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Science

+ - Aussie uni edges closer to 'everlasting' battery->

Submitted by
angry tapir
angry tapir writes "Researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Australia have taken a step toward developing self-powered portable electronics by enabling piezoelectric thin films to turn mechanical pressure into electricity. The research combines piezoelectrics, which are materials capable of converting pressure into electrical energy, and microchip manufacturing or thin film technology."
Link to Original Source
The Almighty Buck

+ - Verizon Jumps On The Tiered Data Bandwagon->

Submitted by
tekgoblin
tekgoblin writes "I can't say that I didn't see this coming. Verizon is now moving to tiered data plans for their cell phones. Just like AT&T did last year, when they removed the unlimited data plans they had available on phones like the iPhone. Verizon already had tiered data plans on the mobile hotspot devices and the Android tablets."
Link to Original Source
Supercomputing

+ - Mouse brain simulated on computer

Submitted by
atamyrat
atamyrat writes "BBC has an article about mouse brain simulated on a Blue Gene L supercomputer. Quote: "The team, from the IBM Almaden Research Lab and the University of Nevada, ran the simulation on a BlueGene L supercomputer that had 4096 processors, each one of which used 256MB of memory. Using this machine the researchers created half a virtual mouse brain that had 8,000 neurons that had up to 6,300 synapses. The vast complexity of the simulation meant that it was only run for ten seconds at a speed ten times slower than real life — the equivalent of one second in a real mouse brain."
Article refers to this research report[PDF] titled "Towards Real-Time, Mouse-Scale Cortical Simulations""
Google

+ - Google Shareholder Proposal to Resist Censorship

Submitted by buxton2k
buxton2k (228339) writes "Slashdot has had plenty of stories about technology companies like Google kowtowing to repressive political regimes such as China's. I'm an (extremely) small shareholder in Google, and I looked at their proxy statement today. Most of the time, shareholders' meetings don't deal with anything other than rubber-stamping the board of directors, but Google's upcoming meeting has a interesting shareholder proposal dealing with free speech and censorship to be voted on at the May 10 meeting.

The proposal cites the UN Declaration of Human Rights and declares that "technology companies in the United States have failed to develop adequate standards by which they can conduct business with authoritarian governments while protecting human rights to freedom of speech and freedom of expression". If adopted by shareholders, it would call for management to adopt 6 minimum standards including: not storing data that can identify an individual in repressive countries; using all legal means to resist censorship; and documenting and publicizing "all cases where legally-binding censorship requests have been complied with." The proposal was submitted by the Comptroller of New York City, which owns large amounts of Google stock in City pension plans.

Is a proposal like this (assuming it ever passed) feasible to implement? Would it actually do anything to open up repressive regimes? Is this a reasonable balance between upholding liberal democracy values and doing business in dictatorships? Would it have any effect on domestic issues such as DMCA takedown orders? Most of all, as a shareholder, what is Google's board of directors' justification for recommending that shareholders vote AGAINST this proposal? If you are a Google shareholder, were you aware of this proposal, and if so, are you going to vote for or against?"
Biotech

+ - Technique to turn all blood into type 0

Submitted by davidwr
davidwr (791652) writes "Is this the end of type-O blood shortages? In an article published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, researchers figured out how to make bacterial enzymes turn type-A, -B, and -AB blood into type O blood, or "universal red blood cells." From the abstract:

The enzymatic conversion processes we describe hold promise for achieving the goal of producing universal RBCs, which would improve the blood supply while enhancing the safety of clinical transfusions.
Related story."
Privacy

+ - Australia to ban P2P

Submitted by Karl_R
Karl_R (780749) writes "The guys at whirlpool.net.au have posted a story about a U-tern by the Australian Federal government.

"The federal government has shocked industry by rushing a bill through parliament that will compel ISPs to block all P2P traffic. It is a back-flip on a promise made just weeks ago that the government would move ahead with its filtering plans using PC-based parental controls, which, at the time, it argued would provide flexibility for internet users. (source whirlpool.net.au)""
Music

+ - RIAA offers "Toddler settlement rate"

Submitted by
Dolda2000
Dolda2000 writes "In their next righteous move against piracy, the RIAA now offers advance settlement to all parent of children under the age of three. FTA: "'Our goal is to make this easier for parents,' said RIAA President Cary Sherman. 'Everyone knows that in this era of increasing hard drive capacity and new digital media technologies, it is inevitable that every child in America will infringe copyright sooner or later.'""
Patents

+ - Small Businessman Feels Pinch of Software Patents

Submitted by Penguinisto
Penguinisto (415985) writes "A few days ago, Phil Cooke, a small-time hobbyist 3D/CG programmer, was sent a Cease and Desist notice from Reyes Infografica over a small 3D/CG clothes-generating program he had sold for years (it generated clothing mesh for a figures in a CG hobbyist program known as Poser). The program has since been pulled from the maker's site, as he cannot afford to retain counsel with which to fight back. Apparently, Phil's program had collided against a software patent that Reyes filed in 2001 (the patent was filed in the US and Spain). The C&D notice, and some of the discussion surrounding it can be found a PhilC's site discussion forums. While we usually see stories about small-time patent trolls raking in huge bucks from large companies, is this an indication of a disturbing trend by larger companies using software patents to intimidate and eliminate their smaller competition? And if so, then how on Earth is this supposed to foster innovation and creativity?"
Businesses

+ - Deepwater sunk perhaps with youtube help

Submitted by
anagama
anagama writes "You may recall some time ago a slashdot topic about Mike DeKort, an engineer from Lockheed Martin working on the Coast Guard's Deepwater project (basically, construction of new ships). He released a whistleblower video on Youtube outlining problems and cover up/apathy related to the ships under construction. Well, in the news today, looks like the Coast Guard is taking over the project and ending its contract with Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman. Perhaps the (digital) pen is mightier than the sword (manufacturer)."
Unix

Journal: SCO says GNU doesn't have a license

Journal by Ritchie70

I was browsing SCO's website trying to figure out development tool options for SCO OpenServer 5.0.6 (I know, I know) and stumbled across this.

It describes one of the three options for OpenServer 5.0.7 as:

Quake

+ - Open RT project Ray-tracing algorithms available

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Ray-tracing is a technique that allowed Peter Jackson to make special effects look convincing in the Lord of the Rings. Now, Daniel Pohl, has used the new algorithms [develped by Professor Philipp Slusallek and co-workers from the University of Saarland] to produce ray-traced versions of the Quake 3 and 4 video games. "It gives much higher image quality in shadows and reflections," said Mr Pohl. "You can even do reflections on reflections on reflections." This is something that would be impossible with traditional rendering techniques. The algorithms are being made available to anyone to use via the Open RT project. Graphics in computer games are typically rendered via a technique known as rasterisation which involves drawing all the elements of a scene using polygons. The scientists have shown that their series of ray-tracing algorithms can run on a high-end PC graphics card."

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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