By timothy from Slashdot's if-it-makes-business-sense-sure department
writes "Google, along with Facebook, is a founding partner of Internet.org, which seeks "affordable internet access for the two thirds of the world not yet connected." Google is trying to pull it off — they have projects or companies working on Internet connectivity using high-altitude platforms and low and medium-earth orbit satellites. These extra-terrestrial approaches to connectivity have been tried before, without success, but Google is revisiting them using modern launch technology (public and private), antennas, solar power, radios and other electronics, as well as tuning of TCP/IP protocols to account for increased latency. For example, they just acquired Skybox Imaging, which has a low-earth orbit satellite for high resolution video imaging. In the short run, Skybox is about data, video and images, but the long range goal may be connectivity in developing nations and rural areas — substituting routers for telescopes. Skybox plans to operate a constellation of low-earth orbit satellites and that sounds a lot like Teledesic's attempt at providing connectivity in the mid 1990s, using the technology of 2014."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's tractor-beams-are-the-missing-link department
A New York Time piece (as carried by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) outlines a fascinating project operating in unlikely circumstances for a quixotic goal. They want to control, and return to earth
, the International Sun-Earth Explorer-3
, launched in 1978 but which "appears to be in good working order." Engineer Dennis Wingo, along with like minded folks (of whom he says "We call ourselves techno-archaeologists") has established a business called Skycorp that "has its offices in the McDonald's that used to serve the Navy's Moffett air station, 15 minutes northwest of San Jose, Calif. After the base closed, NASA converted it to a research campus for small technology companies, academia and nonprofits. ... The race to revive the craft, ISEE-3, began in earnest in April. At the end of May, using the Arecibo Observatory radio telescope in Puerto Rico, the team succeeded in talking to the spacecraft, a moment Mr. Wingo described as "way cool." This made Skycorp the first private organization to command a spacecraft outside Earth orbit, he said.
The most disheartening part: "No one has the full operating manual anymore, and the fragments are sometimes contradictory." The most exciting? "Despite the obstacles, progress has been steady, and Mr. Wingo said the team should be ready to fire the engines within weeks."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's think-I'd-prefer-a-road-trip-with-jobs department
The New York Times focuses in an article about Apple CEO Tim Cook in large part on the ways in which Cook is not Jobs. He's less volatile, for one thing, whether you think that means he's less passionate or just more circumspect. A small slice: Lower-level employees praise Mr. Cook’s approachability and intellect. But some say he is less hands-on in developing products than his predecessor. They point to the development of the so-called iWatch — the “smartwatch” that Apple observers are eagerly awaiting as the next world-beating gadget. Mr. Cook is less involved in the minutiae of product engineering for the watch, and has instead delegated those duties to members of his executive cabinet, including Mr. Ive, according to people involved in the project, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to press. Apple declined to comment on the watch project. ... Mr. Cook has also looked outside of Apple for experienced talent. He has hired executives from multiple industries, including Angela Ahrendts, the former head of Burberry, to oversee the physical and online stores, and Paul Deneve, the former Yves Saint Laurent chief executive, to take on special projects. He also hired Kevin Lynch, the former chief technology officer of Adobe, and Michael O’Reilly, former medical officer of the Masimo Corporation, which makes health monitoring devices. Not to mention the music men of Beats.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's all-hail-the-comeback-of-american-caviar-and-vaccum-tubes department
writes According to a Saturday story in the Los Angeles Times, the recent revival of tensions between the United States and Russia, not seen since the end of the Cold War, may provide a shot in the arm for the American rocket engine industry. Due in part in retaliation for economic sanctions that were enacted in response to Russian aggression in the Ukraine, Russia announced that it would no longer sell its own RD-180 rocket engines for American military launches. This has had American aerospace experts scrambling to find a replacement. The stakes for weaning American rockets off of dependency on Russian engines could not be starker, according to Space News. If the United States actually loses the RD-180, the Atlas V would be temporarily grounded, as many as 31 missions could be delayed, costing the United States as much as $5 billion. However SpaceX, whose Falcon family of launch vehicles has a made in the USA rocket engine, could benefit tremendously if the U.S. military switches its business from ULA while it refurbishes its own launch vehicles with new American made engines.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's since-it-was-in-the-neighborhood department
On June 8th, with a radio source beamed at the asteroid designated 2014 HQ124
(less formally, "the beast") while two other telescopes tracked that beam's reflections, NASA was able to gather high-quality images
of the object as it zipped by a mere 776,000 miles from Earth. (Some asteroids are closer
, and a vast number of them could soon be better known
, but none have allowed as good an opportunity for radar obvservation.) Astronomy Magazine's account
adds a bit more detail: To obtain the new views, researchers paired the 230-foot (70m) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California, with two other radio telescopes, one at a time. Using this technique, the Goldstone antenna beams a radar signal at an asteroid and the other antenna receives the reflections. The technique dramatically improves the amount of detail that can be seen in radar images.
To image 2014 HQ124, the researchers first paired the large Goldstone antenna with the 1,000-foot (305m) Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. They later paired the large Goldstone dish with a smaller companion, a 112-foot (34m) antenna, located about 20 miles (32km) away.
The first five images in the new sequence — the top row in the collage — represent the data collected by Arecibo and are 30 times brighter than what Goldstone can produce observing on its own.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's render-judgement department
According to an article at The Escapist, a group of hardware developers is working on a portable version
of the long-rumored SteamBox console
, dubbed the SteamBoy. (Video tease
.) This portable version wouldn't be as powerful as some other Steam-centric rigs, but a representative of this group says "it will be possible to play the majority of current games in Steam."While the exact hardware itself is still under wraps, the SteamBoy design should feature a Quad-Core CPU, 4GB RAM, a 32GB built-in memory card, and a 5" 16:9 touchscreen. ... The pictured SteamBoy looks like a combination of the Steam Controller and the PlayStation Vita, with two touchpads, 8 action buttons, 4 triggers, and two additional buttons to the rear. While that should certainly be as functional as a Steam Machine, we still aren't aware what the system specs will be.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's security-still-needed-note department
An anonymous reader writes MIT researchers believe the solution to misuse and leakage of private data is more transparency and auditability, not adding new layers of security. Traditional approaches make it hard, if not impossible, to share data for useful purposes, such as in healthcare. Enter HTTPA, HTTP with accountability.
From the article: "With HTTPA, each item of private data would be assigned its own uniform resource identifier (URI), a component of the Semantic Web that, researchers say, would convert the Web from a collection of searchable text files into a giant database.
Every time the server transmitted a piece of sensitive data, it would also send a description of the restrictions on the data’s use. And it would also log the transaction, using the URI, in a network of encrypted servers."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's stuff-runs-downhill department
:Rambo Tribble (1273454)
writes Adding to the well-known fish-killing effects deforestation has in increasing turbidity and temperature in streams, a study published in Nature Communications, (abstract, PDF access), demonstrates deforestation causes a depletion of nutrients in associated lake aquatic ecosystems and, as a consequence, impacted fish stocks. Lead author Andrew Tanentzap is quoted as saying, 'We found fish that had almost 70% of their biomass made from carbon that came from trees and leaves instead of aquatic food chain sources.' This has troubling implications, as 'It's estimated that freshwater fishes make up more than 6% of the world's annual animal protein supplies for humans ...' Additionally, this may have significance in regard to anadromous species, such as salmon, which help power ocean ecosystems. The BBC offers more approachable coverage.Read Replies (0)