By timothy from Slashdot's sometimes-they-come-back department
Taco Cowboy writes "'NASA is calling off attempts to find its Deep Impact comet probe after a suspected software glitch shut down radio communications in August, officials said on Friday.' Last month, engineers lost contact with Deep Impact and unsuccessfully tried to regain communications. The cause of the failure was unknown, but NASA suspects the spacecraft lost control, causing its antenna and solar panels to be pointed in the wrong direction. NASA had hoped Deep Impact would play a key role in observations of the approaching Comet ISON, a suspected first-time visitor to the inner solar system that was discovered in September 2012 by two Russian astronomers. The comet is heading toward a close encounter with the sun in November, a brush that it may not survive."
Deep Impact has had a pretty good run, though: from its original mission to launch a copper slug at a comet
(hence the name), to looking for Earth-sized planets
.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hit-your-back-button-before-you-feel-like-a-jerk department
Presto Vivace sends in this story at Slate:"If you are reading this on a smartphone, then you are probably holding in your palm the conflict minerals that have sent the biggest manufacturing trade group in the U.S. into a court battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission. At stake in this battle between the National Association of Manufacturers and the government is whether consumers will know the potentially blood-soaked origins of the products they use every day and who gets to craft rules for multinational corporations—Congress or the business itself. ... These minerals are tantalum (used in cellphones, DVD players, laptops, hard drives, and gaming devices), tungsten, tin, and gold, if they are mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo and surrounding countries including Rwanda, where the mineral trade has fueled bloody conflicts. The rule requiring disclosure of conflict minerals will go into effect in 2014. Congress included it in Dodd-Frank out of concern for what is known as the “resource curse”—the phenomenon wherein poor counties with the greatest natural resources end up with the most corrupt and repressive governments. The money earned from selling the natural resources props up these harsh regimes and funds violence against their citizens and neighbors."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's lots-going-on-in-that-headline department
An anonymous reader writes "Last year, sci-fi author Neal Stephenson and a team of game developers set out to make video game swordfighting awesome. They set up a Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of hardware and software tech that would make replace console controllers with something more realistic. Now, production on that tech and the game in which they showcase it has been halted. In an update on the Kickstarter page, Stephenson explains how they've sought other investments without success. The project is 'on pause,' and the team asks for patience. He says, 'The overall climate in the industry has become risk-averse to a degree that is difficult to appreciate until you've seen it. It is especially bemusing to CLANG team members who, by cheerfully foregoing other opportunities so that they could associate themselves with a startup in the swordfighting space, have already shown an attitude to career, financial, and reputational risk normally associated with the cast members of Jackass. To a game publisher crouched in a fetal position under a blanket, CLANG seems extra worrisome because it is coupled to a new hardware controller.'"Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's at-least-it's-a-flat-bug department
MojoKid writes "News of a proven security vulnerability involving Apple iOS 7 has started making the rounds. The exploit specifically involves the lockscreen, the most common piece of security that stops an unauthorized individual from gaining access to anything important on your phone. The 'hack,' if you want to call it that, is simple: Swipe up on the lock screen to enter the control center, and then open the alarm clock. From there, hold the phone's sleep button to bring up a prompt that will ask you if you wish to shut down, but instead of doing that, hit the cancel option, and then tap the home button to access the phone's multi-tasking screen. With access to this multi-tasking screen, anyone could try opening up what you've already had open on your phone. If you had Twitter open, for example, this person might be able to pick up where you left off and post on your behalf. Or, they could access the camera — and of course, every single photo stored on the phone."
The new iPhone models were released today; iFixit has a teardown of the iPhone 5s
, giving it a repairability score of 6/10.Read Replies (0)
By samzenpus from Slashdot's and-you're-done department
mdsolar writes in with a story about the fallout from a nuclear plant closing
on a small town in Maine. "In a wooded area behind a camouflage-clad guard holding an assault rifle, dozens of hulking casks packed with radioactive waste rest on concrete pads — relics of the shuttered nuclear plant that once powered the region and made this fishing town feel rich. In the 17 years since Maine Yankee began dismantling its reactors and shedding its 600 workers, this small, coastal town north of Portland has experienced drastic changes: property taxes have spiked by more than 10 times for the town's 3,700 residents, the number living in poverty has more than doubled as many professionals left, and town services and jobs have been cut. 'I have yet to meet anyone happy that Maine Yankee is gone,' said Laurie Smith, the town manager. 'All these years later, we're still feeling the loss of jobs, the economic downturn, and the huge tax increases.'"Read Replies (0)