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Earth

California Professors Unveil Proposal To Attack Asteroids With Lasers 161

Posted by timothy
from the hitch-a-ride-to-the-off-world-colonies dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday's twin events with invading rocks from outer space — the close encounter with asteroid 2012 DA14, and the killer meteorite over Russia that was more than close — have brought the topic of defending mankind against killer asteroids back into the news. The Economist summarizes some of the ideas that have been bandied about, in a story that suggests Paul Simon's seventies hit "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover": Just push it aside, Clyde. Show it the nuke, Luke. Gravity tug, Doug. The new proposal is an earth orbiting, solar-powered array of laser guns called DE-STAR (Directed Energy Solar Targeting of AsteRoids) from two California-based professors, physicist Philip Lubin (UCSB) and industrial statistician Gary Hughes (Cal Polytechnic State). Lubin and Hughes say their system could be developed and deployed in a range of sizes depending on the size of the target: DE-STAR 2, about the size of the International Space Station (100 meters) could nudge comets and asteroids from their orbits, while DE-STAR 4 (100 times larger than ISS) could evaporate an asteroid 500 meters in diameter (10 times larger than 2012 DA14) in a year. Of course, this assumes that the critters could be spotted early enough for the lasers to do their work."

Comment: Re:This is highly offensive. (Score 4, Funny) 191

by Stephen Williams (#42567849) Attached to: This Isn't the Petition Response You're Looking For

Comment: Re:Information density (Score 1) 465

by Stephen Williams (#42494457) Attached to: Death of Printed Books May Have Been Exaggerated

The tactile nature thing is entirely subjective, I agree. For flicking through and bookmarking, I do find physical books more user-friendly if I need to cross-reference several pages within a book; I can stick a bookmark (or finger) on each page and rapidly flick from one to another. That's more of a chore with an ereader. But it's personal preference, I know.

Another advantage of ebooks besides the information density that I forgot to mention in my first comment is searching. For keeping track of important or favourite passages, searching can remove the need for bookmarking if one can remember a significant word or two. And it's more useful than a physical index.

-Stephen

Comment: Information density (Score 1) 465

by Stephen Williams (#42493627) Attached to: Death of Printed Books May Have Been Exaggerated

I live in a small flat with insufficient space to store lots of books. My Kindle solves that problem.

Reading ebooks is a completely different experience to reading paper books. I miss the tactile nature of paper books, the physical bookmarkability, and the ease of flicking through them. But the practical problem of storage space that ebooks solve is, for me, a more important consideration.

-Stephen

Shark

UK Police Test 'Temporarily Blinding' LASER 398

Posted by Soulskill
from the for-sufficiently-permanent-values-of-temporary dept.
esocid writes "Called the SMU 100 it costs £25,000 and sends out a three-meter 'wall of light' that leaves anyone caught in it briefly unable to see. Designed by a former Royal Marine Commando, it was originally developed for use against pirates in Somalia. While tasers and CS gas work well over short distances the laser is said to be effective at up to 500 meters (1,640ft). Being targeted by the beam has been compared to staring into the sun before being forced to turn away. Paul Kerr, managing director of Clyde-based Photonic Security Systems, which came up with the design, said 'If you can't look at something you can't attack it.'"
NASA

What Silicon-Based Life Might Be Like 92

Posted by timothy
from the would-want-totally-different-cable-channels dept.
Nancy_A writes "While the world as we know it runs on carbon, science fiction's long flirtation with silicon-based life has spawned a familiar catchphrase: 'It's life, but not as we know it.' Although non-carbon based life is a very long shot, this Q&A with one of the U.S.'s top astrochemists — Max Bernstein, the Research Lead of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington,D.C. — discusses what silicon life might be like."
Bitcoin

New Mac OS Trojan Produces BitCoins 247

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the why-is-my-computer-on-fire dept.
angry tapir writes about an interesting use for malware. From the Techworld article: "A newly identified Mac OS X Trojan bundles a component that leverages the processing power of video cards to generate Bitcoins, a popular type of virtual currency. The new Trojan was dubbed DevilRobber by antivirus vendors and is being distributed together with several software applications via BitTorrent sites."
Games

+ - Dollar Apps Killing Traditional Gaming?-> 1

Submitted by donniebaseball23
donniebaseball23 (1888144) writes "There can be no denying that the rise of smartphones and tablets has had a major impact on the gaming business. The prevalence of free and 99-cent apps has changed consumers' perception of value. Mike Capps, president of Gears of War developer Epic Games, told IndustryGamers, "If there's anything that's killing us [in the traditional games business] it's dollar apps. How do you sell someone a $60 game that's really worth it ... They're used to 99 cents. As I said, it's an uncertain time in the industry. But it's an exciting time for whoever picks the right path and wins.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Good Bye (Score 2) 263

by Stephen Williams (#35131038) Attached to: Mozilla Aims To Release Four Firefox Versions In 2011

The only thing I don't like about chrome is it's lack of good RSS support

I like RSS Live Links for subscribing to RSS feeds in Chrom{e,ium}. I find it to be a fine replacement for Firefox's live bookmarks. I have no idea whether it'll be any use to you, but there it is.

(I'm not associated with RSS Live Links in any way other than as a happy user).

-Stephen

Debian

+ - Debian 6.0 Released->

Submitted by Tubal-Cain
Tubal-Cain (1289912) writes "The Debian Project has announced the release of version 6.0 (codenamed "Squeeze") of their popular operating system. This version, the first first since they adopted a release schedule a year and a half ago, features KDE 4.4.5, Gnome 2.30, X.org 2.7, and the Linux 2.6.32 kernel. They are also introducing a port to a FreeBSD kernel on x86 and x86_64 platforms. Accompanying this new version is an updated layout for their websites, bringing a bit of consitency between their home page, wiki, package search, etc."
Link to Original Source

I don't have any use for bodyguards, but I do have a specific use for two highly trained certified public accountants. -- Elvis Presley

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