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Submission + - Coldest Spot on Planet Earth Identified (nasa.gov)

Thorfinn.au writes: Scientists made the discovery while analyzing the most detailed global surface temperature maps to date, developed with data from remote sensing satellites including the new Landsat 8, a joint project of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., joined a team of researchers reporting the findings Monday at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

It is a high ridge in Antarctica on the East Antarctic Plateau where temperatures in several hollows can dip below minus 92 degrees Celsius on a clear winter night.

Researchers analyzed 32 years' worth of data from several satellite instruments. They found temperatures plummeted to record lows dozens of times in clusters of pockets near a high ridge between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji, two summits on the ice sheet known as the East Antarctic Plateau. The new record of minus 93.2 C was set Aug. 10, 2010.

Submission + - Scientists Promise 10x Faster Fibre Optic Networks via Nyquist Sinc Light Pulses (ispreview.co.uk)

Mark.JUK writes: A group of scientists working at one of Switzerland’s two Federal Institutes of Technology have published a new paper in Nature, which reveals how the performance of existing fibre optic networks could be boosted by shortening the distance between pulses of laser light using a Nyquist sinc pulse.

In simple terms the team were able to change the shape of the spectrum to be more rectangular, which meant that the pulses could interfere but the point at which they’re read remains clear (i.e. equivalent to reducing the space between the pulses). It’s claimed that the feat, which was achieved with a simple laser and modulator, could help to deliver speeds that are ten times faster than today’s.

Submission + - Stanford Researchers: With Three Hops, NSA Can Blanket the United States

An anonymous reader writes: At a House of Representatives hearing in July, the NSA admitted it can follow up to three hops in phone metadata. Just how far does that authority go? Researchers at Stanford crowdsourced data to find out. They discovered that Americans are often linked by pervasive phone numbers, such as voicemail systems, customer service lines, and telemarketing spam. "Under current FISA Court orders," write the authors, "the NSA may be able to analyze the phone records of a sizable proportion of the United States population with just one seed number."

Comment Re:Fireworks in 3...2...1... (Score 5, Interesting) 1251

I just wish that people would be more up-front about their theological motives, rather than waving their hands or making things up.

Most people aren't that deep. The vast majority of self-proclaimed "Christians" that I've had any sort of discussion with can't separate what is in the Bible from Christmas Carols or greeting cards. They have absolutely no real knowledge of what they believe. They go to church for the music, business contacts and fellowship. Theology has NOTHING to do with it.

I once thought ill of the Catholic Church for making it a capital crime for lay persons reading the Bible on their own. After attending a couple of Non-Denominational Evangelical church services, and their "Bible study" afterward where parishioners "interpreted" a couple of verses on their own... I feel the need to apologize to the Catholics. Those people came up with some seriously off-the-wall bullshit that frequently was 180 degrees opposite of what a verse literally said. Worse was two people would interpret the same verse in exactly opposite ways and they'd all nod sagaciously and agree they were both correct. Hands in the air and Praise Jesus!

Submission + - TSA cancels $60 million Rapiscan contract; Congress to increase TSA Tax anyway (bloomberg.com)

McGruber writes: Bloomberg has the news that the US General Accounting Office (GAO) has forced the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to cancel a contract for carry-on baggage screening equipment (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-06/naked-scanner-maker-osi-systems-falls-on-losing-tsa-order.html). The contract had been awarded to Rapiscan, a unit of OSI Systems Inc. (OSIS), less than three months after the TSA nearly barred the company from future contracts, over how Rapiscan handled software fixes for body-scanning machines known as "naked scanners”.

Another contractor protested the award of the baggage screening contract to OSIS/Rapiscan. The protesting firm pointed out that OSI’s Rapiscan unit planned to make the machines in Malaysia in violation of federal rules and was using outdated technology that might miss dangerous objects and trigger false alarms.

Two House committees said in a report last year that the TSA spent $184 million on Rapiscan scanners that are now stored in a warehouse instead of being deployed at airports. The agency was spending $3.5 million a year to lease and manage the warehouse, the committees said.

Sadly, not even Congress reads reports produced by house committees, as demonstrated by this Businessweek report (http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-12-03/tsa-passenger-fee-increase-proposal-spurs-airlines-to-lobby-2) that Congress is posed to increase the TSA Tax: "Eager to find new revenues to fend off automatic spending cuts next month, Republicans are embracing an increase to the so-called Sept. 11 security fee on U.S. airline tickets they’ve long resisted. Eager to find new revenues to fend off automatic spending cuts next month, Republicans are embracing an increase to the so-called Sept. 11 security fee on U.S. airline tickets they’ve long resisted. It’s one of the few money-raisers that has bipartisan support in budget negotiations, even as its surprise emergence mobilized resistance from airlines in the U.S. and abroad, the Air Line Pilots Association and the Consumer Travel Alliance."

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