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Submission + - Wired has a story on the Integrated Space Plan's 100 year view of space planning (wired.com)

garyebickford writes: Wired Magazine has posted an article about the new 2015 version of the Integrated Space Plan, updated 14 years after the last version and descended directly from the original 1989 version. The original one was printed in the thousands, distributed by Rockwell, and appeared on walls throughout the space industry. One even hung behind the NASA administrator's desk. The new one is prettier, great for dorm room walls and classrooms, and Integrated Space Analytics, the company behind it, promises to expand their website into an up-to-date, live interactive tool. This is a great new beginning after over 30 years.

Submission + - Updating the Integrated Space Plan (kickstarter.com)

garyebickford writes: Space Finance Group (in which I'm a partner) has launched a Kickstarter to fund updating the "famous Integrated Space Plan", created by Ron Jones at Rockwell International in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and can be found on walls in the industry even today. The new Plan will be a poster, but also will provide the initial core data for a new website. The permanent link will be thespaceplan.com. As additional resources become available the website will be able to contain much more information, with (eventually) advanced data management (possibly including sources like Linked Data) and visualization tools to become a resource for education, research, entertainment, and business analytics. The group also hopes to support curated crowdsourcing of some data, and is talking to Space Development companies about providing data about themselves. They hope to be able to construct new timelines and show the relations between events and entities — companies, agencies, people, etc.

Submission + - How 'private' is TOR, really? ('hidden network', indeed!) (cbslocal.com)

garyebickford writes: I have a suspicion that TOR is nowhere near as private as is generally assumed. We can assume that some fraction of all the nodes out there are run by what I'll term 'spies' — entities who want to know things about whoever's using TOR. The question is, what fraction is sufficient to be able to reconstruct missing pieces, and figure out with a high degree of reliabillity what the 'real' source and destination are, assuming those 'spy' nodes can all talk to each other? There is some good math for doing such reconstructions of networks where most of the nodes are unknown. I suspect that the necessary fraction is somewhere near 10%. It's quite possible that your friendly neighborhood 3-letter spook shop knows a lot more about what's going through the TOR network than any of us, the great unwashed, realizes. So, how much of the TOR network needs to be 'cooperating' to significantly compromise privacy?
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"

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."
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."
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."

Submission + - Is there a use for tablets for geeks? 2

garyebickford writes: "I'm just wondering — is there any real use for a fondleslab for a programmer or sysadmin? I just don't see what the use of these things is, even for the great unwashed. I have on occasion used my cell phone to log in to a server and do minor maintenance, but I would not use the phone for programming or editing beyond some triviality like a hosts file except in extreme circumstances. Touchpads are too big to fit in a pocket, with resolution too low to do any useful work (for biz types maybe a small spreadsheet or something, but that's a different group), and without a cover they seem to me to be too vulnerable to scratching and breakage.

So, please enlighten me with all your collective wisdom, and warm me with your flames."
Programming

Submission + - Training materials - Mercurial, Trac, dotProject? (selenic.com)

garyebickford writes: "My company looks like it's going to adopt the dev environment I've been using for a while, which is based on integrating Mercurial, Trac and dotProject. So I'm thinking that they are soon going to want to know how to do things. I can't be the first one in this position, so I'm wondering if someone else has made up some slides etc. that would be useful in training my fellow geeks (and that they are willing to share.)"

Submission + - Today is Ockham's birthday (wikipedia.org)

garyebickford writes: "Today is Ockham's birthday. Time to read about what he actually said.

Although he is commonly known for Occam's razor, the methodological principle that bears his name, William of Ockham also produced significant works on logic, physics, and theology.

He is also considered the father of epistemology. One notable aspect of his life is that he apparently did not fit into the normal schooling process, leaving before achieving his master's degree (equivalent to high school diploma) and got in trouble with the Church due to his original thought, but was widely admired for his creative and far-reaching ideas. Sounds like me! :) (and a lot of /.ers)"

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