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Inside the Mission To Europa (arstechnica.com) 106

An anonymous reader writes: Ars Technica details the political and engineering battles being waged to make it possible for NASA to land a probe on Jupiter's moon Europa. They have new information about mission plans; it sounds ambitious, to say the least. "First, the bad news. Adding a lander to the Clipper will require additional technical work and necessitate a launch delay until late 2023. At that time, the massive Space Launch System rocket NASA is developing could deliver it to Jupiter in 4.6 years. Once there, the lander would separate from the Clipper, parking in a low-radiation orbit.

The Clipper would then proceed to reconnoiter Europa, diving into the harsh radiation environment to observe the moon and then zipping back out into cleaner space to relay its data back to Earth. Over a three-year period, the Clipper would image 95 percent of the world at about 50 meters per pixel and three percent at a very high resolution of 0.5 meters per pixel. With this data, scientists could find a suitable landing site. ...The JPL engineers have concluded the best way to deliver the lander to Europa's jagged surface is by way of a sky crane mechanism, like the one successfully used in the last stage of Curiosity's descent to the surface of Mars. With four steerable engines and an autonomous system to avoid hazards, the lander would be lowered to the moon's surface by an umbilical cord."


Anonymous Takes Down Thousands of ISIS-Related Twitter Accounts In a Day (softpedia.com) 320

BarbaraHudson writes: Softpedia is reporting that Anonymous, along with social media users, have identified several thousand Twitter accounts allegedly linked to ISIS members. "Besides scanning for ISIS Twitter accounts themselves, the hacking group has also opened access to the [takedown operation] site to those interested. Anyone who comes across ISIS social media accounts can easily search the database and report any new terrorists and supporters. The website is called #opIceISIS [slow right now, but it does load] and will index ISIS members based on their real name, location, picture, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts." Anonymous crowdsourcing their operations... welcome to the brave new world, ISIS. An article at The Independent reminds everyone that this information has not been independently confirmed, and that Anonymous is certainly capable of misidentifying people. It's also worth exploring the question of why Twitter hasn't already disabled these accounts, and why intelligence agencies haven't done anything about them, if they're so easy to find.

Comment Re:Dear SJW morons (Score 1) 781

The suite of arguments characterized as 'SJW' is quite wide, and a lot of them do have serious merit - for example, the 'damsel in distress' is overused in computer games.

And Hollywood too. Do you know why? Because the audiences like and respond to tropes, and there's only so many new ideas under the sun.

The problem with the SJW crowd is that they use overwhelmingly poor arguments, ridiculous arguments, and do so in a most obnoxious manner.

Like the person who most famously complained about damsels in distress is in video games is... a damsel in distress in real life. That's her schtick.

Comment Re:They Never thought he had a bomb... (Score 1) 361

Like Dawkins? Too bad he backpedaled after the inevitable media backlash:

But Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist and noted writer, scholar and contrarian, found something in Ahmed's story to take issue with -- the use of the word "invention" to describe Mohamed's work. Dawkins went so far as to suggest that describing his clock as such was "fraud" and a "hoax."

    Disassembling & reassembling is great. But you shouldn't then claim it was your "invention". http://t.co/bBcaWoJpbd

        -- Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) September 20, 2015

        If the reassembled components did something more than the original clock, that's creative. If not, it looks like hoax http://t.co/bBcaWoJpbd

        -- Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) September 20, 2015

Dawkins faced intense backlash for his remarks and repeatedly noted that he believes the teen's arrest was wrong.

        Yes, I completely agree with that. He should most certainly NOT have been arrested, handcuffed etc. https://t.co/B2yvE00Db9

        -- Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) September 20, 2015

        I'm not putting down the child. I'm putting down myself & the rest of us for being fooled. And the police for arresting him for nothing.

        -- Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) September 20, 2015

He later apologized and retweeted the President's White House invitation.

Comment Re:How much for the Diversity Initiative? (Score 1) 115

It doesn't say that at all. For a start it's not even comparing the same things. $300M for diversity is a one-off cost, $300M from R&D is a repeating cost year on year.

How do you know the diversity initiative isn't year to year? I haven't seen it stated either way. Don't you find it just a little bit suspect that $300 million was cut from one area while $300 million was announced for another initiative?

"You need tender loving care once a week - so that I can slap you into shape." - Ellyn Mustard