Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Technology

+ - Bessel beam "tractor beam" concept theoretically demonstrated->

Submitted by cylonlover
cylonlover (1921924) writes "Last year, NASA revealed it was evaluating three potential “tractor beam” technologies to deliver planetary or atmospheric particles to a robotic rover or orbiting spacecraft. At the time, the third of these, which involved the use of a Bessel beam, only existed on paper. Researchers at Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) have now proven the theory behind the concept, demonstrating how a tractor beam can be realized in the real world – albeit on a very small scale."
Link to Original Source

Comment: X-rays are not trivial (Score 1) 1

by Muondecay (#38865689) Attached to: Senator Wants TSA To Conduct 'Independent' Scanner

Ask and ye shall receive, as I am an X-ray scientist with a physics background and I've written comments on this before. I work with material analyzers, primarily ultra-portable XRF and XRD devices used for a variety of applications. All our devices have warning labels and prompts for a reason. X-rays should not be taken as lightly as they are. Previous independent studies and tests used techniques used primarily of direct source X-rays. Those same studies themselves admitted that no acceptable method for quantifying backscatter X-ray absorption exits at present, and there are very valid fears that the tests that were use do not quantify skin absorption very well. So more investigation is certainly merited and some new science could come out of this.

Also, while yes the senator did create the "plan" for this, she is essentially doing what politicians always do in these situations: take the credit for something they authorize funding for. Make no mistake, its the actual labs themselves which will devise the test protocols (as should always be the case).

I'll finish this with something I wrote before:

"Research indicates that enough data of exposed population exists to show that there is no safe dose, no safe-dose rate, nor a safe dose threshold..." - Wolfgang Koehnlein, Direktor of the Institue for Radiation Biology, University of Munster, Germany

In other words, every single high-energy photon that hits you has a chance to cause damage to cell structure or DNA that leads to cancer. These devices WILL increase cancer risk., without question. Yes, it is a small amount, but it is an amount. Safety limits exist to account for REASONABLE exposure, due to necessity (medical reasons primarily) or unavoidable exposure due to voluntary actions (job hazzard, etc.). The TSA and DHS may argue that the risk is low, but it is still a risk, and an unnecessary one at that.

Security

+ - Senator Wants TSA To Conduct 'Independent' Scanner-> 1

Submitted by OverTheGeicoE
OverTheGeicoE (1743174) writes "US Senator Susan Collins, the top Republican on the homeland security committee, plans to introduce a bill that would require a new health study of the X-ray body scanners used to screen airline passengers nationwide. If the bill becomes law, TSA would be required to choose an 'independent laboratory' to measure the radiation emitted by a scanner currently in use at an airport checkpoint and use the data to produce a peer-reviewed study, to be submitted to Congress, based on its findings. The study would also evaluate the safety mechanisms on the machine and determine 'whether there are any biological signs of cellular damage caused by the scans.' Many Slashdotters are or have been involved in science. Is this a credible experimental protocol? Is it reasonable to expect an organization accused of jeopardizing the health and safety of hundreds of millions of air travelers to pick a truly unbiased lab? Would any lab chosen deliver a critical report and risk future funding? Should the public trust a study of radiology and human health designed by a US Senator whose highest degree is a bachelor's degree in government?"
Link to Original Source

+ - US Supreme Court upholds removal of works from Pub-> 2

Submitted by langelgjm
langelgjm (860756) writes "While much of the web is focused on the SOPA and PIPA blackout, supporters of the public domain today quietly lost a protracted struggle that began back in 2001.The Supreme Court, in a 6-2 decision, rejected the argument that Congress did not have the power to convey copyright upon works that were already in the public domain. The suit was originally filed to challenge provisions that the U.S. adopted when signing the TRIPs agreement. Justices Breyer and Alito dissented, arguing that conveyed copyright on already existing works defied the logic of copyright law. Justice Kagan recused herself. The text of the opinions is available here (PDF)."
Link to Original Source

Comment: SOPA will not die even if defeated in congress (Score 5, Insightful) 273

by Muondecay (#38738498) Attached to: SOPA and PIPA So Far
Even if SOPA/PIPA is defeated in congress in its current iteration, the media industry and its lobbying arm likely aren't going to worry in the least. Why? Because they have an ace in the hole: H.R 1981 - The Protect Children from Internet Pornographers (PCIP) Act of 2011. While still in committee since being introduced last summer, and containing questionable provisions about IP logging, It carries with it the same crew of supporters that are pushing the media industries' SOPA agenda. Chances are quite high that they will simply copy/paste SOPA's text onto it, thus giving it the "protecting children" shield from public scrutiny. Any opposition to it will easily be re-framed to wanting to "protect child pornogrophers". This will likely be the next battle and won't be easily won with blackouts and internet stunts. In fact, I'm not sure the public could handle the level of nuance that would be needed to explain why such a bill is dangerous.

Comment: Unnecessary Risk (Score 2) 295

by Muondecay (#38714692) Attached to: DHS X-ray Car Scanners Now At Border Crossings

X-Ray Scientist here. I work with both XRF and XRD instruments for commercial and academic use. The simple fact is this:

"Research indicates that enough data of exposed population exists to show that there is no safe dose, no safe-dose rate, nor a safe dose threshold..." - Wolfgang Koehnlein, Direktor of the Institue for Radiation Biology, University of Munster, Germany

In other words, every single high-energy photon that hits you has a chance to cause damage to cell structure or DNA, leading to cancer. These devices WILL increase cancer risk., without question. Safety limits exist to account for REASONABLE exposure, due to necessity or unavoidable exposure due to voluntary actions (job hazzard, etc.). The DHS may argue that the risk is low, but it is still a risk, and an unnecessary one at that.

Games

+ - Smithsonian To Feature Video Game History-> 1

Submitted by RedEaredSlider
RedEaredSlider (1855926) writes "The Smithsonian American Art Museum has featured everything pop culture from Dorothy's ruby red slippers to Seinfeld's puffy shirt. Now it will exhibit a history of video games.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum said that an exhibit called the "The Art of Video Games," will open to the public in Washington, D.C. on March 16, 2012. The exhibit will explore the 40-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Quid est hoc? (Score 1) 810

by Muondecay (#34464850) Attached to: Digging Into the WikiLeaks Cables

With all the things that have been happening with regards to this story, I imagine you will start to see a new paradigm regarding Government and the Internet. Law regarding the internet, especially international, is largely non-existent, and even more so regarding the resources to enforce such laws. The laws that do exist are reactionary, and usually are extremely specific. The web has become more complex in terms of its capabilities that current law seems like me at my senior prom: awkward and inadequate.

Look at it this way: With probably just a USB stick, worth the price of a big mac, and a gmail account, someone just shook the entire world of international politics (An exaggeration, but you get the point). How do governments, who have largely treated the Internet with a laissez faire attitude, possibly police it, short of taking control and monitoring the entire web? That option, while not impossible, seems extremely unlikely.

If nothing else, this event is an awakening call to those in power: The internet can give-ith, and can take-ith away.

Politics

+ - President Obama to appear on Mythbusters-> 2

Submitted by Muondecay
Muondecay (1841250) writes "President Obama will be featured in the December 8th MythBusters episode, "Archimedes Solar Ray," during which he will challenge Adam and Jamie to revisit an ancient and somewhat controversial myth: Did Greek scientist and polymath Archimedes set fire to an invading Roman fleet using only mirrors and the reflected rays of the sun during the Siege of Syracuse? This is part of a White House effort to highlight the importance of science education."
Link to Original Source
Nintendo

+ - Happy 25th Birthday, Nintendo Entertainment System->

Submitted by harrymcc
harrymcc (1641347) writes "On October 18th 1985, Nintendo launched its NES console in the US, reviving a near-dead video game industry and establishing Nintendo as a leader in home consoles. We've celebrated with a roundup of some of the stranger spinoffs that NES has inspired over the last quarter century, from odd controllers to a lock parents could use to disable the console to do-it-yourself projects like an NES built into a Super Mario cartridge."
Link to Original Source
Government

WikiLeaks 'a Clear and Present Danger,' Says WaPo 837

Posted by Soulskill
from the rhetoric-reaching-critical-levels dept.
bedmison writes "In an op-ed in the Washington Post titled 'WikiLeaks must be stopped,' Marc A. Thiessen writes that 'WikiLeaks represents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States,' and that the US has the authority to arrest its spokesman, Julian Assange, even if it has to contravene international law to do so. Thiessen also suggests that the new USCYBERCOM be unleashed to destroy WikiLeaks as an internet presence." Reader praps tips an interview with another WikiLeaks spokesman, Daniel Schmitt, who says they have no regrets about releasing the Afghanistan documents, and says WikiLeaks is "changing the game." Several other readers have pointed out that WikiLeaks posted a mysterious, encrypted "insurance" file on Thursday, which sent the media into a speculative frenzy over what it could possibly contain.
Space

+ - "Wonders of the Solar System" Premiers in the U.S.->

Submitted by
astroengine
astroengine writes "From Discovery News: "On Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010, the much-anticipated "Wonders of the Solar System" will premier on the Science Channel. Presenter and physicist Prof. Brian Cox will explore the hidden mysteries of our interplanetary neighborhood, as well as breathtaking sights of the planets, moons and the sun. Cox will also examine some of Earth's extreme environments to see how life has adapted, perhaps helping us understand whether life can exist elsewhere in our solar system." This promises to be a great documentary. After being shown in the UK earlier in the year, "Wonders" proved to be a very popular show. Now it can be seen in the U.S. — this should be good!"
Link to Original Source

+ - Charged Particle Storm on the Way->

Submitted by Existential Wombat
Existential Wombat (1701124) writes "From New Scientist (8/1)

An unusually complex magnetic eruption on the sun has flung a large cloud of electrically charged particles towards Earth. When the cloud hits, which could be anytime now, it could spark aurorae in the skies around the poles and pose a threat to satellites – though probably not a particularly severe one.

On 1 August, a small solar flare erupted above sunspot 1092. It would not have raised many eyebrows, except that a large filament of cool gas stretching across the sun's northern hemisphere also chose that moment to explode into space.

Despite being separated by hundreds of thousands of kilometres, the two events may be linked. Images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory hint at a shock wave travelling from the flare into the filament. "These are two distinct phenomena but they are obviously related," says Len Culhane, a solar physicist at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London."

Link to Original Source

+ - Wikileaks "a clear and present danger"

Submitted by
bedmison
bedmison writes "In an op-ed in the Washington Post titled "WikiLeaks must be stopped", Marc A. Thiessen writes that "WikiLeaks represents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States.", and that the United States has the authority to arrest its founder, Julian Assange, even if it has to contravene international law to do so. Thiessen also suggests that the new USCYBERCOM be unleashed to destroy WikiLeaks as an internet presense. From the article:

"With appropriate diplomatic pressure, these governments may cooperate in bringing Assange to justice. But if they refuse, the United States can arrest Assange on their territory without their knowledge or approval. In 1989, the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel issued a memorandum entitled "Authority of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to Override International Law in Extraterritorial Law Enforcement Activities."

This memorandum declares that "the FBI may use its statutory authority to investigate and arrest individuals for violating United States law, even if the FBI's actions contravene customary international law" and that an "arrest that is inconsistent with international or foreign law does not violate the Fourth Amendment." In other words, we do not need permission to apprehend Assange or his co-conspirators anywhere in the world.

Arresting Assange would be a major blow to his organization. But taking him off the streets is not enough; we must also recover the documents he unlawfully possesses and disable the system he has built to illegally disseminate classified information.

This should be done, ideally, through international law enforcement cooperation. But if such cooperation is not forthcoming, the United States can and should act alone. Assange recently boasted that he has created "an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking." I am sure this elicited guffaws at the National Security Agency. The United States has the capability and the authority to monitor his communications and disrupt his operations.""

You had mail, but the super-user read it, and deleted it!

Working...