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NASA

Is NASA Planning To "Terraform" Part of the Moon? Not Quite 65 65

MarkWhittington writes: A story in Popular Science suggested that NASA is mulling a plan to "terraform" part of the moon. The term is more than a little misleading, as it implies making a portion of the moon livable for humans. The actual plan, being funded by the space agency as part of NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program is exciting nevertheless. The idea is to deploy reflectors around the rim of the Shackleton Crater, a region at the moon's South Pole where ice is thought to exist in permanent shadows. The reflectors would focus light onto select areas to provide power for robotic explorers. In this manner, the robots would not have to be equipped with protection against the cold inside the crater and would not have to be powered by plutonium-fueled RTGs. Temperatures inside the shadowed regions of Shackleton plunge to minus 280 degrees Fahrenheit.
Medicine

Triggering a Mouse's Happy Memories With Lasers Gives It the Will To Struggle On 66 66

the_newsbeagle writes: With optogenetics, scientists can tag neurons with light-responsive proteins, and then trigger those neurons to "turn on" with the pulse of a light. In the latest application, MIT researchers used light to turn on certain neurons in male mice's hippocampi that were associated with a happy memory (coming into contact with female mice!), and then tested whether that artificially activated memory changed the mice's reactions to a stressful situation (being hung by their tails). Mice who got jolted with the happy memory struggled to get free for longer than the control mice. This tail-suspension test was developed to screen potential antidepressant drugs: If a rodent struggles longer before giving up, it's considered less depressed.

Comment Not even that... (Score 1) 419 419

The real problem with Pu-238 is its source; the recovery of Pu-239 for weapons, from a Uranium fueled reactor.

You Can breed it in a high-neutron type reactor, but those are purpose built for research, and most research places won't let you breed something that has warhead-grade material as a side product. :)

I don't think there's anywhere in the EU that would admit to having those capabilities, let alone furnish material that proved it. :)

The US isn't making new material anymore, neither is Russia.

The Japanese was recycling Plutonium on some scale, before fukushima; maybe they could help.

There will have to be a Government Program to fund RTG generator research for Space; no-one else could do it.

Comment Re:To all you Obama supporters (Score 1) 165 165

I agree we had few choices there; but Obama's blackness wasn't why I voted for him. :)

Sarah Palin's votes were proportional to boob size, not intellect.

I have to admit: I Really thought he would be different.

WTF was I thinking, lol.

They're only in office because enough of us bought their BS.

Think we'll do better next time? :)

Comment Re:To all you Obama supporters (Score 5, Insightful) 165 165

It seems we already are; with no reach-around...

He ran on the proviso that all the illegal BS we were doing would be shut down. (as well as the billion-dollar-a-day wars we were fighting...)

Instead, it's way beyond what was left to him by Bush.

Now he's Asking a Secret Court to allow the Government to Break a Lawful Ruling that basically Affirmed that the Program was Unconstitutional.

WTF?

Government

White House Asks FISA Court To Ignore 2nd Circuit's Decision On Bulk Surveillance 165 165

schwit1 sends news that the Obama Administration has made a legal request to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court to ignore a ruling from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals making bulk surveillance illegal. The government says it's doing so to create an "orderly transition" between now and the beginning of USA Freedom Act provisions in six months. Their legal argument is that the Circuit Court's rulings are only binding for lower courts — the FISA court is secretive and separated from the normal legal process, so it doesn't necessarily fit in the normal court hierarchy.

ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer said, "While the FISA court isn’t formally bound by the second circuit’s ruling, it will certainly have to grapple with the second circuit’s interpretation of the ‘relevance’ requirement. The [court] will also have to consider whether Congress effectively adopted the second circuit’s interpretation of the relevance requirement when it passed the USA Freedom Act." The issue is further complicated because the Circuit Court did not actually issue an injunction against bulk surveillance, deferring instead to the congressional debate already underway about the Patriot Act and USA Freedom Act.

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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