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Comment A futile endeavor (Score 3, Interesting) 161

The real threat is not from the occasional asteroid, but from swarms of small cometary rocks. Such swarms do not provide any single, easy target to spot and attempt to take out in advance.

They have struck before on a larger scale - with regularity - as documented e.g. by Clube and Napier. Much of their research focused on the long-past break-up of a very large comet and the periodic intersection of Earth's orbit with its remains - which has led to cometary showers, with their impact on societies in more ways than one, also leading among other things to religious developments - ideas of gods and their actions and judgments.

Historically, peoples have looked to their leaders to protect them from catastrophe - and when their leaders fail to do so, i.e. something happens that they simply cannot control, such as a rain of fireballs and meteorites exploding in the atmosphere, then a people will blame its leaders and get rid of them - often violently. This seems to be a basic feature of human psychology, one repeatedly seen in action throughout history.

Knowing this, the leaders have the need to reassure their people that they have things under control - historically, there have e.g. been systems of ritual and sacrifice. Nowadays, reassurances come in a different form: That the sky is watched, that major events only happen "once in a lifetime" (or, earlier, that such things simply couldn't happen - which was long the consensus), coupled with simplistic ideas of weapons and other solutions to take out the threat - solutions that will never be adequate if/when the time comes for real. People are only too happy to play along with such reassurances, to develop them and then to take them and run with them, since the alternative is not too pleasant - recognizing that there is no way to avert such disasters when they arrive.

A very recent book by a historian, "Comets and the Horns of Moses", discusses this whole subject, and much more connected to it. It goes into the history of cometary interaction with our planet - which has long seemed to follow cycles - and both how it has affected life on Earth and how humanity has responded to it - the social, cultural, and political dynamics involved, both in-between and during times of cometary disasters. Looking at the history and the present, it further goes into what seems likely to be coming up. I'd recommend it for the interested.

In the present time, one of several clues is the reported sightings collected by the American Meteor Society, which have increased roughly exponentially since 2005 - with 463 events on record for 2005, the increase accelerating year by year with 1628 for 2011 and then 2219 for 2012. Thus far this year - i.e. in one and a half month - there's been 322.

Comment The history and current increase of meteors (Score 1) 196

According to the American Meteor Society, there were 2219 sighted meteors in 2012; in 2005 there were 463. With a roughly exponential increase in-between. (e.g. 1628 in 2011) Thus far this year - i.e. in one and a half month - there's been 322.

There is historical evidence that impact events - including major ones - are not rare in human history. There's the research of Clube and Napier on the long-past break-up of a giant comet and the periodic intersection of Earth with its remains - and how fireballs and meteorites and their impact on societies seem to have led to religious developments. Recently, a new book by a historian - "Comets and the Horns of Moses" - was published on the subject of the history of cometary interaction with our planet, and both how it has affected life on Earth and how humanity has reacted to it. It goes into the evidence for repeated cometary catastrophes in the past and, looking at the history and the present, it goes into what seems likely to be coming up. I'd recommend it for the interested.
Operating Systems

Submission + - DragonFly BSD 3.2 Released 1

An anonymous reader writes: DragonFly BSD 3.2 has been released. Among many changes, "Significant work has gone into the scheduler to improve performance, using postgres benchmarking as a measure. See the PDF of graphed results to see the improvements. DragonFly should be now one of the best selections for Postgres and other databases." At any rate, DragonFly now comes very close to Scientific Linux and significantly outperforms the other BSDs.

Submission + - DragonFly 2.4 released

electrostaticcarrot writes: "DragonFly — that fourth major BSD — has had its 2.4 release. The "most invasive change" is the addition and usage of a DevFS for /dev; building on this, drives are now also recognized by serial number (along with /etc/devtab for aliases) as listed in /dev/serno. This is also the first release with a x86-64 ISO, stable but with limited pkgsrc support.

Other larger changes include a ported and feature-extended (with full hotplug and port multiplier support) AHCI driver (and SILI driver based on it) originally taken from OpenBSD, major NFS changes, and HAMMER updates. A pkgsrc GIT mirror has also been set up and put in use to make future pkgsrc updates quicker and smoother.

Two of the mirrors:"

Comment Re:It's NOT within Sweden's borders (Score 1) 186

The FRA will only spy on traffic going across Sweden's borders. NOT on domestic traffic.

Even when the communication has both endpoints within Swedish borders, traffic will often pass through the borders according to the whim of the 'net at the present time. Accessing something hosted by your next-door neighbor very well might take the packets on a ride through France, England, the US, etc. The bulk of Swedish Internet traffic ends up taking a turn or two through the border, and so the bulk of domestic traffic will be tapped.


Submission + - Church of Scientology violates Federal Law ( 5

FreedomToThink writes: "This is a very long story I'm sure the editors will have fun with, but I couldn't see how to cut it down at all.

On the eve of the Ides of March protest, from the source of the recent 'Anonymous' submitted CCHR leak on wikileaks, comes this message

"Dear $cientology,You attempt injunctions.I respond.Shall we continue the game? Much Love, DEEP CLAM"

Included was yet another PDF this time including yet more emails leaked from a Church of Scientology front group.

Vote Rigging?

From: "Mike Kaplan" <>
To: <Undisclosed-Recipient:;>
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 11:53:07 -0400

See below. Everyone in Clearwater MUST vote. Every vote will be needed to be
sure Hibbard gets re-elected. The alternative is Rita Garvey who is an SP.

— Original Message —
From: Shelly <> Bauer
To: Shelly Bauer <>
Sent: Sunday, January 06, 2008 8:09 AM


Lunch with your preferred Presidential candidates for a high price?


I have arranged a private one-hour luncheon with Ron Paul on 11/28 in St.
Pete when he will be in town for the CNN/YouTube Republican debate.

This luncheon is reserved for $1000+ donors to Ron Paul's presidential
campaign. 19 people so far have paid and confirmed and will have the honor
and pleasure of having lunch and communicating with Ron Paul directly.

From the head of the "Non Proffit" CCHR Bruce Wiseman

Go the the HELP committee website. The link is here.
Here you will see the names of the Committee members on the left hand
of the page. Please go to the individual websites of the Republican =
(this will take just a bit of leg work on your part by putting their =
into Google) and calling their office or sending a fax to them (email is =
least effective) stating your opposition to S. 1375 The Mother's Act.

Currently, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one "which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."

An OCMB (Operation Clambake Message Board)regular adds :

I downloaded myself a copy and started looking through them. I found an interesting one on pages 47-48.

Karin Pouw of OSA of CofS writes a message.
It's forwarded by Michael Genung. He's the guy who runs ACSR, Association for Citizens Sociel Reform. ["CSR Background and Philosopy: CSR was founded in 2001 by a group of Scientologists and other like-minded individuals concerned with the escalating social ills in society. CSR's purpose is to work with in the field of public policy to bring about more effective and humane solutions to these social ills of illiteracy, criminality substance abuse and general decay of character."]

Then it's forwarded by Doyle Mills, of LEAF fame (Letters to the Editor Attack Force).
Then it's forwarded by Mary C. (possibly one of two Mary C's I'm thinking of, but unsure).
Then it's forwarded by Mike Kaplan, another person who runs an email list and forwards CCHR type stuff to CofS members.

If that ain't stringing a line from the CofS to CCHR and the CofS front group ("grassroots") movements, then I don't know what is!

Apologies in advance as the Enturbulation servers will not be up to a slashdotting so the Coral Cache link is here Enturbulation Discussion (already cached for you)

ANYONE CAN REPORT TAX FRAUD DIRECTLY TO THE IRS :,,id=106778,00.html It does require that you print out and mail in an actual hardcopy, but it does not require you to identify yourself.

Just a casual user passing on a message from the Enturbulation forum, this is already out there, there's no reason to attack the messenger."


Steve Fossett Declared Dead 221

Parallax Blue writes "Millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett, who risked his life seeking to set records in high-tech balloons, gliders and jets, was declared dead Friday, 5 months after he vanished while flying in an ordinary small plane. The self-made business tycoon, who in 2002 became the first person to circle the world solo in a balloon, was last seen Sept. 3 after taking off in a single-engine plane from an airstrip near Yerington, Nev., heading toward Bishop, Calif. He was 63."
The Internet

Submission + - Athletes Can Blog at Olympics - with Restrictions

Hugh Pickens writes: "Let the blogging begin. The IOC has given athletes the right to blog at the Beijing Games this summer, a first for the Olympics, as long as they follow the many rules it set to protect copyright agreements, confidential information and security. The IOC said blogs by athletes "should take the form of a diary or journal" and should not contain any interviews with other competitors at the games. They also should not write about other athletes. Still pictures are allowed as long as they do not show Olympic events. Athletes must obtain the consent of their competitors if they wish to photograph them. Also, athletes cannot use their blogs for commercial gain. The IOC said accredited participants in the Olympics also "should not disclose any information ... which may compromise the security, staging and organization of the games." Domain names for blogs should not include any word similar to "Olympic" or "Olympics." Bloggers are, however, urged to link their blogs to official Olympic Web sites."
The Internet

The Knol Hypothesis 80

Frequent Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton sends in his latest, which begins like this and continues behind the link. "When Google's VP of Engineering announced their proposed Knol project, where users can submit articles on different subjects and share in the AdSense revenue from the article pages, he didn't mention "Wikipedia," but practically everyone else did who blogged about it. Here's what I think will happen, if Knol is implemented according to the plan: Even though it won't technically be a "Wikipedia fork," it will quickly become equivalent to one, with a "gold rush" of users copying content from Wikipedia to Knol articles hoping for a piece of the AdSense dollars. But I submit this will be a good thing, especially if bona fide experts in different fields join the gold rush as well and start signing their names to articles that they've vetted."

UK Commissioner Seeks To Ban Ultrasonic Anti-Teen Device 552

mikesd81 points out a Times Online article that discusses the legality of the Mosquito sound device, which is used to annoy and drive off younger people with sounds that are too high-pitched for most adults to hear. We discussed how annoying this device can be a couple years ago. From Times Online: "Sir Albert Aynsley-Green, the Children's Commissioner for England appointed to represent the views of the country's 11 million children, has set up a campaign — called Buzz Off — that is calling for the Mosquito to be banned on grounds that it infringes the rights of young people. 'These devices are indiscriminate and target all children and young people, including babies, regardless of whether they are behaving or misbehaving,' Sir Al told the BBC. 'The use of measures such as these are simply demonizing children and young people, creating a dangerous and widening divide between the young and the old.'"

SCO Goes Private With $100 Million Backing 411

AmIAnAi writes "Just when you thought it was all over, the SCO story takes a new twist. SCO has received $100 million financing from Stephen Norris Capital Partners to get them out of Chapter 11 and go private 'The move gives Stephen Norris, whose namesake founder was a co-founder of private equity giant The Carlyle Group, a controlling interest in SCO, which now has a platform to continue its court battle with Novell Inc. over royalties from the Unix server operating system, SCO's main business ... According to a statement from the company, SNCP already has a business plan for SCO that includes pursuing its legal claims.'"

Joel Spolsky On How To Bootstrap a Business 75

Meredith writes "This is a great interview with Joel Spolsky of Fog Creek Software. Joel talks about the negatives of taking money from venture capitalists, and how the entrepreneurs that don't take money become 'super entrepreneurs,' learning how to make something significant out of nothing. This is a very popular interview among tech entrepreneurs and provides really valuable information for startups."

Galaxy Sans Dark Matter 92

ChromaticDragon writes "Astronomers have crunched some numbers on a galaxy to discover that its rotation can be fully explained by the gravity of the observable matter — in effect, this galaxy seems to lack dark matter. This shouldn't come as a total surprise given that one of the stronger observations of Dark Matter was the Bullet Cluster where supposedly a good deal of Dark Matter and good old fashion regular matter had separated."

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