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Submission + - Astronaut Nearly Drowned During Space Walk

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Pete Spotts reports at the Christian Science Monitor that about 44 minutes into a 6.5-hour spacewalk last July, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano noted that water was building up inside his helmet – the second consecutive spacewalk during which he reported the problem. As Parmitano worked his way back to the air lock, water covered his eyes, filled his ears, disrupted communications, and eventually began to enter his nose, making it difficult for him to breathe. "I know that if the water does overwhelm me I can always open the helmet," wrote Parmitano about making it to the airlock. "I’ll probably lose consciousness, but in any case that would be better than drowning inside the helmet." Later, when crew mates removed his helmet, they found that it contained at least 1.5 quarts of water. In a 122-page report released Wednesday, a mishap investigation board identified a range of causes for the near-tragedy, including organizational causes that carried echoes of accident reports that followed the loss of the shuttles Challenger and Columbia and their crews in 1986 and 2003. Engineers traced the leak to a fan-and-pump assembly that is part of a system that extracts moisture from the air inside the suit and returns it to the suit's water-based cooling system. Contaminants clogged holes that would have carried the water to the cooling system after it was extracted from the air. The water backed up and flowed into the suit's air-circulation system, which sent it into Parmitano's helmet (PDF). The specific cause of the contamination is still under investigation but investigators also identified deeper causes, one of which involved what some accident-investigation specialists have dubbed the "normalization of deviance" – small malfunctions that appear so often that eventually they are accepted as normal. In this case, small water leaks had been observed in space-suit helmets for years, despite the knowledge that the water could form a film on the inside of a helmet, fogging the visor or reacting with antifogging chemicals on the visor in ways that irritate eyes. NASA officials are not planning on resuming non-urgent spacewalks before addressing all 16 of the highest priority suggestions from the Mishap Investigation Board. "I think it's a tribute to the agency that we're not hiding this stuff, that we're actually out trying to describe these things, and to describe where we can get better," says William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate said today. "I think that's how we prevent Columbias and Challengers."

Submission + - Indian space agency prototypes its first crew capsule (

sixsigma1978 writes: India is about to take one small step towards human space flight. Last week the country’s space agency unveiled a prototype of its first crew capsule, a 4-metre-high module designed to carry two people into low Earth orbit.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning a test flight for later this year – even though it still awaits government approval and funding for a human space-flight programme. The unpiloted capsule will fly on the maiden launch of a new type of rocket that would otherwise have carried a dummy payload.

Submission + - SPAM: Hosted Desktop

sheliayocom writes: Provides hosted desktop which can be accessed anywhere 24/7 with full IT support. A hosted desktop will enable you to work anywhere, at anytime.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Copyright Troll Ordered to Pay $119,000

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Steve Green reports that newspaper copyright infringement lawsuit filer Righthaven of Las Vegas has been hit with an order to pay $119,488 in attorney's fees and costs in its failed lawsuit against former federal prosecutor Thomas DiBiase who was sued over allegations he posted a story without authorization on a murder case by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. US District Judge Roger Hunt dismissed Righthaven's suit against DiBiase this summer because Righthaven lacked standing to sue him under its flawed lawsuit contract with R-J owner Stephens Media. The DiBiase case was noteworthy because his attorneys at the EFF said DiBiase's nonprofit website, "No Body Murder Cases," performed a public service assisting law enforcement officials in bringing justice to crime victims — and that his post was protected by the fair use concept of copyright law. Case law created by the Righthaven lawsuits suggests DiBiase’s use of the story would be protected by fair use as it was noncommercial and judges have found there can be no market harm to Righthaven for such uses since there is no market for copyrights Righthaven obtains for lawsuit purposes. Although this was by far the largest fee award against Righthaven, it will likely will be dwarfed by an upcoming award in Righthaven's failed suit against the Democratic Underground."

Submission + - Re-programming the thermostat (

OzPeter writes: As reported in WA Today, Tony Fadell of iPod fame has been using Nest Labs to design and build a thermostat that learns how you live in your house by following how you manually change the temperature. Once you have taught it how to behave (How the Nest learning Thermostat learns), it then can schedule temperature changes that suit your lifestyle, and help you cut down on energy costs.

Submission + - Cutting Open a Heatsink Heatpipe to See Inside - Z (

An anonymous reader writes: Frostytech gets to the heart of Zalman's CNPS11X heatsink by cutting a section of heatpipe from the CPU cooler to inspect its inner composite heatpipe wick structure. Now THATs an in-depth heatsink review! Interesting photos of the dissected heatpipe's composite wick — sintered copper powder on top and axial groove wick below — that you're unlikely to see elsewhere. In the late 1960's the first commercial heatpipes were used by NASA to stabilize satellite temperatures, now they stabilize multi-core processors.

Zombie Pigs First, Hibernating Soldiers Next Screenshot-sm 193

ColdWetDog writes "Wired is running a story on DARPA's effort to stave off battlefield casualties by turning injured soldiers into zombies by injecting them with a cocktail of one chemical or another (details to be announced). From the article, 'Dr. Fossum predicts that each soldier will carry a syringe into combat zones or remote areas, and medic teams will be equipped with several. A single injection will minimize metabolic needs, de-animating injured troops by shutting down brain and heart function. Once treatment can be carried out, they'll be "re-animated" and — hopefully — as good as new.' If it doesn't pan out we can at least get zombie bacon and spam."

Submission + - Solar Sail Test Next Year (

olsmeister writes: About a year from now, if all goes well, a box about the size of a loaf of bread will pop out of a rocket some 500 miles above the Earth. There in the vacuum it will unfurl four triangular sails as shiny as moonlight and only barely more substantial. Then it will slowly rise on a sunbeam and move across the stars.

LightSail-1, as it is dubbed, will not make it to Neverland. At best the device will sail a few hours and gain a few miles in altitude. But those hours will mark a milestone for a dream that is almost as old as the rocket age itself, and as romantic: to navigate the cosmos on winds of starlight the way sailors for thousands of years have navigated the ocean on the winds of the Earth.


Submission + - Roomba Pac-Man (

elstonj writes: The vacuum, long an instrument for chasing cats, has now been turned against its own. What better use for automatic home appliances than to have them chase each other in classic video game style?

"We've seen mixtures of Roomba and Pac-Man before, but nothing like this. A team of developers have hacked five floor-cleaning bots to create a sort of OCD version of the game, with the Pac-Man bot sucking up little white rectangles whilst being chased by robot incarnations of Inky, Pinky, Blinky, and Clyde. But, when the Pac-Man vacuum finds a power pellet those ghostly rovers turn blue and start fleeing. The tech is supposed to be a demonstration of the developers' Unmanned Aerial System suite, designed for guidance of airborne vehicles, but we're too busy geeking out to care about potential real-world applications of this tech."

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