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Spaceflight Now

SpaceX test mishap prompts delay of Falcon 9 launch
Spaceflight Now
SpaceX says it has delayed liftoff of the next Falcon 9 rocket until Wednesday to ensure the problem that caused a prototype rocket to self-destruct in a test flight Friday will not pose a risk to the launch of a telecommunications satellite for AsiaSat.
SpaceX Has Opportunity in Rocket Test That Ended in
Video: SpaceX test-launch explosion in TexasNews 13 Orlando
SpaceX To Delay Launch After ExplosionBrevard Times
Gant Daily-Tech Times-Register
all 345 news articles

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+ - Which Is More Scalable, Nuclear Energy Or Wind Energy?-> 1

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "Summary: Empirically, wind energy is much more scalable than nuclear energy.

China is the true experiment for maximum scalability of nuclear vs wind. It has a tremendous gap between demand and generation. It can mostly ignore democracy and social license for nuclear. It is building both wind and nuclear as rapidly as possible. It has been on a crash course for both for about the same period of time. It has bypassed most of the regulatory red tape for nuclear.

So how is it doing?

        China turned on just over 16 GW of nameplate capacity of wind generation in 2013 according to the Global Wind Energy Council.

Over the four years of 2010 to 2014, China managed to put 4.7 GW of nuclear into operation at the Qinshan Phase II, Ling Ao Phase II, Ningde, Hongyanhe and Yangjiang plants. This is not their stated plans for nuclear, which had them building almost double this in 2013 alone and around 28 GW by 2015, but the actual plants put into production. The variance between the nuclear roadmap and nuclear reality in China is following the trajectory of nuclear buildout worldwide: delays, cost overruns, and unmet expectations."

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+ - How Argonne National Lab Will Make Tesla Cars Cheaper

Submitted by ashshy
ashshy (40594) writes "Argonne National Lab is leading the charge on next-generation battery research. In an interview with The Motley Fool, Argonne spokesman Jeff Chamberlain explains how new lithium ion chemistries will drive down the cost of electric cars over the next few years. Tesla Motors picked a terrific time to get into battery manufacturing."

+ - 1 Old Car Battery Can Help Power 30 Homes->

Submitted by Taffykay
Taffykay (2047384) writes "Science recently scored a simultaneous victory over pollution for both recycling and renewable energy! A team of researchers at MIT has come up with plan to turn old car batteries into durable solar panels. According to, the system proposed by a group of MIT professors and published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science uses a fairly new solar cell technology that includes a compound called perovskite, which is nearly on par with traditional silicon-based cells but takes significantly less material to manufacture."
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+ - Hemp fibres make better supercapacitors than graphene->

Submitted by biodata
biodata (1981610) writes "BBC News is reporting findings published in the journal ACS Nano by Dr David Mitlin's group from Clarkson University, New York.
"We're making graphene-like materials for a thousandth of the price — and we're doing it with waste."
"The hemp we use is perfectly legal to grow. It has no THC in it at all — so there's no overlap with any recreational activities."
Dr. Mitlin's team took waste hemp stems and recycled the material into supercapacitors with performance as good, or better, than those built from graphene, at a fraction of the raw materials cost."

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+ - Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Facility: Weapons-grade uranium, mercury, and revenge-porn->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "This is simply astonishing. Bob Alvarez describes the fiscal, environmental, health, and safety problems that have for decades defined the Y-12 nuclear weapons facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. From insane levels of mercury pollution that has gotten into local waterways, to chronic fires and explosions, the arrest of a trespassing nun, and an airplane that came low enough over the facility to drop a large load of revenge-porn, Y-12 is a major disaster waiting to happen.

‘Years of leaking roofs have created chronic safety problems, including standing water in fissile material storage areas and water accumulation near electric control panels. In March 2014, a large portion of a concrete ceiling collapsed in a building that was once part of the weapons operation’

And recently, the Government Accountability Office ‘reported that one of the primary justifications for stockpiling excess canned sub-assemblies at Y-12 is “for potential use in planetary defense against earthbound asteroids.”’ In 2005, a task force at the Department of Energy recommended the closure of Y-12, citing a lack of ‘modern-day production technology,” and urged the DOE to begin an immediate site selection process elsewhere. That set the Tennessee congressional delegations into an uproar, so the DOE decided to modernize ‘in-place.” It can't happen too soon.."

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+ - Haking a Mercedes to autonomous car with a soda can

Submitted by Petrut Malaescu
Petrut Malaescu (3748097) writes "Last year Mercedes introduced an intelligent Lane Assist system to it's S-class which is cataloged as a Level 1 "Function-specific Automation" aka "hands and feet always on the controls", but a clever(?) driver discovered that all it takes to turn his car up a notch, is a soda can that bypasses the steering wheel sensor which detects the drivers hands. The trick was picked up by Road & Track magazine and I agree that it's not a good idea to try this on a busy highway."

+ - US Army to transport American Ebola victim to Atlanta hospital from Liberia-> 1

Submitted by acidradio
acidradio (659704) writes "American air charter specialist Phoenix Air has been contracted by the US Army to haul an American physician afflicted with Ebola from Liberia to the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. This will be the first "purposeful" transport of an Ebola victim to the US. The patient will be flown in a special Gulfstream III (formerly owned by the Danish Air Force) outfitted for very specialized medical transports such as this. I dunno. I know there are brilliant doctors and scientists in Atlanta who handle highly-communicable diseases, but is this such a brilliant idea?"
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+ - Why TCP/IP is on the way out->

Submitted by jcatcw
jcatcw (1000875) writes "Researchers at Aalborg University in Denmark, in association with MIT and Caltech, reckon that the Internet can be made faster, and more secure, by abandoning the whole concept of packets and error correction. Error correction slows down traffic because the chunks of data, in many cases, have to be sent more than once.
The researchers are using a mathematical equation instead. The formula figures out which parts of the data didn't make the hop. They say it works in lieu of the packet-resend."

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+ - One Third of Germany Is Powered by Renewable Energy 2

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "Germany is now producing 28.5 percent of its energy—nearly a third—with solar, wind, hydro, and biomass. In 2000, renewables accounted for just 6 percent of its power consumption.
This is further proof that Germany is, essentially, the world leader in renewable energy. No other country has demonstrated such a dedicated, accelerated drive toward transitioning to clean power—in Germany's case, away from nuclear to solar and wind."

+ - 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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We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.