photonic writes: The BBC is reporting about a possible collision between Ecuador's first satellite (a small cubesat) and debris from an upper stage of an old Russain rocket. If confirmed, this might be the 3rd case in recent years, after a high-speed collision of an Irridium satellite with a dead Russian satellite in 2009 and a collision earlier this year between a Russian laser reflector (which can be tracked very accurately) and a tiny piece of a debris of a Chinese weather satellite that was destroyed in a missile test.
photonic writes: The national Dutch broadcaster reports (Google translate fails due to cookie warning) that a man living in Amsterdam was extradited to the US for the production of child-pornography. The man is a US citizen and the offenses were allegedly committed in the US and other countries, so the extradition seems uncontroversial. The interesting detail is that the man was apparently caught after he uploaded some of the offending files to Microsoft SkyDrive. Are the authorities actively scanning all your files or do they simply give Microsoft (and Dropbox, Google,...) a list of hashes of known illegal material?
photonic writes: After a 3 years of study, NIST finally released its report on the collapse of World Trade Center building 7. The main conclusion is that the building came down due to fire, not due to debris damage or some conspiracy demolition team. The fire started pretty small after the collapse of WTC 1, but was left to burn several floors out completely. The important finding is that the collapse was triggered by thermal expansion of beams, which could detach asymmetrically loaded girders from the main columns. Some limited pancaking of floors than caused lack of lateral support and buckling of a single column. This triggered the failure of the entire core of the building, which finally fell down as a single piece. Crackpot theories can be discussed in the Digg comments, so please limit the discussion to the science here. All documents can be found here, which read like a porn magazine for finite element junkies. Awesome movies are here. And yes, they used Beowulf clusters to do the simulations, some of which lasted for several months.