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Submission + - A new definition would add 102 planets to our solar system — including Plu (washingtonpost.com)

The Grim Reefer writes: Is Pluto a planet?

It's not a question scientists ask in polite company.

“It's like religion and politics,” said Kirby Runyon, a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University. “People get worked up over it. I've gotten worked up over it.”

For years, astronomers, planetary scientists and other space researchers have fought about what to call the small, icy world at the edge of our solar system. Is it a planet, as scientists believed for nearly seven decades? Or must a planet be something bigger, something more dominant, as was decided by vote at the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 2006?

The issue can bring conversations to a screeching halt, or turn them into shouting matches. “Sometimes,” Runyon said, “it's just easier not to bring it up.”

But Runyon will ignore his own advice this week when he attends the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston. In a giant exhibit hall crowded with his colleagues, he's attempting to reignite the debate about Pluto's status with an audacious new definition for planet — one that includes not just Pluto, but several of its neighbors, objects in the asteroid belt, and a number of moons. By his count, 102 new planets could be added to our solar system under the new criteria.

Comment Re:Current (Score 1) 299

A boss that gets up and follows you into the bathroom to make sure you are "doing your job" or makes passive aggressive comments to you during your lunch about how he didn't think you were in that day.... or what about a boss who works 9 hours straight (no lunch, no breaks) at his desk and anticipates you do the same without question, while the rest of the company does 8 with breaks and lunch... and micro manages 1 person in the company, which is you.

Because he doesn't trust you. I'm not saying he's right to act that way, he's wrong, but that's the way some people are. It might get better if you stand up to him. Or you might get fired or hit in the face, YMMV. Ask your colleagues if he was like that in the beginning with them and then eased off.

Submission + - US Secretary of Defense: Climate Change National Security Issue (propublica.org)

omaha393 writes: Secretary of Defense James Mattis identified climate change as a national security risks to the Senate Armed Services Committee, according to unpublished comments sent to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Secretary Mattis joins several scientific and policy experts as well as the Pentagon Study urging action to address climate change. While Secretary Mattis’ position seems at odds with other members of the White House cabinet, this is hardly the first time Mattis has offered contrary opinions on major policy decisions. Other members of the cabinet, including Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, have changed their tones on the subject, now supporting the evidence that man-made climate change is real and may pose a threat to national security. How climate change will be addressed under the new administration remains to be seen, as advisors the White House have indicated the administration intends to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords and the recently revealed "budget blueprint" seeks to slash funding to climate change alleviation.

Comment Re:Next year - "Good Omens" (Score 1) 542

I would really like to see Alastair Reynolds' "Pushing Ice" done as a three-parter. It was a good story at the time, but it also struck me as being particularly adaptable to movie form. So often making a movie means hacking the book to pieces. "Pushing Ice" was already broken into three pieces by the author, and each piece seemed to me to have about movie-length scope.

Comment Re:PasswordSafe (Score 1) 415

Schneier misinterpreted XKCD. The words must be chosen absolutely randomly.

(But I still often use Schneier's method of taking initials from a sentence, because that's the only sane way to remember a password when it's limited to eight chars, which is a problem I regularly have to deal with).

Submission + - Message for AMD: Open PSP Will Improve Security, Hinder Intel

futuristicrabbit writes: AMD has faced calls from Edward Snowden, Libreboot and the Reddit community to release the source code to the AMD Secure Processor (PSP), a network-capable co-processor which some believe has the capacity to act as a backdoor. Opening the PSP would not only have security benefits, but would provide AMD with a competitive advantage against rival chipmaker Intel. Lisa Su, the CEO of AMD, is reportedly seriously considering the change, and the community is working hard to make sure she makes the right decision.

Submission + - Announcing the first SHA1 collision (googleblog.com)

matafagafo writes: Google Security Blog just published

Cryptographic hash functions like SHA-1 are a cryptographer’s swiss army knife. You’ll find that hashes play a role in browser security, managing code repositories, or even just detecting duplicate files in storage. Hash functions compress large amounts of data into a small message digest. As a cryptographic requirement for wide-spread use, finding two messages that lead to the same digest should be computationally infeasible. Over time however, this requirement can fail due to attacks on the mathematical underpinnings of hash functions or to increases in computational power. Today, 10 years after of SHA-1 was first introduced, we are announcing the first practical technique for generating a collision.


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