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NASA

NASA To Test Inflatable Donut For Landing On Mars 38 38

An anonymous reader writes: When NASA has put rovers on the surface of Mars, they've relied heavily on parachutes to get through the atmosphere safely. Aerobraking doesn't work as well as it does on Earth because Mars's atmosphere is so thin. Parachuting runs into the same problem, but it's easier to pack a bigger chute than it is to bring along a bigger heat shield. But NASA has been working on that exact problem, and they'll soon test the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), which looks an awful lot like a giant, inflatable donut. When a spacecraft is ready to enter an atmosphere, the LDSD will inflate along its outside edge, substantially increasing its surface area while not adding too much weight. Weather has postponed the test a couple times already, but NASA hopes to complete it on Monday.
Canada

Canada, Japan Cave On Copyright Term Extension In TPP 227 227

An anonymous reader writes Last month, there were several Canadian media reports on how the work of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, had entered the public domain. While this was oddly described as a "copyright quirk", it was no quirk. The term of copyright in Canada (alongside TPP countries such as Japan and New Zealand) is presently life of the author plus an additional 50 years, a term that meets the international standard set by the Berne Convention. Those countries now appear to have caved to U.S. pressure as there are reports that they have agreed to extend to life plus 70 years as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Social Networks

Twitter Bug Locks Out Many Users 69 69

TechCrunch and ZDNet are among the many sources to report that many users are having trouble right now signing in to Twitter, and that the company is working right now to fix the glitch. As ZDNet describes the problem, According to Twitter's server response at the time of writing, most of 2015 has happened, and we are heading into a bright new 2016 in a couple of days time. Querying Twitter's HTTP response headers at https://twitter.com returns a time stamp dated one year into the future: "date: Mon, 29 Dec 2015 02:09:37 UTC". Consequently, users of Twitter's popular Tweetdeck application have experienced seeing every incoming tweet appear with a time stamp reporting the tweet to be from 365 days ago. At the same time that Twitter's servers began returning the incorrect date, some users of Twitter's official Android app were logged out of the service, and unable to log in again via the app. Users of some third-party Twitter applications have also reported being locked out of their apps.

Comment Re:ZMapp (Score 3, Informative) 33 33

I've watched way too many zombie movies to feel comfortable with the drug's name.

Heck, never mind the name, this is the beginning of the plot of more zombie movies than I can count.

You two aren't just whistlin' Dixie; that's the major plot of the Charlton Heston classic The Omega Man.

Then again, that one chick-zombie was pretty cool, so if that's a possible side-effect, then I say it's win-win.

Medicine

Meet the Doctor Trying To Use the Blood of Ebola Survivors To Create a Cure 33 33

An anonymous reader points out this article about Dr. James Crowe, who is trying to use the blood of Ebola survivors to develop a cure. "For months, Vanderbilt University researcher Dr. James Crowe has been desperately seeking access to the blood of U.S. Ebola survivors, hoping to extract the proteins that helped them overcome the deadly virus for use in new, potent drugs. His efforts finally paid off in mid-November with a donation from Dr. Rick Sacra, a University of Massachusetts physician who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia. The donation puts Crowe at the forefront of a new model for fighting the virus, now responsible for the worst known outbreak in West Africa that has killed nearly 7,000 people. Crowe is working with privately-held drugmaker Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc, which he said will manufacture the antibodies for further testing under a National Institutes of Health grant. Mapp is currently testing its own drug ZMapp, a cocktail of three antibodies that has shown promise in treating a handful of Ebola patients."
Piracy

Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS 388 388

schwit1 sends this report from The Verge: Most anti-piracy tools take one of two paths: they either target the server that's sharing the files (pulling videos off YouTube or taking down sites like The Pirate Bay) or they make it harder to find (delisting offshore sites that share infringing content). But leaked documents reveal a frightening line of attack that's currently being considered by the MPAA: What if you simply erased any record that the site was there in the first place? To do that, the MPAA's lawyers would target the Domain Name System that directs traffic across the internet.

The tactic was first proposed as part of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in 2011, but three years after the law failed in Congress, the MPAA has been looking for legal justification for the practice in existing law and working with ISPs like Comcast to examine how a system might work technically. If a takedown notice could blacklist a site from every available DNS provider, the URL would be effectively erased from the internet. No one's ever tried to issue a takedown notice like that, but this latest memo suggests the MPAA is looking into it as a potentially powerful new tool in the fight against piracy.

Comment Re:When the rocket is standing on the pad (Score 1) 67 67

Thank you for that, fullmetal! I always appreciate it when someone lights the way in front of me!

In restrospect, I didn't really think about my question because of course, engineers and scientists take multiple precautions. Those precautions may not always be 100% effective but they ARE there.

Thanks again!

Comment When the rocket is standing on the pad (Score 4, Insightful) 67 67

It may have been sterilized but a seagull can just fly over and poop on it.

As the rocket speeds out the atmosphere, it must initially flatten lots of bugs against itself.

How did anyone think we could send anything into space that wasn't crawling with earth-bacteria and other stuff, exactly?

Earth

Nevada Earthquake Swarm Increases Chance of Larger Quake 65 65

An anonymous reader writes Hundreds of small earthquakes have been gaining in strength in northwestern Nevada. The Nevada region bordering California and Oregon was hit by 18 quakes in less than 24 hours, with magnitudes measuring from 2.7 to 4.5. According to CNN: "This does not necessarily mean a big one will come, state seismologists said, but they added that it's good to be prepared, just in case. Seismologists refer to such quake groupings as swarms, and the U.S. Geological Survey has detected them regularly. They can produce thousands of small tremors."
Science

Researchers Develop Remote-Controlled Cyber-Roaches 35 35

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a series of remote-controlled cyber-roaches that could aid in future disaster relief efforts. The cockroaches are strapped to circuit boards and microphones, which they carry around. The circuits control the movements of each roach, and the microphone is capable of detecting environmental sounds and their sources. "In a collapsed building, sound is the best way to find survivors," said Dr. Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at North Carolina State University and senior author of two papers on the work."

Comment Re:It is stealing (Score 1) 580 580

You're right, when you download a file, the original copy disappears in a cloud of smoke. You've deprived its owner of his copy. That is theft.

Or worse, if you would never have bought a copy in the first place, then you've stolen the profit the media company would never have made. That is theft.

Of course if you mention viewing the movie to someone such that they would not have considered it otherwise and THEY buy a copy, then you've deprived the media company of a sale. That is theft.

It's important to pay for all copies so that media companies can keep getting rich and not pay the artists because the media companies hold all the rights and make all the money. That is theft.

Get hold of portable property. -- Charles Dickens, "Great Expectations"

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