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Z Machine Makes Progress Toward Nuclear Fusion 151

Posted by timothy
from the soon-free-energy-and-cheap-electric-cars dept.
sciencehabit writes Scientists are reporting a significant advance in the quest to develop an alternative approach to nuclear fusion. Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, using the lab's Z machine, a colossal electric pulse generator capable of producing currents of tens of millions of amperes, say they have detected significant numbers of neutrons — byproducts of fusion reactions — coming from the experiment. This, they say, demonstrates the viability of their approach and marks progress toward the ultimate goal of producing more energy than the fusion device takes in.

Comment: No subsitute for hardwired Ethernet (Score 4, Informative) 279

I've tried both wireless client bridges (300Mbps N) and powerline Ethernet adapters for an HDHomerun tuner, and my results were: a) only one tuner could stream over the wireless and b) the powerline adapters were an epic fail. The punch line is that the HDHomerun works fine and dandy over 100BaseT. Between the crowded 2.4 GHz spectrum and the poor penetration of 5 GHz, wireless just doesn't cut it for anything that needs throughput.

String some Cat5e or Cat6, and leave the wireless for laptops and tablets.

Cat5e will work fine for gigabit. Cat6 will support 10G, but 10G costs a fortune.

Comment: MPG estimates based on driving like an idiot? (Score 1) 403

by SIGBUS (#48092075) Attached to: Fuel Efficiency Numbers Overstate MPG More For Cars With Small Engines

I have a 2010 Honda Fit with the manual transmission and a 1.5l four-banger. In my real-world driving, I get about 32-36 MPG in city driving, and 38-42 MPG on the highway. As it turns out, that's quite a bit better than the EPA numbers: 27 city/33 highway. I try to drive efficiently at least, but I wouldn't consider myself to be a hypermiler, either. I can't help but think that the EPA numbers assume idiotic driving with jackrabbit starts and racing to red lights. And now they're claiming that the estimates overstate things?

Comment: Re:I quit using Belkin years ago, (Score 1) 191

by SIGBUS (#48086961) Attached to: Belkin Router Owners Suffering Massive Outages

I guess I can't be too surprised that they'd pull a cunning stunt like this, just because they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar already, with the "spam router" fiasco. It's hard to believe it's been over a decade since that, and they're still baking stupidity into their routers.

It's sad to see they snapped up Linksys, but Linksys was already on a downward spiral anyway. In any case, I'm not buying a router unless I can install DD-WRT or OpenWRT on it. Of course, with Comcast now pushing integrated router/cable modem setups, I might just have to run a firewall distro inside a VM on a system with two NICs. I trust Comcast even less than I'd trust Belkin.


Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio 528

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the thinking-leads-to-questioning dept.
frdmfghtr (603968) writes Over at Ars Technica, there's a story about a bill in the Ohio legislature that wants to downplay the teaching of the scientific process. From the article: "Specifically prohibiting a discussion of the scientific process is a recipe for educational chaos. To begin with, it leaves the knowledge the kids will still receive—the things we have learned through science—completely unmoored from any indication of how that knowledge was generated or whether it's likely to be reliable. The scientific process is also useful in that it can help people understand the world around them and the information they're bombarded with; it can also help people assess the reliability of various sources of information." The science standards would have "...focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes; and prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another." Political interpretation of scientific facts include humans contributing to climate change according to the bill's sponsor, who also thinks intelligent design would be OK under the law.

Comment: Re:Hardly new (Score 1) 281

I've noticed this problem (not the CPU so much as RAM and storage space) with my LG F3. Recent updates to Google services have bloated things enough that I have trouble applying app updates in its limited storage space, and multiple apps that used to work well together now no longer fit in available RAM. Sometimes I have to uninstall and reinstall an app to update it now. Things get cramped with less than 1.3 GB of internal storage, even with an SD card installed.

I'd love to see an up-spec F3 with double the RAM and gobs of storage (but keeping the SD slot and removable battery). I don't really need a hyper-expensive flagship phone, tempting as it may be. For all of the F3's faults, it has LTE, good RF performance in general, and outstanding battery life. It also puts the lie to the claim that you can't have a slim phone with a replaceable battery and an SD slot.


Why the FCC Is Likely To Ignore Net Neutrality Comments and Listen To ISPs 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
Jason Koebler writes: Time and time again, federal agencies like the FCC ignore what the public says it wants and side with the parties actually being regulated — the ISPs, in this case. Research and past example prove that there's not much that can be considered democratic about the public comment period or its aftermath. "Typically, there are a score or so of lengthy comments that include extensive data, analysis, and arguments. Courts require agencies to respond to comments of that type, and they sometimes persuade an agency to take an action that differs from its proposal," Richard Pierce, a George Washington University regulatory law professor said. "Those comments invariably come from companies with hundreds of millions or billions of dollars at stake or the lawyers and trade associations that represent them. Those are the only comments that have any chance of persuading an agency."

Comment: Switched to LED for porch lights (Score 1) 278

by SIGBUS (#47441995) Attached to: My most recent energy-saving bulbs last ...

I've generally had about 3 years or so from CFLs in the porch lights, which are on all night (approx. 9-15 hours per day depending on the season). I'm still working my way through a six-pack of CFLs (the others are inside), but last fall I decided not to wait for the CFLs to go before switching the porch lights to Cree soft white LEDs. So far, I'm quite happy with the results, especially with the instant full brightness regardless of temperature. When it's -14 F, CFLs are pretty dim.

Comment: Re:Cree FTW (Score 1) 196

by SIGBUS (#47376257) Attached to: The lightbulb I've most recently acquired ...

Last fall, I switched my front and back porch lights from CFL to the Cree 60W-equivalent soft white LED bulbs. It was nice to have full light output on even the coldest winter days, and the light looks so much like an incandescent that it would be easy to think it really was (except for that little dark spot at the tip of the bulb). As a bonus, they use less electricity than even the CFLs (13W for the CFL, 9.5 for the LED).

Inside the house, though, I still have a bunch of CFLs to work through before I switch them over. I mainly wanted the full brightness at low temperatures for the outdoor lights.

Comment: How about a higher-spec F3 instead? (Score 1) 198

by SIGBUS (#47347927) Attached to: Overkill? LG Phone Has 2560x1440 Display, Laser Focusing

I've been running LG's F3 for a while, and there are things I love about it, and other things that I hate.

The good: Incredible battery life (can get two days with moderate use and still have battery to spare), slim design that can easily be operated with one hand, reasonably fast CPU, bright IPS display, good RF performance, and LTE. Also, it has a replaceable battery and a MicroSD slot.

The bad: That MicroSD slot is needed, because there's less than 1.3 GB of internal storage, and there's only 1 GB of RAM. Fortunately, Firefox allows you to move it to the SD card, otherwise I wouldn't be able to run it.

Suggestion: take the F3, and add more RAM and internal flash. A quad-core CPU would be nice, but isn't really necessary.

That being said, in spite of the overkill display, the G3 at least has brought back the replaceable battery and the MicroSD slot, which went missing on the G2.


Facial Recognition Might Be Coming To Your Car 131

Posted by timothy
from the ok-but-how-does-it-fail? dept.
cartechboy writes What if you got into your car and you had to authenticate that it was you behind the wheel? That might be what's coming in the near future as Ford's working with Intel to bring facial recognition to the car. The idea would be to improve safety and in-car tech with this system which is being called Project Mobil. When someone enters a Project Mobil-equipped car the system uses front-facing cameras to authenticate the driver. If the driver can't be authenticated it'll send a photo to the vehicle owner's phone asking for permission for this person to drive the vehicle. Once identified, the car can then automatically adjust certain settings to the driver's preference. This could also theoretically allow parents to control how loud their kids listen to the music while driving, how fast they can drive, and even simply monitor them driving. Obviously this NSA-like surveillance tech is a bit creepy on some levels, but there could be a lot of terrific applications for it. While only an experiment, don't be surprised if your dashboard stares back at you eventually.

Google: Indie Musicians Must Join Streaming Service Or Be Removed 364

Posted by Soulskill
from the our-way-or-the-highway dept.
Sockatume writes: In a statement to the Financial Times and reported by the BBC, Google has confirmed that it will remove the music videos of independent artists unless they sign up to its upcoming subscription music service. Many independent musicians and labels have refused to do so, claiming that the contracts offer significantly worse deals than the likes of Spotify and Pandora, and that Google is unwilling to negotiate on the rates it offers artists. A Google spokesperson indicated that the company could start removing videos within days.

Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year 431

Posted by timothy
from the but-will-they-be-reliable-like-american-cars dept.
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Made In China." It's a sticker we all know too well here in the U.S., and yet, it seems not everything we buy is made in China. To date, there haven't been Chinese-built cars in the U.S., but we keep hearing they are coming. Now it seems it's about to become a reality, as Chinese-built Volvos will be arriving in the U.S. as early as 2015. The first model to arrive will be the S60L. The payoff for Volvo if it manages to convince buyers that its cars built in China are just as good as those currently built in Europe is vast. Not only will it save on production costs, but it will help buffer against exchange rate fluctuations. Volvo's planning to make China a manufacturing hub, and that makes sense since it's now owned by Chinese parent company Geely. But will Chinese-built cars be just as good as European-built cars, and will consumers be able to tell the difference?

Comment: Re:All the improvements could want except... (Score 3, Insightful) 136

by SIGBUS (#47194957) Attached to: Tesla Makes Improvements To Model S

What he hasn't done yet is created a compelling alternative to the gas-powered car. The Tesla has a very clear niche where it might be practical if cash were no object: private garages and long, regular commutes of 50-100 miles: long enough to make you want to travel in a luxurious car, short enough to fall comfortably within the Tesla's range, home-based so you can recharge overnight.

Exactly. It's an executive car - but that's a good place to start. Advance the technology and make it available to the early adopters to get the ball rolling. The biggest single obstacle to making long-range electric cars available to the masses is the price of the battery pack. The reason a Nissan Leaf is relatively affordable is that it doesn't have the huge battery pack needed for long range.

Now that Tesla has taken care of building the cars, and the charger network is expanding, it's on to scaling up the battery production, and that's where the upcoming Tesla/Panasonic battery factories step in. Aside from reducing battery costs and increasing production for the cars, they should be useful as storage for charging stations as well.

I know there's a lot of impatience (I want my electric car NOW, and Superchargers on every corner!), but starting a car company from the ground up isn't easy, especially when you're taking over a century of auto industry tradition and standing it on its head. I'm glad to see the progress that's already been made, even if it's still a long time before I could afford to go electric.

America needs more businessmen like Elon Musk and fewer like Donald Trump.

"Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberrys!" -- Monty Python and the Holy Grail