On July 20, 2015, NASA released to the world the first image of the sunlit side of Earth captured by the space agency’s EPIC camera on NOAA’s DSCOVR satellite. The camera has now recorded a full year of life on Earth from its orbit at Lagrange point 1, approximately 1 million miles from Earth, where it is balanced between the gravity of our home planet and the sun.
EPIC takes a new picture every two hours, revealing how the planet would look to human eyes, capturing the ever-changing motion of clouds and weather systems and the fixed features of Earth such as deserts, forests and the distinct blues of different seas. EPIC will allow scientists to monitor ozone and aerosol levels in Earth’s atmosphere, cloud height, vegetation properties and the ultraviolet reflectivity of Earth.
The primary objective of DSCOVR, a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Air Force, is to maintain the nation’s real-time solar wind monitoring capabilities, which are critical to the accuracy and lead time of space weather alerts and forecasts from NOAA. Read the rest of this entry »
Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin, who served on some of the Navy’s most sensitive intelligence gathering aircraft, faces several counts of espionage and other charges outlined during a Friday Article 32 hearing in Norfolk, Va.
Lin, originally a Taiwanese national before his family moved to the U.S., had a career as a signals intelligence specialist on the Navy’s Lockheed Martin EP-3E Aries II reconnaissance aircraft, several sources confirmed to USNI News.
Several sources familiar with the case told USNI News the country to which Lin passed secrets was China, however, few other details are known about the case given much of the evidence is classified.
The redacted charging documents say Lin allegedly transported secret information out of the country without permission and then lied about his whereabouts when he returned to duty. The charging documents allege he successfully committed espionage twice and attempted espionage on three other occasions.
In addition to the accusations related to transmitting secrets to a foreign power, Lin was also accused of violating military law by patronizing prostitutes and committing adultery. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
‘Maryland’ Crabs: ‘They’re All Born in Virginia’, Says Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.
“You know, Maryland talks about their crabs. And if anyone from Maryland is listening, I’m going to be very clear: All the crabs are born here in Virginia and they end up, because of the current, being taken there. So really they should be Virginia crabs.”
— Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe
His statement is not entirely false, though saying the current is the only reason some crabs migrate into the upper bay is questionable.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, male crabs tend to prefer fresher waters in Maryland and the bay’s upper tributaries, while females, especially spawning females, like the saltier waters of Virginia, near the mouth of the bay….(read more)
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is scrambling to assess the impact of a massive data breach involving the agency that handles security clearances and employee records, U.S. officials said Thursday.
A congressional aide familiar with the situation, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to discuss it, said the Office of Personnel Management and the Interior Department were hacked. A second U.S. official who also declined to be identified said the data breach could potentially affect every federal agency.
The White House was considering a public announcement of the breach Thursday night or Friday morning, the second official said.
The Office of Personnel Management is the human resources department for the federal government, and issues security clearances….(developing)
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
Tens of Thousands of Federal Workers on Extended Paid Leave
For The Washington Post, Lisa Rein reports: Tens of thousands of federal workers are being kept on paid leave for at least a month — and often for longer stretches that can reach a year or more — while they wait to be punished for misbehavior or cleared and allowed to return to work, government records show.
“It’s not authorized by any law. Bureaucrats are abusing it.”
— Sen. Charles E. Grassley
During a three-year period that ended last fall, more than 57,000 employees were sent home for a month or longer. The tab for these workers exceeded $775 million in salary alone.
“OPM has turned a blind eye to this, and it’s shameful. There’s no sense of urgency.”
— Debra Roth, general counsel for the Senior Executives Association
The extensive use of administrative leave continues despite government personnel rules that limit paid leave for employees facing discipline to “rare circumstances” in which the employee is considered a threat. The long-standing rules were written in an effort to curb waste and deal quickly with workers accused of misconduct.
While the employees stayed home, they not only collected paychecks but also built their pensions, vacation and sick days and moved up the federal pay scale.
And the comptroller general, the top federal official responsible for auditing government finances and practices, has repeatedly ruled that federal workers should not be sidelined for long periods for any reason.
“Six months went by, and we didn’t hear anything. You’re so anxious. You don’t know if you’ve got a job. You’re getting paid, but it’s no vacation.”
— Scott Balovich, who was put on administrative leave from his IT systems job at the NOAA in Alaska
But a report by the Government Accountability Office, first made public by The Washington Post on its Web site Monday, found that 53,000 civilian employees were kept home for one to three months during the three fiscal years that ended in September 2013. About 4,000 were idled for three months to a year and several hundred for one to three years. This is the first time the government has calculated the scope and cost of administrative leave.
Auditors found that supervisors used wide discretion in putting employees on leave, including for alleged violations of government rules and laws, whistleblowing, doubts about trustworthiness, and disputes with colleagues or bosses. Some employees remain on paid leave while they challenge demotions and other punishments.
“The Office of Personnel Management rule book lists dozens of reasons for allowing paid leave, such as donating an organ, house-hunting before a job transfer and attending the funeral of a relative in the military. Snow days also are permitted.”
While the employees stayed home, they not only collected paychecks but also built their pensions, vacation and sick days and moved up the federal pay scale. Read the rest of this entry »
Solution: Purchasing an Additional 141,160 rounds of Hornady Sniper Ammo Helps Ease Insecure Feelings, Inspires Trust, and Promotes Domestic Tranquility
Note: it’s not just DHS that’s stockpiling and doing massive ammo purchases. The U.S. Department of Education (what?) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are stockpiling ammo. Question: Why does N.O.A.A., and the Department of Education need to stockpile tons of hollow point bullets?
The Department of Homeland Security is buying more bullets with a solicitation for over 141,00 rounds of sniper ammunition. According to a solicitation posted on FedBizOpps, the federal agency is looking to procure 141,160 rounds of Hornady .308 Winchester 168gr A-MAX TAP ammunition. Such ammunition is sometimes retailed as “Zombie Max,” a marketing gimmick alluding to its power. “What makes the .308 ammunition so deadly is the long range capability of the round,” notes James Smith. “The ability is called ballistic coefficient, or the efficiency of a projectile in overcoming air resistance as it travels to its target.
Portuguese news reported the discovery of a very large under water pyramid first discovered by Diocleciano Silva between the islands of São Miguel and Terceira in the Azores of Portugal.
According to claims, the structure is said to be perfectly squared and oriented by the cardinalpoints. Current estimates obtained using GPS digital technology put the height at 60 meters with a base of 8000 square meters. The Portuguese Hydrographic Institute of the Navy currently has the job of analyzing the data to determine whether or not the structure is man-made.
“The pyramid is perfectly shaped and apparently oriented by the cardinal points”
The pyramid was found in an area of the mid-Atlantic that has been underwater for about 20,000 years. Considering this is around the time of the last ice age where glaciation was melting from its peak 2000 years prior, whatever civilization, human or not, that was around before the ice age, could be responsible for building the pyramid.
Here is the Portuguese news report with English subtitles for those who wish to look into the authenticity of the claims.
Forecasters at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center said a coronal mass ejection (CME) arrived near Earth at 2:32 p.m. EST, Jan. 9, 2014, which initiated the start of a geomagnetic storm. Effects from the storm are expected to continue through January 10, with minor disruptions to communications and GPS.
Download here. (Credit: NOAA)
The sunspot in Region 1944 produced the eruption at 1:32 p.m. EST Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, and remains active and is well positioned to deliver more storm activity in the next several days. NOAA’s SWPC will continue to monitor the region for activity.
How space weather affects real-time technology
Economies around the world have become increasingly vulnerable to the ever-changing nature of the sun. Solar flares can disrupt power grids, interfere with high-frequency airline and military communications, disrupt Global Positioning System (GPS) signals, interrupt civilian communications, and blanket the Earth’s upper atmosphere with hazardous radiation.
Monitoring and forecasting solar outbursts in time to reduce their effect on space-based technologies have become new national priorities. And NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), part of NOAA’s National Weather Service, is the nation’s official source of space weather forecasts, alerts, and warnings.
Mark Tapscott writes: Being the end of December, journalists are scrambling to come up with fresh content for their sites during the slowest news period of the year.
That’s why readers encounter so many “Year in Review” and “Best of 2013” posts between Christmas and New Year’s.
In that spirit, here’s a YIR post that runs counter to a common theme in the liberal precincts of the mainstream media — there were fewer tornados in 2013, not more, as global warming advocates often claim.
Here’s what she during a May 21 floor speech following a devastating twister that killed 50 people in Oklahoma:
“This is climate change. We were warned about extreme weather: not just hot weather, but extreme weather.
“When I had my hearings, when I had the gavel years ago — it’s been a while — the scientists all agreed that what we’d start to see was extreme weather.
(Reuters) – The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which forecasters had predicted would be more active than normal, has turned out to be something of a dud so far as an unusual calm hangs over the tropics. Read the rest of this entry »