NASA's Juno spacecraft loops into orbit around Jupiter

2016-07-05 13:49:44

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. NASA's Juno spacecraft capped a five-year journey to Jupiter late Monday with a do-or-die engine burn to sling itself into orbit, setting the stage for a 20-month dance around the biggest planet in the solar system to learn how and where it formed.“We’re there. We’re in orbit. We conquered Jupiter,” lead mission scientist Scott Bolton, with the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, told reporters on Tuesday. “Now the fun begins.”Juno will spend the next three months getting into position to begin studying what lies beneath Jupiter’s thick clouds and mapping the planet’s gargantuan magnetic fields.Flying in egg-shaped orbits, each one lasting 14 days, Juno also will look for evidence that Jupiter has a dense inner core and measure how much water is in the atmosphere, a key yardstick for figuring out how far away from the sun the gas giant formed.Jupiter's origins, in turn, affected the development and position of the rest of the planets, including Earth and its fortuitous location conducive to the evolution of life.“The question I’ve had my whole life that I’m hoping we get an answer to is ‘How’d we get here?’ That’s really pretty fundamental to me,” Bolton said.Jupiter orbits five times farther from the sun than Earth, but it may have started out elsewhere and migrated, jostling its smaller sibling planets as it moved. Jupiter's immense gravity also diverts many asteroids and comets from potentially catastrophic collisions with Earth and the rest of the inner solar system.Launched from Florida nearly five years ago, Juno needed to be precisely positioned, ignite its main engine at exactly the right time and keep it firing for 35 minutes to become only the second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter.If anything had gone even slightly awry, Juno would have sailed helplessly past Jupiter, unable to complete a $1 billion mission. The risky maneuver began as planned at 11:18 p.m. EDT/0318 Tuesday GMT as Juno soared through the vacuum of space at more than 160,000 mph (257,500 kph).NASA expects Juno to be in position for its first close-up images of Jupiter on Aug. 27, the same day its science instruments are turned on for a test run.Only one other spacecraft, Galileo, has ever circled Jupiter, which is itself orbited by 67 known moons. Bolton said Juno is likely to discover even more.Seven other U.S. space probes have sailed past the gas giant on brief reconnaissance missions before heading elsewhere in the solar system. The risks to the spacecraft are not over. Juno will fly in highly elliptical orbits that will pass within 3,000 miles (4,800 km) of the tops of Jupiter's clouds and inside the planet's powerful radiation belts.Juno's computers and sensitive science instruments are housed in a 400-pound (180-kg) titanium vault for protection. But during its 37 orbits around Jupiter, Juno will be exposed to the equivalent of 100 million dental X-rays, said Bill McAlpine, radiation control manager for the mission.The spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin, is expected to last for 20 months. On its final orbit, Juno will dive into Jupiter's atmosphere, where it will be crushed and vaporized.Like Galileo, which circled Jupiter for eight years before crashing into the planet in 2003, Juno's demise is designed to prevent any hitchhiking microbes from Earth from inadvertently contaminating Jupiter's ocean-bearing moon Europa, a target of future study for extraterrestrial life. (Editing by Kim Coghill and Andrew Heavens)

Google beats children's web privacy appeal, Viacom must face one claim

2016-06-27 19:24:29

A federal appeals court on Monday said Google and Viacom need not face a nationwide lawsuit claiming they illegally tracked the activity of children under the age of 13 who watched videos and played video games on the Nickelodeon website.The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia largely upheld a January 2015 lower court ruling dismissing claims that Google, which is a unit of Alphabet Inc, and Viacom Inc violated the federal Video Privacy Protection Act by planting "cookies" on children's computers. But the appeals court also revived one privacy claim against Viacom, which alleged that the company promised not to collect personal information about children but did so anyway. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)

Democrat gun control sit-in sparks social media sensation

2016-06-24 04:22:03

A blackout of television cameras in the U.S. House Representatives during the Democrats' gun control sit-in may have spurred public interest in the protest as it forced the demonstrators to use social media to broadcast their message.Democrats leapt on Facebook Live (FB.O) and Twitter's (TWTR.N) Periscope after the cameras, controlled by the House, went dark Wednesday when presiding House officer and Republican Representative Ted Poe declared the chamber not in order during the protest.As Democrats took to alternative forms of video broadcasting, their message gained tremendous momentum from social media. On Twitter, the hashtags #NoBillNoBreak and #HoldTheFloor have been tweeted at least 1.4 million times.Of the roughly 20 members of Congress who remained at the sit-in overnight, 19 of them used Facebook Live for a total combined viewership of 3 million.“It really connected with people out there,” Congressman Scott Peters told Reuters. "This whole phenomenon with [live video] struck a nerve."Peters used the application Periscope, which is connected to the social media platform Twitter, to send out video. “Without that, think about it, it would have been a caucus meeting where we talk to ourselves," he added. In remarks Wednesday outside the Capitol, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi praised how her party harnessed social media."Without you and without the technology of Periscope [the sit-in] would just be a debate in the Halls of Congress unrecorded because they turned off the microphones," Pelosi said. "But we raised our voices. They turned off the cameras and we went to Periscope." Congressman Mark Takano, who began posting live videos from the chamber to his Facebook page Wednesday afternoon and continued to throughout the night, said the social media video helped him connect with constituents."Once I got started with the live streaming I didn’t feel like I could let down the people who were following me,” said Takano. “It was a way to push out a message.”Even C-SPAN, which typically broadcasts footage recorded by the House cameras, picked up live video from four different members of Congress roughly two hours after the House cameras shut down, according to communications director Howard Mortman. It marked the first time the channel broadcast a live social media feed from the House floor. "Something interesting is happening with Facebook Live that's bringing more openness to the political process," said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, in a post to his social media profile Thursday."It's a way to share anything you want with the world using just your phone." (Reporting By Amy Tennery; additional reporting by Angela Moon in New York and Susan Cornwell in Washington; Editing by Andrew Hay)

Java, Java EE, Jython, Oracle, and More...: Help Move Java EE Forward

2016-06-16 19:27:05

If you recall my post entitled Java EE 8: What is the Current Status, it is apparent that the progression on Java EE has certainly slowed down over the past several months.  There are definitely some JSRs under the Java EE umbrella that have more activity than others, but Java EE as a whole has seen little to no movement forward since JavaOne 2015.  This is not something to be taken lightly by anyone in the IT industry.  Java EE is a critical part of the industry, as there are thousands of web applications that have been built using the Java EE stack.  There are probably even more applications that have not been built using the full Java EE stack, but still rely upon some of the Java EE technologies..such as the Java Persistence API (JPA) or Java Message Service (JMS). Why is it so important to move things forward?  Why not just leave things how they are and let Java EE fade away?  Plainly put, these technologies need to move forward in order to remain secure and make use of the current API technologies of today.  If one wishes to simply let Java EE stagnate, that means that all of the applications and services utilizing all or part of Java EE (much of the internet as we know it) are also stagnating, and cannot be moved forward to stay current with today's technology and security concerns. What can we do to try and help?  Move Java EE forward via the community.  If you have a few moments to spare, help move Java EE forward by sharing your expertise and contributing to one or more of the Java EE JSRs.  This can be done by joining the JCP (Java Community Process) and beginning to work on the code.  Work can be categorized in a number of ways...one can test existing code, document, debug, repair issues, or even develop features and enhancements for a Java EE 8  JSR.  Become a part of your local JUG and give a talk on Java EE 8, or get your JUG involved via the Adopt-a-JSR program and work with the JCP to help make improvements towards the Java EE 8 effort! What can you do right now?  Sign the petition that has been proposed by the Java EE Guardians group to try and persuade Oracle to begin working on Java EE 8, once again.  The Java EE Guardians are a group of individuals/JUGs that are actively involved in trying to vocalize the current status of Java EE 8, in an effort to get the community involved and to make Oracle hear or opinion.  In the end, if Oracle is not interested putting forth effort internally and moving Java EE forward, hopefully they will be open to working more with the community, and hand off some of the specifications to those who are interested.https://www.change.org/p/larry-ellison-tell-oracle-to-move-forward-java-ee-as-a-critical-part-of-the-global-it-industry Thanks for reading the post...your time and participation is certainly appreciated!

In the lab: six innovations scientists hope will end malaria

2016-06-09 18:22:21

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - After being abandoned as too ambitious in 1969, global plans to eliminate malaria are back on the agenda, with financial backing from the world's richest couple, Bill and Melinda Gates, and U.S. President Barack Obama.The Gateses aim to eradicate malaria by 2040 by doubling funding over the next decade to support the roll out of new products to tackle rising drug resistance against the disease.Their goal of permanently ending transmission of the disease between humans and mosquitoes is more ambitious than the Sustainable Development Goal of ending epidemic levels of malaria by 2030.They are also supporting a push to create the world's first vaccine against a parasite.Six innovations scientists are working on are:* New insecticides: Mosquitoes are becoming resistant to insecticides used to spray inside homes and in bed nets."There is no current insecticide that doesn't show insect-resistance at the moment," said Jed Stone, a spokesman for the UK-based Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC).Indoor spraying of walls with insecticide -- which was used to wipe out malaria in the United States in the 1940s -- has fallen by 40 percent since 2012 due to resistance to older products and the high cost of newer ones. The IVCC is developing three new insecticides for use in indoor sprays and bed nets that kill insecticide-resistant mosquitoes. "The insecticides are virtually ready but it will take about five years to finally develop them," Stone said, adding that this largely involves registration with regulators. * A single-dose cure: A pill that would wipe out all parasites in the body could be available by 2019, the Gates Foundation says.Human trials of one candidate are planned following successful tests on mice, published in 2015. Existing drugs have to be taken for three days with the risk that people do not finish their medication, contributing to the development of drug-resistant malaria. They also only kill parasites at the asexual-stage where they cause fever but not at the sexual-stage where they are picked up by mosquitoes in blood.* Insecticide-treated wall liners: Scientists hope insecticide-treated wall liners, which look like wallpaper, will be more effective than spraying people's homes with insecticide every three to eight months. The wall liners kill mosquitoes that rest on them and can last for three years. Tanzania's National Institute for Medical Research is testing wall liners in 6,000 homes to see if they protect people from malaria. Results will be published in 2017.* Insecticide-embedded clothing: American soldiers have been wearing combat uniforms treated with permethrin, a synthetic insecticide, since 2010 to protect them against insect-borne diseases.The U.S. government's Walter Reed Army Institute of Research will test the effectiveness of treated combat uniforms and repellent creams in July on Tanzanian soldiers who often catch malaria when working at night as peacekeepers.* A vaccine: This is a big one, given vaccines success in eliminating smallpox, polio and measles in many countries. More than 30 malaria vaccines are under development. The Mosquirix vaccine, discovered in 1987, is a decade ahead of other candidates but, to date, it only halves the number of bouts of malaria young children suffer.The World Health Organization is seeking funding for a pilot program to administer Mosquirix to 400,000 to 800,000 African children. The results will be used to make a decision on whether to use the vaccine more widely. * GM mosquitoes: Scientists have genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes by adding genes that block the development of the malaria parasite inside the insect and prevent it from being transmitted to people.Scientists have also genetically modified mosquitoes to make them infertile, so that they die out. But many are cautious about the unforeseen consequences of this."When people imagine a malaria end game scenario, GM mosquito technology would be incredibly powerful because it doesn't rely on a robust health system in order to go in and disrupt transmission of the parasite," said Martin Edlund, chief executive of Malaria No More, referring to war-torn countries like South Sudan.The International Center for Journalists and Malaria No More provided a travel grant for this report (Reporting by Katy Migiro; Editing by Katie Nguyen; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.)

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