Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government

Submission + - GPS problem overblown

Attila Dimedici writes: A NASA contractor writes about how the news reports about possible failure of the GPS is overblown. http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/9124
There have been reports that the Global Positioning System could begin to fail next year because of delays in the development of GPS III satellites. The problem with this is that GPS III satellites are not scheduled to begin deployment until 2014. So even if they are delayed they could hardly cause problems with GPS next year. Series IIF satellites are scheduled to begin deployment in November of 2009. Additionally, there are currently 31 GPS satellites in orbit and functioning, only 24 are needed to provide reasonable global coverage.
NASA

Submission + - Space Shuttle Secrets Stolen for China

Ponca City, We Love You writes: "The Department of Justice has announced the indictment of former Boeing engineer Dongfan Chung on charges of economic espionage in the theft of company trade secrets relating to the Space Shuttle, the C-17 military transport aircraft and the Delta IV rocket. Chung is a native of China and a naturalized U.S. citizen who stole secrets on behalf of China, the indictment says. According to the indictment, Chinese aviation industry representatives began sending Chung 'tasking' letters as early as 1979. Over the years, the letters directed Chung to collect specific technological information, including data related to the Space Shuttle and various military and civilian aircraft. Chung allegedly responded in one letter indicating a desire to contribute to the 'motherland,' the DOJ said. It was not immediately clear how much, if any, damage the alleged espionage did to U.S. national security but DOJ officials said the cases reflect the determination of China's government to penetrate U.S. intelligence and obtain vital national defense secrets. "Today's prosecution demonstrates that foreign spying remains a serious threat in the post-Cold War world,'' said Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for National Security"
Security

Submission + - Personal encryption tested in U.S. District Court 1

Senior Frac writes: A U.S. District Court is reviewing a case where a man has refused to give his encryption password over to authorities. This individual, from Vermont, is accused of having child porn on his laptop and is refusing to hand over his encryption password. His defense is one of self-incrimination. This ruling is one that is important beyond the child porn aspect into other, less onerous, cases, so I would encourage everyone to look past the scumbag defendant and at our own data.
The Courts

Submission + - Atheists not allowed to adopt children (time.com) 4

gollum123 writes: "From Time, After six years of childless marriage, John and Cynthia Burke of Newark decided to adopt a baby boy through a state agency ( http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,877155,00.html ) . John Burke, an atheist, and his wife, a pantheist, left the line for religious affiliation blank on the forms. Superior Court Judge William Camarata raised the religious issue. Inestimable Privilege. In an extraordinary decision, Judge Camarata denied the Burkes' right to the child because of their lack of belief in a Supreme Being. Despite the Burkes' "high moral and ethical standards," he said, the New Jersey state constitution declares that "no person shall be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshiping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience." Despite Eleanor Katherine's tender years, he continued, "the child should have the freedom to worship as she sees fit, and not be influenced by prospective parents who do not believe in a Supreme Being." Two weeks ago, aided by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Burkes appealed directly to the New Jersey Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case. If they fail in their appeal, Eleanor Katherine may have to leave the only family she has ever known and await adoption by another couple whose religious convictions satisfy the State of New Jersey."
Math

Submission + - MIT Student disproves Stephen Wolfram

Richard Pritches writes: MIT errata expert, Evangelos Georgiadis, attains a milestone by actually disproving 44 conjectures set by Dr Wolfram (owner of the Makers of Mathematica and owner of the new kind of cult ANKS). Paper was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Cellular Automata and has also appeared free of charge at Prof Edwin Clark's Collection of Wolfram's NKS Reviews at the following link http://www.math.usf.edu/~eclark/jca_georgiadis.pdf I believe that this is a nice Xmas present for the ANKOS spirit. Richard
Books

Submission + - Terry Pratchett Diagnosed with Alzheimers

rucs_hack writes: "Terry Pratchett, the author of the Discworld series, has been Diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
He describes it as 'an embuggerance', and plans to continue writing his next two books, "Nation" and "Unseen Academicals" which are not based in the discworld universe.
I imagine the rest of the slashdot community will join me in extending our sympathy and hope for some means to mitigate the effects of the illness."
Robotics

Submission + - Microcontroller for the hobbyist? 5

TomTheGeek writes: "I'm a programmer that's done some assembly language before and would like to start programming microcontrollers. I've heard about the BASIC Stamps from Parallax, the PIC series from Microchip, the MAKE Controller Kit, and the AVR series from Atmel but they seem to be focused on a development board that is too expensive to dedicate to a single project. Having an expensive development board is fine but I want the microcontroller to be cheap (<$10) enough that I don't have to disassemble my previous project in order to start a new one. I'll be doing the programming in Ubuntu so compatible development tools and drivers are required."
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft Wants OLPC's XO Redesigned For Windows

Preedit writes: There's an Infoweek story today that says Microsoft has asked Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child organization to redesign its Linux-based XO laptop so it can accommodate Windows XP. Specifically, Microsoft wants slots added so extra memory can be introduced to the system via an SD Card. The story notes that the XO was previously chided as unusable by Bill Gates, so this might be tacit admission that Microsoft and Intel's Classmate PC for emerging markets has failed to catch on.
Space

Submission + - Thirty Meter Telescope Moving Ahead

Hugh Pickens writes: "California Institute of Technology and the University of California have announced they have received a $200 million commitment over nine years toward the further development and construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT). The core of the TMT Observatory will be a wide-field, alt-az Ritchey-Chretien telescope with a 492 segment, 30 meter diameter primary mirror, a fully active secondary mirror and an articulated tertiary mirror. TMT will be the first ground-based astronomy telescope designed with adaptive optics as an integral system element. The adoptive optics will sense atmospheric turbulence in real-time, correct the optical beam of the telescope to remove its effect, and enable true diffraction-limited imaging on the ground. For many astronomical observations, this is equivalent to observing above the Earth's atmosphere at a fraction of a cost of a space-based observatory. Relative to the Hubble Space Telescope, TMT will have 144 times the collecting area and more than a factor of 10 better spatial resolution at near-infrared and longer wavelengths."
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft's OOXML claims its first scalp! (theopensourcerer.com)

The Open Sourcerer writes: "In what is an astonishingly outspoken report, Martin Bryan, Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 WG1 has given insight into the total mess that Microsoft/ECMA has caused during their scandalous, underhand and unremitting attempts to get — what is a very poorly written specification — approved as an ISO standard. "The disparity of rules for PAS, Fast-Track and ISO committee generated standards is fast making ISO a laughing stock in IT circles. The days of open standards development are fast disappearing. Instead we are getting "standardization by corporation", something I have been fighting against for the 20 years I have served on ISO committees. I am glad to be retiring before the situation becomes impossible. I wish my colleagues every success for their future efforts, which I sincerely hope will not prove to be as wasted as I fear they could be." The Open Sourcerer"
Networking

Submission + - An introduction to the layered SCSI architecture

An anonymous reader writes: The SCSI subsystem has gone through many changes over the years, and the changes aren't done yet. New technologies such as end-to-end data protection are finding their way into Linux, as are new protocols such as FCoE. See how SCSI began, what it has to offer us today, and what to look forward to in the SCSI future.
Businesses

Submission + - MPAA Forced To Take Down University Toolkit (livejournal.com)

bobbocanfly writes: "An Ubuntu developer has succeeded in getting the MPAA to remove their "University Toolkit" after claims it violated the GNU GPL. After several attempts to contact the MPAA directly the developer eventually emailed the groups ISP and the violating software was taken down."
Security

Submission + - Datacenter robbed for the 4th time in 2 years (theregister.co.uk) 1

mariushm writes: "The CIHost datacenter was attacked by armed intruders for the fourth times in two years.

According to a letter C I Host officials sent customers, "at least two masked intruders entered the suite after cutting into the reinforced walls with a power saw, [...]

During the robbery, C I Host's night manager was repeatedly tazered and struck with a blunt instrument. After violently attacking the manager, the intruders stole equipment belonging to C I Host and its customers."

To aggravate the situation, C I Host representatives needed several days to admit the most recent breach, according to several customers who said they lost equipment, all the while reporting the problems as "router failures"."

Security

Submission + - Dislike a Relative? Turn Them in as a Terrorist! 9

Stanislav_J writes: A Swedish man who had less than fond feelings for his daughter's hubby, took advantage of the son-in-law's trip to America by reporting him to the FBI as a terrorist. The e-mail, which the father-in-law admits to sending, earned him a libel charge after his poor son-in-law was arrested on his arrival in Florida, handcuffed, interrogated, and placed in a cell for 11 hours before being released.

It's a brief article, but dovetails nicely with the recent Slashdot story about "The War on the Unexpected." That article touched on many examples of well-meaning, but misguided and paranoid citizens reporting innocent activities to the authorities. In the current climate, the potential also exists for maliciously false and far from well-meaning reports made to the Feds about people one simply doesn't care for, or those made merely as a sick prank.

While the man admitted to sending the e-mail to the FBI, he claims he thought no harm would come from it because "he did not think the US authorities would be stupid enough to believe him." To quote the great philosopher Bugs Bunny, 'Nyahh....he don't know us very well, do he?'

Slashdot Top Deals

Biology grows on you.

Working...