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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Moon orbiter successfully launched from Earth

A Japanese space probe bound for lunar orbit was launched early Friday on the first leg of a $480 million mission to search for answers to fundamental questions about the moon's enigmatic history.

The SELENE spacecraft flew into space bolted on the tip of an H-2A rocket, which released the 6,360-pound satellite about 45 minutes after blastoff. Japanese space agency officials declared the launch a success in a prepared statement a few hours later.

The rocket was targeting an egg-shaped orbit stretching more than 60 percent of the distance to the moon, according to the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency. Actual orbital figures were unavailable early Friday morning.

The launch sequence began with a fiery liftoff from Japan's Yoshinobu launch complex on Tanegashima Island at 0131:01 GMT Friday (9:31:01 p.m. EDT Thursday). Launch occurred in the late morning hours in Japan.

Plans called for SELENE to unfurl its solar panel and high gain communications antenna in the first few hours after spacecraft separation.

The Selenological and Engineering Explorer - or SELENE - is the first of four lunar explorers set for launch before the end of next year. Orbiters from China, India and the United States will soon join Kaguya at the moon.

The orbiter was nicknamed Kaguya after thousands of suggestions were submitted to JAXA by members of the public. The probe was named after a character in a popular ancient Japanese folktale.

SELENE is Japan's first probe to visit the moon since a technology demonstrator crashed into the surface in 1993.

SELENE will spend the next few weeks gradually raising its orbit during two engine firings. Scientists will also test the craft's systems to make sure they are working properly before arriving at the moon.

SELENE will fire its largest thruster to propel itself toward the moon after completing two-and-a-half circuits around Earth. The probe will slip into an initial elliptical polar orbit around the moon about 20 days after launch, according to JAXA spokesman Satoki Kurokawa.

The craft will slowly lower the apolune, or high point, of its path around the moon at an altitude of about 60 miles over the course of several weeks.

Two daughter satellites stowed aboard SELENE for the trip to the moon will be deployed at different points during the orbital maneuvers. One of the small satellites will be released in an orbit with an apolune of about 1,500 miles, while the other will separate at a lower orbital altitude of approximately 500 miles.

Called RSAT and VRAD, the eight-sided 110-pound satellites will work in tandem with the SELENE orbiter to probe the weak gravity field on the moon's far side for the first time. The small craft will also help study the lunar ionosphere by observing radio interference.

Officials expect SELENE to arrive in its operational orbit about 40 days after launch. A comprehensive two-month checkout of the mission's 15 science payloads is planned before the orbiter begins its observation campaign.

At least ten months of science activities are scheduled for SELENE, but the mission will likely be extended if the spacecraft is still performing well late next year.

Science objectives for the mission focus on uncovering mysteries about the origin and history of the moon. The probe will also help lay the groundwork for an onslaught of upcoming lunar missions.

Precise maps of mineral concentrations across the moon could be used to corroborate theories that material broke off from Earth to form the moon as a Mars-sized object crashed into the planet about 4.5 billion years ago.

A high-definition camera aboard SELENE will record high resolution video clips of the lunar surface and images of Earth rising above the moon's horizon. The camera features a telephoto lens to provide both wide-angle and zoomed-in imagery.

The camera will record the dramatic videos and later send the imagery back to ground stations for use in public relations and outreach activities. Japanese broadcasting giant NHK provided the camera to JAXA.

Other cameras on SELENE will provide global coverage of the moon in three-dimensional stereo imagery, a first for a lunar orbiter. The visible camera will be able to spot objects 33 feet across, according to JAXA.

SELENE's radar sounder will pierce the moon's soil to help create a map of the lunar subsurface to a depth of several miles. The radar returns will provide scientists clues about previous tectonic activity.

A laser altimeter will also precisely measure the moon's topography. Information about the terrain at the moon's poles could be helpful in developing plans to construct astronomical observatories on the lunar surface, according to JAXA.

Spectral instruments will be able to detect potentially high amounts of hydrogen near the lunar poles. Scientists consider hydrogen to be evidence of potential water ice deposits deep within large craters in the lunar polar regions.

SELENE could also contribute new information about the moon's tenuous magnetic field using a sensor mounted on the end of a 39-foot-long boom. Other instruments will collect data on the interaction between the solar wind and the moon.

JAXA officials say detailed information about the radiation environment at the moon will prove valuable in planning future human voyages.

Telescopes aboard SELENE will also focus on Earth during the mission to observe plasma scattered throughout the planet's magnetosphere.

JAXA is considering plans to mount a next-generation lunar mission, which may include a lander and rover to get a close-up look at the moon's surface. Launch of a potential follow-on mission is still at least a few years away, JAXA officials said.

The next launch for Japan's space agency is scheduled for this winter, when another H-2A rocket will haul the WINDS satellite into orbit to demonstrate Internet-based broadband satellite communication networks.



Japan says lunar orbiter launch a success

Japan's first lunar orbiter "Kaguya", launches from the Tanegashima Space Center off Kyushu Island. Japan's first lunar orbiter successfully blasted into space Friday on the largest mission to investigate the moon since the US Apollo programme began nearly four decades ago, the space agency said Japan's first lunar orbiter successfully blasted into space Friday on the most extensive mission to investigate the moon since the US Apollo programme began nearly four decades ago, officials said.

A domestically developed rocket launched with no glitches from a small island in southern Japan at 10:31 am (0131 GMT) carrying the country's hopes of restoring pride in its troubled space programme.
The orbiter separated from the H-2A rocket about 45 minutes after it took off from the Space Centre on the island of Tanegashima, the space agency said.

"The launch was a success," declared Kaoru Mamiya, vice president of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency in Tokyo.

"The probe detached from the rocket as expected 45 minutes after lift-off and all the subsequent phases were carried out correctly," added Yoshisada Takizawa, the head of the project.

The lunar orbiter, aiming to collect data for research of the moon's origin and evolution, will travel around the Earth before moving into an orbit of the moon in early October, officials said.

The agency says the one-year lunar mission, which is several years behind schedule due to technical mishaps, is the most extensive since the US Apollo programme began in the 1960s, putting the first astronaut on the moon.

The explorer was named "Kaguya" after a beautiful princess who charms many men before ascending to her home, the moon, in a popular Japanese folk tale.

The 55-billion-yen (478-million-dollar) probe will consist of a main unit, which will orbit 100 kilometres (60 miles) above the moon, and two small satellites.

It will gather data on the distribution of chemical elements and minerals as well as on topographical and surface structures.

The mission aims to study the gravity field and environment of the moon while searching for hydrogen, which is required to for water.

"Japan aims to build a station on the surface of the moon in 2025 and so we need to understand the moon. We need to develop the fundamental technology," said Satoki Kurokawa, another spokesman for the agency.

Japan has been expanding its space operations and has set a goal of sending an astronaut to the moon by 2020.

It faced an embarrassing failure in November 2003, when it had to destroy a rocket carrying a spy satellite 10 minutes after lift-off because a booster failed to separate.

The setback came just a month after neighbouring China became the third country to carry out a manned space mission. China is pressing ahead with a programme that includes space walks and dockings.

With the lunar orbiter, Japan hopes to keep the country one step ahead of China and other regional rivals like India, which are also expected to launch similar probes in coming months.

"This programme is very important for science throughout the world. If it is completed successfully, it will push back the frontiers of humanity beyond Earth and heighten Japan's technological status," said Hajime Inoue, director of space research at JAXA.

China is expected to launch its Chang'e 1 probe as early as this month, to be followed by India's Chandrayaan 1 later this year. NASA is expected to send up its own Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in late 2008.

"China and India's scope of observation is different from ours," Kurokawa said. "They do not plan to focus on gravitational attraction, surface layer and magnetic pull -- three areas I think Kaguya can excel in."

Some experts, however, are cautious about the prospects for the Japanese mission.

"I'm sure technical difficulties will pop up which will be the first thing scientists will have to deal with," said Jun Nishimura, professor emeritus of space physics at Tokyo University, who questioned whether the mission would be able to complete all its research in one go.

"Technical sticking points will surface and solving them will pave the way for improvements," he said.

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High-tech chewing gum could end sticky streets

High-tech chewing gum could end sticky streets

A non-stick chewing gum that will wash easily off concrete surfaces could save authorities millions, claim researchers. Amidst a new "plague" of gum litter in areas with smoking bans, they say their product could spell the end of sidewalks covered in chewing gum "cud" and cut city cleanup costs.

People chew gum for all sorts of reasons - to pass the time or freshen up their breath, for example. In fact, hunter-gatherers appear to have enjoyed this pleasure back in the Stone Age, and recent studies have even suggested that chewing gum can improve memory performance.

Recently, as a result of smoking bans in places such as Ireland and the UK, people have turned to gum to help them kick their cigarette addiction. Consequently, gum sales have skyrocketed, says Kerry Page of Straight plc, a company based in Leeds, UK, that sells special chewing-gum disposal bins and helps recycle the collected cud into construction materials.

But the increased popularity of chewing gum has left an unpleasant mark on the cityscape - namely it increases the amount of cud that ends up stuck to the sidewalk. Page notes that some places in Ireland saw as much as a 30% increase in gum litter once the country's smoking ban went into effect.

Sales surge

The problem of "gum pollution" has "long been considered a plague in Britain," says Page. Removing just one wad of gum from the pavement can cost anywhere from 10 pence ($0.20) to as much as £1.50 ($3.00), she adds. In the late 1990s, the UK government estimated that it spent over £150 million a year to clean up chewing gum. Page suspects that number has "gone up massively" with the recent surge in chewing gum sales.

Terence Cosgrove at the University of Bristol, UK, says he and his colleagues have come up with a solution to this sticky situation. They have designed a special gum ingredient that repels the cud from dry surfaces, such as concrete.

The researchers came up with the new ingredient they call "Rev7", by linking up two compounds already found in products such as toothpaste and various cosmetics. One of the compounds is attracted to water, while the other is repelled by water.

Rev7 works, says Cosgrove, because the water-loving regions of the ingredient migrate to the outside of the chewing gum in a person's mouth. As a result, if it is spat onto the sidewalk, it is not attracted to the dry concrete.

Chewing the cud

In preliminary trials, developers chewed the gum - which comes in both mint and lemon flavours - for 20 minutes and then stuck it onto paving slabs. Two days later, they found that rain had washed away the gum, but the cuds of traditional chewing gum they had placed as controls remained stuck to the surface.

A second test on the gum suggests that it will disintegrate if left in water for a few months - which could mean it would naturally disappear from surfaces over time. Cosgrove's team placed a regular piece of gum in a container of water and their non-stick gum in another container. After seven weeks, the traditional gum remained intact, but the Rev7 gum had broken into small fragments resembling the snowflakes inside a "snowglobe".

Cosgrove has now helped start a company, called Revolymer, to market the non-stick product, now called "Clean Gum", and hopes it will become available in 2008. "It has a good chew and it certainly holds together in the mouth," he says of the product, which he presented at the BA Festival of Science in York, UK, this week.


Chewing gum gave Stone Age punk a buzz

Most people would go cold at the thought of finding a lump of 'used' chewing gum. But not Bengt Nordqvist of the Swedish National Board of Antiquities. He has found what could be the world's oldest wad of second-hand gum. A teenager who may have been trying to get high, spat it onto the floor of a hut in southern Sweden 9000 years ago.

Nordqvist found three wads of chewed birch resin in the bark flooring of a hut used by hunter-gatherers on the island of Orust. Dental experts say the imprints on one, well-preserved piece come from a fully grown person whose teeth had not been worn down by the stresses of Stone Age life. 'It could only have been a teenager,' says Nordqvist.

The site is especially well preserved. It was flooded as sea levels rose after the last ice age, and covered by a layer of fine clay. Then, as the land 'rebounded' after the weight of ice was lifted, the site rose above water again. Its clay cap kept air away from many organic objects that would otherwise have rotted.

Besides the gum, and the remains of wooden huts, Nordqvist says he found 'thousands of hazelnuts', axes, and the bones of wild boar, deer, beaver, and small beluga whales. Camp dogs chewed the bones, and excreted the meal. 'Any dog owner would recognise the droppings,' says Nordqvist. 'It's a very rare find.'

The gum was probably medicinal. Birch resin contains zylitol, a disinfectant now sold by Finnish firms as a natural tooth cleaner. But it may have served another purpose. John Bryant of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks says Athabaskan Indians in North America chew birch gum 'the way Andean people chew coca leaves. It gives them a buzz.' Bryant suspects that the buzz was caused by terpenes, which are found in the essential oils of many plants.

Some Scandinavians still experiment with birch gum, but Bryant advises against it. He sent some to the National Cancer Institute in the US, for testing, and the gum turned out to be toxic. 'The mice did not do very well,' he says.

The gum also does not taste very good, say Norwegians who have tried it. Nordqvist says some ancient cultures seem to have mixed birch resin with honey, but the Orust gum seems to have been chewed on its own.

So has it lost its flavour? 'I don't know,' admits Nordqvist. 'I haven't tried it.'


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New satellite to sharpen Google Earth

DigitalGlobe, provider of imagery for Google Inc's interactive mapping program Google Earth, said a new high-resolution satellite will boost the accuracy of its satellite images and flesh out its archive.

The new spacecraft, dubbed WorldView I, is to be launched on Tuesday.

Together with the company's existing Quickbird satellite, it will offer half-meter resolution and will be able to collect over 600,000 square kilometers of imagery each day, up from the current collection of that amount each week, Chief Executive Jill Smith told Reuters in a telephone interview.

She said Tuesday's launch -- to be broadcast live on the Internet at -- and the planned launch of a second Worldview II satellite in late 2008, were critical milestones for the company.

Privately held DigitalGlobe is still working toward an initial public offering in the next few years, Smith said. She declined to say whether that could come before the launch of the second WorldView satellite.

"The business is as strong as we had hoped," Smith said, adding, "The key is to continue to hit the milestones that we've set."

Once its third satellite is launched, DigitalGlobe said it will be collecting more than 1 million square kilometers per day of high-resolution imagery.

Smith said WorldView I should allow far faster collection of imagery and add more quickly to the company's archive, which is already the world's largest commercial archive of satellite images. The library contains more than 300 million square kilometers of satellite and aerial imagery.


The new satellite will also provide far more accurate data, including the ability to pinpoint objects on the Earth at three to 7.5 meters, or 10 to 25 feet. Using known reference points on the ground, the accuracy would rise to about two meters, Smith said.

DigitalGlobe built the satellite in part with $500 million in funding from the Pentagon's National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), but it can sell the images commercially as long as their resolution is no sharper than a half-meter.

Its publicly traded rival, GeoEye Inc, is due to launch its next-generation high-resolution satellite this year but has pushed the launch back until the spring of 2008, said spokesman Mark Brender.

DigitalGlobe continues to expand sales and partnerships rapidly, Smith said, noting that one of her goals is to expand the ability to deliver images online to an increasingly broad customer base.

Smith said the U.S. military increasingly views commercial satellite imagery as a "core part of the military infrastructure," although there will always be a critical role for purely military satellite systems.

Smith said DigitalGlobe invested heavily in testing to make sure that Tuesday's launch of WorldView is successful.

A failure would be a setback, she said, but would not have a material effect on the company, given that its current satellite, QuickBird, was expected to last for at least two to three years and it already has begun work on WorldView II.

"The fortunate fact, which distinguishes us from other players, is that we have a very healthy high-growth core business," and WorldView II is already under way, Smith said.


Google Earth Outreach Case Study

UNEP: Atlas of Our Changing Environment

The principal mandate of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is to monitor the world environmental situation to ensure that emerging environmental problems of wide international significance receive appropriate and adequate consideration by governments.

A UNEP publication One Planet, Many People; Atlas of Our Changing Environment was released at the World Environment Day ceremonies in June, 2005 and has been updated regularly since that time with satellite images of environmental hot spots around the world. Subsequently, UNEP made the Atlas photos and text available on the Internet at

The Atlas was highly successful in helping people identify, understand, and act on global environmental issues. Because of the slow development of such issues as water shortages, forest loss, ecosystem degradation, biodiversity loss, invasive species, and climate change, it is often very difficult for policy makers and the public to visualize and appreciate both positive and negative changes to the environment and natural resource base. By using time-sequenced photos of approximately 30 years of key hotspots on the planet (satellite imagery taken from NASA spacecraft and distributed by the US Geological Survey), visual evidence of these changes is now clear and readily available. The Atlas was an immediate success, and it has become UNEP's best selling and most profitable publication ever. It has received unprecedented worldwide coverage and has won many distinguished publication awards, indicating that visual images are able to successfully convey critical global environmental information.

Thanks to UNEP's pioneering partnership with Google, this valuable library is now available to a global audience of over 200 million people. The Google Earth Website opened on September 13, 2006 on the company's 3D virtual world browser and enables users to zoom in on any location of a satellite-based, color, 3D depiction of the planet. By overlaying UNEP's Atlas photos, it enables a vast number of users to view the images illustrating some of the world's most extremely challenged areas over the 30 year time spans. And it helps them to see and appreciate the environmental and natural resource changes in a way that makes them comprehensible and meaningful, thus allowing policy makers and the public to decide on taking constructive action on the causative factors.

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Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) -ISRO

The prime objective of ISRO is to develop space technology and its application to various national tasks. ISRO has established two major space systems, INSAT for communication, television broadcasting and meteorological services, and Indian Remote Sensing Satellites (IRS) system for resources monitoring and management. ISRO has developed two satellite launch vehicles, PSLV and GSLV, to place INSAT and IRS satellites in the required orbits.

Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), an institute of excellence being established with the objective of offering high quality education in space science and technology to meet the demands of Indian Space Programme, was inaugurated by Dr G Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO, today (September 14, 2007) at Thiruvananthapuram. Dr B N Suresh, Director, IIST, Prof D Samchandran, Principal, College of Engineering and Rev. Fr. Mathew Mankkarakkavil, Principal, Mar Ivanious College, were also present on the occasion. Dr R Krishnan, Dean, IIST proposed the vote of thanks.

The institute offers Bachelors Degree in Space Technology with specialisation in Avionics and Aerospace Engineering as well as Integrated Masters Programme in Applied Sciences with special emphasis on space related subjects.

The curriculum for the four year undergraduate programme in technology in two streams has been developed keeping the high technology requirements of ISRO in mind. The first year syllabus will be common to both the streams. Second year and third year will have engineering stream curriculum and the fourth year curriculum will be developed as optional credits by careful selection of credits in specialised areas such as propulsion, aerodynamics, communications, embedded systems, software etc. Optional credits during the final year will be specialised subjects that are relevant to Space Technology.

The curriculum for the five year Integrated Masters in Applied Sciences will have rich content of theoretical science in first three years while last two years will have specialisation in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Atmospheric Science, Material Science and Remote Sensing & GIS with stress on experimental studies.

IIST will create its own full-fledged infrastructure to develop an excellent research atmosphere. Apart from this, students will have privileged access to advanced facilities of ISRO to carry out high technology research in space technology and science. IIST will be a residential institute and is being developed on a picturesque site in Ponmudi near Thiruvananthapuram.

One hundred and forty students from various parts of the country have enrolled for under graduate and masters courses. The courses are now being conducted at the alternate campus developed at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.

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119 mln euros for French nanotechnology aid

The European Commission said on Thursday it had approved 119 million euros ($165 million) of French government aid to companies for research on nanotechnology and energy efficiency.

The Commission, executive arm of the European Union, signed off on 80 million euros for a programme known as NanoSmart and 39 million euros for an energy programme called Homes.

"The two programmes are in the strategic areas of nanotechnology and energy efficiency. The Commission has verified that the positive effects of the aid for consumers and for European research outweigh any distortion of competition," Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement.

NanoSmart aims to improve the performance and electricity consumption of microelectronic and optoelectronic components, the Commission said.

Homes will enable energy savings of around 20 percent in buildings through innovations including electricity distribution systems, the Commission said.


The European Commission has authorised state aid worth EUR119 million that the French government intends to provide to two research and development (R&D) projects.

Earlier this year the French Industrial Innovation Agency informed the Commission of its plans to grant €80 million to the NanoSmart programme, and €39 million to the HOMES programme. Under the Commission's state aid rules regarding research and innovation, Member States are obliged to notify the Commission of any aid measures worth over €10 million that are earmarked for projects focused on industrial research.

The new rules on state aid for research were announced in November 2006 and are designed to boost R&D spending and help Europe reach the goal of spending 3% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) on R&D by 2010. Under the rules, countries may grant aid for R&D as long as it addresses a defined market failure, has an incentive effect and does not excessively distort competition.

'The two programmes are in the strategic areas of nanotechnology and energy efficiency,' said European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes. 'The Commission has verified that the positive effects of the aid for consumers and for European research outweigh any distortion of competition.'

The NanoSmart project aims to improve the performance and electricity consumption of microelectronic components by developing advanced new supports with improved properties and functionalities. The total cost of the programme is €200 million spread over five years.

The goal of the HOMES project is to generate energy savings of around 20% in buildings by using active energy control. The project will see all the functions which contribute to the energy efficiency of a building (heating, air conditioning, lighting etc) integrated into the same architecture. HOMES has a total cost of €87 million, spread over six years.

For more information on state aid, please visit:

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International Privacy Standard proposed by Google

This seems to me like it will be good for global businesses as a universal standard will allow a more streamlined approach to how to handle individual data.The world's largest Internet search company wants to create new ways to help keep Internet users safe.

Search giant Google Inc. will propose on Friday that governments and technology companies create a transnational privacy policy to address growing concerns over how personal data is handled across the Internet.

Google's global privacy counsel, Peter Fleischer, will make the proposal at a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization meeting in Strasbourg, France, dealing with the intersection of technology with human rights and ethics.

Fleischer's 30-minute presentation will advocate that regulators, international organizations and private companies increase dialog on privacy issues with a goal to create a unified standard.

Google envisions the policy to be a product of self-regulation by companies, improved laws and possible new ones, according to a Google spokesman based in London.

"We don't want to be prescriptive about who does that and what those standards are because it should be a collaborative effort," the spokesman said.

Other organizations have already made progress on privacy standards, he said. For example, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) created a nine-point Privacy Framework designed to aid countries without existing policies.

Google today proposed that governments and technology companies need to work together to create an international method that details how the personal information of users should be handled on the Internet. Google's Peter Fleischer, chief privacy officer, challenged members of the United Nations to help make sure user privacy remains safe.

"People look to us to show some leadership and be constructive," Fleischer said before speaking before the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. "By supporting global privacy standards, there will be a debate and part of that debate will be what are motives our."

A large problem is that privacy standards can vary greatly among countries, something that can cause issues for companies that operate in many countries. Along with not having a federal privacy law to protect consumers, laws in the United States often vary state-by-state: another roadblock that will likely need to be fixed.

Another problem facing companies such as Google is that many of the laws are extremely out of date when compared to how the Internet has progressed. An Internet law created by lawmakers just 10 years ago cannot fairly be used today.

"Privacy laws have not kept up with the reality of the internet and technology, where we have vast amounts of information and every time a credit card is used online, the data on it can move across six or seven countries in a matter of minutes," Fleischer said.

Assuming that data is passed through a small handful of information in a short amount of time, companies need to create a safeguard to make sure the data remains safe -- especially since a lot of nations have minimal data protection laws, Fleischer added.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) recently created a privacy framework that organizers hope will help nations modify existing laws that deal with user privacy and protection. However, much work must be done due to legal gray areas and loose translation of the privacy framework - for example, general principles are highlighted, but nations are responsible for their own enforcement.

Google already has spoken with Yahoo! and Microsoft over privacy standards, and now plans to speak with regulators from a number of different nations.

At a time when Google is worried about government regulation and laws over privacy, critics of the search engine company claim its recent acquisition of DoubleClick Inc are concerned Google now has the ability to store too much user data. Due to rising pressure from European officials, Google agreed to hold cookies up to two years only - the company originally scheduled cookies to be deleted in 2038.

Some other privacy standard

The P3P standard

The P3P specification has a double nature. On the one hand it is standardizing technical issues to facilitate the exchange of privacy meta information. On the other hand it requires the website to provide certain information necessary to enable the user of do-it-yourself privacy protection (e.g. the entity processing the data, types of collected data, purpose of collection and the type of processing). Requiring this information P3P sets a (minimum) privacy standard.

By offering a P3P policy, websites are giving a binding promise to their users that they will follow the P3P standard as a whole. It is part of the promise to provide the information required by the P3P specification truly and comprehensively. It also includes a careful interpretation according to the P3P specification of what personal identifiable data actually is. All things considered using P3P means agreeing on a legally binding (minimum) privacy standard between the parties.

Legal Privacy Standard

Some countries have their own data protection laws requiring i.e. special user information or allowing data use for special purposes only. These legal privacy standards are especially within European Union member states higher than the P3P specification's requirements (e.g. which information has to be provided in the P3P policy).

The relations between the P3P privacy standard, other legal privacy standards and the parties involved are illustrated in the following chart.

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Honda starts long-term road safety commitment

Honda motorcycle and automobile companies recently broke ground to officially commence the construction of Honda Safety Driving Center (HSDC).

The HSDC is a world-class driving center where drivers learn proper driving discipline and skills within a controlled and safe environment.

HSDC will play a vital role in fulfilling Honda's obligation as a responsible manufacturer of motorcycles and automobiles. It will be located in a 2.3-hectare lot in Bicutan, ParaƱaque along South Superhighway.

Three Honda companies - the Asian Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (ASH), Honda Philippines, Inc. (HPI) and Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) - have put-up an initial investment of P207 million to complete HSDC training resources including a world-class training facility that combines automobile and motorcycle courses.

"Honda's responsibility must not end in supplying the market with safe vehicles. We should make it our job to impart the correct driving discipline, techniques and proper vehicle maintenance. This Honda commitment will be the core responsibility of HSDC as a non-stock, non-profit member of the Honda Group of Companies in the Philippines," said Kazuhiko Ikezoe, HSDC president, in his speech during the ceremony.

With the right technical expertise sourced from Honda's vast experience in operating 43 traffic education centers around the world, the Philippine society is assured of highly-effective and safer alternatives to acquiring driving skills in a non-contained environment.

The center's expansive track is designed to develop safety as a discipline; and driving proficiencies in a controlled environment.

The circuit purposely includes interaction between motorcycle and automobile users in order for learners to experience actual traffic and road conditions before going public.

HSDC will open its doors to the public in March 2008.

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