Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Days after online activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide, chair of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, R-Calif., announced that investigators would look into the federal case brought against the young technologist who downloaded millions of JSTOR articles. A heavy charge had been levied on the government by Swartz’s loved ones and supporters: The overreach of federal prosecutors had pushed Swartz to his death.
This week, Issa and top House Oversight Democrat Elijah Cummings, D-Md., sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder posing questions about Swartz’s prosecution. The letter was explicit in asking whether political motivations influenced the decision to pursue felony charges against the open-data activist, while JSTOR — the purported victim of his actions — had no interest in pressing charges.
The letter asked, among more general questions about reasons behind the decision to prosecute, “Was Mr. Swartz’s opposition to SOPA [Stop Online Piracy Act] or his association with any advocacy groups considered?”
Swartz helped spearhead opposition to the Internet censorship bill SOPA and is partially credited for the act’s failure in the House following mass online protests. Issa too was a leading opponent of the bill and was among the first lawmakers from his party to speak out against it.
Issa told HuffPo that the Justice Department has promised to brief him and Cummings on the Swartz case. “I expect that we’ll be meeting with them next week,” he said. “We expect to have a candid and open discussion with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and then we’ll take it from there, but I promise you we will not leave one stone unturned.”
Meanwhile, California Democrat Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s proposal to amend the dangerously broad Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (under which Swartz was prosecuted) is reportedly facing push-back from the Justice Department. To aid in efforts to reform the legislation, Anonymous recently hacked the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s website and has threatened to release as of yet unknown information, believed to relate to Supreme Court justices, if changes to cybercrime laws are not made.
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email firstname.lastname@example.org.More Natasha Lennard.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.