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Comments

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At CIA Starbucks, Even the Baristas Are Covert

mbone Traffic engineering (241 comments)

I can actually understand this - suppose I was an agent and I made up a random name, like 'Polly-O string cheese'. If I used it consistently, a spy for the other side could do traffic analysis - things like " 'Polly-O string cheese' always gets a coffee, except for 2 recent periods of about a week each. Suspected agent X was reported as being in country Y, an ally of ours, during those 2 periods, and at no other time. Next time 'Polly-O string cheese' doesn't get a coffee, if X is in country Y, get the Y state security to arrest him.

If I were agent X, I would be very nervous at having to give any name, even if I could make one up each time. Humans are not very good at making up random things...

2 days ago
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At CIA Starbucks, Even the Baristas Are Covert

mbone Store # 1? (241 comments)

I thought that was a Pike's Place in Seattle?

2 days ago
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When Everything Works Like Your Cell Phone

mbone Re:No thank you (171 comments)

During a power failure I found that I can make much better toast in the fireplace than in a toaster. I prefer it now.

3 days ago
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When Everything Works Like Your Cell Phone

mbone Re:Works like a cellphone? (171 comments)

In business, whenever you have to ask, why?, the answer is generally, money.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Keep Students' Passwords Secure?

mbone Re:Depending on the grade? (191 comments)

The OP meant grade as in second or third, not as in B or C.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Keep Students' Passwords Secure?

mbone Re:Ignore stupid suggestions (191 comments)

Oh, and probably most important - parents should make sure they have a copy of the ID's passwords needed to access "third party" resources, to avoid the inevitable loss of notebooks.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Keep Students' Passwords Secure?

mbone Ignore stupid suggestions (191 comments)

Tell them to put them in a notebook. Accept that they will get shared. If that bothers the school admins, too bad.

I have a feeling that this school is wasting a bunch of money on stuff "third party" salesmen have sold them, but that is another issue.

about a week ago
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Nvidia Sinks Moon Landing Hoax Using Virtual Light

mbone Stupid (275 comments)

'We're going to debunk one of the biggest conspiracies in the world,'

Anyone who takes this seriously is too stupid to take seriously.

about two weeks ago
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New Data Center Protects Against Solar Storm and Nuclear EMPs

mbone Re:Yeah, so? (59 comments)

Generally, in the data centers guarantees really mean that you get a payment (or a reduction in fees) if the guarantee is violated. (You might get 1 day's service fee off if you lose power for X minutes, for example). So, if it doesn't work, expect a reduction in the bill, as specified in the contract.

So, if you bet your business on something like this, you had better have a plan B in case of outages.

about two weeks ago
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New Data Center Protects Against Solar Storm and Nuclear EMPs

mbone Re:Solar storm EMP vs nuclear weapons (59 comments)

EMP is not biologically dangerous, unless you are wearing something like a pacemaker. And, all you need for protection is a suitable Faraday cage and isolation from the grid, so the same shielding can protect against both EMPs and Solar Storms.

about two weeks ago
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New Data Center Protects Against Solar Storm and Nuclear EMPs

mbone 2000 square feet? (59 comments)

That's it? With a datacenter that small, I wonder they didn't put it deep underground (unless this is a typo).

Can I convert my basement into a data center and get it on slashdot too?

about two weeks ago
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Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

mbone Re:Those moon rocks sure look owned (213 comments)

That's what that "non-interference" bit is about.

about three weeks ago
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Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

mbone Re:Who cares if its legal? (213 comments)

If you have the technology to go mine an asteroid, i dont think any country on this planet will be able to take it from you. And if they try, just "accidentally" drop some of what you mined on them.

You may not care, but your investors are highly likely to. That is really what's driving this.

about three weeks ago
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Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

mbone Wrong, wrong wrong (213 comments)

I was there at the hearing, and I think the summary is pretty far from the true situation.

First, Prof. Gabrynowicz is in the minority in the legal community on this (her response is also to work for international consensus on these issues, which is not going to happen.

Second, the Asteroid Act has been vetted by the State Department (and by a whole bunch of interested parties) and it certainly is in agreement with the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 (even Prof. Gabrynowicz didn't claim otherwise).

Third, all of the space powers appear to be in agreement with the basic principle expressed by the Asteroid Act - that space mining is a lot like deep sea fishing - you can't claim your fishing hole, but you get to keep what you take.

For a more balanced explanation as to why the Act is needed as a US instantiation of the '67 Outer Space Treaty to clarify the rules for US Corporations, see Dean Larson's WSJ Op Ed (or my own take on it).

about three weeks ago
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Publishers Gave Away 123 Million Books During World War Two

mbone Winterhilfswerk (121 comments)

The Germans also had the Winter Charity (Winterhilfswerk), which printed millions of books for German soldiers, both propaganda and stories, humor, songbooks, etc.

I wouldn't be too surprised if the Brits and the Russians did something similar.

about three weeks ago
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CBC Warns Canadians of "US Law Enforcement Money Extortion Program"

mbone Re:Seems reasonable (462 comments)

Well, starting with Nixon, one political party has made political hay with "litmus tests" for the appointment of politically correct judges, with opposition and voting out (where possible) of any judges who are "soft on crime." Is it any surprise that our judiciary is now full of political hacks?

about three weeks ago
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CBC Warns Canadians of "US Law Enforcement Money Extortion Program"

mbone Re:Simple solution (462 comments)

No.

If police want to seize anything, they should charge the citizen with the appropriate crime, and take him or her to court. Anything else is unconstitutional BS.

Yes, not having the proceeds go to charity just turns it into an open invitation for corruption (and any PD that depends on these funds for operating expenses is certainly corrupt), but the problem is deeper than that.

about three weeks ago
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Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him?

mbone The trouble with billionaires (363 comments)

'Frankly, in the eyes of the critics, he's really not an expert. He just happens to be a guy that watched a DVD and thought it was a good idea and had a bunch of money to fund it."

That is exactly and precisely why it is not a good idea to let billionaires run your country. Having had dealings with billionaires, I can also say that he left out one thing, that such a person is almost inevitably going to be surrounded by a bunch of people (including in the press) who think that any idea he has is worthy of adulation.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Mars (One) Needs Payloads

mbone mbone writes  |  about 3 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

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A Lunar Space Elevator in our (near) Future?

mbone mbone writes  |  about 7 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
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Server Sky - internet and computation in orbit

mbone mbone writes  |  about a year 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?"
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Violation of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle

mbone mbone writes  |  about 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."
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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."
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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?"
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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
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Wikileaks looses its DNS

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 3 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."
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Domain Seizures no Hoax

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 3 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"

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Customs and TSA Raid RapGodFathers Hosting Site

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 3 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."

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Robots in space

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 3 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 ?"

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Hands on Airport Searches

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 3 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."

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20 meter tsunami in New York after asteroid hit

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 3 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."
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In Court ? Be careful what you post on Facebook.

mbone mbone writes  |  about 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."
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Facebook has issues, goes down for some users

mbone mbone writes  |  about 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
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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
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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."

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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
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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
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Jupiter is missing a belt

mbone mbone writes  |  more than 4 years ago

mbone (558574) writes "Jupiter just went through Superior Conjunction (i.e., went behind the Sun as seen from the Earth), so it has been out of view for a while. Now that has returned, it is different — the South Equatorial Belt (SEB) is missing. The SEB has about 10 times the surface area of the Earth, so this is not a small change. Here are a series of photos of Jupiter's new look. The Jupiter Red Spot typically inhabits the southern border of the SEB, but it doesn't seem to be affected by the change. It's a pity that this happened at Superior Conjunction, and that there is no satellite in Jupiter orbit, so details of the change are largely missing.

The SEB has previously gone missing in 1973 and 1990. Since no one really knows what makes the Jovian belts, no one knows why they disappear either. If the belts are really just material from deeper layers coming to the surface, it is possible that the convection has stopped for some reason, or that high altitude clouds have covered it over."

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