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Decades-Old Soviet Reflector Spotted On the Moon 147

cremeglace writes "No one had seen a laser reflector that Soviet scientists had left on the moon almost 40 years ago, despite years of searching. Turns out searchers had been looking kilometers in the wrong direction. On 22 April, a team of physicists finally saw an incredibly faint flash from the reflector, which was ferried across the lunar surface by the Lunokhod 1 rover. The find comes thanks to NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which last month imaged a large area where the rover was reported to have been left. Then the researchers, led by Tom Murphy of the University of California, San Diego, could search one football-field-size area at a time until they got a reflection."

Comment Re:How deep is the rabbit hole? (Score 1) 427

BadAnalogyGuy did use small words, three in fact, that described exactly what he what trying to convey. Yes, they were long words but there were only three. When I read "symmetry and orthogonality of conceptualization," I immediately understood that indeed context changes (switching applications) had the same look and feel yet it is very obvious that you are in a different application. A powerful idea that all too often only Apple understands and worse, sometimes forgets.

While I assume RealErmin was just ribbing BadAnalogyGuy, the truth is this is the reason I dislike Slashdot so much: one post out of fifty will really have something insightful or interesting to say and it will immediately devolve into semantics or off topic banter. For christ's sake, this is a story about Windows 7 Mobile and every post is about how the iPhone is devine or Bantha Fodder. While I feel a little like the hey-you-kids-get-off-my-lawn old guy, can't we all act a little more grown up.


NASA To Cryogenically Freeze Satellite Mirrors 47

coondoggie writes "NASA said it will soon move some of the larger (46 lb) mirror segments of its future James Webb Space Telescope into a cryogenic test facility that will freeze the mirrors to -414 degrees Fahrenheit (~25 K). Specifically, NASA will freeze six of the 18 Webb telescope mirror segments at the X-ray and Cryogenic Facility, or XRCF, at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, in a test to ensure the critical mirrors can withstand the extreme space environments. All 18 segments will eventually be tested at the site. The test chamber takes approximately five days to cool a mirror segment to cryogenic temperatures."

Comment Re:Doomsday Machine (Score 3, Interesting) 638

World War I was won by the chemists. World War II was won by the physicists. World War III will be won by the mathematicians. I heard this twenty years ago and didn't really understand how it could matter. Now think about how the internet and computer security have become the center piece of our society. I'm not too worried about some bunker of bombs that might be launched against us (well, I'm a little worried). I'm more worried about an army of hackers that can have access to our entire financial system, power system, transportation systems, and communication systems at will.

Comment Re:Flatland - GEB (Score 1) 630

I would have to agree. GEB was the first book I though of as an answer to your question. I only read it a couple of years ago, but I wish I would have been introduced to it in high school. Not that I would have read it then, I only started reading for pleasure about ten years ago. I still have a file of about five programs I wrote while reading the book to solve problems or try to answer questions. fun fun.

My other answer would Chaos by james Glick. The only book I've ever more than once. It really inspired me to be a physicist. I missed and landed on Engineer but as soon as I'm done with this management gig I'm going to complete my Masters in Applied Physics.

Comment Re:Don't forget the spin (Score 5, Informative) 389

The A330 also has much more powerful engines but neither of those really matter. The reason the pilot controls didn't respond is a matter of fly-by-wire philosophy. Do you allow the pilot to put the plane is a situation that will stall the plane or worse break it, or do you prevent the pilot from flying outside the capabilities of the plane. Airbus's philosophy is the latter. The only problem is - what if the flight control computer is wrong.

You do *not* need an autopilot to fly at that altitude. And yes I am an autopilot engineer.

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