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Submission + - Giving up alternating current->

An anonymous reader writes: Yesterday we discussed Soylent, the artificial food substitute created by Rob Rhinehart and his team. As it turns out, this isn't Rhinehart's only unusual sustainability project. In an op-ed at Ars, he explains how he gave up on alternating current — a tough proposition for anyone living in the U.S. and still interested in using all sorts of modern technology. Rhinehart says, "Most power in the US is generated by burning coal, immediately squandering 67% of its energy, then run through a steam turbine, losing another 50%, then sent across transmission lines, losing another 5%, then to charge a DC device like a cell phone another 50% is lost in conversion. This means for 100 watts of coal or oil burned my phone gets a mere 16."

The biggest hindrance was the kitchen. As you might expect for the creator of Soylent, he doesn't cook, and was able to get rid of almost all kitchen appliances because of that. He uses a butane stove for hot beverages. He powers a small computer off batteries, which get their energy from solar panels. For intensive tasks, he remotes to more powerful machines. He re-wired his apartment's LED lighting to run off direct current. Have any of you made similar changes? How much of an effect does this really have?

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Submission + - EFF and MuckRock need your help tracking biometric surveillance->

v3rgEz writes: Police departments are increasingly tracking your face, your fingerprints, your tattoos — and even your DNA. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and MuckRock are working to uncover how local agencies are tracking you and bring some much-needed transparency to the murky world of biometric surveillance through a free public records audit: Just put in some basic information about an agency near you, and they'll publicly file a request to see what vendors your city is using, how they protect your privacy, and more.
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Submission + - Torvalds 2.0: Patricia Torvalds on computing, college, feminism, and increasing ->

An anonymous reader writes: Patricia Torvalds isn't the Torvalds name that pops up in Linux and open source circles. Yet.

At 18, Patricia is a feminist with a growing list of tech achievements, open source industry experience, and her sights set on diving into her freshman year of college at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering. She works for Puppet Labs in Portland, Oregon, as an intern, but soon she'll head to Durham, North Carolina, to start the fall semester of college.

In this exclusive interview, Patricia explains what got her interested in computer science and engineering (spoiler alert: it wasn't her father), what her high school did "right" with teaching tech, the important role feminism plays in her life, and her thoughts on the lack of diversity in technology.

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Submission + - The Earth's missing element is found in stars

StartsWithABang writes: Beyond hydrogen and helium, every atom of every element we have on Earth was made in a star, processed in space and then finally condensed to form our world some 4.5 billion years ago. All the elements of the periodic table up through Uranium are found on our world, except one: technetium, element 43. But technetium is found in (some) stars, thanks to an amazing reaction: the s-process.

Submission + - Undergraduates Discover Densest Ultracompact Dwarf Galaxies->

Applehu Akbar writes: This discovery, using imaging data from several large telescopes, identifies two new ultracompact dwarf galaxies (UCD), M59-UCD3 and M85-HCC1.

UCDs are small galaxies that have stellar densities of, in the case of M85-HCC1, up a million times higher than Earth's stellar neighborhood. That would mean stars averaging one twentieth of a light year apart. In such a place our own Oort cloud would contain other stars.

Furthermore, these galaxies are considerably older than our own and contain an abundance of heavy elements.

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Submission + - Rowhammer.js Is the Most Ingenious Hack I've Ever Seen->

citadrianne writes: To understand Rowhammer.js, you have to understand row hammer, the computer phenomenon it takes advantage of. A row hammer exploit is an unfortunate side effect of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM). DRAM is a type of memory that a computer’s CPU uses to store data that it needs to access often and quickly. DRAM systems save each bit of data on individual capacitors which are electrically charged. The binary logic that is the heart of all computing comes from this charge: no charge on a bit reads as 0, a charge past a certain threshold reads as 1.
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Submission + - The Biohacking Movement and Open Source Insulin

szczys writes: Since early last century insulin has been produced from the pancreas of animals. In the late 1970's we figured out how to synthesize insulin using bacteria or yeast. As the biohacking movement has grown insulin production has been a common target, but for some reason we're not there yet. Dan Maloney looked into the backstory (including the amazing story of the Saxl family who produced life-saving insulin during WWI) and a new startup that is trying to get Biohackers working on the problem.

Submission + - Poor Pilot Training Blamed for Virgin Galactic Crash-> 1

astroengine writes: SpaceShipTwo co-pilot Michael Alsbury was not properly trained to realize the consequences of unlocking the vehicle’s hinged tail section too soon, a mistake that led to his death and the destruction of the ship during a test flight in California last year. Responsibility for the accident falls to SpaceShipTwo manufacturer Scaled Composites, a Mojave, Calif., company owned by Northrop Grumman Corp, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined at a webcast hearing on Tuesday. Poor oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which oversees commercial spaceflights in the United States, was also a factor in the accident, the NTSB said.
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Submission + - Scientists identify possible new substance with highest melting point

JoshuaZ writes: "Researchers from Brown University have tentatively identified an alloy of hafnium, nitrogen and carbon as having an expected melting point of about 7,460 degrees Fahrenheit (4120 Celsius). This exceeds the previous record breaker tantalum hafnium carbide which melts at 7,128 F (3942 C) and had stood as the record holder for almost a century. However, at this point, the record setter is still hypothetical, based on simulations. The new record has not yet been confirmed by experiment. is the actual article while is a lay summary. If the simulations turn out to be correct, the new alloy may be useful in parts like jet engines, and the door will be opened to using similar simulations to search for substances with even higher melting points or with other exotic properties.

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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1 Mole = 25 Cagey Bees