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Scott “marsroverdriver” Maxwell
45,453 followers -
I'm a pretty big wheel down at the cracker factory.
I'm a pretty big wheel down at the cracker factory.

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Well-written overview of why we drive carefully on Mars, with some nice details about the upcoming ExoMars rover.

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Surprise, surprise: Ajit Pai's FCC is using shoddy and deceptive arguments to argue for degrading your Internet service. The well-written article ends with a link where you can register your objections, or just go to http://gofccyourself.com and click "Express" (assuming the FCC's comment system is back up yet).

Via +Andres Soolo​.
Contact the FCC About Net Neutrality
"This analysis [by the FCC] is like saying that because someone built a bridge, they also created the entire city on far side of it. It’s absurd.... Anyone with a modicum of technical knowledge will find this interpretation truly wrongheaded and entirely incorrect. It’s hard to think of this as anything other than a willful misrepresentation of the facts."

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Computer programs are even more awesome when they date from 1840. Right: 1840.

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Simple fix: some enterprising prosecutor should file criminal charges against the heads of top ISPs such as AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, alleging that they defrauded investors when they told them that Net Neutrality regulations wouldn't hurt their network investment or their business. (And/or, as appropriate, that they failed to tell them that the regulations would hurt.)

Then the CEOs can decide whether they want to follow their companies' public lies into a federal prison cell, or whether they want to testify under oath that these regulations in fact do not harm their businesses.

The comfy situation they're in now is that they can tell the truth to investors (Net Neutrality doesn't hurt) but lie in other public statements (oh, woe, Net Neutrality is just killing us!) when they have no such fiduciary responsibilities. Then their little lapdog FCC head, Ajit Pai, cherry-picks the lies, with no consequences to the ISP CEOs.

Not that Pai would change his mind as a result of this court testimony; he's already made it clear that facts won't sway him. But it would be damned entertaining, that's for sure.

Meanwhile, be sure to register your pro-Net Neutrality comments at gofccyourself.com (click "Express"), whenever they open up commenting again. Your comments won't change Pai's mind, either. But we might as well make the evidence against his decision as weighty as possible.

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There's no other way to say it: this is telescope porn.

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Long-lived spacecraft offer chances to train many new engineers in the art of operations. Opportunity has offered a similar training ground. One twist on what Joan has experienced: different missions have very different cultures. Cassini is famously more argumentative, while Opportunity is considerably more collegial. I hope she gets a chance to experience both.

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The bad news: no SpaceX mission to Mars in 2018. The good news: maybe two such missions in 2020 instead. Musk was reportedly inspired to do this by the example of the twin Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity), which landed in 2004 -- and, of course, that twinning was inspired by the twin Viking landers in the 1970s.

Mars has lots of twins.

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At the behest of its corporate masters, who are eager to throttle and control what you're permitted to see and do online, the FCC is trying to kill Net Neutrality. If the issue seems familiar, it's because we won this fight last time -- but the FCC's new, citizen-hostile chairman Ajit Pai is busily rolling back all of the gains we made under previous chairman Tom Wheeler. So once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.

Here, national treasure John Oliver explains why this seemingly geeky fight matters and gives you a link to act.

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One of the fruits of Cassini's "let's do all the crazy shit" phase as it winds down its historic mission at Saturn: unusually close true-color images of the ringed planet. They're trickling in now, and they're just as gorgeous as you'd expect. Here we see a giant hurricane.

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If you've never been to the Mars Yard in person, here's your ticket. The Mars Yard is where you can try out risky maneuvers or new versions of flight software for the vehicles without risking the real rover -- a priceless and irreplaceable asset.

Via +Adafruit Industries​.
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