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Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA’s Space Exploration Program?

Dec 22

MarkWhittington writes The Houston Chronicle’s Eric Berger has published the seventh in his series of articles about the American space program and what ails it. The piece focuses on Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, who has two fascinating aspects. The first is that he is taking over the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees NASA funding. The second is that he has a keen appreciation for the benefits of space exploration for its own sake and not just for his Houston area district. Culberson wants to save NASA and the space program from his fellow politicians and return it to its true glory. He favors sending American astronauts back to the moon and a robotic space probe to Jupiter’s moon Europa. He would like to enact budget reforms that take funding decisions away from the Office of Management and Budget and gives them solely to Congress. He favors a steady increase in NASA funding to pay for a proper program of space exploration. To say the least, he has his work cut out for him.

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Google+ Will Make Your Videos Look Better

Dec 22

ErnieKey writes: A new Google+ feature for uploaded videos has been released that automatically enhances lighting, color, and stability. Soon, it’ll also enhance speech in videos. “As more and more people now also take videos with their smartphones, it makes sense for Google to bring some of the technologies it has developed for photos (and YouTube) to these private videos, as well. Google has long offered a similar feature for YouTube users, so there is likely some overlap between the two systems here. While YouTube offers the option to ‘auto-fix’ videos, though, it doesn’t automatically prompt its users to do this for them. YouTube also offers a number of manual tools for changing contrast, saturation and color temperature that Google+ doesn’t currently offer.”

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Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes ‘Massive Damage’

Dec 22

An anonymous reader writes: In a rare case of an online security breach causing real-world destruction, a German steel factory has been severely damaged after its networks were compromised. “The attack used spear phishing and sophisticated social engineering techniques to gain access to the factory’s office networks, from which access to production networks was gained. … After the system was compromised, individual components or even entire systems started to fail frequently. Due to these failures, one of the plant’s blast furnaces could not be shut down in a controlled manner, which resulted in ‘massive damage to plant,’ the BSI said, describing the technical skills of the attacker as ‘very advanced.’” The full report (PDF) is available in German.

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NASA ‘Emails’ a Socket Wrench To the ISS

Dec 22

HughPickens.com writes: “Sarah LeTrent reports at CNN that NASA just emailed the design of a socket wrench to astronauts so that they could print it out in the orbit. The ratcheting socket wrench was the first “uplink tool” printed in space, according to Grant Lowery, marketing and communications manager for Made In Space, which built the printer in partnership with NASA. The tool was designed on the ground, emailed to the space station and then manufactured where it took four hours to print out the finished product. The space agency hopes to one day use the technology to make parts for broken equipment in space and long-term missions would benefit greatly from onboard manufacturing capabilities. “I remember when the tip broke off a tool during a mission,” recalls NASA astronaut TJ Creamer, who flew aboard the space station during Expedition 22/23 from December 2009 to June 2010. “I had to wait for the next shuttle to come up to bring me a new one. Now, rather than wait for a resupply ship to bring me a new tool, in the future, I could just print it.”

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Watch Emily Blunt and John Krasinski prank Jimmy Kimmel’s SUV

Dec 21

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Jimmy Kimmel has a bit of a rivalry going with Emily Blunt and John Krasinski. Not like the “I’m on television, you’re on the radio” one he has with his former Man Show co-host Adam Carolla (who of course has more to do with cars than the last name he almost shares with a Toyota economy sedan). With Blunt and Krasinski, it’s more of a prank rivalry.

Continue reading Watch Emily Blunt and John Krasinski prank Jimmy Kimmel’s SUV

Watch Emily Blunt and John Krasinski prank Jimmy Kimmel’s SUV originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Army’s first surplus Humvee auction brings in $744,000

Dec 21

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The first public auction of surplus US Army Humvees has came and went, and to call it a rousing success would be a major understatement. Auctioneers IronPlanet Inc., unloaded 25 trucks on behalf of the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency.

Army’s first surplus Humvee auction brings in $744,000 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Analyst slashes Tesla sales forecast by 40% due to fuel prices

Dec 21

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While falling gas prices are cause for celebration among Americans, many of whom are seeing their budget for Christmas presents burgeon on account of the cheap fuel, it’s decidedly bad news for Tesla Motors.

Analyst slashes Tesla sales forecast by 40% due to fuel prices originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Valet mode captures joyride in red Corvette

Dec 21

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A man in California is among the first to catch a valet behaving badly in his 2015 Corvette using a controversial built-in recording feature.

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Valet mode captures joyride in red Corvette originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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A car writer’s year in new vehicles [w/video]

Dec 21

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Since I started writing about and reviewing cars in 2006, I’ve done an uneven job of tracking every vehicle I’ve been in, each year. Last year I made a resolution to be better about it, and the result is a spreadsheet with model names, dates, notes and some basic facts and figures.

Continue reading A car writer’s year in new vehicles [w/video]

A car writer’s year in new vehicles [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Seattle Police Held Hackathon To Redact Footage From Body Cameras

Dec 21

An anonymous reader writes: Hackathons are common these days, but you don’t often hear about events hosted by law enforcement. That’s what the Seattle Police Department did on Friday, with the solitary goal of finding a good way to redact the video streams taken by police body cameras and dash cameras. Seven different teams demonstrated solutions, but in the end, none thought automation could realistically handle the task in the near future. “The Washington State public records act requires that almost all video filmed by any government agency – including police – be disclosed upon request. The only real exception is for video which is part of an open case currently under investigation. However, various parts of the state code include other restrictions – the identity of minors cannot be disclosed. Requests from victims or witnesses who may be at risk if their identities are disclosed also must be honored. However in all such cases the video still must be released – it is just the faces or other potential identifying characteristics, which might include gender or even a person’s gait – which need to be blurred and redacted.” The city just started a pilot program for body-worn police cameras.

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