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The Internet Security

Virtual Earth Exposes Nuclear Sub's Secret 355

Posted by kdawson
from the tarp-would-have-helped dept.
NewsCloud alerts us to a story a few months old that has been getting a lot of play recently. A Seattle blogger, Dan Twohig, was browsing in Microsoft's Virtual Earth when he accidentally came across a photo of a nuclear sub in dry-dock. Its propeller is clearly visible — this was a major no-no on the part of someone at the Bangor Sub Base. The designs of such stealth propellers have been secret for decades. Twohig blogged about the find and linked to the Virtual Earth photo on July 2. The debate about security vs. Net-accessible aerial photography has been building ever since. The story was picked up on military.china.com on Aug. 17 — poetic justice for the Chinese sub photo that had embarrassed them a month before. On Aug. 20 the Navy Times published the article that most mainstream media have picked up in their more recent coverage. Twohig's blog is the best source to follow the ongoing debate. No one has asked Microsoft, Google, or anyone else to blur the photo in question. Kind of late now.
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Virtual Earth Exposes Nuclear Sub's Secret

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  • Google Cache (Score:5, Informative)

    by tajmorton (806296) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @05:36PM (#20445493) Homepage
    Google Cache [72.14.253.104]
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02, 2007 @06:00PM (#20445685)
      Your proliferation of this information, shameless and most likely premeditated, cannot but argue for an immediate and thorough dismantling of this abomination that is the Internet.

      Clearly, the citizenry's desire to be on equal terms with its rightfully appointed overseers is misguided.

      What could compare to the danger of such leaks? Only, perhaps, ability of the governed to guide the acts of the governors. (But, thank God and all that is holy, we need not contend with such a possibility.)

      The proper solution to this satellite photo disaster is to establish government and international bodies, whose responsibility will be to oversee the propagation of information in its early stages. Press organizations, and other legitimately licensed speaking entities, could submit all reports and articles for government approval before publication, and thus dangerous knowledge would be stopped in its tracks. All information emanating from government bodies would be confidential by default, enforced by penalties befitting treason.

      It is indeed a distant dream -- such a beautiful system of bureaucratic power and unquestionable hierarchy -- yet we must do what we can to stop out-of-control communication amongst the proletariat from further endangering the established, and righteous, distribution of power.
  • Generally Posts news about 3-4 days after it has come to light, yet the picture of the propeller is still there, therefore i think we can assume the US no longer cares (because its too late, or they dont mind people knowing) about the picture
    • Re:Slashdot (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jmauro (32523) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @06:06PM (#20445741)
      Or it's a fake plant to hide the real propeller design.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        The real propeller design includes a "man-sized safe".
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Yeah - It's like the propellor on the front of the Bell XP-59A Airacomet. Everyone knows that after we captured the Red October, we got the goods on the caterpillar drive technology and don't need props anymore...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dbIII (701233)
        That implies Godlike intelligence and ominicience instead of intelligence agencies where those who could easily get jobs in private enterprise have left in disgust since the political appointees are the only ones that will get to the top. People might pretend they intended to make a mistake after the fact to cover the mistake but that's as far as it goes. If we are heading towards a dark future it won't be 1984 (AKA 1920's USSR) - it will be more like Terry Gilliams movie "Brazil" - a totalitarian state t
      • They fucked up. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by andreyw (798182) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:43AM (#20449093) Homepage
        I'll put in my two cents here, so they don't get lost in the copious amounts of typical /. noise.

        The issue here isn't that "Google or Live didn't blur it out". It's that the base people didn't care much for the eyes in the skies. I'm sure the Chinese (or Martians) have seen the secrets.
    • by JacksBrokenCode (921041) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @06:20PM (#20445851)
      The MonsterMaritime.com entry linked to in the writeup was actually posted on July 2, a full 2 months ago. 2 months later and they haven't tried to put the horse back in the barn so while it's technically a secret, it's probably not that important of a secret. Besides, even if they asked MS to blur the image on Live they'd still have to ask other companies with access to the data to blur it, and then they'd have to go to the source of the imagery and ask them to stop selling it (which they may not have a case for).

      In reality, if they censored the images the only people who wouldn't be able to see it are people not willing to spend money to see images of a classified submarine. Any country/organization with it's own program for developing nuclear submarines or technology to detect submarines likely has the financial/organizational resources to aquire this imagery without depending on a free website.
    • Re:Slashdot (Score:4, Funny)

      by datablaster (999781) <datablaster123NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Sunday September 02, 2007 @08:40PM (#20446939) Homepage
      "Rats...that damn stupid tarp's gonna get me court martialed... ...I had to run to take a leak. Two minutes...thas' all! Who knew the satellite was overhead?" --signed, Boatswain's Mate I. M. Waterhead
    • Pay attention to the missiles, not the propeller. Each missile has the ability to burn to death millions of people within minutes. This is more important that any propeller. Don't lose focus on what's really important.

      I realize that I put myself at a risk for saying this, but here it is. These submarines exist for one reason: They exist to kill every human being on earth. That's what they do, that's all they do.

      Allow me to create a word. omnicide: the act of the murder of every human being an
      • It really is all rather pointless, you only need sufficient weapons to be able to guarantee that you will take out the opposing countries leadership and to be able to convince them of that fact, the rest is just the military industrial power and profit complex out of control.

        Still, quite a demanding exercise to be able to convince the opposing leadership that they will be specifically targeted, and that they will be successfully eliminated within the first few hours of any conflict. When it comes to autoc

      • by RegularFry (137639) on Monday September 03, 2007 @10:06AM (#20451459)

        Allow me to create a word. omnicide: the act of the murder of every human being and all civilization.

        Google says you're not the first, but what the hell...

        These submarines exist for one reason: They exist to kill every human being on earth.

        That's almost precisely backwards. These submarines exist to ensure that never happens. They're part of the Mutually Assured Destruction balance. Neither side is going to launch a first strike unless it knows with absolute certainty that it's going to come out sufficiently ahead in the ensuing trade-off to survive as a viable state. Nuclear subs completely screw with any certainty you might think you've got in launching that attack, because it's damn near impossible to know that you'll be able to kill enough of the opposition's subs before they can launch. Stealthy propellers are a big part of that, helping to ensure that the enemy can't get and keep a lock on your position. These submarines aren't designed as first-strike weapons, but as an assured second-strike. To say that this technology cannot be used completely misses the point. In just existing, they are being used - as an insurance policy. If they were ever to launch, humanity would already be dead.
  • by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @05:37PM (#20445499)
    Waay too many assumptions in this article:

    • Our propellers are more advanced than the other guy's.
    • A 2-D snap from a satellite is going to reveal significant details.
    • The propeller is real and was revealed by "accident".
    • by georgewilliamherbert (211790) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @06:10PM (#20445761)
      In reply...
      • Our propellers are more advanced than the other guy's.

        They are.

        • A 2-D snap from a satellite is going to reveal significant details.

          It did.

          • The propeller is real and was revealed by "accident".

            It almost certainly is real; it's too similar to other known quiet props, with some interesting variations that the 2-D satellite image did in fact usefully reveal (blade advance angle), from the sun angle and shadows.

            Those in fact tell a professional in the field something useful about the operating capabilities of the sub, in terms of its relative optimization for different types of operations.
      • by tftp (111690) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @07:02PM (#20446187) Homepage
        It almost certainly is real

        I tend to agree just because otherwise it would presume a really complicated hoax with a low chance of success (such as fooling a foreign government.) You'd have to replace the propeller, then make Microsoft or whoever takes pictures to take them, then you'd have to activate your agent to post the photos on a blog, and even then you'd still not know if the photo fooled anyone or not, since your adversary wouldn't be a complete idiot, so the fake must be realistic and mostly working.

        With regard to the photo, what you have there is effectively one blade photographed from seven different angles. This allows the "other side" (whatever that is) to combine them to get a higher resolution.

        But the main issue here is there are not too many countries in the world that would even care about such things. NATO countries probably don't need this photo, they have the real stuff. Russia is rumored to have procured such propeller designs about 25 years ago, and likely has enough computing power to improve on them as needed. China probably has many agents everywhere as well, you can't possibly keep such large things secret for long. What other countries then would want to know how to design a silent propeller, considering that even milling machines required to build the blades are not sold over the counter to anyone who asks, and they are not cheap either, and you have to have a solid manufacturing base to even produce the metal for the blades. So it's an expensive, high-tech business that only a handful of countries have the need and the money to get into. Not all major countries build submarines, many prefer to buy.

      • How do you know this is our most advanced prop? Could be 8 blades is the best now, and this is an old design. I looked at ALL angles and there ARE no shadows, there is not an exact time of day printed on the photo. You don't know the angle of the photo either. You need both of those to compute size from shadows. Disinformation is very common, this might well be exactly that. We did a lot of that during the Cold War. We'd "leak" secrets to the Soviets that they jumped on, spent millions to check out only t
      • by Ash Vince (602485)

        In reply...

                * Our propellers are more advanced than the other guy's.

                    They are.
        Not for long :)
      • Yeah, you are right except for the state of the art in prop design. What makes you think the US is far more advanced than anyone else? If I were building a submarine, it'd only help me see what 'you' were up to. There is precious little value in the photograph since anyone building a stealthy submarine will have access to similar types of water tunnels, test facilities, and engineers. The picture is far too low in resolution to be of significant value. One can conclude the optimum performance of a nuclear s
  • by raftpeople (844215) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @05:39PM (#20445521)
    isn't it safe to assume that all countries with satellites in orbit have been watching each others military facilities for decades?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      That's part of the point. The sub should not have been dry-docked with its propeller visible. The fact that it made it to Google Maps is not the story, just the way we know about the story.
      • by sjames (1099)

        Unless the plainly visible screw in that photo has a deliberate inherent flaw that they would like other nations to waste a few years on!

        If indeed, the exposure of the screw is an accident, a bunch of civillians seeing it on google isn't a problem. If civilian aerial photos exist, you can bet that even better spysat photos exist. The horse is already out of the barn, why demonstrate how important the info is by closing the door in a panic?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by xirtam_work (560625)
      Actually, the majority of the images you see when zoomed in on Google Earth and Google Maps, as well as Microsoft Virtual Earth, are from aeriel photography. i.e. taken from planes. Check with Google if you don't believe me.

      Commercially available satellite imagery does not have the resolution to show you a photo of your house from orbit. Images used by the 'intelligence' communitity and the military have higher resolution, but not at the magnification that they'd like you to think they have.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by solevita (967690)
        I don't understand your point... Sure, the image in question here could be from any of a number of sources; you've chosen to talk about aerial photography. But, the OP was talking about the abilities of other nations with "spy" satellites - something you allude to in your post could have a high enough resolution to produce an image similar to this. So in effect, you only agree with the OP's point: this is interesting for the average Joe, but for nation's with spy satellite technology (and the huge amounts o
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by UserGoogol (623581)
      Yes, but there's probably a Cathedral and the Bazaar-type effect going on. With enough eyeballs, all military secrets become rather easy to find out. The military can only hire so many people to look at the satellite information, but when Random Joe can play around with Google Maps on his lunch break and then report whatever looks "weird" on their blog, it becomes a lot harder to keep a lid on things.
  • From TFA: (Score:5, Informative)

    by dominious (1077089) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @05:42PM (#20445545)

    You may have to be in Internet Explorer to see this...
    Firefox shows just fine! just so to let you people of /. know:)
    • My favourite part from TFA (emphasis mine):

      The company that took the photos made them available to the pubic (for a price) then Microsoft Live Search picked them up and broadcast them on the internet for anyone to see.
      Indiscrete photos+pubic+Microsoft in one sentence... priceless.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Osty (16825)

      Firefox shows just fine! just so to let you people of /. know:)

      Windows Live Maps has a bad habit of checking user agent strings in order to support non-IE browsers. While most people won't have a problem with Firefox, there have been cases of people using Firefox browsers with the old 2.0 beta codename "Bon Echo" as the user agent string, and it's possibile that non-Firefox Firefox browsers like Iceweasel [wikipedia.org] (Firefox without the Mozilla copyright bits) may have a non-Firefox user agent. In those cases, you'

    • by jadin (65295)

      You may have to be in Internet Explorer to see this...
      Firefox shows just fine! just so to let you people of /. know:)
      Come on.. this is slashdot. Do you really expect us to think 'Oh, I guess better not try firefox or something bad might happen!'?

      You clicked it. I clicked it. We are all going to click it. Probably more so since we were told it might not work.

      Sorry had to vent.
  • by spyfrog (552673) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @05:43PM (#20445557) Homepage
    Is this really so secret nowdays?

    I think I remeber that the thechnology to make these kind of silent propellers where sold by a norweigan company to a KGB front in the early 1980:s. As I recall, it was a major scandal when the news brooke.
    As I have understod it, most soviet nuclear subs had these improved propellers since late 80's and that most of the eastern block started to get access to the same technology.

    Most western submarines has had these kind of silent props for years and I belive that most submarine nowdays have one.
    You could try to track the Swedish HMS Gotland with passive hydrophone and see how far that takes you, for instance... she insn't even a NATO sub but she is more silent than even the american SSN subs.
    • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @06:52PM (#20446103)
      It was a machine tool made by a subsidiary of Toshiba (Toshiba Machine Co.) and a Norwegian numerical controller that were sold to Russia. This [japanlaw.info] page has a good writeup. The sale was made in direct contravention to Japanese export controls with full knowledge of the people running the company. If the numbers are to be believed, Toshiba Machine's 17 million dollar sale cost the U.S. thirty billion in lost military superiority. This technology is important, actually.
    • by BCW2 (168187)
      Actually it was the Japanese that sold the milling machines capable of making this design to the Soviets. They could not make the the tools need to fabricate the compound curves. The USSR probably had pictures and even specs for several classes of our boats but did not have the capability of copying it. The Soviet boats were very noisy compared to all of ours in the late 70's. The pictured boat is an Ohio. They are so quiet that we have trouble tracking one. Nobody else ever has.
    • by Skater (41976)
      Also, I assume the real engineering in the propellers is in the blade pitch, diameter, material, etc. You're not going to get much more than rough estimates of diameter from that Live Local picture. There's still a lot of engineering to go, even if you know there are 7 blades.
  • by GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @05:53PM (#20445613)
    The US is not just concerned about others trying to copy the propeller to reduce the noice made by their subs.

    The submarine will still make some noise. They would be concerned because knowing the propeller design gives you an idea of what type of noise it will make in use ... the sonar signature.

    The signature can be used to identify classes of submarines and potentially individual subs.

    So rather than other countries copying it ... the problem is that other countries may now have a good idea what that particular sub will sound like, and may know when the US is illegally sneaking in and out of other countries waters etc with this sub, or if this sub is positioned just outside their waters with all it's nuclear WMD's ready to go.

    On the other hand, maybe the US doesnt care at all ... maybe this was an old propeller design being replaced and retired.
  • Face it.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 8127972 (73495) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @05:53PM (#20445621)
    ... In the age of Google Earth, Virtual Earth, etc. (not to mention Google), there are no secrets. Welcome to the new world.
    • I would guess that the navy doesn't particularly care - if this were some ultra-sensitive technology they probably wouldn't have left it lying around in the open. If you can build a bleeding-edge submarine you can build an enclosed space to put it in.
      • by Dunbal (464142)
        If you can build a bleeding-edge submarine you can build an enclosed space to put it in.

              However an "enclosed space" with lots of soldiers around it and signs saying "TOP SECRET" and "KEEP OUT" will only attract attention. Sometimes hiding things in plain sight is a viable option.
    • by pclminion (145572) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @09:40PM (#20447313)

      ... In the age of Google Earth, Virtual Earth, etc. (not to mention Google), there are no secrets. Welcome to the new world.

      Okay... So what's sitting on the topmost shelf of the rightmost cabinet on the east side of the wall of my garage?

  • Then its not that much of a 'leak' and i bet its rather old ( ie, known ) technology.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @05:57PM (#20445657)
    Since the guy is over quota: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=4 7.7276611328+N,+122.7155085586+W&ie=UTF8&ll=47.721 427,-122.718315&spn=0.070444,0.139046&t=k&z=13&iwl oc=addr&om=1 [google.com]

    Coordinates are +47 43' 39.58", -122 42' 55.83" for the base (this can be plugged into Google Earth.)

    The location of the snapshot is of the dry-dock at 4744'36.08"N, 12243'48.51"W.

    This link may or may not work: http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=ryqjnb4s5 7d5&style=o&lvl=2&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=1 0352732&encType=1 [live.com]

    There's no propeller visible in the Google Earth imagery. All you can see is that there's what might be a sub; it's quite blurry. The Windows Live imagery shows a blurry whirly instrument of death; looks like a bunch of boomerangs.

    Honestly, it's stupid. Half the shit that's classified, is just classified to impress. For example, the top speed of various US air craft carriers. Like that can't be figured out by a foreign government...? Like our *propeller technology* is that much more advanced, and other nation's subs haven't figured out what it sounds like? C'mon.

    • by BCW2 (168187) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @06:40PM (#20446019) Journal
      Think again! 99.9% of the Navies of the world don't have sonar good enough to even get a sniff of one of our boats. The best the Soviets ever had was 2 generations behind! There is supposed to be a canopy over the the screw before the dock is pumped out. If you ever go to Groton for a launch you might notice that the boats are launched without a screw, it is installed later alongside the pier. Of course there are 2 different screws for each class of boats. A speed screw is used on the first few to generate top performance numbers then removed. A silent screw goes on all operational boats. The difference? Shape, pitch, and number of blades.
      I rode a Fast Attack in the Cold War, so I might know more than someone who hasn't been there.
    • by Nimey (114278)
      The propeller's blades bear a resemblance to the AH-64 Apache's main rotor -- straight for a certain length, then a sharp bend followed by a shorter length of prop blade. It's similar to the C-130J's as well.

      Interesting, but a fluid dynamicist could probably make more of the prop's exact dimensions &c than I could.
  • movies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Loconut1389 (455297) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @06:43PM (#20446039)
    I swear to ghu that I saw a propeller like that in some sub movie- though it fails to render a name in my mind. I remember seeing a prop just like that on a cg shot of the sub driving away/up - perhaps in a torpedo sequence?

    Anyway, I could be wrong, but I think I've seen one before.
    • I clicked the link, saw the propeller, and though - meh, I've seen that before.

      Of course I don't know what I am looking at, technically, but I know I've seen a propeller that shape before, somewhere.

      I am sure, as far as efficiency and stealthiness, the devil is in the details and there is a lot more to it than seeing a clear, but distant, photo to gleen any "secrets".

      In fact, if you zoom in, the third blade from the top, counter-clockwise, says Made in China right on it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Megane (129182)
      I've seen that before... in my rotary electric razor. That's what the cutter blades look like.
  • Better than the leaked Keyhole satellite shots of the first Soviet Carrier.

    The image is of a Ballistic Missile or "boomer" submarine, OHIO class. There are two sets of screws or propellers that they can put on them, a speed screw and a patrol screw. Obviously, the screws are named for their performance level and how quiet they are at a given speed.

    The US Navy spent untold hundreds of millions in hydrodynamics and propeller research, so they don't want to make it easy for the opposition to get their grubby p
  • K changed my original post but I put a close up of the liveearth propeller image here [idealog.us]. I agree the U.S. govt doesn't care about it at this point or MSFT would have blurred it.
  • Misdirection? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TallGuyRacer (920071) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @07:49PM (#20446587) Homepage
    Perhaps the U.S. Navy put a fake propeller on the sub.

    U.S. Navy: "Hey you guys do the aerial photos for Google and Mircosoft, right?"
    Acme Aerial Photos: "Yip."
    U.S. Navy: "When are you guys next flying over our base?"
    Acme Aerial Photos: "Next Tuesday. Weather permitting."
    U.S. Navy: "Thank you. You have been very helpful. <evil laugh>"
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have a book (U.S. Submarines Since 1945, An Illustrated Design History, by Norman Friedman, 1994 Naval Institute Press) that shows an old publicly released official Seawolf model with a hooked propeller very similar to the one shown in that image. The same book also has a very good image of the scythe-bladed propeller of a Las Angeles class submarine, whos manufacturing techniques were at the root of the late Toshiba milling technology sale scandal) I'm thinking that the blogger who discovered this has ma
  • Behind the times (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [retawriaf]> on Sunday September 02, 2007 @08:58PM (#20447065) Homepage
    (Obligatory disclaimer but without the obligatory tortured acronym: Yes, I am a former submariner (and have been to the Delta Pier many times), and am a student of naval history and related security issues.)
     
    The props haven't been as jealously gaurded recently as in times past - in fact, I saw pictures openly published of them as early as the late 1990's. Though the less knowledgeable may drool over seeing them at all - the pictures on Virtual Earth are not particularly high res, nor particularly useful. The fact that the US uses scythe blade propellers has been openly acknowledged since the early 90's.
     
    Or, to put it even more simply, these pictures show nothing not already publically known and acknowledged.
     
    Ditto for the weapons magazines - there is nothing classified about the exteriors, existence, or location.
     
    This article is however a interesting point on the problem of getting your news from blogs; sometimes the author knows what he's talking about. Usually, when it comes to specialized topics, he doesn't.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MtViewGuy (197597)
      By the way, that design of the propellers won't exactly work for Russian subs, either. You try an exact copy of the propeller and it could adversely affect the handling of the Russian Akula, Sierra and Oscar class submarines; in short, each submarine type requires its own unique propeller design. And this design definitely does not work with the type of ducted propellers that are starting to appear on the very latest submarine designs (The US Seawolf class submarine uses them, and I believe the new Virginia
  • by 3rd_Floo (443611) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @09:48PM (#20447359) Homepage
    I wonder if Microsoft Visual Earth has been getting their data from Setec Astronomy??
  • Stick to Linux folks (Score:3, Informative)

    by rock603 (1074230) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @10:58PM (#20447791)
    I'm just amazed. Reading Slashdot is like speaking with your "know it all" good friend or relative. You like to discuss important topics with them, but at the end of the day, they're really only an expert at one or two things!

    Okay - so I'll comment as a ten year Navy veteran (with Sub time) and as an MS Virtual Earth employee.

    On the actual propeller, some of the comments above are accurate with respect to design, power, speed and cavitation issues. If it's covered by Wikipedia, then it must be true! There has always been a policy to cover the propeller whenever the boat was pulled out of the water - it's part of the secret sauce behind our submarine stealth. Not showing it in public only makes sense, but this picture from the air could have been taken by anyone flying a private plane. Shame on the Navy for not covering it, but then again, there's more to the engineering behind it than a picture could ever show.

    Talk of satellite imagery and Government intervention is an interesting topic of the day, however. For one thing, the image was not taken by satellite, but rather by airplane using a unique capability for oblique imagery. In Virtual Earth, you can view the same area at 2 zoom levels and 4 compass points. The imagery comes from Pictometry, and MS uses the term "Bird's Eye" to depict areas in which it is available. It's pretty incredible imagery, truly raising the quality bar over systems using only satellite imagery.

    Note that Microsoft does not manage satellite or aerial providers - we only take the imagery in, enhance it, tile it and then provide it to our customers in the form of an API. The organizations that provide the imagery have been in business for years capturing images of the earth and selling them to commercial and government organizations. If anyone should be on point to discuss the appropriate image capture time and location, these would be the organizations to do so. Since I do not work for one of these organizations, I will abstain from commenting on their data capture policies. Perhaps they have a Slashdot reader who would like to comment!

    So what is Microsoft's position on this issue? A quick search (http://search.live.com/results.aspx?q=justin+osme r+submarine+propeller [live.com]) yields the following statement on Navy Times from Justin Osmer of the MS Virtual Earth product team:

    "Our mapping products fully comply with U.S. laws governing the acquisition and publishing of aerial imagery," according to the statement. "The clarity of the images is impressive, but beyond a certain zoom level the images become 'pixilated' and blur. In addition some Virtual Earth imagery can only be viewed from certain distances.
    "Additionally, there are other instances where images have been intentionally blurred for security purposes. We review requests to do so on a case-by-case basis. In addition, we do not provide real-time data or live satellite images. All the imagery has been collected at a fixed point in time over a period of the last few years."

    At the end of the day, several commenters here and elsewhere have used the term "get used to it", referring to the fact that we're losing our privacy and anonymity every day via cameras in the sky and search engines on earth... Perhaps this is true, but then again, maybe it's exactly what we need at this point in our civilization.

  • by ErnstKompressor (193799) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @11:22PM (#20447955) Homepage
    "Ducted propulsion" [globalsecurity.org] on a navy demonstrator vehicle...

    ...is this a secret?
  • by MtViewGuy (197597) on Monday September 03, 2007 @12:13AM (#20448257)
    ...I think the Russians figured out more or less the same propeller design about the same time the Americans did. People forget the Russians during the Soviet era had excellent scientists, and TsAGI (the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute) did a lot of pioneering work in aerodynamics and hydrodynamics, including work on ship and submarine propeller design.

    By the way, that picture confirms what I saw several times on the History Channel, where they showed a Los Angeles class submarine underwater running with a multibladed propeller (you can see the propeller blades clearly in the video).

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