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Facebook withdraws changes February 18, 2009

Posted by Mike Trudeau in Technology, The Internet.
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The BBC and the Times have now both reported that Facebook admin have withdrawn the changes they made to the Facebook terms of service. Still, I’m leaving my privacy settings where they are.

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Facebook warning and Hubble/Kepler update February 18, 2009

Posted by Mike Trudeau in Space, Technology, The Internet.
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Before anything else, I recommend you go into your Facebook account and change your privacy settings. here is an article about Facebook’s recent changes to its terms of service (that thing you say you’ve read and understand before you get your account) that supposedly means Facebook permanently owns all the rights to your photos and notes etc. Here is Facebook’s reply, that claims no such thing. I still changed my privacy settings and you should too.

I came across this diagram to give you the idea of how much space junk is orbiting at what altitude, along with other functioning space objects like the Hubble. The accompanying article raises the point that even if there is no direct threat of debris hitting the Hubble or the ISS, there is still the risk that clouds of debris produced by the recent collision could prevent the upcoming Service Mission 4, scheduled for May 12 2009. The aim of the mission is to repair several of the telescope’s systems and install some new hardware that would hugely increase its abilities. Without this mission there would not be a lot of hope left for Hubble’s continuing operation.

Speaking of space telescopes, the BBC ran an article describing how the Kepler Space Telescope will work. I had no idea that the area of sky visible to the Hubble is only as much as would be covered by a grain of sand held at arm’s length! That’s tiny! In comparison, Kepler will be able to look at an area about the size of your hand at arm’s length. Also, its cameras are much more powerful.

The article says we can hope to see our first results within three months or so of launch, but that finding an Earth-sized planet will probably take several years. Now I know everything space-mission-oriented takes a long time, but I’m also very impatient…

The telescope is named after the father of celestial mechanics, Johannes Kepler. Basically he discovered a lot about planetary motion, which is captured in these beautiful and intricate mechanisms called orreries. Check’em out!