Beware the Rings of Pluto
Posted by News Fetcher on October 17 '12 at 09:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's why-not-send-two-or-three department
writes "The Christian Science Monitor reports that scientists are planning a new route for NASA's New Horizons space probe as it approaches a potentially perilous path toward Pluto through a possible set of rings that may create dangerous debris zones for the NASA spacecraft. New Horizons is currently about 1,000 days away and 730 million miles from closest approach to Pluto but given that New Horizons is currently zooming away from the sun at more than 33,500 mph, 'a collision with a single pebble, or even a millimeter-sized grain, could cripple or destroy New Horizons,' says project scientist Hal Weaver. 'We need to steer clear of any debris zones around Pluto.' Researchers are making plans to avoid these hazards if New Horizons needs to. 'We are now exploring nine other options, "bail-out trajectories,"' says principal investigator Alan Stern. New Horizon's current plan would take it about halfway between Pluto and the orbit of its largest moon, Charon. Four of the bail-out trajectories would still take the spacecraft between Pluto and Charon's orbit. The other alternatives would take New Horizons much further away from Pluto, past the orbits of its known moons. 'If you fly twice as far away, your camera does half as well; if it's 10 times as far, it does one-tenth as well,' says Stern. 'Still, half a loaf is better than no loaf. Sending New Horizons on a suicide mission does no one any good. We're very much of the mind to accomplish as much as we can, and not losing it all recklessly. Better to turn an A+ to an A- than get an F by overreaching.'"Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's redox-reactions-how-do-they-work department
Ollabelle writes "David Bernstein, a nonprofit executive who lives in Gaithersburg, Md., has two sons, ages 7 and 15. He has previously written about how schools fail students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Now he turns his attention to mandated curriculum in public schools, and argues that his sons shouldn't be forced to take any science class."
From the article: "There’s a concept in economics called 'opportunity costs,' which you may not have learned about because you were taking chemistry instead of economics. Opportunity costs are the sacrifices we make when we choose one alternative over another. ... When you force my son to take chemistry (and several other subjects, this is not only about chemistry), you are not allowing him that same time to take a public speaking course, which he could be really good at, or music, or political science, or creative writing, or HTML coding for websites."Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's outsourcing-strikes-again department
writes "In an interesting problem with physical currency, Iran is now running out of hard currency, due to a combination of inflation, and 'Koenig & Bauer AG of Würzburg, Germany, also says it has not responded to an Iranian request for bids to make the presses to print new rials.' Perhaps they should switch to BitCoin."
In addition to not printing money for them, the European currency presses won't sell Iran the equipment needed to print their currency domestically (not unexpected with the embargo). pigrabbitbear
adds: "Eutelsat Communications, one of the largest satellite providers in Europe, has just nixed its contract with IRIB, the Iranian state broadcasting company. While IRIB's programming is still mostly up and running in Iran, the decision means that 19 IRIB TV and radio channels have now been axed from Europe and much of the Middle East
."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's for-sufficiently-large-values-of-zero department
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Maybe instead of zero-day vulnerabilities, we should call them -312-day vulnerabilities. That's how long it takes, on average, for software vendors to become aware of new vulnerabilities in their software after hackers begin to exploit them, according to a study presented by Symantec at an Association of Computing Machinery conference in Raleigh, NC this week. The researchers used data collected from 11 million PCs to correlate a catalogue of zero-day attacks with malware signatures taken from those machines. Using that retrospective analysis, they found 18 attacks that represented zero-day exploits between February 2008 and March of 2010, seven of which weren't previously known to have been zero-days. And most disturbingly, they found that those attacks continued more than 10 months on average – up to 2.5 years in some cases – before the security community became aware of them. 'In fact, 60% of the zero-day vulnerabilities we identify in our study were not known before, which suggests that there are many more zero-day attacks than previously thought — perhaps more than twice as many,' the researchers write."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's open-source-bank-robbing-software department
kc600 writes "Say you're a freelancer, using mainly open source solutions. You notice that customers, although they don't object to the whole open source idea, don't see the point in paying you for the time it costs you to properly open source your code. As a result, code is not released, because it would take too much time to factor out the customer-specific stuff, to debate architecture with the other developers, look at bug reports, et cetera. You feel there's something to contribute that many might benefit from. The code would also be better maintained if more people would use it, so the customer's project would also benefit. But you're not going to do it in your free time; you have enough on your mind and the bill is paid, right? What useful tricks can you think of to encourage yourself — and your customers — to properly share code, to the benefit of all, and get paid for it?"Read Replies (0)