By timothy from Slashdot's where-it-hurts department
An anonymous reader writes "By 'buying out' the most obvious lunch spot nearest the RSA conference yesterday, opponents and truth-seekers regarding RSA's alleged deal with the NSA raised awareness amongst attendees in the most brutal way possible: by taking away tacos and tequila drinks. Robert Imhoff, Vegas 2.0 co-founder, says, 'RSA could begin to fix this by going on the record with a detailed response about the accusations.'"
I tried to get attendees of the conference to comment on camera — even a little bit — on what they thought of the NSA spying revelations, and not a single person I approached would do so. The pained facial expressions when they refused were interesting, though, and reflect the problem with a surveillance society in a nutshell. Especially at a conference where the NSA is surrounded by vendors who sell the hardware and software that enables your "mere" metadata to be captured and sifted, plenty of the people on the floor know that the companies they work for are or might one day be seeking contracts to do all that capturing and sifting, even if they'd rather not be subject to it personally, so their don't want their face shown saying so.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-only department
An anonymous reader writes "In February, 2003, space shuttle Columbia was lost upon atmospheric re-entry. Afterward, NASA commissioned an exhaustive investigation to figure out what happened, and how it could be prevented in the future. However, they also figured out exactly what would have been required for a repair and rescue mission using Atlantis. Lee Hutchinson at Ars Technica went through the report and wrote a lengthy article explaining what such a mission would look like. In short: risky and terribly complex — but possible. 'In order to push Atlantis through processing in time, a number of standard checks would have to be abandoned. The expedited OPF processing would get Atlantis into the Vehicle Assembly Building in just six days, and the 24/7 prep work would then shave an additional day off the amount of time it takes to get Atlantis mated to its external tank and boosters. After only four days in the Vehicle Assembly Building, one of the two Crawler-Transporters would haul Atlantis out to Launch Complex 39, where it would stage on either Pad A or Pad B on Flight Day 15—January 30. ... Once on the pad, the final push to launch would begin. There would be no practice countdown for the astronauts chosen to fly the mission, nor would there be extra fuel leak tests. Prior to this launch, the shortest time a shuttle had spent on the launch pad was 14 days; the pad crews closing out Atlantis would have only 11 days to get it ready to fly.'"Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's good-thing-we-launched-it-with-a-skyrocket department
astroengine writes "The number of known planets beyond the solar system took a giant leap thanks to a new technique that verifies candidate planets found by NASA's Kepler space telescope in batches rather than one-by-one. The new method adds 715 planets to Kepler's list of confirmed planets, which previously totaled 246, scientists said Wednesday. Combined with other telescopes' finds, the overall exoplanet headcount now reaches nearly 1,700. 'By moving ... to statistical studies in a "big data" fashion, Kepler has showcased the diversity and types of planets present in our galaxy,' said astronomer Sara Seager."
In other exoplanet news, a recent study
found that so-called 'super earths,' planets that are bigger than Earth but smaller than gas giants like Uranus and Neptune, are unlikely to be habitable to known forms of life
. The higher mass traps significantly more hydrogen during the formation of the planetary system, which results in extremely high atmospheric pressure — high enough to be hostile to known life.Read Replies (0)