Links for 12th October 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Rogue satellites to be cleared from Earth’s orbit by German robots

    "Their robots will dock with failing satellites to carry out repairs or push them into "graveyard orbits", freeing vital space in geostationary orbit. This is the narrow band 22,000 miles above the Earth in which orbiting objects appear fixed at the same point. More than 200 dead satellites litter this orbit. Within 10 years that number could increase fivefold, the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety has warned.

    Klaus Landzettel, head of space robotics at DLR, said engineering advances, including the development of machines that can withstand temperatures ranging from -170C (-274F) to 200C (392F), meant that the German robots will be "ready to be used on any satellite, whether it's designed to be docked or not"." Helloooo, commercial warfare in LEO!

    Tagged with: spaceorbitsatellitewarfarerobotmaintenance

  2. Wireless Network Signals Produce See-Through Walls

    "The surveillance technique is called variance-based radio tomographic imaging and works by visualizing variations in radio waves as they travel to nodes in a wireless network. A person moving inside a building will cause the waves to vary in that location, the researchers found, allowing an observer to map their position.

    The researchers, electrical engineering graduate student Joey Wilson and his faculty advisor Neil Patwari, have tested the technique with a 34-node wireless network using the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless protocol, according to the MIT Technology Review. By “interrogating” the space with signals and multiple receivers, the researchers found they were able to read the waves to detect the location of a moving object within a meter of accuracy."

    Tagged with: wi-fisecuritysurveillanceprivacywirelessradarimagingespionage

  3. Against Transparency – Lawrence Lessig

    How could anyone be against transparency? Its virtues and its utilities seem so crushingly obvious. But I have increasingly come to worry that there is an error at the core of this unquestioned goodness. We are not thinking critically enough about where and when transparency works, and where and when it may lead to confusion, or to worse. And I fear that the inevitable success of this movement–if pursued alone, without any sensitivity to the full complexity of the idea of perfect openness–will inspire not reform, but disgust. The "naked transparency movement," as I will call it here, is not going to inspire change. It will simply push any faith in our political system over the cliff.

    Tagged with: Lawrence-Lessigoversightgovernmentprivacypoliticscriticismtransparencyopen

  4. Entrepreneurship as Resilience

    "One of the best ways you can prepare for the future is to train yourself to become an entrepreneur — essentially a person that makes their own economic opportunities. It's going to become a major differentiator between those that succeed and those that fail in a harsh global system (this expertise has been deprecated by a system that prides itself on manufacturing salaried consumption bots). So, as your salary melts away, your pension evaporates, or your job gets outsourced — here's a quick guide on how to bootstrap the process… " John Robb.

    Tagged with: John-Robbentrepreneurshiplifehacksresilienceeconomicsforesightstrategy

  5. Commercial focus ‘is harming scientific research’

    "Pressure on scientists to deliver commercial benefits is compromising research, marginalising blue skies work and making universities behave more like businesses, according to a report published today." Wow, never saw *that* one coming…

    Tagged with: ukscienceresearchcommerceuniversityeducation

  6. How to Tell a Story – Mark Twain

    "There are several kinds of stories, but only one difficult kind–the humorous. I will talk mainly about that one. The humorous story is American, the comic story is English, the witty story is French. The humorous story depends for its effect upon the manner of the telling; the comic story and the witty story upon the matter.

    The humorous story may be spun out to great length, and may wander around as much as it pleases, and arrive nowhere in particular; but the comic and witty stories must be brief and end with a point. The humorous story bubbles gently along, the others burst."

    Tagged with: Mark-Twainwritingstorieshumourtellingdeliveryvoicestorytelling

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