The Big Think

June 14, 2015

Flight of the Hobbits

Filed under: Movies,Music — jasony @ 9:15 pm

Musical Themes in “The Lord of the Rings”: “”

Great stuff here. Thanks to Matt for the link.

Glenn Reynolds: What if Pearl Harbor happened and nobody noticed?

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 8:36 pm

Glenn Reynolds: What if Pearl Harbor happened and nobody noticed?:

“‘Hackers linked to China have gained access to the sensitive background information submitted by intelligence and military personnel for security clearances, U.S. officials said Friday, describing a cyberbreach of federal records dramatically worse than first acknowledged.’

And there are lessons in this debacle, if we are willing to learn them.

Aside from regular federal personnel records, which provide a royal route to blackmail, intimidation and identity theft for present and retired federal workers, the hackers also stole a trove of military and intelligence records that could be even more valuable. The forms stolen were Standard Form 86, in which employees in sensitive positions list their weaknesses: past arrests, bankruptcies, drug and alcohol problems, etc. The 120 plus pages of questions also include civil lawsuits, divorce information, Social Security numbers, and information on friends, roommates, spouses and relatives.

The result? About 14 million current and former federal employees are in a state of collective panic over the loss of their information.

Well this isn’t good.

It’s Me! Philae!

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 5:45 pm

Philae comet lander wakes up after 7-month hibernation:

“Scientists had lost contact with the solar-powered probe after it was dropped on the icy comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by its mothership Rosetta on Nov. 15. Philae’s battery ran out at about 60 hours after it landed next to a cliff that largely blocked sunlight from reaching the lander’s solar panels.

Scientists had hoped the probe would wake up again as the comet approached the sun, enabling Philae’s solar panels to soak up enough light to charge the craft’s main battery. But there were fears its mission would be cut short.

Any such fears ended late Saturday, when the European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany, received signals from the lander.

‘I’m not really surprised it happened, but if you wait for several months and then suddenly in the middle of the night you get a call saying, ‘We have a signal from Philae,’ it’s exciting,’ said Stephan Ulamec, project manager at the German Aerospace Center, or DLR. ‘We’re very happy.'”

That’s great news.

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