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Education

America Losing Its Edge In Innovation 757

Posted by Soulskill
from the chickens-coming-home-to-flip-burgers dept.
jaywhybee writes "Forbes has an interesting article about America losing its edge in innovation because engineers and scientists in the US are not as respected as they are in other countries, and thus fewer youths aspire to become one. Quoting: 'I’ve visited more than 100 countries in the past several years, meeting people from all walks of life, from impoverished children in India to heads of state. Almost every adult I’ve talked with in these countries shares a belief that the path to success is paved with science and engineering. In fact, scientists and engineers are celebrities in most countries. They’re not seen as geeks or misfits, as they too often are in the US, but rather as society’s leaders and innovators. In China, eight of the top nine political posts are held by engineers. In the US, almost no engineers or scientists are engaged in high-level politics, and there is a virtual absence of engineers in our public policy debates.'"
The Military

Russia To Help NATO Build Anti-Missile Network 175

Posted by timothy
from the but-reagan-was-a-fool dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that Russia has agreed to cooperate with NATO on erecting a US-planned anti-missile network in Europe protecting the continent against possible ballistic missile attacks from Iran or elsewhere. The anti-missile coverage would be anchored by a US land- and sea-based deployment, reconfigured by Obama from earlier plans devised under the Bush administration. The new idea would be to link individual national missile defenses into the US network and place them all under a NATO command and control center with authority to respond to an attack. 'We see Russia as a partner, not an adversary,' says President Obama, hailing the NATO-Russian accord. President Dmitri Medvedev warned that Russia's cooperation must be 'a full-fledged strategic partnership between Russia and NATO' and not just a nod in Moscow's direction to spare Russian feelings while Europe tends to its own defenses in tandem with the United States."
Music

Orchestra To Turn Copyright-Free Classical Scores Into Copyright-Free Music 327

Posted by timothy
from the going-the-extra-stanza dept.
destinyland writes "An online music site has raised over $13,000 to hire a full orchestra to record royalty-free classical music. ('"Although the actual symphonies are long out of copyright, there is separate protection for every individual performance by an orchestra," notes one technology site.') MusOpen has reached their fundraising goal for both the orchestra and a recording facility, and will now record the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky. And because their fundraising deadline doesn't end until Tuesday, they've promised to add additional recordings for every additional $1,000 raised."
Education

What 'IT' Stuff Should We Teach Ninth-Graders? 462

Posted by timothy
from the illustrated-primer dept.
gphilip writes "I have been asked to contribute ideas for the preparation of a textbook for ninth graders (ages circa 14 years) in the subject of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Could you suggest material to include in such a text? More details below." Quite a few details, actually — how would you add to the curriculum plan outlined below?

Comment: Re:A Car that runs on Coal (Score 1) 762

by Metasquares (#33197800) Attached to: Just One Out of 16 Hybrids Pays Back In Gas Savings

The centralization of power would be an auxiliary benefit of a plug-in hybrid, but keep in mind that today's hybrids are never actually plugged into the grid - so there's no shuffling of energy costs from your car to your home and no power plant that enters into the discussion yet. The power source that grants an electric vehicle efficiency over a gas engine is the road itself. As the car rolls downhill the electric motor acts as a generator and starts charging the battery "for free".

That's where the efficiency comes in: you can charge a battery using inductive current from the motor, but you can't use that energy to put more gasoline in the tank. In a gasoline vehicle it's just waste energy.

Transportation

Just One Out of 16 Hybrids Pays Back In Gas Savings 762

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-not-easy-being-green dept.
thecarchik writes with this snippet from GreenCarReports: "One of the criticisms of hybrid cars has historically been that there's no payback, especially given the cheap gasoline prices in the US. The extra money you spend on a hybrid isn't returned in gas savings, say critics. Well, that may be true, especially when regular gasoline is averaging $2.77 a gallon this week. But as we often point out, most people don't buy hybrids for payback — they buy them to make a statement about wanting to drive green. Nevertheless, a Canadian study has now looked at the question of hybrid payback in a country whose gasoline is more expensive than ours (roughly $3.70 per gallon this week), with surprising results. The British Columbia Automobile Association projected the fuel costs of 16 hybrids over five years against their purchase price and financing fees. In a study released in late July, only a single one of the 16 hybrids cost less to buy and run than its gasoline counterpart." The one car that would save you money, according the study, is the Mercedes S400 Hybrid sedan — and it will only cost you $105,000.
Biotech

Regenerating Muscle Cells With Newt-Inspired Tech 88

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-newt?!-i-got-better dept.
gmp writes "The NY Times and the Wall Street Journal are reporting on a new paper, published in the science journal Cell Stem Cell, where scientists, inspired by the ability of newts and other lower organisms to regrow lost limbs, have demonstrated that adult mammalian cells can be made to regenerate by suppressing a pair of anti-cancer genes. 'Interfering with tumor suppressor genes is a dangerous game, but Dr. Pomerantz said the genes could be inhibited for just a short period by applying the right dose of drug. When the drug has dissipated, the antitumor function of the gene would be restored. Finding the right combination of genes to suppress was a critical step in the new research. One of the two tumor suppressor genes is an ancient gene, known as Rb, which is naturally inactivated in newts and fish when they start regenerating tissue. Mammals possess both the Rb gene and a backup, called the Arf gene, which will close down a cancer-prone cell if Rb fails to do so.' Is regeneration nature's default, only turned off by our evolved defenses against cancer?"
Google

Google and Verizon In Talks To Prioritize Traffic (Updated) 410

Posted by samzenpus
from the preferred-traffic dept.
Nrbelex writes "Google and Verizon are nearing an agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content's creators are willing to pay for the privilege. Any agreement between Verizon and Google could also upend the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission to assert its authority over broadband service, which was severely restricted by a federal appeals court decision in April. People close to the negotiations who were not authorized to speak publicly about them said an agreement could be reached as soon as next week. If completed, Google, whose Android operating system powers many Verizon wireless phones, would agree not to challenge Verizon's ability to manage its broadband Internet network as it pleased." Update: 08/05 20:03 GMT by T : nr3a1 writes with this informative update excerpted from Engadget: "Google's Public Policy Twitter account just belted out a denial of these claims, straight-up saying that the New York Times 'is wrong.' Here's the full tweet, which certainly makes us feel a bit more at ease. For now. '@NYTimes is wrong. We've not had any convos with VZN about paying for carriage of our traffic. We remain committed to an open internet.' Verizon's now also issued a statement and, like Google, it's denying the claims in the original New York Times report."
Government

Intuit Still Fighting Government Tax Software 374

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-public-option dept.
Back in January we discussed Intuit's opposition to California's free, convenient software to file tax returns. TechDirt noticed a recent article in the LA Times about Intuit's continued lobbying efforts to get rid of those programs. Quoting: "Most importantly, Intuit is offering nothing that California doesn't already have. The state has arranged with other tax software providers to do exactly what Intuit proposes: Help low-income folks fill in and file state and federal returns for free — although Intuit refuses to participate. It apparently only wants in on this deal if the state knocks out its free programs, thereby creating a larger potential paying customer base for TurboTax. Not surprisingly, Intuit has been greasing the wheels in order to try to sell its scheme in California. Since 2005, public filings indicate that Intuit has spent $1.25 million on lobbyists in the state. Over the same period, it contributed an additional $2.12 million to statewide campaigns, including more than $1 million to state Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Thousand Oaks), a ReadyReturn foe who is running for state controller. In all, Intuit has doled out cash to nearly 120 politicians. The impact has been clear, even if Intuit hasn't gotten its way — yet. As documented in The Times, in 2009 California Republican legislators held back their votes on 20 bills in an attempt to do the corporation's bidding and force the abolition of ReadyReturn and CalFile. They didn't succeed in killing the tax programs, but they did kill funding for domestic violence shelters, police and fire departments, and prevention of swine flu outbreaks."
Data Storage

Defeating Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle 160

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the schrodinger's-cat-is-next dept.
eldavojohn writes "As we strive closer and closer to quantum computing, physics may need to be improved. A paper released in Nature Physics suggests that the limit defined by Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle can be beaten with quantum memory. From the article, 'The cadre of scientists behind the current paper realized that, by using the process of entanglement, it would be possible to essentially use two particles to figure out the complete state of one. They might even be able to measure incompatible variables like position and momentum. The measurements might not be perfectly precise, but the process could allow them to beat the limit of the uncertainty principle.' Will we find out that Heisenberg was shortsighted in limiting the power of quantum physics or will the scientists be surprised to find that such a theoretical scenario — once conducted — performs unexpectedly in Heisenberg's favor?"
Games

Thermoelectrics Could Let You Feel the Heat In Games 102

Posted by timothy
from the better-than-bullet-wounds dept.
myshadows writes "Tech Review has an interesting article on how Tokyo Metropolitan University researchers have been able to give a sensory addition to gaming peripherals — namely, temperature. 'As the range of interactions with digital environments expands, it's logical to ask what's next: Smell-o-vision has been on the horizon for something like 50 years, but there's a dark horse stalking this race: thermoelectrics. Based on the Peltier effect, these solid-state devices are easy to incorporate into objects of reasonable size, i.e. video game controllers. In this configuration, just announced at the 2010 SIGGRAPH conference, a pair of thermoelectric surfaces on either side of a controller rapidly heat up or cool down in order to simulate appropriate conditions in a virtual environment.'"
Supercomputing

Petaflops? DARPA Seeks Quintillion-Flop Computers 185

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that's-a-lotta-flops dept.
coondoggie writes "Not known for taking the demure route, researchers at DARPA this week announced a program aimed at building computers that exceed current peta-scale computers to achieve the mind-altering speed of one quintillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000) calculations per second. Dubbed extreme scale computing, such machines are needed, DARPA says, to 'meet the relentlessly increasing demands for greater performance, higher energy efficiency, ease of programmability, system dependability, and security.'"
Programming

Better Development Through Competition? 251

Posted by Soulskill
from the there-can-be-only-one dept.
theodp writes "Among the tips Derek Sivers offers for how to hire a programmer to make your ideas happen is an intriguing one: hire more than one person to complete your first programming milestone, with the expectation that one will go bad, one will be so-so, and one will be great. 'Yes it means you're paying multiple times for this first milestone,' says Sivers, 'but it's worth it to find a good one.' It's not a new idea — the practice of pitting two different programmers against each other on the same task was noted three decades ago in Tracy Kidder's Soul of a New Machine — but one that never gained widespread acceptance. Should the programming code-off be adopted as a software development best practice?"

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis

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