Views from the Solar System (226)


Florida to Louisiana Viewed From the International Space Station

NASA – NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman captured this image of Florida to Louisiana just before dawn, taken from the International Space Station, and posted it to social media on Friday, Sept. 12. Wiseman, Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst began their first full workweek Monday as a three-person crew aboard the space station, while the three additional flight engineers who will round out the Expedition 41 crew spent the day training for next week’s launch to the orbiting complex.

Financialization in telecom


By George Mattathil – With all these things going on, one would think that there would be an earnest effort to find out what is wrong.

Instead, the preoccupation in the media and industry is with “net neutrality” confusion, which the FCC Chairman summed up: “the idea of net neutrality has been discussed for a decade with no lasting results.” more> http://wp.me/p4erPG-5j

How We Think


BOOK REVIEW

How We Think, Author: John Dewey.

By Maria Popova – What separates thinking, a basic human faculty we take for granted, from thinking well?

What it takes to train ourselves into mastering the art of thinking, and how we can channel our natural curiosity in a productive way when confronted with an overflow of information.

A subject urgently relevant today, in our age of snap judgments and instant opinions. more> http://tinyurl.com/knfc3fz

Updates from GE


Honey, I Shrunk the World: How Materials Scientists Made the Globe Smaller

GE – Composites are made from alternating layers of fiber and sheets of carbon, plastic or ceramics, kind of like industrial-grade baklava.

When joined together, composites can be tougher and lighter than steel or titanium. “This was a huge, expensive and risky project,” says Shridhar Nath, who leads the composites lab at GE Global Research. “We planned to replace titanium with what is essentially plastic. We were starting from scratch and we did not know how carbon fiber blades would respond to rain, hail, snow and sand, and the large forces inside the engine.”

The bet paid off and GE has, over time, invested billions more in materials science. The composites research delivered a new line of large, fuel efficient jet engines like the GE90 and GEnx, that changed the economics of aviation forever. “The engines essentially opened the globe up to incredibly efficient, twin-powered, wide-body planes,” says David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation.

The latest engine in that family, the GE9X, will power Boeing’s next-generation 777X long-haul jets. Light-weight carbon composites allowed engineers to design an 11-foot fan that can suck a maelstrom of 8,000 pounds of air per second inside the engine. The air will flows into the combustor, where it meets parts made from ceramic matrix composites (CMCs), another breakthrough material developed by GE scientists.

Carbon fiber composites work with cold air at the front of the engine. But CMCs operate in the engine’s hot section, at temperatures where even metals grow soft. The extra heat gained by the ceramics gives the engine more energy to work with and makes it more efficient.

CMCs also have twice the strength and just a third of the weight of their metal counterparts. This allows designers to make parts from them thinner and much lighter, further reducing the weight of the engine. more> http://tinyurl.com/lt5wlnn

Which candidate should you vote for this fall?


By Matthew Yglesias – Most of American politics can be explained with a single liberal-conservative axis, but that at certain points in time — notably the middle of the 20th century — a second axis related to racial equality issues was also very important.

During the time when the racial axis was scrambled, the parties were not perfectly sorted around liberalism versus conservatism.

A lot of southerners with conservatives views on economics were in the Democratic Party for reasons related to white supremacy, and some northerners with moderate views on economics and liberal views on race were Republicans. more> http://tinyurl.com/pvxv7hb

NASA technology (106)


World’s Largest Spacecraft Welding Tool for Space Launch System

NASA – The largest spacecraft welding tool in the world, the Vertical Assembly Center, officially is open for business at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The 170-foot-tall, 78-foot-wide giant completes a world-class welding toolkit that will be used to build the core stage of America’s next great rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS).

SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for deep space missions, including to an asteroid and eventually Mars. The core stage, towering more than 200 feet tall (61 meters) with a diameter of 27.6 feet (8.4 meters), will store cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that will feed the rocket’s RS-25 engines.

The Vertical Assembly Center is part of a family of state-of-the-art tools designed to weld the core stage of SLS. It will join domes, rings and barrels to complete the tanks or dry structure assemblies. It also will be used to perform evaluations on the completed welds. Boeing is the prime contractor for the SLS core stage, including avionics.

> Release: NASA Unveils World’s Largest Spacecraft Welding Tool for Space Launch System

A Principled Fight Against Surveillance


By Katitza Rodriguez – Years before Edward Snowden leaked his first document, human rights lawyers and activists have been concerned about a dramatic expansion in law enforcement and foreign intelligence agencies’ efforts to spy on the digital world.

It had become evident that legal protections had not kept pace with technological – that the state’s practical ability to spy on the world had developed in a way that permitted it to bypass the functional limits that have historically checked its ability to spy.

  • It’s time to move beyond the fallacy that information about communications (metadata) does not pose as serious a threat to privacy as the content of communications
  • In a world of highly integrated digital networks, where individual interactions and data routes defy any semblance of territorial correspondence, such distinctions are meaningless
  • “Law” implies certain minimum qualitative requirements of clarity, accessibility, and predictability. Laws limiting human rights cannot be secret or vague enough to permit arbitrary interference
  • Laws should only permit communications surveillance by specified State authorities to achieve a Legitimate Aim that corresponds to a predominantly important legal interest that is necessary in a democratic society
  • Any restrictive measure which undermines the essence or core of a right is inherently disproportionate and a violation of that right
  • No law should impose security holes in our technology in order to facilitate surveillance
  • Notification must be the norm, not the exception. Individuals should be notified that access to their communications has been authorized with enough time and information to enable them to appeal the decision, except when doing so would endanger the investigation at issue
  • Governments should not bypass national privacy protections by relying on secretive informal data sharing agreements with foreign states or private international companies. Individuals should not be denied privacy rights simply because they live in another country from the one that is surveilling them. Where data is flowing across borders, the law of the jurisdiction with the greatest privacy protections should apply

It’s clear that under the cloak of secrecy, malfunctioning oversight and the limited reach of outdated laws, the practice of digital surveillance in countries from the far north to the far south, have overrun the bounds of human rights standards. more> http://tinyurl.com/l7qj7td

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