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Harvesting Energy From Humidity 89

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-not-the-heat,-it's-the-dizzying-electric-shocks dept.
rtoz writes: Last year, MIT researchers discovered that when water droplets spontaneously jump away from superhydrophobic surfaces during condensation, they can gain electric charge in the process. Now, the same team has demonstrated that this process can generate small amounts of electricity that might be used to power electronic devices. This approach could lead to devices that can charge cellphones or other electronics using just the humidity in the air. As a side benefit, the system could also produce clean water. The device itself could be simple, consisting of a series of interleaved flat metal plates. A cube measuring about 50 centimeters on a side — about the size of a typical camping cooler — could be sufficient to fully charge a cellphone in about 12 hours. While that may seem slow, people in remote areas may have few alternatives.

Comment: Importance isn't gaming but ease of selling childr (Score 1) 131

by Koreantoast (#47448397) Attached to: Chinese Couple Sells Children To Support Online Game Addiction
What gets me about this story isn't that they sold their children... you're going to have one or two parents out there in any society that are so screwed up in their heads that they'd contemplate such an option to fund whatever addiction they may have. The significance is that it's so easy to do so in China.

+ - Credit Card Breach at P.F. Chang's->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Nationwide chain P.F. Chang’s China Bistro said today that it is investigating claims of a data breach involving credit and debit card data reportedly stolen from restaurant locations nationwide.

On June 9, thousands of newly-stolen credit and debit cards went up for sale on rescator[dot]so, an underground store best known for selling tens of millions of cards stolen in the Target breach. Several banks contacted by KrebsOnSecurity said they acquired from this new batch multiple cards that were previously issued to customers, and found that all had been used at P.F. Chang’s locations between the beginning of March 2014 and May 19, 2014."

Link to Original Source

+ - Google buys satellite imaging company Skybox for $500 million->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Google has just acquired satellite imaging company Skybox for a cool half-billion dollars.

According to Inc. magazine, the Mountain View startup launched its first “minibar-sized” satellite into orbit in November 2013 and will launch eight more by the end of 2015. It plans to have 24 satellites in its constellation by 2018. With Google’s backing, though, that timeline could get accelerated.

Skybox is unique because it’s one of the rare companies to provide high-resolution photography from space. The company wants to use computer analytics to unlock valuable data from satellite images—potentially worth a lot of money to future clients."

Link to Original Source

Study Finds Porn Exposure Associated With Smaller Brain Region 211

Posted by timothy
from the news-for-nerds dept.
New submitter Bodhammer (559311) writes "German researchers looked at the brains of 64 men between the ages of 21 and 45 and found that one brain region (the striatum, linked to reward processing), was smaller in the brains of porn watchers, and that a specific part of the same region is also less activated when exposed to more pornography." While it's tempting to cast blame, "the study doesn't confirm whether watching porn causes the changes, or whether people with a certain brain type are inherently more apt to tune into X-rated content." The study's abstract is available; the paper itself is pay-walled.

Comment: Might Help Broader EV Industry, More Secure Future (Score 1) 362

by Koreantoast (#47020805) Attached to: Should Tesla Make Batteries Instead of Electric Cars?
Lot of people are dismissing this, but I think there is sound logic to what they're saying for two reasons. One, by becoming a purely focused battery manufacturer, Musk becomes platform agnostic and will have a much better chance of licensing his tech and selling his batteries to all auto manufacturers. This could benefit the broader electric vehicle industry as the technology is now available to dozens of well established manufacturers who can produce vehicles on multiple orders of magnitude greater than Tesla could possibly reach in a decade or more. If they do it right, they could make a huge amount of money this route, dominating a key control point in the electric vehicle.

The second thing is that they will continue to be highly constrained in their manufacturing capabilities for a while. I love Tesla and would love to own one of their vehicles, but the company's production system will take at least a decade or two to even get anywhere close to the order of magnitude that more mainstream auto manufacturers are able to make. This may not matter much if you want your Tesla to be unique, but if your goal is to see the mass deployment of electric vehicles in the near future, organically scaling up Tesla may not necessarily be the way to go.

All that being said, I HIGHLY doubt Musk will go in this direction. His MO at other companies has always been platform oriented with tight vertical integration, and I don't see that changing anytime in the near future, not with him at the helm.

Comment: Re:Can't find welders? (Score 1) 367

by Koreantoast (#46827171) Attached to: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance
I think you make a good point. I do believe there is a welder shortage, but it's for niche or highly experienced areas. Companies allowed the pipeline to dry up, and now they are paying the price and scrambling to make up for years of neglect. Don't think you can make a H1B crisis as easily with welding however: people may be confused or intimidated by what advanced scientific and programming fields do, but welding is one that tends to fall more neatly into traditional territory of organized labor. They may be weakened, but they can fight tooth and nail on that one.

Comment: Re:I wonder (Score 1) 154

by Koreantoast (#46486951) Attached to: A Look at the NSA's Most Powerful Internet Attack Tool
That's a silly statement. They're government bureaucrats. At least in the United States, you never join the bureaucracy if your goal is to make money. Even contracting for the government, while better paying than direct government employment, still pales compared to more lucrative areas of the economy, especially for the skill sets we're talking about.

Comment: Retraining Won't Be Enough for Unemployed Miners (Score 3, Insightful) 712

I'm REALLY curious as to what they expect to replace the coal mining business with in the middle of rural West Virginia. Even assuming you could retrain all those workers, that simply leaves an entire army of now skilled workers sitting in towns that have had their economy completely decimated by the elimination of coal. One doesn't simply regenerate a brand new, magic economy there from scratch. Even something as basic as building a new factory, say a solar panel factory, would require not just the cost of building the factory, but the infrastructure to support said factory (roads, water, power, rail links, etc.), and $50B is not going to cover the cost of doing that for 87,000 workers.

Comment: Better Question: Why Did It Take the PRC this Long (Score 1) 142

Yes, just in case you haven't been following all the coverage from the last three or four days, the United States has been providing a large amount of satellite data, even leveraging their missile launch detection system to search for possible explosions. The more interesting question is why it took the Chinese this long to provide satellite imagery to search for a plane full of primarily their own citizenry in its own region.

Comment: Will They Monitor Congress & Their Staff? (Score 1) 186

This program is probably focused on members of the bureaucracy, but I wonder if they're going to cover another very significant group of government officials with security clearances: Members of Congress and their staffs. A lot of your leaks happen over on Capitol Hill after all. Then again, I'm going to take a guess that they will very vocally and aggressively oppose this action and play the separation of powers card to shield themselves from this new effort.

Comment: Sophisticated tools - "Russian Stuxnet" Ouroboros (Score 1) 256

by Koreantoast (#46430445) Attached to: In Ukraine, Cyber War With Russia Heating Up
The Financial Times [Paywall] is reporting that a highly sophisticated cyberweapon known as Ouroboros is being used to infect, monitor and potentially attack Ukrainian computer networks including government systems. Forensics mark it as being Russian developed, and the article compares it to Stuxnet in terms of sophistication and capability (though it is not related to that specific software). Websites are small potatoes, nothing more than spray paint on a wall. This appears to be more more like explosives, designed to take out targeted infrastructure.

Comment: Why Glasses vs. Cell Phones or Cameras (Score 1) 921

by Koreantoast (#46359475) Attached to: Woman Attacked In San Francisco Bar For Wearing Google Glass
I think an important distinction needs to be made about the difference between Google Glasses versus cellphones, cameras and other more traditional recording devices. With the latter, it's relatively obvious if someone is recording you: the item's lenses are pointed at you. If the cellphone is in their pocket or angled at my feet, it's easy to see it's not pointed at me. It's also easy for me to verify if they are recording me on a cellphone or not, just simply flip the thing around and take a look. With Google Glasses, I have no idea if a person looking at me is simply looking or is actually recording. There's no indication, and it's not quick to spot check; they have to go through the process of actually removing the glasses and showing me. It creates uncertainty on whether or not I'm being recorded, and therefore, creates unease.

That being said, this event seems to be just as much about the whole Techie vs. "Traditional" San Francisco debate which is a whole different can of worms.

Comment: Problem is Employee Leaves After Training (Score 1) 491

by Koreantoast (#46349143) Attached to: Do We Really Have a Shortage of STEM Workers?
Companies have scaled back on on-the-job training because the moment they invest heavily in an employee, said employee will jump ship to another firm. A lot of times too, it's not even for more money, it's for a more prestigious company, hotter product, etc. Why bother trying to train in house talent when they're going to jump ship? Better to just look for someone who is qualified to do the job from the get go.

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux