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Technology

Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water 177

Posted by timothy
from the says-something-about-the-west-texas-average dept.
Scientific American reports that Wichita Falls, Texas has taken an unusual step, precipitated by the years-long drought that Texas has faced: it's using treated sewage for drinking water. From the article: To launch what it calls its "Direct Potable Reuse Project," the city pipes water 12 miles from its wastewater treatment plant to this treatment facility where it goes through microfiltration. A pump pulls water through a module filled with fibers that removes most of the impurities. Then it is forced through a semi-permeable membrane that can remove dissolved salts and other contaminants. The process, called reverse osmosis, is used by the U.S. military, in ships and in the manufacture of silicon chips. The water then gets blended with lake water before going through the regular water treatment system. ... At 60 cents per 1,000 gallons, it's far cheaper than any other source of water, [Wichita Falls' public works director Russell] Schreiber said. ... He said there have been few complaints so far. A glass of the finished product, sampled at a downtown restaurant, tasted about average for West Texas.
Transportation

Train Derailment Dumps Two 737 Fuselages Into Clark Fork River 187

Posted by timothy
from the fell-off-the-truck dept.
McGruber (1417641) writes "Boeing builds its 737 airplane fuselages in a Wichita, Kansas factory. The fuselages are then shipped on top of railroad flatcars (as shown in this photograph) to Boeing's Renton, Washington plant, where assembly is completed. Unfortunately, a train carrying two fuselages to Renton derailed approximately 18 miles east of Superior, Montana. The 737s slid down a steep embankment and ended up in the Clark Fork River. That'll buff right out."
Biotech

Researchers Create Walking, Muscle-Powered Biobots 33

Posted by samzenpus
from the franken-bot dept.
Zothecula writes If you're going to deploy robots in biological settings – for example, inside the body – it makes a lot of sense to build those robots out of actual biological body parts. Muscle, for example, is a very effective, biodegradable replacement for an electric actuator that can run in a nutrient-rich fluid without the need for any other power source. Bio-robotics experts in Illinois have demonstrated a bio-bot built from 3-D printed hydrogel and spinal muscle tissue that can "walk" in response to an electrical signal. Their next step will be trying to incorporate neurons that can get the bot walking in different directions when faced with different stimuli.
Science

'Vampire' Squirrel Has World's Fluffiest Tail 54

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the in-the-dead-of-night-squirrel-bites dept.
sciencehabit (1205606) writes Few scientists have ever seen the rare tufted ground squirrel (Rheithrosciurus macrotis), which hides in the hilly forests of Borneo, but it is an odd beast. It's twice the size of most tree squirrels, and it reputedly has a taste for blood. Now, motion-controlled cameras have revealed another curious fact. The 35-centimeter-long rodent has the bushiest tail of any mammal compared with its body size.

Comment: Some newer coins intend to stay ASIC resistant (Score 2) 281

by Powercntrl (#47243841) Attached to: Bitcoin Security Endangered By Powerful Mining Pool

While the threat of a 51% attack may be blown out of proportion (a pool sells their cut of the coins that are mined and it is in their best interest that the coin remain as valuable as possible - attacking a coin would be counterproductive), some altcoin developers have stated that they will change their coin's proof-of-work algorithm if ASICs are developed for it. Vertcoin and Execoin's developers have both stated they'll do whatever it takes to keep ASICs out.

Most of the speculation that fuels the pump-and-dump world of altcoins is based on the belief that Bitcoin may not end up being the cryptocoin that average people use to buy pizza, pay their bills, etc.

Businesses

Amazon's 3D Smartphone As a (Useful) Gimmick 68

Posted by timothy
from the will-it-play-holochess? dept.
Steve Patterson (2850575) writes It's rumored that Amazon will launch its own 3D smartphone on June 18. While it may be compelling, a sexy 3D feature won't catapult Amazon into the lead of the cut-throat smartphone category. If this were true, the EVO 3D, introduced two years ago by HTC and the W960, introduced by Samsung four years ago, would have been top sellers rather than niche products. However, a smartphone that renders 3D images does present an internet retailing opportunity for Amazon. It would be useful to Amazon in selling tangible consumer merchandise, just like Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet was designed to improve Amazon's merchandising of ebooks and video streaming products. What else would you like to use a 3D phone for?

Comment: Re:Almost, but not quite (Score 1) 117

by Powercntrl (#47216803) Attached to: Credit Card Breach At P.F. Chang's

Isn't the chargeback potential a risk under paypal not found for bitcoin? When someone gets paid the charge can be reversed at any time per Paypal's discretion. Thieves will buy bitcoins all the time on ebay with stolen paypal accounts and than the seller will be out all the money when paypal reverses the transaction. Additionally, isn't paypals security polices also a risk for the user unlike with bitcoin where you can trust the mathematics and network which is immune from many traditional attack vectors?

Yes, chargebacks are a potential fraud risk for business owners. As a customer, though, being able to perform a chargeback is an important safeguard against a seller that doesn't make good on their part of a transaction.

While having your bank/credit card information on file at PayPal is also a potential security risk, it's still significantly less of a risk than trusting every business you allow to directly process your credit card.

Comment: Almost, but not quite (Score 1) 117

by Powercntrl (#47209155) Attached to: Credit Card Breach At P.F. Chang's

Bitcoin does solve the issue of being able to electronically pay people you may not trust, but so does PayPal. Bitcoin transactions are slow to confirm, you have no protection as a buyer to perform a chargeback (for example, you buy tickets for a concert that turn out to be counterfeit) and the price of Bitcoin is extremely unstable. Bitcoin also is not really free of transaction fees, either. You will pay a fee to an exchange when buying Bitcoin with fiat.

Bitcoin's deflationary design also makes it lousy as a currency, since why would you use it to buy two pizzas today when that same amount a few years from now might buy you a Tesla Model S?

Cryptocurrency probably does have a place in the future of commerce, but it will probably be something that addresses Bitcoin's serious shortcomings.

Power

Fuel Cells From Nanomaterials Made From Human Urine 83

Posted by timothy
from the hennig-brand-would-be-proud dept.
New submitter turning in circles (2882659) writes 'Carbon based fuel cells require carbon doped with other elements, normally platinum, for oxygen reduction reactions. Urine contains carbon with an exciting splash of nitrogen, sulfur, potassium, silicon, and so on, and you don't have to manufacture it: the stuff just comes out by itself. In an article published this week in an open journal, researchers from Korea reported a new nanomaterial for fuel cells, which they dub "Urine Carbon." Upon drying, and then heating at 1000C, and rinsing of salts, the resulting Urine Carbon porous nanostructures outperformed Carbon/platinum in electrodes.'

Comment: Re:We're supposed to take this seriously? (Score 3, Interesting) 72

by Powercntrl (#47177863) Attached to: Snowden Rallies Privacy Advocates In New York City

There's no intelligent debate to be had, or a debate at all. It's just the government violating the highest law of the land, and people who give a shit trying to stop them. They had no moral high ground since the beginning.

The point is, if the situation is dire and serious, the message should be as well. Think about it for a second, if someone on here posted "Don't buy an iPhone because Apple wants to lick your balls!" it would be moderated as troll in the blink of an eye. It works for Southpark because the objective is to get you to laugh. When you're pointing out an injustice being committed by the government, you should be trying to get people to think.

Comment: We're supposed to take this seriously? (Score 2, Insightful) 72

by Powercntrl (#47177627) Attached to: Snowden Rallies Privacy Advocates In New York City

Southpark has already done plenty of political satire peppered with dick and fart jokes. If Snowden doesn't want to come across as a tinfoil hat loonie, he should probably tone down the juvenile humor a notch. It's frequently said that those who resort to insults do so because they can't hold an intelligent debate.

Mars

NRC Human Spaceflight Report Says NASA Strategy Can't Get Humans To Mars 206

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-going-to-happen dept.
MarkWhittington (1084047) writes 'The National Research Council issued its report on the future of space exploration. The report stated that the "horizon goal" for any program of space exploration in the near term (i.e. the next two decades) is a Mars surface expedition. It also stated that the current NASA program, which includes a mission that would snag an asteroid, put it in lunar orbit, and visit it with astronauts is inadequate to meet that goal.

The report gave two reasons for its critique of the current NASA program. First the asteroid redirect mission would not create and test technologies necessary to conduct a crewed Mars mission. Second, NASA projects essentially flat budgets for the foreseeable future. Any space exploration program worthy of the name will cost considerably more money, with five percent increases in NASA funding for a number of years.'

Comment: THIS. Just get an iPhone 5S (Score 2) 259

by Powercntrl (#47158425) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Do 4G World Phones Exist?

Not only does the iPhone have the frequency bands the asker wants, but it is one of the easiest phones to purchase completely unlocked and off-contract in the USA (so long as you purchase direct from Apple). Most other contract-free phones here are still sold locked to the carrier, and generally require several months of paid service before the carrier will provide an unlock code.

Other less expensive options for a world phone would be Google's Nexus 5 or Motorola's Moto G (if you don't absolutely need LTE).

Comment: Obviously (Score 1) 311

by Powercntrl (#47136855) Attached to: Solar Roadways Project Beats $1M Goal, Should Enter Production

Considering all the above, I'm convinced that it makes much more sense to put solar on rooftops.

We're not even remotely close to running out of places to install PV panels, where they'll never see the business end of a vehicle tire. PVs are presently just too damn expensive, even when you're not engineering them to withstand being constantly run over.

The news story here is really that fools are still being parted from their money.

Anything free is worth what you pay for it.

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