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Space Security Science

Hackers Forced Announcement of 10th Planet Find 540

Posted by timothy
from the well-that-was-nice-of-them dept.
JCY2K writes "According to The Inquirer, hackers gained access to the secure server where the data about the new planet was being held and threatened to reveal it. Evidently the discoverers have been withholding this information from the public since 2003 while they waited for full analysis."
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Hackers Forced Announcement of 10th Planet Find

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  • That information wants to be set free.
    • by Swamii (594522) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:19PM (#13217017) Homepage
      No it doesn't, and please stop anthropomorphizing it.

      Open-source software advocates want information to be free, as do civil liberty groups and other political organizations that fall near the Slashdot line of thinking.

      But to say information wants to be free is like saying my computer monitor wants to be plugged into a high-end video card: it may be better for all parties, but in the end, the monitor is just a monitor. Likewise, information is just information.
      • Is every one in your family that literal? It must be difficult to use metaphors, metonome, etc.

        Information wants to be free because sunshine is the best antiseptic.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:24PM (#13217082)
        No it doesn't, and please stop anthropomorphizing it.

        Yeah, it hates it when you do that.
      • by nickptar (885669) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:25PM (#13217091)
        Information "wants" to be free in the same sense that things "want" to fall to the ground; it's the path of least resistance. What the statement means to me is that information usually becomes free in the absence of measures taken to prevent it from doing so. I think we can agree that that's true.
        • No, we can't agree that's true. Information doesn't become anything without measures to make it so.
        • by suitepotato (863945) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:43PM (#13217286)
          Information "wants" to be free in the same sense that things "want" to fall to the ground; it's the path of least resistance.

          Things don't want to fall to the ground; the ground is merely in the way.

          What the statement means to me is that information usually becomes free in the absence of measures taken to prevent it from doing so. I think we can agree that that's true.

          No, in the absence of any measures, information ceases to exist. Fail to remember, fail to record it, fail to anything with it and it doesn't exist. It may be true, but information is a concept relative to those holding it as such. This is why 1984 is so relevant to information technology. What people consider to be true or factual is dependent upon information as recorded or held in the minds of others and transmitted to them. 1984 tells you why hackers can be dangerous. Should information not be held in the mind and be changed in some database and it not exist in anyone's mind until it is read after the changes, it is assumed to be right and it becomes "information" at that point.

          Information doesn't want to be at all. People insist on it being. The fewer the people with it, the closer it gets to its ephemeral basis of nonexistance, just waiting for some entity to come along and encompass it back into being.

          You may now return to not-so-deep end of the /. world.
          • by keraneuology (760918) on Monday August 01, 2005 @05:16PM (#13217565) Journal
            No, in the absence of any measures, information ceases to exist. Fail to remember, fail to record it, fail to anything with it and it doesn't exist.

            Nature records information all the time. There will always be information available to any who wish to retrieve it. It will always exist: a single atom of hydrogen at coordinates 5.28E25, 1.92883E18E298, 42 contains information and, some might argue, is information itself. It not only contains the information of where it is, but the information of where it is not. Watch its path and it will tell you what has influenced it in the past.

            "Information wants to be free" may not be as accurate as "people generally want to share information and make it available", but sounds a bit more philosophicalisticalish.

            Personally, I'm on the information-should-freely-flow side of things. With the exception of anything that requires massive quantities of money and very expensive machines and large collections of disciplined manpower there is nothing that the government can do even half as efficiently as the collective power of tens of millions of people with nothing better to do with their time than plink.

      • You obviously misunderstood the use of the word "wants" in that statement, it has nothing to do with anthropomorphism. The phrase "Information wants to be free" doesn't apply to this situation, but what it really means is that information has a natural tendancy to slip out, to disseminate - to be free. It takes special effort to contain information, by its very nature it wants to be free, just like a river wants to flow, a raindrop wants to fall, etc.
      • Woke up on the wrong side of the planet again did we? ;P
      • "Open-source software advocates want information to be free, as do civil liberty groups and other political organizations that fall near the Slashdot line of thinking."

        Except their own information. That must remain protected.
    • by deathcloset (626704) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:21PM (#13217048) Journal
      well, yes.

      But that information doesn't want to be used as fodder for extortion.

      if the hacker had just made the find publicly available that would have been one thing. but, rather, the hacker choose to use his find to threaten the researchers.
    • by EccentricAnomaly (451326) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:22PM (#13217057) Homepage
      more from here: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/29/science/29cnd-pl [nytimes.com] anet.html

      Dr. Brown had still hoped to hold back announcements of 2003 UB313 and another large Kuiper Belt object, 2005 FY9, until October, but his hand was tipped by Brian Marsden, director of the Minor Planet Center, who said that he was worried about hanky panky.

      Dr. Marsden said that it was possible by looking on the Internet at the logs of one of the telescopes Dr. Brown's team had been using to find out where they had been pointed. He had evidence, he said, that someone had done that and computed crude orbits of the two unannounced planetoids, "presumably" in preparation for their own observations.


      perhaps we should call the planet P4w-N3d :)
    • or maybe they believe in the motto of 'Serenity', "Can't Stop the Signal".
    • I sure wish beer just wanted to be free half as much as information does.
    • Support the peaceful, freedom loving natives of Planet Freedonia! WORKERS OF THE TENTH WORLD UNITE! you have nothing to lose but your (err icy incasement?) Must be pretty cold up there.....
    • But it really wasn't information, just preliminary data, premature release would have been embarassing if the data was faulty. When the security of millions is at stake, greasing the wheels to get a exploit fixed by threatening disclosure is one thing, but this was just wrong.

      Give the guys a chance to get some big glass pointed at the thing, some orbit tracking. For something that far a way, take two plates, two years apart and you're still talking about measuring with a freaken microscope!
    • Star Trek (Score:5, Funny)

      by AviLazar (741826) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:52PM (#13217351) Journal
      Dear 10th Planet,

      After carefully reviewing your application to join the United Federation of Planets, we have determined that you are inelligible to join. We based this decision on the fact that we would have to re-write one-too many episodes. While we could do this with a time jaunt, we realize our viewers are sick and tired of time skipping ever since it was abused on Enterprise.

      Sincerely Yours,

      Admiral J.T.K.

      P.S. Go to PriceLine where you can name your own price!
  • A bad thing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ect5150 (700619) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:14PM (#13216948) Journal

    while they waited for full analysis

    So, waiting for a full analysis is a bad thing now?

    • In America, sure. Think if we had waited for a full analysis of Iraq's WMD's, or if they had anything at all to do with 9/11. Then we never would have had an excuse to go to war.
    • In some cases it can be!

      Consider the following:

      If geeks fully analylized their winnings from random bar, almost all would never get laid (And have lack of good "Oh MY GOD WHAT DID I DO!!?!?! stories)
    • So, waiting for a full analysis is a bad thing now?

      Of course. How can you expect us to mob the scientist with questions you know they can't answer so we can cut their funding if they have done all the needed analyst?
    • Yes.

      Conspiracy theorists are convinced that the reason that NASA is holding back data on Deep Impact isn't because they haven't analyzed it yet (science is, of course, a fast process, which is why most PhD's finish grad school in weeks), but because they accidentally killed some aliens on the surface of Tempel 1.

      They're also convinced that this is tied into the occult.

      So, there you have it. Waiting for full analysis is for good scientists. If you want to be a proper crackpot, you just make up what happene
    • while they waited for full analysis
      So, waiting for a full analysis is a bad thing now?

      Please, that is so 2002.

      Ask the Whitehouse and No. 10 Downing Street.

  • by John Napkintosh (140126) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:15PM (#13216957) Homepage
    Hack the planet?
  • by Natchswing (588534) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:16PM (#13216960)
    When will corporations ever learn? Obscuring the knowledge of the 10th planet will not keep us safe from their eventual attempt to take over Earth.
  • Bad typo, that: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by el-spectre (668104) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:16PM (#13216963) Journal
    The summary misspells "confirmed observations" as "withholding this information".
    • Absolutely! Because nothing helps a scientific career along like a lot of media attention on a theory you're not ready to commit to.
    • Exactly. You don't release data without confirming what you have discovered and disclosing exactly what you did to gather that data in the first place, so that others can replicate your experiments.

      Seriously, why would it have been so bad to wait til October? As has been said elsewhere, withholding this research until thoroughly checked does not put people at risk. It is perfectly safe, and in fact preferred, to make sure that all is OK before publishing.

      And this kind of thing is supposed to be published in
  • Seriously, they were sitting on the data for a reason. And as this data doesn't affect anybody on a day to day basis, I can see why they'd want to hold off on the announcement until they could give real numbers.

    This is of course assuming the story isn't bullshit. I seem to remember one scientist saying he had a bet with another that he'd discover a 10th planet by the end of last year.
    • "This is of course assuming the story isn't bullshit. I seem to remember one scientist saying he had a bet with another that he'd discover a 10th planet by the end of last year."

      This was found by the same guy. He lost the bet by 10 days. You can read more at Xena Planet X or Big Lump of Rock [theregister.co.uk].
    • Bah! My horoscope was beaten to a pulp when NASA shot Deep Impact into Tempel 1. now they are withholding info that will be of immense importance in my future. I'll sue their asses!
  • Oh noes! Hackers! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dirtside (91468) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:17PM (#13216980) Journal
    I traced through the friendly articles, and I'm not sure where the Sunday Independent got the info that a hacker "forced" them to announce their findings. Brown isn't quoted as saying anything about a hacker, and they didn't source that info.

    Of course, what's even stupider is how both the Independent and, to an even stupider degree, the Inquirer make it sound all ominous and elitist that the scientists didn't release the info as soon as they found it. Like, maybe they didn't want to risk the media flaming them for prematurely announcing a tenth planet if they had to recant part of their data?
    • Re:Oh noes! Hackers! (Score:5, Informative)

      by pyrrhonist (701154) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:30PM (#13217158)
      Brown isn't quoted as saying anything about a hacker, and they didn't source that info.

      It's on this [caltech.edu] page. But, yeah, it wasn't really hacking, it was just using Google well.

      Like, maybe they didn't want to risk the media flaming them for prematurely announcing a tenth planet if they had to recant part of their data?

      Also, the computers they use for analysis didn't see it because it moves so slowly. They found it on reanalysis a year and a half after they imaged it. They weren't actually sitting on the discovery for two years - just since January.

  • What else is sceince & government keeping from us, untill they have finished studying it.
  • There are 'planetoids' that are bigger than pluto that are considered simple KBO even though some consider them to be planets.

    I think Pluto is only considered a planet because it was grandfathered into the current (confusing and not entirely adhered to) rules on what is and isn't a planet.

    Odds are, this will just be classified as another KBO.
    • Name One (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SteveM (11242) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:27PM (#13217119)

      There are 'planetoids' that are bigger than pluto that are considered simple KBO even though some consider them to be planets.

      Really, name one.

      You cannot, as this is the first KBO discovered that is larger than Pluto.

      SteveM

      • As I always understood it , a planet and a planet was an object in orbit of a sun. and a KBO was a large body in the Kuiper belt which may or may not be a planet.
        I do have limited knowledge of astronomy but Could something not be both a KBO and a planet .

      • Ack! Sorry, you got me. Shoulda investigated before posting. I was thinking of Qauoar or however it is spelled. It is 'brighter' than pluto, not larger.
        Sorry about that.
    • There are 'planetoids' that are bigger than pluto that are considered simple KBO even though some consider them to be planets.

      No there aren't. From here [caltech.edu]:

      This new planet (see "What makes a planet?" below) is the largest object found in orbit around the sun since the discovery of Neptune and its moon Triton in 1846. It is larger than Pluto, discovered in 1930. Like Pluto, the new planet is a member of the Kuiper belt, a swarm of icy bodies beyond Neptune in orbit around the sun. Until this discovery Plut

  • Evidently the discoverers have been withholding this information from the public since 2003 while they waited for full analysis.
    You mean they held on to their data until they could do a proper analysis and really determine what they had, rather than jump all over a premature and sensationalistic announcement? Those charlatans! Pons and Fleischman would be ashamed of them.
  • The domains of Pure Science has been hacked. Is nothing sacred anymore?
  • Quote from the end of the referred article:

    The find should further stuff up modern astrologers - they still have not got the hang of Uranus.

    Well, I hadn't noticed their probes yet, I didn't think someone would go the distance to get to know me inside out ..
  • hackers gained access to the secure server

    Shouldn't that be the not-so-secure server?

  • "wh3R r w3 901n'? Pl4N37 10! WH3n r W3 901n'? r34L 500N!"
  • That hacker who went in look for UFOs doesn't seem so crazy now does he? If they're hiding whole planets surely a few space ships/bases/fleets would be simple.
  • After further analysis...

    This new planet will be discovered to be the home of Cold Fusion.

  • it is "temporarily named" 2003 UB313
  • by YoDave (184176) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:23PM (#13217071) Homepage
    From a BBC article [bbc.co.uk]: The object was first observed on 21 October 2003, but the team did not see it move in the sky until looking at the same area 15 months later on 8 January 2005.
  • by Listen Up (107011) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:23PM (#13217074)
    Congratulations and Thank You to the Astronomers/Researchers involved with this discovery. Thank You for discovering something and then waiting for a full peer review and analysis before presenting your data to the public. WAAAAY too much today that process does not occur, because of bad scientists, and gives a bad name to good science and scientists.

    Fuck you to the hackers who feel that something like this needed to be public without review. If it was 'revealed' and then found to be false, nobody would have remembered some script kiddie illegally, immorally, and unethically published the data before it was reviewed. Everyone would have jumped on the Astronomers/Researchers and science in general like a bunch of ignorant cattle (like they always do) and the true facts would have been buried in the mess.
  • They better name it Rupert
  • This way, when the researchers get a chance to get more data and then decide that it's actually a comet, asteroid, or an object in the Kuiper belt and make an announcement to such an effect, the public will condemn them for releasing their initial findings too soon!

    Yay!
     
    ...
     
    Oh wait, that sucks.
  • What in the world is a "boffin"?
    • Function: noun
      Etymology: origin unknown
      chiefly British : a scientific expert; especially : one involved in technological research

      So it's a prettier word for "geek" :)
  • The Niburu of Planet X are coming back to enslave us all! This explains the dead NASA astronaut found in the desert. It was a cover-up all along. Be prepared for the return of the Niburu. Every man-woman and child will have to unite to fight against the mighty power of the Niburu!
  • Mod TFA Flamebait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rdwald (831442) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:33PM (#13217179)
    Seriously, I've seen less biased articles from the RIAA's anti-piracy campaigns. The reason Brown held onto the information was so he could get all the data before making an announcement. He wanted to be able to say, "New object is 2.73 times as large as Pluto," not "New object is probably bigger than Pluto." Is the existence of another Kupier Belt object really going to affect anyone? It's not like this was cancer research.
  • There was no hacker (Score:5, Informative)

    by tricaric (695061) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:34PM (#13217192) Homepage
    This claim has been extensively discussed in the Minor Planet Mailing List [yahoo.com], in particular in this thread [yahoo.com], where the "hacker" tells the whole story.
  • Astronomers and other scientists are usually allow each other to analyze data for a year before publication. Then you are supposed to share with anyone who asks. You risk not getting future grants if you peeve off too many of your fellow scientists.

    Usually the problem is the other way around- people rush to publication. With so many eyes looking out there, a comet or asteroid may be seen by many others before long. Theres even a place to send a "telegram" to give you priority and naming rights. Plus
  • Lets say it's this planet mentioned before [slashdot.org]. Now, I want to remind sedna.

    mercury
    venus
    earth
    mars
    jupiter
    saturn
    uranus
    neptune
    pluto
    sedna
    planetX

    or sedna is not a planet (just like pluto )
  • Evidently the discoverers have been withholding this information from the public since 2003 while they waited for full analysis.

    Is there really a problem with not releasing immediately? The linked article is very biased to suggest there is, but it seems like quite a naive attitude to me.

    They wanted to know more information first, and it's not exactly a piece of information critical to safety or people's future. It was always their risk that their discovery might have been overshadowed by someon

  • Don't put your secrets on the web. Even if it's encrypted/secure/firewalled. If it's not connected to the net, it's not at as much risk.
  • ...scientists had coined the name `Persephone' for the newly discovered planet, but the hackers forced them to change the name to `Rupert'.

"It's like deja vu all over again." -- Yogi Berra

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