Blacklaw writes "A team of researchers comprised of members from the Semiconductor Research Corporation and Stanford University has developed a new thermal nanotape which it claims will lead to chips that run cooler and last longer. The thermal nanotape, constructed of binder materials surrounding carbon nanotubes, promises to lead to the creation of semiconductors — including CPUs and GPUs — that don't suffer from the rigors of frequent temperature changes, known as thermal cycling."
derGoldstein writes "According to Keanu Reeves: ' Matrix 4 and 5 are coming.' At an event that took place at the London International School of Performing Arts, 'Reeves revealed that he met with the Wachowskis around Christmas. They told him that they completed script treatments for two more Matrix installments. They are planning to make the films in 3D and have already met with James Cameron to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the technology. Reeves added that he's excited to return as Neo and promised that the treatments will truly revolutionize the action genre like the first Matrix film did.'"
PatPending writes "Aerial drones are now used by the Texas Department of Public Safety; the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, Colorado; the Miami-Dade County, Florida, Police Department; and the Department of Homeland Security. But what about privacy concerns? 'Drones raise the prospect of much more pervasive surveillance,' said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. 'We are not against them, absolutely. They can be a valuable tool in certain kinds of operations. But what we don't want to see is their pervasive use to watch over the American people.'"
Advocatus Diaboli writes "We no longer live in the era of 'plantation-type' movie studios or recording houses. However large private companies still have considerable power over content production, distribution and promotion. Technology has been slowly changing this state of affairs for almost 30-40 years, however certain new technological advances, enabling systems and cost considerations will change the entertainment industry as we know it within 5 years."
Edsj writes "According to The New Yorker: 'Schmidt, according to associates, lost some energy and focus after losing the China decision. At the same time, Google was becoming defensive. All of their social-network efforts had faltered. Facebook had replaced them as the hot tech company, the place vital engineers wanted to work. Complaints about Google bureaucracy intensified. Governments around the world were lobbing grenades at Google over privacy, copyright, and size issues. The “don’t be evil” brand was getting tarnished, and the founders were restive. Schmidt started to think of departing. Nudged by a board-member friend and an outside adviser that he had to re-energize himself, he decided after Labor Day that he could reboot. He couldn't.'"
satuon writes "Ken Auletta's big New Yorker piece on AOL (subscription only) this week revealed an interesting detail about the company's inner workings. According to Auletta, 80% of AOL's profits come from subscribers, and 75% of those subscribers are paying for something they don't actually need. According to Auletta: "The company still gets eighty percent of its profits from subscribers, many of whom are older people who have cable or DSL service but don't realize that they need not pay an additional twenty-five dollars a month to get online and check their e-mail. 'The dirty little secret,' a former AOL executive says, 'is that seventy-five percent of the people who subscribe to AOL's dial-up service don't need it.'"
theodp writes "It seems $1 salaries are only for super-wealthy tech execs. The WSJ reports that CPA David Watson incurred the wrath of the IRS by only paying himself $24,000 a year and declaring the rest of his take profit. It's a common tax-cutting maneuver that most computer consultants working through an S Corporation have probably considered. Unlike profit distributions, all salary is subject to a 2.9% Medicare tax and the first $106,800 is subject to a 12.4% Social Security tax (FICA). By reducing his salary, Watson didn't save any income taxes on the $379k in profit distributions he received in 2002 and 2003, but he did save nearly $20,000 in payroll taxes for the two years, the IRS argued, pegging Watson's true pay at $91,044 for each year. Judge Robert W. Pratt agreed that Watson's salary was too low, ruling that the CPA owed the extra tax plus interest and penalties. So why, you ask, don't members of the much-ballyhooed $1 Executive club like Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt get in hot water for their low-ball salaries? After all, how inequitable would it be if billionaires working full-time didn't have to kick in more than 15 cents into the Medicare and Social Security kitty? Sorry kids, the rich are different, and the New Global Elite have much better tax advisors than you!"
RedEaredSlider writes "A study using satellite and ground-based data is showing the Greenland ice sheets are setting a record for the areas exposed to melting and the rate at which they are doing so. NASA says 2010 was a record warm year, and temperatures in the Arctic were a good 3 degrees C over normal."
Saysys sends an excerpt from a story at the Globe and Mail: "In September, a privately held and highly secretive US biotech company named Joule Unlimited received a patent for 'a proprietary organism' – a genetically engineered cyanobacterium that produces liquid hydrocarbons: diesel fuel, jet fuel and gasoline. This breakthrough technology, the company says, will deliver renewable supplies of liquid fossil fuel almost anywhere on Earth, in essentially unlimited quantity and at an energy-cost equivalent of $30 (US) a barrel of crude oil. It will deliver, the company says, 'fossil fuels on demand.' ... Joule says it now has 'a library' of fossil-fuel organisms at work in its Massachusetts labs, each engineered to produce a different fuel. It has 'proven the process,' has produced ethanol (for example) at a rate equivalent to 10,000 US gallons an acre a year. It anticipates that this yield could hit 25,000 gallons an acre a year when scaled for commercial production, equivalent to roughly 800 barrels of crude an acre a year."
An anonymous reader writes "Google has submitted an Internet Draft covering the bitstream format and decoding of VP8 video to the Internet Engineering Task Force. CNET's Stephen Shankland writes, 'Google representatives published the "VP8 Data Format and Decoding Guide" at the IETF earlier this month, but that doesn't signal standardization, the company said in a statement. The document details the VP8 bitstream — the actual sequence of bytes into which video is encoded. "We submitted the VP8 bitstream reference as an IETF Independent RFC [request for comments] to create a canonical public reference for the document," Google said. "This is independent from a standards track." The IETF document could help allay one concern VP8 critics have raised: that VP8 is defined not by documentation of the bitstream but rather by the source code of the software Google released to implement VP8. But the IETF document still plays a subordinate role to that source code.'"
jibjibjib writes "According to projections by APNIC Chief Scientist Geoff Huston, IANA's central IPv4 address pool is expected to run out any day now, leaving the internet with a very limited remaining supply of addresses. APNIC will probably request two /8s (33 million addresses) within the next few weeks. This will leave five /8s available, which will be immediately distributed to the five Regional Internet Registries in accordance with IANA policy. It's expected that APNIC's own address pool will run low during 2011, making ISPs and businesses in the Asia-Pacific region the first to feel the effects of IPv4 exhaustion. The long-term solution to IP address exhaustion is provided by IPv6, the next version of the Internet Protocol. IPv6 has been an internet standard for over a decade, but is still unsupported on many networks and makes up an almost negligible fraction of Internet traffic. Unless ISPs dramatically accelerate the pace of IPv6 deployment, users in some regions will be stuck on IPv4-only connections while ISPs in other regions run out of public IPv4 addresses, leading to a fragmented Internet without the universal connectivity we've previously taken for granted."
jbrodkin writes "Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer used the official state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao as an opportunity to complain that 90% of Microsoft software users in China didn't pay for the products. The comments were part of a discussion with Barack Obama and the Chinese president about intellectual property protection. According to a White House transcript, Obama said in a press conference that 'we were just in a meeting with business leaders, and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft pointed out that their estimate is that only 1 customer in every 10 of their products is actually paying for it in China.' Obama didn't detail any specific measures the US and China would take to help Microsoft and other vendors fighting software piracy. 'The Chinese government has, to its credit, taken steps to better enforce intellectual property,' Obama said. 'We've got further agreement as a consequence of this state visit. And I think President Hu would acknowledge that more needs to be done.' Microsoft did not say how it calculated the statistic that 90% of Chinese users aren't paying for Microsoft software."
BorgiaPope writes "NYU's Clay Shirky, in the new issue of Foreign Affairs, calls the US government's approach to social media 'dangerous' and 'almost certainly wrong,' as in its favoring Haystack over Freegate. The Political Power of Social Media claims that the freedom of online assembly — via texting, photo sharing, Facebook, Twitter, humble email — is more important even than access to information via an uncensored Internet. Countering Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker, Shirky looks at recent uprisings in the Philippines, Moldova, and Spain to make his point that, instead of emphasizing anti-censorship tools, the US should be fighting Egypt's recent mandatory licensing of group-oriented text-messaging services." Only part of Shirky's piece is available for non-subscribers, but Gladwell's New Yorker piece is all online.
dkd903 writes "The development of an Android client for VLC has been going on for months now, but it has been slowed down by the fact that Android's multimedia output libraries are in Java. VLC itself is based on C and so translating them to Java is difficult and takes time. With the newer Android NDK, however, using native codes for Android apps has been becoming easier. So, the VLC developers have developed two basic modules for audio and video output based on the new NDK and most of the VLC libraries have been ported to Android."
An anonymous reader writes "Representatives of the UK banking industry have sent a take-down notice (PDF link) to Cambridge University, demanding that they censor a student's webpage as well as his masters thesis (PDF). The banks' objection is that the information contained in the report might be used to exploit a vulnerability in the Chip and PIN system, used throughout Europe and Canada for credit and debit card payments. The system was revealed to be fundamentally flawed earlier this year, as it allowed criminals to use a stolen card with any PIN. Cambridge University has resisted the demands and has sent a response to the bankers explaining why they will keep the page online."