This video from the Glenn Research Center highlights in stunning, behind-the-scenes imagery the launches of three space shuttle missions: STS-114, STS-117, and STS-124. NASA engineers provide commentary as footage from the ground and from the orbiters themselves document in detail the first phase of a mission.
You may recall that in its quixotic attempt to go after Wikileaks, the US government has been snooping through the private communications of a bunch of folks they’re trying to connect to the organization, including Icelandic politician Birgitta Jonsdottir and Jacob Appelbaum, who gets detained and harassed every time he re-enters the country. All of this came to light only because Twitter actually stood up to the US government and refused to just hand over info that was requested using the obscure 2703(d) process. Twitter also got the court to allow it to reveal the existence of the order (something that every other company which has received one has kept secret). A court eventually ruled that Twitter had to hand over the requested info.
Following this, Jonsdottir, Appelbaum and one other person, Rop Gonggrijp, (represented by the ACLU and the EFF), chose not to challenge that ruling, but did appeal concerning the secrecy around the order — asking the court to have the specific 2703(d) order unsealed — arguing that they have the right to access judicial documents about themselves. However, last week, an appeals court rejected that appeal, and basically said that the feds can sniff through your digital data without your knowledge, and, well, too bad if you don’t like it.
Even though the court did find that 2703(d) orders are “judicial records,” which could make them subject to a right to access, they then claimed that, well, when the government investigates things, it should be able to do so in absolute secrecy, and who really cares about pesky little things like oversight or a right to know about it.
The USA urgently needs an amendment to the Constitution that forbids unreasonable, dragnet searches like this. Let me suggest some language:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Star Wars creator George Lucas has given the thumbs-up to the appointment of JJ Abrams as director of the seventh outing for the sci-fi franchise.
Lucas said the Star Trek helmsman is the “ideal choice” to take the reins of the movie, which will be the first Walt Disney Co foray into the Star Wars universe since it swallowed Lucasfilm in October.
When Disney inked the deal, the company promised to deliver the final three episodes of Lucas’s original nine-film vision, while the man himself declared: “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers.”
What started out as a few EVE Online alliances forming up PvP fleets last night rapidly evolved into one of the largest PvP battles in the game’s history. Reports indicate that a total of over 3,000 players may have been involved in the colossal battle. The video is insane. More on Reddit.
I feel old…
Programmers often talk about writing “beautiful code,” but computer scientist Ramsey Nasser has taken that idea to new lengths by developing the first programming language that uses Arabic script for its source code.
The language is called قلب – roughly pronounced “alb,” after the Arabic word for “heart” – and as Nasser explained to AnimalNewYork, he developed it as much for its aesthetic appeal as for its effectiveness at computation.