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+ - Tiny glass pyramids used to create self-cooling solar cells->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Solar panels need to be placed in direct sunlight in order to function, but that means they get hot, become less efficient, and age quickly. For every 1 degree Celsius the temperature increases, solar cell efficiency decreases by 0.5%. So at a typical peak temperature of 55 degrees a 30% efficient solar panel is only converting around 21% of the solar energy.

What we need is passive cooling, and a team at Standford Uni has solved the problem using tiny glass pyramids to manipulate the properties of light."

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+ - Is encryption for the public now a myth?

Submitted by TechForensics
TechForensics (944258) writes "We all know the TrueCrypt story-- a fine, effective encryption program beginning to achieve wide use. When you see how the national security agency modified this tool so they could easily overcome it, you'll probably understand why they don't complain about PGP anymore. The slip that showed what was happening was the information that NSA "were really ticked about TrueCrypt" either because they couldn't circumvent it or found it too difficult. From the standpoint of privacy advocates, NSA's dislike for TrueCrypt was evidence it was effective.

Next, NSA directly wrapped up the makers of TrueCrypt in legal webs that made them insert an NSA backdoor and forbade them from revealing it was there. It's only because of the cleverness of the TrueCrypt makers the world was able to determine for itself that TrueCrypt was now compromised. (Among other things, though formerly staunch privacy advocates, the makers discontinued development of TrueCrypt and recommended something like Microsoft Bitlocker, which no one with any sense believes could be NSA – hostile. It then became logically defensible, since NSA was not complaining about PGP or other encryption programs, to posit they had already been vitiated.

This is the situation we have: all of the main are important encryption programs are compromised at least in use against the federal government. Whether NSA tools are made available to local law enforcement is not known. This all begs the question:

Does the public now have *any* encryption that works? Even if we can see the source code of the encryption algorithm the source code of the program employing that algorithm must be considered false. (TrueCrypt was the only program NSA complained about.) In the case of other software, it becomes believable the NSA has allowed to be published only source code that hides their changes, and the only way around that may be to check and compile the published code yourself. Half the public probably doesn't bother.

Okay, Slashdot, what do you think? Where do we stand? And what ought we to do about it?"

+ - 3D Printing Opportunities using epoxy resins->

Submitted by ThreeDPrinting
ThreeDPrinting (3752109) writes "One of the fascinating aspects of the emerging technology of 3D printing is how researchers are experimenting with different materials. Thermoplastics and powdered metal are already standard materials for the additive manufacturing process. Gizmag reports that researchers at Harvard are delving into the 3D printing opportunities inherent in using an epoxy resin.

It is a truism in materials science that he stronger a material is, the denser and therefore heavier it tends to be. Conversely lighter materials tend to be weaker. The idea is to find or create materials that are at once strong and lightweight.

Balsa wood is one such material. It tends to be light and, because of a unique cellular structure, strong. It is used for such things as the blades of wind turbines as well as model cars and planes. The problem is that most balsa wood comes from Ecuador.

The Harvard researchers have found a way to create an epoxy resin material that can be used in a 3D printer that has a cellular structure that makes it better than balsa wood. They built the new composite using an epoxy-based resin containing nano clay platelets to increase viscosity, as well as two types of fillers – silicon carbide "whiskers" and discrete carbon fibers. What’s more, the researchers can play with the density of the material, controlling it as it gets spun out of the 3D printer.

The resulting structures are much stiffer and stronger than the standard thermoplastics currently used in 3D printing. This opens the way to building lightweight but stronger products from the wind turbine blades to lighter but safer cars that increase gas mileage."

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+ - Finding life in space by looking for extraterrestrial pollution->

Submitted by coondoggie
coondoggie (973519) writes "If what we know as advanced life exists anywhere other than Earth, then perhaps they are dirtying their atmosphere as much as we have and that we could use such pollution components to perhaps more easily spot such planets in the universe. That’s the basics of new research put for this week by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics that stated if we could spot the fingerprints of certain pollutants under ideal conditions, it would offer a new approach in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence."
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+ - 'Just Let Me Code!'->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Andrew Binstock has an article about the ever-increasing complexity required to write code. He says, "I got into programming because I like creating stuff. Not just any stuff, but stuff other people find useful. I like the constant problem solving, the use of abstractions that exist for long periods nowhere but in my imagination, and I like seeing the transformation into a living presence. ... The simple programs of a few hundred lines of C++ long ago disappeared from my experience. What was the experience of riding a bicycle has become the equivalent of traveling by jumbo jet; replete with the delays, inspections, limitations on personal choices, and sudden, unexplained cancellations — all at a significantly higher cost. ... Project overhead, even for simple projects, is so heavy that it's a wonder anyone can find the time to code, much less derive joy from it. Software development has become a mostly operational activity, rather than a creative one. The fundamental problem here is not the complexity of apps, but the complexity of tools. Tools have gone rather haywire during the last decade chasing shibboleths of scalability, comprehensiveness, performance. Everything except simplicity.""
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+ - A Drone Saved an Elderly Man Who Had Been Missing for Three Days

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "A drone was just used to save a life: Earlier this week, an elderly man who was missing for three days was found with the help of a drone in Wisconsin.
82-year-old Guillermo DeVenecia had been missing for three days. Search dogs, a helicopter, and hundreds of volunteers had spent days looking for him. David Lesh, a Colorado-based skier and drone pilot decided to look for him using his drone—and found him within 20 minutes."

+ - Russia prepares for internet war over Malaysian jet. 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Barely a few hours afer the shooting down of a Malaysian passenger jet over Ukranian rebel held territory is already hotting up. Whilst US and UK news organisations are studiously trying to spread the blame, Russian ITAR, which, just earlier today was celebrating the downing of a large aircraft by rebel missiles in Torez (Google cache) is now reporting that the rebels do not have access to the missiles needed for such attacks. The rebel commander who earlier today was reporting the downing of the aircraft has also issued a correction to earlier reports that they had captured BUK air defence systems with Russian sources now stating that the rebels do not posess such air defences. The Ukraininan president has been attempting to frame the incident as a "terrorist attack", however US president Obama who, after the accident was first made contact with Vladimir Putin has been instead treating it as an accident, a "terrible tragedy" and saying that the priority is investigating whether US citizens were involved. With control of the black box and it's own internet propaganda army Russia may be in a good position to win the propaganda war."

+ - Here's a way to store energy. In bags. Of Air. Underwater.

Submitted by IMissAlexChilton
IMissAlexChilton (3748631) writes "As described in IEEE Spectrum: Canadian startup Hydrostor thinks it has a solution to offshore wind power's intermittency problem: giant underwater bags. "Using electricity from Toronto Hydro’s grid to run a compressor, it will fill the bags with air. Later, when the utility needs electricity, the air will be emptied from the bags and run through a turboexpander." This will be the world’s first commercial facility for underwater compressed-air energy storage. To be sure, though, you'll need an awful lot of air-filled energy bags to back up a large wind farm. Disclosure: I am the author of the Spectrum article and a staff editor for same."

+ - Vagina selfie for 3D printers lands Japanese artist in trouble-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Last month it took more than 20 firefighters to free a US student who had become trapped inside a giant sculpture of a vagina in Germany. But genital art elicited a very different response in Japan this week, when police arrested an artist for distributing data that enables recipients to make 3D prints of her vagina.

The artist, who works under the pseudonym Rokudenashiko – which roughly translates as “good-for-nothing girl” – was arrested after emailing the data to 30 people who had answered a crowd-funding request for her recent artistic venture: a kayak inspired on her own genitalia she calls “pussy boat”, according to Brian Ashcraft at the gaming website Kotaku.

The artist, whose real name is Megumi Igarashi, was being held in Tokyo on suspicion of breaking Japanese obscenity laws. Media reports said Igarashi, 42, denied the allegations. She pointed out that had not sent images of her vagina in return for money and did not recognise the scanned 3D data as obscene."

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+ - FAA Intimidates Coldwell Banker, Other Realtors Into Shunning Drone Photography-> 1

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "For months, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been investigating realtors who use drones to film their properties. Now, Forbes has learned that the FAA’s investigations have succeeded in intimidating NRT —the nation’s largest residential real estate brokerage company — into advising their members to not only cease flying drones as part of their work, but to also cease using drone footage.

This is a troubling development in an ongoing saga over the FAA’s rules which punish the safe commercial use of drones. Currently, the FAA does not prohibit the use of drones for a hobby — flying over your home and taking pictures of it for fun is allowed, but because real estate drones take pictures for a commercial purpose, the FAA prohibits their use."

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+ - Arecibo radio telescope has confirmed the existence of fast radio pulses->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "The Arecibo radio telescope has confirmed the existence of fast radio pulses.

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are bright flashes of radio waves that last only a few thousandths of a second. Scientists using the Parkes Observatory in Australia have recorded such events for the first time, but the lack of any similar findings by other facilities led to speculation that the Australian instrument might have been picking up signals originating from sources on or near Earth. The discovery at Arecibo is the first detection of a fast radio burst using an instrument other than the Parkes radio telescope. The position of the radio burst is in the direction of the constellation Auriga in the Northern sky.

“Our result is important because it eliminates any doubt that these radio bursts are truly of cosmic origin,” continues Victoria Kaspi, an astrophysics professor at McGill University in Montreal and Principal Investigator for the pulsar-survey project that detected this fast radio burst. “The radio waves show every sign of having come from far outside our galaxy – a really exciting prospect.”

Exactly what may be causing such radio bursts represents a major new enigma for astrophysicists. Possibilities include a range of exotic astrophysical objects, such as evaporating black holes, mergers of neutron stars, or flares from magnetars — a type of neutron star with extremely powerful magnetic fields.

Be warned: All of the above theories could also be wrong. These fast radio flashes could just as easily turn out to be something entirely unpredicted."
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+ - SpaceX Wins FAA Permission to Build a Spaceport in Texas

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "SpaceX just got approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to build a 56.5-acre spaceport along the Gulf of Mexico on the Texas-Mexico border—a huge step toward actually making the spaceport a reality.
Wednesday, the FAA, which handles all commercial space launch permitting in the United States, issued what's known as a "Record of Decision" that suggests the agency would allow the company to launch 10 Falcon 9 rockets and two Falcon Heavy rockets per year out of the spaceport, through at least 2025."

+ - Alleged Hooker and Heroin Kill a Key Google exec on his Yacht in Santa Cruz->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Authorities allege model, makeup artist, and self-described "hustler" Alix Catherine Tichelman initially met 51-year-old Google executive Forrest Hayes of Santa Cruz and other Silicon Valley executives at SeekingArrangement.com for sexual encounters that fetched $1,000 or more. Last November 22, Tichelman met Hayes in-person on his white, 50-foot yacht, "Escape," in the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor. She brought heroin and needles into the yacht's cabin where she injected Hayes, causing him to overdose, said Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark.

It has recently become known that a security camera in the cabin showed her pack drugs and syringes into her purse, clean off a table and draw a window blind. When she stepped over Hayes' lifeless body to drink from a glass of wine, she left behind a fingerprint on the glass, which helped investigators to identify her, Clark said. The yacht's captain found Hayes dead the next morning.

Santa Cruz police said they continued to probe Tichelman's possible involvement in another suspicious death out of state, but they declined to elaborate.

Hayes joined Apple in 2005 and worked there for several years, according to a brief profile on the business networking website LinkedIn. He started working for Mountain View-based Google about a year ago and joined its secretive "X" division, which is responsible for what the company likes to call "moon shot" projects including self-driving cars and the computer headset known as Glass.

"Seeking Arrangement," is a website that aims to connect "sugar daddies" and "sugar babies." suggesting, "Financial Stability: Unpaid bills no longer have to be a concern.""

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