schwit1 (797399) writes "The competition heats up: NASA has made a decision and has chosen two companies to ferry astronauts to and from ISS, and those companies are Boeing and SpaceX.
Some quick details from NASA here.
This is a reasonable political and economic decision. It confirms that SpaceX is ready to go and gives the company the opportunity to finish the job, while also giving Boeing the chance to show that it can compete while also giving that pork to congressional districts.
Some details: After NASA has certified that each company has successfully built its spacecraft they will have then fly anywhere from four to six missions. The certification process will be step-by-step, similar to the methods used in the cargo contracts, and will involve five milestones. They will be paid incrementally as they meet these milestones.
One milestone will be a manned flight to ISS, with one NASA astronaut on board.
One more detail. Boeing will receive $4.2 billion while SpaceX will get $2.6 billion. These awards were based on what the companies proposed and requested." top
schwit1 (797399) writes "Theft by government: Having broken no law, a Philadelphia husband and wife were evicted from their home and the house taken from them by the DA’s office, which stood to personally profit from the confiscation.
The nightmare began when police showed up at the house and arrested their 22-year-old son, Yianni, on drug charges — $40 worth of heroin. Authorities say he was selling drugs out of the home. The Sourvelises say they had no knowledge of any involvement their son might have had with drugs.
A month-and-a-half later police came back — this time to seize their house, forcing the Sourvelises and their children out on the street that day. Authorities came with the electric company in tow to turn off the power and even began locking the doors with screws, the Sourvelises say. Authorities won’t comment on the exact circumstances because of pending litigation regarding the case.
Police and prosecutors came armed with a lawsuit against the house itself. It was being forfeited and transferred to the custody of the Philadelphia District Attorney. Authorities said the house was tied to illegal drugs and therefore subject to civil forfeiture. In two years, nearly 500 families in Philadelphia had their homes or cars taken away by city officials, according to records from Pennsylvania’s attorney general.
This quote from later in the article is also key: “The very authorities taking the property appear to be profiting from it, according to Pennsylvania state records.”" Link to Original Source
schwit1 (797399) writes "Scientists have declared a new record has been set for the extent of Antarctic sea ice since records began. Satellite imagery reveals an area of about 20 million square kilometers covered by sea ice around the Antarctic continent. Jan Lieser from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) said the discovery was made two days ago.
"Thirty-five years ago the first satellites went up which were reliably telling us what area, two dimensional area, of sea ice was covered and we've never seen that before, that much area." Link to Original Source top
schwit1 (797399) writes "Does this make you feel safer? The TSA last weekend tried to body search an individual after he had completed his flight. The man refused, and walked away.
Last Saturday, Kahler Nygard took a Spirit Airlines flight to Denver to visit with friends. When he departed from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Transportation Security Administration agents patted him down and allowed him to board his flight. When the plane landed, he was singled out and ordered to exit before the other passengers. After he exited the aircraft, TSA agents approached Nygard and demanded that he go through an additional pat-down and a screening of his luggage for explosive materials.
He had already arrived safely at his destination in Denver and simply wanted to leave the airport. After an argument, which can be seen in the above video [embedded below the fold], Nygard refused the pat-down, despite the fact that TSA agents claimed that he would be arrested if he did not comply, and exited the airport without incident. Nygard flew back to Minnesota yesterday without any complications.
Watch the video below the fold to see him successfully refuse to comply with these fascist thugs and leave the airport. They had no justification for detaining him, he had broken no laws, and so they could not force him to comply. He asks politely “Am I being detained? Is that an order or a request?” When it is clear that it is only a request he says he is leaving and walks away.
Had they tried to detain him at that point he would have easily won a court suit for false arrest and police abuse.
Note that this incident illustrates two things. First, TSA security is a joke. This man was on their so-called “no-fly” list (for no justifiable reason) but they still failed to screen him properly before his flight. Second, their attempt to screen him after his flight shows us that airport safety has nothing to do with the TSA’s reason for existing. The TSA serves as a tool of the government to destroy our freedoms and to establish the power of government over our lives. We should stop submitting to this abuse, and demand that it end."
schwit1 (797399) writes "The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved the Justice Department's request for another 90-day extension of the National Security Agency's controversial mass surveillance program, exposed publicly last summer by Edward Snowden and authorized under Section 215 of the post-9/11 Patriot Act. The spying authority is next set to expire on Dec. 5.
The extension marks the third of its kind since President Obama pledged in January to reform how the NSA spies on Americans during a major policy speech delivered amid withering scrutiny of the nation's intelligence-gathering practices." Link to Original Source top
schwit1 (797399) writes "New data from a globular cluster in nearby dwarf galaxy has confirmed that the deficit of lithium that astronomers have found in the Milky Way also exists in other galaxies.
According to the Big Bang theory, the amount of lithium in the universe should be two or three times more than it is. This result shows that the deficit exists outside the Milky Way, which suggests strongly that something significant is wrong with the Big Bang theory." top
Who is buried in the largest tomb ever found in northern Greece?
This past weekend the excavation team, led by Greek archaeologist Katerina Peristeri, announced the discovery of two elegant caryatids—large marble columns sculpted in the shape of women with outstretched arms—that may have been intended to bar intruders from entering the tomb’s main room. “I don’t know of anything quite like them,” says Philip Freeman, a professor of classics at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
The curly-haired caryatids are just part of the tomb’s remarkable furnishings. Guarding the door as sentinels were a pair of carved stone sphinxes, mythological creatures with the body of a lion and the head of a human. And when archaeologists finally entered the antechamber, they discovered faded remnants of frescoes as well as a mosaic floor made of white marble pieces inlaid in a red background.
Archeologists believe this tomb is connected somehow to Alexander the Great and could very well be the burial site of one of his relatives or close allies. They will not know more until they actually enter the tomb."
schwit1 (797399) writes "Sodium has long been labeled the blood-pressure bogeyman. But are we giving salt a fair shake?
A new study published in the American Journal of Hypertension analyzed data from 8,670 French adults and found that salt consumption wasn’t associated with systolic blood pressure in either men or women after controlling for factors like age.
Why not? One explanation, the authors write, is that the link we all assume between salt and blood pressure is “overstated” and “more complex than once believed.” It should be noted, however, that even though the study found no statistically significant association between blood pressure and sodium in the diet, those patients who were hypertensive consumed significantly more salt than those without hypertension—suggesting, as other research has, that salt affects people differently.
As for the factors that did seem to influence blood pressure, alcohol consumption, age, and most of all BMI were strongly linked to a rise. Eating more fruits and vegetables was significantly linked to a drop." Link to Original Source top
Scientists: 'Extreme' solar storm heading to Earth
schwit1 (797399) writes "An extreme solar flare is blasting its way to Earth and could mess up some power grids, satellites and radio transmissions, scientists say.
It's been several years since Earth has had a solar storm of this size coming from sunspots smack in the middle of the sun, said Tom Berger, director of the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado.
Solar storms happen often, especially during peaks in the solar cycle, and don't directly harm people. But what makes this one more worrisome is its location on the sun along with its strength, he said." Link to Original Source top
The Canadian government began searching for Franklin’s ships in 2008 as part of a strategy to assert Canada’s sovereignty over the Northwest Passage, which has recently become accessible to shipping because of melting Arctic ice. Expedition sonar images from the waters of Victoria Strait, just off King William Island, clearly show the wreckage of a ship on the ocean floor.
schwit1 (797399) writes "Apple is including some sort of automatic credit card payment system with the iPhone 6. It's using some security feature of the phone and system to negotiate a cheaper transaction fee.
Basically, there are two kinds of credit card transactions: card-present, and card-not-present. The former is cheaper because there's less risk of fraud. The article says that Apple has negotiated the card-present rate for its iPhone payment system, even though the card is not present. Presumably, this is because of some other security features that reduce the risk of fraud." Link to Original Source top
The first suspension bridge connecting mountain peaks
schwit1 (797399) writes "Sales of electrified vehicles in the United States have slowed dramatically in the last year, causing concern that the emerging technology has lost its charge. The whole automobile market has grown. We're not seeing electric vehicles as part of that growth says Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds senior analyst
"This was a market that was supposed to grow, relatively rapidly, as people embraced these new technologies and more brands began selling these models,” said Edmunds senior analyst Jessica Caldwell. “That hasn’t happened.”" Link to Original Source top
Army can't track spending on $4 billion system to track spending
As of this February, the Army had spent $725.7 million on the system, which is ultimately expected to cost about $4.3 billion. The problem, according to the IG, is that the Army has failed to comply with a variety of federal laws that require agencies to standardize reporting and prepare auditable financial statements. “This occurred because DOD and Army management did not have adequate controls, including procedures and annual reviews, in place to ensure GCSS-Army compliance with Treasury and DOD guidance,” the IG report concludes.
Up to 20 NASA consultants had spent the past two years working on the project, at average annual salaries of $250,000. They’ve conducted technical designs for new radios and computer dispatch systems. That technology will eventually link police, FDNY and emergency medical system dispatchers and field units to the city’s main emergency call center in downtown Brooklyn, and to a still-unfinished backup call center in the Bronx.
City officials did not say they were dissatisfied with NASA’s performance. They simply believe the work can be done cheaper in-house.
Key quote: "It is clear SpaceX envisions a rocket far more powerful than even the fully evolved Block 2 SLS – a NASA rocket that isn’t set to be launched until the 2030s."
The SpaceX rocket hinges on whether the company can successfully build its new Raptor engine. If they do, they will have their heavy lift rocket in the air and functioning far sooner than NASA, and for far far far less money." top
schwit1 (797399) writes "Because of an increasing number of computer resets on the Mars rover Opportunity, engineers plan to reformat the rover’s computer.
The resets, including a dozen this month, interfere with the rover’s planned science activities, even though recovery from each incident is completed within a day or two.
Flash memory retains data even when power is off. It is the type used for storing photos and songs on smart phones or digital cameras, among many other uses. Individual cells within a flash memory sector can wear out from repeated use. Reformatting clears the memory while identifying bad cells and flagging them to be avoided.
Obviously there is a risk, though small, that this action will not work and the mission will end here."