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Comment: Why governments hate this so much (Score 2) 480

by jenningsthecat (#48040029) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

Of all the politicians bleating about the dangers of home-made untraceable weapons, and (probably) exhorting us to 'think of the children', how many of them are motivated primarily by concern for their fellow man? I'm betting it's at least a minority, and perhaps a vanishingly small one. No, I think most of them are reacting primarily out of fear - fear of losing their power over the citizenry; fear of primal, animalistic human urges that they want to see only on football fields and battlefields; and fear for their own skins.

I'm very much anti-gun and am strongly in favour of gun control. As a Canadian I contrast the level of gun violence here with that in the US and am thankful my country's traditions are so different. I really don't want to live in a crazy, bullet-riddled land. But in the face of rapidly-growing government power, and rampant governmental abuses of citizens, I'm starting to see the wisdom of people having access to guns. I'd like to think we can find a better way though.

+ - Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million Humans On Mars To Safeguard Humanity->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Elon Musk's ambitions for SpaceX keep getting bigger. First he wanted to make the trip to Mars affordable, then he wanted to establish a city-sized colony, and now he's got his eye on the future of humanity. Musk says we need a million people on Mars to form a "sustainable, genetically diverse civilization" that can survive as humanity's insurance policy. He continued, "Even at a million, you’re really assuming an incredible amount of productivity per person, because you would need to recreate the entire industrial base on Mars. You would need to mine and refine all of these different materials, in a much more difficult environment than Earth. There would be no trees growing. There would be no oxygen or nitrogen that are just there. No oil." How fast could we do it? Within a century, once the spacecraft reusability problem is solved. "Excluding organic growth, if you could take 100 people at a time, you would need 10,000 trips to get to a million people. But you would also need a lot of cargo to support those people. In fact, your cargo to person ratio is going to be quite high. It would probably be 10 cargo trips for every human trip, so more like 100,000 trips. And we’re talking 100,000 trips of a giant spaceship.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Antarctica Has Lost Enough Ice to Cause Measurable Shift in Gravity 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Contrary to what we all learned in high school physics, gravity is not constant. It actually shows slight variations on different parts of the Earth's surface, and the variations correlate with the density of the material on that surface. The European Space Agency (ESA) has been measuring gravity for four years, mapping these variations and recording the changes those variations have undergone. Its data indicates "a significant decrease [in gravity] in the region of Antarctica where land ice is melting fastest". Further analysis is, of course, planned so that the whole of Antarctica can be taken into account and "the clearest picture yet of the pace of global warming" can be determined on that continent."

+ - Something keeps coming and going in a sea on Titan

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Cassini images taken in 2007, 2013, and 2014 of one of Titan’s largest hydrocarbon seas find that a mysterious feature there keeps appearing and disappearing.

The mysterious feature, which appears bright in radar images against the dark background of the liquid sea, was first spotted during Cassini’s July 2013 Titan flyby. Previous observations showed no sign of bright features in that part of Ligeia Mare. Scientists were perplexed to find the feature had vanished when they looked again, over several months, with low-resolution radar and Cassini’s infrared imager. This led some team members to suggest it might have been a transient feature. But during Cassini’s flyby on August 21, 2014, the feature was again visible, and its appearance had changed during the 11 months since it was last seen.

Scientists on the radar team are confident that the feature is not an artifact, or flaw, in their data, which would have been one of the simplest explanations. They also do not see evidence that its appearance results from evaporation in the sea, as the overall shoreline of Ligeia Mare has not changed noticeably. The team has suggested the feature could be surface waves, rising bubbles, floating solids, solids suspended just below the surface, or perhaps something more exotic.

That the seasons are slowly changing on Titan is probably contributing to the transient nature of this feature."

+ - Sea monkeys may stir the world's oceans->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "The tiny swirls created by brine shrimp and other minuscule aquatic creatures could mix the seas’ upper layers as well as winds and waves do, a new study suggests. Such “biomixing” could play an important role in redistributing heat, salt, and nutrients in the upper layers of the ocean. However, some researchers question how effectively biomixing blends the waters of the wave-thrashed sunlit surface with those from the cool, calm depths. The work comes thanks to blue and green lasers, which were used to induce thousands of 5-millimeter-long brine shrimp to “migrate” to and from the bottom of a 1.2-meter-deep tank."
Link to Original Source

+ - Robot Arm Will Install New Earth-Facing Cameras On The Space Station->

Submitted by SternisheFan
SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Canada’s robotic Canadarm2 will install the next two Urthecast cameras on the International Space Station, removing the need for astronauts to go outside to do the work themselves, the company announced today (Sept. 30).

Urthecast plans to place two Earth-facing cameras on the United States side of the station (on Node 3) to add to the two they already have on the Russian Zvezda module. Technical problems with the cameras forced the Russians to do an extra spacewalk to complete the work earlier this year."

Link to Original Source

+ - Debate Simmers Over Disclosing Warrantless Spying ->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Obama administration lawyers have been debating whether the Treasury Department must inform the people or groups it lists as foreign terrorists when it relies on warrantless surveillance as the basis for the designation, according to officials familiar with the deliberations.

Intelligence officials are said to oppose being more forthcoming about who has been subjected to surveillance, especially in cases involving noncitizens abroad — who do not have Fourth Amendment privacy rights — because such information would tip them off that the National Security Agency had intercepted their communications.

But a provision in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, requires the government to disclose when it uses information from eavesdropping in any “proceeding” against people. In 2008, Congress made the N.S.A.’s warrantless surveillance program a part of FISA, but the full implications of applying its disclosure provision to that program were initially overlooked.

Outside specialists said the same part of the law may apply to other government decisions that rely on such intelligence, including adding names to the “no fly” list and deciding whether to approve visas and licenses that require a security screening."

Link to Original Source

+ - U.S. Law Enforcement Seeks to Halt Apple-Google Encryption of Mobile Data->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "U.S. law enforcement officials are urging Apple and Google to give authorities access to smartphone data that the companies have decided to block, and are weighing whether to appeal to executives or seek congressional legislation.

The new privacy features, announced two weeks ago by the California-based companies, will stymie investigations into crimes ranging from drug dealing to terrorism, law enforcement officials said.

“This is a very bad idea,” said, chief of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department, in an interview. Smartphone communication is “going to be the preferred method of the pedophile and the criminal. We are going to lose a lot of investigative opportunities.”"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Science is not about trust (Score 1) 451

by jenningsthecat (#48019045) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

Science is about reproducible results. Publish the details of your experiment, so I can perform your experiment (and variations on it) myself. Your claim is strengthened if I get the same results you do.

+1, Insightful. How in the hell did you get modded down for this comment?

Comment: Re:Maybe these people.. (Score 1) 451

by jenningsthecat (#48019019) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

Are more interested in discovering new things or proving old things wrong, than trying to make friends with everyone.

As they should be. However, when much of their funding comes from the public purse, perhaps it's appropriate for scientists to acquaint the people paying the bills with the reasons for and the importance of their research. Also, I'm all for everyone becoming more scientifically-minded. 'Elite' science may be for those who have studied hard and made it their life's work; but 'day-to-day' science is the province of everyone, and ought to be encouraged as such. A scientific framework promotes curiosity, rationality, and logic - qualities sorely lacking in a large percentage of citizens.

+ - Nixie Wearable Drone Camera Flies Off Your Wrist To Capture The Moment->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Over the past couple of years, drones have become popular enough to the point where a new release doesn't excite most people. But Nixie is different. It's a drone that you wear, like a bracelet. Whenever you need to let it soar, you give it a command to unwrap, power it up, and let it go. From the consumer standpoint, the most popular use for drones is to capture some amazing footage. But what if you want to be in that footage? That's where Nixie comes in. After "setting your camera free", the drone soars around you, keeping you in its frame.Nixie is powered by Intel's Edison kit, which is both small enough and affordable enough to fit inside such a small device."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Why hacking and making are so important (Score 5, Interesting) 173

by jenningsthecat (#48013937) Attached to: When Everything Works Like Your Cell Phone

Just as Digital Restrictions Management and various schemes for 'protecting' 'intellectual property' have not been unqualified successes, this trend also will be undercut, to some extent, by people who hack, make, reverse engineer, re-purpose, and repair hardware, firmware, and software. It just remains to be seen how the legislative and enforcement aspects play out. And that depends largely on Joe and Jane Average's opposition to A) basically renting or leasing most of the stuff in their lives, and B) paying to be spied upon, advertised to, and held hostage by corporate interests.

If even a large minority of citizens refuse to put up with this crap and instead have old stuff fixed and new stuff modified or boutique-built, then it will be hard for governments to justify what will otherwise be a very heavy hand in favour of laws enforcing corporate control. I'm not optimistic that people who have been lulled into thinking there is no alternative, (or that planned obsolescence and corporate nosiness are somehow right and inevitable), will do anything other than cave and roll over. But there is some hope.

I volunteer as a fixer for an organisation called Repair Cafe - we run events wherein once a month people bring items in to be fixed for free. Not just computers, printers, phones, earbuds, and the like, but also household appliances, clothing, books, etc. Many of these people aren't bringing things in because they can't afford replacements; rather, they recognize the quality is better in their older items, and they hate the wasteful and controlling aspects of planned obsolescence. So we may yet see large numbers of average citizens who reject the dystopian plans of those who call their greed-driven view of the future 'Utopia'.

In the category of 'not likely', but still worth considering, is the possibility of simplifying our lives. All of these technological innovations are cool, and they drive our economies, and some of them are significant. But really, how many new shinies contribute to our fundamental sense of worth, fulfillment, happiness, and meaning? I would argue that they tend to undermine those values - and many sociologists and psychologists would agree with me. It's probably too late to try stuffing that genie back in the bottle though...

Comment: Re:Webmail (Score 1) 115

by jenningsthecat (#48013411) Attached to: Yahoo Shuttering Its Web Directory

...Yahoo is my shitbox.

This, exactly. I use Yahoo accounts as spam-catchers - I don't even use spam filtering on my 'real' email address, as I don't need it.

...they finally permanently retired the "Web 1.0" interface which was faster, showed more mails and allowed to open them in tabs...

AdBlock and NoScript fix that crap to a large extent. It's annoying to have to click on the 'proceed without updating JavaScript' link every time I log in, and it's annoying to have to temporarily re-enable JS when I want to send an attachment; but the result is an interface that is (just barely) useable, and devoid of ads. If I couldn't turn off all the shitty 'features' that Yahoo has introduced to 'improve' their service, I'd have left long ago - the current stock interface is simply unuseable.

...At least, when I'm logged to Yahoo I'm only logged to Yahoo. No Microsoft account, no Google account (which follows you on Google and Youtube like the plague!)...

I've stuck with Yahoo the same reasons; plus, I find the GMail interface to be not much better than the stock Yahoo interface.

Everyone has a purpose in life. Perhaps yours is watching television. - David Letterman