Kepler Launch in 2009 NASA – On Launch Pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, United Launch Alliance’s Delta II rocket carrying NASA’s Kepler spacecraft rises through the exhaust cloud created by the firing of the rocket’s engines. Liftoff was on time at 10:49 p.m. EST on March 6, 2009.
Kepler is a space-borne telescope designed to search the nearby region of our galaxy for Earth-size planets orbiting in the habitable zone of stars like our sun. The habitable zone is the region around a star where temperatures permit water to be liquid on a planet’s surface. The challenge for Kepler is to look at a large number of stars in order to statistically estimate the total number of Earth-size planets orbiting sun-like stars in the habitable zone. Kepler will survey more than 100,000 stars in our galaxy. Image credit: NASA, Regina Mitchell-Ryall and Tom Farrar
npr/Brookings – At issue is whether police need to have a warrant from a judge before attaching a secret GPS monitor to a car to track a suspect around the clock.
“The relevant constitutional text is the Fourth Amendment, which says, ‘The right of the people to be secure in their houses, persons, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated,’ ” he says. “But that doesn’t answer the question: Is it an unreasonable search of our persons or effects to be monitored in public spaces?”
…a court or Facebook’s lawyers might say, ‘… The Constitution has nothing to say … and there’s nothing anyone can do about it except not go outside because Facebook is unregulated.’ I think that helps crystallize the fact that at the moment, lawyers at Facebook and Google and Microsoft have more power over the future of privacy and free expression than any king or president or Supreme Court justice. more> http://tinyurl.com/d39wab2
By Laurence Copeland – Quietly, without any official recognition of the fact, the ECB has taken charge of the situation and is now effectively running fiscal policy for most of the euro zone by simply buying enough Greek, Italian, Spanish and maybe French bonds to keep yields from going too high, but not buying so many as to reduce yields to anything like comfortable levels.
Is fiscal integration meant to involve some kind of democratic political control of fiscal policy? If so, one can only wonder what sort of voting scheme can be invented to give the thrifty euro zone members a permanent overwhelming majority? Perhaps QMV – Qualified Minority Voting? more> http://tinyurl.com/7pwdgd6
By Geoffrey Orsak – The production of physics degrees is but one reason to maintain the existence of physics programs. Even with the longstanding federal funding for physics programs, our country has never produced much more than 6,000 physics graduates a year. Yet the entire enterprise of modern science, engineering, and medicine requires strong and available physics departments to teach the extensive physics curricula required by nearly every technical discipline.
With so much concern over the cost of higher education, this is a trend (closing undergraduate physics programs) that just might be catching on. According to numerous reports, Governor Rick Scott of Florida is already considering a similar move. Is your cash-strapped state far behind? more> http://tinyurl.com/6sv8byr
H.R. 674 [112th]
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the imposition of 3 percent withholding on certain payments made to vendors by government entities, to modify the calculation of modified adjusted gross income for purposes of determining eligibility for certain healthcare-related programs, and for other purposes
H.R. 822 [112th]
National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011
S. 1253 [112th]
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012
S. 968 [112th]
Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011
H.R. 3162 [107th]
Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001