Airbus seeks new talks with European nations over A400M costs | Reuters


Hailed at the time as an innovative, fixed-price deal, the contract foundered over problems with the West’s largest turboprop engines and an over-ambitious schedule for ground-hugging navigation and other military capabilities.

Tom Enders, who is said to privately regret not canceling the project before the bailout in 2010, declined to say if Airbus would threaten to stop building the plane. He described the new penalties as “inappropriate” given that the A400M was already deployed in Africa and elsewhere.

Source: Airbus seeks new talks with European nations over A400M costs | Reuters

SpaceX’s Launch This Weekend Is a Monument to Space Capitalism—Just Ask NASA | Nextgov.com


Emphasizing the freedom NASA’s commercial partners have to work in their own KSC (Kennedy Space Center) areas, Robert Cabana says that during the Space Shuttle era, launch sites were governed by some 2,200 safety requirements.

He asked his team to strip down the rules, eliminating best practices, and came up with just 500 core safety requirements for NASA launches. But at commercial launch sites, there are only 55 safety requirements. “Requirements are costly,” Cabana says.

This underscores perhaps the single biggest difference between NASA and its commercial partners: risk tolerance. NASA likes to have next to none, and pays for it, while the companies tend to embrace calculated risk as a way to iterate and learn while still developing their products.

Sometimes that’s all too apparent: Pad 40 is still undergoing reconstruction after a Falcon 9 caught fire during fueling in Sept. 2015.

This clash of philosophies is playing out as Boeing and SpaceX work to have their rocket and spacecraft designs certified for human flight by NASA.

Source: SpaceX’s Launch This Weekend Is a Monument to Space Capitalism—Just Ask NASA – Nextgov.com

I’ll Never Bring My Phone on an International Flight Again—Neither Should You | Nextgov.com


A few months ago, I wrote about how you can encrypt your entire life in less than an hour.

Well, all the security in the world can’t save you if someone has physical possession of your phone or laptop, and can intimidate you into giving up your password.

.. On his way through through the airport, Customs and Protection Patrol agents pulled him aside. They searched him, then detained him in a room with a bunch of other people sleeping in cots. They eventually returned and said they’d release him if he told them the password to unlock his phone.

Source: I’ll Never Bring My Phone on an International Flight Again—Neither Should You – Nextgov.com

New York DA to Trump: Have Our Backs Against Cop-proof Encryption | Nextgov.com


New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance argued in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that Congress was essentially abandoning its responsibility to balance privacy and national security and delegating that authority to tech firms like Apple and Google.

Vance expects fights over such end-to-end encryption systems to return during the Trump administration and he’s hoping the Trump team will have his back in the fight.

Source: New York DA to Trump: Have Our Backs Against Cop-proof Encryption – Nextgov.com

Rosetta: How Pyrocon, a failed Japanese space mission, lucked into helping the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission | Quartz


Procyon’s problems started twelve days after its 2014 launch.

A software bug caused a malfunction in one of the valves regulating the pressure of xenon, an easily ionized gas commonly used as propellant in ion thrusters. Another bug caused one of the engine control units to freeze each time a string of commands bigger than 256 kb was transmitted from Earth.

Then a valve started leaking. More and more issues started to crop up, raising doubts about the validity of the mission’s super-fast development and testing process.

Despite the ground team’s efforts, the seemingly fatal blow came in mid-March 2015 when Procyon’s ion engine broke down …

Source: Rosetta: How Pyrocon, a failed Japanese space mission, lucked into helping the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission — Quartz

How the price of paint is set in the hearts of dying stars | Medium


The magic property is what’s called “angular momentum,” which basically measures how fast these outermost electrons are rotating around the nucleus.

Electrons in atoms get angular momentum only in fixed increments (there’s that quantum mechanics again, only fixed increments allowed) and for historical reasons, the first few increments are named “s,” “p,” “d,” and “f.”

On the periodic table, the elements whose outer electrons are “s” form the two tall leftmost columns; the “p” elements are the big square on the right; the “d” elements are the big block in the middle; and the “f” elements are the two rows off at the bottom.

(If we ever make element 121, it would be the first “g” element.)

Source: How the price of paint is set in the hearts of dying stars – Medium

Deleting Uber is the least you can do | Medium


Uber is what you get when you take Silicon Valley’s most toxic values, add billions of dollars in venture capital, and spice it with endless adoration from a fawning tech press. The resulting cocktail has turned as putrid as it’s been potent.

And the inebriated corporate culture of Uber is acting as reckless and callous as a dangerous drunk.

I’m sure it didn’t start out this way. It never does. They were up against entrenched interests keen to keep a shoddy on-demand transportation system in place for another century.

There are simply too many people who have either actual money at stake, or correlated investments on the line, to expect much internal pressure from Silicon Valley for Uber to change its ways.

Source: Deleting Uber is the least you can do – Medium

Why Amazon Is The World’s Most Innovative Company Of 2017 | Fast Company


Despite all the twists and surprises in recent decades—all the newcomers with youth, funding, and can-do enthusiasm—Amazon remains the undisputed leader, a startup at heart still striving to remake our expectations. And to repeatedly remake itself.

Nearly all of Amazon’s most recent innovations share a connection to Prime, which by some estimates accounts for 60% of the total dollar value of all merchandise sold on the site. Between 40 million and 50 million people in the United States use Prime, and, according to Morgan Stanley, those customers spend around $2,500 on Amazon annually, more than four times what nonmembers spend.

Source: Why Amazon Is The World’s Most Innovative Company Of 2017 | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Toshiba seeks $8.8 billion for chip unit stake as banks fret over risks | Reuters


Its willingness to relinquish so much of the unit underscores not only the depths of its financial woes but also resignation on the part of management to becoming a much smaller company.

The sale “is the best and the only way Toshiba can raise a large amount of funds and wipe out concerns about its credit risk,” said the source, adding that the sale should be completed by the end of March next year.

Source: Toshiba seeks $8.8 billion for chip unit stake as banks fret over risks | Reuters

Raytheon continues radar dominance | Washington Technology


For several years, Raytheon Co. has racked up award after award to develop and now deploy a sophisticated radar system for the U.S. Air Force. Known as the Cobra King and Gray Star radar, the system is actually two different types of radar that are then combined on the back-end by a common computer system.

The company has been working on Cobra King and Gray Star since at least 1999 when it won its first development contract for the system.

Source: Raytheon continues radar dominance — Washington Technology