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Submission + - As calls for funding NASA commercial crew grow, Richard Shelby is the man to buy->

MarkWhittington writes: As summer starts to give way to fall and the end of the current fiscal year draws nigh, demands that NASA’s commercial crew program be fully funded are being heard with greater frequency and urgency. Astronaut Scott Kelly took time off from his year-long sojourn on the International Space Station to entreat Congress to pony up. IO9 was a little more caustic, stating “Dammit, Congress: Just Buy NASA its Own Space Taxi, Already.” Monday, Slate became the latest media outlet to take up the cause

The situation is depressingly familiar to those who have followed the fortunes of the space program since the Apollo moon landings. When President Obama started the commercial crew program in 2010, NASA estimated that it would take a certain amount of money to get government funded and commercially operated spacecraft running by 2015. Then the space agency would no longer be dependent on Russia for rides to the International Space Station.

Congress has decided to allocate less money than NASA feels it needed for commercial crew. This situation is not unusual, as Congress often does this to space projects. However, the politics surrounding the creation of the commercial crew program, which featured the abrupt cancelation of the Constellation space exploration program, has exacerbated the conflict between NASA’s will and Congress’ won’t. President Obama did not consult Congress when he cancelled President Bush’s return to the moon program. Congress has displeased ever since..

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Submission + - Extortionists Begin Targeting AshleyMadison Users, Demand Bitcoin

tsu doh nimh writes: It was bound to happen: Brian Krebs reports that extortionists have begun emailing people whose information is included in the leaked Ashleymadison.com user database, threatening to find and contact the target's spouse and alert them if the recipient fails to cough up 1 Bitcoin. Krebs interviews one guy who got such a demand, a user who admits to having had an affair after meeting a woman on the site and who is now worried about the fallout, which he said could endanger his happily married life with his wife and kids.

Submission + - Superconductivity record sparks wave of follow-up physics->

jan_jes writes: Hydrogen sulfide — the compound responsible for the smell of rotten eggs — conducts electricity with zero resistance at a record high temperature of 203 kelvin (–70 C), reports a paper published in Nature. The results of the work, which represents a historic step towards finding a room-temperature superconductor, were released on the arXiv preprint server in December and followed up by more in June.

Researchers find that when they subject samples of hydrogen sulfide to extremely high pressures — around 1.5 million atmospheres (150 gigapascals) — and cool them below 203 K, the samples display the classic hallmarks of superconductivity: zero electrical resistance and a phenomenon known as the Meissner effect. The Meissner effect occurs when a superconducting material is placed in an external magnetic field and there is no field inside the sample, unlike in normal materials.

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Submission + - Home Robots Don't Yet Live Up the Hype->

moon_unit2 writes: You may have heard of "personal robots" such as Jibo, Buddy, and Pepper. One journalist recently met one of these home bots and found the reality less dazzling than the promotional videos. Whereas the Indiegogo clips of Buddy show the robot waking people up and helping with cooking, the current prototype can only perform a few canned tasks, and it struggles with natural language processing and vision. As the writer notes, the final version may be a lot more sophisticated, but it's hard to believe that real home helpers are just around the corner.
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Submission + - HTV-5 on its way to the ISS->

nojayuk writes: There's another launcher delivering cargo to the ISS apart from US and Russian vehicles, and it's Japanese. The fifth Koutonori (White Stork) cargo vehicle was successfully launched today at from pad 2 of the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at Tanegashima south of Tokyo at 11:50:49 UTC, carrying over 5 tonnes of food, spare parts and scientific equipment to the ISS in a pressurised cabin and an external racking system. This is the fifth successful launch in a row for the Japanese H2B launcher. The Koutonoris have carried over 20 tonnes of cargo in total to the ISS, more than double the amount of SpaceX's six successful CRS resupply flights.
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Submission + - Former Rep. Louis Stokes, the man who saved the space station, dies at age 90->

MarkWhittington writes: The Associated Press noted the passing of former Rep. Louis Stokes at the age of 90. Since Stokes was an African American Democrat first elected in 1968, most of the accolades touch on his effect on the civil rights struggle and his lifelong fight against racism. However, as George Abbey, former NASA Director of the Johnson Spaceflight Center and current Fellow in Space Policy at the Baker Institute of Rice University pointed out on his Facebook Page, Stokes can be rightly be said to be the man who saved the International Space Station and perhaps human space flight in America.
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Submission + - Linus Torvalds Isn't Looking 10 years Ahead for Linux and That's OK->

darthcamaro writes: At the Linuxcon conference in Seattle today, Linus Torvalds responded to questions about Linux security and about the next 10 years of Linux. For security, Torvalds isn't too worried as he sees it just being about dealing with bugs. When it comes to having a roadmap he's not worried either as he just leaves that to others.

"I'm a very plodding, pedestrian person and look only about six months ahead," Torvalds said. "I look at the current release and the next one, as I don't think planning 10 years ahead is sane."


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Submission + - ElectroMagnetic Drive Will Be More Important the Internal Combustion; If Real

szczys writes: The EM drive has the promise of turning radio waves into thrust. That has huge implications for many different types of transport, both on this planet and through space. The problem is that real scientific tests have turned up conflicting and confusing information.

Supporting data could end up being just a statistical anomaly. But until proven impossible or made a reality, it's fun to think about the effect EM Drive could have on humanity. If it actually works we get Helicarriers.

http://hackaday.com/2015/08/19...

Submission + - MIT and Samsung Researching Solid-State Batteries->

jones_supa writes: Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Samsung have developed a new approach to one of the three basic components of batteries, the electrolyte. The new findings are based on the idea that a solid electrolyte, rather than liquid, could greatly improve both device lifetime and safety, while also providing a significant boost in power density. The new type of electrolyte would also cope better in cold temperatures. The results are reported in the journal Nature Materials in a paper by MIT postdoc Yan Wang, visiting professor of materials science and engineering Gerbrand Ceder, and five others.
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Submission + - IBM 'TrueNorth' neuro-synaptic chip promises huge changes -- eventually

JakartaDean writes: Each chip contains 1.8 billion transistors but runs on 70 milliwatts. The chips are designed to behave like neurons—the basic building blocks of biological brains. Modha, the head of IBM's cognitive computing group, says the system (24 connected chips) in front of us spans 48 million of these artificial nerve cells, roughly the number of neurons packed into the head of a rodent.

Whereas conventional chips are wired to execute particular “instructions,” the TrueNorth juggles “spikes,” much simpler pieces of information analogous to the pulses of electricity in the brain. Spikes, for instance, can show the changes in someone’s voice as they speak—or changes in color from pixel to pixel in a photo. “You can think of it as a one-bit message sent from one neuron to another.” says one of the chip’s chief designers.

Submission + - "Father Time" Gets Another Year at NTP From Linux Foundation->

dkatana writes: Harlan Stenn, Father Time to some and beleaguered maintainer of the Network Time Protocol (NTP) to others, will stay working for the NTP another year.

But there is concern that support will decline as more people believe that NTP works just fine and doesn't need any supervision.

NTP is the preeminent time synchronization system for Macs, Windows, and Linux computers and most servers on networks. According to IW, for the last three-and-a-half years, Stenn said he's worked 100-plus hours a week answering emails, accepting patches, rewriting patches to work across multiple operating systems, piecing together new releases, and administering the NTP mailing list. If NTP should get hacked or for some reason stop functioning, hundreds of thousands of systems would feel the consequences. "If that happened, all the critics would say, 'See, you can't trust open source code,'" said Stenn.

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Submission + - Federal Judge Calls BS on Homeland Security's 2008 STEM 'Emergency'

theodp writes: In 2008, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security enacted 'emergency' changes to Optional Practical Training (OPT) to extend the amount of time foreign STEM graduates of US colleges could stay in the country and work ("to alleviate the crisis employers are facing due to the current H-1B visa shortage", as Bill Gates explained it in 2007). More than seven years later, U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle has found that the government erred by not seeking public comment when it extended the program, and issued a ruling that could force tens of thousands of foreign workers on OPT STEM extensions to return to their home countries early next year. Huvelle has given the government six months to submit the OPT extension rule for proper notice and comment lest it be revoked. From the ruling (pdf): "By failing to engage in notice-and-comment rulemaking, the record is largely one-sided, with input only from technology companies that stand to benefit from additional F-1 student employees, who are exempted from various wage taxes. Indeed, the 17-month duration of the STEM extension appears to have been adopted directly from the unanimous suggestions by Microsoft and similar industry groups." Microsoft declared a new crisis in 2012, this time designed to link tech's need for H-1B visas to U.S. children's lack of CS savvy.

Submission + - New rules from the FCC open up new access to Wi-FI->

CarlottaHapsburg writes: White space — unused channels in the VHF and UHF spectrum — is already part of daily life, from old telephones to going online at your coffee shop or plugging in baby monitors. The time has come to "permit unlicensed fixed and personal/portable white space devices and unlicensed wireless microphones to use channels in the 600 MHz and television broadcast bands," according to the FCC.

One of the ramifications is that Wi-Fi could now blanket urban areas, as well as bringing it to rural areas and machine-to-machine technology. Rice University has tested a super Wi-Fi network linked by next-generation TV or smart remotes. Carriers are sure to be unhappy about this, but consumers will have the benefit of a newly open web.

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