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+ - Lockheed Martin Claims Sustainable Fusion Is Within Its Grasp-> 1 1

SternisheFan writes: Imagine a source of electrical power that uses water for fuel, produces byproducts that are totally safe and releases no air pollution. Then imagine that once it's up and running, it'll be so portable that an entire power plant could fit into the cargo hold of an airplane. Now, imagine that it'll be running in prototype form in five years and operating commercially in ten.

The fusion is powered by a combination of two isotopes of Hydrogen, Deuterium and Tritium, both of which occur in nature and which can be extracted from water. "Our studies show that a 100 MW system would only burn less than 20 kg of fuel in an entire year of operation," a Lockheed Martin spokesperson told eWEEK. "Tritium fuel is continually bred within the reactor wall and fed back into the reactor along with deuterium gas to sustain the reactions."
In other words, the fusion reactor creates most of its own fuel as part of its operation. The Deuterium gas is simply a normal hydrogen atom with an extra neutron, creating what is sometimes called "heavy hydrogen." Deuterium can be extracted from the hydrogen obtained from electrolysis of water. This may sound complicated, but it's a process that has been routinely performed in college physics projects.
While the fusion reactor does create a radioactive byproduct, it's recycled for use in the reactor itself. There is no radioactive waste problem such as exists with nuclear fission power plants. "The waste footprint is orders of magnitude less than coal plants which require huge landfills to contain the toxic ash and sludge wastes," the spokesperson said in an email.
"A typical coal plant generates over 100,000 tons of ash and sludge containing toxic metals and chemicals each year. The first generation of fusion reactors will run on Deuterium-Tritium fuel, but successive generations would use fuels that could eliminate the radioactivity altogether," she said.
Currently Lockheed Martin is in the process of testing a magnetic confinement bottle, where the Skunk Works team has apparently made significant progress. In terms of how a fusion reactor would be created, the magnetic bottle is the primary hurdle.
If that's accomplished successfully most of the science and engineering is known. However, that doesn't mean that building the prototype fusion reactor is a done deal. Lockheed Martin is looking for industry partners to help develop the Compact Fusion reactor into a real product.
The goal is to create a fusion reactor that can generate heat to use in existing power plants, where the reactor would replace existing fossil fuel combustion. This means that existing power generation and distribution infrastructure would be retained, which will dramatically reduce the cost of implementation and dramatically speed up deployment.
The existence of cheap, portable power will transform the world in many ways. A statement from the company envisions ships and aircraft with unlimited range, spacecraft that could reduce the travel time to Mars to less than a month.
Perhaps most important to the most people, it could bring vast amounts of power to anywhere on earth, providing among other things economical water desalination to developing regions of the globe, which are not only poor, but short of clean water, by removing energy scarcity as an insurmountable problem.
If Lockheed Martin can pull this off, and given the reputation of the Skunk Works for routinely doing the impossible, I suspect it will, the results will be transformative.
While it doesn't mean free energy, it does mean that the cost of nearly unlimited energy is very low, and with unlimited energy, there's no end to what can be accomplished. To say that the Skunk Works is on the verge of changing the world is an understatement. This development could well define the future.

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+ - Technology's Legacy: The 'Loser Edit' Awaits Us All->

An anonymous reader writes: The NY Times Magazine has an insightful article putting into words how I've felt about information-age culture for a while now. It's about a phenomenon dubbed the "loser edit." The term itself was borne out of reality TV — once an outcome had been decided, the show's producers would comb back through the footage and selectively paste together everything that seemed to foreshadow the loser's fall.

But as the information age has overtaken us, this is something that can happen to anyone. Any time a celebrity gets into trouble, we can immediately search through two decades of interviews and offhand comments to see if there were hints of their impending fall. It usually becomes a self-reinforcing chain of evidence. The loser edit happens for non-celebrities too, using their social media posts, public records, leaked private records, and anything else available through search.

The worst part is, there's no central place to blame. The news media does it, the entertainment industry does it, and we do it to ourselves. Any time the internet gets outraged about something, there are a few people who happily dig up everything they can about the person they now feel justified in hating — and thus, the loser edit begins.

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+ - Disgraced Scientist is Selling His Nobel Prize

HughPickens.com writes: Nicholas St. Fleur writes at The Atlantic that in the sad final chapter to a career that traces back to racist remarks he made in 2007, James Watson, the famed molecular biologist and co-discoverer of DNA, is putting his Nobel Prize up for auction, the first Nobel laureate in history to do so. Watson, best known for his work deciphering the DNA double helix alongside Francis Crick in 1953, made an incendiary remark regarding the intelligence of black people that lost him the admiration of the scientific community in 2007 making him, in his own words, an "unperson". That year, The Sunday Times quoted Watson as saying that he felt “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours—whereas all the testing says not really.” Watson added that although some think that all humans are born equally intelligent, “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true.” Watson has a history of making racist and sexist declarations, according to Time. His insensitive off-the-cuff remarks include saying that sunlight and dark skin contribute to “Latin lover” libido, and that fat people lack ambition, which prevents them from being hired. At a science conference in 2012, Watson said of women in science, “I think having all these women around makes it more fun for the men but they’re probably less effective.” To many scientists his gravest offense was not crediting Rosalind Franklin with helping him deduce the structure of DNA.

Watson is selling his prized medallion because he has no income outside of academia, even though for years he had served on many corporate boards. The gold medal is expected to bring in between $2.5 million and $3.5 million when it goes to auction. Watson says that he will use the money to purchase art and make donations to institutions that have supported him, such as the University of Chicago and Watson says the auction will also offer him the chance to “re-enter public life.” “I’ve had a unique life that’s allowed me to do things. I was set back. It was stupid on my part,” says Watson “All you can do is nothing, except hope that people actually know what you are.”

+ - Deutsch Telecom Upgrades T-Mobile 2G Encryption in U.S.->

An anonymous reader writes: T-Mobile, a major wireless carrier in the US and subsidiary of german Deutsch Telecom, is hardening the encryption on its 2G cellular network in the US, reports the Washington Post. According to Cisco, 2G cellular calls still account for 13% of calls in the US and 68% of wireless calls worldwide. T-Mobile's upgrades will bring the encryption of older and inexpensive 2G GSM phone signals in the US up to par with that of more expensive 3G and 4G handsets. Parent company Deutsche Telecom had announced a similar upgrade of its German 2G network after last year's revelations of NSA surveillance.
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+ - "Calibration" error changes Illinois touchscreen votes-> 4 4

BobandMax writes: In a truly shocking occurrence, a Cook County, Illinois touchscreen voting device changed votes from Republican to Democrat. Voting officials removed the machine and determined that a calibration error was at fault. The voter who brought the problem to their attention, Republican state representative candidate Jim Moynihan, was later "allowed" to vote for Republicans. Some things never change, regardless technology.
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Comment: It's still his parts collection, regardless. So? (Score 1) 3 3

If the company running the auction misrepresented the car's condition, he can certainly take it up with them or their lawyers. But he has no reason to blame Tesla for his situation, at all. According to the article, they're not trying to force him into any service contract, or pay a huge fee (they even said they would waive the inspection fee). But they have got to be able to cover themselves if he does something like electrocutes himself or hits someone if a repair they weren't responsible for is insufficient.

+ - A Problem With Teacher Begfunding: $56,742 for One Class, $258 for Another 1 1

theodp writes: Google's "flash-funding" of teachers' projects via DonorsChoose continues to draw kudos, this time from grateful mayors in Seattle and Los Angeles. And some of the teachers seem to be getting pretty good at playing the begfunding game. In L.A., for instance, almost 6% of the $977,281 Google and DonorsChoose awarded is being used to take 34 kids on "The Trip of a Lifetime." And while the good news over at Alliance Burton Tech Academy High School is that Google is ponying up $56,742 to send Mr. Hermosillo's 34 students to London and Paris, the sad news is that Ms. Garcia's 150 students missed the Google gravy train and will have to settle for $258.93 worth of markers and glue from the Gates Foundation and DonorsChoose.

+ - $75K prosthetic arm is bricked when paired Ipod is stolen.-> 2 2

kdataman writes: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ben Eberle, who lost an arm and both legs in Afghanistan, had his Ipod Touch stolen on Friday. This particular Ipod Touch has an app on it that controls his $75,000 prosthetic arm. The robbery bricked his prosthesis:

"That is because Eberle's prosthetic hand is programmed to only work with the stolen iPod, and vice versa. Now that the iPod is gone, he said he has to get a new hand and get it reprogrammed with his prosthesis."

I see three possibilities.
1) The article is wrong, possibly to guilt the thief into returning the Ipod.
2) This is an incredibly bad design by Touch Bionics [http://www.touchbionics.com]. Why would you make a $70,000 piece of equipment permanently dependent on a specific Ipod Touch? Ipods do fail or go missing.
3) This is an intentionally bad design to generate revenue. Maybe GM should do this with car keys? "Oops, lost the keys to the corvette. Better buy a new one."

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+ - Google patches Android against OpenSSL MITM vulnerability

93 Escort Wagon writes: Google is releasing Android 4.4.4 for certain Nexus phones and tablets. While some users hoping for a new Android release at I/O may be disappointed by the timing of this new KitKat release, it is important update since it is primarily addressing CVE-2014-0224, a significant OpenSSL man in the middle vulnerability discovered recently.

Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with time travel, you never can tell." -- Doctor Who, "Androids of Tara"

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