Daily Archives: January 6, 2012

Views from the Solar System (18)


                                                                                                                                        
SPACE WATCH

Earth Observations
NASA – This unusual image was photographed through the Cupola on the International Space Station by one of the Expedition 30 crew members.

The lake just above the bracket-mounted camera at center is Egirdir Golu in Turkey, located at 38.05 degrees north latitude and 30.89 degrees east longitude. A Russian Soyuz spacecraft is docked to the station at lower right and part of the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) can be seen just above it.

The photo was taken on Dec. 29, 2011.

Goodbye Information Economy, Hello Feedback Economy


By Alistair Croll – Military strategist John Boyd spent a lot of time understanding how to win battles. Building on his experience as a fighter pilot, he broke down the process of observing and reacting into something called an Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act (OODA) loop.

We’re drowning in data. Bits are faster than atoms. Our jungle-surplus wetware can’t keep up. In a society where every person, tethered to their smartphone, is both a sensor and an end node, we need better ways to observe and orient, whether we’re at home or at work, solving the world’s problems or planning a play date. And we need to be constantly deciding, acting, and experimenting, feeding what we learn back into future behavior.

We’re entering a feedback economy. more> http://is.gd/prKQVX

Defense Spending and the Deficit Debate


By Jonathan Masters – Tax policy remains the crux of the deficit debate despite the specter of automatic cuts for defense. Most Republicans in both houses have signed a public pledge (PDF) to oppose raising taxes, and party leaders have dismissed a Democratic proposal that, although it would not affect the Pentagon, included billions in new taxes (Atlantic Wire). Democrats maintain that any cuts to entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, must be accompanied by tax increases. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi rejected a $3 trillion Republican counterproposal that did not meet this requirement. more> http://is.gd/zB5762

Pentagon-backed ‘time cloak’ stops the clock


By Seth Borenstein – It’s one thing to make an object invisible, like Harry Potter’s mythical cloak. But scientists have made an entire event impossible to see. They have invented a time masker.

The scientists created a lens of not just light, but time. Their method splits light, speeding up one part of light and slowing down another. It creates a gap and that gap is where an event is masked.

“You kind of create a hole in time where an event takes place,” said study co-author Alexander Gaeta, director of Cornell‘s School of Applied and Engineering Physics. “You just don’t know that anything ever happened.” more> http://is.gd/ILe9RK

Don’t Hold the Salt: Attempts to Curb Sodium Intake Are Misguided


By Michael S. Fenster – The theory is based on the observation that increased sodium intake is associated with an increase in blood pressure. It is in a modest way. It is widely preached that hypertension is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and stroke. This is true. The assumption is therefore then made that by reducing dietary sodium we will reduce hypertension and thus reduce these untoward effects.

This has not been demonstrably or conclusively shown, but it makes for great slogans, off the cuff advice, and lazy recommendations. It also makes for poor publicly mandated policy.

So why the smack on salt? We love a villain. It is easy to campaign if everyone can get behind a common enemy and crusade. But good science is not about crusading with preconceived ideas. more> http://is.gd/O0gzkn