On Friday, NASA launched Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer to suck up dust and gas floating above the moon to study the lunar atmosphere.
But equally interesting and important is the way the data will be sent back to Earth.
The data will be shot back using a laser, the first test of space-based broadband, and perhaps the precursor of a faster and more efficient way of moving data on this planet.
The data will be transmitted by an infrared laser beam like those used in fiber optics. Laser systems are smaller, require less power and are faster than the radio systems used now. The laser system can send 622 megabits per second to the ground from the moon, the equivalent of sending 100 compressed HD channels at once.
NASA already has plans to test the system to transmit data from a satellite in geosynchronous orbit.
Verizon and the FCC are squaring off in court for the beginning of a trial that could determine how the Internet looks in the future.
At issue is the Federal Communication Commission's Net Neutrality rules, which say that an Internet provider such as Verizon must treat all its customers equally. It cannot slow down some customers because they compete with Verizon services, like phone service Skype, and cannot speed up its own services or those of customers that pay more.
Verizon says the FCC lacks the authority to regulate broadband in this way. Stay tuned.
Many of you, like TechMan, probably received an email promising a credit for Kindle books bought between April 2010 and May 2012 as a result of the Department of Justice's successful e-book price-fixing suit against Apple and five major publishers.
The credit probably will be applied to your account beginning in early 2014 at 73 cents to $3.06 for every eligible Kindle book purchased. You also can request a check instead of credit. Information is available at amazon.com/help/agencyebooksettlements.
You do not have to do anything to receive your Amazon credit, but that may not be true for other sellers. Information on how to claim credits from other sellers is at ebooksagsettlements.com/FrequentlyAskedQuestions.aspx.
In other Kindle news, Amazon has announced Kindle Matchbook, a program that will allow you to buy a digital copy of any paper book you have bought from Amazon for a reduced price or even free. Beginning in October, Amazon will offer the Kindle version of any paper book bought from Amazon since 1995, when Amazon opened its online bookstore. More information at amazon.com.
The startling revelation that the NSA and British intelligence have found a way around the encryption most Internet services use to protect their customers' content just reinforces a rule of the modern age: If there is something you don't want anyone else to see, don't put it on the Internet or on a computer connected to it.
Website of the week: Mentalfloss.com is a repository for interesting stuff and is the online version of Mental Floss magazine. Explore topics such as the "Star Trek" theme song has lyrics; why Kamikaze pilots wore helmets; and why we're afraid of clowns.
Geek saying of the week: "We apologize for the inconvenience -- God" from Douglas Adams' "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish."
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