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Comment Re:Um, they can hit the ones they can see... (Score 1) 739

First of all, they have plenty of other issues to worry about when designing the exterior of a satellite, like reflective material for thermal management, or solar cells for generating power.

It is non-trivial to create what amounts to an invisible satellite.

It has and continues to be done not only by the US, but by other countries as well.

Techniques are continuously developed and refined to see such "invisible" satellites. It's just another arms race.

Secondly, I would imagine that the trajectories of all satellites are available to all agencies that launch stuff into space.

There are certain satellites that are not tracked except by the agencies that use them, and by anyone else who happens to notice it. There are public lists of all known satellites.

From http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/technology /mystery_monday_050103.html :
But within weeks after MISTY's shuttle deployment, both U.S. and Soviet sources reported that the satellite malfunctioned. Richelson explained that a spacecraft explosion "may have been a tactic to deceive those monitoring the satellite or may have been the result of the jettisoning of operational debris."

Whatever the case -- and to the chagrin of spysat operators -- a network of civilian space sleuths had been monitoring a set of MISTY maneuvers and the explosion, ostensibly part of a "disappearing act" meant to disguise its true whereabouts.

So check it out yourself. My understanding is that amateur satellite trackers have found and verified numerous unpublished satellites. They feel they are doing a service - "If I can see and track it with my limited resources, you can bet China, etc know about it years ago."

Imaging a soyuz crashing into one of those massive spy satellites with a relative velocity of several kilometers per second...

Check out Big Sky Theory. You'll find that the amount of 3-D space is so large in volume that even satellites meant to hit each other (for various tests) are extraordinarily difficult to target. When satellites start to accidently crash - it is greater then 99.9% certain it was not random or accidental, statistically speaking.

I just can't see how the US could not have spy satellites that are difficult to see and unpublished. The article mentions well-known satellites (keyhole). It will be news (well, actually no one will know publicly) when the chinese test their laser against all our unpublished satellites.

Like others have said, this is likely a story to get greater funding (Congress is going to start dealing with budget soon) for the various agencies. It looks like it may have been done well - a single statement in a long report, and no official statements other than that. Congresspersons, start your engines! China's going to attack Tiawan, and before we find out it'll all be over! Better throw a few more protected satellites up! China's hindering the Iran peace process to keep us occupied in other parts of the world! That might destroy Walmart's business model and we'll lose 1000's of jobs in our state! etc, etc, etc.


Cleaner Air Adds To Global Warming 751

shmlco writes "In the "You Can't Win For Losing" department, an article on the BBC web site is reporting that reduced air pollution and increased water evaporation appears to be adding to man-made global warming. Research presented at a major European science meeting adds to other evidence that cleaner air is letting more solar energy through to the Earth's surface. Burn fossil fuels, you make things worse. Clean up your act, and you make things worse. Is it time to set off a few nukes and see if nuclear winter can cool things down?"

What Would You Demand From Your IT Department? 671

ZombieLine asks: "The IT department at my company (approximately some 500 people) is showing signs of incompetence, and has been ignoring knowledgeable user input for about a year. Additionally, they haven't been able to sell needed changes to senior management. Unacceptable server down time, maxed network storage, and no backups systems have hit the bottom line, and those on top are starting to notice. We users are staging a revolt to make IT more responsive to users by creating a group from the company divisions and IT to discuss needs and solutions. What would you put in our charter?" What services and responsibilities would you demand out of your IT department?

Covert CCTV Monitoring in the Workplace? 109

An Inquiring Mind asks: "A good friend's employer has recently installed a CCTV system in the office she works at. This is not unusual in itself, but there is no notice that CCTV is in use, and no company policy regarding CCTV use in employee monitoring, data retention, or anything else. My understanding is that CCTV use in the UK is covered by the DPA (Data Protection Act) if: it is used to gather information about an individual; is monitored remotely; or is given to people other than law enforcement bodies (this from a CCTV/PDA document [pdf], from the website of the Information Commissioner's Office). If it does fall under the remit of the DPA, then they would need at least signage, and a policy for the retention of the data. Given that this camera would likely fall foul of the DPA, that challenging the employer would be career suicide (due to internal politics), and that she has nothing to hide -- what do other Slashdot readers think should be the next step for my friend: principled but suicidal stand, or quiet annoyance?" Much of what is allowed depends on the law of the land in your area. Depending on what the laws do and do not allow, how would you safely approach your employers to air your concerns on this subject?
User Journal

Journal Journal: 500 comments, new house, fun bike trip, etc, etc

Well, I've surpassed 500 comments on slashdot. I spend too much time here.

In other news, it looks like we're going to get a new house - 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1500sq ft, 2 car garage, etc. Lots of work getting this place sold, getting financing, getting the other place, etc. It's going to be great when it's done - just before school starts (ugh!)

Porsche: there simply is no substitute. -- Risky Business