Day: July 18, 2016

This stylish vaporizer will have you 'lighting up' in no time flat

The best part of smoking is the moment when it’s finally time to inhale that first breath, kick back, and relax. But getting to that first inhale isn’t always the easiest task, and you’re often left with a bigger mess than when you started.

There’s a better way, and it’s called the Hippie 2.0 Vaporizer. This compact little vape packs a powerful punch: it has a temperature scale of 356 F- 428 F, is constructed with a full ceramic chamber, and charges quickly via USB.

Plus, it’s smart enough to remember what your last temperature setting was, so you’ll always have the best smoking experience, every time (no more fiddling with the perfect way to pack the bowl).

The Hippie 2.0 Vaporizer also comes with an assortment of goodies including a USB charger cable, a glass pipe attachment, and a sleek leather carrying case—all for just $96 (39% off the original price of $159).

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Dr. Jill Stein's epically batshit 'Bernie Sanders can still win’ theory

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Green party presidential hopeful Dr. Jill Stein wins the nod for this election’s coveted “Most insane Bernie Sanders can win rant”! After losing the Democratic Primary there is not much that needs to be said about Bernie’s chances. The candidate himself has said he’ll be supporting Clinton.

Dr. Stein shared this analysis of Sander’s endorsement on Facebook:

Anyone trashing Bernie today needs to wake up and respect the masterful chess move he just made.

Q. Why did Bernie endorse Hillary now?

A. They threatened to completey shut him out of the convention if he didn’t.

Q. Couldn’t he have said screw them and go and fight at the convention anyway?

A. No. Hillary has more delegates, Superdelegates, and supporters on the DNC rules committee. They would have voted down every one of our platforms, denied Bernie the opportunity to speak, and basically shut him out of the entire process. All the leverage he has gained up to this point would be gone.

Q. So wait, Bernie DIDN’T quit today?

A. No. He had to say she won the primary, he endorses her and will help the party defeat Trump, yadda yadda but he DID NOT concede. There is a very big and important difference. Had he conceded, all of his delegates would go to Hillary and he would no longer be an option for nominee.

Q. So Bernie can actually still win??

A. YES. And if he wasn’t still TRYING to win, he would have conceded. The ONLY option he had to get to the convention with his delegates behind him and have a chance to still win was to do what he did today. He is not a traitor. He didn’t sell us out. He did the only possible thing he could have done to keep fighting for the nomination.

Q. So how can Bernie still win if he’s losing the delegate count and he just said he will help Hillary win the election?

A. By far the most important thing to the DNC, even more important than making sure Hillary beats Bernie, is making sure the Democratic nominee beats the Republicans in November. They scrutinize every poll, every opinion of the public, every event to judge whether a candidate is strong enough to win in November. There are A LOT of things going on right now that show how weak of a general election candidate Hillary Clinton is:

-66% of the country sees her as untrustworthy

-60% thinks she should have been indicted for the email scandal

-A lot of Bernie supporters won’t vote for her

-Congress has requested the Department of Justice investigate her for lying under oath about the email scandal

-There’s a possibility more emails will be leaked by wikileaks or hackers further proving her guilt
-Many believe the FBI is secretly investigating the Clinton Foundation

-Her “wins” during the primary have been tainted with accusations of fraud, suppression, lawsuits, and investigations

And then there’s Bernie. An honest candidate people trust and whose approval rating and trustworthy rating crushes Clinton’s. This is the argument Bernie will make at the convention. With all …read more

1,300 Unknown Galaxies Discovered By South African Astronomers

Left: A patch of sky about as big as the full moon where the MeerKAT telescope discerned the radio glow of about 200 galaxies. Only a few (circled) had been previously observed; Right: A distant galaxy that is being blown up by a black hole at its center. Credit SKA South Africa

A group of South African astronomers announced on Saturday the discovery of more than a thousand galaxies never before known to have been seen or recorded by human beings. The astronomers “were showing off the first taste of the ultimate cosmic feast of what is to come, at least as seen from this particular dusty crumb called Earth,” writes Dennis Overbye at the New York Times:

When it’s done, sometime around 2030, the Square Kilometer Array, as it is known, will be the largest telescope ever built on our planet. It will consist of thousands of radio antennas that will collectively cover a square kilometer (hence the name), spread out in mathematically intricate patterns in South Africa and Australia.

The telescope is being built by an international collaboration with its headquarters at the University of Manchester in England. The first phase, to be completed in 2023, will cost 650 million euros.

Astronomers estimate that it will pull some 35,000-DVDs-worth of data down from the sky every second. So much that it would take 2 million years to play on your smartphone.

For now the bounty consists of the radio glow of some 1,300 distant galaxies spotted in a patch of sky about 20 times the size of the full moon, where only 70 galaxies had been counted before. Some of them are erupting in cataclysms as massive black holes in their hearts spew radioactive high-energy particles across the dark sea of space.

South African Telescope Spots 1,300 Unknown Galaxies [NYT]

These Frank Chu signs are fake and created with the acme.com/chumaker, but the New York Times headline reminded me of Chu’s intergalactic imaginings.

The MeerKAT radio telescope. Photo: SKA South Africa.

The MeerKAT radio telescope. Photo: SKA South Africa.

The MeerKAT radio telescope. Photo: SKA South Africa.

The MeerKAT radio telescope. Photo: SKA South Africa.

The MeerKAT radio telescope. Photo: SKA South Africa.

The MeerKAT radio telescope. Photo: SKA South Africa.

The MeerKAT radio telescope. Photo: SKA South Africa.

The MeerKAT radio telescope. Photo: SKA South Africa.

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Trump's Ghostwriter: Trump would end civilization as we know it

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Tony Schwartz, Donald Trump’s ghostwriter for the New York Times‘ bestseller, The Art of the Deal (1987), is terrified that Trump is running for president. He told Good Morning America today that he has a “deep sense of remorse” over writing the book.

Schwartz spent 18 months with Trump in the 1980s to get to know him and his voice, and says Trump is “insecure,” “easily provoked,” and, with his “tiny” attention span, can’t focus on anything. “He’s not nearly as smart as people might imagine he is,” Schwartz said. “In the face of someone like Putin, provoking him cleverly – because Putin is a heck of a lot smarter than Donald Trump – I do worry that with the nuclear codes he would end civilization as we know it.”

At the time, Schwartz enjoyed writing the book, and never thought it was important to speak out negatively about Trump – until Trump became the Republican nominee for president. Since then, Schwartz hasn’t slept a full night through, and wishes he never would have written the book.

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How to Hide Anything, a free booklet

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“How To Hide Anything” is Michael Connor’s 1984 book about rigging secret hiding places for your contraband and even yourself. Download the book for free here at Archive.org or purchase a hardcopy from Amazon. Connor is also the author of other well-intentioned self-help books like “Sneak It Through: Smuggling Made Easier” and “The Power of Positive Revenge: A Winner’s Guide to Exacting Vengeance.”

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Photo of "ghost" at scene of fatal motorcycle wreck

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Last week, a motorcyclist tragically died on a highway near Stanton, Kentucky. A fellow nearby, Saul Vazquez, snapped a photo of the scene from his truck and was surprised to see what appears to be an apparition floating above the deceased. Vazquez posted the image on Facebook but when reached by Lex18 news reporters would only say that “the photo has not been altered.”

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Vintage photos of faux decapitations

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Esteemed vernacular photography collector Robert Jackson shares his favorite 19th and 20th century photos of people who’ve lost their heads thanks to pre-Photoshop trickery. It’s a delightful photography tradition that in 1973 inspired my late brother Mark Pescovitz to create his own “Head Photographer (self portrait),” seen at the bottom of this page!

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“Head Photographer (self portrait)” by Mark Pescovitz, c. 1973:

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Report: Ailes out at Fox News

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Gabriel Sherman, National Affairs Editor at New York Magazine, reports that Fox News boss Roger Ailes is being “removed” by the Murdochs. He’s been nailed by the company’s internal probe into him, triggered by claims of sexual harassment leveled by Gretchen Carlson.

After reviewing the initial findings of the probe, James Murdoch is said to be arguing that Ailes should be presented with a choice this week to resign or face being fired. Lachlan is more aligned with their father, who thinks that no action should be taken until after the GOP convention this week. Another source confirms that all three are in agreement that Ailes needs to go.

While Gretchen Carlson’s sexual-harassment lawsuit against Ailes sparked the investigation, sources say it has expanded into a wide-ranging inquiry into Ailes’s controversial management style.

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Fashion student simulates couture collection made from Alexander McQueen's cloned skin

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Alexander McQueen’s first collection after graduating from Central Saint Martins was Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims which included locks of his hair; for her own grad project, called “Pure Human,” Central Saint Martins student Tina Gorjanc created a line of clothes and accessories that asks the audience to imagine that it was made from pelts cloned from DNA retrieved from McQueen’s hair strands.
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Gonorrhea may soon be unbeatable

Vintage STD Propaganda Poster (12)

Approximately 350,000 people in the US are diagnosed with gonorrhea each year. According to the CDC, it may soon be untreatable. Currently, the sexually-transmitted disease, not-so-fondly known as The Clap or The Drip, is treated with two antibiotics, azithromycin and ceftriaxone. Data is currently showing a rise in gonorrhea samples that are resistant to those drugs.

Companies are developing new antibiotics but could be “years away,” says CDC medical epidemiologist Robert D. Kirkcaldy.

“We think … it’s a matter of when and not if with resistance,” he says. “This bug is so smart and can mutate so rapidly.”

(Scientific American)

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Surprise: Copyright trolls rip off the rightsholders they supposedly "represent"

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The copyright troll business-model: a sleazy lawyer gets copyright holders to one or more films (often, but not always, porn) to deputize them to police those rights; then the lawyer’s company uses sloppy investigative techniques to accuse internet users of violating those copyrights; they use deceptive notices to get ISPs to give them contact details for those users (or to get the ISPs to pass notices on to the users); then they send “speculative invoices” to their victims, demanding money not to sue — usually a sum that’s calculated to be less than it would cost to ask a lawyer whether it’s worth paying.
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Turkey: 6,000 arrested following coup, but that doesn't make it an inside job

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The failed military coup in Turkey was bizarre, even (especially) by the standards of Turkish military coups (which is a surprisingly large data-set), and in the wake of the coup, 6,000 people were promptly rounded up and arrested including respected judges, powerful military leaders, prosecutors, and a whole list of others whose names seem to have been put on an enemies list long before any coup.
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COSPAR cancels space science conference after Turkish coup attempt

Istanbul Congress Center

ORLANDO — Organizers of a major space conference that was set to start in less than two weeks in Istanbul said July 18 they were cancelling the event after an attempted coup of the Turkish government by its military.

The Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) has planned to open its biannual Scientific Assembly on July 30 in Istanbul, but said a July 15 coup attempt and resulting instability in the government now made the event infeasible.

“The most recent events in Istanbul, involving a coup from a faction of the national army against the Turkish government on 15 July, require us to cancel the 41st COSPAR Assembly,” said COSPAR President Len Fisk in a statement posted on the conference website July 18. “This is an unprecedented situation with profound consequences, the sources of which are far beyond the responsibilities of our Turkish partners or our own organization.”

Elements of the Turkish military attempted to seize power late July 15, blocking bridges and taking over airports. Aircraft also bombed government buildings in the capital of Ankara, including the parliament. The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan put down the coup, but with reports of more than 200 dead and several thousand arrested.

However, the situation in Turkey remains unsettled. The U.S. State Department issued a travel warning July 16, advising U.S. citizens to reconsider travel plans to Turkey. The Federal Aviation Administration has also temporarily banned passenger flights between the U.S. and Turkey, regardless of airline.

The conference, which traditionally attracts several thousand people to discuss space science and exploration topics, was already facing difficulties prior to the coup attempt. On June 21, NASA Headquarters issued a memo informing civil servants and contractors that the agency would not sponsor their travel to attend the conference. Officials cited an earlier State Department travel advisory that warned of “increased threats from terrorist groups” in the country.

One week later, a terrorist attack at Istanbul’s main airport killed more than 40 people. COSPAR officials decided to continue with plans for the conference, even while recognizing that the attack, and NASA’s earlier decision, would affect attendance.

“Clearly the program will be affected and sessions modified to varying degrees,” COSPAR said in a statement on the conference web site shortly after the airport attack. “Remote presentation is being investigated.”

Those alternatives are no longer feasible, COSPAR concluded. “Up to now we have been trying to maintain this event with its high scientific level and international character, in close coordination with our Turkish partners,” Fisk said in the statement. “But now, that is no longer possible.”

Fisk said in the statement that COSPAR would work with the local organizing committee to minimize the financial effect the cancellation would have on them, and also help attendees be reimbursed for registration fees and hotel bookings they had already paid.

COSPAR has been hosting the Scientific Assembly, its largest conference, since 1958. The conferences were held annually through 1980, and since then on a biannual basis. This is the first time COSPAR has cancelled a Scientific Assembly. The next such …read more

Employees at Silicon Valley start-up fast 36 hours each week

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Nootrobox is a Silicon Valley company that sells nootropics (aka “smart drugs’). The employees there stop eating Monday night and don’t eat again until Wednesday morning.

From San Jose Mercury News:

[Nootrobox co-founder and CEO Geoffrey Woo], his Nootrobox co-workers and other techies interested in the same question break their weekly fast with a meal at San Francisco restaurant Elmira every Wednesday morning. The purpose of the fasts is to achieve a state of ketosis, which means the body has run out of carbohydrates and instead is burning fat for fuel. Ketosis has been shown to affect the brain in various ways — it helps prevent seizures in children, for example — and some biohackers say it keeps them focused and alert.

“By the end of the day I just have way more energy,” said Katie Fritts, founder of San Francisco-based Underclub, an underwear subscription service.

But fasting isn’t for everyone. San Francisco-based software engineer Yan Zhu, who breakfasts with the Nootrobox group but isn’t employed at the company, gave it up after a few weeks.

“It was just endless suffering and wanting to die,” she said.

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Recomendo - a new email newsletter of recommendations and tips

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I run a website with Kevin Kelly and Claudia Lamar called Cool Tools. The three of us have started a weekly email newsletter of things (experiences, tips, entertainments) we personally use and recommend. It’s called Recomendo. Here’s what Kevin says about it:

We’ll be recommending 6 items in an extremely short email every week. Mark, myself, and Claudia — the entire staff of Cool Tools — will suggest good stuff we have personally used, consumed, or experienced. We’ll try to keep each recommendations light and fast, to no more than a sentence or two. They won’t be definitive reviews; rather they’ll be quick recommendations. Going back again to our roots, we’ve named it Recomendo — which, believe it or not, was the name of this site before I renamed it Cool Tools.

If you want great tools, stay on (or sign onto) the Cool Tools newsletter. To get all the other kinds of things we encounter and enjoy sharing, sign up for Recomendo here. As usual, we don’t do anything with your info except send you short and sweet one-screen news once a week.

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Raymond: DoD is in a space “renaissance”

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Jay Raymond speaking July 15 at the Future Space 2016 luncheon at the Reserve Officers Association in Washington. Credit: Future Space Leaders

WASHINGTON – One of the U.S. Air Force’s senior space officials said July 14 that the Defense Department has little room for error as it transforms how it operates in space.

Lt. Gen. Jay Raymond, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for operations who previously led the 14th Air Force, told a group of young space professionals here that “there is absolutely nothing that we do in the joint force that isn’t enabled or made better by space capabilities. Absolutely nothing.”

Here are three take-aways from his speech at the Future Space Leaders Foundation’s Future Space 2016 conference:

1) Raymond describes the Defense Department’s recent focus on space protection as a “renaissance.”

The Defense Department has budgeted $6.6 billion over six years for what’s been broadly described as space protection. Those efforts include an emphasis on satellites and ground systems that can withstand a host of threats from enemies.

“We’re going through a renaissance,” Raymond said. “That renaissance is fueled by the need to protect and defend these new capabilities and space capabilities that we have become so reliant on. Some have called this a tipping point — where we’re really highly reliant and at the same time, we’re pretty vulnerable. This is kind of an uncomfortable position to be in because space capabilities fuel our American way of life and they fuel our American way of war … it’s not just good enough to focus on how to build those capabilities and integrate them, we’re now focusing on: ‘How do you protect and defend those capabilities to make sure we can always access them?’”

2) Disaggregation remains a popular term in the Pentagon.

“One concept we’re exploring in enhanced resiliency is disaggregation – where capabilities are dispersed across several smaller, less complex, more affordable satellites,” he said. “Perhaps if we can spread those capabilities across a number of different platforms, including hosted payloads, free-flying payloads, smaller satellites, strategic and tactical capabilities, government, commercial and allies it’ll make the industry that much better for others. “

The Defense Department plans to decide the future makeup of two of the Air Force’s most valuable satellite programs before year’s end. The Air Force is wrapping up long-running studies on two next-generation programs: its missile-warning program, known as the Space Based Infrared System, or SBIRS, and its protected communication system, known as the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites, or AEHF. Both programs are nearing the end of production and the Air Force will need new satellites on orbit in the mid-2020s.

Many in the Pentagon lean toward disaggregating at least one of the satellite systems.

3) “Our adversaries will not let up.”

Raymond used his speech to stress how critical space has become to the Defense Department. While this is a nearly universal theme when Air Force leaders talk about space, Raymond used unusually stark language and framed his comments toward the relentlessness of potential enemies.

“Our way of doing business has forever changed and we have made huge strides in transforming the space enterprise, “ he said. “But our adversaries will …read more

The Worrier's Guide to Life is a humorous antidote for all us panickers out there

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

The Worrier’s Guide to Life

by Gemma Correll

Andrews McMeel Publishing

2015, 112 pages, 6.5 x 8 x 0.4 inches (softcover)

$11 Buy a copy on Amazon

Are you an every-second second-guesser? Do pizza, sweatpants, and pugs sound like your perfect Friday night? Do you ever want to punch your brain in the face? Are you starting to feel anxious because I’m asking you so many questions? Find comfort in Gemma Correll’s new collection of comic snapshots, The Worrier’s Guide to Life.

You can easily slip this slender book into your bag and bring it along to all those anxiety-producing other-people-filled situations that seem to dominate life. When faced with an overly crowded waiting room full of obviously contagious people whose germs will surely turn your sinus infection into a face plague, hide your nose in this book! If you’re forced to stomach a social gathering full of professional bloggers who couldn’t possibly look that good or be that happy in real life but ohmygod they do and they are and you haven’t showered in three days, steal away to a corner, flip open this book, and remember you’re not alone! Correll offers sketches of an anxious life, as lived by everyone from fetuses to fairytale princesses, interspersed with snippets from her ongoing series of punny visual lists. These delightfully silly sets include “Urban Birthstones,” featuring rings topped with a bit of styrofoam, a cigarette butt, or a balled-up passive-aggressive note, depending on your month, as well as “Pasta Shapes for the Depressed,” “Sexy Halloween Costumes for the Ladyeez,” and “Ye Olde Video Games.”

You can get a daily fix of Gemma Correll’s illustrated insights and anxieties via her various social media streams, but it’s lovely to actually flip through her work in a real-life book rather than, or in addition to, reading it on a scrolling screen. The Worrier’s Guide to Life also makes a fabulous gift for that perfect friend who never judges you for eating all the ice cream, texting her the conversations you have with your pet, or using Google like a magic eight ball. You know, the one who gets it.

– Marykate Smith Despres

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The story of the train that broke through a building in Paris in 1895

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This famous photo of a crashed train engine leaning against a building is often seen on posters warning people to plan carefully. The photo was taken on 22 October 1895 at the Gare Montparnasse in Paris. It is commonly referred to as the Montparnasse derailment.

At 4:00pm that day the Granville–Paris Express ran through the bumper at the end of the track. (Here are photos of track bumpers, also known as buffer stops.) The train was running late, so the driver was going faster than usual. Unfortunately, the Westinghouse air brake failed. After breaking through the bumper, the train skidded across the concourse and broke through the two-foot thick station wall. The engine fell 30 feet to the street, ending up as you see in the photo. None of the 131 passengers died, but six people were injured and one woman in the street died when she was hit by falling debris. The woman was working at a newsstand at the time. The railway company supported the woman’s two children.

The passenger cars were completely undamaged. Ten men used a winch to lower the locomotive, which was taken to a repair station. An inspection revealed only minor damage.

The crash was beautifully recreated in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo. Here’s the clip, along with some behind the scenes footage of the making of the models and special effects:

A similar train accident occurred around the same era in Hartford, CT.

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History of white rappers

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MTV’s Carvell Wallace offers a condensed history of white rappers.

As the genre grew from art to hustle to full-fledged industry, multinational corporations began to exert increased control over its products and direction. Protecting its cultural roots against the ensuing opportunistic influx became a martyr’s errand; so much so that Rakim himself felt it necessary to reframe his famous line, placing it in entirely different context on his 1990 single “In the Ghetto”: “So I collect my cash, then slide / I’ve got my back, my gun’s on my side / It shouldn’t have to be like that / I guess it ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at.” Rather than an open invitation for all into rap, the line is flipped into a necessary reminder of the genre’s dour beginnings. And possibly a subtle dis at what it was already becoming.

Blondie’s Rapture was the first rap video MTV saw fit to play. The second was a comedy song by Rodney Dangerfield, embedded above.

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Gentleman accused of illegally owning human brain, using embalming fluid to get high

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On June 21, Joshua Lee Long’s aunt was cleaning her trailer in Carlisle, Pennsylvania when she found a department store bag containing a human brain under the porch. She called the police, who interviewed Mr. Long. He admitted that he sprayed his marijuana cigarettes with the formaldehyde-based embalming fluid used to preserve the brain before smoking them. The 26-year-old was charged with abuse of a corpse and conspiracy.

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EU draft space policy calls for more military involvement

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PARIS – A draft summary of the European Commission’s space policy raises the issue of retooling Europe’s Galileo navigation and Copernicus Earth observation programs to make them more attractive to Europe’s military forces and whether Europe’s spaceport in South America should receive commission financing.

The six-page summary, dated July and now being presented to European Union (EU) member states and to European industry, raises the issue of Europe’s continued dependence on the United States for an average of 60 percent of the payload electronics on board European satellites.

DG GROW, the European Commission directorate-general responsible for most EU space programs, cautioned that the six-page draft is nowhere near final and is intended mainly to structure the discussion of the policy. The final policy is scheduled to be published by November.

Any EU space policy with real teeth is likely to meet resistance in some European capitals, and perhaps at the 22-nation European Space Agency (ESA) as well. Several EU nations, notably Germany, have made clear they do not want the EU to usurp power and responsibility from ESA.

The reasoning is that ESA guarantees that member states’ investment will return in the form of contracts to each government’s national industry. The EU has no such policy and tries to award contracts on value-for-money bases only.

For now, the EU is the owner of the Galileo and Copernicus systems. How far its member states will let to expand into other areas – military satcom, military-grade Earth observation and space surveillance – remains to be seen.

Here are several of the document’s policy suggestions and their background:

Pushing for more military use of space assets

— “[I]ncreased synergies between civilian and security activities could reduce costs and improve efficiency,” the commission document says.

The document specifically mentions the Galileo positioning, navigation and timing network, now being assembled, whose resolutely nonmilitary label tends to obscure the fact that the system includes a secure signal designed for civil security and military use. Among other advantages, Galileo’s reputation as civil only has allowed European defense ministries to avoid paying a share of the system’s costs.

Europe’s Copernicus Earth observation system is likewise civil/commercial in nature and has steered clear of high-resolution satellite systems. These are left to individual governments in Europe to develop, notably France, Italy, Germany and Spain. But EU officials have said a high-resolution capacity alongside the current Copernicus could further European collaboration in an area that has resisted multilateral efforts in the past.

Joint military satellite telecommunications efforts have similarly been scuttled, with the notable exception of a Franco-Italian program, as nations have been unable to agree on common development schedules and cost division.

An industry consortium is under contract to the European Defense Agency to propose a development model designed to build a Govsatcom system that would be owned by the EU. The consortium, which includes Airbus Defence and Space, Euroconsult, CGI, Hisdesat, SpaceTec Partners and Italy’s International Affairs Institute, is scheduled to produce its findings by the end of this year.

It is unclear whether Britain’s planned exit from the EU would help …read more

Examples of bad CGI collected

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r/BadCGI is my new favorite subreddit, whose inhabitants share examples of grotesque, inept, or amusingly dated computer graphic animation. Embedded here for your enjoyment is the full movie of Joshua and the Promised Land.

P.S. Has anyone noticed that the cripplingly addictive game in Star Trek: The Next Generation is basically Pokemon Go, but with only one Pokemon? Right down to the quality of the graphics!

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Speaking of Pokemon, here’s a genuinely terrifying PC version from 2000:

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Simulation of live mobile internet stats

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This simulation of live mobile internet stats offers a sense of scale: there are millions of concurrent Google searches, and, every minute, about half a million photos posted on WhatsApp, 3,000 smartphones sold (roughly half from Samsung and Apple), 35m messages sent on Facebook, and 40m emails opened. It is a marketing infographic, take heed, but it does conclude “Heck some people think smartphones are the gateway to transhumanism, where one day we will fully merge with machines!”, which is nice. …read more

SpaceX launches Dragon spacecraft, successfully lands first stage

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully lifted off early July 18 and placed a Dragon cargo spacecraft in orbit, while the vehicle’s first stage landed on land.

The Falcon 9 lifted off on schedule at 12:45 a.m. Eastern July 18 after a routine countdown. The vehicle placed the Dragon spacecraft into orbit nine and half minutes after liftoff.

The first stage, after stage separation, made a series of three burns to return to Cape Canaveral, landing on a pad at the former Launch Complex 13, a decommissioned launch site at Cape Canaveral now known as Landing Zone 1 by the company. The landing was a success, with video showing the first stage standing upright on the pad after landing, about eight minutes after liftoff.

The launch is the ninth for SpaceX under its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA. That contract, originally for 12 Dragon missions to the ISS, has been extended several times and now includes 20 missions through 2019. SpaceX is one of three companies that received CRS-2 contracts from NASA in January to cover cargo services into the 2020s.

The Dragon is carrying 2,257 kilograms of cargo for the ISS, including science investigations, supplies and hardware. Included in the Dragon’s unpressurized trank section is the second International Docking Adapter (IDA), which will allow future commercial crew vehicles to dock with the station. The first IDA was lost with the rest of the cargo on the June 2015 Falcon 9 launch failure. A third IDA, to replace that one, is being built for launch in 2018.

The landing was the second attempt by SpaceX to land the first stage on land. The first attempt, after the launch of 11 Orbcomm satellites in December 2015, was a success, and SpaceX now plans to display that first stage outside the company’s Hawthorne, California headquarters.

SpaceX has, since that December landing, succeeded in landing three first stages on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean, starting with the April launch of another Dragon mission to the ISS. Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of flight reliability for SpaceX, said at a pre-launch briefing July 16 that this stage will be the first the company plans to refly, no sooner than this fall.

With the successful launch, Dragon will arrive at the ISS and be grappled by the station’s robotic arm on July 20 at 7 a.m. Eastern. The Dragon will remain at the station for about five weeks before it departs, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.

SpaceNews.com

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