The Bad Astronomer writes "Today, the B612 Foundation announced it's seeking private funds to build Sentinel, a space mission to find Earth-threatening asteroids. Placed in a Venus-like orbit, it should find a large fraction of these potentially hazardous rocks. At the same time, the NEOCam (Near Earth Object camera) website went live today. This is a separate, publicly-funded space mission also designed to look for these asteroids. While Sentinel will concentrate on finding them and getting accurate positions and orbits, NEOCam will focus more on getting their physical characteristics. While not strictly competing with each other, they are more complementary; with both missions flying (in the 2017 time range) we will learn a huge amount about the asteroid threat from space."
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An anonymous reader writes "London's Metropolitan Police have delivered an 'Extradition Notice' to Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, who sought refuge and political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London last week. Scotland Yard have said in a brief statement that 'the notice requires Julian Assange to attend a police station of our choosing at a set time.' SY also said, 'This is standard procedure in extradition cases and is the first step in the removal process. He remains in breach of his bail conditions and failure to surrender would be a further breach of those conditions and he is liable to arrest.' However, under international diplomatic arrangements, the British Metropolitan Police cannot actually go into the Ecuadorian embassy to arrest Mr Assange. Assange would have to leave the embassy to be lawfully arrested. This raises the following question of course: Is this the 'endgame' for Julian Assange as far as extradition is concerned? If the Ecuadorians fail to grant Assange political asylum, which is a possibility, will he be arrested by Metropolitan Police, and sent to Sweden to stand trial for two alleged counts of 'rape?' Will Sweden then hand Assange over to the United States, where many well known and quite senior politicians have publicly stated that they think 'Assange should be punished severely' for publishing confidential U.S. diplomatic cables on Wikileaks?"
Freshly Exhumed writes "In a speech Wednesday, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson acknowledged that burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet, but said society will be able to adapt. The risks of oil and gas drilling are well understood and can be mitigated, he said. And dependence on other nations for oil is not a concern as long as access to supply is certain, he said. Tillerson blamed a public that is "illiterate" in science and math, a "lazy" press, and advocacy groups that "manufacture fear" for energy misconceptions in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations."
pigrabbitbear writes "Anti-drug squads are now using Brazilian spy drones to sniff out drug labs that dot Bolivia in increasing numbers. Felipe Caceras, Bolivia's top anti-drug official, claims that some 240 drug labs have been busted in Santa Cruz, an eastern lowlands state bordering Brazil, this month alone, all thanks to Brazil's drones."
An anonymous reader writes "Texas Republican delegates met earlier this month to put together their 2012 platform. Much of this focused on the educational system. Alarmingly, they openly state that they oppose schools teaching critical thinking, on the grounds that it may challenge 'student's fixed beliefs' and undermine 'parental authority.' Page 12 of their official platform (PDF) discusses their thinking on teaching thinking."
ericjones12398 writes "The effectiveness of television, as an advertising medium and as a return on investment (ROI), has been constantly questioned since the arrival of the 'digital marketing age.' Not surprisingly, those who are loudest with this concern are mainly high-tech technology companies that are either strong proponents of online advertising — like Google — and/or device hardware manufacturers — like Apple. These organizations hope to 'improve the user experience' by introducing proprietary technologies — usually their own — that can integrate within the existing television environment."
OverTheGeicoE writes "Former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley has been in the news in recent months, talking about how the Transportation Security Administration is broken and how it can be fixed. Some of his TSA criticisms in the popular press seem to make sense. This seemed strange to me. Just last March he was defending TSA in a debate with Bruce Schneier in The Economist. Then, the very next month, he's criticizing his former agency as if he was on the other side of that debate to begin with. Why? I felt like I was missing something, so I decided to read his book to find out more about his position. The title of the book is Permanent Emergency: Inside the TSA and the Fight for the Future of American Security, and it is co-written by Nathan Means." Keep reading for the rest of OverTheGeicoE's review.
Slashdot editor Jeff Boehm visted Maker Works in Ann Arbor, MI, where they not only have an Epilog Helix Laser Cutter/Engraver, but let him use it. Which, of course, he happily did, just as you or I would have done if somebody said, "Here. Borrow my laser cutter and engraving machine." The sound in the video is a little rough, since it was recorded live in a room full of loud machines -- like laser cutters. But it's still fascinating to watch (and hear) the process. The only downside is the "Ooh! I want one of those!" effect. There are used units available out there, but they cost as much as a pretty good used car. Maybe that's why there are so many Maker Spaces, also called Hacker Spaces, out there. Here's a global Hacker Space list. Hopefully, you'll find one near you, so you can do a little laser cutting (and lots of other neat stuff) yourself. Note: Slashdot accepts reader video submissions. Email robin at roblimo dot com for details.
The Bad Astronomer writes "Using a combination of Hubble and Swift observations, astronomers have apparently witnessed some of a planet's atmosphere being peeled away by a powerful stellar blast. HD 189733b orbits its star just 4 million km from the surface, and a few hours after Swift detected a big X-ray flare from the star, Hubble data revealed a big jump in hydrogen absorption as the planet transited the star. This indicates the planet's atmosphere was blasted off by the flare to the tune of a thousand tons of hydrogen per second. The planet is so hot it probably already loses a substantial amount of air to space all the time, but this spike is the first time a change in an exoplanet's atmosphere has been detected."
An anonymous reader writes "After being in development for more than a decade, GRUB2 was released today as stable. The mailing list announcement covers new features including a standard theme, support for new file-systems, ports to new CPU architectures, new driver coverage, better EFI support, and many other new features that have materialized over the years of development to succeed GRUB Legacy."
Wrath0fb0b writes "The New York Times reports that Facebook is overhauling their iOS App to ditch their HTML5 based UI for a native ObjectiveC one. This is an about face from their position a few months ago in which FB said HTML5 would allow them to write once run anywhere. While WORA certainly has a lot of appeal for both programmers (due to desire not to duplicate effort) and management alike (due to desire not to pay programmers to duplicate effort), the large number of negative reviews that FB for iOS has illustrate that this approach is not without drawbacks. No matter how the new app is received, this is more fuel on the native vs. web-app fire."
Barence writes "Microsoft claims it took the controversial decision to remove the Start button from the traditional Windows desktop because people had stopped using it. The lack of a Start button on the Windows 8 desktop has been one of the most divisive elements of the new user interface, and was widely assumed to have made way for the Metro Start screen. However, Chaitanya Sareen, principal program manager at Microsoft, said the telemetry gathered from Windows 7 convinced Microsoft to radically overhaul the Start menu because people were using the taskbar instead. 'When we evolved the taskbar we saw awesome adoption of pinning [applications] on the taskbar,' said Sareen. 'We are seeing people pin like crazy. And so we saw the Start menu usage dramatically dropping, and that gave us an option. We're saying "look, Start menu usage is dropping, what can we do about it? What can we do with the Start menu to revive it, to give it some new identity, give it some new power?"'"
Yesterday Timothy was at Google I/O watching the keynote but there is still plenty of announcements on day two. Today's first big theme: Chrome. Tim reports: "Brian Rakowski VP for (and inventor of) Chrome, shows device transferability among devices of tabs, bookmarks, with a multi-part contrived story, looking at his opened tabs from home and work, etc. from a phone running Chrome. Not only can open tabs from there, but (and this is cool), 'we've made sure the back button works as well.' So you can open a page from a different computer, and have the browsing history of that tab as well. This Chrome syncing affects settings, bookmarks, etc. Also, for those transferred tab pages, pre-loading! So when you click on a tab, it's been loading and now should be read, BAM." As before we'll be updating the story live (below the fold) with his updates as they stream in.
Dupple writes with news that the British government is considering restrictions for ISPs that would block by default anything considered "adult content." From the article: "Ministers are suggesting that people should automatically be barred from accessing unsuitable adult material unless they actually choose to view it. It is one of several suggestions being put out for a consultation on how to shield children from pornography. Websites promoting suicide, anorexia and self-harm are also being targeted. The discussion paper asks for views on three broad options for the best approach to keeping children safe online, in a rapidly changing digital industry. ... The latest system, called 'active choice-plus,' is aimed at reaching a compromise. It would automatically block adult content, but would set users a question, along the lines of whether they want to change this to gain access to sites promoting pornography, violence and other adult-only themes. This is partly based on 'Nudge' theory, a U.S. concept which states that persuasion, rather than enforcement, can be an effective way of changing behavior."