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240 articles from FRIDAY 20.7.2012
- FRIDAY 20. JULY, 2012
23:56 Pressed for Time? Take a Minute to Feel Awe
23:55 Critical eye: reviews roundup
23:30 Spacewatch: Curiosity's terrifying arrival at Mars
In unusually graphic language, Nasa has described the period leading up to next month's landing of its car-sized Curiosity rover on Mars as "seven minutes of terror". In that time, the craft must reduce its speed from 6.1 km per second to make a gentle pin-point landing in Gale crater. To put it as close as possible to the most interesting geology, its target is now a 7km by 20km ellipse at the foot of Mount Sharp which climbs higher than Mont Blanc at the crater's centre.
The bulk of Curiosity's speed is shed using a heat shield, but the craft is still moving at 405 metres per second when it deploys a parachute at a height of 11km. The heat shield then falls away to reveal a descent stage with retrorockets which take over from the parachute at a height of 1.4km and slow the drop to walking pace. Nylon cords then unwind to lower the rover the final 20 metres to the surface. After the cords are severed, the descent stage should veer off to the side to crash out of harm's way
The landing is due at 06:31 BST on 6 August and the challenging sequence of events leading up (or down?) to it must occur entirely automatically. Indeed Mars lies 248 million km or 13.8 light minutes from Earth at the time so those fateful seven minutes will be history for Curiosity before we see them commence. To complicate matters further, a rash of recent problems with Nasa's Odyssey orbiter may mean it is out of position to relay immediate news of the final stages of the descent and touchdown.guardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
23:28 Neanderthals Self-Medicated?
Forget flesh-hungry Neanderthals—our extinct cousins may have been veggie lovers who also used medicinal herbs, a new study suggests.
23:22 Green Blog: E.P.A. to Consider Relaxing an Air Pollution RuleThe agency's review will affect five planned power plants in Georgia, Kansas, Texas and Utah.
23:16 Scientist at Work Blog: Hope Returns to MusharaScientists in Namibia spot the missing dominant male elephant of their study group in camera trap photos.
23:08 NASA Pumps Up the Volume on Space Signals
23:07 Rise of Drones Poses Dangers for US Homeland
23:07 Student Science Experiments Riding Japanese Rocket to Space Station
22:45 Never Try On Clothes Again: DNews NuggetsPairing avatars with air security technology could make trying on clothes obsolete.
22:27 Expanding use of drones raises privacy, security fears in U.S.
Before going ahead with plans to allow the widespread use of unmanned aircraft, or drones, in civilian airspace, lawmakers must do more to protect privacy and reduce the likelihood of sabotage, experts and members of the U.S. Congress told a House committee this week.
22:26 Classic Music Box Prototype Meets iPadThree little wooden boxes interact with iPad to make sweet, sweet music.
22:24 France maintains shale gas ban: environment ministerFrance has no intention of lifting its ban on shale gas exploration because of continued concerns over its environmental impact, Environment and Energy Minister Delphine Batho said Friday.
22:24 Twitter Olympics: Beware the distractions(AP) Hello (at)Twitter world!!! I'm at (hash)Olympics. Shd be training not tweeting ... LOL
22:24 Podcast: Punishing Cheaters, Robbing Rodents, and Growing Algae to Cool the PlanetListen to a roundup of some of our favorite stories of the week
22:17 Redditors Bear Witness To Aurora ShootingIf something awful happens, somebody will witness it and write about it on the Internet.
22:12 Huge Radio Telescope Made With Coat Hanger TechMass production techniques are used to make precise, custom-designed components.
21:59 Enbridge pitches safety upgrades to Northern Gateway
The company proposing a massive pipeline to take oil from Alberta to the B.C. coast has suggested design improvements aimed at addressing safety and security concerns brought up by aboriginal groups and the plan's opponents.
21:47 Why Gun Control Is So Contentious in the USShould gun control really be so controversial?
21:45 Solar Trade War Hurts Chinese Imports
China may take retaliatory action on tariffs imposed on solar panels from that country.
China is opening an investigation of whether the U.S. has unfairly subsidized raw materials for solar panels destined for Chinese manufacturers, or whether U.S. companies have been selling these materials at unfair prices.
21:41 West's first gene therapy gets closer to market
21:33 A Taste of Solar MaximumForecasters say solar maximum is still a year away. Earlier this month sky watchers got a taste of things to come when a powerful flare sparked Northern Lights over the United States as far south as Arkansas, Colorado and California.
21:33 Alberta pledges pipeline safety review
The Alberta government announced a plan Friday for a wide-ranging review of pipeline safety in the province.
21:21 Scientist at Work Blog: Watchful Shrimp, Defending Their TerritoryScientists on a small Caribbean island identify sponge-dwelling snapping shrimps that produce a 60 mile-per-hour jet of water and shock wave that can stun or even kill their competitors.
21:17 World's Third-Largest Spam Botnet Taken DownYou know those tons of spam e-mail you've been getting about fake prescription drugs? A security firm has helped to take down the botnet behind it.
Last week, California-based FireEye Malware Intelligence Labs posted on its blog the command and control (CnC) coordinates of the large spam botnet called Grum. "The intention behind this article was not only to share this information for a general awareness," posted the company's Atif Mushtaq, "but also to invite the research community to come forward and take down this spam beast."
'Pulled the Plug'
And, he reported, that's what happened, except it wasn't the research community but Dutch authorities who did the deed. Mushtaq reported that they have "pulled the plug on two of the CnC servicers pointing to IP addresses 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124."
He added that these two CnC servers were "responsible for pumping spam instructions to their zombies." In this case, zombies refer not to undead humans, but to undead computers that have been commandeered by malware to resend spam, often without their users' knowledge.
With the servers offline, Mushtaq said, the spam template inside Grum would "soon time out and the zombies will try to fetch new instructions" but would not be able to find them.
But, Mushtaq reported earlier this week, Grum's master CnC servers, based in Panama and Russia, were still up -- so Mushtaq published their information as well. He said that the ISPs handling those servers were contacted with abuse notifications, which were ignored. The botnet could update their zombies from these servers, which would reconstitute the spam network.
'Killing the Beast'
Then, on Thursday, Mushtaq posted that the server in Panama had been taken down, the result of the ISP eventually succumbing to community pressure. But then, he wrote, "right in front of my eyes, the bot herders started pointing their...