A reluctant U.S. Congress might change its mind about sending humans to Mars, if Phoenix discovers organic matter, Planetary Society and Mars Society members hope (see believe).
In its NASA funding legislation, the Democrat-controlled body is seeking to bar any funds that might be spent on manned Mars missions. The Mars Society, meanwhile (which I joined for a year, because I had to have that membership card), is acknowledging this week its failure to capture the imaginations of many Americans. The organization plans to lobby Congress to support manned missions.
Will the Mars Phoenix Mission Clear the Way for Manned Missions? If organic compounds are present on Mars, they’re more likely to have been preserved in ice, which is why NASA targeted the Phoenix mission for the planet’s high northern plains, where they predicted about six inches of soft red soil should cover the ice so the digger shouldn’t have to probe too deeply.
Service leaves city’s toughest neighborhoods off the map
Not for everybody: Street views highlight downtown, business districts.
Google today added Boston to its growing list of U.S. cities featuring on-the-ground, street level views of people and places.
You can eyeball Newbury Street fashionistas dining alfresco.
But Boston’s roughest neighborhoods, in Mattapan and Dorchester, are not included in Street Views. Those are the areas in which most of the city’s homocides took place in 2007.
Happy to help: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Continental Airlines tell USA Today that customers can aid the fight against terrorism by allowing security personnel to scan their mobile phones. Continental says travelers love “the convenience.”
The Transportation Security Administration’s scheme to scan mobile phones instead of boarding passes strikes me as highly hackable.
More significantly, it provides Homeland Security an excuse to point scanners at travelers’ mobile devices, which often contain their personal, and sensitive, private information.
Mark my words: this three-month pilot project (see below) is just the first of many that Homeland Security will launch to gain further access to the contents of mobile phones, even to commandeer them for intelligence and data gathering.
From USA Today, today:
The two-dimensional bar code, a jumble of squares and rectangles, stores the passenger’s name and flight information. A TSA screener will confirm the bar code’s authenticity with a handheld scanner. Passengers still need to show photo identification. The electronic boarding pass also works at airport gates.
My question is: What else can that handheld TSA scanner scan?
Continental Airlines passengers in Houston will be able to board flights using just a cellphone or personal-digital assistant instead of a regular boarding pass in a three-month test program launched Tuesday at Bush Intercontinental Airport. The program could expand to airlines and airports nationwide.