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Space

Submission + - Would you support National Space Society videos on the importance of space? (kickstarter.com) 1

garyebickford writes: "I didn't know where to put this (it's not really science, where most space stuff goes), but I think it's important so I'm asking Slashdot: how important is space development in your opinion? How would you tell people about it? National Space Society wants to produce several videos about the importance, and the potential, of commercial space development.

I think space development could be the most important subject today. The potential of space industry for relieving various resource issues on Earth (including even possible 'climate change' and other ecological concerns) could make many of the contentious issues of the day moot. Just as the 'discovery' of the New World and sudden availability of large amounts of various resources disrupted the economic and political systems of the entire world, so also space could completely change the game on Earth again. I think this is not only overall a good thing, I think it is inevitable and we should be planning for it"

Chrome

Submission + - Acer Sees Success in Chrome; Windows Fails to Drive Sales (bloomberg.com)

Dupple writes: Acer Inc. the Taiwanese computer maker that’s suffered two consecutive annual losses, posted strong sales of notebooks using Google Chrome platform after the release of Microsoft Windows 8 failed to ignite the market.

Chrome-based models accounted for 5 percent to 10 percent of Acer’s U.S. shipments since being released there in November, President Jim Wong said in an interview at the Taipei-based company’s headquarters. That ratio is expected to be sustainable in the long term and the company is considering offering Chrome models in other developed markets, he said.

“Windows 8 itself is still not successful,” said Wong, whose company posted a 28 percent drop in fourth-quarter shipments from a year earlier. “The whole market didn’t come back to growth after the Windows 8 launch, that’s a simple way to judge if it is successful or not.”

Security

Submission + - 58,000 Security Camera Systems Critically Vulnerable To Hackers (forbes.com) 1

Sparrowvsrevolution writes: Eighteen brands of security camera digital video recorders are vulnerable to an attack that would allow a hacker to remotely gain control of the devices to watch, copy, delete or alter video streams at will, as well as to use the machines as jumping-off points to access other computers behind a company's firewall, according to tests by two security researchers. And 58,000 of the hackable video boxes, all of which use firmware provided by the Guangdong, China-based firm Ray Sharp, are accessible via the Internet.

Early last week a hacker who uses the handle someLuser found that commands sent to a Swann DVR via port 9000 were accepted without any authentication. That trick would allow anyone to retrieve the login credentials for the DVR's web-based control panel. To compound the problem, the DVRs automatically make themselves visible to external connections using a protocol known as Universal Plug And Play, (UPNP) which maps the devices' location to any local router that has UPNP enabled--a common default setting. That feature, designed to allow users to remotely access their video files via remote PC or phone, effectively cuts a hole in any firewall that would expose the device to attackers, too. And security researcher H.D. Moore has been able to show that the flawed architecture isn't just used Swann, but instead effects every company that uses Ray Sharp's firmware. Neither Ray Sharp nor any of the eighteen firms have yet released a firmware fix.

Facebook

Submission + - An open peer-to-peer replacement for Facebook?

garyebickford writes: "I'm not a big Facebook user (and I keep the privacy settings tight). I also don't like the fundamental model, where storage of one's life history is dependent on a single for-profit company whose interests do not coincide with mine. It's as if my shoebox of old pictures had a Facebook gateway on it.

So, what would be the complications involved in making a peer-to-peer, server agnostic tool with some of the features of Facebook and a possibility of achieving the necessary network effect? Obviously there are costs and security questions, so I don't think it means pure peer-to-peer as in BitTorrent. I'm thinking more like a network of Jabber servers run by many vendors. I can choose a company that I trust to retain my data, at a cost that I am willing to pay (whether in advertising or cash or whatever). Since there would be no technical barriers, the vendor market could remain competitive and vendors would tend to provide better service and support.

The key is probably the protocol for finding 'friends' and transferring the proper amount of data. Could it be based on jabber's networking model? I would think that for privacy all the data would have to be transferred directly from each vendor's server to the browser, unless it is passed through intermediary vendors in encrypted form. IMHO this could be a very cool project."
Space

Submission + - Beamed Core Antimatter Propulsion: Engine Design and Optimization (arxiv.org)

Ashenkase writes: A conceptual design for beamed core antimatter propulsion is reported, where electrically charged annihilation products directly generate thrust after being deflected and collimated by a magnetic nozzle. Simulations were carried out using the Geant4 (Geometry and tracking) software toolkit released by the CERN accelerator laboratory for Monte Carlo simulation of the interaction of particles with matter and fields. Geant permits a more sophisticated and comprehensive design and optimization of antimatter engines than the software environment for simulations reported by prior researchers. The main finding is that effective exhaust speeds Ve ~ 0.69c (where c is the speed of light) are feasible for charged pions in beamed core propulsion, a major improvement over the Ve ~ 0.33c estimate based on prior simulations.
Programming

Submission + - Multilingual programming languages - why or why not?

garyebickford writes: "I've thought about this a few times. With all multilingual work on web pages, maybe it is time to make programming languages multilingual. I think it would be relatively easy for the core language — just as in web pages, provide a set of translation files for each 'human' language, and at the top of the source file have a directive to use whichever human language is the default. Then editors could pick up that directive, and display the source code in that language or any other.

Handling source code libraries could be done in a similar manner, although it would be significantly more complicated. And comments — well those might be problematical. And it might be necessary for the programmers to include translation files for variable names. But using this method, someone programming in French and someone programming in English, for example, could both work on the same code base in the language they are most comfortable with, and the code would make sense to both."
Science

Submission + - New layer of genetic information discovered (patexia.com)

pollardkevin15 writes: A hidden and never before recognized layer of information in the genetic code has been uncovered by a team of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) thanks to a technique developed at UCSF called ribosome profiling

Submission + - A LAMP Stack for Robotics (xconomy.com)

waderoush writes: "If you visit Menlo Park, CA-based Willow Garage, you'll meet a $400,000 humanoid robot called PR2 that has stereo vision, a pair of dextrous arms, and enough smarts to roam the building indepedently and even plug itself into the wall when it needs to recharge. But in a sense, PR2 is just a demo. The real action at Willow Garage is around ROS, the Robot Operating System, a free meta-operating system that's already being used by hundreds of roboticists around the world and may soon be handed over to an independent foundation analogous to the Apache Software Foundation. Brian Gerkey, Willow Garage's head of open source development, says 'What we need is a LAMP stack for robotics,' and hopes that ROS will jumpstart innovation in robotics in the same way Linux and other free software components provided the foundation for the Internet boom. Today’s roboticists 'have to come at the problem with a very deep expertise in all aspects of robotics, from state estimation to planning to perception, which automatically limits the number of people capable of building new things,' Gerkey says. 'But by providing a basic toolset analogous to the LAMP stack, we can get to a point where all you need to know is how to write code and what you want your robot to do.'"
Wireless Networking

Submission + - IETF attendees reengineer their hotel's Wi-Fi net (networkworld.com)

alphadogg writes: What happens when a bunch of IETF super nerds show up in Paris for a major conference and discover their hotel's Wi-Fi network has imploded? They give it an Extreme Wi-Fi Makeover. Members of the Internet Engineering Task Force, who gathered for the outfit’s 83rd meeting this week in France, discovered earlier this week as they arrived at the toney Hotel Concorde Lafayette that the Wi-Fi was flakey and became flakier still as scores more attendees arrived and tried to connect, and the wired net was having issues of its own. Working behind the scenes, a team of IETF attendees negotiated with the hotel and were granted access to the wireless network, and began rigging up all sorts of fixes, which even included taping a Nexus S phone to a ceiling and turning off the radios on numerous access points to reduce noise.
Earth

Submission + - Strange weather meets new analysis (nytimes.com) 2

mdsolar writes: "Just in time for the new IPCC release on extreme events and disasters: "Geneva, 28 March 2012 – Evidence suggests that climate change has led to changes in climate extremes such as heat waves, record high temperatures and, in many regions, heavy precipitation in the past half century, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said today. Climate extremes, or even a series of non-extreme events, in combination with social vulnerabilities and exposure to risks can produce climate-related disasters, the IPCC said in its Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX)." http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/

Comes this NYT article looking for answers: "Lurching from one weather extreme to another seems to have become routine across the Northern Hemisphere. Parts of the United States may be shivering now, but Scotland is setting heat records. Across Europe, people died by the hundreds during a severe cold wave in the first half of February, but a week later revelers in Paris were strolling down the Champs-Élysées in their shirt-sleeves. Does science have a clue what is going on? The short answer appears to be: not quite. The longer answer is that researchers are developing theories that, should they withstand critical scrutiny, may tie at least some of the erratic weather to global warming. Specifically, suspicion is focused these days on the drastic decline of sea ice in the Arctic, which is believed to be a direct consequence of the human release of greenhouse gases."

Weather: It's not just a topic of conversation anymore."

Submission + - Gas leak in North Sea (newscientist.com)

cedarhillbilly writes: "North Sea oil drilling seems to have opened up a previously unknown gas formation. Gas is seeping into the drilling columns and flowing uncontrolled into the ocean and atmosphere. New Scientist reports: "Many questions remain. Total (the well operator) says that until it works out the capacity of the source and the rate at which methane and gas condensate are leaking into the environment, it is impossible to say either how much gas will be released or how long it will take to block it, despite some reports putting it at six months.

Scary reprise of Deepwater Horizon"

Space

Submission + - Jeff Bezos to Retrieve Moon Mission Rocket Engines 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "AFP reports that Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos plans to retrieve the F-1 engines that rocketed astronaut Neil Armstrong and his crew toward the moon in 1969. "We're making plans to attempt to raise one or more of them from the ocean floor," Bezos wrote in his blog at BezosExpeditions.com. "We don't know yet what condition these engines might be in — they hit the ocean at high velocity and have been in salt water for more than 40 years. On the other hand, they're made of tough stuff, so we'll see." Bezos wrote that he was five years old when Armstrong made history during the Apollo 11 mission by becoming the first person to set foot on the moon and "without any doubt it was a big contributor to my passions for science, engineering, and exploration." Bezos stressed that he is using private funds to try to raise the F-1 engines from their resting places 14,000 feet (4,267 meters) below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean and that they remain the property of NASA. "I imagine that NASA would decide to make it available to the Smithsonian (National Air and Space Museum) for all to see." Bezos's efforts come just days after Titanic director James Cameron became the first person in 40 years to descend to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the ocean's deepest point, in a privately-funded expedition."
Space

Submission + - Swiss to build orbital cleaning satellite (actu.epfl.ch)

garyebickford writes: "As The ETH Lausanne says:

The proliferation of debris orbiting the Earth – primarily jettisoned rocket and satellite components – is an increasingly pressing problem for spacecraft, and it can generate huge costs. To combat this scourge, the Swiss Space Center at EPFL is announcing today the launch of CleanSpace One, a project to develop and build the first installment of a family of satellites specially designed to clean up space debris.

This looks like a reasonable method, although I think that at some future point it might be useful to just put at least the smaller stuff in a higher 'parking orbit' for later destruction or recycling. This way you wouldn't lose one vacuum cleaner for each satellite retrieved. And much later down the road, it might be useful to collect bigger units — expended boosters, for example — as raw materials and/or containers. The cost of getting the mass into space has already been spent. I optimistically foresee a future where much of the stuff sent into orbital space has a recycling function built into the design."

Space

Submission + - Who Regulates Commercial Suborbital Flight? (txchnologist.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The commercial space flight industry has plenty of problems right now, but safety apparently isn’t one of them. “Weak demand, foreign competition, financial limitations, and technical challenges seem to be more significant impediments [than safety] at the moment,” says Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University.
Facebook

Submission + - Europe's 'Right to Be Forgotten' Threatens Online Free Speech

An anonymous reader writes: Jeffrey Rosen, Legal Affairs Editor for The New Republic, explains why the E.U.'s proposed data protection regulation known as the right to be forgotten is actually 'the biggest threat to free speech on the Internet in the coming decade.' In the Stanford Law Review Online (short version in TNR ), he writes: 'The right to be forgotten could make Facebook and Google, for example, liable for up to two percent of their global income if they fail to remove photos that people post about themselves and later regret, even if the photos have been widely distributed already. Unless the right is defined more precisely when it is promulgated over the next year or so, it could precipitate a dramatic clash between European and American conceptions of the proper balance between privacy and free speech, leading to a far less open Internet.' According to Rosen, the 'right' goes farther than previously thought, treating 'takedown requests for truthful information posted by others identically to takedown requests for photos I’ve posted myself that have then been copied by others: both are included in the definition of personal data as “any information relating” to me, regardless of its source.' Examples of previous attempts this might bolster include 'efforts by two Germans convicted of murdering a famous actor to remove their criminal history from the actor’s Wikipedia page' and an 'Argentine pop star [who] had posed for racy pictures when she was young, but recently sued Google and Yahoo to take them down.'

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