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Idle

The Placebo Effect Not Just On Drugs 824

Posted by samzenpus
from the your-actions-are-futile dept.
dvdme writes "It seems the placebo effect isn't just valid on drugs. It's also a fact on elevators, offices and traffic lights. An article by Greg Ross says: 'In most elevators installed since the early 1990s, the 'close door' button has no effect. Otis Elevator engineers confirmed the fact to the Wall Street Journal in 2003. Similarly, many office thermostats are dummies, designed to give workers the illusion of control. "You just get tired of dealing with them and you screw in a cheap thermostat," said Illinois HVAC specialist Richard Dawson. "Guess what? They quit calling you." In 2004 the New York Times reported that more than 2,500 of the 3,250 "walk" buttons in New York intersections do nothing. "The city deactivated most of the pedestrian buttons long ago with the emergence of computer-controlled traffic signals, even as an unwitting public continued to push on."'"
Data Storage

OCZ IBIS Introduces High Speed Data Link SSDs 76

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the zoom-zoom-zoom dept.
Vigile writes "New solid state drives are released all the time, and the performance improvements on them have started to stagnate as the limits of the SATA 3.0 Gb/s are reached. SATA 6G drives are still coming out and some newer PCI Express based drives are also available for those users with a higher budget. OCZ is taking it another step with a new storage interface called High Speed Data Link (HSDL) that extends the PCI Express bus via mini-SAS cables and removes the bottleneck of SATA-based RAID controllers thus increasing theoretical performance and allowing the use of command queueing — vital to high IO's in a RAID configuration. PC Perspective has a full performance review that details the speed and IO improvements and while initial versions will be available at up to 960 GB (and a $2800 price tag), in reality, the cost-per-GB is competitive with other high-end SSDs when you get to the 240GB and above options"
Earth

Nuclear Power Could See a Revival 415

Posted by kdawson
from the comforting-bremsstrahlung-glow dept.
shmG writes "As the US moves to reduce dependence on oil, the nuclear industry is looking to expand, with new designs making their way through the regulatory process. No less than three new configurations for nuclear power are being considered for licensing by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The first of them could be generating power in Georgia by 2016."
Power

Laser Fusion Passes Major Hurdle 354

Posted by kdawson
from the twenty-years-out-and-always-will-be dept.
chill writes "The National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has performed their first controlled fusion experiments using all 192 lasers. While still not ramped up to full power, the first experiments proved very fruitful. The lasers create a lot of plasma in the target container and researchers worried that the plasma would interfere with the ability of the target to absorb enough energy to ignite. These experiments show that not only does enough energy make it through, the plasma can be manipulated to increase the uniformity of compression. Ramping up of power is due to start in May." The project lead, Dr. Sigfried Glenzer, is "confident that with everything in place, ignition is on the horizon. He added, quite simply, 'It's going to happen this year.'"
PlayStation (Games)

PS3 Hacked? 296

Posted by Soulskill
from the another-one-bites-the-dust dept.
Several readers have sent word that George Hotz (a.k.a. geohot), the hacker best known for unlocking Apple's iPhone, says he has now hacked the PlayStation 3. From his blog post: "I have read/write access to the entire system memory, and HV level access to the processor. In other words, I have hacked the PS3. The rest is just software. And reversing. I have a lot of reversing ahead of me, as I now have dumps of LV0 and LV1. I've also dumped the NAND without removing it or a modchip. 3 years, 2 months, 11 days...that's a pretty secure system. ... As far as the exploit goes, I'm not revealing it yet. The theory isn't really patchable, but they can make implementations much harder. Also, for obvious reasons I can't post dumps. I'm hoping to find the decryption keys and post them, but they may be embedded in hardware. Hopefully keys are setup like the iPhone's KBAG."
Security

Adobe Warns of Reader, Acrobat Attack 195

Posted by timothy
from the gnome's-reader's-pretty-good-y'know dept.
itwbennett writes "Monday afternoon, Adobe 'received reports of a vulnerability in Adobe Reader and Acrobat 9.2 and earlier versions being exploited in the wild,' the company said in a post to the company's Product Security Incident Response Team blog. According to malware tracking group Shadowserver, the vulnerability is due to a bug in the way Reader processes JavaScript code. Several 'tests have confirmed this is a 0-day vulnerability affecting several versions of Adobe Acrobat [Reader] to include the most recent versions of 8.x and 9.x. We have not tested on 7.x, but it may also be vulnerable,' Shadowserver said in a post on its Web site. The group recommends that concerned users disable JavaScript within Adobe's software as a work-around for this problem. (This can be done by un-checking the 'Enable Acrobat JavaScript' in the Edit -> Preferences -> JavaScript window). 'This is legit and is very bad,' Shadowserver added."
Earth

Yellowstone Supervolcano Larger Than First Thought 451

Posted by timothy
from the even-superer dept.
drewtheman writes "New studies of the plumbing that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano in Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park shows the plume and the magma chamber under the volcano are larger than first thought and contradicts claims that only shallow hot rock exists. University of Utah research professor of geophysics Robert Smith led four separate studies that verify a plume of hot and molten rock at least 410 miles deep that rises at an angle from the northwest."
Displays

Multiple-Display Power Tools For Linux? 410

Posted by timothy
from the it's-a-hard-knock-life dept.
shift writes "I've used multiple monitors for years (currently 3) and find that Linux is lacking in power tools for such setups. Even Windows 7 has added the feature to move a window from screen to screen with keyboard shortcuts. Are any of the major desktop environments adding such features? I'm still stuck on FVWM and have defined functions to swap the contents of screens as well as move windows from screen to screen and so on. But this just seems like such basic functionality people would want in multi-screen setups that I'm surprised I don't find any of these features in our latest desktop environments."
Earth

Lifecycle Energy Costs of LED, CFL Bulbs Calculated 400

Posted by kdawson
from the pla-hol dept.
necro81 writes "The NY Times is reporting on a new study from Osram, a German lighting manufacturer, which has calculated the total lifecycle energy costs of three lightbulb technologies and found that both LEDs and CFLs use approximately 20% of the energy of incandescents over their lifetimes. While it is well known that the newer lighting technologies use a fraction of the energy of incandescents to produce the same amount of light, it has not been proven whether higher manufacturing energy costs kept the new lighting from offering a net gain. The study found that the manufacturing and distribution energy costs of all lightbulb technologies are only about 2% of their total lifetime energy cost — a tiny fraction of the energy used to produce light." The study uses the assumption that LEDs last 2.5 times longer than CFLs, and 25 times longer than incandescents.
OS X

Apple Blurs the Server Line With Mac Mini Server 557

Posted by kdawson
from the so-easy-a-child-can-set-it-up dept.
Toe, The writes "Today Apple announced several new hardware offerings, including a new Mac mini, their (almost-literally) pint-sized desktop computer. In a bizarre twist, they are now also offering a Mac mini with Mac OS X Server bundled in, along with a two hard drives somehow stuffed into the tiny package. Undoubtedly, many in the IT community will scoff at the thought of calling such a device a 'server.' However, with the robust capabilities of Snow Leopard Server (a true, if highly GUI-fied, UNIX server), it seems likely to find a niche in small businesses and even enthusiasts' homes. The almost completely guided setup process means that people can set up relatively sophisticated services without the assistance of someone who actually knows what they are doing. What the results will be in terms of security, etc. will be... interesting to watch as they develop." El Reg has a good roundup article of the many announcements; the multi-touch Magic Mouse is right up there on the techno-lust-inspiration scale.
Earth

Ultracapacitor Bus Recharges At Each Stop 419

Posted by kdawson
from the fill-er-up-with-electrons dept.
TechReviewAl writes "A US company and its Chinese partner are piloting a bus powered by ultracapacitors in Washington DC. Ultracapacitors lack the capacity of regular batteries but are considerably cheaper and can be recharge completely in under a minute. Sinautec Automobile Technologies, based in Arlington, VA, and its Chinese partner, Shanghai Aowei Technology Development Company, have spent the past three years demonstrating the approach with 17 municipal buses on the outskirts of Shanghai. The executive director of Sinautec touts the energy efficiency of this approach: 'Even if you use the dirtiest coal plant on the planet [to charge an ultracapacitor], it generates a third of the carbon dioxide of diesel.'"

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