Saturday, September 24, 2005 via Defense Tech
Ayatollahs in OrbitTehran is about to send its first satellite into space, says the Jerusalem-based Isracast.
By the end of September a Russian Cosmos 3 missile will be launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome 800 km north of Moscow, carrying two Iranian satellites into orbit. Although the satellites are claimed to be for meteorological and experimental purposes, experts believe that one of them will possess surveillance capabilities allowing it to observe American and Israeli military facilities throughout the Middle East...
The Iranian Satellite to be launched called the Mesbah, which literally means “lantern,” has been in the works for the last eight years and reached maturity after collaboration between Iranian and Italian engineers. The Italian company Carlo Gavazzi Space (CGS), who assisted in the Iranian space effort to develop the Mesbah also contributed extensive knowledge to its partners and as a result, Iranian officials have been quoted as being optimistic regarding their ability to independently launch more advanced satellites in the next several years.
The 65-75kg Mesbah will, according official Iranian sources, be used as a tool for collecting data on ground and water resources and meteorological conditions, and will also be used to control power supply systems and pipelines. However, various intelligence sources report that the satellite will also have limited surveillance capabilities and will be used by Iran to gather intelligence information on neighboring countries including American bases in Iraq, the Gulf and Israel. The satellite is expected to remain in orbit for three years and some experts say it will be able to continue operations for up to five years. Along side the Mesbah, the Russian Cosmos 3 will reportedly launch a smaller Iranian satellite named Sinah-1. This 20kg domestically made satellite was meant to be launched using Iran's own launcher as a technology demonstrator, but for unknown reasons will eventually be launched using the Russian booster.
[BAD SIGNAL]Dry Fire
From Warren Ellis's Bad Signal
Friday, September 23, 2005
[Politech] Once again, the Feds want to make "temporary" security restrictions permanent [econ]
From Declan McCullagh's Politech
Wednesday, September 21, 2005 via Blogging in Paris
Stay on the pathStay on the path
They say Stay
walk on each stone set
end to end on the way
walk the path
there have been those
and will be those
so honor the path
by preserving it
©2005 Frederick D. Perry, All Rights Reserved posted by Gary Williams at 11:12 PM | link |
Mysterious Stars Surround Andromeda's Black HoleBy Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
posted: 20 September 2005
01:00 pm ET
Stars race around a black hole at the center of the Andromeda galaxy so fast that they could go the distance from Earth to the Moon in six minutes.
The finding, announced today, solves a mystery over the source of strange blue light coming from Andromeda's center. But it generates a new puzzle: The stars' phenomenal orbital velocity suggests they should never have formed in the first place.
Astronomers first spotted the blue light near Andromeda's core in 1995. Three years later, another group determined that the light emanated from a cluster of hot, young stars. Nobody knew how many were involved.
New data from the Hubble Space Telescope reveal more than 400 blue stars that formed in a burst of activity roughly 200 million years ago, astronomers said.
The stars are packed into a disk that is just 1 light-year across.
That's amazingly compact by cosmic standards. A light-year is the distance light travels in a year, about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers). The nearest star to our Sun is about 4.3 light-years away.
'The blue stars in the disk are so short-lived that it is unlikely in the long 12-billion-year history of Andromeda that such a short-lived disk would appear now,' said Tod Lauer of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. 'We think that the mechanism that formed this disk of stars probably formed other stellar disks in the past and will trigger them again in the future. We still don't know, however, how such a disk could form in the first place. It still remains an enigma.'
To determine the velocity of the stars, Hubble was used to calculate the compression and stretching of the light waves coming from the stars. This Doppler technique is based on the same phenomenon that changes the sound of an ambulance siren that's moving first toward you and then away.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
[Politech] In China,U.S. tech companies face free speech choices [fs]
From Declan McCullagh's Politech
via Silent Running ? Blog Archive ? Christmas Retail Season begins….
Gnome HomesConsequently I’m offering my highly successful Gnome Homes to the international blogging/blog reading community. The Gnome Home Page is now open for business. The prices are in US$ (The currency of the civilised world) and is all inclusive. By all inclusive I mean ALL inclusive. I really hate buying something and getting to checkout to find there’s another 60% worth of packaging-postage-lack of demand charge-in demand charge sort of dance designed just to jack the price up. So I don’t do it to other people.
The price will get you the described product complete, packed, gift wrapped, personalised card and delivered to the recipient. This is a great fun and novel way to get your Christmas shopping done.
Also if you have a blog and you put up the link button below in your side bar until Christmas I’ll give you a Gnome Home at no charge. Please let me know where you have posted it and I’ll contact you to arrange for your delivery.
via [PmS] GirlsClan
Home of the All Female Gaming Clan, active on ClanBase!
Welcome to the PmS homepage. You can apply to join PmS clan HERE and remember you have to be female!
Visit us on IRC on Quakenet #pms.girlsclan posted by Gary Williams at 7:11 PM | link |
Monday, September 19, 2005 via Facing South
Meet the Disaster Profiteers: Fluor Corp.
Newsweek has the latest on the 'Katrina Goldrush' of contractors hoping to cash in on the disaster. It has a few new pieces of information, such as the fact that the Shaw Group, which recieved a $100 million no-bid contract, is now under investigation by the SEC for possible 'accounting irregularities.'
The primary qualification for Katrina contractors, it appears, is that they are companies that landed lucrative deals in Iraq's troubled 'reconstruction.' One of those is Fluor Corp., a construction company whose story leads off the Newsweek piece.
A California-based engineering firm, Fluor has been one of the government's biggest go-to contractors for overseas engineering work, accumulating contracts worth $8.5 billion from 1990 to 2002. Iraq was no exception, where they pointed to their long history in the region (mostly Saudi Arabia) to land over $1.6 billion in contacts for rebuilding Iraq. According to an August 2004 report in the Los Angeles Times, they also had the right political connections:
Suzanne H. Woolsey is a trustee of a little-known arms consulting group that had access to senior Pentagon leaders directing the Iraq war. In January, she joined the board of Fluor Corp. Soon afterward, Fluor and a joint-venture partner won about $1.6 billion in reconstruction contracts in Iraq.
Woolsey's husband, the former CIA director, R. James Woolsey, a leading advocate for the war, also serves as a government policy adviser. He, too, works for a company with war-related interests.
The Woolseys' overlapping affiliations are part of a pattern in Washington, in which individuals play key roles in organizations advising officials on major policy issues, whileinvolving themselves with businesses in related fields.
What's their work record? Like many of the politically-connected contractors, Fluor keeps landing contracts despite a long rap sheep of scandal and abuse, including repeated claims of overcharging and gouging taxpayers. Among the most recent include charges of falsely claiming millions of dollars in costs on DoD contracts in 2001 (the company settled for $8.5 million), and in 2002 being sued for $24 million for 'numerous design and construction failures' at the Refugio Mine in northern Chile.
And their work state-side? In 1994, Fluor paid a $3.2 million fine for 'submitting heavily padded repair bills for work on Navy bases after hurricane Hugo.' We've been warned. posted by Gary Williams at 7:14 PM | link |
via Urinals in Amsterdam with flies etched in the bowls-Truth!
Urinals in the Airport in Amsterdam With a Fly Etched Into the Bowl-Truth!
Summary of the eRumor
Pictures of a urinal that says they are in the airport in Amsterdam.
There is what appears to be a house fly in the bowl of the urinal.
The eRumor says the fly is there on purpose and has reduced spillage by 80 percent.
The pictures are authentic and the story is accurate.
TruthOrFiction.com contacted authorities at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam who us that the flies etched on the urinals 'saves us a lot of money on cleaning.'
The actual pictures are from an unique site at www.urinal.net. posted by Gary Williams at 12:34 PM | link |
Katrina, The GatheringA good set of cards depicting the disaster (and politics).
via Charlie's Diary
The real end of the 20th century?
From The Guardian:
Oil is a fungible commodity. The price spike triggered by Hurricane Katrina is going to propagate through the oil markets world-wide over the next few days. Hopefully the trailed release of the US strategic oil reserves will dampen it down: but the question that needs to be asked is, can we increase capacity anywhere else? If the supply of oil can be increased we might be able to dodge the bullet, but if, as some sources suggest the big Saudi fields have passed their peak, we might end up looking back and seeing Katrina as the incident that finally toppled the global economy into a peak oil crisis -- the true end of the 20th century that began when, in Lord Curzon's words, the western allies of the first world war 'sailed to victory on a wave of oil'. posted by Gary Williams at 12:35 AM | link |
Sunday, September 18, 2005 via Yahoo! Movies
PLANET-DISSOLVING DUST CLOUD IS HEADED TOWARD EARTH!Monday September 12, 2005
By MIKE FOSTER
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Scared-stiff astronomers have detected a mysterious mass they've dubbed a 'chaos cloud' that dissolves everything in its path, including comets, asteroids, planets and entire stars -- and it's headed directly toward Earth!
Discovered April 6 by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, the swirling, 10 million-mile- wide cosmic dust cloud has been likened to an 'acid nebula' and is hurtling toward us at close to the speed of light -- making its estimated time of arrival 9:15 a.m. EDT on June 1, 2014.
'The good news is that this finding confirms several cutting- edge ideas in theoretical physics,' announced Dr. Albert Sherwinski, a Cambridge based astrophysicist with close ties to NASA.
'The bad news is that the total annihilation of our solar system is imminent.'
Experts believe the chaos cloud is composed of particles spawned near the event horizon of a black hole (a form of what's called Hawking Radiation) that have been distorted by mangled information spewed from the hole.
'A super-massive black hole lies about 28,000 light-years from Earth at the center of our galaxy,' explained Dr. Sherwinski.
'Last year the eminent physicist Stephen Hawking revised his theory of black holes -- which previously held that nothing could escape the hole's powerful gravitational field. He demonstrated that information about objects that have been sucked in can be emitted in mangled form.
'It now appears that mangled information can distort matter.
'Just imagine our galaxy the Milky Way as a beautiful, handwritten letter.
'Now imagine pouring a glass of water on the paper and watching the words dissolve as the stain spreads. That's what the chaos cloud does to every star or planet it encounters.'
To avoid widespread panic, NASA has declined to make the alarming discovery public. But Dr. Sherwinski's contacts at the agency's Chandra X-ray Observatory leaked to him striking images of the newly discovered chaos cloud obliterating a large asteroid.
'It's like watching a helpless hog being dissolved in a vat of acid,' one NASA scientist told Dr. Sherwinski.
Ordinarily, Hawkings Radiation is harmless.
'It's produced when an electron- positron pair are at the event horizon of a black hole,' Dr. Sherwinski explained. 'The intense curvature of space-time of the hole can cause the positron to fall in, while the electron escapes.'
But when 'infected' by mangled information from the black hole, the particles become a chaos cloud, which in turn mangles everything it touches.
'If it continues unchecked, the chaos cloud will eventually reduce our galaxy to the state of absolute chaos that existed before the birth of the universe,' the astrophysicist warned.
Some scientists say mankind's best hope would be to build a 'space ark' and hightail it to the Andromeda Galaxy, 2.1 million light-years away.
'We wouldn't be able to save the entire human population, but perhaps the best and the brightest,' observed British rocket scientist Dr. David Hall, when asked about the feasibility of such a project.
But even if such a craft could be built in time, evacuating Earth might prove fruitless if theories about the origin of the chaos cloud are correct.