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Submission + - ESA wants to take out the trash. The space trash.

The Bad Astronomer writes: The European Space Agency is considering a test mission that will use new technology to help clean up the ever-increasing problem of space debris. The spacecraft, called e.Deorbit, will identify, approach, grapple with, and then dispose of errant space junk by deorbiting it, letting it burn up in Earth's atmosphere. Testing could begin as soon as 2023.

Comment This isn't a victory for Behring-Breivik. (Score 3, Insightful) 491

Someone once pointed out that hoping a rapist gets raped in prison isn't a victory for his victim(s), because it somehow gives him what he had coming to him, but it's actually a victory for rape and violence. I wish I could remember who said that, because they are right. The score doesn't go Rapist: 1 World: 1. It goes Rape: 2.

What this man did is unspeakable, and he absolutely deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. If he needs to be kept away from other prisoners as a safety issue, there are ways to do that without keeping him in solitary confinement, which has been shown conclusively to be profoundly cruel and harmful.

Putting him in solitary confinement, as a punitive measure, is not a victory for the good people in the world. It's a victory for inhumane treatment of human beings. This ruling is, in my opinion, very good and very strong for human rights, *precisely* because it was brought by such a despicable and horrible person. It affirms that all of us have basic human rights, even the absolute worst of us on this planet.

Submission + - Jupiter takes another one for the team: Video of comet/asteroid impact

The Bad Astronomer writes: Two amateur astronomers 2000 km apart confirm that on March 17, 2016, a comet or asteroid impacted Jupiter. The flash of light lasted for about one second, and marked the demise of a chunk of interplanetary debris likely a few tens of meters across. This is the sixth confirmed time such an impact on Jupiter has been seen (counting the fragmented comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 as one event).

Submission + - Names That Break Computers (bbc.com)

Thelasko writes: The BBC has a story about people with names that break computer databases.

When Jennifer Null tries to buy a plane ticket, she gets an error message on most websites. The site will say she has left the surname field blank and ask her to try again.

These people are real life Bobby Tables.

Submission + - Astronomers find half the missing mass of the Universe

The Bad Astronomer writes: Astronomers made a cosmic twofer. Fast Radio Bursts are mysterious, rapid blasts of radio energy seen randomly on the sky. A quick response allowed astronomers to determine the location and distance to one seen in 2015: An elliptical galaxy six billion light years away, meaning these are huge explosions possibly related to gamma-ray bursts. The observations also revealed material between Earth and this galaxy, identifying half the "missing" baryons predicted by standard models of cosmology.

Submission + - Small asteroid burns up over Atlantic Ocean

The Bad Astronomer writes: On Feb. 6, an asteroid roughly 6 meters across burned up over the Atlantic Ocean, exploding like a 10 kiloton bomb. Although this was the largest event since the Chelyabinsk superbolide in 2013 (which injured 1000+ people), there were no witnesses. It happened 1000 km off the coast of Brazil, and was reported by the military, though it's unclear how they detected it.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How to deal with persistent and incessant port scanner

jetkins writes: What would you do if your firewall was being persistently targeted by port scans from a specific group of machines from one particular company?

I run a Sophos UTM9 software firewall appliance on my home network. Works great, and the free Home Use license provides a bunch of really nice features normally only found on commercial-grade gear. One of those is the ability to detect, block, and report port scans, and under normal circumstances I only get the occasional alert when some script kiddie comes a-knocking at my door.

But in recent months I have been getting flooded with alerts of scans from one particular company. I initially reported it to my own ISP's (RoadRunner's) abuse desk, on the assumption that if they're scanning me then they're probably scanning a bunch of my neighbors as well, and any responsible ISP would probably want to block this BS, but all I ever got back was an automated acknowledgement and zero action.

So I used DNS lookup and WHOIS to find their phone number, and spoke with someone there; it appears that they're a small outfit, and I was assured that they had a good idea where it was coming from and that they would make it stop. Indeed, it did stop a few days later but then it was back again, unabated, after another week or so. So last week I called them again, and was once again assured of a resolution. No dice, the scans continue to pour in.

I've already blocked their subnet at my firewall, but the UTM apparently does attack detection before filtering, so that didn't stop the alerts. And although I *could* disable port scan alerts, it's an all-or-nothing thing and I'm not prepared to turn them off completely.

This afternoon I forwarded the twenty-something alerts that I've received so far today, to their abuse@ address with an appeal for a Christmas Miracle, but frankly I'm not holding out much hope that it will have any effect.

So, Slashdotters, what should I do if this continues into the new year? Start automatically bouncing every report to their abuse address? Sic Anonymous on them? Start calling them every time? I'm open to suggestions.

Comment Better yet, don't use uTorrent at all. (Score 1) 275

As so many in this thread have mentioned, there's lots of worthy alternatives: qBittorrent, Deluge, Transmission, that are open-source, and are not bundled with malware. I'm not going to use an older version of a program produced by a bunch of sociopathic scumbags pulling this dishonest bullshit. I'm going elsewhere.

Submission + - Earth Gets Another Quasi-Moon 1

The Bad Astronomer writes: Astronomers have found a new asteroid, 2014 OL339, that is a quasi-moon of the Earth. Discovered accidentally earlier this year, the 150-meter asteroid has an orbit that is more elliptical than Earth's, but has a period of almost exactly one year. It isn't bound to Earth like a real moon, but displays apparent motion as if it did, making it one of several known quasi-moons.

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