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Space

+ - California Professors Unveil Proposal to Attack Asteroids With Lasers

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
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."
Businesses

+ - Why Apple May Die

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Cromwell Schubarth writes that Harvard business professor Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, thinks Apple, Tesla Motors, venture capitalists and most of the nation’s colleges and universities could be killed by less advanced competitors in the same way that many once dominant technology companies have been in the past. Christensen's theory of disruption centers around how dominant industry leaders will react to a newcomer: “It allows you to predict whether you will kill the incumbents or whether the incumbents will kill you.” If a newcomer thinks it can win by competing at the high end, “the incumbents will always kill you.” If they come in at the bottom of the market and offer something that at first is not as good, the legacy companies won’t feel threatened until too late, after the newcomers have gained a foothold in the market. According to Christensen Apple could be on path for a classic disruption because successful innovative products like the iPhone are usually based on proprietary technology because that is how the dominant business carves out, protects and builds its top market position. But at some point as they get better and better, they start to exceed what people actually need or are willing to pay extra for. “When that happens the people who have the proprietary architecture are pushed to the ceiling and the volume goes to the open players. So in smartphones the Android operating system has consummate modularity that now allows hundreds of people in Vietnam and China to assemble these things." As the dominant architecture becomes open and modular, the value of their proprietary design becomes commoditized itself. "It may not be as good, but almost good enough is often good enough.”"
Security

+ - Certificate Authorities Unite in The Name of SSL Security->

Submitted by
CowboyRobot
CowboyRobot writes ""We felt SSL needed a leader," says Jeremy Rowley, associate general counsel for DigiCert, which, along with Comodo, Entrust, GlobalSign, Go Daddy, Symantec, and Trend Micro, today officially launched the new organization. "We felt a group of CAs, rather than one CA," was a better approach, he says. The first line of business for the new Certificate Authority Security Council (CASC) is to push the adoption of online certificate status protocol (OCSP) stapling for Web server administrators, software vendors, browser makers, and end users. OCSP stapling is a method of revoking invalid or expired digital certificates. It's an enhancement to the OCSP protocol that basically eliminates the need for Web users to check OCSP responses with the CA, and is more efficient because the Web server caches the response from the CA."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Application load balancing (Score 1) 134

by brm (#37429100) Attached to: River Trail — Intel's Parallel JavaScript

That's only true for some languages. Programs written in pure functional languages such as Haskell absolutely can be split across multiple cores by the compiler/runtime without being designed to be "multithreaded."

On the other hand, pure functional languages such as Haskell often cannot be made to effectively use a bounded set of resources (such as a finite number of cores and memory).

Comment: Re:Duh (Score 1) 252

by brm (#32835794) Attached to: 'Forest Bathing' Considered Healthful

Of course that couldn't have anything to do with allergic parents getting the hell off the farm where they were miserable and couldn't breathe and into a relatively sterile city with lower pollen counts, where they pass their hereditary allergies on to their children (some claim 50% of allergies are hereditary).

It seems trite, but apparently it must be said yet again: Correlation is not causation!

On a related note, I've always thought it funny to see speculative theories based on the apparent finding that children with dogs develop fewer allergies. My daughter will certainly never have a dog while she's living with me (I got severe hives and asthma last time I stayed at the house of a friend who has a dog). But she is quite likely to develop severe allergies like me and my father. Coincidence?

Comment: Re:Does anyone notable *not* support CNNIC? (Score 1) 256

by brm (#31024068) Attached to: Mozilla Accepts Chinese CNNIC Root CA Certificate

The US also has rule of law, a bill of rights, and government checks and balances designed to try to limit how much damage government corruption can do. While it can (and probably does) infringe on people's rights in many situations, these are not carried out at the same scale as in China. The free press and freedom of speech (and communication) means that if it were occurring on any significant scale, you would hear about it. Many people are outraged by Guantanamo Bay, and rightfully so.

Meanwhile, in China, no one even knows about similar or worse abuses even at a much larger scale. And with tighter control of the Internet, adding SSL spoofing to DNS hijacking, GFW monitoring and filtering at egresses, the vast majority of the populace never will.*

* While there remain ways around this (VPNs, for example), those just act as an escape valve for nerd outrage; the majority of people don't understand the problem well enough to care, and will never go to any effort to reach beyond that convenient (filtered) local news source and (monitored) local email, VOIP (special version of Skype for China, folks), chat rooms, SMS (now openly monitored by the phone company "for porn"), etc.

Comment: Re: As usual, please refrain from blindly chiming (Score 1) 256

by brm (#31023668) Attached to: Mozilla Accepts Chinese CNNIC Root CA Certificate
Browsers should warn you if the CA for a site changes. That won't help the situation you describe, nor will it save you if you visit a new site, but at least the typical user visiting a Banana Republic like China can reach his usual email provider safely from his laptop. Unfortunately, those already in such a country are likely out of luck, since who knows which version of Firefox (or Chrome or even IE) they wind up downloading.

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