Glowing Space Billboards Could Show Ads in the Night Sky

Posted: 19 Jan 2019 07:39 AM PST

Submitted via IRC for Sulla

Source: https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/glowing-space-billboards-could-light-up-the-night-sky-in-2020/

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A startup is planning to use a constellation of tiny satellites to create glowing ads. The satellites would light up different messages for up to six minutes at a time at about 250 miles above Earth.

Also at Futurism.

Related: Company Will Create an "Artificial Meteor Shower" Over Hiroshima, Japan in 2019
Japanese Company Could Put "Billboard" on the Moon
Japanese Company ispace Plans Two Missions to the Moon
Another Highly Reflective Art Object Will be Launched Into Orbit in November
First Artificial Meteor Shower Might Outshine Nature

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New Summit Between President Trump and Kim Jong-Un Planned for Late February

Posted: 19 Jan 2019 05:04 AM PST

Trump to Hold Second Summit With Kim Jong Un in February, U.S. Says

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet near the end of February for a second summit, despite evidence North Korea is advancing its nuclear weapons program.

The White House announced the summit and timing after Trump met Friday with Kim Yong Chol, a top aide to the North Korean leader and a former spy chief.

Trump's decision to go ahead with another in-person meeting -- further elevating Kim's global profile -- underscores the president's confidence that his personal involvement and negotiating skills can change the behavior of recalcitrant regimes in ways that traditional leverage and diplomacy, past U.S. leaders and his own emissaries could not.

Previously: President Trump Tweets about Nuclear Talks with North Korea
President Trump Set to Meet Kim Jong-un at 9 PM EDT (01:00 UTC, 9 AM Singapore)

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ULA's Vulcan Rocket Design Nearly Complete

Posted: 19 Jan 2019 02:43 AM PST

Boeing-Lockheed's Vulcan rocket design 'nearly fully mature'

A joint venture between Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp will conduct the final design review for its new flagship Vulcan rocket within months, it said on Wednesday, as the aerospace company heads for a showdown with Elon Musk's SpaceX and others in the launch services market.

The final design review is a crucial milestone as the company, United Launch Alliance (ULA), tries to move into full production ahead of a first flight in spring 2021 after slipping from its initial 2019 timetable.

"The design is nearly fully mature," ULA systems test engineer Dane Drefke told Reuters during a tour of Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

[...] ULA has started cutting and building hardware and has begun structural and pressure testing at its Decatur, Alabama factory. Engineers were also modifying the Florida launch pad and tower to accommodate Vulcan.

Previously: SpaceX BFR vs. ULA Vulcan Showdown in the 2020s
Blue Origin Wins Contract to Supply United Launch Alliance With BE-4 Rocket Engines
The Military Chooses Which Rockets It Wants Built for the Next Decade

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Crustaceans and a Tardigrade Found in Antarctic Subglacial Lake

Posted: 19 Jan 2019 12:22 AM PST

EXCLUSIVE: Tiny animal carcasses found in buried Antarctic lake

Scientists drilling into a buried Antarctic lake 600 kilometres from the South Pole have found surprising signs of ancient life: the carcasses of tiny animals preserved under a kilometre of ice.

The crustaceans and a tardigrade, or 'water bear' — all smaller than poppy seeds — were found in Subglacial Lake Mercer, a body of water that had lain undisturbed for thousands of years. Until now, humans had seen the lake only indirectly, through ice-penetrating radar and other remote-sensing techniques. But that changed on 26 December when researchers funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) succeeded in melting a narrow portal through the ice to the water below.

Discovering the animals there was "fully unexpected", says David Harwood, a micro-palaeontologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who is part of the expedition — known as SALSA (Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access).

[...] The researchers now think that the creatures inhabited ponds and streams in the Transantarctic Mountains, roughly 50 kilometres from Lake Mercer, during brief warm periods in which the glaciers receded — either in the past 10,000 years, or 120,000 years ago. Later, as the climate cooled, ice smothered these oases of animal life. How the crustaceans and tardigrade reached Lake Mercer is still a matter of debate. Answers could come as the SALSA team tries to determine the age of the material using carbon dating and attempts to sequence the creatures' DNA. Piecing together that history could reveal more about when, and how far, Antarctica's glaciers retreated millennia ago.

Also at The Guardian.

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Saturn's Rings May Only be 10 Million to 100 Million Years Old

Posted: 18 Jan 2019 10:01 PM PST

Saturn Put A Ring On It Relatively Recently, Study Says

Saturn is famous for its lovely rings, but a new study suggests the planet has spent most of its 4.5 billion years without them. That's because the rings are likely only 10 million to 100 million years old, according to a newly published report [open, DOI: 10.1126/science.aat2965] [DX] in the journal Science that's based on findings from NASA's Cassini probe.

Cassini spent some 13 years orbiting Saturn before plunging down and slamming into its atmosphere. During its final orbits, the spacecraft dove between the planet and its rings. That let scientists measure the gravitational effect of the rings and get a good estimate of the ring material's mass.

What they found is that it's only about 40 percent of the mass of Saturn's moon Mimas, which is way smaller than Earth's moon. This small mass suggests that the rings are relatively young. That's because the rings seem to be made of extremely pure water ice, suggesting that the bright white rings have not existed long enough to be contaminated by the bombardment of messy, dirty comets that would be expected to occur over billions of years. Some scientists thought it was possible that darker debris from comets might lie beneath the bright ice, undetectable to their instruments, but this new study shows that isn't the case.

Related: Saturn's 'Ring Rain' is a Surprising Cocktail of Chemicals
Most of Saturn's Rings Could Disappear Within 100 Million Years

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In the Absence of Diablo 4, Median XL Releases New Diablo 2 Mod Using Updated Engine

Posted: 18 Jan 2019 07:40 PM PST

The team behind the popular Median XL mod for Diablo 2 has released Median XL: Sigma 1.0.0, a new version that updates the engine and many game mechanics:

The Diablo 2 Median XL mod will be getting a massive overhaul next month, which updates the original game engine.

The Median XL mod has been around for ages, and the mod's development team has announced that it will be moving the popular mod to a new engine, the Sigma Engine. The team promises that the new engine generally removes limitations from the original one, and offers opportunities for bigger inventories and rooms alongside other general improvements.

The improvements include increasing the resolution to 1024x768, individual skill cooldowns, and removal of death penalties. Previous versions of the mod, such as Median XL Ultimative, have had good performance in Linux using WINE.

At Blizzcon in November, Diablo publisher Blizzard announced a mobile game, Diablo: Immortal, which was met with a near-universal backlash from Diablo fans and seen as a reskinned attempt at catering to the Chinese gaming market. Later, there was some speculation that Blizzard had intended to announce a PC-oriented Diablo 4 at Blizzcon but delayed it at the last moment, which Blizzard has since denied.

Median XL: Sigma changelog. Trailer (2m34s).

Also at PCGamesN and DSOG.

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Removing IPv4 Completely from FreeBSD and Other Operating Systems

Posted: 18 Jan 2019 05:19 PM PST

A Swiss VM hosting provider has a technical blog post about how to kill IPv4 completely on FreeBSD. That is to say, turning it completely off, not just preferring IPv6. They then solicit concrete solutions describing, along with a proof of concept, how to turn IPv4 completely off in other operating systems and allowing them to communicate with IPv6 only.

Earlier on SN:
Vint Cerf's Dream Do-Over: 2 Ways He'd Make the Internet Different (2016)
You have IPv6. Turn it on. (2016)
We've Killed IPv4! (2014)

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The FBI "Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny" That It Monitors Your Social Media Posts

Posted: 18 Jan 2019 03:30 PM PST

The FBI 'Can Neither Confirm nor Deny' That It Monitors Your Social Media Posts

In recent years, the federal government has significantly ramped up its efforts to monitor people on social media. The FBI, for one, has repeatedly acknowledged that it engages in surveillance of social media posts. So it was surprising when the bureau responded to our Freedom of Information Act request on this kind of surveillance by saying that it "can neither confirm nor deny the existence of records."

The six other federal agencies we submitted the FOIA request to haven't produced a single document. The request, filed last May, seeks information on how the agencies collect and analyze posts from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.

Today we sued the agencies to get some answers, because the public has a right to know about the exact nature of social media surveillance — especially whether agencies are monitoring and retaining social media posts, or using surveillance products that label activists and people of color as threats to public safety based on their First Amendment-protected activities.

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Google Acquires Unspecified Smartwatch Technology and Employees From Fossil for $40 Million

Posted: 18 Jan 2019 01:29 PM PST

Google just spent $40 million for Fossil's secret smartwatch tech

Google and watchmaker Fossil Group today announced an agreement for the search giant to acquire some of Fossil's smartwatch technology and members of the research and development division responsible for creating it. The deal is worth roughly $40 million, and under the current terms Fossil will transfer a "portion" of its R&D team, the portion directly responsible for the intellectual property being sold, over to Google. As a result, Google will now have a dedicated team with hardware experience working internally on its WearOS software platform and potentially on new smartwatch designs as well.

[...] According to Wareable, the technology is a "new product innovation that's not yet hit the market," Greg McKelvey, Fossil's executive vice president of chief strategy and digital officer, told the publication. It's unclear what exactly that innovation is, or why exactly Google is so eager to buy it, although $40 million is a drop in the bucket for Google when it comes to acquisition costs.

Hologram watch.

See also: Fossil shares jump after Google agrees to buy smartwatch tech for $40 million

Also at AnandTech.

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Anti-Vaccine Movement Linked to Measles Outbreak in New York

Posted: 18 Jan 2019 11:52 AM PST

Anti-vaccine nonsense spurred NY's largest outbreak in decades

Health officials in New York are cautiously optimistic that they have a large measles outbreak under control after tackling the noxious anti-vaccine myths and unfounded fears that fueled the disease's spread.

Since last fall, New York has tallied 177 confirmed cases of measles, the largest outbreak the state has seen in decades. It began with infected travelers, arriving from parts of Israel and Europe where the highly contagious disease was spreading. In New York, that spread has largely been confined to ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. As measles rippled through those insular religious communities, health officials ran into members who were wary of outsiders as well as those who harbor harmful myths and fears about vaccines. This included the completely false-yet-pernicious belief that the measles vaccine causes autism.

To quash the outbreak, health officials met with rabbis and pediatricians in the community, who in turned urged community members to be vigilant and, above all, get vaccinated, according to The New York Times. "Good people, great parents were terrified," Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, founder of Darchei Noam yeshiva in Monsey in Rockland County, told the Times. Despite the fears, he insisted parents vaccinate their children. "They felt that I was asking to give their children something that would harm them."

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