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Submission + - NASA, Virgin Galactic sign co-op agreement

Nefarious Wheel writes: MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — NASA officials signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday with a U.S. company, Virgin Galactic, LLC, to explore the potential for collaborations on the development of space suits, heat shields for spaceships, hybrid rocket motors and hypersonic vehicles capable of traveling five or more times the speed of sound.

Full text follows:

Michael Mewhinney Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. 650-604-3937/9000 Stephen Attenborough Virgin Galactic, LLC, New York +44 207-664-6030 RELEASE: 07-49 NASA, VIRGIN GALACTIC TO EXPLORE FUTURE COOPERATION MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — NASA officials signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday with a U.S. company, Virgin Galactic, LLC, to explore the potential for collaborations on the development of space suits, heat shields for spaceships, hybrid rocket motors and hypersonic vehicles capable of traveling five or more times the speed of sound. Under the terms of the memorandum, NASA Ames Research Center, located in California's Silicon Valley, and Virgin Galactic LLC, a U.S.-based subsidiary of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, will explore possible collaborations in several technical areas employing capabilities and facilities of NASA's Ames Research Center. "As we constantly seek to build upon the advances made by explorers who have come before us, we now embark upon an exciting time in space exploration history that realizes the unlimited opportunities presented by a commercial space economy," said Shana Dale, NASA's deputy administrator. "By encouraging such potential collaborations, NASA supports the development of greater commercial collaboration and applications that will serve to strengthen and enhance the future benefits of space exploration for all of mankind." Dale is a longtime supporter of commercial space development. As the former staff director of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, she was instrumental in the passage of the Commercial Space Act of 1998. This legislation encourages commercial space development in a variety of areas, including launch vehicles, the International Space Station and the acquisition of space and Earth science data. "This understanding with Virgin Galactic affords NASA an opportunity to work with an emerging company in the commercial human space transportation industry to support the agency's exploration, science and aeronautics mission goals," said S. Pete Worden, director of NASA Ames Research Center. "Our location in California's Silicon Valley provides a dynamic research and development platform for future potential collaborations with other such companies in support of a robust commercial space industry." "We are excited to be working with NASA and look forward to future collaborations in exploration and space travel," said Alex Tai, vice president of operations for Virgin Galactic. The agreement with Virgin Galactic was negotiated through NASA's Space Portal, a newly formed organization in the NASA Research Park at Ames, which seeks to engage new opportunities for NASA to promote the development of the commercial space economy. "This new type of private-public partnership can benefit the agency while helping to foster a new industry," said Dan Coughlin, NASA's lead for the Virgin Galactic agreement. The memorandum of understanding will be in effect for two years and stipulates that neither NASA nor Virgin Galactic will be required to pay any fees or provide funds to support the areas of possible collaboration. For information about NASA and agency programs, please visit:

Submission + - How to switch careers from IT to Pure Science ?

UniversalVM writes: Fellow SlashDotters, Ever since childhood, I have always been interested in Astronomy (and Astrophysics when I was old enough). Later in life I started getting more and more into Computers and ended up spending about 10 Years in IT -professionally — and doing very well at it. However, over the past year or so I have been seriously considering going back to my original passion Astrophysics. I have been reading every pop-sci book that I could get my hands on and getting started with an "Introduction to General Relativity" in my off time (I know how that sounds but it's true). I have a reasonable background in Mathematics (Masters in Comp. Engg and Bachelors in Electrical Engg). I know that the pay will be much less and the work much harder but this is something I got to do for my mental satisfaction.
SO the question I have is — What is the next logical step? Is it to Enroll full time at some college in a Master's Program? (I have some funds that can last me for 2-3 years). Has anyone else performed such a career switch? Do you have any feedback or pointers for a newbie trying to enter these fields (Astrophysics/Cosmology)? Which universities should I apply to?

Submission + - Where are all the Ferrari Acer/Vista reviews?

An anonymous reader writes: What happend to all the Ferrari Acer/Vista reviews that Microsoft had hoped for? This is what ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley Hughes is wondering.

The funny thing it, nearly two months on, I've yet to see a single review. Now, there's a chance that an odd review or two has slipped past me under the radar, but given the number of bloggers who got their hands on Acers, I'm surprised that I've managed to miss ALL the reviews (I have well over 1,000 RSS feeds in my reader). Even after a quick Google I can't find a single review (the only story that I can find is that of Scott Beale who auctioned his off on eBay and sent the proceeds to the EFF).
So where did all the notebooks go?

Submission + - Notice something missing?

hjf writes: Take a close look at the logo at Notice something missing? Well. I guess even Google can make mistakes.

Submission + - Teacher to be jailed for spyware porn incident

BabyGotMac-com writes: "A substitute teacher who was given orders to not shut down a computer has been charged and tried and is about to be sentenced to up to 40 years. The system was exposed to malware, and popped up porn banners and sites, exposing a classroom of children to them. Computer experts have vouched for the likelihood of spyware being the cause, but the woman was prosecuted and is scheduled to be sentenced March 2nd. This highlights the lack of technology training in the education arena, both on the administrative side and that of the teacher, who was evidently not even able to turn off the monitor or understand how to deal with the popups. index.html"

Submission + - Young Earth Creationist Gets Paleontology Ph.D.

dnarepair writes: "The New York Times is reporting that a Young Earth Creationsist named Marcus Ross has just gotten his Ph.D. in paleontology from the University of Rhode Island. Ross is apparently a supporter of Intelligent Design (as well as Young Earth Creationism) and is on the faculty now at Liberty University) his home page is here ). Apparently his Ph.D work is on the up and up and did not raise any concerns. The key question raised by the Times article seems to be — if you were an evolutionary biologist and someone like Ross wanted to do a PhD with you — what would you do? On the one hand, he is likely to use his credentials as a formally trained paleontologist to promote Intelligent Design as a scientific theory. On the other hand, he did the work, and apparently did it well. Should someones long term goals and their motivation play a role in determining whether they are admitted to a PhD program or whether, once admitted they get their PhD?"
The Internet

Submission + - Net neutrality in Canada now in serious risk.

Oshawapilot writes: "A editorial piece in todays Toronto Star newspaper points towards some disturbing movements on the Net Neutrality front in Canada.

With a Minister Of Industry making such troubling statements as "[Maxime] Bernier believes that consumers are best served by giving the dominant telecom companies maximum regulatory freedom" along with several questionable decisions on the Internet front, one must wonder if this government minister either fails to grasp what he is dealing with, or is in the pockets of big-telecom in Canada.

With 84% of the internet connections in Canada being controlled by only a few companies, this should concern Canadians, and be a wakeup call to all those who concern themselves with Net Neutrality.

With some ISP's in Canada already subjecting their customers to content or application discrimination, is a full blown attack on Net Neutrality that far away on this side of the border?

Does the government care? Or even understand?"
The Internet

Submission + - Firefox 3 To Support Offline Apps

An anonymous reader writes: Read/WriteWeb reports that Robert O'Callahan from Mozilla, a kiwi who drives the rendering engine of Mozilla/FireFox, spoke at the recent New Zealand Foo Camp event about how Firefox 3 will deliver support for offline applications. This means you'll be able to use your web apps — like Gmail, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Calendar, etc — in the browser even when offline. Not only does this move suit Google, but it makes Firefox attractive as the browser platform of choice for SaaS providers like All of which will hit Microsoft where it hurts. Robert O'Callahan turns up in the comments to the article to say that "Yes, Web apps need to be reengineered for this, and no, no-one (including Google) has announced they will do so — although we hope they will!".

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