Daily Archives: February 22, 2012

Views from the Solar System (29)


                                                                                                                                        
SPACE WATCH

Expedition 30 Cosmonauts Perform Spacewalk
NASA – This image of Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Anton Shkaplerov, both Expedition 30 flight engineers, was taken during a spacewalk on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012. During the six-hour, 15-minute spacewalk, Kononenko and Shkaplerov moved the Strela-1 crane from the Pirs Docking Compartment in preparation for replacing it in 2012 with a new laboratory and docking module. The duo used another boom, the Strela-2, to move the hand-operated crane to the Poisk module for future assembly and maintenance work. Both telescoping booms extend like fishing rods and are used to move massive components outside the station. On the exterior of the Poisk Mini-Research Module 2, they also installed the Vinoslivost Materials Sample Experiment, which will investigate the influence of space on the mechanical properties of the materials. The spacewalkers also collected a test sample from underneath the insulation on the Zvezda Service Module to search for any signs of living organisms. Both spacewalkers wore Russian Orlan spacesuits bearing blue stripes and equipped with NASA helmet cameras.

As Super Tuesday looms, Republican primary heads into potentially decisive phase


By Aaron Blake – Starting with the Michigan and Arizona primaries on Tuesday, Republican front-runners Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum will face each other in a series of one-on-one matchups that are likely to determine the direction of the rest of the race for their party’s presidential nomination.

“Next Tuesday’s election is pivotal for Mitt Romney,” said GOP consultant Mike Dennehy. “Michigan is really the battleground for the future of the nomination.” more> http://is.gd/A99tPZ

LightSquared: Going from bad to worse


By Marguerite Reardon – Things are not looking good for LightSquared, the wireless startup that had planned to build a nationwide wireless broadband network.

Today, Reuters reported that the company said it plans to cut 45 percent of its workforce to conserve cash.

LightSquared has been fighting an uphill political battle for the past year to use 40MHz of wireless spectrumit owns or has leased to build a nationwide wireless broadband network that will compete with AT&T and Verizon Wireless. The company received a conditional waiver to use its spectrum to provide terrestrial-only services last January.

But last week the FCC pulled its conditional waiver stating that there were still interference concerns with GPS signals. more> http://is.gd/JaZPV6

One step closer to a new kilogram


R&D Mag – The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has produced technology capable of accurate measurements of Planck’s constant, which is a significant step towards changing the international definition of the kilogram—currently based on a lump of platinum-iridium metal kept in Paris, France.

Planck’s constant is a fundamental constant of nature which relates the frequency (color) of a particle of light (a photon) to its energy. By using two quantum mechanical effects discovered in the last 60 years: The Josephson effect and the quantum Hall effect, electrical power can be measured in terms of Planck’s constant (and time).

A Planck-based kilogram would mean a universal standard that could be replicated anywhere in the world at any time. more> http://is.gd/6rUCMo

Grassley says cyber-security bill is a step backwards


, U.S. Senator from Iowa.

Image @Wikipedia

By Matt Kelley – “The proposal is seriously flawed,” Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says. “It’s kind of heavy-handed on the part of the federal government and I think it’s unnecessarily costly. Ironically, it would likely slow down the ability of the United States to respond to these cyber threats.”

He says the alternative legislation aims to address cyber-security threats “without the overreaching hand of the government.” Grassley says the focus should be on reforming existing federal government agencies, streamlining regulation and looking for efficiencies that will strengthen the country’s capacity to deal with cyber-attacks. more> http://is.gd/FanNZc

Aside

CONGRESS WATCH Lawmakers support stern sentencing in child-porn cases, Milton J. Valencia, Boston.com Protecting Religious Liberty and America’s Heritage, US Congress Related articles Update from Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (theneteconomy.wordpress.com)

Aside

CONGRESS WATCH West Exceptional Speech: “The Republicans’ Proud History of Standing Up for African-Americans” – part 1, YouTube [VIDEO 9:55] West: Homebuyers will Pay for Payroll Tax Deal, US Congress