Space-X Monday


A Space X rocket carried 10 communications satellites into orbit from California on Sunday, two days after the company successfully launched a satellite from Florida.

The Falcon 9 rocket blasted off through low-lying fog at 1:25 p.m. PDT from Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Los Angeles. It carried a second batch of new satellites for Iridium Communications, which is replacing its orbiting fleet with a next-generation constellation of satellites.

About 7 minutes after liftoff, the rocket’s first-stage booster returned to earth and landed on a floating platform on a ship in the Pacific Ocean, while the rocket’s second stage continued to carry the satellites toward orbit.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 on Friday launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida and boosted a communications satellite for Bulgaria into orbit. Its first stage was recovered after landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic.

Billionaire Elon Musk, who founded Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX, believes reusing rocket components will bring down the cost of space launches.

Iridium plans to put in place 75 new satellites for its mobile voice and data communications system by mid-2018, requiring six more launches, all by SpaceX.

The $3 billion effort by the McLean, Virginia, company involves complex procedures to replace 66 operational satellites in use for many years. Some of the new satellites will be so-called on-orbit spares, or older satellites that remain in orbit on standby for use if the newer ones malfunction.

Swapping out and deorbiting some old satellites has already begun, Iridium CEO Matt Desch said in a pre-launch call with reporters.

Several old satellites have been moved into lower orbits to use up their remaining fuel and configure the solar panels for maximum drag so they will re-enter the atmosphere and burn up.

@ AP

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

Cosmic Rays Sunday

NEW ATMOSPHERIC RADIATION RESULTS: For the past two+ years, and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been monitoring cosmic rays in the atmosphere above California using high-altitude space weather balloons. After more than 100 flights, they find that dose rates have increased over the Golden State by 13% since March 2015.

Now we know the same thing is happening over New England–only more so.


The Earth to Sky team has flown balloons over Maine and New Hampshire four times since 2015, most recently on June 15, 2017. Although the data are relatively sparse compared to the better-sampled west coast, the results are clear. Radiation in the stratosphere over the northeastern corner of the USA is not only stronger than California, but also intensifying much faster–a 19% increase in New England vs. 13% in California.

What’s happening? Generally speaking, cosmic rays are increasing throughout the entire solar system. This is because of the sunspot cycle. The sun is currently plunging toward a deep Solar Minimum. As it descends, the sun’s weakening magnetic field and flagging solar wind provides less and less shielding against high-energy particles from deep space. Every planet in the Solar System is getting an extra dose.


Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Security Breach Saturday


The GOP’s 2016 presidential upset wasn’t surprising just because it put Donald Trump in the White House; it also proved the party had vastly improved its ability to exploit data, including precision ad targeting campaigns on Facebook. Now comes the fallout of all that information hoarding: A California-based security researcher says Republican-linked election databases were inadvertently exposed to the entire internet, sans password, potentially violating the privacy of almost every single registered voter in the United States.

The data trove was apparently made public by accident by one of the data-mining companies that compiled it. It includes a mix of private information and data gleaned from public voter rolls: “the voter’s date of birth, home and mailing addresses, phone number, registered party, self-reported racial demographic, voter registration status” as well as computer “modeled” speculation about each person’s race and religion, according to an analysis provided to The Intercept.

The leak was discovered by Chris Vickery, an analyst at the U.S. cybersecurity firm UpGuard, who last year discovered an enormous breach of Mexican voter data and in 2015 a 300GB leak of records of 191 million voters. This new incident is more extensive, according the analysis, written by UpGuard:

UpGuard’s Cyber Risk Team can now confirm that unsecured databases containing the sensitive personal details of over 198 million American voters was left exposed to the internet. The data, which was stored in a publicly accessible cloud server owned by Republican data firm Deep Root Analytics, included 1.1 terabytes of entirely unsecured personal information compiled by DRA and at least two other contractors, TargetPoint Consulting, Inc. and Data Trust. In total, the personal information of nearly all of America’s 200 million registered voters was exposed, including their names, dates of birth, home addresses, phone numbers, and voter registration details, as well as voter ethnicities and religions as “modeled” by the firms’ data scientists.

@ TI

Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments

FREYEdae funneeZZ


Posted in Uncategorized | 24 Comments

Tunguska Thursday


Traces of Tunguska event can be seen even now. Pictures: The Siberian Times, Tunguska Page of Bologna University

According to a prominent astrophysics professor from Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland, an asteroid strike to Earth is a matter of time, reported the Belfast Telegraph Wednesday.

Professor Alan Fitzsimmons issued this warning because of Asteroid Day, which is held on June 30 to remember the 1908 Tunguska event in Siberia. On June 30, 1908, an explosion hit the region surrounding the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Siberia. It destroyed 800 square miles of the forest and ripped 80 million trees from the ground.

For years, the cause of the explosion was unknown, but the most widely accepted conclusion was that a space rock hit Siberia. The object weighed 220 million pounds and generated the energy equivalent of 185 Hiroshima bombs.


Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Worrisome Wednesday



In the immediate aftermath of the Alexandria shooting on June 14, the New York Times and Vice News joined the rising chorus of right-wing outrage with two pieces denouncing growing “left-wing extremism.” They failed to mention, of course, the rising tide of blood shed due to attacks by far-right activists before and since Trump’s inauguration, the current president’s own endorsement of violence on the campaign trail or the long history of right-wing forces urging their followers to embrace Second Amendment remedies as a solution to politics they oppose. On the surface, these shoddy pieces seem driven by a desire for hits, but lurking behind these words is the very real possibility of a new political panic targeting US progressive and left organizing and action.

Throughout US history, the forces of the left have suffered from numerous political purges, usually referred to as panics or scares, each of which were incited by incidents like the Scalise shooting. The first example was the suppression of the US Socialist Party and the Industrial Workers of the World for their opposition to US participation in the First World War in the First Red Scare. This position was hardly unique to the left, with antiwar sentiment enjoying broad support in US society. The Wilson administration responded harshly with the notorious Espionage and Sedition Acts, giving the state the tools needed to smash organized opposition. These efforts culminated in the brutal Palmer Raids, spearheaded by the FBI, which broke the back of the US left as punishment for their opposition to the war and radical actions, such as the Seattle General Strike.


Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Texas Twirp Tuesday


Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Monday he does not believe carbon dioxide emissions are the main driver of the earth’s record-setting warming, a core finding of climate science. Instead, Perry said, the driver is most likely “the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.”

Perry became the second of President Donald Trump’s cabinet members to go on television to publicly dismiss the importance of CO2 in global warming, ignoring the scientific evidence. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt rejected its role in answer to essentially the same question in March, also on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

But Perry went further in his response to CNBC host Joe Kernen—who has expressed his own skepticism about climate science in the past—when asked whether he viewed carbon dioxide as the main “control knob” for climate.

“No. Most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in,” Perry, a former Texas governor, said.

Despite the fuzzy, circular illogic of that reply, Perry went on to say that skepticism about the scientific consensus is a sign of a “wise, intellectually engaged person.”


Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments