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Comment: Re:Is this new? (Score 1) 685

I travelled with a large external hard disk as well, once - which also got taken to one side and swabbed for stuff. Internal monologue: OH NO MY PRECIOUS DATA ... Oh, it's just the possibility of it being a bomb they're worried about.

On another occasion, I had fun with my home-made, Arduino-powered dSLR timelapse gadget - it got thoroughly inspected by the TSA. I'd already opted out of the backscatter X-ray whatsit, only for a swab-for-explosives test to give a (false-)positive. Eek. Cue being taken to one side, where they looked in my bag and found the timelapse-o-tron...

To give the screeners their due, they let me go after a few minutes - after I'd heard their complaints about the potential radiation doses they and the passengers were receiving from the backscatter X-ray thingers, and after I'd provided advice on what sort of camera to look into buying for a budding photographer.

Security fun elsewhere: carrying a plastic bag of loose change through the Eurostar security in Brussels (it basically looked like an amorphous, completely opaque lump on the X-ray) - and a random customs check at a UK airport giving a (false-)positive swab for some sort of illicit drugs. Eek.

Comment: Re:Not sure what the "secrecy" fuss is (Score 2) 222

by iplayfast (#47294041) Attached to: WikiLeaks Publishes Secret International Trade Agreement

Off the top of my head, if any agreement is negotiated in secret, it has a much higher chance of agreement then if it is negotiated in public or by commitee. So the idea is that people you elect to represent you do it, and do it in secret in order to get things accoplished.

Comment: Re:The worlds largest optical/near-IR telescope (Score 2) 76

The worlds largest single dish telescope is still the Green Bank Telescope (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Bank_Telescope), which at 100m is ~6x the size.

World's largest fully-steerable single-dish telescope - the Arecibo Observatory is larger still at a diameter of 300m! (Impressive Arecibo exploration video here. The thing's sodding enormous.)

I went looking for the largest diameter multi-dish radio telescope. It looks like the biggest terrestrial 'telescope' is the Global VLBI system created by combining the European VLBI Network with the US Very Long Baseline Array - it's like some massive team of superheroes combining to save the Earth from some terrible secret of space. Or whatever. Apparently they can also add space-based telescopes when that just isn't enough. Which, quite frankly, is showing off...

My thoughts when seeing one of the beautiful, 10m diameter Keck optical telescopes up close a few years ago? I've had full control of a telescope bigger than that.

Radio Astronomers: Compensating For Something.

User Journal

Journal: In Passing: If i only knew then what i know now.

Journal by Chacham

As the two people exited the elevator, they started to talk about kids and graduation, who was in college and who in high school, one mentioned that she still had a son in high school (iirc): "Why did i space out the kids like that? If i only knew then what i know now."

+ - The Government Can No Longer Track Your Cell Phone Without a Warrant 1

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "The government cannot use cell phone location data as evidence in a criminal proceeding without first obtaining a warrant, an appeals court ruled today, in one of the most important privacy decisions in recent memory.
"In short, we hold that cell site location information is within the subscriber’s reasonable expectation of privacy," the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled. "The obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation.""

+ - Computer Chronicles Now Streaming 24x7 on Justin.tv

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Some of us might remember the television series Computer Chronicles, created by Stewart Cheifet. It aired on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) during the mid 80's to early 2000's and documented the rise of the personal computer from its infancy to the immense market at the turn of the 21st century. Last week, the unofficial YouTube channel ComputerChroniclesYT announced they were streaming past episodes 24x7 live on Justin.tv."

Comment: Late-breaking news: PATHWAYS TO VICTORY! (Score 4, Funny) 206

It doesn't work to do this with a democratic government. We need a monarchy :-(

Or perhaps a font of sage wisdom? You know, like a Council? Composed of wise people, you know, like one's Elders? Something any sentient species ought to be able to figure out. Speaking of which, I feel another press release coming on...

K'Breel, Speaker for the Council, addresses the publication of the new report thusly:

"WE HAVE TRIUMPHED! Our skilled operatives from the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Propaganda; Planetary Research Council have successfully infiltrated the blueworlders' technological and informational systems. One notable document, Pathways to Exploration makes clear the disarray in which the blueworlders' long-term invasion plans lie, drawing on the history of meat-controlled spaceflight to justify future programs in organic space exploitation. Although the report promotes the invasion of our world as the horizon goal for the program, it takes into account funding levels necessary to maintain a robust tempo of execution, current research and exploration projects and the time/resources needed to continue them, and intertribal cooperation that would be required to further oppress the citizens of our fair red world."

"And its conclusion? Although the mechanized threat remains, and we salute those still fighting pitched battles with the two active land-based invaders, Pathways to Exploration makes it clear that it is not possible for the blueworlders' organic-based self-replicators to invade our world, at least not without a sustained commitment to funding at a higher level than their own tribal leaders are currently providing."

When an intern from the defense engineering board suggested that improving the capabilities of the blueworlders' EDL systems, radshielding, and propulsion and power systems were ultimately matters of engineering and not physics, and could ultimately be addressed if the tribals of the blue world ever get it into their oxygen-addled brains to work together to achieve a common goal (as, the intern suggested, the way any sentient species does), K'Breel had the intern's gelsacs addled by immersing them in a suitably-merciful quantity of liquid oxygen.

Thus spake K'Breel, Speaker for the Council of Elders, Committee on Native Spaceflight; Arenautics and Defense Engineering Board; Defense Studies Board; Division of Blueworlder Social and Physical Sciences; Committee on Gelsacular Statistics.

+ - Star Within a Star: Thorne-Zytkow Object Discovered->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "A weird type of ‘hybrid’ star has been discovered nearly 40 years since it was first theorized — but until now has been curiously difficult to find. In 1975, renowned astrophysicists Kip Thorne, of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, Calif., and Anna Zytkow, of the University of Cambridge, UK, assembled a theory on how a large dying star could swallow its neutron star binary partner, thus becoming a very rare type of stellar hybrid, nicknamed a Thorne-Zytkow object (or TZO). The neutron star — a dense husk of degenerate matter that was once a massive star long since gone supernova — would spiral into the red supergiant’s core, interrupting normal fusion processes. According to the Thorne-Zytkow theory, after the two objects have merged, an excess of the elements rubidium, lithium and molybdenum will be generated by the hybrid. So astronomers have been on the lookout for stars in our galaxy, which is thought to contain only a few dozen of these objects at any one time, with this specific chemical signature in their atmospheres. Now, according to Emily Levesque of the University of Colorado Boulder and her team, a bona fide TZO has been discovered and their findings have been accepted for publication in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters."
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I took a fish head to the movies and I didn't have to pay. -- Fish Heads, Saturday Night Live, 1977.

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