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Submission + - Quick look: NASA's ambitious asteroid grabbing mission (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: NASA's FY2014 budget proposal includes a plan to robotically capture a small near-Earth asteroid weighing about 500 tons and redirect it safely to a stable orbit in the Earth-moon system where astronauts can visit and explore it. The mission is still in the early planning stages and NASA will host a workshop at the end of September to discuss potential approaches. Here’s a look at what the agency is planning so far.
Space

Monster Storm Reveals Water On Saturn 31

cold fjord sends this news from NASA: "A monster storm that erupted on Saturn in late 2010 – as large as any storm ever observed on the ringed planet -- has already impressed researchers with its intensity and long-lived turbulence. A new paper in the journal Icarus reveals another facet of the storm's explosive power: its ability to churn up water ice from great depths. This finding, derived from near-infrared measurements by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, is the first detection at Saturn of water ice. The water originates from deep in Saturn's atmosphere. 'The new finding from Cassini shows that Saturn can dredge up material from more than 100 miles [160 kilometers],' said Kevin Baines, a co-author of the paper who works at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. 'It demonstrates in a very real sense that typically demure-looking Saturn can be just as explosive or even more so than typically stormy Jupiter.'"

Comment Re:none (Score 1) 322

but what are the weaknesses of a book?

Linear string of words. No parallelism, no seperation between background and foreground, no layering without stretching it out into time, and most importantly: We humans are fantastic at processing visual information. You can pack much more into a picture then into words.

How do you express an irrational fear on screen? Poorly, I expect.

But are better at some things. Movies are better at some things. I can't understand how someone could disagree with that simple truth. To me, it's as obvious as saying the some people are better at some things and other people are better at different things.

Comment Re:none (Score 1) 322

I maintain that a movie can do things a book can't.

For example, showing things in the background and leaving the reader to guess if it matters or is just scenery (or even miss it altogether) is a lot easier in a movie. Images are more powerful then words for certain things, just as the reverse is true for others.

The subtle change in the time/setting in Death Proof for example has no equivalent in words. Sure, you can do something similar, but you can't do the same thing.

As I said: I love books. But there are reasons people painted before we invented photography and used cameras ever since we did, and not all of these people are morons and too dumb to know better.

Comment Re:none (Score 1) 322

Books do almost all of the things that every other medium does.

No, they don't.

I love books, and I find your remarks following that sentence insulting. But I am also keenly aware that a good movie can do things that books can't. The scene in 2001 where HAL is watching the lips of the astronauts move - a fantastic scene that works exactly because it is not spelled out that he is reading their lips. The emotions it creates in the audience work precisely because you arrive at that conclusion yourself.

Several scenes in Bladerunner have the same quality.

Or the reveal in Demon, which strikes twice as hard as it possibly could in a book because you realize whose voice it has been all along.

Every medium has its strengths and weaknesses, and claiming that one medium is ultimately superior and includes everything from every other medium is pure and utter ignorance.

Comment Re:now i will never fly BA (Score 1) 286

No, I don't. Both by my own experience and observation, at least here in Europe, luggage does get lost, but not on a routine basis.

But why guess when you have facts?

The most recent available report is from last year:
http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/reports/2012/September/2012SeptATCR.PDF

The average is 3.52 reports per 1,000 passengers, or 0.352%

Comment Re:Oh for pete's sake (Score 1) 201

Well, this case is taking place in the UK, and I don't know anything about their law (other than that they have wigs, which seem neat). My analysis is more or less how it would work out in the US.

In the US, a derivative work is not the same thing as a compilation. (Although I suppose it is possible to have a compilation which is itself derivative of a preexisting compilation)

Here are the relevant bits of the statute:

17 USC 101

A âoecompilationâ is a work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship. The term âoecompilationâ includes collective works.

A âoederivative workâ is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a âoederivative workâ.

17 USC 103

(a) The subject matter of copyright as specified by section 102 includes compilations and derivative works, but protection for a work employing preexisting material in which copyright subsists does not extend to any part of the work in which such material has been used unlawfully.
(b) The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material.

If the compiler has the right to make the compilations at all, which they apparently do (or is someone arguing that Ministry of Sound is itself a pirate?), then they'd automatically get a copyright on the compilation if the compilation meets the requirements for copyrightability, the main one for compilations typically being whether there was sufficient creativity in the selection and arrangement of the material compiled.

Now, it's possible that a condition for including a particular recording might be to assign the compilation copyright back to the licensor of the recording, so that they end up with the compilation copyright. But barring that, the law says that the copyright in the compilation automatically subsists in the author, i.e. the compiler. Permission is required to make the compilation, but that doesn't change the law.

Again, of course, that's how it would be in the US. In the UK, who knows?

Comment Re:Oh for pete's sake (Score 1) 201

No, in the US they have a good argument. The issue is whether there was sufficient creativity in the selection of which tracks to include, and which order to arrange them in, as to justify a copyright.

The white pages in a phone book could be copyrightable. But so long as the selection of information is merely the name of the telephone subscriber, their address, and their number, and the order is merely alphabetical, in last name order, it's not creative; all the white pages are like that, and the reason is to make them useful.

A phone book that only included certain people arbitrarily chosen by the compiler, and which arranged them in an arbitrary, creative way, could be protected. (The individual names, numbers, and addresses could still be copied; they're unprotectable facts, but they'd have to be rearranged, and ideally mixed with the information of people who were not included). But a phone book like this would be useless as a general purpose directory. A specialty directory, sure -- e.g. a phone book of places a tourist should see in a foreign city -- but this isn't usually what people want.

Here, unless the authorized compilation albums include everything (or everything that could be included subject to some non-creative constraint, such as all the recordings to which the issuer of the compilation has rights), and unless they're arranged in some uncreative order, such as chronological order, or alphabetical order, it sounds worthy of a copyright to me.

Comment Re:(c) grocery list (Score 2) 201

It also comes into play with "functional" items like relatively short blocks of computer code where there may be very little "flexibility" in how you code something. For example, if I come up with a 5-line sorting algorithm and describe it in text (not code) form, two readers may independently implement the algorithm in the same language, call the function "sort," and use "a, b, c, etc" or even "i, j, k, etc." as variable names, not do any comments, etc. and result in exactly the same implementation. Both have a copyright on the implementation, just as much as if they had named the variables after their children's pets and called the function "newsortireadinabooksomewhere()".

Assuming, that is, that it is copyrightable at all. This is the filtration step of the abstraction-filtration-comparison test from the Altai case. Copyrights don't protection functionality; only creative aspects of software. Actual usefulness has to go under patents instead. Thus, the algorithm used isn't copyrightable. If there are a limited number of ways to implement that algorithm, particularly if external constraints like efficiency are involved, the implementation merges with the noncopyrightable functionality, and both are uncopyrightable. Further, commonplace bits of code, especially if they're functionally necessary in order to make it work on a particular machine, fall under the scenes a faire doctrine, which allows the free use of stock elements (e.g. in a horror story, the wolves howling at the moon, the remote and spooky castle in Transylvania, the superstitious peasants who know what's going on, etc.).

Creativity for copyright purposes requires the ability to make creative choices. Strip away the ability to choose, and you lose the creativity required for a copyright to subsist.

Only once we've determined what is copyrightable in the first place, and whether the allegedly infringing work is substantively similar, can we then proceed to the question of copying or independent creation.

Comment none (Score 1) 322

SciFi is, ultimately, about telling a story (about the future). So it depends on the story you want to tell.

Movies and TV (visual media) are great at painting a big-picture impression of a world in full colour, making it come alive. But books are better at going into depth or exploring things not easily put into pictures, such as culture or society. Games are great if you want to explore a personal story and highlight the consequences of decisions. And so on.

Comment Re:A lot of this is not aversion to risk (Score 1) 478

That isn't the reason for things like national-security policy; you cannot sue the federal government for its security policies (due to sovereign immunity). However you can vote politicians out of office, or vote them into office if they grandstand in a way you like, which is what they're worried about.

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