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Space

Ask Slashdot: Legal Advice Or Loopholes Needed For Manned Space Program 201

Kristian vonBengtson writes "A DIY, manned space program like Copenhagen Suborbitals is kept alive by keeping total independence, cutting the red tape and simply just doing it all in a garage. We basically try to stay below the radar at all time and are reluctant in engagements leading to signing papers or do things (too much) by the books. But now there might be trouble ahead. (Saul Goodman! We need you...) During the last 5 years we have encountered many weird legal cases which does not make much sense and no one can explain their origin. If we were to fix up a batch of regular black gunpowder (which we use for igniters) we are entitled for serving time in jail. Even a few grams. But no one give a hoot about building a rocket fueled with 12 tonnes of liquid oxygen and alcohol. Thats is perfectly legal. If Copenhagen Suborbitals fly a rocket into space for the first time there are likely legal action that must be dealt with. At my time at the International Space University we had lectures and exams in space law and I remember the Outer Space Treaty which is the most ratified space treaty with over 100 countries including Denmark and U.S. And here is the matter – in which I seek some kind of advice or what you may call it: Outer Space Treaty, Article 6 states: 'the activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty.' Does this mean that Denmark (or any other country for that matter – if it was your project) suddenly have to approve what we are doing and will be kept responsible for our mission, if we launch into space?"

Comment We call them "Cannonball Run" (Score 5, Interesting) 391

We have Cannonball Runs, where our developers and engineers work long days, enjoy company-provided, catered meals, and concierge services to help in their absence at home, and of course preems, which are financial incentives for accelerating the schedule.

It's about as far from what this asshole is doing as you can get, but we get fantastic results, and the work product is very high quality. That's why I spend the money to do it. It does cost money - about $5k/day for a team of 10 people (I refuse to call them "resources").

United States

How To FIx Healthcare.gov: Go Open-Source! 307

McGruber writes "Over at Bloomberg Businessweek, Paul Ford explains that the debacle known as healthcare.gov makes clear that it is time for the government to change the way it ships code: namely, by embracing the open source approach to software development that has revolutionized the technology industry." That seems like the only way to return maximum value to the taxpayers, too.
The Military

US Should Cancel Plutonium Plant, Say Scientists 214

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Rachel Oswald reports that the Union of Concerned Scientists, an independent science advocacy organization, says that the United States should cancel plans to build a multi-billion dollar plutonium research facility in New Mexico and criticizes Obama administration plans for nuclear facilities and weapons. They argue that the plans to build new fissile-material handling plants are unnecessarily ambitious given the expected future downward trajectory of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement plant (CMRR) building at Los Alamos would replace a Cold War-era site at a cost of $6 billion. It is intended to assist in ensuring new and existing plutonium pits are in working order absent a return by the country to nuclear-weapons testing. The 81-page UCS report, 'Making Smart Security Choices,' (PDF) says if the U.S. carries out limited reductions of its nuclear arsenal over the next-quarter century — as President Obama has said he would like to do — current facilities at Los Alamos can produce sufficient plutonium cores to maintain the warhead stockpile. The CMRR complex is designed to have the capacity to produce between 50 and 80 plutonium pits annually even though no more than 50 cores are needed yearly and Los Alamos currently has that production capability, says report co-author Lisbeth Gronlund. 'The idea that you would need to produce up to 80 [cores] is not warranted,' says Gronlund. 'We think it's time just to cancel the whole thing.'"
Technology

A Thermoelectric Bracelet To Maintain a Comfortable Body Temperature 125

rtoz writes "Heating or cooling certain parts of your body — such as applying a warm towel to your forehead if you feel chilly — can help maintain your perceived thermal comfort. Using that concept, four MIT engineering students developed a thermoelectric bracelet that monitors air and skin temperature, and sends tailored pulses of hot or cold waveforms to the wrist to help maintain thermal comfort. The product is now a working prototype. And although people would use the device for personal comfort, the team says the ultimate aim is to reduce the energy consumption of buildings, by cooling and heating the individual — not the building. The team estimates that if the device stops one building from adjusting its temperature by even just 1 degree Celsius, it will save roughly 100 kilowatt-hours per month."

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