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+ - If we Buck Feta and leave, where should we go? 17

Submitted by Covalent
Covalent (1001277) writes "I am a long-time slashdot reader (don't let the UID fool you), and I agree with most of you that the Beta is a disaster. Dice has promised a fix, but what if this garbage is the new reality? Is there a suitable alternative to slashdot that members would find equally (or more) fulfilling? Is someone going to fork slashdot and start it anew (Taco can you hear me?) Or is this just the end of an era?"

+ - Cyborg Cockroaches Can Now Make Their Own Power->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "While everyone else has been drooling over the potential battery tech in a possibly-never-to-materialize Apple watch, researchers in Japan were showcasing their own small-scale energy innovation: a cockroach-powered fuel cell.

Japanese magazine Nikkei Electronics’ Tech-On site reported that scientists from Osaka University and the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology presented their “biofuel cell” at the IEEE MEMS conference last week.

And if the concept of cockroach power wasn’t sci-fi enough in itself, the technique is expected to be used in developing a wireless sensor network of cyborg insects. Dreams of large, living sensor networks have been crawling with cockroaches for a while. Because they’re small, hardy, and plentiful, various researchers have considered ways to mount sensors on their backs and send them into environments that are otherwise difficult or dangerous to reach—they could wriggle through earthquake rubble, for instance, and map the scene for rescue workers."

Link to Original Source

+ - India to build world's largest solar plant->

Submitted by ananyo
ananyo (2519492) writes "India has pledged to build the world’s most powerful solar plant. With a nominal capacity of 4,000 megawatts, comparable to that of four full-size nuclear reactors, the ‘ultra mega' project will be more than ten times larger than any other solar project built so far, and it will spread over 77 square kilometres of land — greater than the island of Manhattan.
Six state-owned companies have formed a joint venture to execute the project, which they say can be completed in seven years at a projected cost of US$4.4 billion. The proposed location is near Sambhar Salt Lake in the northern state of Rajasthan."

Link to Original Source

+ - Is NASA really returning to the moon with RESOLVE?->

Submitted by MarkWhittington
MarkWhittington (1084047) writes "A series of media reports, including a February 3, 2014 story in the UK Telegraph, suggests that NASA is getting ready to “return to the moon” with a joint probe called RESOLVE it has developed with the Canadian Space Agency. The one problem with that is that an American mission to land on the moon, even a robot, has not received funding. Furthermore NASA lacks a landing vehicle capable of delivering RESOLVE to the lunar surface."
Link to Original Source

+ - Black Death Left a Mark on Human Genome->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "The Black Death didn’t just wipe out millions of Europeans during the 14th century. It left a mark on the human genome, favoring those who carried certain immune system genes, according to a new study. Those changes may help explain why Europeans respond differently from other people to some diseases and have different susceptibilities to autoimmune disorders."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:How long until strong evidence for life? (Score 1) 43

by Covalent (#45585009) Attached to: Three New Exoplanets Seen In Direct Photographs
Good point. I suppose oxygen in an atmosphere isn't a dead lock that there's life there, although it wags its finger very suggestively.

If we do find free oxygen in an atmosphere, though, you can bet all eyes will be trained on that planet. What kind of technology would be required to confirm the presence of life visually? Obviously radio signals or something like that would be a clincher, but suppose the life there is non-technological. Could we ever "verify" that there was life on that planet without going there or sending a probe (which is currently not feasible)?

Comment: How long until strong evidence for life? (Score 2) 43

by Covalent (#45584691) Attached to: Three New Exoplanets Seen In Direct Photographs
These planets are directly observable with current technology. Within 10 years, one would imagine that smaller, nearer-to-the-star planets will be directly viewed...perhaps even spectroscopy on the planet's atmosphere will be possible. The James Webb telescope might be able to do some of this as soon as 2017.

That said, will we see strong evidence for life on another world soon? My guess is that an atmosphere with gases that simply don't belong there in large quantities (dimethyl sulfide, free oxygen, etc.) will be found sooner rather than later...and that will more or less wrap it up.

Comment: I second this suggestion (Score 1) 328

by Covalent (#45446423) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Cheap Second Calculators For Tests?
TI36 solar is an excellent choice. All the functionality with very little extra. Look for a model that has the scientific notation button (EE) as the primary function. Some have it this way, while most have it as a second function. If you use this a lot, and I suspect you do, you'll find it much more convenient to not constantly push the 2nd button.

Comment: Um... (Score 1) 181

by Covalent (#45392897) Attached to: Fukushima Floating Offshore Wind Turbine Starts Generating Power
...I know, I know...tsunamis and typhoons don't cause much damage 12 miles from shore. But still, doesn't this seem like a somewhat poor location for a floating wind turbine? It's not anchored to the seafloor, which means that typhoons and storms could push it close to shore, and we've seen the kind of debris that can be produced by a tsunami.

Japan may not have a lot of power options, but it seems like this might not be the best choice...

+ - Google To block Local Chrome Extensions On Windows Starting In January

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced it will block local Chrome extensions starting in January, but only on the Windows platform. This means that next year, Windows users will only be able to install extensions for the company’s browser from the Chrome Web Store. The changes will affect both Chrome’s stable and beta channels on Windows. Google says it will continue to support local extension installs on its Dev and Canary channels, as well as installs via Enterprise policy. Chrome apps are not affected at all and will continue to be supported normally."

Nothing in progression can rest on its original plan. We may as well think of rocking a grown man in the cradle of an infant. -- Edmund Burke