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United Kingdom

+ - SPAM: Tidal energy project development to start in UK

Submitted by Julian Wordsmith
Julian Wordsmith (2807863) writes "The frequently changing tides around Britain's coastline speedily provide large volumes of water that can be used to generate electricity. The energy produced by these waves could fulfill 20% of Britain's electricity needs.To help with effective energy generation a vertical axis turbine will be attached to a mooring base, rather than a rigid base, significantly reducing the cost and complexity of installation. Structurally, the turbine comprises of a floating cylindrical tube attached with two twin horizontal axis rotors that extract the energy from the tide. This energy is then converted to electricity for carrying to shore.

It needs to be seen whether tidal power generators will prove to be the most cost-effective to construct and maintain and the most efficient at generating energy.However one thing that is abundantly clear is the commitment of both the government and the private sector to producing clean, green energy in the future."

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NASA

+ - SPAM: NASA beams Mona Lisa to Moon with laser

Submitted by Julian Wordsmith
Julian Wordsmith (2807863) writes "In a major advance in laser communication, NASA scientists have beamed a picture of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, Mona Lisa, to a powerful spacecraft orbiting the Moon. The first laser signal carrying the iconic image, fired from an installation in Maryland, beamed the Mona Lisa to the Moon to be received 384,400 km away by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which has been orbiting the Moon since 2009. By transmitting the image piggyback on laser pulses, the team achieved simultaneous laser communication and tracking. The success of the laser transmission was verified by returning the image to Earth using the spacecraft's radio telemetry system."
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Space

+ - SPAM: Bigelow Aerospace unveils inflatable space station module

Submitted by Julian Wordsmith
Julian Wordsmith (2807863) writes "A stay in space for astronauts and tourists alike could soon take place within an inflatable module fixed to the side of the ISS (International Space Station).When it comes to housing astronauts in space, Nasa could not be accused of failing to think outside of the box. Should testing aboard the International Space Station in 2015 succeed, astronauts aboard the ISS and on future deep-space missions could live inside inflatable dormitories.

Designed by Bigelow Aerospace, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) hopes to be the first expandable habitat module for human occupancy in space, with the company hoping to aim the modules towards research organisations and businesses in need of hosting astronauts.To date, Bigelow has invested approximately $250m into the development of inflatable habitation modules and has secured preliminary agreements with space and research agencies in the UK, Netherlands, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Sweden and the UAE.The modules are created using a lightweight, soft-skinned material with similar properties to Kevlar, and threaten to hold several advantages over existing options for housing astronauts."

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The Military

+ - X-37: space weapon or spy?->

Submitted by Julian Wordsmith
Julian Wordsmith (2807863) writes "As mysterious as it is controversial, the US Air Force's X-37 has captivated everyone from amateur astronomers to international governments.The two previous missions involving X-37 spacecraft have lasted 224 and 469 days respectively, triggering intense suspicion and speculation regarding the purpose of such lengthy stays in space.Despite the USAF's assertions that the X-37 is merely an "experimental test programme to demonstrate technologies for a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform," a long list of sceptics have asserted that the true purpose of the USAF's X-37 programme is something more sinister than a mere space-bound science lab.

One recurring theory is that the spacecraft marks the US military's first steps towards the weaponisation of space, with the X-37 representing a prototype of a future vehicle capable of launching projectiles at enemy targets from orbit.The advantages of such a capability would certainly endear themselves to the US, most notably aligning itself with future long-range strike objectives to hit a target anywhere in the world within one hour; however, it is a considerable leap to suggest that the X-37 is a precursor to such technology.

A far more novel theory suggested by some quarters is that the X-37 itself may have proved its purpose some time ago, and that the US Air Force has continued to persevere with the programme as a means of providing something of a wild goose chase to preoccupy China and other nations. Given the costs involved, such a meaningless expense is hard to fathom, but it may not be beyond a military engaged in warfare as much psychological as physical."

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Facebook

+ - Zynga says bye to 11 games on Facebook->

Submitted by Julian Wordsmith
Julian Wordsmith (2807863) writes "Social gaming firm, Zynga has cut 11 games in its planned shutdown of 13 game titles. The latest game to get the axe is PetVille, which shutdown on Sunday Dec 30, 2012.Petville had an average of 1 million monthly active users. Other popular games that are no longer available include FishVille (400,000) Treasure Isle (250,000) and Mafia Wars 2 (200,000).

Facebook and Zynga changed their developer agreement at the end of November 2012. The new deal will allow Facebook to develop its own games but also means that Zynga is longer required to Feature Facebook ads or offer Facebook credits as a form of payment. Games like Farmville, however, will still be available on Facebook's site but will not have the ability to feature cross promotions.

The social gaming company had a rough year in 2012 and reported a net loss of $52.7m for its third quarter. Online game revenues totalled $285.6m, a decrease of $2.3m from Q3 2011 and a 2% decrease from Q2 2012."

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Security

+ - Are enterprise networks being compromised by personal devices?->

Submitted by Julian Wordsmith
Julian Wordsmith (2807863) writes "A study found that at the end of 2012, 51% of secure IT networks were breached from employee using personal devices. Controlling employee access to networks through personal devices can prove difficult with the recent phenomenon of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Considering the many fold increase in sale of tablets and smart phones, it’s not surprising that BYOD breaches are expected to increase in 2013. Should companies adhere to a strict no use of BYOD policy? Would it hinder employee efficiency?"
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The Military

+ - Electromagnetic pulse weaponry - More real than you think.-> 1

Submitted by Julian Wordsmith
Julian Wordsmith (2807863) writes "Remember the chase sequence in the movie Matrix where the Zionians are saved by the Sentinels with the help of the Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) blast? Well the same technology is more real than you might think. A host of companies including Boeing are already in the process of developing Electromagnetic pulse weaponry. The idea is to have these weapons powerful and compact enough to fit on aircraft's and use them to short circuit the entire enemy weapon systems. Imagine how easy it would be for fighter planes to fly into enemy territory whose radar system would have been fried with an initial EMP blast."
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