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Submission + - SPAM: Dawn of a new space war

Taco Cowboy writes: China launched its Aolong-1 robotic satellite, on board of the inaugurated flight of its new Long March 7 rocket on June 25th

According to China, the Aolong-1 robotic satellite, which is equipped with a robotic arm to remove large debris such as old satellites, is tasked to clean up space debris / space junk, but some space experts think that such robotic satellite has a dual-use purpose, and has the potential to be used as an anti-satellite weapon

The Aolong-1 (The Roaming Dragon) is small, weighing only a few hundred kilos, so the prototype could be produced and launched in large numbers. During peacetime, the craft could patrol space and prevent defunct satellites from crashing into big cities such as Shanghai or New Yorkl During wartime, they could be used as deterrents or directly against enemy assets in space

Furthermore, the Aolong-1 robotic satellite can also be said to be a “clean” anti-satellite weapon

China is not alone in this endeavor

The United States Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) plans to launch a larger, more sophisticated craft for the US Air Force in 2020

Unlike Aolong, the Phoenix in-orbit servicing program would also be able to carry out jobs such as repairing, upgrading and refueling aging satellites

It would even be able to “turn foreign satellites into US spy satellites”, according to the US air force

Chinese researchers with the 502 Institute at the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said last year that China would launch a multi-tasking space robot similar to the Phoenix, also by about 2020

The China National Space Administration says the nation’s blueprint for its space robots spans missions ranging from low earth orbit to Mars

Link to Original Source

Comment Pascal/Delphi (Score 1) 257

I still maintain a group of embedded semi-smart terminals that run OSes from MSDOS to current versions of Windows. The original program was written in Turbo Pascal 7 back in the early 90's, and some of the old ODS boxes are still in use.

The program has been updated over the years to run on Delphi and now XE2. Three or four different development environments, but they can all be convinced to run under Win 7/8 (I haven't tried Win 10 yet.) I see no reason to expect that they won't live on long after I am retired.

Comment Science is fine... (Score 3, Interesting) 320

... it's the media messing things up. The endless race to publish something, anything, leads to headlines like "XYZ is bad for you!" Then you read the actual study, and it turns out the "reporter" is talking about a minor study on a different topic that had a mere handful of study participants. Of course, no effort is made to actually interview the study authors, or "the authors did not respond to our request for an interview." I find that Gawker and HuffPo are among the worst offenders.

Comment The problem is... (Score 3, Informative) 158

... these local governments are still of the mindset that "industrial/technology" means factories, which means jobs. But as we all know, everybody that builds a datacenter wants as little staff as possible. A datacenter full of staff is seldom a good thing. When I walk past our datacenter on my way to work, if I even see the lights on or more than one car in the parking lot, I clench up, because I know it isn't going to be a good day when I get to my office on the other side of the campus.

Comment Online news (Score 3, Interesting) 167

I use Google News as my home page. It's constantly updated, the selection of news is pretty good, and they offer multiple links to each story. On the downside, there are occasionally articles that are paywalled or click-bait that makes it through the filter, but it is what it is. It's pretty good for a no-humans-involved system.

Comment MUMPS (Score 1) 387

Or M as it's known these days. It's a horrific mess of a language, but there's still a LOT of legacy code out there and it's nearly impossible to refactor M databases into anything more modern. No matter how much I try to move away from it, I keep getting pulled back in. But hey, it pays the mortgage!

Comment Re:Service in exchange for a free modem? (Score 1, Troll) 224

Do you know any cops? Any feds? (I'm speaking of USA-ians; other places might be different, but Comcast doesn't live there.) Subtlety is not their strong point. Arrest everybody and let the courts straighten it out is what they do.

Sure, they're going to get the person who used the credentials to log in. And the address where they logged in from. And then the scenario I just described happens.

Comment Re:Service in exchange for a free modem? (Score 2, Interesting) 224

Not mention the potential liability issues.

I can easily see the cops kicking in my door because somebody used the hotspot in my house to download kiddie porn or copyrighted files.

Does anyone really think the cops are going to differentiate between the public side and private side of the router? No, they're going to call (or subpoena) Comcast for the address where that router lives. My house.

Yeah, it'll probably get straightened out, eventually, after I get dragged away in handcuffs to the amusement of my neighbors, spend a weekend in jail, get branded in the media as a baby-raper, and get fired by my media-phobic employer. And in the meantime, I'm going to have to pay a lawyer, bail myself out, and put back together my ruined life. And Comcast will point to a sentence in their 20,000 line EULA or ToS that says it's not their problem.

And then if I have any money left, some scumbag lawyer will sue me civilly for conspiring with Comcast because I paid for the power for the router that the real kiddy porn collector used.

Not a chance.

Comment Re:Perl still works, and PHP is fine (Score 1) 536

Don't piss on Javascript. Sure, the standard library is terrible and poor cross compatibility makes it impossible to do anything interesting in a browser without shims, but

Maybe it's just me, but I find this hilarious. "but"...

I dread being handed someone else's Javascript code. It's nearly always faster for me to refactor it than to try and resolve a subtle bug.

From what I read here on Slashdot, I thank the gods that I don't do Perl. And many of the complaints I read about PHP are surely valid, but I like it and use it anyway, and so far I have not shot myself in the foot.

Comment Hope and change... (Score 4, Insightful) 312

Once again, this isn't it.

He's had several opportunities to do something about this. He keeps making weaselly attempts to talk about it like he's doing something without actually making any changes. It seems obvious to me that he wants this to continue, much like his equally weasel-ish approach to medical cannabis. And this way, he can blame it on a do-nothing Congress, thus giving his potential successor a talking point.

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