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Space

NASA Study Proposes Airships, Cloud Cities For Venus Exploration 200

Posted by Soulskill
from the billy-dee-williams-volunteers-to-lead dept.
An anonymous reader writes: IEEE Spectrum reports on a study out of NASA exploring the idea that manned missions to Venus are possible if astronauts deploy and live in airships once they arrive. Since the atmospheric pressure at the surface is 92 times that of Earth, and the surface temperate is over 450 degrees C, the probes we've sent to Venus haven't lasted long. The Venera 8 probe sent back data for only 50 minutes after landing. Soviet missions in 1985 were able to get much more data — 46 hours worth — by suspending their probes from balloons. The new study refines that concept: "At 50 kilometers above its surface, Venus offers one atmosphere of pressure and only slightly lower gravity than Earth. Mars, in comparison, has a "sea level" atmospheric pressure of less than a hundredth of Earth's, and gravity just over a third Earth normal. The temperature at 50 km on Venus is around 75 C, which is a mere 17 degrees hotter than the highest temperature recorded on Earth.

The defining feature of these missions is the vehicle that will be doing the atmospheric exploring: a helium-filled, solar-powered airship. The robotic version would be 31 meters long (about half the size of the Goodyear blimp), while the crewed version would be nearly 130 meters long, or twice the size of a Boeing 747. The top of the airship would be covered with more than 1,000 square meters of solar panels, with a gondola slung underneath for instruments and, in the crewed version, a small habitat and the ascent vehicle that the astronauts would use to return to Venus's orbit, and home."

Comment: Re:Really.. (Score 3, Insightful) 114

by powerlord (#48601863) Attached to: Apple and Samsung Already Working On A9 Processor

No, but they might have spent $3.9B so they can say its CPU is not "Made in China" and have a Chinese company "procure" the designs and start making the next gen chips based on the tech, while also having to worry about grey market versions of Samsung and Apple devices that utilize the processor.

If they can control a key component of the device (and "made in america" certainly provides that), then they can minimize grey market goods impact on their branded devices by potentially relegating them to an inferior parts chain.

AI

Hawking Warns Strong AI Could Threaten Humanity 574

Posted by timothy
from the who-is-the-journal-of-robot-overlords-going-to-believe dept.
Rambo Tribble writes In a departure from his usual focus on theoretical physics, the estimable Steven Hawking has posited that the development of artificial intelligence could pose a threat to the existence of the human race. His words, "The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race." Rollo Carpenter, creator of the Cleverbot, offered a less dire assessment, "We cannot quite know what will happen if a machine exceeds our own intelligence, so we can't know if we'll be infinitely helped by it, or ignored by it and sidelined, or conceivably destroyed by it." I'm betting on "ignored."

Comment: Re:Amazing... BUT (Score 1) 89

by powerlord (#48360837) Attached to: Google To Lease and Refurbish Naval Air Base For Space Exploration

From the article:

Google already has a separate lease for another portion of the former air base, where it wants to build a second campus. Page and Brin have also used the Moffett runways for their collection of private jets, under another lease arrangement that's been criticized by some watchdog groups who say NASA gave the executives a sweetheart deal.

Because they are essentially renting the space next door to their new campus, and hanger space?

Comment: Re:Ashes to Ashes ... (Score 1) 268

by powerlord (#47947171) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?

Synology has some nice RAID enclosures.

Get two with multiple drives and they can also be set up to sync with each, creating your own little data cloud (multiple locations, w/RAID 5 per location, sync with each other via internet). Only problem is making sure there is sufficient bandwidth between them.

Privacy

FBI Completes New Face Recognition System 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-know-what-you-did-last-summer dept.
Advocatus Diaboli writes: According to a report from Gizmodo, "After six years and over one billion dollars in development, the FBI has just announced that its new biometric facial recognition software system is finally complete. Meaning that, starting soon, photos of tens of millions of U.S. citizen's faces will be captured by the national system on a daily basis. The Next Generation Identification (NGI) program will logs all of those faces, and will reference them against its growing database in the event of a crime. It's not just faces, though. Thanks to the shared database dubbed the Interstate Photo System (IPS), everything from tattoos to scars to a person's irises could be enough to secure an ID. What's more, the FBI is estimating that NGI will include as many as 52 million individual faces by next year, collecting identified faces from mug shots and some job applications." Techdirt points out that an assessment of how this system affects privacy was supposed to have preceded the actual rollout. Unfortunately, that assessment is nowhere to be found.

Two recent news items are related. First, at a music festival in Boston last year, face recognition software was tested on festival-goers. Boston police denied involvement, but were seen using the software, and much of the data was carelessly made available online. Second, both Ford and GM are working on bringing face recognition software to cars. It's intended for safety and security — it can act as authentication and to make sure the driver is paying attention to the road.

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