Archive for July 28th, 2011
The Wrongulator is no ordinary calculator, its actually the world’s worst calculator as it never gives the right answer, ever! If your calculator has been exchanged for this one then every single calculation you’ve entered in it has been wrong. It is perhaps the cruelest practical joke you could inflict on your office colleague and the chances are, without being told, they’ll probably never guess….well not before it’s too late anyway! Mwhahahaha!
For months, two Senators have screamed bloody murder that the government holds a secret legal interpretation of the Patriot Act so broad that it amounts to a whole different law giving the feds massive domestic surveillance powers. Now, a measure by Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall would force the U.S. intelligence chief, and by extension the entire intelligence community, to admit that they went too far in their Patriot Act interpretations — if they don’t find a way to wiggle out of it.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence meets Thursday to prepare the annual bill authorizing the U.S. intelligence agency’s operations. During that “mark-up” process, Wyden and Udall will ask their colleagues to include a measure compelling the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General to produce a “detailed assessment of the problems posed by the reliance of government agencies” (.pdf) on “interpretations of domestic surveillance authorities that are inconsistent with the understanding of such authorities by the public.” Wyden’s staff provided Danger Room with a copy of the proposed amendment.
Specifically, Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper would have to produce “a plan for addressing such problems” with secret legal interpretations regarding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the Patriot Act, the government’s two most important domestic spying laws.
The bill, though, doesn’t force Holder and Clapper to roll back those secret interpretations. They’ve just got to basically admit they’ve messed up. Even if Wyden and Udall can get their colleagues to sign on to their effort, it would be naive to think the nation’s top prosecutor and intelligence officer are so thick that they can’t find an artful way of saying they’ve done nothing wrong.
The irony is that this week, Clapper’s office conceded to the Senate panel that they have indeed been secretly re-interpreting the Patriot Act. A letter from a Clapper aide to Wyden and Udall implied as much (.pdf), and pledged to consider making those secret interpretations public. And Tuesday, the Obama administration’s nominee to lead the National Counterterrorism Center, Matthew Olsen, acknowledged that “some of the pleadings and opinions related to the Patriot Act” to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that approves snooping warrants “are classified.”
Astronomers have detected an asteroid not far from Earth, moving in the same orbit around the Sun.
The 200-300m-wide rock sits in front of our planet at a gravitational “sweet spot”, and poses no danger.
Its position in the sky makes it a so-called Trojan asteroid – a type previously detected only at Jupiter, Neptune and Mars.
2010 TK7, as it is known, was found by Nasa’s Wise telescope. The discovery is reported in this week’s Nature journal.
It is a fascinating observation because the relative stability and proximity of Trojans would make possible targets for astronaut missions when we eventually go beyond the space station.
2010 TK7 is probably not the rock of choice, simply because it travels too far above and below the plane of Earth’s orbit, which would require a lot of fuel to reach it.
Nonetheless, its detection means it is highly likely there are other, more suitable Trojans out there waiting to be found.
The difficulty is the viewing geometry that puts any Trojan, from the perspective of an Earth-based telescope, in bright skies.
It took an orbiting telescope sensitive to infrared light to pick up 2010 TK7.
Wise, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer launched in 2009, examined more than 500 Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), 123 of which were new to science.
The authors of the Nature paper sifted through data on these rocks, looking for the candidates that might be Trojans.