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NASA Cancels "Sunjammer" Solar Sail Demonstration Mission

mbone Re: Fame deserved it (74 comments)

FAME deserved it. Let' s just leave it at that and walk away from the wreckage.

yesterday
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NASA Cancels "Sunjammer" Solar Sail Demonstration Mission

mbone Re:Ouch (74 comments)

I'm raised protestantian, as Martin Luther defined it.
Certainly there is no trinity.

Uh, my understanding is that Lutherans subscribe to the Nicene Creed. So do the Baptists (Southern and otherwise), Methodists, Presbyterians, the Catholics and the Orthodox, and in fact every Christian church I have ever been in*.

The Trinity, and the divinity of Christ (that "true God from true God" part), is built into the Nicene Creed. It is a feature, not a bug. You may not believe in it, but don't go saying all those churches don't know what they are doing when they recite it.

* You will get bonus points here by intelligently bringing up the Filioque.

yesterday
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NASA Cancels "Sunjammer" Solar Sail Demonstration Mission

mbone Re:Blame these Space News websites (74 comments)

Well, big chunks of the US aerospace industry (i.e., their audience) still use English units. You don't see this in formal publications as much as you used to, but it's still fairly common.

2 days ago
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NASA Cancels "Sunjammer" Solar Sail Demonstration Mission

mbone Re:To me, this is good news (74 comments)

Well, it's an analogy. Generally, in the spacecraft case, the plug is just pulled, for a bunch of different reasons (which is why it doesn't happen all that often). In this case, L'Garde was trying to reuse a bunch of technology they developed for previous inflatable structures in space. This led to the sail inflation mechanism weighing more than the Sunjammer itself, which is not desirable, and likely not what you would do if you started from scratch. No new contractor would want to come in and try and make the L'Garde proprietary technology work, and NASA is well aware of that. So, there will be sails flown relatively soon, but they won't look like L'Garde's Sunjammer.

2 days ago
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NASA Cancels "Sunjammer" Solar Sail Demonstration Mission

mbone Re:To me, this is good news (74 comments)

Oh, yes. FAME (to pick my previous example) absolutely deserved to be canceled. It hurt some people I have real respect for, but there it is. I am sure the current situation is pretty similar. (This is analogous to firing a contractor when they are halfway finished building an addition to your house - it is so messy and represents such a real loss of money, and also such a loss of face, that it is almost never done without some real provocation.)

2 days ago
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NASA Cancels "Sunjammer" Solar Sail Demonstration Mission

mbone Re:Units hurt the brain (74 comments)

It's worse than that. There are slugs, pounds and poundals, and (IMHO) anyone who doesn't immediately convert these units to MKS is just being silly.

Sunjammer was to have a total surface area of ~ 1,200 square metres, so its thrust at 1 AU would have been 2 x 1361 W / m^2 x 1200 / c ~ 0.01 Newtons (assuming the sail had a near perfect reflectivity). On the surface of the Earth, that thrust would be generated by a weight of 0.01 / 9.8 ~ 1 gm, or ~ 0.002 pounds.

2 days ago
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NASA Cancels "Sunjammer" Solar Sail Demonstration Mission

mbone Re:Ouch (74 comments)

while that was an absolutely stupid thing to do, its not really relevant to the topic at hand here now is it??

It's not even really true; it's just bamboozlement for people who want to be bamboozled. If you listen to the actual fracking interview, he says that his goals, on this particular trip to the Middle East include outreach to the Muslim world, including reminding them in their role in the development of science. That is a non-surprising goal for an official trip to a particular region. I have a news flash - at the recent IAC meeting, he congratulated the Indians on the initial success of their MOM Mars mission. I suppose the Telegraph will take offense of that too.

I have met Mr. Bolden several times, and had the opportunity to see him in action. He is an excellent NASA administrator who is seriously focused on "boots on Mars," not self-esteem initiatives.

2 days ago
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NASA Cancels "Sunjammer" Solar Sail Demonstration Mission

mbone Ouch (74 comments)

A vote of no confidence. I remember when NASA canceled the USNO FAME satellite - they said it was over the budget, but really it was over the management team. I expect that there is something similar here - fortunately, there is still NASA Marshall's Solar Scout, which is much smaller and cheaper than the Sunjammer.

2 days ago
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Trans-Pacific Partnership May Endanger World Health, Newly Leaked Chapter Shows

mbone Re:Embalm, Burn, Bury (130 comments)

Oh, and most of these are not legally treaties, although they (unconstitutionally) try and have the effect of treaties (again, they do this precisely because they know they could never get an actual treaty with the desired terms through the Senate) . The one good side of doing it that way is that a future President could abrogate the existing agreements at the stroke of a pen.

4 days ago
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Trans-Pacific Partnership May Endanger World Health, Newly Leaked Chapter Shows

mbone Re:Embalm, Burn, Bury (130 comments)

Agreed, but just because you have one boil doesn't mean you should agree to get more.

4 days ago
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Trans-Pacific Partnership May Endanger World Health, Newly Leaked Chapter Shows

mbone Re:Thanks Murica! (130 comments)

You mean the guy who shut your Parliament down rather than face a vote of no confidence? I don't see how you can regard him as legitimate or, for that matter, why you still tolerate having a Governor General.

4 days ago
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Trans-Pacific Partnership May Endanger World Health, Newly Leaked Chapter Shows

mbone Embalm, Burn, Bury (130 comments)

Leave nothing to chance.

This is not a free trade agreement, this is corporations attempting to legislate without actually having to deal with pesky legislatures.

Anyone who supports the US Constitution should be against this.

4 days ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

mbone Re:German Ancestry (323 comments)

Or they could have been some of Catherine the Great's Volga Germans, whom I believe still qualify for German citizenship, even if they were born in Russia and never spoke German.

about a week ago
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How English Beat German As the Language of Science

mbone Two words (323 comments)

Adolph Hitler

There was lots of groundbreaking research published in German in 1930. By 1950, not so much.

about a week ago
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Too Much Privacy: Finnish Police Want Big Euro Notes Taken Out of Circulation

mbone Re:USA 1969 (314 comments)

It sure wasn't because of a groundswell of public opinion demanding it.

I would strongly favor bringing back the $ 1000 bill. It's not that you might use it every day (I don't use $ 100 bills every day), but there are occasions where it would be very useful.

about a week ago
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Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

mbone Anti-Captcha (546 comments)

There are now lists of millions of stolen passwords, and frankly none of them are safe. Why shouldn't someone set up a password security app (like captcha, but in reverse) so that a large web site could

- download a large stolen password list (even 1 billion would only be a few GBytes)
- checks (a salted hash) of your password against the list (say, salts changed every day or hour or...) and
- if yours is on the list, tells you to do better

It seems this would be much safer than just having some app that counts punctuation characters and tells you your password is strong if it has more than 3.

about a week ago
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Proposed Hab Module For Asteroid Redirect Mission Could Support a Lunar Return

mbone Re:Horse and Cart (55 comments)

Make it profitable, and they will go. How do you think North America got populated* ?

*Well, there is making it a prison planet, and sending everyone who gets a felony. I am sure some would love doing that, as long as they didn't have to go.

about two weeks ago
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Proposed Hab Module For Asteroid Redirect Mission Could Support a Lunar Return

mbone Re:Why send humans now (55 comments)

Sure. Just remember to give us a acre or so of surface area while you're at it.

about two weeks ago
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Proposed Hab Module For Asteroid Redirect Mission Could Support a Lunar Return

mbone Re:Why send humans now (55 comments)

Actually, after following artificial intelligence for some 5 decades now, I suspect he or she is highly likely to sound more uninformed in a few decades. Very few things are as wince-inducing as reading 3-decade old AI predictions.

about two weeks ago
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Proposed Hab Module For Asteroid Redirect Mission Could Support a Lunar Return

mbone Phobos is the real goal (55 comments)

The real goal of the habitat is the Martian moon, Phobos, which is reachable for nearly the same expenditure of energy as the high retrograde lunar orbit planned for ARM. It would take a good deal longer, though, thus the need for a habitat.

If you think of ARM as a training wheels dry run for Phobos, you would not be far off.

about two 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 8 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?"
Link to Original Source
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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
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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."
Link to Original Source
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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?"
Link to Original Source
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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."

Link to Original Source
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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 ?"

Link to Original Source
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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."
Link to Original Source
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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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