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   TBTF Log, week of 2000-02-20

This is the TBTF Log, week of 2000-02-20, an experiment in reporting important breaking news in a very timely way. The TBTF newsletter continues unchanged. The most recent issue is TBTF for 2000-02-06: Privacy at the boil.

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[Tue. 2000-02-20, 4:35 pm EST:] Looking for the article on WIMPs? Try here.

Saturday, February 26, 2000

2/26/00 12:49:04 PM

    Artist's conception of Cygnux X-3
  • Too quiet, White Man. The X-ray source Cygnux X-3 is about to blow. Last Thursday its radio emissions dropped dramatically and have stayed low; its hard-X-ray emissions have been minimal for the last month. The last time Cyg X-3 went nearly silent in both radio and hard X-ray, in 1997, a massive eruption followed.

    Cyg X-3 is believed to be a binary system within our own galaxy consisting of a neutron star or black hole orbiting a Wolf-Rayet star. The latter is a class of stars 7 to 50 times as massive as our sun that have blown off their outer layer of hydrogen; the resulting helium star features a vigorous stellar wind. All the electromagnetic activity happens in the accretion disk surrounding the collapsed junior partner of the binary system. During a major outburst, Cyg X-3 shoots X-ray jets in opposite directions from the poles of the accretion disk. We happen to be positioned looking right down the barrel of one of those polar jets.

    When Cyg X-3 blows this time, mankind will be ready and watching. NASA scientist Mike McCullough has been granted "target of opportunity" time to observe Cyg X-3 with the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, and the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer. McCollough and colleagues are now monitoring Cyg X-3 using instruments in West Virginia, Britain, Russia, and New Mexico. When the flare begins these instruments will be joined by the Very Long Baseline Array, which is effectively a radiotelescope as big as the earth.

Sunday, February 20, 2000

2/20/00 2:33:50 PM

  • A spam magnet. TBTF Irregular Steve Yost came across this clever use of Hypermail while browsing one of his sites' referrer logs. An outfit called Tinaa has set up a spam attractor. Here's the idea: when you sign up for some service on the Web that requires an email address, and you suspect that providing one might subject you to spam, use the address spam@tinaa.com instead. Then visit Tinaa's mail page from time to time to see what spam you've harvested.

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This venue represents an experiment in more timely and less "cooked" TBTF news coverage. You'll read here things that came through my desktop machine mere minutes before. The TBTF Log replaces the Tasty Bit of the Day feature.

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