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Technology

Breakthrough In Plastic Lasers 54

Posted by kdawson
from the attach-plastic-sharks-here dept.
esocid writes "Conventional electrically-powered laser diodes used in everyday consumer goods like DVD players are currently based on inorganic semiconductor materials such as gallium arsenide, gallium nitride, and related alloys. Plastic laser diodes offer the promise of covering more of the light spectrum than their counterparts, from near ultraviolet to the near infrared. Yet despite over a decade of research worldwide, plastic laser diodes have not yet been demonstrated because there haven't been any plastics that could sustain a large enough current while also supporting the efficient light emission needed to produce a laser beam. Now researchers at Imperial College London, publishing their findings in Nature Materials in April, are studying a plastic related to PFO (polydioctylfluorene), a blue-light emitting material; by making subtle changes in the plastic's chemical structure they have produced a material that transports charges 200 times better than before, while actually increasing its ability to emit light efficiently."
Privacy

Senate Committee Votes To Fingerprint Lenders 146

Posted by kdawson
from the i-am-who-i-am-because-i-say-so dept.
tjstork recommends a blog post up at Openmarket.org on the passage by a Senate committee of a fingerprinting provision in a foreclosure assistance bill. The provision would require thousands of people connected with the mortgage industry, even tangentially — possibly including part-time and seasonal real estate agents — to send fingerprints to the feds for storage in a database. No explanation is in evidence as to how this would help the problem of loan fraud. The measure passed the Senate Banking Committee by a bipartisan majority of 19 to 2. "The measure the committee passed states that 'an individual may not engage in the business of a loan originator without first... obtaining a unique identifier.' To obtain this 'identifier,' an individual is required to 'furnish to the newly created Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry 'information concerning the applicant's identity, including fingerprints for submission' to the FBI and other government agencies."
Government

Patriot Act Dampening Cloud Computing? 148

Posted by kdawson
from the hey-you-get-offa-my-cloud dept.
Julie188 writes "Governments are turning the Internet into a cyberspace reflection of real-world geographic conflicts. One report says that the Canadian government is forbidding its IT organizations to use services that store or host the government's data outside their sovereign territory. They especially cannot use services where the data is stored in the United States because of fears over the Patriot Act. What kinds of jurisdiction issues might people face — think Google cooperating with the Chinese government — as cloud computing becomes the norm and your data is stored in 'offshore parts' of the cloud?"
Wireless Networking

Group Wants Wi-Fi Banned, Citing Allergy 525

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oh-you-gotta-be-kidding-me dept.
54mc writes "A small group in Santa Fe, New Mexico is claiming that the city is discriminating against them by having wireless networks in public buildings. How are these buildings discriminatory? Simple. These people are allergic to Wi-Fi. And they're suing the city." I've been trying to sue people for the streetlights that I'm allergic to as well.
Power

Successful Cold Fusion Experiment? 387

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the so-cold-it's-hot dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The italian economic journal 'Il sole 24 ore' published an article about a successful cold fusion experiment performed by Yoshiaki Arata in Japan. They seems to have pumped high pressure deutherium gas in a nanometric matrix of palladium and zyrcon oxide. The experiments generates a considerable amount of energy and they found the presence of Helium-4 in the matrix (as sign of the fusion). I was not able to find other articles about this but the journal is very authoritative in Italy. Google translations are also available."
Earth

Teen Discovers Plastic-Decomposing Bacteria 209

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the here-comes-the-study-claiming-it-causes-cancer dept.
ganelo writes to tell us that 16-year-old Waterloo Collegiate Institute student Danel Burd has made quite a stir with his plastic-eating bacteria discovery. For his efforts Burd won top prize at a Canada-wide science fair claiming a $10,000 prize and a $20,000 scholarship. "Tests to identify the strains found strain two was Sphingomonas bacteria and the helper was Pseudomonas. A researcher in Ireland has found Pseudomonas is capable of degrading polystyrene, but as far as Burd and his teacher Mark Menhennet know -- and they've looked -- Burd's research on polyethelene plastic bags is a first."
Transportation

Wearable Motorcycle Design 234

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the form-over-function dept.
A motorcycle design student recently came up with a wearable motorcycle design that, while cool, is unlikely to see public adoption. The bike would be capable of doing 0 to 60 is just 3 seconds with a top speed of 75 miles-per-hour and would theoretically be controlled by 36 pneumatic muscles and 2 linear actuators. I would imagine the results of a crash would be much like being strapped to the hood of your car during a collision — bonus points for form, however.

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