Friday, January 25, 2008

Only 37,000 Years Will Tell

AP reported today that an asteroid, "2007 TU24" which is between 500 feet and 2,000 feet long, will pass by Earth at around 300,000 miles away. Though this sounds like a large distance to us puny humans, if you look at it on a galactic scale, that is a near miss—1.4 times the distance of the moon from the Earth. As a matter of fact, an asteroid of that size passes near Earth every 5 years, and strikes Earth once in about every 37,000 years. Luckily, no known asteroid of 2007 TU24's size or larger is expected to pass this close to Earth again until 2027.

Supposedly the asteroid will be viewable in dark and clear skies with amateur telescopes of 3 inch apertures or larger, so keep your eyes to the sky on January 29th at 08:33 UT.

For more information, read this Discovery News article.
See an interactive illustration.

Another asteroid is projected to pass Mercury the following (Earth) day. This one is to pass within 16,000 miles of the inner-most planet. Early models showed a 1 in 25 chance of Mercury being struck by the asteroid but now the odds are 1 in 10,000.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Greener Gadgets

Friday, February 1st, 2008, CEA, inhabitat and other partners are sponsoring the first Greener Gadgets Conference at McGraw-Hill Conference Center in New York City. The intent of the conference is to bring visibility to designing for sustainability, product life cycle management, take-back and recycling programs, energy efficiency, greener materials, and green lifestyle and product marketing. The conference will also showcase a prototype green office and exhibits from leading green technology companies.

Engadget is giving away 5 tickets to the sold out conference. You can register here, but Engadget claims that they are going to verify that you can actually attend before giving away the tickets. So, make sure the date and place is doable before signing up. The deadline is this Sunday, the 27th.

Join me in signing up, we could all use a little more knowledge when it comes to going green.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

WiFi Everywhere?

According to an Ars Technica article today, American Airlines is adding WiFi Internet access to their transcontinental flights. This will be achieved by three antennas attached to the plane that receive the signal from nearly 100 cellular towers across the United States. The signal will then be evenly dispersed through the plane's cabin by access points installed on the cabin's ceiling. The service is expected to cost ticker holders $10.

This kind of news makes me feel warm all over. There is nothing more depressing than being unable to access the Internet when you're sitting around doing nothing. Although it has been years since I have regularly flown, I am very familiar with WiFi withdrawal. Now, if only Casco Bay Lines would get on the ball an install a similar service for commuters.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

WTT Epic Loot for Cold Cash

As the popularity and demand for Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) continues to skyrocket, interesting niches have come about along with some interesting issues. One of the largest of these new niches is the abundance of auction houses and stores for purchasing virtual gear, gold, or leveled players. With this virtual economy come issues that spread beyond the game. Mainly cheats, exploits and phishing. But, as the new book Exploiting Online Games points out, players are going out of their way to covertly make money off of the game software itself. This is certainly nothing new, but it is getting to point of becoming serious as developers don't have he infrastructure in places to pick gamers that are using exploits or bots out of the crowd of millions. It appears that the infrastructure that allows gamers' PCs to connect to a persistent world hosted on a server is also the source of this conundrum.

For more information, read this Security Focus article.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Lit to Split

When I began this blog, I never considered addressing the audience with an aside. My intentions were to be as formal as possible while hopefully invoking some thoughts in the readers and providing interesting links to more information. Yet, lately I have been silent in my blogging and wanted to let the readers know I haven't given up.

Christmas was closely followed by finals for me which took away my free time. In my career as an amateur writer I have stuck closely to the idea of writing everyday for ten minutes. Even if it is the same word over and over again (what a great blog that would make), it is important to keep on writing. That was part of the point of LiTechSci; to write a little everyday and keeping it within my greatest interests to make that easier.

So, going forward I am going to try to stick to that mentality. But, in order to do that my posts are going to be briefer to help make the frequency more possible. My focus will be to bring up an interesting subject, give my take, and post links that give further information. Enjoy.