Wednesday, December 31, 2003  [!]
Just stumbled upon, a site that's following all of the Mars missions (still nothing from Beagle).

Also, since the Mars Exploration Rover (landing due Saturday) is happening out of Pasadena-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory, another news source is the Pasadena Star News (which is also covering the Rose Parade. Alas, this respiratory crud prevented me from going to Rose float judging this morning.)

Went to a dessert thingie a coupla weeks ago; one of fellow attendees is the guy in charge of the very-low-frequency radar that's riding on Mars Express (the orbiting spacecraft that's coupled with the Beagle); I think he was on NPR, will try to find the link. Intersting tidbit re: that interview. he spoke in highly-qualified scientist speak: "If we're lucky, we'll be able to get readings down to 2 or 3 km below the surface of the planet." (italics were edited out; those NPR guys edited out all the qualifiers. Also I have to go back and double check the actual depth)

Mission status for MER-Spirit as of 29 December: one of final course-corrections went flawlessly.

Other Beagle scuttlebut (I just report what I hear from Doc M and those who know more than I do): Beagle was built on a shoestring. There are no backup systems aboard. So any single point of failure would doom it. Like old Christmas lights, if one goes out, the rest go out. In contrast, The Mars Rovers have backup systems built into them.

Speaking of built into them, I was poking around through old pictures, and saw the ones that I took of the Mars Rovers being built (scroll down a bit). Yes, on a JPL family-day tour, I got to see them being worked on in the clean room. And yes, it dawned on me that those... those... robots were headed to our planetary neighbor. Now that MER-1 Spirit is about to land, it's a kick to think that I saw it when.

12/31/03; 4:32:47 PM | Space | Discuss | # | |

12/31/03; 4:13:12 PM | Space | Discuss | # | |

The company: VoteHere Inc of Bellevue, WA.

The intruder accessed internal documents and may have copied sensitive software blueprints that the company planned eventually to disclose publicly.

Chief executive Jim Adler said VoteHere was confident it knew the identity of its hacker and had already turned over "megabytes of evidence" to the FBI and Secret Service. It also repaired the hole in its computer network the intruder used to gain entry in October over the Internet, he said.

This is interesting:

Adler would not identify the company's chief suspect but said he thinks the person was linked to the debate over the security of electronic voting. The same individual may be tied to the theft in March of internal documents from Diebold Election Systems of Canton, Ohio.

"We caught the intruder, identified him by name. We know where he lives," Adler said. "We think this is political. There have been break-ins around election companies over the last several months, and we think this is related."

UPDATE: Bev Harris at BlackBoxVoting (Dec 31 story; no permalinks, so you'll have to scroll or something later on) says something doesn't ring true (Diebold wasn't a hack; one instance was access to public FTP site, the other was a leak from an internal person).

I've had dealings with both the Diebold memo leaker and this supposed "VoteHere" hacker. The second person is NOT the same as the first. I am dead-certain of this. [Read More, including her accounts of dealings with the "hacker"]

12/31/03; 2:45:52 PM | Democracy | Discuss | # | |

Back from Christmas escapades. White Christmas (night) in the San Bernardino mountains. Have fotos of the place where the burn jumped the rim of the world highway. Burn smell very strong, even under a coupla inches of snow. Amazing, at Green Valley Lake, it was all untouched. Still lots and lots of dead trees up there. More fuel.

Caught respiratory crud on the weekend, am only beginning to dig out from under stuff. Hooray for Apple's Mail spam filters. Oh, say, is this New Year's Eve? I guess I've got some year-end tasks to attend to now that I have a slight bit of energy.

If I don't get to posting anything else here today, you all have a Happy New Year. Drink. Or drive, but don't do both.

12/31/03; 1:37:20 PM | My Life | Discuss | # | |