European Space Agency’s spacecraft Rosetta, launched in 2004, wakes up from its deep-space hibernation tomorrow (January 20) and lands on a comet in August to unlock the mysteries of the oldest building blocks of our Solar System. To draw more attention to this significant event, ESA has made a Rosetta Facebook theme kit, as you can see above. More information & full post
At least that’s the verdict of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which today struck down a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order from 2010 that forced Internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner Cable to abide by the principles of network neutrality. These principles broadly stipulate that ISP network management must be transparent, and that ISPs can’t engage in practices that block, stifle or discriminate against (lawful) websites or traffic types on the Internet.
That’s the bare bones story, wrapped in ugly acronyms (FCC, ISP, etc.). But why should you care that network neutrality (“net neutrality”) may be gone for good?
1. No more net neutrality means ISPs can now discriminate against content they dislike.
Everyone gets their Internet from an Internet service provider — an ISP like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast or Time Warner Cable. Under net neutrality rules, these ISPs have to treat all content you access over the Internet “roughly the same way" — they can’t speed up traffic from websites they like or delay competitor’s traffic.
3. Destroying net neutrality is bad for small businesses.
Put together items one and two and it becomes clear — negating net neutrality is bad for small businesses. If ISPs force website owners pay for faster load times, tiny retailers and personal websites will be the ones to suffer from slower content delivery.
Alternately — or additionally — ISPs will have no reason not to favor partner sites: Time Warner Cable, for instance, might favor the website of CNN (owned by the Time Warner Corporation) over the websites of competing cable news networks MSNBC and Fox News. Still, it’s the indies again that will lose out here. While Time Warner Cable might favor CNN and Comcast MSNBC, independent news networks almost certainly won’t get special treatment from any ISPs. Expand this out to music sites, web publishing, etc., and you begin to see the problem.
4. Without net neutrality, entire types of online traffic (like Netflix) may be in jeopardy.
Netflix watchers and BitTorrent users might want to beware — soon your beloved services may not work like they used to. Now that net neutrality’s down for the count, ISPs can discriminate against entire types of traffic: For instance, an ISP could slow or block all peer-to-peer file sharing, or all online video streaming.
Think it sounds unbelievably stupid for an ISP to stifle a certain traffic types indiscriminately? Comcast has seen reason to stifle both streaming video and peer-to-peer in the past.
5. Without net neutrality, your ISPs can make even more money without actually improving the Internet.
Right now, America’s broadband is slow. It’s slow because ISPs can already make gobs of money by charging the rich a ton for high-quality Internet while leaving the rest of America with subpar (or no) service.
"Interplanetary Combatives Training (ICT) is the Systems Alliance’s premier school for leadership and combat expertise. The Interplanetary Combatives Academy, sometimes called "N-School" or "the villa," recruits officers from every branch of Earth’s militaries to partake in grueling courses at Vila Militar in Rio de Janeiro.
Initially, candidates train for more than 20 hours per day, leading small combat teams through hostile terrain with little sleep or food. Trainees who do well are awarded an internal designation of N1 and are invited to return. Subsequent courses - N2 through N6 - are often held off-planet and include instruction in zero-G combat, military free-fall (parachuting), jetpack flight, combat diving, combat instruction, linguistics, and frontline trauma care for human and alien biology.
The highest grade of training, N6, provides actual combat experience in combat zones throughout the galaxy. If the trainee survives these scenarios in “admirable and effective fashion,” he or she finally receives the coveted N7 designation. N7 is the only ICT designation that may be worn on field or dress uniforms.
There is little shame in failing an N course - the training is so extreme that even qualifying for N1 elevates an officer to a position of respect. The universal prestige of merely attending the academy helps to restrain trainees from taking excessive risks in pursuit of higher honors.
Although ICT qualification by itself does not guarantee higher rank, those officers who are able to complete the program are typically well suited to senior leadership positions.”