new initiatives, as it is specifically intended to deal with blue-sky, just this side of science fiction ideas with a 10+ year development horizon. Selected ideas will get $ 100K for the first year, and can ramp up after that (up to and including flights into space). Space elevators, nuclear propulsion, truly autonomous robots, even things like the search for alien life in the deep biosphere, could be funded if they seem interesting and pass review. (The previous NIAC provided the first serious funding for the space elevator, for example.) Jay Falker, the Program Manager, made it clear that they were not looking for just proposals from established names and big companies, but would welcome participation from all (although only US citizens or companies can get funding). So, there you go slashdotters ! If you have an idea, the technical savvy to back it up, and can wait for the announcement of opportunity (thought to be around October 1), then you have a chance at getting NASA funding to back it up."

Link to Original Source
top

Hayabusa returns particles from asteroid

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mbone (558574) writes "Slashdot readers may remember the long odyssey of the Japanese Hayabusa spacecraft — and the recent Slashdot article entitled "No Samples On Japan's Hayabusa Asteroid Probe."

Well, the BBC now has a story, "Hayabusa capsule particles may be from asteroid." Apparently JAXA (the Japanese Space Agency) has opened the sample container returned to Earth by Hayabusa, and has released "images of tiny dust particles inside the container."

You will note that I titled this story carefully — Hayabusa has now returned particles from the asteroid. Whether they are asteroid particles or pieces of dust brought all the way from Earth remains to be seen, but they were certainly returned from the asteroid — a remarkable technical feat. This announcement, I think, gives considerable hope that these particles are from the near-Earth asteroid, Itokawa, as the Japanese have been very careful in trying to avoid contamination. Even a tiny speck of dust would be very revealing about the asteroid's constitution and possibly its history as well. Kudos to JAXA for a job well done."

Link to Original Source
top

Federal Authorities Shut Down 7 Movie Sharing Webs

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mbone (558574) writes "There is an article in NJ Today on a announcement by the United States Attorney and Homeland Security about the seizure of the domain names of seven sites: TVSHACK.NET, MOVIES-LINKS.TV, FILESPUMP.COM, NOW-MOVIES.COM, PLANETMOVIEZ.COM, THEPIRATECITY.ORG, and ZML.COM, for violations of federal criminal copyright infringement laws. The announcement said that these high volume web sites offered copies of movies such as “The Karate Kid,” “Toy Story 3 and “Sex and The City 2.” ZML.COM, is a “cyberlocker,” the latest target for the MPAA's ire.

Search warrants were also executed on the servers involved with these sites.

So, was this an out and out criminal enterprise, or a bunch of hobbyists ? Or something in between ? I bet the slashdot audience knows."

Link to Original Source

Journals

mbone has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?