LONDON — Jeff Foust reports: A U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite retired in 2014 has suffered an apparent breakup, the second time in less than a year that a polar-orbiting weather satellite has generated orbital debris.
“The breakup, if confirmed, would be the second time in less than a year for a satellite in polar orbit. In February, the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 13 satellite exploded in orbit, creating several dozen pieces of debris.”
The Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) announced Nov. 25 that it had identified a possible breakup of the NOAA 16 satellite. The center, which tracks objects in orbit and warns of potential collisions, said it first detected the breakup at 3:41 a.m. Eastern time and was tracking an unspecified number of “associated objects” in the orbit of NOAA 16.
JSpOC said later Nov. 25 that the debris from NOAA 16 posed no current threat to other satellites in orbit. It added that it did not believe the debris resulted from a collision with another object, suggesting that NOAA 16 broke up on its own.
NOAA 16 launched in September 2000 with a planned lifetime of three to five years. The spacecraft continued to operate in a backup role until June 2014, when NOAA retired the spacecraft after an unspecified “critical anomaly.”
“A sudden temperature spike in that spacecraft led spacecraft engineers to conclude a battery in the spacecraft ruptured because of a design flaw. Seven other DMSP spacecraft have a similar design flaw.”
The breakup, if confirmed, would be the second time in less than a year for a satellite in polar orbit. In February, the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 13 satellite exploded in orbit, creating several dozen pieces of debris. A sudden temperature spike in that spacecraft led spacecraft engineers to conclude a battery in the spacecraft ruptured because of a design flaw. Seven other DMSP spacecraft have a similar design flaw. Read the rest of this entry »
US court has ordered conservation group Sea Shepherd to stay at least 500 yards away from Japan’s whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit banned the group from “physically attacking any vessel engaged by the plaintiffs”.
The court was responding to an appeal by Japan’s whalers, after an earlier case was rejected. The injunction remains in force until the court formally rules on the appeal.
The ruling by the court also bans Sea Shepherd from “navigating in a manner that is likely to endanger the safe navigation” of any whaling vessel.
Not all are unreasonable
By Theodore Dalrymple
The man who walks out of his house with a mind devoid of stereotypes is like the man who goes to the Antarctic without having inquired about the weather. But there is no such man: for even to know that the Antarctic exists is to know that it tends to be cold there. Our minds are necessarily full of stereotypes and we could not negotiate the world without them.
George Zimmerman is accused by his detractors of having acted upon a stereotype. He saw a young black man allegedly pursuing an erratic course in a gated community and he concluded that he was up to no good, that quite possibly or even probably he was a burglar on the prowl. If only he had kept another stereotype in his mind, things might not have turned out so disastrously: It was raining that evening and burglars do not like the rain. In fact, the principal cause of certain kinds of crime is clement weather, because the statistical association between such weather and those types of crime is the strongest known to me, stronger even than those between smoking and criminality (more than 90 percent of prisoners, at least in Britain, smoke), and between tattooing and criminality (an even higher percentage of white criminals are tattooed, except for those charged with fraud, embezzlement, etc.).
I first learned of the meteorological causes of crime on the walk that I took most afternoons for 15 years, between the hospital where I worked in the morning to the prison where I worked in the afternoon. It was about 600 yards, and on fine summer days up to six or seven cars parked on the way would have been broken into, the little shards of shattered glass sparkling, almost with the color of peridots, on the curbside. In winter, or in the rain, not a single car was ever broken into, and I was surprised that the police had not issued a warning to car owners to park their cars only in bad weather. Criminals may be tough, but they are not hardy.
Now, if George Zimmerman had realized this, it would have neutralized his alleged stereotype and the whole tragedy would not have occurred. He didn’t realize that it was unlikely (though not absolutely impossible) that the young man was on a criminal enterprise because he wasn’t hurrying to get out of the rain, as most true criminals would have done if they had been caught in it.