How do you test a new kind of rocket engine? Step 1: Bolt it to a trailer in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Step 2: Vroom! In this case, NASA is firing up the 5M15, which runs on compressed liquid methane. The odorless substance has multiple advantages over conventional rocket propellants: It’s cheaper, it requires much less insulation, and it exists on several planets NASA hopes to travel to — Mars, here we come. That means astronauts could collect their own fuel for the trip home. Bonus rocket science: Those glowing figure eights in the blast stream are called Mach disks, after the guy who lent his name to the speed of sound. They’re shock waves, created as the expanding fuel hits the higher atmospheric pressure outside the nozzle. If part of this blast weren’t obscured, you could take the number of Mach disks (we count seven) and multiply by the speed of sound — about 758 mph at the 1,300-foot altitude of this test — to estimate the speed of fuel exiting the engine. Just don’t get too close.
They finally found the WMD’s from Iraq. But, not where you’d expect them.
A lawsuit filed last year by TorrentSpy–a BitTorrent search engine–that accused the movie studios’ trade group of intercepting the company’s private e-mails, was tossed out of court last week.
But while a U.S. District judge found that the Motion Picture Association of America had not violated the federal Wiretap Act, as TorrentSpy’s attorneys had argued, the MPAA acknowledged in court records that it paid $15,000 to obtain private e-mails belonging to TorrentSpy executives.
The MPAA’s acknowledgement is significant because it comes at a time when the group is trying to limit illegal file sharing by imploring movie fans to act ethically and resist the temptation to download pirated movies.
So let me get this straight – it’s perfectly fine if the MPAA goes to a middle man to obtain digital files they shouldn’t (in this case, email), but it’s lawsuit-time if you go to a middle man (a torrent site) to obtain digital files you shouldn’t?
It’s an interesting date he’s chosen — one day after a big GOP debate in New Hampshire, so why, you might wonder, would he skip it?
Follow the math and the regulatory hopscotch:
- From the date of the formal announcement, Thompson has 15 days to declare his candidacy officially with the Federal Election Commision. Takes us to September 21, 2007.
- From that date, Thompson has 10 more days for his official campaign committee to register with the FEC. Takes us to October 1, 2007.
- And what’s so special about October 1? It’s the start of a new FEC reporting quarter.
By delaying the filing of his organizational papers until books have closed on the third quarter of 2007, Thompson arguably will not have to file any disclosure reports with the FEC until January 31, 2008, after the Republican primaries/caucuses in WY, IA, NH, NV, FL and Lord knows who else at this point.
Got that? Frederick of Hollywood’s shadow campaign can raise millions and spend millions without having to disclose to the public a single contribution raised or disbursement made over a six-month span — and while his opponents have been consistently doing so — delaying disclosure until after at least five Republican primaries have been held.
And since there’s already an FEC complaint against him, I’d say it’s a safe bet he’s breaking all the rules he can, because if he’s number 1 after five primaries, nobody is going to stop him.
Zero-interest financing, a familiar sales incentive at car dealerships and furniture stores, has found its way to another big-ticket consumer market: doctors’ and dentists’ offices.
For $3,500 laser eye surgery, $6,000 ceramic tooth implants or other procedures not typically covered by insurance, millions of consumers have arranged financing through more than 100,000 doctors and dentists that offer a year or more of interest-free monthly payments.
Sounds like it’s just for vanity surgery, right?
When my fiancé was in her teens, her family was in dire economic straits. They’d just relocated to Washington State, her dad was unable to continue working as a skilled electrician due to injury, but the disability payments hadn’t yet begun. My fiancé’s teeth had cavities, and as the state didn’t then have dental care they qualified for, they had to find the cheapest dentist they could.
Ten years later, most of these fillings are breaking down. One of them has already failed catastrophically – the filling fell out, and in recent weeks she found pieces of her teeth coming out when she brushed. She hadn’t had medical coverage these last few years, and like so many other young people in their 20s, was looking for a steady job that would allow her to pay her student loans, her housing costs, and still have enough left over for medical needs. Needless to say, she didn’t find that job until last fall.
Now she has medical coverage through her job with a city here on the central California coast. And so she went to the dentist a couple weeks ago to have things checked out. They knew she needed a root canal, at minimum, and sent her off to an oral surgeon.
The oral surgeon told us it was worse than anticipated – the decay had gotten near to the bone, and the tooth – a molar – had to be extracted. And so last week it was taken out. This morning, she goes in to learn what the replacement options are – an implant, or a bridge, or who knows what.
The oral surgeon’s office gave us an application for CareCredit – one of the services noted in that NY Times article. And as the receptionist told us – and as I could confirm by sitting in the waiting room and listening to the other patients’ conversations – pretty much every patient was using it, for every procedure.
Back to the NYT article… is this really all to help those who cannot get insurance?
The zero-interest plans are not for everyone. In fact, they are available only to the creditworthy — meaning they offer no help to those among the nation’s 47 million uninsured who are in difficult financial situations.
And creditworthiness is starting to be judged even more stringently, in light of the subprime mortgage crisis’s impact on the debt markets, according to David Robertson, publisher of The Nilson Report, a newsletter for the credit card industry.
So those who need medical coverage but cannot get insurance are just as screwed as before. So who is this plan helping, then?
Even for those who can get credit approval, the plans make sense only if users are able to make payments on time and close the loan on schedule, typically within 12 months. Otherwise, the loans after defaults can carry interest rates of 20 percent or more — similar to the default penalty on a typical credit card.
A ha! So this is just a predatory lending scam…. let’s get consumers into more debt than they want…
And for those who do manage to pay it off within 12 months?
the credit companies make money even on the interest-free deals, because they are typically keeping 10 percent of the fee the doctor charges the patient.
And as long as people see Health care as a ‘product’ that these ‘consumers’ are ‘purchasing’, nothing will change.
Under terms of the agreement announced Monday, Acer will purchase all of Gateway’s outstanding shares for $1.90 per share. The deal has already been approved by the boards of directors at both companies and should be completed by the end of this year, subject to government approval, Acer said in a statement. Gateway’s shares ended at $1.21 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.
“This is the biggest acquisition in Acer’s 30 year history,” said J.T. Wang, Acer’s chairman, speaking at a news conference in Taipei.
Honestly, this is one of those deals where it’s like going to a wedding where the two ugliest losers you know are getting hitched. You’re happy for them, I guess. You’re glad they found each other. But you sure as fuck hope they don’t have kids.
The problem with the Acer-Gateway deal is it’s just not enough of a trainwreck. I mean, yes, it’s a lousy deal, and yes, it will end badly, but it’s just not spectacular enough. It’s a “boat anchor” deal, the kind where two shitty dying companies decide, for whatever reason, that they’ll have a better chance of floating if they tie themselves to one another. Like Lucent and Alcatel. Someday they’ll slip under the surface and quietly die, but nobody will even notice or care.
A Melbourne schoolboy claims to have cracked the AU$84 million Internet filtering software which the government is giving away to schools, libraries and families across the country.
Tom Wood, 16, claims to have broken the filters, which were released as part of the government’s Net Alert scheme earlier this month, within half an hour.
The ease with which the filter can be broken came as a surprise to Wood, he told Channel Seven. “For that money, I thought it must have been unbreakable.” After circumventing the filter in half an hour, Wood claims to have broken a second version of the porn-blocking software released on Friday, within 40 minutes.
Under Watts’ workaround, the filtering software will, to a parent’s untrained eye, appear fully functional, with the software status bar untouched.
“AU$84 million is a horrible waste of money,” he told the Sunrise show. “I’m willing to work with the government if they like.” Watts denied he disabled the software so he could look at porn.
Like DRM, filtering just doesn’t work. And, just like DRM, the work of one teenager for half an hour makes it possible for everybody to bypass the limitations.