Your daily round-up of some of the other stories in the news
NASA to send probe to the Sun
Boldly planning to go where no human – or spacecraft – has gone before, NASA is to send a probe 93m miles to the Sun. The probe, which will launch next year, has been named the Parker Solar Probe in honour of Eugene Parker, the astrophysicist who predicted the stream of plasma that flows out from the sun and into space, the high solar wind.
The probe was announced earlier this week, but NASA said on Wednesday that it had decided to name the probe after Parker at a ceremony at the University of Chicago where Parker, who turns 90 in just over a week, is the S. Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus.
Parker said: “The solar probe is going to a region of space that has never been explored before. It’s very exciting that we’ll finally get a look. One would like to have more detailed measurements of what’s going on in the solar wind. I’m sure there will be some surprises. There always are.”
The probe is due to launch in July next year and will get as close as 3.9m miles from the solar surface, where it will have to withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Subway to get cellphone coverage
As any visitor to London – or native Londoner – knows, talking to other human beings is something of a taboo on the British capital’s subway system, known as the Tube. Chatting to another passenger is right up there with standing on the left of the escalator (that’s the side you use to walk up or down), not moving down inside the carriages to make room for others and stealing candy from babies.
So the news that it could soon be possible to have a mobile phone conversation on the Tube has predictably been greeted as one of the worst things possible by Londoners: Twitter users said it was a “truly horrific idea“, the “worst idea ever” and bemoaned “the horror“.
Tube passengers already have Wi-Fi at most stations – though not in the tunnels between stations – and the move to extend mobile connectivity to the network is the result of an initiative from the mayor, Sadiq Khan, who is due to invite bids from telecoms providers next week, said the FT.
Facebook warns of effect of new law
Facebook continued to push back against moves across the EU to curb the spread of fake news and hate speech earlier this week, criticising a new German law that could force Facebook and other social media providers to pay a fine of up to €50m if they don’t take down infringing content within 24 hours.
Facebook warned that the new law, which has been approved in Germany but hasn’t yet come into force, could mean legal content would be deleted, saying: “The draft law provides an incentive to delete content that is not clearly illegal when social networks face such a disproportionate threat of fines.”
The California company made the not unreasonable point to Engadget that the law “would have the effect of transferring responsibility for complex legal decisions from public authorities to private companies”, and added that it believes that the proposal isn’t compliant with EU law.
Catch up with all of today’s stories on Naked Security
5 comments on “News in brief: NASA sends probe to the Sun; subway gets phone coverage; Facebook pushes back”
Don’t quite see what your NASA report, interesting though it is, has to do with corporate and IT security!
I use the News in Briefs (Nibs) as a place to do stories that are interesting and geeky and perhaps a bit off the usual Naked Security track – it’s a bit of light relief. I love space stuff, so you’ll see those stories sneaking in. Glad you think it’s an interesting story: I think it’s amazing. One of my most vivid memories is watching the 1969 moon landings with my dad; I’ve loved space ever since.
Facebook – there is clearly a significant difference between the legal aspects of FB in the US and the EU. I can’t imagine that these differences are going to find an easy or quick solution. I therefore propose that the EU (including the UK) exclude FB and other US based social media companies and make them unavailable throughout Europe, and invite European companies to establish social media services based in Europe that comply with EU law. This will have the effect of transferring a substantial amount of economic value from the US to Europe, and that can’t be a bad thing, and will also satify President Trump’s ambition to reign in multi-national companies.
Let’s try this again after remembering to spell-check voice to text dictation. How embarrassing .
Trump has no interest in reining in multinational companies. Trump owns and loves multinational companies. The more multinational they are the easier it is to hide and obfuscate their actions, revenues, and tax liabilities. You don’t think that all of Trump’s Russian businesses are multinational? How sadly naïve.
No worries on phones in the London Tubes. If they are as noisy on turns as those in Chicago and New York, you wouldn’t be able to carry on a conversation anyway. The only use would be silent texting.