Category Archives: Points of Information

An Early Warning System for Asteroid Impact

In a paper posted tonight on the Los Alamos astro-ph website, an astronomer is proposing an early warning system for asteroid impact. Key quote from the abstract:

This system, dubbed “Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System” (ATLAS), comprises two observatories separated by about 100km that simultaneously scan the visible sky twice a night, and can be implemented immediately for relatively low cost. The sensitivity of ATLAS permits detection of 140m asteroids (100 Mton impact energy) three weeks before impact, and 50m asteroids a week before arrival. An ATLAS alarm, augmented by other observations, should result in a determination of impact location and time that is accurate to a few kilometers and a few seconds.

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Watching the Deep Impact flyby of Hartley 2

Watch the Deep Impact flyby of Hartley 2 this instant (11:06 AM eastern)! The images are incredible. Update: The fly-by is over, but the live stream is still available (as of 11:30 am Eastern), showing some of the images taken. The comet itself is a peanut-shaped object about two miles long, with a jet of water coming out one end.

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Overhaul of NASA’s Deep Space communication system completed

NASA has completed a significant upgrade of its Deep Space communication system. These unheralded antennas and the engineers who maintain them make it possible for scientists to communicate with the far flung planetary probes in orbit around Venus, Mars, and Saturn, as well as the spacecraft visiting comets or traveling beyond the edge of the solar system.

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Anti-American propaganda from the National Endowment for the Humanities

Anti-American propaganda from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Key quote:

In my thirty years as a professor in upper education, I have never witnessed nor participated in a more extremist, agenda-driven, revisionist conference, nearly devoid of rhetorical balance and historical context for the arguments presented.

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Poll numbers suggest largest Republican victory in generations

Gallup poll numbers suggest tomorrow’s Republican victory could be the largest in generations, and could exceed all predictions. Key quote:

It should be noted, however, that this year’s 15-point gap in favor of the Republican candidates among likely voters is unprecedented in Gallup polling and could result in the largest Republican margin in House voting in several generations. This means that seat projections have moved into uncharted territory, in which past relationships between the national two-party vote and the number of seats won may not be maintained. [emphasis mine]

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