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Comment Yes, astronauts (Score 3, Informative) 61

They deserve to be called astronauts, even if that dilutes the brand.

The definition of astronaut is anyone who travels into space. Space is defined as as certain altitude above the earth. According to Wiki:

The criteria for what constitutes human spaceflight vary. The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) Sporting Code for astronautics recognizes only flights that exceed an altitude of 100 kilometers (62 mi).[3] However, in the United States, professional, military, and commercial astronauts who travel above an altitude of 80 kilometers (50 mi)[citation needed] are awarded astronaut wings.

There have been cases where, like in the Challenger disaster, they were not technically considered astronauts since they didn't cross the threshhold into space. So far there's been 489 astronauts under the international standard, and 496 by the US standard of 50 miles.


Jedi Knights Course Offered By Queen's University Belfast 180

Starting in November, Queen's University Belfast will offer a course that will use the psychology of the Star Wars Jedi Knights to teach students communication skills and personal development. The university's publicity material reads 'the course "Feel the Force: How to Train in the Jedi Way" teaches the "real-life psychological techniques behind Jedi mind tricks"' and promises to explore 'wider issues behind the Star Wars universe, like balance, destiny, dualism, fatherhood and fascism.' The course is very affordable but the droid fees are outrageous.

Submission + - Darwin 9.0 Code Released (

mr100percent writes: MacNN reports that Apple has released the source code to Darwin 9.0, the backbone of OS X 10.5 Leopard. x86 and PPC versions are available. According to Apple's developer mailing list, some key drivers are missing however.

Submission + - Twentieth Century Fox Confirm 'X-Files 2'

An anonymous reader writes: After years of speculation, the Studio officially announced that production of the long-awaited X-Files sequel will commence December 10th, with a release date set for July 25, 2008. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are signed to reprise their roles as Mulder and Scully. The story is to be a standalone rather than a continuation of the long-running Mytharc of Alien conspiracies. [URL:]

Submission + - Ron Paul sets record $4.2 million in 24 hours (

An anonymous reader writes: WOW, $4.2 million in 24 hours!!! Dr. Ron Paul has well surpassed the grassroots goal of two million dollars. Rep. Paul has drawn millions with his message of liberty, and refrain from empire building. The message of non-intervention, secure borders, no entangling alliances, no income tax, ending the war on drugs, and liberty is rapidly spreading. Read more about it here.

Submission + - Monkeys as Self-Delusional as Humans

Hugh Pickens writes: "People deal with cognitive dissonance — the clashing of conflicting thoughts — by eliminating one of the thoughts. Psychologists have suggested we hone our skills of rationalization in order to impress others, reaffirm our "moral integrity" and protect our "self-concept" and feeling of "global self-worth." Now experimenters at Yale have demonstrated that other primates employ the same psychological mechanism. In one experiment, a monkey was observed to show an equal preference for three colors of M&M's and was given a choice between two of them. If he chose red over blue, his preference changed and he downgraded blue. When he was subsequently given a choice between blue and green, it was no longer an even contest — he was now much more likely to reject the blue. Rationalization is thought to have an evolutionary utility; once a decision has been made, second-guessing may just interfere with more important business. "We tend to think people have an explicit agenda to rewrite history to make themselves look right, but that's an outsider's perspective. This experiment shows that there isn't always much conscious thought going on," said one researcher."
United States

Submission + - Judge strikes down two PATRIOT act provisions (

Barraketh writes: Judge Aiken struck down two provisions of the PATRIOT act which allowed for search warrants without probable cause. In 1978, the FISA court was established, which could issue a search warrant as long as the primary purpose of the search was gathering of foreign intelligence information. The PATRIOT act relaxed this requirement to a significant purpose. This allowed the FBI to search anyone they claim to be 'an agent of a foreign power'. The FISA warrants also allowed the FBI to bypass the requirement to 'describe with particularity' the things to be seized and place to be searched in order to obtain the warrant. These provisions were deemed to violate the Fourth Amendment. Read full opinion here.

Submission + - Cyber Attack Test Destroys Power Plant Generator ( 1

Somegeek writes: CNN has revealed that there was a test performed in March 2007 where the Department of Homeland Security evaluated what a cyber attack could do against a power plant. The attackers in the classified test were able to take control of the plant's control software and modify the settings of a large generator to the point where it self-destructed. The story relates that until then, they had always believed that the worst that could happen was that attackers would be able to turn something off. An economist looked at a scenario where a third of the US was without power for three months due to destroyed power plant equipment and put a price tag on the massive attack at 700 billion dollars.

They have been working on fixing the vulnerabilities that they found at power plants across the country, but how many other plant control systems need to be fixed? Is it possible to look at severing all computer connections between plant control systems and all other networks and expect them to still function?

The Courts

Submission + - Judge Strikes Down 2 Patriot Act Provisions (

An anonymous reader writes: An Oregon judge ruled yesterday that two provisions of the Patriot Act were illegal, upholding the right of people to be secure in their homes. The decision is currently being reviewed by the Justice Department, who could not be reached for comment.

Submission + - Point and click Gmail hacking at Black Hat (

not5150 writes: "Using Gmail or most other webmail programs over an unsecured access points just got a bit more dangerous. At Black Hat, Robert Graham, CEO of errata security, showed how to capture and clone session cookies. He even hijacked a shocked attendee's Gmail account in the middle of his Black Hat speech."

Submission + - Massive Cyclone may disrupt Middle East Oil (

One Salient Oversight writes: "There is a massive cyclone (Hurricane) that is currently heading for the Middle East nation of Oman. Oil production and supply facilities in the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf are likely to be affected. Expect a spike in the price of oil and higher prices to fill up at the pump. The Oil Drum has more"

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I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman