The S&P 500 index finished lower on Friday for the ninth-straight session, its longest stretch of declines since December 1980. Stocks rose after the open as investors digested a strong report on October jobs growth. But they soon erased their gains as uncertainty surrounding next week’s presidential election rattled markets.
The S&P 500 SPX, -0.17% fell 3.44 points, or 0.2%, to 2,085.22, with consumer staples shares seeing the largest drop. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 41.84 points, or 0.2%, to 17,888.83, with Procter & Gamble Company PG, -1.76% and Travelers Companies Inc. TRV, -0.99% emerging as the biggest losers on the blue-chip gauge. Read the rest of this entry »
McDonald’s Japan’s new Texas Burger takes a Big Mac for its base but while it includes the three-part club-style bun it only comes with a single beef patty.
To be fair, the single beef patty in question is a Quarter Pounder patty rather than the standard Big Mac patty. The patty occupies the lower tier along with a slice of cheese and whole-grain mustard, while the top tier contains bacon, spicy barbecue sauce, and crispy-fried onions. The burger also differs from the Big Mac in that the bun is bereft of sesame seeds.
The price tag on the burger is 490 yen (~$4.71). It’s also available in a combo for 790 yen (~$7.60) Read the rest of this entry »
The massive siege on Dyn, a New Hampshire-based company that monitors and routes Internet traffic, shows those ominous predictions are now a reality.
“The complexity of this attack is because it’s so distributed. It’s coming from tens of millions of source IP addresses that are globally distributed around the world. What they’re doing is moving around the world with each attack.”
An unknown attacker intermittently knocked many popular websites offline for hours Friday, from Amazon to Twitter and Netflix to Etsy. How the breach occurred is a cautionary tale of the how the rush to make humdrum devices “smart” while sometimes leaving out crucial security can have major consequences.
Dyn, a provider of Internet management for multiple companies, was hit with a large-scale distributed denial of service attack (DDoS), in which its servers were flooded with millions of fake requests for information, so many that they could no longer respond to real ones and crashed under the weight.
Who orchestrated the attack is still unknown. But how they did it — by enslaving ordinary household electronic devices such as DVRs, routers and digital closed-circuit cameras —is established.
The attackers created a digital army of co-opted robot networks, a “botnet,” that spewed millions of nonsense messages at Dyn’s servers. Like a firehose, they could direct it at will, knocking out the servers, turning down the flow and then hitting it full blast once again.
The specific weapon? An easy-to-use botnet-creating software called Mirai that requires little technical expertise. An unknown person released it to the hacker underground earlier this month, and security experts immediately warned it might come into more general use.
Mirai insinuates itself into household devices without the owner’s knowledge, using them as platforms to send the sever-clogging messages even as the device continues to do its day job for its true owner. Read the rest of this entry »
Jennifer Ouellette reports: NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been spinning through space on its way to Jupiter for five years and 445 million miles, and now it’s less than 10 hours away from entering the gas giant’s orbit—the equivalent of a single rotation of Jupiter. If all goes well, scientists will finally be able to learn what lies beneath Jupiter’s turbulent atmosphere, examine its impressive magnetosphere, and possibly determine the composition of its core.
“If Juno gets hit even by a small piece of dust, it can do a great bit of damage,” he said. “We believe probability is incredibly low that Juno will hit dust or debris, but it’s not zero. Even a 10 micron particle could do some damage moving at the speed we’re moving.”
— Juno project manager Scott Bolton
But first, it’s going to have to execute a tricky 35-minute engine burn under the harshest conditions any NASA spacecraft has yet faced. And that has Juno mission scientists on edge today. They’ve modeled every scenario they can think of, and planned for every contingency. But as Juno project manager Scott Bolton said in this morning’s briefing at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, “This is the highest risk phase.”
“We’ve done everything humanly possible to make this mission a success, but it’s still a cliffhanger,” said Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC.
Thus far, the mission has gone off without a hitch, but plenty could still go wrong. For instance, what if the main engine doesn’t fire on cue to start the burn, so far from the sun? “We’ve fired the main engine twice successfully and the third time should be a charm,” said Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager. “But this is the first time we’ve ever fired the main engine at Jupiter. It’s make or break for us.”
Then there’s the intense radiation from Jupiter’s enormous magnetosphere. According to Heidi Becker, lead investigator for Juno’s radiation monitoring, this translates into millions of high energy electrons moving near the speed of light. “They will go right though the spacecraft,” she said. “It’s the equivalent of 100 million x-rays in less than a year for a human being if we had no protection.”
Juno’s polar orbit will avoid the worst of the radiation belts at the planet’s equator, but other high-intensity regions are unavoidable. Read the rest of this entry »
Startup Proposes to Land Payload of Scientific Gear on Lunar Surface Some Time Next Year.
The government’s endorsement would eliminate the largest regulatory obstacle to plans by Moon Express, a relatively obscure space startup, to land a roughly 20-pound package of scientific hardware on the Moon sometime next year. It also would provide the biggest federal boost yet for unmanned commercial space exploration and, potentially, the first in an array of for-profit ventures throughout the solar system.
The expected decision, said the people familiar with the details, is expected to set important legal and diplomatic precedents for how Washington will ensure such nongovernmental projects comply with longstanding international space treaties. The principles are likely to apply to future spacecraft whose potential purposes range from mining asteroids to tracking space debris.
Approval of a formal launch license for the second half of 2017 is still months away, and the proposed mission poses huge technical hurdles for California-based Moon Express, including the fact that the rocket it wants to use hasn’t yet flown.
But the project’s proponents have considered federal clearance of the suitcase-size MX-1 lander and its payload as well as approval of a planned two-week operation on the Moon itself to pose the most significant legal challenges to the mission.
After months of lobbying by Moon Express officials and high-level deliberations among various federal agencies led by the White House science office, the people familiar with the matter said, the company appears close to obtaining what it has called “mission approval.” Until recently, Moon Express faced a regulatory Catch-22 because there was no template for getting Washington’s blessing for what it proposed.
Official action coordinated through the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates U.S. rocket launches and is responsible for traditional payload reviews, could come as soon as the next few weeks, these people said. Read the rest of this entry »
APPL is still on track to log its worst performance in six years.
“Some of the bloom is off the rose. I think that’s a little bit unfair. We still think it’s a great story, we still think its going to have a good six months, but some of the excitement and momentum traders have backed off, probably in part because of a risk-off general attitude in the markets.”
However, the stock is still on track to log its worst performance in six years.
In 2008, Apple shares fell more than 50 percent. Since then, the stock has consistently risen 5 percent or more.
“We tend to see a little bit of a trail down in Apple going into earnings, we tend to see people be worried. And then we see the shares strengthen after the earnings are reported.”
Max Wolff, chief economist at Manhattan Venture Partners, said the stock’s lackluster performance this year is likely due to concern about the completion of the Apple car, sales of the new Apple watch and more risk-averse investors.
“Some of the bloom is off the rose,” Wolff said Friday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” “I think that’s a little bit unfair. We still think it’s a great story, we still think its going to have a good six months, but some of the excitement and momentum traders have backed off, probably in part because of a risk-off general attitude in the markets.”
However, Wolff said Apple’s third-quarter earnings report, which is scheduled for Oct. 27, could bring some of that excitement back. Read the rest of this entry »
Tonight’s the night — a rare blood moon total lunar eclipse.
And you can watch it all live, as the supermoon turns blood red tonight during a total lunar eclipse September 2015.
Others will be live streaming it as well (see the end of this post for links to your favorite blood moon (supermoon) lunar eclipse live streams and feeds.
The supermoon will rise at about 6:30 p.m. CDT across Alabama. (Get moonrise times for other locations throughout the United States here.) The lunar eclipse will begin at 8:07 p.m. CDT (or 9:07 p.m. EDT and 6:07 p.m. PDT).
The total eclipse will last over a hour and begin at 9:11 p.m. CDT (or 10:11 p.m. EDT or 7:11 p.m. PDT)
Not only will there be an eclipse, but the moon will also be about 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than usual — a supermoon.
Supermoons are not not rare. In fact this is the fifth one in 2015 alone. But Sunday’s moon will be the closest to Earth in all of 2015, coming within 221,753 miles of our planet.
Tonight’s supermoon is rare because of its timing with the total lunar eclipse. The last time it happened was in 1982, and the next time it will happen will be in 2033.
This eclipse will also bring about the fourth and final blood moon of a lunar tetrad that began in 2014. (A lunar tetrad is used to describe four total lunar eclipses in a row, separated by six lunar months or six full moons).
So it will be a skywatcher’s extravaganza. But what if the weather doesn’t cooperate?
There are many opportunities to view the eclipse online tonight.
The Marshall Space Flight Center plans to offer views of the eclipse from the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, the Fernbank Observatory in Atlanta and other locations across the United States.
Here are other places to view the eclipse as well: Read the rest of this entry »
On Friday, much of the world will have the opportunity to observe a Blue Moon: A somewhat rare occurrence that doesn’t have anything to do with the moon’s color.
During most years, the Earth experiences 12 full moons, one in each month. But some years, such as 2015, have 13 full moons, and one of those “extra” lunar displays gets the label of Blue Moon.
“The full moon appears to last for at least the length of one night, but technically speaking, it is an instantaneous event: It occurs when the sun, Earth and moon fall close to a straight line. It takes place at the same instant everywhere in the world, whether the moon is above or below the horizon.”
The lunar or synodic month (full moon to full moon) averages 29.530589 days, which is shorter than every calendar month in the year except for February. Those extra one-half or one-and-one-half days accumulate over the year, causing some years to have 13 full moons rather than 12.
To see what I mean, here is a list of full-moon dates in 2015: Jan. 5, Feb. 3, March 5, April 4, May 4, June 2, July 2, July 31, Aug. 29, Sept. 28, Oct. 27, Nov. 25 and Dec. 25. In 2016, the first full moon falls on Jan. 23, and each calendar month has only one full moon.
The expression “once in a blue moon” has a long history of being used to describe rare events; but it was also used in the Maine Farmers’ Almanac to describe the third full moon in a season that has four (normally, a three-month season will only have three full moons).
In 1946, Sky & Telescope magazine published an article that misinterpreted the older definition, defining a Blue Moon as the second full moon in a calendar month. This has become the most recent and perhaps most widely accepted definition of a Blue Moon. And hence, the full moon on July 31 is referred to as a Blue Moon, because it was preceded by the full moon on July 2. By this definition, a Blue Moon occurs roughly once every 2.7 years. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON — Jeff Foust writes: The failure of a Russian Progress spacecraft to deliver cargo to the International Space Station is unlikely to have a significant near-term effect on station operations, but will place a greater burden on upcoming resupply missions and could alter the cargo those missions carry.
A Soyuz-2.1a rocket carrying the Progress M-27M spacecraft lifted off on schedule from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:09 a.m. Eastern time April 28. The launch appeared to take place normally, putting the spacecraft on track to dock with the ISS about six hours later.
However, shortly after the Progress reached orbit, controllers reported that two antennas used as part of the spacecraft’s docking system failed to deploy properly. NASA initially announced that the docking would be delayed until early April 30 to give engineers time to resolve the antenna problem.
“Roscosmos announced that the Progress will not be docking and will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere here some days in the future.”
— NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, April 29, 2015
Within hours, though, it was clear the problem with the Soyuz was more serious than a faulty antenna. The spacecraft entered a roll, and Russian controllers reported problems maintaining communications with the spacecraft. NASA announced later April 28 that it had called off an attempted April 30 docking.
The U.S. Air Force’s Joint Space Operations Center, tracking the Progress, said in an April 28 statement that the spacecraft was rotating “at a rate of 360 degrees every five seconds,” or 12 RPM. The Air Force also reported tracking 44 pieces of debris in the vicinity of the Progress and its Soyuz upper stage, but could not determine from which object the debris originated.
NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos ruled out any attempt to dock the Progress with the ISS on April 29. “Roscosmos announced that the Progress will not be docking and will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere here some days in the future,” NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, currently on the station, said in an interview on NASA Television April 29.
The cause of the Progress failure, including whether it is a flaw with the spacecraft or its launch vehicle, is unclear. Roscosmos, in an April 29 statement, said telemetry from the Progress was interrupted 1.5 seconds before the Progress was scheduled to separate from the Soyuz upper stage. When contact was restored after separation, the spacecraft was in a spin.
With no ability to control the spacecraft, the Progress’s orbit will decay and the spacecraft will reenter some time in early May. Holger Krag, head of the European Space Agency’s Space Debris Office, said April 30 that he estimated the Progress would reenter on May 9, with a margin of error of two days.
Most of the spacecraft will burn up in the atmosphere. “However, we cannot exclude the chance that some portion of its structure, for example the heavy docking mechanism or tanks and thrusters, could survive reentry to reach the surface,” Krog said. Read the rest of this entry »
PopMech Editors: Say hello to the shortest lunar eclipse of the century. These stunning photos capture the blood moon as captured over Colorado, China, and New Zealand. For more, check out our original post on the early morning event.
It’s easy to forget that there is an endless, unexplored space beyond our tiny planet Earth.
This new video from All Time 10s is packed with tons of fun facts about outer space, touching on some the of strangest objects humans have discovered there — like zombie stars and metal worlds.
Who knows what’s still out there?
Undocking coverage lasts from 6:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. EDT, while landing coverage is scheduled to run from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT
Mike Wall reports: NASA will test-fire the booster of its Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket today at 11:30 a.m. EDT (1530 GMT), and three astronauts will return to Earth from the International Space Station in the evening. You can watch the space action live on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV.
“What’s impressive about this test is, when ignited, the booster will be operating at about 3.6 million pounds of thrust, or 22 million horsepower. This test firing is critical to enable validation of our design.”
— Alex Priskos, manager of the SLS Boosters Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama
The SLS rocket booster test takes place at the facilities of aerospace firm Orbital ATK in Promontory, Utah, with webcast coverage beginning at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT). There will be no spaceflight involved: Engineers will fire the 177-foot-long (54 meters) booster for two minutes on the ground, in a horizontal configuration.
“What’s impressive about this test is, when ignited, the booster will be operating at about 3.6 million pounds of thrust, or 22 million horsepower,” Alex Priskos, manager of the SLS Boosters Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, said in a statement. “This test firing is critical to enable validation of our design.”
Another booster test is planned for early 2016, NASA officials said.
The SLS will incorporate two of the five-segment boosters, as well as four RS-25 engines, on its first two flights, which will be capable of lofting 70 metric tons of payload to low-Earth orbit (LEO). NASA intends to scale the rocket up to deliver 130 metric tons to LEO, to enable manned missions to faraway destinations such as Mars. The first SLS flight is currently scheduled for 2018.
This evening, NASA astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova will wrap up their nearly six-month-long mission aboard the International Space Station and come back down to Earth. Read the rest of this entry »
Sun’s Solar Flares Captured on NASA Video
The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 7:24 p.m. EST on Dec. 19, 2014. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however — when intense enough — they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer
Gritty 1970s pictures show New York City in decline as crime soared a hundreds of thousands fled to the suburbs
From the Daily Mail Reporter: The 1970s are considered a low point for New York City. More than 820,00 people fled the crime and an unreliable transit system over the course of the decade, moving from the city to the suburbs. The city went nearly bankrupt as Wall Street sputtered under the economic stagnation of the era.
Photographer Leland Bobbe captured the gritty, sometimes desperate nature of the men and women who populated New York in the 1970s.