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Portables (Apple)

Submission + - iPods, Google-Earth at War in Iraq

Boulainvilliers writes: "Policy Review reports that the U.S. Army started to use iPods and Google-Earth in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army first created its internal version of MySpace, with personal profiles, photos, bios, and information on soldiers' professional backgrounds, open only to U.S. Army commanders., privately founded by four officers in 2000, grew to 6,200 members by the end of 2006, when the site was viewed about a million times per year. "It's not just information; it's a personal story, and commanders are able to connect with their peers who share their knowledge." the report, "War 2.0", quotes one of the site's founders. The operators now "equip commanders on their way to Afghanistan with new iPods, fully loaded with video-podcasted interviews with fellow commanders on their way out." The journal also reports that U.S. officers started to use Google-Earth to map and document conversations with civilians and local leaders, to create "a spatially and temporally mapped track-record of trusted or problematic relationships that can be shared with other soldiers.""

NASA Outlines Asteroid Deflection Program 129

An anonymous reader submitted a link to an International Herald Tribune story about NASA's answer to the movie 'Armageddon'. Specifically, they've outlined a plan to deflect a planet-killer asteroid. "In 1998, Congress gave NASA's Spaceguard Survey program a mandate of 'discovering, tracking, cataloging and characterizing' 90 percent of the near-Earth objects larger than one kilometer (3,200 feet) wide by 2008. An object that size would probably destroy civilization. The consensus at the conference was that the initial survey is doing fairly well although it will probably not quite meet the 2008 goal." With this tracking system in place, scientists are hopeful an intervention could be staged before any grim choices have to be made. Assuming they have the money and manpower needed for the effort, NASA has actually outlined a pair of procedures that dove-tail with each other: "First we would deflect the asteroid with kinetic impact from a missile (that is, running into it); then we would use the slight pull of a 'gravity tractor' -- a satellite that would hover near the asteroid -- to fine-tune its new trajectory to our liking. (In the case of an extremely large object, probably one in 100, the missile might have to contain a nuclear warhead.) To be effective, however, such missions would have to be launched 15 or even 30 years before a calculated impact."

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