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Mon, 16 Jan 2017
The World for People who Think

Science & Technology


Asteroid probe;did touch down

The Hayabusa space probe landed successfully on its asteroid target despite the initial announcement of a failure, Japan's space agency says.

But it apparently failed to drop equipment to collect material from the surface of asteroid Itokawa.

The Japanese spacecraft is on a mission to return these samples from Itokawa to Earth for the summer of 2007.

Controllers lost contact with the probe after it manoeuvred to within several metres of the space rock.

However, data confirmed Hayabusa landed on Itokawa on Sunday for half an hour, Japan's space agency (Jaxa) has said.

Life Preserver

'Keats claimed physics destroyed beauty. Keats was being a prat'

Britain produced some of the world's great physicists but few schoolchildren want to study the subject now. Simon Singh explains why we should worry.


The ideas interview, Ray Kurzweil - Expect the human of the future to be at least part computer, the inventor and futurologist tells John Sutherland

Ray Kurzweil has enormous faith in science. He takes 250 dietary supplements every day. He is sure computers will make him much, much cleverer within decades. He won't rule out being able to live for ever. Even if medical technology cannot prevent the life passing from his body, he thinks there is a good chance he will be able to secure immortality by downloading the contents of his enhanced brain before he dies.

Comment: Well, if you want this stuff plugged into your body, go right ahead. Personally, we'll stick with our cigarettes as the way to enhance our meatware.


Uniform that makes soldiers invisible in the works

army_suitCAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — The Army is hunting for a new military uniform that can make soldiers nearly invisible, grant superhuman strength and provide instant medical care.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is up for the task.

The school said Wednesday it has been awarded a five-year, $50 million dollar grant to develop the armor, which could detect threats and protect against projectiles and biological or chemical weapons.

Comment: Given the type of projects that the DOD is throwing money at, it would appear that either they are not expecting world peace anytime soon, or they are actively involved in ensuring that such a peaceful world never comes to pass.


Researchers Looking into Ways Wasps Can Help Law Enforcement, Others

TIFTON - Move over, drug-sniffing dogs.

Make way for the wasps.


Landing on Itokawa aborted

The first attempt at a spectacular landing of a space probe on the Itokawa comet has failed. After analyzing the data received from the probe, Japan's Jaxa space agency announced that its research satellite Hayabusa aborted its approach to the comet some 17 meters from the surface for reasons that are still unclear.

Magic Wand

Prehistoric Lizard Called Historic Link

DALLAS - Amateur fossil hunter Van Turner felt certain he had found something important during his search of earth turned up by bulldozers making way for a new subdivision in Dallas County.

Sixteen years later, scientists finally confirmed that Turner had discovered the first well preserved early mosasaur found in North America a prehistoric lizard that lived 92 million years ago that evolved into what some call the "T. Rex of the ocean."


Deal Reached on Managing the Internet

Negotiators from more than 100 countries agreed late Tuesday to leave the United States in charge of the Internet's addressing system, averting a U.S.-EU showdown at this week's U.N. technology summit.

U.S. officials said early Wednesday that instead of transferring management of the system to an international body such as the United Nations, an international forum would be created to address concerns. The forum, however, would have no binding authority.


Wikipedia Watch

There are two unique characteristics of Wikipedia that can be very damaging to a person, corporation, or group. The first is that anyone can edit an article, and there is no guarantee that any article you read has not been edited maliciously, and remains uncorrected in that state, at the precise time that you access that article.

Search engines rank their pages near the top. While Wikipedia itself does not run ads, they are the most-scraped site on the web. Scrapers need content - any content will do - in order to carry ads from Google and other advertisers. This entire effect is turning Wikipedia into a generator of spam. It is primarily Google's fault, since Wikipedia might find it difficult to address the issue of scraping even if they wanted to. Google doesn't care; their ad money comes right off the top.

Articles in Wikipedia are supposed to be neutral in tone, and assertions are supposed to be backed up with citations. What's happening is that any collection of citations that appears balanced is all that anybody expects. If the title or snippet in a link itself contributes to this impression, then the full text is not researched by anyone. No one has time for that. Just grab a few catchy snippets from Google and slap them at the end of the Wikipedia article. It's a full-circle dance: garbage in, garbage out, garbage back in. A few cycles of this, and it all turns into a big, stinking heap.

Wikipedia is a potential menace to anyone who values privacy. It needs to be watched closely.


Study Predicts Political, Economic Turmoil If UN's Internet Governance Schemes Succeed

"After so many conspiracy hoaxes over the years, there is now a serious, ominous effort to replace the efficient and adaptable non-profit entity guiding the Internet with a new UN-sponsored agency," said NTU Government Affairs Manager and Issue Brief author Kristina Rasmussen.

Comment: Yeah, they are "conspiracy hoaxes" when someone exposes what the US is doing to stifle free speech, but when the UN tries to wrest control away from the CIA - which is spying on everybody via the internet - suddenly it is a "serious, ominous effort..."