The international space station is by far the largest spacecraft ever built by earthlings. Circling the Earth every 90 minutes, it often passes over North America and is visible from the ground when night has fallen but the station, up high, is still bathed in sunlight.
After more than a decade of construction, it is nearing completion and finally has a full crew of six astronauts. The last components should be installed by the end of next year.
"In the first quarter of 2016, we'll prep and de-orbit the spacecraft," says NASA's space station program manager, Michael T. Suffredini.
Unmanned aerial vehicles are measuring emissions of soot and other forms of black carbon. The instruments are observing pollution transport patterns as Beijing enacts its "great shutdown" for the Summer Olympic Games. Chinese officials have compelled reductions in industrial activity by as much as 30 percent and cuts in automobile use by half to safeguard the health of competing athletes immediately before and during the games.
Quoting from one of the investigators: "This will be a very interesting experiment that can never happen again."
NewbieV writes: "The Register is reporting on a new book (available online) by physics professor David J C MacKay of the Cambridge University Department of Physics.
...society as a whole needs a lot of energy, which led MacKay to consider how this might realistically be supplied in a low-carbon fashion. He's coming at the issues from a green/ecological viewpoint, but climate-change sceptics who are nonetheless concerned about Blighty becoming dependent on Russian gas and Saudi oil — as the North Sea starts to play out — will also find his analysis interesting. Eliminating carbon largely equates to eliminating gas and oil use.
"I don't really mind too much what your plan is," MacKay told The Reg this week. "But it's got to add up."
NewbieV writes: "An art installation on display in New York and London combines telepresence and Victorian Steampunk to create a "Telectroscope". From its website:
Hardly anyone knows that a secret tunnel runs deep beneath the Atlantic Ocean. In May 2008, more than a century after it was begun, the tunnel has finally been completed. An extraordinary optical device called a Telectroscope has been installed at both ends which miraculously allows people to see right through the Earth from London to New York
and vice versa.
Starting this summer, the state education board will determine the curriculum for the next decade and decide whether the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution should be taught. The benign-sounding phrase, some argue, is a reasonable effort at balance. But critics say it is a new strategy taking shape across the nation to undermine the teaching of evolution, a way for students to hear religious objections under the heading of scientific discourse.
Our friends at the Discovery Institute are up to their old tricks: using the guise of "fairness" to convince creationist-leaning state Boards of Education to open the door to teaching bad science."
NewbieV writes: "The BBC is reporting that their iPlayer video service is out in beta for the Nintendo Wii.
From the article:
The video download and streaming service that lets people catch up with BBC programmes will soon be a channel on the hugely popular game console.
Early versions of the service will be available from 9 April but more polished software will be released as the service is developed.
The website T3 is reporting "In its current Beta form for the Wii, the iPlayer service will cost £3.50 (or 500 Wii points) to install the Internet Channel needed to view it and is then free and easy to access.""
NewbieV writes: "On the heels of the MPAA's efforts to eliminate peer-to-peer file sharing in colleges and universities, The Washington Post is reporting on a new development:
The Motion Picture of Association of America is urging some of the nation's largest universities to deploy custom software designed to pinpoint students who may be using the schools' networks to illegally download pirated movies. A closer look at the MPAA's software, however, raises some serious privacy and security concerns for both the entertainment industry and the schools that choose to deploy the technology.
The University Toolkit (website), also known as peerwatch, uses xubuntu, Snort, ntop and Apache to gather data and phone home.
More from the article:
Steve Worona, director of policy and networking programs at EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association that promotes the use of information technology in higher learning, said he'd like to think that "no university network administrator in their right mind would install this toolkit on their networks." But he said some campus IT personnel may fail to dig too deeply into what the device actually does before installing it.
NewbieV writes: "This is what the front page of Demonoid looks like this morning:
The CRIA threatened the company renting the servers to us, and because of this it is not possible to keep the site online. Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for your understanding.
We have brought online a forum in order to help the community stay together. This forum is not file sharing related in any way, it's just a mean to help the community stay together — please read the forum rules before posting. You can use your Demonoid account info to log in.
At least for now, Spamhaus, the popular British spam-blacklisting organization, won't have to cough up $11.7 million as part of a spat with an Illinois e-mail marketing company.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on Thursday vacated a lower court's decision last fall to award the damages and to impose an injunction, which required the organization to cease causing any e-mail sent by e360insight or Linhardt to be "blocked, delayed, altered, or interrupted in any way" and to publish an apology.
NewbieV writes: "Three out of every four people who download Firefox don't use it actively. According to the Spreadfirefox website, Firefox has been downloaded over 386 million times. According to an article in the Ziff Davis blog roll, Firefox has about a 25% retention rate: half the people who download it, try it. Half of those people end up actively using it.
How to improve that retention rate? The Mozilla Foundation has a plan (which is also discussed here). What would Slashdotters recommend?"
NewbieV writes: "The New York Times is reporting that Jack Valenti, president of the MPAA for 38 years, has died at his home in Washington at the age of 85.
One of his more famous quotes was given during testimony before the US House of Representatives in 1982: "I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone".
An interview in Engadget from 2004 reveals this choice quote: "When you go to your department store and you buy 10 Cognac glasses and two weeks later you break two of them, the store doesn't give you two backup copies. Where did this backup copy thing come from? A digital thing lasts forever. ""
NewbieV writes: "Quoting a one-paragraph story from The New York Times:
"A suburban Atlanta school board that put stickers in its high school science books saying evolution was "a theory, not a fact" abandoned its legal battle after four years. The board, from Cobb County, agreed in federal court never to use a similar sticker or to undermine the teaching of evolution in science classes. The parents who sued agreed to drop all legal action.""