Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Hardware

Quantum-Tunneling Electrons Could Make Semiconductors Obsolete 276

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the brain-for-790 dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "The powerful, reliable combination of transistors and semiconductors in computer processors could give way to systems built on the way electrons misbehave, all of it contained in circuits that warp even the most basic rules of physics. Rather than relying on a predictable flow of electrons that appear to know whether they are particles or waves, the new approach depends on quantum tunneling, in which electrons given the right incentive can travel faster than light, appear to arrive at a new location before having left the old one, and pass straight through barriers that should be able to hold them back. Quantum tunneling is one of a series of quantum-mechanics-related techniques being developed as possible replacements for transistors embedded in semiconducting materials such as silicon. Unlike traditional transistors, circuits built by creating pathways for electrons to travel across a bed of nanotubes are not limited by any size restriction relevant to current manufacturing methods, require far less power than even the tiniest transistors, and do not give off heat or leak electricity as waste products, according to Yoke Khin Yap of Michigan Technological University, lead author of a paper describing the technique, which was published in the journal Advanced Materials last week."
Hardware Hacking

Whistled Platform Upgraded With Word Recognition 30

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the light-switch-kree dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A few weeks ago, Slashdot featured a cheap platform performing 80FFTs per second to recognize whistles. The platform is open hardware/open source and is aimed for sound processing projects. To this goal, the creator (limpkin) just implemented a simple proof of concept algorithm that will control your lighting once the platform listens to a particular word. A small video has been made to explain the basic concepts of sound recognition to encourage hobbyist to make their own."
X

Xfce, LXDE, GNOME3 Desktops Running On Ubuntu Mir Via XMir 162

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the why-not dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Through the use of XMir, a translation layer for running legacy X11 applications atop Ubuntu's forthcoming Mir display server, the GNOME Shell, Xfce, and LXDE desktops now run on this X.Org Server alternative. With XMir, the traditional window managers are still running while Mir treats these desktops as a single window."
Patents

Analyzing Congress's Multiple Approaches To Patent Reform 58

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the none-of-them-very-good dept.
ectoman writes "Patent reform is becoming an unavoidable issue — and the United States Congress is taking note. But the scope and scale of the problem have prompted multiple legislative solutions, and keeping track of them all can be rather difficult. Mark Bohannon, Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Global Public Policy at Red Hat, provides an overview of four important legislative actions currently under consideration, offering clear and concise analysis of their goals and provisions. He also assesses their potential impacts. 'Given the widening attacks by PAEs [Patent Assertion Entities],' Bohannon concludes, 'it is essential that Congress work to produce meaningful legislation on at least the issues identified above in order to begin to stem the tide.'"
Technology

UC Davis Investigates Using Helicopter Drones For Crop Dusting 77

Posted by samzenpus
from the robot-farmers dept.
cylonlover writes "Researchers at University of California, Davis, in cooperation with the Yamaha Motor Corporation, are testing UAV crop dusting on the Oakville Experimental Vineyard at the UC Oakville Station using a Yamaha RMax remote-controlled helicopter. The purpose is to study the adaptation of Japanese UAV crop dusting techniques for US agriculture, but not all the hurdles they face are technological."
Medicine

Research Offers Promise of Devices That Can Detect Disease With a Drop of Blood 27

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-a-drop dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An NJIT research professor known for his cutting-edge work with carbon nanotubes is overseeing the manufacture of a prototype lab-on-a-chip that would someday enable a physician to detect disease or virus from just one drop of liquid, including blood. 'Scalable nano-bioprobes with sub-cellular resolution for cell detection,' (Elsevier, Vol. 45), which will publish on July 15, 2013 but is available now online, describes how NJIT research professors Reginald Farrow and Alokik Kanwal, his former postdoctoral fellow, and their team have created a carbon nanotube-based device to noninvasively and quickly detect mobile single cells with the potential to maintain a high degree of spatial resolution."
Australia

Australian Government Rejects Data Retention Law After Report 153

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-sir-I-don't-like-it dept.
mask.of.sanity writes "The Australian Government has shelved its plans to proactively store communications data of every citizen ostensibly to assist with law enforcement and intelligence efforts. The shelving (video) comes after a scathing report by Australian parliamentarians who investigated the Government's plans, and three months ahead of a federal election in which the Government is expected to lose office."
Space

CubeSats Spurring Satellite Revolution 59

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-it-started dept.
kkleiner writes "Thanks to the miniaturization of electronics, small CubeSat satellites have quickly become the standard for orbital Earth monitoring. Their modular design and lower cost makes them accessible to many, from university researchers to backers of crowdfunding campaigns. This year, the number of CubeSats launched will at least double the number in orbit to date."
Patents

Formlabs In Settlement Talks Over 3D Printing Patent Lawsuit 57

Posted by samzenpus
from the working-it-out dept.
curtwoodward writes "Formlabs raised nearly $3 million in a month for its new Form 1 3D printer, which uses stereolithography to make precise models and other physical objects out of photoreactive liquid polymer. But 3D Systems — the publicly traded company founded by the guy who invented that process — sued the startup for patent infringement. Formlabs recently announced that it would start shipping its pre-ordered Form 1 printers, and that was no coincidence: the two companies quietly entered into settlement talks in early May, and hope to have a deal done by September."
Books

Book Review: Puppet 3 Beginner's Guide 81

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
sagecreek writes "If you are in charge of a small network with just a few servers, you may still be doing configuration management primarily by hand. And you may take particular pride in maintaining that 'artisan' role. After all, it's mostly up to you to set up new users and their machines, fix current problems, manage the servers and their software, create databases and their user accounts, and try to keep the network and user configurations as uniform as possible despite running several different brands--and vintages--of hardware and software. However, warns infrastructure consultant John Arundel, '[b]eyond ten or so servers, there simply isn't a choice. You can't manage an infrastructure like this by hand. If you're using a cloud computing architecture, where servers are created and destroyed minute-by-minute in response to changing demand, the artisan approach to server crafting just won't work.' In his new book, Puppet 3 Beginner's Guide, Arundel emphasizes: 'Manual configuration management is tedious and repetitive, it's error-prone, and it doesn't scale well. Puppet is a tool for automating this process.'" Read below for the rest of sagecreek's review.
Cellphones

iFixit Giving Away 1,776 "iPhone Liberation Kits" 260

Posted by samzenpus
from the fix-it-yourself dept.
netbuzz writes "In a clever bit of self-promotion, the do-it-yourself repair evangelists at iFixit announced today that they will be giving away 1,776 free 'iPhone liberation kits' that will allow Apple customers access to the inner workings of their devices by replacing the difficult-to-remove pentalobe screws with standard Phillips screws. 'Get a free insurance policy,' iFixit says. 'In the unfortunate event that your iPhone needs repair, you will be set to make any necessary fix. For situations when you need to get the battery out of your iPhone as quickly as possible—such as after dropping the device into water—you will be ready.'"
Businesses

The Glorious Return of the Twinkie 528

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-in-my-belly dept.
iggymanz writes "The geek food staple the Twinkie is coming back. The sturdy main component of the foundation to the geek four food groups of sugar, fat, caffeine and bacon — with rumored shelf life on the order of the time span to cool a white dwarf to room temperature — the Twinkie, along with Ding-Dongs, Ho-Ho's and Cupcakes, will be returning 15 July 2013 to the shelves under new management of Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulous & Co which paid over 400 mega dollars (U.S.) for the brands."
IBM

Harvard, IBM Crunch Data For More Efficient Solar Cells 65

Posted by samzenpus
from the better-than-the-sun dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Harvard's Clean Energy Project (CEP) is using IBM's World Community Grid, a 'virtual supercomputer' that leverages volunteers' surplus computing power, to determine which organic carbon compounds are best suited for converting sunlight into electricity. IBM claims that the resulting database of compounds is the 'most extensive investigation of quantum chemicals ever performed.' In theory, all that information can be utilized to develop organic semiconductors and solar cells. Roughly a thousand of the molecular structures explored by the project are capable of converting 11 percent (or more) of captured sunlight into electricity—a significant boost from many organic cells currently in use, which convert between 4 and 5 percent of sunlight. That's significantly less than solar cells crafted from silicon, which can produce efficiencies of up to nearly 20 percent (at least in the case of black silicon solar cells). But silicon solar cells can be costly to produce, experiments with low-grade materials notwithstanding; organic cells could be a cheap and recyclable alternative, provided researchers can make them more efficient. The World Community Grid asks volunteers to download a small program (called an 'agent') onto their PC. Whenever the machine is idle, it requests data from whatever project is on the World Community Grid's server, which it crunches before sending back (and requesting another data packet). Several notable projects have embraced grid computing as a way to analyze massive datasets, including SETI@Home."
Medicine

New Links Found Between Bacteria and Cancer 159

Posted by samzenpus
from the cleaning-up-your-cancer dept.
Shipud writes "A recent study by a group at the University of Maryland School of Medicine shows that bacterial DNA gets transferred to human cells, in a process known as lateral gene transfer, or LGT. LGT is known to occur quite commonly between bacteria, including bacteria of different species. In fact, that is how antibiotic resistance is transferred so quickly. The team has shown that certain types of tumor cells acquire bacterial DNA that may play a role in tumor progression. Another group at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill has shown that gut inflammation leads to a radical change in the microbial population there, which encourages growth of E. coli that can disrupt the inflamed cells' DNA, leading to cancer. Both studies enable us to ask new questions such as: how does inflammation change the landscape for bacterial colonization? Can bacteria indeed harness inflammation — and then cancer — to flourish and remove competitors from their newly found ecosystem? And can we use this information to fight cancer?"

"If there isn't a population problem, why is the government putting cancer in the cigarettes?" -- the elder Steptoe, c. 1970

Working...