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Math

+ - Texas Instruments doesn't know Avogadro's Number?

Submitted by lpq
lpq (583377) writes "Was watching Monk last night and some kid wrote Avogadro's number (or something that looked like it) on a blackboard. They wrote 6.0221415 * 10^23. Today I was trying to remember the extra digits (only carried around 3 digits of accuracy in brain...not a constant I need alot or alot of precision of, usually.

I remembered my Texas Instruments Solar calculator had it as a programmed in constant. All sources I've seen have the exponent as 23, but the number part varies a bit, source to source. The farthest "off" from the others is the one on my TI-36X calculator. Some values I've found:
(all scaled by 10^23, lowest to highest)

6.022 131 67 Texas Instruments (built-in to calculator):
6.022 141 5 Monk TV show (USA Network)
6.022 141 79 NIST (website)
6.022 141 79 Wikipedia Same as NIST
6.022 142 5 Google
6.022 257 Lapeer County, MI ("http://chem.lapeer.org/Chem1Docs/MolExercise.htm l")


So why all the different answers? Has the value of Av's Num been fluctuating lately like the price of gold or the stock market? Are the other answers "older, accepted values?"

Google is "close" — if they had left it at 7 digits (6.033142) I would have thought it a rounding of the NIST value, but throwing in that 7th decimal place shoots that idea out of the water.

Seems like Lapeer County is most off from everyone else (varying by .00035), being on the high side, but a _CALCULATOR_ company?

TI getting their programmed in constants, "WRONG"?!? What faith should I have in any of their other constants or their formulae and calculations? They seem to be low by ".000 010 12", or to put things in obfuscating perspective:
1.012 x 10^18 or about 1 quintillion?

Is it common for calculator manufacturers to have such different values? Haven't checked other constants — maybe they are better, but it seems "concerning" (if I needed more precise constants, my calculator could be very misleading). It reminded me of the Pentium math bug where it returned the wrong answer on some calculations. We just accept these things as "right" or "correct".
Is quality control dropping? (Calculator made in China). Is it a "foreign-made" quality issue?

Thanks for any insights on why things are so odd...."
Security

+ - Main-stream sites serving scareware through ads

Submitted by Adultalescent
Adultalescent (1147103) writes "It seems that major banner ad networks being used by the likes of major sites such as LinkedIn, Hoovers, and CareerBuilder (and I'm sure many others we have not discovered yet) are serving scareware to customers. Have only confirmed on Windows/IE so far. You will be browsing one of these sites, and suddenly your browser window will minimize and you will get a Windows Dialog advising you that your computer has all kinds of problems, and click HERE please to fix it! The typical response from customer support is that your computer is infected with spyware, and that the issue is with your computer, not what they serve. LinkedIn, to their credit, has acknowledged the problem is due to advertisements being served on their site: http://www.linkedin.com/answers/using-linkedIn/ULI /84365-8500886 http://www.linkedin.com/answers/using-linkedIn/ULI /84408-3444512 A preliminary analysis of the exploit can be found at: http://www.mikeonads.com/2007/07/04/errorsafe-on-c areerbuildercom/ Other than the obvious responses that will be generated (Use Linux or Mac! Remove Flash!) what can be done to pressure advertiser networks to clean up their act? And given that there are just a few very large ad hosts (i.e. doubleclick.net) that serve content to such a huge swath of the Internet, what can be done to reduce the adverse security implications if the advertiser networks are compromised?"
United States

+ - Why No High-MPG Diesels For The U.S.?

Submitted by
gbulmash
gbulmash writes "While looking for a high-MPG minivan, wagon, or SUV, I've been finding that the pickings in the U.S. are pretty slim, but that there are plenty of fuel-efficient diesel models in Europe that get even better mileage than some of the larger hybrids for sale in the U.S. With the U.S. having so many people driving so many miles, it seems ridiculous that even Ford is offering highly fuel efficient diesels in Europe that they don't/won't offer here. Is there an actual plausible reason why these models aren't being brought to American markets aside from "marketing objectives"?"
Movies

+ - There is no HD DVD, Only DVD in BOTH Formats->

Submitted by
cybrthng
cybrthng writes "In a single statement Collins made in the now famous "We're not at war with Bluray" article there was one nugget everyone failed to grasp and I quote: "Foremost is compatibility. All new movie titles from Universal and soon Warner will be combination (or twin-format) discs — HD DVD on one side and standard DVD on the other. This means that HD DVD discs will also play on older DVD players, which is crucial for portability.". No Distinction between HD-DVD or DVD means a single SKU with both movies and complete market domination over night. (Well, after re-tooling of fabs). Not only that but its one heck of a segway to allow people to adopt HD-DVD players at their own pace without risk of obsolescence."
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Wireless (Apple)

+ - Leave the country, get a $1000+ iPhone bill?

Submitted by elistan
elistan (578864) writes "US owners of the iPhone are subject to the standard ATT international rates. For example, in Canada they pay $0.59 per minute and $0.0195 per KB. The problem is that the iPhone is chatty. VERY chatty. Not only is there the normal data downloaded while browsing the "real Internet," it likes to do things like make multi-MB transmissions in the middle of the night while its owner is asleep. (Examine one of those multipage iPhone bills if you get a chance, look for large data sessions at odd hours.) 5000 KB would end up costing $97.50 USD, for example. Traveling to another country could get very expensive very quickly, with the iPhone owner not realizing what's happening. Posts at MacRumors have started of people realizing just that issue. How does $3000 sound? Can these users only blame themselves for not checking the iPhone usage more closely? Was it reasonable for them to assume that limiting their usage would involve only a reasonable fee? In either case, as it stands the iPhone is unsuitable as an internationally roaming phone. Are ATT's usage rates being outdated by Apple's new technology? Or is it Apple's responsibility to make the phone workable within ATT's fee structure?"
Announcements

+ - Boson explains high-temperature superconductivity

Submitted by kgb1001001
kgb1001001 (199064) writes "Just saw this (http://www.engr.uiuc.edu/news/?xId=071508320770) in a newsletter the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Seems like the key to understanding high-temperature superconductivity might be a new elementary particle. The article discusses how they think that the new boson is an emergent phenomena — maybe you can't find everything by breaking things apart in a particle accelerator."
Music

+ - Multiformat Listening Test at 64kbps 1

Submitted by
prospective_user
prospective_user writes "Do you think you have good ears? Think again.

The community at Hydrogenaudio has prepared a Public Listening Test for comparison of the most popular audio codecs (AAC, Vorbis, and Microsoft's WMA included) in a battle to see how they stand at compressing audio at 64kbps.

Many of the participants right now have expressed their surprise at being unable to determine which is the original and which is the compressed version of 18 samples covering a vast amount of musical styles.

The results of this test (and other that are conducted at Hydrogenaudio) will be used by the developers of the codecs to further improve the "transparency" and let this kind of test be even harder.

Everyone is invited to participate and show how good your listening is!"
Privacy

+ - Do Not Call Registry gets wake-up call-> 2

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "If you signed up for the federal or your state's Do Not Call Registry a few years ago, you might want to thing about refreshing it. Pennsylvanians this week got a wake up call, so to speak from the state's Attorney General Tom Corbett who kicked off a public awareness campaign designed to remind people what many have forgotten or never knew — that the 2002 law set registrations to expire after five years. That is of course unless you want to start hearing from those telemarketers as you sit down to dinner. Corbett said about 2 million people signed up in the immediate aftermath of the law taking effect and those who do not act by Sept. 15 will have their numbers dropped from the registry on Nov. 1. The Pennsylvania action is a reminder that the National Do Not Call Registry has a five year life span as well. The Federal Trade Commission is set to being a nation campaign in Spring 2008 to remind all US citizens to refresh their federal Do Not Call Registry standing. http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/18066"
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Power

+ - Cooling Your House With Solar Heat

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The German Fraunhofer research institute has created the spin-off company SorTech, which plans to produce air conditioning systems that are run by solar heat. This mind-boggling feat is achieved by a thermo-chemical process called sorption. The technology could help to satisfy the increasing energy consumption used for air conditioning. It seems to be a perfect application for using solar energy: Good efficiency is possible by avoiding a conversion from heat into electricity and back to cooling energy. It also does not need a long term energy storage system, because the energy needed for cooling spikes exactly at the time, when most solar energy is available."
Businesses

+ - Next-Gen Car Batteries Promise Longer Life->

Submitted by hzero
hzero (894267) writes "Firefly has replaced the lead plates found inside conventional batteries with a lead-impregnated foam made from carbon graphite ?- one of the few materials that can withstand the highly corrosive sulfuric acid inside batteries. The foam increases the surface area of lead inside the battery, delivering more power and slashing the recharge time, says Firefly CEO Ed Williams.
Equally important, Firefly's approach eliminates the crystals that can build up inside lead-acid batteries. Over time, those crystals reduce the amount of electricity a battery can hold, one of the major reasons electric and hybrid automakers have favored lithium-ion or nickel batteries, even though lead acid is less expensive.
"Our batteries will come back to their full capacity for years," says Williams"

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Television

+ - There are just 12 types of TV ads->

Submitted by
prostoalex
prostoalex writes "After watching hours of television for one year without skipping commercials, Seth Stevenson claims there are only 12 types of TV ads: "This slide show presents some recent ads exemplifying each of Gunn's 12 basic categories. With a little practice, you, too, will be ticking off the master formats during commercial breaks.""
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Privacy

+ - MySpace finds 29,000 sex offenders among users

Submitted by StonyandCher
StonyandCher (1121349) writes "MySpace has identified more than 29,000 registered sex offenders among those registered to use its site — more than four times what the company said in May it had found from an investigation, according to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

"[The 29,000] includes just the predators who signed up using their real names and not the ones who failed to register or used fake names," Cooper said in the statement. Cooper is one of eight state attorneys general who asked MySpace in May to turn over the names of users who are registered sex offenders.

In May, MySpace reluctantly revealed it had uncovered 7000 sex offenders."
Power

+ - Wisconsin Orders Gas Station to Raise Gas Prices

Submitted by
hahafaha
hahafaha writes "Raj Bhandari, a gas station owner in Wisconsin, offered a 2 cents/gallon discount for gas to seniors, and 3 cents/gallon to those that supported youth sports. However, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture is threatening to penalize him for each discounted gallon, with the fine at a judge's discretion. According to the Department, he is violating Wisconsin's Unfair Sales Act, which requires stations to sell gas for about 9.2 percent more than the wholesale price."
Censorship

+ - How do you DMCA a tattoo off of a person?

Submitted by dmn
dmn (855563) writes "Shannon Larratt (of the BMEzine fame) recently posted a challenge at modblog for someone to tattoo the recently published HD DVD key on them and test what happens if they go public. From the first post:

"Any site that lists the AACS key/crack is getting legal takedown notices if someone gets it tattooed, would a lawsuit forcing them to never show it to anyone be launched? Would they try and force a removal?".
Well someone did take the challenge. From the second post:

"So how do you DMCA a tattoo off of a person? Am I allowed to tell people that its a 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0 tattoo? Is a magazine permitted to print photos of this tattoo? Can the tattoo artist or shop (Good Faith Tattoos, Boston) be sued? Can the person wearing the tattoo be sued? Can a corporation force a medical procedure (a tattoo removal)? Can they force him to always wear a shirt? Well, Rich from The New Freedom has decided to be the bait!".
"

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