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Submission + - German scientists confirm NASA results of propellantless 'impossible' EM drive->

MarkWhittington writes: Hacked Magazine reported that a group of German scientists believe that they have confirmed that the EM Drive, the propulsion device that uses microwaves rather than rocket fuel, provides thrust. The experimental results are being presented at the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics' Propulsion and Energy Forum in Orlando by Martin Tajmar, a professor and chair for Space Systems at the Dresden University of Technology. Tajmar has an interest in exotic propulsion methods, including one concept using “negative matter.”
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Submission + - State Of Georgia Sues for Copyright Infringement For Publishing The State's Laws-> 1 1

schwit1 writes: The state of Georgia has sued sued Carl Malamud and his site It is about as ridiculous as you would expect focusing on the highly questionable claim that the Official Code of Georgia Annotated is covered by federal copyright law — and that not only was Malamud (*gasp*) distributing it, but also... creating derivative works! Oh no! And, he's such an evil person that he was encouraging others to do so as well!
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Submission + - Cool new material could make fuel cells cheaper->

sciencehabit writes: It’s not enough for a new alternative energy technology to work. It also has to be cheap enough to compete with traditional fossil fuels. That’s been a high hurdle for devices called solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) that convert fuels—such as methane and hydrogen—directly to electricity without burning them. But now researchers report that they’ve come up with a new recipe for making key components in one type of SOFC more cheaply, which could sharply lower its overall cost.
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Submission + - The Rise of Computer-Aided Explanation->

An anonymous reader writes: Imagine it’s the 1950s and you’re in charge of one of the world’s first electronic computers. A company approaches you and says: “We have 10 million words of French text that we’d like to translate into English. We could hire translators, but is there some way your computer could do the translation automatically?”

At this time, computers are still a novelty, and no one has ever done automated translation. But you decide to attempt it. You write a program that examines each sentence and tries to understand the grammatical structure. It looks for verbs, the nouns that go with the verbs, the adjectives modifying nouns, and so on. With the grammatical structure understood, your program converts the sentence structure into English and uses a French-English dictionary to translate individual words.

For several decades, most computer translation systems used ideas along these lines — long lists of rules expressing linguistic structure. But in the late 1980s, a team from IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., tried a radically different approach. They threw out almost everything we know about language — all the rules about verb tenses and noun placement — and instead created a statistical model.

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Submission + - A lunar geologist gives a reality check for NASA funded return to the moon study->

MarkWhittington writes: The study that suggested that American astronauts could return to the moon by 2021 for $10 billion has caused rare excitement in the media though perhaps a little bemusement as well. Officially, due to a presidential mandate, NASA has eschewed a return to the moon. Of course, presidencies and thus space policy mandates change. In any event, Paul Spudis, a lunar geologist who frequently writes about space policy and is an advocate of a return to the moon, provided a reality check for the proposal.

One the one hand. Dr. Spudis noted with approval the plan’s emphasis on the mining of lunar water and its refining into rocket fuel. He has helped develop a plan to do just that, which the NASA-funded proposal seems to have borrowed heavily from.

However, Spudis has some objections to the plan.

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Submission + - France to reduce reliance on nuclear power

AmiMoJo writes: French lawmakers have approved a bill to reduce the country's reliance on nuclear power from 75% to 50% by 2025. The policy was one of President Francois Hollande's campaign pledges. The legislation also includes a target of reducing the country's greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030, compared to the level in 1990. The new law aims to eventually halve France's energy consumption by 2050 from the 2012 level. The ambitious goal came in the lead-up to the COP 21 climate change conference in Paris later this year. France will chair the meeting.

Submission + - Bananas. Extinct. Again? ->

garyoa1 writes: Fifty years ago, we were eating better bananas.

They tasted better, they lasted longer, they were more resilient and didn’t require artificial ripening. They were — simply put — a better fruit, because they belonged to a different species, or cultivar in banana parlance.

It was called Gros Michel and it remained the world’s export banana until 1965.

That year, it was declared commercially extinct due to the Panama disease, a fungal disease that started out from Central America and quickly spread to most of the world’s commercial banana plantations, leaving no other choice but to burn them down.

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Submission + - Weyl Fermions Found, a Quasiparticle That Acts Like a Massless Electron-> 1 1

An anonymous reader writes: After an 85-year hunt, scientists have detected an exotic particle, the âoeWeyl fermion,â which they suggest could lead to faster and more efficient electronics and to new types of quantum computing.

Electrons, protons, and neutrons belong to a class of particles known as fermions. Unlike the other major class of particles, the bosons, which include photons, fermions can collide with each otherâ"no two fermions can share the same state at the same position at the same time.

Whereas electrons and all the other known fermions have mass, in 1929, mathematician and physicist Hermann Weyl theorized that massless fermions that carry electric charge could exist, so-called Weyl fermions. âoeWeyl fermions are basic building blocks; you can combine two Weyl fermions to make an electron,â says condensed matter physicist Zahid Hasan at Princeton University.

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Submission + - Reduce Pollution and Congestion Adjusting Parking Price->

dkatana writes: “There is no such thing as free parking! Free parking represents lost revenue, squandered land and polluted air. Parking garages are not more than an antisocial car subsidy,” writes Donald Shoup in his book “The High Cost of Free Parking.”

"No Free Parking – Leave Your Car At Home" analyzes the effect of pricing policies and the possibility to deter people of bringing their cars if they can't pay for curbside parking.

It is estimated that over 30% of traffic in a city is created by people looking for parking. If cities could reduce that number to about 10%, it could mean a significant reduction of overall traffic congestion and pollution. If the price of parking is high enough, there will be vacancies.

While increasing parking price would likely ignite protests by residents and visitors alike, the results would bring many benefits that people would ultimately appreciate. A reduction in traffic and pollution could be achieved in as little as a few months, and people would be more accepting after experiencing the benefits.

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Submission + - Antineutrino Detectors Could Be Key to Monitoring Iran's Nuclear Program->

agent elevator writes: Tech that analyzes antineutrinos might be the best way to keep tabs on Iran's nuclear program. The technology, which can tell how much of and what kind of plutonium and uranium are nearby, should be ready to serve as a nuclear safeguard in less than two years, according to IEEE Spectrum. In a simulation of the Arak nuclear plant, which the Iran deal requires be redesigned to make less plutonium, a detector parked outside in a shipping container could do the job.
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Submission + - Famed aircraft designer James Bede dies

linuxwrangler writes: Prolific aircraft designer James "Jim" Bede has died at age 82. Although Bede designed numerous aircraft he is most commonly associated with the BD-5J, the "world's smallest jet", that was famously used to help James Bond escape in the movie "Octopussy." Bede's company currently has that aircraft for sale.

Submission + - Apple Pay users could be fined if their battery runs out on the train->

Mark Wilson writes: Apple Pay caused ripples of excitement when it was announced, and just the other day it found its way across the ocean to the UK. The contactless payment method transforms iPhones and Apple Watches into cardless way to pay for low-cost items with little more than a tap.

But if you plan to use Apple Pay to pay for travel by bus, tram, or train in London, it may not all be plain sailing. Using a phone or watch to make a payment is supposed to make life easier, but it could also result in a fine. Transport for London has issued a warning to travelers pointing out that if their battery dies, their journey could prove expensive.

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Submission + - 2014 was Earth's warmest year on record->

An anonymous reader writes: A lengthy report compiled by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration using work from hundreds of scientists across 58 countries has found that 2014 was the hottest year on record. "he warmth was widespread across land areas. Europe experienced its warmest year on record, with more than 20 countries exceeding their previous records. Africa had above-average temperatures across most of the continent throughout 2014, Australia saw its third warmest year on record, Mexico had its warmest year on record, and Argentina and Uruguay each had their second warmest year on record. Eastern North America was the only major region to experience below-average annual temperatures." They've also published a page showing highlights of the major findings. Greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise, the global sea level reached a record high, and average sea surface temperatures reached a record high.
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Submission + - Google Self-Driving Car Read-Ended In First Injury Accident->

An anonymous reader writes: Google's autonomous car project, as of June, hadn't been in any accidents that involved an injury. That changed on July 1st, thought it wasn't the car's fault. A Lexus SUV that was self-driving while carrying three Google employees was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light in Mountain View, California. All three employees had minor cases of whiplash, and were quickly checked out and released from the hospital. The other driver had minor neck and back pain as well. Chris Umson, head of the autonomous car project, said, "Other drivers have hit us 14 times since the start of our project in 2009 (including 11 rear-enders), and not once has the self-driving car been the cause of the collision. Instead, the clear theme is human error and inattention. We’ll take all this as a signal that we’re starting to compare favorably with human drivers." He also posted a short video of how the self-driving car was tracking other vehicles at the time of the crash — including the one that hit it.
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Submission + - Nuclear power losing steam after Fukushima->

The Real Dr John writes: Japan has been without nuclear power for a full calendar year for the first time since the first commercial nuclear power plant started up in the country 50 years ago. New reactor construction around the world is down, and most plants under construction have been delayed, often by years. Renewable energy including wind and solar have surpassed nuclear generation in many developed countries without posing the threat of radioactive disasters. Nuclear power looks like it will be around for decades to come, but its time is over.
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A slow pup is a lazy dog. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"