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Comment: Re:curious orientation (Score 5, Informative) 19

by Kreuzfeld (#46112517) Attached to: First Global Map Outside the Solar System

Good question! Atmospheric scientists aren't actually sure yet whether brown dwarfs should have "bands" like we see on Jupiter and other Solar system gas giants (this was discussed at a meeting in Washington, D.C. Jan 2014) -- and our mapping data wasn't quite sensitive enough to definitively answer that question. (We're less sensitive to axisymmetric features than we are to longitudinal variations). The vertical "stretching" of the map's features toward the poles is an unavoidable artifact of our analysis technique. Cloud patterns may be less elongated than they appear!

+ - First Global Map Outside the Solar System

Submitted by Kreuzfeld
Kreuzfeld (308371) writes "For many years, astronomers have suspected that brown dwarfs — 'failed stars' with masses between those of planets and stars — have cloudy atmospheres. Our recent paper in Nature presents the first global, 2D map of the patchy clouds in the atmosphere of a brown dwarf: our neighbor, the 6.5 light-years-distant Luhman 16B. Eventually, astronomers will use this technique to make weather movies of global cloud patterns on brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets."

+ - Privacy Board: NSA telephone records program illegal->

Submitted by monna19
monna19 (2950833) writes "Privacy Board: NSA telephone records program illegal
January 24, 2014 morningsunbd English Bulletin No comments
+
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nsa_usa_morningsunbdThe National Security Agency program that collects data on nearly every U.S. phone call isn’t legal, a privacy review board said Thursday in a newly released report.

Moreover, the five-member Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board said it’s been largely useless in thwarting terrorism.

“We have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation,” the board wrote in the report released Thursday."

Link to Original Source

+ - Edward Snowden and the Death of Nuance

Submitted by Trailrunner7
Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "As the noise and drama surrounding the NSA surveillance leaks and its central character, Edward Snowden, have continued to grow in the last few months, many people and organizations involved in the story have taken great pains to line up on either side of the traitor/hero line regarding Snowden’s actions. While the story has continued to evolve and become increasingly complex, the opinions and rhetoric on either side has only grown more strident and inflexible, leaving no room for nuanced opinions or the possibility that Snowden perhaps is neither a traitor nor a hero but something else entirely.

In some ways, the people pushing the Snowden-as-traitor narrative have a decided advantage here. This group comprises politicians, intelligence officials, lawmakers and others whose opinions carry the implicit power and weight of their offices. Whatever one thinks of Obama, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Alexander, they are among the more powerful men on earth and their public pronouncements by definition are important. If one of them declares Snowden to be a traitor or says that he should spend the rest of his life in prison for his actions, there is a sizable portion of the population who accepts that as fact.

That is not necessarily the case on the other side of the argument. However, many members of both the hero and traitor crowds formed their opinions reflexively, aligning themselves with the voices they support and then standing pat, regardless of the revelation of any new facts or evidence. They take the bits and pieces of Snowden’s story arc that fit with their own philosophy, use them to bolster their arguments and ignore the things that don’t help. This, of course, is in no way unique to the Snowden melodrama. It is a fact of life in today’s hyper-fragmented and hype-driven media environment, a climate in which strident opinions that fit on the CNN ticker or in a tweet have all but destroyed the possibility of nuanced discourse."

Comment: Re:Adaptic optics FTW (Score 1) 189

by Kreuzfeld (#32744160) Attached to: First Direct Photo of Exoplanet Confirmed

Hubble has better resolution at visible wavelengths, but remember we're seeing the planet's thermal radiation and not reflected (visible) light -- so the planet is over 10 times fainter in the visible than at at infrared wavelengths (Figure 6 in the paper). Hubble can also see into the infrared, but because it is smaller than the largest ground-based telescopes Hubble does not offer the best resolution in the infrared.

Space

Giant Planet Nine Times the Mass of Jupiter Found 73

Posted by Soulskill
from the fat-planets dept.
cremeglace writes "In the late 1990s, astronomers noticed a distinct warp in the disk of dust and gas orbiting a young star some 60 light-years from Earth. Now, using new analytical tools, researchers have discovered a giant planet lurking within the dusty haze. About nine times as massive as Jupiter and composed mainly of gas, the planet is only a few million years old, proving that such enormous planetary bodies can form rapidly." What's amazing about this is that the images taken of the star clearly show the planet first on one side of the star, and then the other, several years later.

+ - Fair Use, Free Speech, and Memory Holes

Submitted by akahige
akahige (622549) writes "Copyright and fair use both see quite a bit of discussion here, and a news update sparked an interesting thought to which I have no answer — so I thought it would be interesting to see what the Slashdot pundits have to say... The judge in the Associated Press vs. Shepard Fairey copyright infringement suit over the Obama Hope poster today suggested that the parties come to some sort of settlement rather than dragging the issue into court where the AP, according to the judge, is sure to eventually prevail.

Fairey and his lawyers have been arguing fair use — and that seems to be how the media and copyright watchdogs have been treating the dispute, but there's something more interesting, subtle, and insidious going on that no one has touched on. The Fairey poster is not just the photograph with some Photoshop effects applied to it — which would have certainly brought up all manner of fair use issues. It's been demonstrated that the poster image was traced from the photo (no doubt by hand), but that would actually make it an original creation, even when using something else as a jumping off point. Here's the catch: the photo was not a work of art carefully composed in a studio, it was taken at a public event where anyone standing in roughly the same spot could have taken the exact same shot.

Apparently, what the AP is arguing is that no one has the right to make a artistic representation of anything depicted in a photograph to which they hold the rights. This is not a threat to fair use. It's a threat to free speech, and the willful creation of a memory hole."
Education

3rd Grader Accused of Hacking Schools' Computer System 344

Posted by samzenpus
from the give-that-kid-a-gold-star dept.
Gud writes "According to The Washington Post a 9-year-old was able to hack into his county's school computer network and change such things as passwords, course work, and enrollment info. From the article: 'Police say a 9-year-old McLean boy hacked into the Blackboard Learning System used by the county school system to change teachers' and staff members' passwords, change or delete course content, and change course enrollment. One of the victims was Fairfax Superintendent Jack D. Dale, according to an affidavit filed by a Fairfax detective in Fairfax Circuit Court this week. But police and school officials decided no harm, no foul. The boy did not intend to do any serious damage, and didn't, so the police withdrew and are allowing the school district to handle the half-grown hacker.'"

Comment: Re:Much More Than What It Appears To Be (Score 1) 367

by Kreuzfeld (#31693564) Attached to: The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 Passes Senate Panel

From Sen. Feinstein (D-CA): "Currently, S. 773 is awaiting action in the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and is currently undergoing some major revisions." If this information is still current, anyone concerned with this issue should contact the appropriate members of the committee.

+ - Why don't printers just share their print driver?

Submitted by fsterman
fsterman (519061) writes "My day job is working at a printing company and the set-up for the $20,000 printer their and the $100 printer at my house is almost the exact same, except when I went browsing for the printer on my home network I needed to have the drivers installed on my laptop whereas the work printer shares the driver; no install needed. As a usability person, it's the single largest problem with printers. Why the hell don't the manufacturers just have the various drivers reside on the printer? It would only require a few megs of space, it would give a leg-up to smaller vendors, and it could be a great selling point "No driver install headaches!""

+ - USTR: Evasive reply to Sen. Wyden re ACTA->

Submitted by TechForensics
TechForensics (944258) writes "U. S. Ambassador Ron Kirk, the US representative to the ACTA negotiations and currently the White House's Trade Representative, has posted responses to a letter of inquiry sent by Senator Wyden. The response manages to evade forthright answers to almost every question; for instance in answer # 6 where it assures limiting measures to those permitted by US Law without addressing how the potential treaty may change the obligations of US law. Yes, it really is as bad as you thought, and the US is really the nation with private citizens' interests least at heart."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Use survey markers (Score 1) 235

by Kreuzfeld (#31431736) Attached to: Digitizing and Geocoding Old Maps?

What type of maps are these?

Many professional-style maps in the USA -- e.g. quad sheets, parcel/tract maps, etc. -- will have survey markers indicated. Ideally these would be set benchmark disks with longitude/latitude noted. Many maps also mark boundaries of townships, sections, and half- and quarter-sections, locations of which should be available from the local municipal authorities.

These sort of well-defined points are probably your best bet for empirical location, but if your maps are 100 years old the coordinates may not be precise enough for digital overlays. In the end, you may well be forced to manually align your maps with something more modern.

Our policy is, when in doubt, do the right thing. -- Roy L. Ash, ex-president, Litton Industries

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