The Week in Review
This week we learn that NASA may not have the space shuttle but they're keeping themselves busy, some computers are getting "Flame"d thanks to a new virus and Sony is downplaying the Wii U.
NASA Researches Dark Energy with Spy Satellite
If the used game debate is anything to go by, people have really mixed feelings about buying secondhand goods. One of the most common defenses of used games is that they're very affordable to people on a budget. Imagine, then, that your budget has been slashed and your favorite toy is about to break. NASA recently found itself in such a position, but the National Reconnaissance Office was there to help. Two space telescopes - just as big as the Hubble, but with better hardware - came into NASA's hands via the American intelligence organization. Instead of documenting the Earth below it, one of the telescopes will turn heavenwards to research dark energy, the theoretical substance that keeps the universe expanding at an accelerating pace. (Link)
"Flame" Virus Freaking Out Cybersecurity Personnel Worldwide
Despite what the delightful narrator from Fallout has to say on the subject, war is indeed changing. Incursions into the territory of a sovereign state no longer necessitate the use of spies and armies; technology has taken the mantle, leaving behind traces of code in the places formerly occupied by whispers and manila envelopes. The sneakiest weapon in this new kind of war is the data-stealing virus, and the world's all up in arms about one in particular this week: Flame. (Link)
NASA Compiles Stunning Transit of Venus Video
Astrophysicist and well-known badass Neil deGrasse Tyson once calculated that you couldcook a 16" pepperoni pizza in nine seconds on the surface of Venus. For what it's worth, the sun could similarly cook Venus - about 1,443,000 of it at once, if need be. These two galactic hotbeds converged in a rare cosmic ballet on June 5, 2012 when observers on Earth observed the transit of Venus across the sun. Using terabytes upon terabytes of photographs and videos, NASA compiled a video of the event, showing the sun's radiance across a spectrum of colors and Venus as a haunting, ephemeral silhouette. (Link)
Wii U Miiverse Will Use Human Screening
Gamers are, in my experience, prone to the desultory expletive, the occasional racial slur and the odd crudely-drawn phallus et scrotum combo. Their admirable determination to be base and awful to one another over the internet, no matter how hard service providers try to stop them, is legendary. So how does Nintendo intend to keep its Miiverse social network, which allows players to post drawings and scribbles they create on the Wii U's touch screen controller, clean and family friendly? According to Nintendo's chief executive, Satoru Iwata, Nintendo is going to use three separate systems. (Link)
Sony: Wii U Launch Lead Isn't Important
At least, according to Sony's Senior VP of Product Development and Worldwide Studios, Scott Rohde. When he was asked whether the fact Nintendo is well on its way to releasing the Wii U, while Sony has yet to announce a next-gen console would present any challenges, Rohde responded with an emphatic no. "Not at all. That's the simple answer," he told Joystiq. "In very similar fashion to the way I'm talking about game development, we have a very strong vision in what we believe we're gonna do for the next generation. And we're not talking about it at all yet."