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Submission + - Boing Using Accounting Tricks to Throttle SpaceX

Required Snark writes: Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put forth a proposal that all US launch providers must "be required to submit financial reports before transporting astronauts to the ISS." This would keep all the launch providers except Boeing /United Lauch Alliance from making manned ISI flights.

The reasoning:

At a hearing on May 1, Shelby said that “NASA is spending billions to help private companies develop a launch vehicle, but has little to no access to the books and records associated with its investment.”

The White House responded stating

their concern “about language that would seek to apply accounting requirements unsuitable for a firm, fixed-price acquisition.” The House said that changes made would “likely increasing the program’s cost and potentially delaying its schedule.”

As previously posted on Slashdot, loosing access to these motors could impact up to 31 scheduled missions.

So why is Senator Shelby siding with Boeing and the Russians?

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby today discussed important issues facing Alabama and the nation, including job growth, during his visit to the United Launch Alliance (ULA) production facility in Decatur, Ala., where ULA manufactures both Atlas and Delta launch vehicles.


“In light of sustained high unemployment rates, I am pleased that ULA employs hundreds of Alabamians and plans to hire dozens more producing the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle here in Decatur,” said Sen. Shelby. “These high-skilled workers assemble a unique national asset whose success currently underpins the very existence of our national security space program. ULA’s presence is welcome in Alabama. I appreciate the opportunity to have a conversation with the company’s workers and the citizens of Decatur to discuss our country’s deepest challenges and lay out a positive vision for the future.”

So Red White and Blue Senator Shelby has decided that jobs in his state and campaign contributions (a.k.a bribes) from Boeing are more important then access to space. He also seems to have forgotten the American values of free enterprise and technical innovation in favor of state sponsored entrenched interests in both the US (Boeing) and Russia (NPO Energomash).

I wonder what Shelby is doing on the Fourth of July?

Submission + - Traffic Light Robot in Kinshasa (

Taco Cowboy writes: To many, Africa is a backwater continent.

Unbeknownst to most, however, there are genuine and very practical inventions that came out of Africa, one of which is the Humanoid Street Light Robots.

In Kinshasa, two humanoid street light figures have been installed in a busy road junction. They stand 8 foot tall, made of stainless steel and aluminium, and powered by solar panel.

Featuring green and red lights, Kinshasa's robot cops are designed to merge some of the functions of human officers and traffic lights. The anthropomorphic robots can raise or bend their arms to stop passing vehicles or let others pass, and are also programmed to speak, indicating to pedestrians when they can cross the road.

The street light robots are equipped with rotating chests and surveillance cameras that record the flow of vehicles.

While these "Robots" might seem " primitive " to some, nevertheless they fulfill a needed role and there are plans to install more street light robots in other busy road junctions.

Submission + - Fixing broken links with the Internet Archive (

eggboard writes: The Internet Archive has copies of Web pages corresponding to 378 billion URLs. It's working on several efforts, some of them quite recent, to help deter or assist with link rot, when links go bad. Through an API for developers, WordPress integration, a Chrome plug-in, and a JavaScript lookup, the Archive hopes to help people find at least the most recent copy of a missing or deleted page. More ambitiously, they instantly cache any link added to Wikipedia, and want to become integrated into browsers as a fallback rather than showing a 404 page.
Open Source

Submission + - Doing shots at the range with a $17,000 Linux-powered rifle (

willith writes: "Back at CES I wrote up a story about Austin-based TrackingPoint and their "Precision Guided Firearms," a set of high-powered hunting rifles with computer-controlled scopes and "guided" triggers. Last week, I had the opportunity to take the three TrackingPoint rifles out to the range and test their accuracy. How much did they improve my marksmanship? My photographer, who'd never before even picked up a rifle, scored a 1000-yard shot on his very first attempt.""

Submission + - This Year, More Japanese Tsunami Debris Will Wash Up on U.S. Shores Than Ever ( 1

pigrabbitbear writes: "When the tragedy-bearing tsunami slammed into Japan in 2011 the fallout was felt all around the world, both figuratively and literally. The crisis that unfolded at Fukushima led to a globe-spanning conversation about the merits and pitfalls of nuclear power, and to nations like Germany and Japan taking their reactors offline. But a less momentous and oft-overlooked result of the earthquake is that for two years now, it has lined the oceans and the west coast of North America with an impressive amount of debris.

The detritus—everything from Styrofoam trash to whole refrigerators—has washed ashore everywhere from Hawaii to California to British Columbia to Alaska. Especially Alaska. Chris Pallister, the president of an environmental NGO in Alaska recently told NPR it’s gotten so bad on some of Alaska’s shores that it’s like “standing in landfill out here.”"

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