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Communications

US Air Force Wants To Plasma Bomb The Sky To Improve Radio Communication (newscientist.com) 159

An anonymous reader quotes a report from New Scientist: [The U.S. Air Force has plans to improve radio communication over long distances by detonating plasma bombs in the upper atmosphere using a fleet of micro satellites. It's not the first time we've tried to improve radio communication by tinkering with the ionosphere. HAARP, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program in Alaska, stimulates the ionosphere with radiation from ground-based antennas to produce radio-reflecting plasma.] Now the USAF wants to do this more efficiently, with tiny satellites -- such as CubeSats -- carrying large volumes of ionized gas directly into the ionosphere. As well as increasing the range of radio signals, the USAF says it wants to smooth out the effects of solar winds, which can knock out GPS, and also investigate the possibility of blocking communication from enemy satellites. [There are at least two major challenges. One is building a plasma generator small enough to fit on a CubeSat -- roughly 10 centimeters cubed. Then there's the problem of controlling exactly how the plasma will disperse once it is released. The USAF has awarded three contracts to teams who are sketching out ways to tackle the approach. The best proposal will be selected for a second phase in which plasma generators will be tested in vacuum chambers and exploratory space flights.]

Comment Re:He didn't "build" anything (Score 2) 319

"Micronta" didn't make anything. It was a brand name that Tandy used on clocks, multimeters, and other test equipment, which were generally made by Asian subcontractors.

AFAIK, RS never offered a line powered digital clock as a kit. Certainly not the one repackaged by this kid. There are several sites online which compare his project to the original clock. It does appear to have been nothing more than removing the guts and putting them in another box.

Comment Re:He didn't "build" anything (Score 4, Informative) 319

On the contrary, I have built MANY Heathkits, up to and including a 70s era 25" color TV and a "Hero Jr" robot.

But Heathkit was a separate company, never a Tandy/Radio Shack brand, like Micronta, Radio Shack's kit line were called "ArcherKits", and were nowhere near as nice as Heathkits....

Comment Re:This pick is a big middle finger to Bernie vote (Score 1) 384

DNC worked with Hillary, and favored Hillary. Why should they not, when they dont decide the candidate, and the people do.

Why shouldn't they? Their own bylaws and rules (Article 5, Section 4) , for starters...

http://www.demrulz.org/wp-cont...

âoeThe Chairperson shall be responsible for ensuring that the national officers and staff of the Democratic National Committee maintain impartiality and even-handedness during the Democratic Party Presidential nominating process.â

Comment This pick is a big middle finger to Bernie voters (Score 2) 384

I knew she wouldn't PICK Bernie (as if he would have accepted), and had a strong feeling she wouldn't go with Warren (wouldn't want another woman with better progressive bonafides sharing her spotlight). But to go with Someone as pro-TPP and pro-establishment as Tim Kaine is an obvious sign that she is just assuming that the progressive wing of the electorate will just fall in line anyway, and that any concessions given to Sanders in the platform process will be tossed aside immediately after the election. Trying to court moderate repugs who dislike Trump is more important to her than solidifying her own party, especially when it might make the big $$$ donors uneasy.

Between her VP pick and the latest Guccifer document dump detailing the DNC's program of sabotaging the Sanders campaign, I am hoping that Bernie takes a page from Ted Cruz' playbook and uses his keynote speech at the convention to urge progressive voters to vote their conscience, and go for Jill Stein!

Comment Re: Companies shouldn't have political power (Score 5, Interesting) 416

Bernie called for the immediate removal of pot from the Controlled Substances Act, which would effectively legalize pot at a federal level.

The DNC platform language calls for a "pathway toward legalization", which is, of course, vague enough to be fairly meaningless and unenforceable against HRC once in office. And it barely passed, 81-80.

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