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Audacious Visions For Future Spaceflight Screenshot-sm 176

New submitter nagalman writes "There is a very powerful video out that takes the audio of words from Neil deGrasse Tyson, receiver of the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, and meshes it with powerful images of the history and successful outcomes of NASA. Through Penny4NASA, Dr. Tyson is pressing for the budget of NASA to be doubled from 0.5% to 1% of the federal budget in order to spur vision, interest, dreams, public excitement, and innovation into science and engineering. With Kansas stating that 'evolution could not rule out a supernatural or theistic source, that evolution itself was not fact but only a theory and one in crisis, and that Intelligent Design must be considered a viable alternative to evolution,' and North Carolina's legislature circulating a bill telling people to ignore climate science, maybe it's time we start listening to experts who have a proven record of success, rather than ideology that has only been 'proven' in the mind of elected politicians."

High School Students Sue Federal Gov't Over Global Warming 491

Hugh Pickens writes "Katherine Ellison reports in the Atlantic that a group of high school students is suing the federal government in U.S. District Court claiming the risks of climate change — dangerous storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, and food-supply disruptions — will threaten their generation absent a major turnabout in global energy policy. 'I think a lot of young people realize that this is an urgent time, and that we're not going to solve this problem just by riding our bikes more,' says 18-year-old Alec Loorz, one of the plaintiffs represented, pro bono, by the Burlingame, California, law firm of former U.S. Republican congressman Paul 'Pete' McCloskey. While skeptics may view the case as little more than a publicity stunt, its implications have been serious enough to attract the time and resources of major industry leaders." (Read more, below.)

Heartland Institute Learning To Troll On Billboards 735

Fluffeh writes "The Heartland Institute is a lovely group of folks who take issue with mainstream climate science. They organize an annual get-together of like minded folk and talk trash about environmental change. 'The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society.' (That's from a press release!). Recently, when they were tricked by a researcher into sending him a lot of internal documents, they decided to go on the offensive and also get some more media attention. After all, any story is a good story, right? Launching a billboard with the Unabomber on it with the slogan 'I still believe in Global Warming. Do You?' was just the start, with the institute planning Fidel Castro, Charles Manson and possibly even Osama Bin Laden. That's when even their stout backers threatened to walk away, backing started to dry up — and it seems that common sense started to prevail — but only so far as to stop them from making their message too public."

Last Bastion For Climate Dissenters Crumbling 963

Layzej writes "The New York Times reports: 'For decades, a small group of scientific dissenters has been trying to shoot holes in the prevailing science of climate change, offering one reason after another why the outlook simply must be wrong.' Initially they claimed that weather stations exaggerated the warming trend. This was disproven by satellite data which shows a similar warming trend. Next, solar activity was blamed for much of the warming. This looked like a promising theory until the '80s, when solar output started to diverge from global temperatures. Now, climate contrarians are convinced that changes in cloud cover will largely mitigate the warming caused by increased CO2. The New York Times examines how even this last bastion for dissenters is crumbling. Over the past few years, Several papers have shown that rather than being a mitigating factor, changes in cloud cover due to warming may actually enhance further warming."
United States

In Nothing We Trust 910

Hugh Pickens writes "Ron Fournier and Sophie Quinton write in the National Journal that seven in 10 Americans believe that the country is on the wrong track; eight in 10 are dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed, only 23 percent have confidence in banks, and just 19 percent have confidence in big business. Less than half the population expresses "a great deal" of confidence in the public-school system or organized religion. 'We have lost our gods,' says Laura Hansen. 'We've lost it—that basic sense of trust and confidence—in everything.' Humans are coded to create communities, and communities beget institutions. What if, in the future, they don't? People could disconnect, refocus inward, and turn away from their social contract. Already, many are losing trust. If society can't promise benefits for joining it, its members may no longer feel bound to follow its rules. But history reminds us that America's leaders can draw the nation together to solve problems. At a moment of gaping income inequality, when the country was turbulently transitioning from a farm economy to a factory one, President Theodore Roosevelt reminded Americans, 'To us, as a people, it has been granted to lay the foundations of our national life.' At the height of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt chastised the business and political leaders who had led the country into ruin. 'These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men,' said FDR. 'Restoration calls, however, not for changes in ethics alone. This Nation asks for action, and action now.'"

IEA Warns of Irreversible Climate Change In 5 Years 1105

iONiUM writes "As a follow up to the previous slashdot story, there has been a new release by the International Energy Agency indicating that within 5 years we will have irreversible climate change. According to the IEA, 'There are few signs that the urgently needed change in direction in global energy trends is under way. Although the recovery in the world economy since 2009 has been uneven, and future economic prospects remain uncertain, global primary energy demand rebounded by a remarkable 5% in 2010, pushing CO2 emissions to a new high. Subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption of fossil fuels jumped to over $400bn (£250.7bn).'"
United States

Conflict Between Occupy Wall Street Protestors and NYPD Escalating 961

phx_zs writes "Today marks the tenth consecutive day that thousands of protesters have flooded the streets of Manhattan, specifically the financial district. ... Sunday marked a change of events as high-ranking NYPD officers exhibited brutal, unprovoked aggression on the peaceful group, reportedly arresting at least 80 people. Many photos and videos have surfaced of NYPD officers slamming protesters on the ground or into parked cars, and in one well-covered incident a NYPD officer (with pending police brutality charges from 2004) maced innocent female protesters point blank for no apparent reason. Many eyewitnesses and several news articles report that the NYPD specifically targeted photographers and media teams streaming the event live on the internet." Do any Slashdotters have eyewitness reports to share? There seems to be a lot of misinformation originating from all parties involved making it difficult to know how large the protest actually is at this point and whether or not the police are being quite as universally violent as the protestors imply.

Whistleblower Claims NSA Spied On Everyone, Targeted Media 717

JCWDenton writes "Former National Security Agency analyst Russell Tice, who helped expose the NSA's warrantless wiretapping in December 2005, has now come forward with even more startling allegations. Tice told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Wednesday that the programs that spied on Americans were not only much broader than previously acknowledged but specifically targeted journalists."

Karl Rove's IT Guru Dies In Small Plane Crash 377

A dozen readers have submitted the story of the death in a plane crash of Mike Connell, Karl Rove's IT adviser, the man who set up and ran the mail server, and an important figure in GOP tech circles since 1997. The closest thing to straight reporting to be found in a mainstream media outlet is a piece from KDKA in Pittsburgh giving a detailed backgrounder on Connell's work for Rove, two generations of the Bush family, and many GOP congressmen and committees. is now mirroring the KDKA reporting. Almost all the early media coverage comes from the left and some of it is frankly conspiratorial. Among the milder pieces (although it could not be called balanced) is this interview with Mark Crispin Miller, NYU professor and author of two books about the 2004 election in Ohio. Connell was compelled to testify on the day before the US election in a lawsuit involving Ohio election irregularities in 2004. Connell, an experienced pilot, died on Sunday when his plane crashed two miles short of the runway of Akron-Canton Airport in Ohio.

Court Nixes National Security Letter Gag Provision 128

2phar sends news that on Monday a federal appeals court ruled unconstitutional the gag provision of the Patriot Act's National Security Letters. Until the ruling, recipients of NSLs were legally forbidden from speaking out. "The appeals court invalidated parts of the statute that wrongly placed the burden on NSL recipients to initiate judicial review of gag orders, holding that the government has the burden to go to court and justify silencing NSL recipients. The appeals court also invalidated parts of the statute that narrowly limited judicial review of the gag orders — provisions that required the courts to treat the government's claims about the need for secrecy as conclusive and required the courts to defer entirely to the executive branch." Update: 12/16 22:26 GMT by KD : Julian Sanchez, Washington Editor for Ars Technica, sent this cautionary note: "Both the item on yesterday's National Security Letter ruling and the RawStory article to which it links are somewhat misleading. It remains the case that ISPs served with an NSL are forbidden from speaking out; the difference is that under the ruling it will be somewhat easier for the ISPs to challenge that gag order, and the government will have to do a little bit more to persuade a court to maintain the gag when it is challenged. But despite what the ACLU's press releases imply, this is really not a 'victory' for them, or at least only a very minor one. Relative to the decision the government was appealing, it would make at least as much sense to call it a victory for the government. The lower court had struck down the NSL provisions of the PATRIOT Act entirely. This ruling left both the NSL statute and the gag order in place, but made oversight slightly stricter. If you look back at the hearings from this summer, you'll see that most of the new ruling involves the court making all the minor adjustments that the government had urged them to make, and which the ACLU had urged them to reject as inadequate."
The Courts

EFF Sues NSA, President Bush, and VP Cheney 267

VisualE writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will file a lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies today on behalf of AT&T customers to stop the illegal, unconstitutional, and ongoing dragnet surveillance of their communications and communications records. The five individual plaintiffs are also suing President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney's chief of staff David Addington, former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and other individuals who ordered or participated in the warrantless domestic surveillance."

In MN, Massive Police Raids On Suspected Protestors 961

X0563511 alerts us to events in Minneapolis and St. Paul in advance of the Republican convention (which has been put on hold because of Hurricane Gustav). Local police backed by the FBI raided a number of homes and public buildings and confiscated computers and other material. From "Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff's department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than 'fire code violations,' and early this morning, the Sheriff's department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying. Jane Hamsher and I were at two of those homes this morning — one which had just been raided and one which was in the process of being raided." Here is local reporting from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: "Aided by informants planted in protest groups, authorities raided at least six buildings across St. Paul and Minneapolis to stop an 'anarchist' plan to disrupt this week's Republican National Convention. From Friday night through Saturday afternoon, officers surrounded houses, broke down doors, handcuffed scores of people and confiscated suspected tools of civil disobedience ... A St. Paul City Council member described it as excessive, while activists, many of whom were detained and then released without charges, called it intimidation designed to quash free speech."
The Courts

Ohio Sues Over Missing Electronic Votes 341

dstates writes "The Columbus Post Dispatch reports that the State of Ohio is suing Premier Election Systems (previously known as Diebold) over malfunctions in electronic voting machines. Election workers found that votes were 'dropped' in at least 11 counties when memory cards were uploaded to computer servers. The same voting machines are used nationwide. The company blames a conflict between their software and antivirus software for the problem and says that an advisory was issued on the subject. The Ohio lawsuit contends that the company made false representations and failed to live up to contractual obligations and seeks punitive damages."

Sen. Ted "Tubes" Stevens Is Indicted 553

Many readers are letting us know about the indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens on seven counts of making false statements on his financial disclosure forms. We discussed the raid on the senator's house a while back. Everyone's favorite technologically challenged senator is the longest-serving Republican in the history of the upper house. An Alaskan paper gives deep background on the probe that has ensnared Stevens and a number of other Alaska political figures.
The Media

Retroactive Telco Immunity Opponents Buying TV Ad 291

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Whether they're mad at the Republicans for creating the mess, the Democrats for caving in, or both, many are still pissed off over the grant of retroactive immunity for spying on American citizens for no reason. And now some of them are trying to do something about it — they're buying an advertisement on cable TV. While it's not entirely clear what good, if any, this will do given that it's too late, at least it's cheap to participate — they're looking for $6 donations. The ideas is that, if more grass-roots groups do this kind of thing, their 'representatives' won't be able to afford to blow them off as easily."

The easiest way to figure the cost of living is to take your income and add ten percent.