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Elon Musk shares image of SpaceX’s Starship, says orbit likely in 2020

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Elon Musk spacex mars space colony habitats big falcon rocket spaceship  2x1Elon Musk and a SpaceX illustration of its Starship rocket on Mars.SpaceX; Kevork Djansezian/Getty; Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

SpaceX is taking major steps toward CEO Elon Musk’s ultimate goal to send humans to Mars.

Musk recently posted images on Twitter showing the construction of a prototype spaceship at SpaceX’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas. He captioned the photo simply, “Stainless Steel Starship.” 

Starship is part of SpaceX’s fully reusable Big Falcon Rocket system, which also includes a 219-foot-tall rocket booster that Musk calls Super Heavy.

The prototype being built is essentially a shorter version of the Starship spacecraft, though its diameter is full-size: 30 feet. The prototype of Super Heavy will be full-scale, Musk said.

In subsequent tweets, Musk also said there’s a “60% and rapidly rising” chance that the completed spaceship could launch into orbit by 2020. SpaceX executives had previously said the system could launch Starship into orbit sometime in 2020 or 2021, so Musk’s estimate suggest the system’s new design has helped the company stay on or ahead of schedule.

One of the biggest changes Musk made recently was the decision to construct Starship from a special stainless steel alloy instead of relying on carbon-fiber composite. Because of this, Musk said on Twitter, Starship could look like “liquid silver.” 

In total, the system is designed to launch 100 people and 150 tons of cargo to the surface of Mars. 

big falcon rocket bfr spacex scale dimensions measurementsOlivia Reaney/Business Insider

Musk has said the prototype could be ready for short, experimental launches called hops by March 2019. 

SpaceX’s ambitious timeline is to launch the first human voyage to Mars in 2024. Before then, though, Starship will have to successfully complete cargo-only missions to Mars and carry people around the moon.

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Putin wants his own private internet

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New Russian laws could soon isolate the country’s Runet from the rest of the internet as it seeks to tighten its grip on the information that flows in and out of the country.

A new bill, backed by President Vladimir Putin and Moscow lawmakers, is currently being pushed through parliament which would create a single command post from which local authorities can manage and even halt information flowing across the internet in Russia.

The country’s so called “Sovereign Internet” bill is being portrayed by Putin as a defensive response to the Trump Administration’s new cyber strategy that would allow the US to launch offensive measures against Russia and any other nation states known for committing nefarious activities online.

Andrei Soldatov, author of “The Red Web: The Kremlin’s Wars on the Internet”, told Bloomberg that he thinks the law isn’t aimed at foreign threats but at quelling civil unrest, saying:

“This law isn’t about foreign threats, or banning Facebook and Google, which Russia can already do legally. It’s about being able to cut off certain types of traffic in certain areas during times of civil unrest.” 

Sovereign internet

The law, currently in draft form, was co-authored by KGB veteran Andrei Lugovoi who’s wanted in the UK for the murder of a renegade agent, is actually a mixture of several bills, some of which have been in development for years.

According to Putin, the ultimate goal is to ensure that the Runet continues to function in the event that the US tries to block Russia from accessing the rest of the internet.

If the bill does pass, the country would install special boxes with tracking software at the thousands of exchange points that link it to the rest of the web. These units would feed data into a central nerve center from which regulators could analyze web traffic and reroute traffic that they do not deem appropriate for the Russian populace.

Russian censorship has grown stronger in recent years and if Putin has his way, the country’s internet will soon resemble that of China’s where access to the outside web is blocked by the Great Firewall.

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The Internet Has Become A ‘Completely Out-Of-Control Monster,’ Warns Successor Of Man Who Created It

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Nearly 30 years ago a group of scientists at a Swiss physics institution came up with a novel idea to share data and work between themselves across the globe. The groundbreaking concept was the brainchild of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, whose vision for a “decentralized information management system” eventually gave birth to the world wide web.

Fast forward three decades and the internet has invaded all corners of the globe and governs all areas of life. It has become a power without equal. Some have suggested it has become a Frankenstein’s monster which needs to be reined in, and fast

One such person is Francois Fluckiger, the man who would become Sir Tim’s successor at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

The Daily Mail reports that Fluckiger believes fake news, privacy threats, and online bullying have all conspired to turn the internet into a “completely out-of-control monster.”

When Sir Tim left CERN’s web team in 1994, Fluckiger picked up the reins. He has since retired, and although he has hailed the web as one of the three major inventions of the 20th century, he believes it has morphed into something almost unrecognizable from its early days.

“One has to ask oneself if we did not, in the end, create a completely out-of-control monster,” said Fluckiger.

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Bali’s silent day: No flights, internet on New Year

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Bali’s airport will close for 24 hours, the internet will be turned off and streets emptied as the island in Indonesia observes its New Year with an annual day of silence.

‘Nyepi’ begins at 6 AM on Thursday, clearing beaches and all public spaces of people except for special patrols to ensure silence is observed. For the second year, phone companies will turn off the mobile internet on the island, home to more than four million people.

Balinese will stay indoors, covering windows and keeping lights off for the day of reflection.

“A day of silence to mark Saka (Balinese calendar) New Year for us is an opportunity to restart life with a pure heart,” said Wayan Gota, a hotel manager in Kuta, one of the island’s tourist hotspots.

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