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The Loyal Engineers Steering NASA’s Voyager Probes Across the Universe

Posted on August 4th, 2017 at 23:48 by John Sinteur in category: News


Today the Voyagers are 10 billion and 13 billion miles away, the farthest man-made objects from Earth. The 40th anniversary of their launch will be celebrated next month. We tend to think of space as vacant, but it is actually matter, created, as everything in the universe is, by the explosions of ancient stars. Within our planetary neighborhood, this ‘‘space’’ is made up of different particles than the space outside is, because of supersonic wind that blows out from the surface of our sun at a million miles per hour. The wind generates a bubble around our solar system called the heliosphere. Five years ago, Voyager 1 reached the boundary where the heliosphere gives way to interstellar space, a region as novel to us — and potentially relevant — as the Pacific was to Europeans 500 years ago. The data the probes are collecting are challenging fundamental physics and will provide clues to the biggest of questions: Why did our sun give birth to life only here? Where else, within our solar system or others, are we most likely to find evidence that we are not alone?

The mission quite possibly represents the end of an era of space exploration in which the main goal is observation rather than commercialization. In internal memos, Trump-administration advisers have referred to NASA’s traditional contractors as ‘‘Old Space’’ and proposed refocusing its budget on supporting the growth of the private ‘‘New Space’’ industry, Politico reported in February. ‘‘Economic development of space’’ will begin in near-Earth orbit and on the moon, according to the president’s transition team, with ‘‘private lunar landers staking out de facto ‘property rights’ for Americans on the moon, by 2020.’’

Here’s a page with the status of the Deep Space Network. https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html For instance, right now, Voyager 2 is communicating with the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex in Australia. The signal that they’re receiving from Voyager 2, 17.10 billion km away, is -152.67 dBm (5.41 x 10^-22 kW) at 8.42 GHz for a grand total of 159 bits per second.

159 bits per second of data are being sent from outside the sun’s magnetic influence, from interstellar space. LTE breaks at -120dBm.

Bask in how awesome that is.

Voyager 1 is 13 billion miles away and we’re still communicating. At about 24 Watt. Most light bulbs put out more energy than that…
And Trump and his cronies just care about how to extract money from lunar property rights. They truly are sub-human.

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  1. Commercial value of the Moon: less than Earth’s. It’s the same material, just harder to get. Maybe he can make a Trump Tower on the moon. I look forward to his visit there.

Computer law expert says British hacker arrest problematic

Posted on August 4th, 2017 at 23:38 by John Sinteur in category: News


A computer law expert on Friday described the evidence so far presented to justify the U.S. arrest of a British cybersecurity researcher as being problematic — an indictment so flimsy that it could create a climate of distrust between the U.S. government and the community of information-security experts.

News of Marcus Hutchins’ arrest in the United States for allegedly creating and selling malicious software able to collect bank account passwords has shocked the cybersecurity community. Many had rallied behind the British hacker, whose quick thinking helped control the spread of the WannaCry ransomware attack that crippled thousands of computers in May.

Attorney Tor Ekeland told The Associated Press that the facts in the indictment fail to show intent.

“This is a very, very problematic prosecution to my mind, and I think it’s bizarre that the United States government has chosen to prosecute somebody who’s arguably their hero in the WannaCry malware attack and potentially saved lives and thousands, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars over the sale of alleged malware,” Ekeland said. “This is just bizarre, it creates a disincentive for anybody in the information security industry to cooperate with the government.”

He has an attorney called Tor? Probably just a proxy for his real name…

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  1. Kafka 2017 !

    (USA) Marcus Hutchins:

    “ This is a very, very problematic prosecution to my mind, and I think it’s bizarre …”(http://bit.ly/2ubGUux)

    (BRAZIL) Lula da Silva:

    “…condemnation of Lula is one more chapter in this farce run by the coup-mongering consortium…”(https://bloom.bg/2wuXDtF)


This Trump real estate deal looks awfully like criminal tax fraud

Posted on August 4th, 2017 at 15:05 by John Sinteur in category: News


According to a recent story by ProPublica and the Real Deal, in April 2016 a limited liability company managed by Trump sold two condominium apartments to a limited liability company managed by Eric Trump. They were on the 13th and 14th floors of a 14-story, full-service, doorman building at 100 Central Park South in Manhattan. This is a prime Midtown neighborhood, yet the sale price for each condo was just $350,000. Although the condition and square footage of apartments 13G and 14G are not readily known, a popular real estate website shows that G-line apartments on both the fifth and eighth floors are one-bedroom, one-bath units of just over 500 square feet. Two years before the Trump transaction, apartment 5G sold for $690,000. Maybe the two units in question were in terrible shape, but two months before the sale to Eric Trump’s LLC, they were advertised for $790,000 (on the 13th floor) and $800,000 (on the 14th floor), according to ProPublica.

If a sale between a parent and child is for fair market value, it does not trigger a gift tax. But if a parent sells two expensive condominiums to his son at a highly discounted price, for example, then the parent makes a taxable gift in part. In that case, the seller must pay a gift tax of up to 40 percent. (In this case, that might have run the president somewhere in the neighborhood of $350,000.)

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  1. Well, we know where most of the Trump saga is headed, but could we get some equal time for say, the Debbie Wasserman Schultz et al fraud, embezzlement and ethics violation accusations?

  2. Sure, what’s she the President of, exactly?

  3. Let me see, were the election to have swung the other way, you would have what “team” exactly?
    Probably falls in to pot-kettle-black I’d wager.

  4. Nope – I’d have hung Sanders out to dry just as much if a similar shady deal were to come to light.

  5. As so should be the case.

  6. An honest politician is rarer than a Dodo.

  7. Or than an informed voter. Or, indeed, non-voter.

  8. Ah yes, informed voters. I assume they vote for the lesser of two evils.

How Banks Hurt the Real Economy

Posted on August 4th, 2017 at 11:48 by John Sinteur in category: News



When tighter regulations were imposed on the banks after the Financial Crisis, the largest among them, the very ones that threatened to bring down the financial system, began squealing. Those voices are now being heard by Congress, which is considering deregulating the banks again. In particular, they claim that current capital requirements force banks to curtail their lending to businesses and consumers, and thus hurt the economy.

Nonsense! That’s in essence what FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig told Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo and the committee’s senior Democrat, Sherrod Brown, in a letter dated Tuesday, according to Reuters. The senators are trying to find a compromise on bank deregulation.

If banks wanted to increase lending, they could easily do so without lower capital requirements, Hoenig pointed out.

Rather than blowing their income on share-buybacks or paying it out in form of dividends, banks could retain more of their income, thus adding it to regulatory capital. Capital absorbs the losses from bad loans. Higher capital levels make a bank more resilient during the next crisis. If there isn’t enough capital, the bank collapses and gets bailed out. But banks that increase their capital levels through retained earnings are stronger and can lend more.

Alas, in the first quarter, the 10 largest bank holding companies in the US plowed over 100% of their earnings into share buybacks and dividends, he wrote. If they had retained more of their income, they could have boosted lending by $1 trillion.

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