Friday, April 20, 2007

The 4 World Global Navigation Satellite Systems

By the end of this decade, the United States’ GPS constellation will not be the only Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) in operation. At least two other GNSS systems are in different phases of development, and when coupled with the continued miniaturization of GPS chipsets, they will help drive an entirely new generation of location-aware CE devices.

United States NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS)

GPS is funded by and controlled by the U. S. Department of Defense (DOD). While there are many thousands of civil users of GPS world-wide, the system was designed for and is operated by the U. S. military.
GPS provides specially coded satellite signals that can be processed in a GPS receiver, enabling the receiver to compute position, velocity and time.
Four GPS satellite signals are used to compute positions in three dimensions and the time offset in the receiver clock.


The Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) is based on a constellation of active satellites which continuously transmit coded signals in two frequency bands, which can be received by users anywhere on the Earth's surface to identify their position and velocity in real time based on ranging measurements. The system is a counterpart to the United States Global Positioning System (GPS) and both systems share the same principles in the data transmission and positioning methods. GLONASS is managed for the Russian Federation Government by the Russian Space Forces and the system is operated by the Coordination Scientific Information Center (KNITs) of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

European Union's Galileo positioning system

The upcoming European Galileo Positioning System is a publicly funded European satellite navigation system, which is to exist in parallel to America's Global Positioning System (GPS). It is meant to become operational in 2010.

When complete, the Galileo constellation of satellites will consist of 30 spacecraft, orbiting at more than 23,000km of altitude. It promises greater precision than the existing GPS system, as well as better coverage at higher altitudes. Along with its perceived value as an alternative to GPS - which is owned and operated by the American Department of Defense - the Galileo system is intended to have broad commercial applications, and to create more than 1000 jobs in Europe. The free Open Service is meant to offer accuracy of approximately 4m (compared to about 5m for GPS), while the encrypted Commercial Service will offer accuracy down to 1m for a fee. The system will also include an encrypted Public Regulated Service and Safety of Life Service, which are primarily meant to be used by security authorities and emergency services, as well as air traffic control systems.

Many, including The Economist newspaper, have questioned the value of spending approximately three billion Euros on a system that will essentially replicate the functioning of a system that already exists, and it already being upgraded at no cost to European taxpayers.

Beidou Navigation System

Beidou ('Big Dipper') was the satellite component of an independent Chinese satellite navigation and positioning system. This was to be achieved by launching a satellite constellation in stages during 2000-2010 while developing the relevant application systems. The end result would be a Chinese indigenous satellite navigation and positioning industry. Experimental launch of the first two indigenous Beidou navigation satellites was in 2000. Beidou began in 1983 with a proposal by Chen Fangyun to develop a Twinsat regional navigation system using two geostationary satellites. The concept was proven in 1989 in a test using two in-orbit DFH-2/2A communcations satellites. This test showed that the precision of the Twinsat system would be comparable to the American Global Positioning System. In 1993, the Beidou program was officially started. Beidou used the DFH-3 bus and had similar basic performance. The final Beidou constellation was to consist of four geosynchronous satellites, two operational and two backups.

Read more: Building a Multinational Global Satellite System: An Initial Look



Monday, April 16, 2007

6 new economics

1. Lawconomics

Ambitious legal thinkers have become mesmerized by moral philosophy, believing that great figures in the philosophical tradition hold the keys to understanding and improving law and justice and even to resolving the most contentious issues of constitutional law. They are wrong, contends Richard Posner in this book. Posner characterizes the current preoccupation with moral and constitutional theory as the latest form of legal mystification--an evasion of the real need of American law, which is for a greater understanding of the social, economic, and political facts out of which great legal controversies arise. In pursuit of that understanding, Posner advocates a rebuilding of the law on the pragmatic basis of open-minded and systematic empirical inquiry and the rejection of cant and nostalgia--the true professionalism foreseen by Holmes a century ago.

A bracing book that pulls no punches and leaves no pieties unpunctured or sacred cows unkicked, The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory offers a sweeping tour of the current scene in legal studies--and a hopeful prospect for its future.

The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory

Richard A. Posner

2. Butterfly Economics

Most economic theories treat people as rational agents who know what they want, and act to maximise their own utility. But real people aren't like that. They copy what other people do, they follow fashion, and when new products appear, they have to discover from scratch what their wants are. What would an economics that included this feature look like?

Ormerod's exploration of this question starts off with a simple model of foraging ants, that can choose to follow other ants, or chose to change their minds spontaneously. Such simple concepts can provide models that better describe observed economic behaviour than do the classical ones, but it has been infeasible to study them until now, because they require computer simulations to discover the results. What these new models demonstrate is that short term attempts to control the economy are doomed to failure, and government interventions are basically futile. But governments shouldn't worry -- Ormerod points out what they could be doing that would have long term benefits. He also has some delightfully acidic comments to make about classical economics, and economists, on the way.

Fun to read, and enlightening.

Butterfly Economics: A New General Theory of Social and Economic Behavior

Paul Ormerod

3. The Economics of Everyday Life

The short column length essays so as to create awake this volume primary appeared inside Business Week magazine and demonstrate intended for a well-liked audience how market incentives power person performance inside countless ways. The huge majority of populace are additional rational and create fewer mistakes inside promoting their own wellbeing than still well intentioned administration officials writes this impressive couple Gary won the 1992 Nobel intended for Economics

The Economics of Life: From Baseball to Affirmative Action to Immigration, How Real-World Issues Affect Our Everyday Life

A lighthearted approach to basic economics explains how to find order in everyday chaos, noting the economic impact of such daily decisions as recycling, driving through rush hour, entering relationships, and raising children.

Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life

4. The Long Tail

The future of our culture -- and most business -- lies in niches, according to author Chris Anderson. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, Anderson's new book, references a statistical trend to suggest that the market for items that are not "hits" will always be larger than that for the most popular items.

Anderson's position is that the Internet's ability to offer consumers a near-limitless choice of goods and information -- and archive it all cheaply -- will change how business is conducted. While "hits" will always exist, in Anderson's view the far larger number of products that fit a particular market or audience offer more opportunities.

The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More

5. Sexonomics

Sexual drives are rooted in biology, but we don't act on them blindly. Indeed, as the eminently readable judge and legal scholar Richard Posner shows, we make quite rational choices about sex, based on the costs and benefits perceived.

Drawing on the fields of biology, law, history, religion, and economics, this sweeping study examines societies from ancient Greece to today's Sweden and issues from masturbation, incest taboos, date rape, and gay marriage to Baby M. The first comprehensive approach to sexuality and its social controls, Posner's rational choice theory surprises, explains, predicts, and totally absorbs.

Richard A.Posner “Sex and Reason”

On the Economics of Marriage: A Theory of Marriage, Labor, and Divorce by Shoshana Grossbard-Shechtman

6.  Hubbert peak theory

With his classics of social commentary The Geography of Nowhere and Home from Nowhere, James Howard Kunstler has established himself as one of the great commentators on American space and place. Now, with The Long Emergency, he offers a shocking vision of a post-oil future. As a result of artificially cheap fossil-fuel energy, we have developed global models of industry, commerce, food production, and finance over the last 200 years. But the oil age, which peaked in 1970, is at an end. The depletion of nonrenewable fossil fuels is about to radically change life as we know it, and much sooner than we think. The Long Emergency tells us just what to expect after the honeymoon of affordable energy is over, preparing us for economic, political, and social changes of an unimaginable scale. Riveting and authoritative, The Long Emergency is a devastating indictment that brings new urgency and accessibility to the critical issues that will shape our future, and that we can no longer afford to ignore. It is bound to become a classic of social science.

The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century by James Howard Kunstler


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Sunday, April 8, 2007

Guardian™ Missile Defense System for Commercial Airlines

Northrop Grumman Begins Operational Test and Evaluation of its Guardian Commercial Airline Anti-Missile System

For the Department of Homeland Security's Counter-Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (C‑MANPADS) Program, Northrop Grumman created a cross-industry team to migrate Northrop Grumman's existing, proven military directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) technology for commercial application. With over 40 years experience in protecting lives and aircraft from the MANPADS threat, Northrop Grumman leads the team in the design of the DIRCM system technology. Our team also includes an airline partner with more than 30 years of experience in modifying commercial aircraft to FAA standards. They are responsible for developing the aircraft modification design, installation, and certification. In addition, one of our partners includes a premier airline with worldwide operations, offering tremendous experience in developing operation, maintenance, and support plans commensurate with standard airline operations. Together, the Guardian™ System team works in close partnership with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate on all aspects of the program.

original here


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Friday, April 6, 2007

Ontario Coalition Against Discourtesy


Torontoist reader Brandon Teed sent us the above photo and asks:

I was walking to class the other day on University just south of College when I saw this sign. I ended up thinking about it all lecture and on the way home had to snap this picture. My question is, what's the deal with this sign? It seemed pretty proper and not any 'random protesting tactic sign.' Do you know any info behind it? Was is OCAP? Or was the City involved somehow? It has me wondering and pondering.
We've also received word of an identical sign by the park at Church and Queen, as well as one at Dundas Square that admonishes, "Please keep our streets clean: Over 818 people have to sleep on them."

This casts doubt on OCAP or the TDRC being behind the signs, as 818 was among the disputed figures that resulted from the City's Street Needs Assessment (i.e. The Great Homeless Count). And we're pretty confident it wasn't the City, even though the quiet and cleanliness would surely make their tallying easier.

Can any Torontoist readers help us out?

original here

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Watto's junkyard at North Hollywood

Watto's junkyard

Mounds of titanium and steel glinted in the afternoon sun, valves and pipes protruding in all directions like half-formed metal organisms.
In one corner of the warehouse was a twin of the Apollo command module engine that brought Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong back from the surface of the moon nearly 40 years ago. Nearby was the second-stage motor for a Saturn V, the most powerful rocket ever use

d in the U.S. space program.
Jonathan Goff, a 26-year-old rocket engineer, climbed atop a mound of titanium spheres once used to store highly explosive liquid oxygen rocket fuel and scanned the area for used rocket parts. "This is definitely a cool place," he said.
For almost five decades, Norton Sales Inc. in North Hollywood has been collecting the nuts, bolts and heat exchangers from the rockets that helped American astronauts shrug off the steely embrace of gravity.
This is where the bits and pieces of America's space program came to die.
Through most of its history, the space junkyard has served as part museum and part fantasy camp for wealthy collectors willing to plunk down thousands of dollars for a piece of an Apollo rocket. Some of its best customers have also been car customizers looking for cheap, spaceflight-grade hydraulic valves.

more here


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