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Power Beaming For UAVs and Space Elevators 137

An anonymous reader writes "The idea of power beaming — using lasers or microwaves to transmit usable energy over great distances — has been around for decades. But recent advances in cheaper, more energy-efficient diode lasers have made power beaming commercially viable. LaserMotive, based in Kent, WA, is best known for winning the Level 1 prize of the NASA Power Beaming Challenge at the Space Elevator Games last November. In a new interview with Xconomy, LaserMotive co-founder Tom Nugent, who previously worked on the 'photonic fence' mosquito-zapping project at Intellectual Ventures, talks about gearing up for Level 2 of the NASA competition, slated for later this year. What's more, LaserMotive is trying to build a real business around beaming power to unmanned aerial vehicles, remote sensors and military bases, and other locations where it's impractical to run a wire, change batteries, or truck in fuel. The ultimate goal is to beam large amounts of solar power to Earth."

Comment Re:Ubuntu (Score 1) 766

Even though I'm something of a gnome fanboy, I'd second this. Windows familiarity is the big advantage of KDE from my perspective.

I'd also mention that you don't need to take the leap all at once. You can start getting them accustomed to alternative software choices gradually with free software that runs on windows like OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Amarok, etc.

Comment Re:Why is this done in software at all? (Score 4, Insightful) 179

So, I was mostly just giving him shit because of his name. If you want a more serious debate, here's my best shot: The instructions you described are all relatively easy to define a generally useful specification. My main point was that every application has differing standards of randomness that are required. Do you need real quantum-mechanical randomness, or just a CSPRNG? How many bits of random data do you need, and how frequently? I'm assuming that the request is for real quantum-mechanical randomness. I find it hard to imagine defining a good spec for such hardware component, especially since the vast majority of applications don't actually require quantum-mechanical randomness, and the ones that do are likely to have very specific requirements. Anyways, besides the fact that it's tough to come up with good requirements for such a feature, I bet it's really tough to implement as well. I know just barely enough about about hardware implementations to be dangerous, so someone who knows for real, please correct me if I'm wrong. Anyways, circuits that exhibit quantum-mechanical randomness are, as far as I know, essentially the same as circuits that cause metastability in transistors. Because of the need to control for such problems, implementing such circuits on the same die as a normal digital circuit would likely be very expensive in terms of both die area and yield.

Comment Re:Robot humping nerds rejoice? (Score 1) 394


aside from that though, I agree, I am seriously surprised by housekeeping's showing. I can not imagine a fate worse than having some uppity robot running around my house hiding all my shit from me. Leave my damn keys out on the table where I know where they are smartass. And don't even think about putting that rock band drum set away...

Comment Re:Too late FBI (Score 5, Insightful) 629

I think perhaps the fact it's largely other people's UNRELATED stuff is where the issue really begins to rub people up the wrong way.

There were a bunch of raids like this in the UK. The police keep taking entire sets of Indymedia servers and not giving them back for ages.

Seriously. How about if the FBI confiscated the luggage from every room in a hotel, just because 1 of them had 50 kilos of cocaine in their room? I have no idea how they've been getting away with these tactics.

Comment Re:Think this through a bit more next time. (Score 1) 1188

Rule #1 is: Security through obscurity isn't.

While that applies to information security. It applies much less to physical security. For example, if "casing" a potential burglary target requires standing outside of it suspiciously, then security is much enhanced even if it's not absolute.

Rule #2 is: Making a huge stink about your private neighborhood against a well-liked company like Google will probably mean you're going to get a lot more attention than if you just let well enough alone.

You're right on the money with that one...

Comment Re:They're insane. (Score 1) 446

Even if that were the case, it doesn't matter.
The availability of a secondary market increases the price of the first sale. If everyone new there was no way to resell a game, a significant chunk of buyers would be a lot less likely to shell out $60 for one. Prices would naturally fall as demand decreased.

Doom9 Researchers Break BD+ 345

An anonymous reader writes "BD+, the Blu-ray copy protection system that was supposed to last 10 years, has now been solidly broken by a group of doom9 researchers. Earlier, BD+ had been broken by the commercial company SlySoft." Someone from SlySoft posts a hint early in the thread, but then backs off for fear of getting fired. The break is announced on page 15.

How Do You Find Programming Superstars? 763

Joe Ganley writes "You are a programming superstar, and you are looking for work. I recognize this happens relatively rarely, which is part of my problem. But stipulating that it happens, how do I, as a company looking to hire such people, connect with them? Put another way, how do you the programming superstar go about looking for a company that seems like one you'd like to work for? The company I work for is a great place to work; we only hire really great people, we work on hard, interesting problems, and we treat our employees well. We aren't worried about retention or even about how to entice people to work here once we've found them. The problem is simply finding them. The signal-to-noise ratio of the big places like Monster and Dice is terrible. We've had much better luck with (for example) the Joel on Software job boards, but that still doesn't generate enough volume." What methods have other people used to find the truly elite?
The Military

Anti-Missile Technology To Be Tested on Commercial Jets 490

Hugh Pickens writes "As many as three American Airlines passenger jets will be outfitted this spring with laser technology intended to protect planes from missile attacks. The tests, which could involve more than 1,000 flights, will determine how the technology holds up under the rigors of flight. The technology is intended to stop attacks by detecting heat from missiles, then responding in a fraction of a second by firing laser beams to jam the missiles' guidance systems. A Rand study in 2005 estimated it would cost about $11 billion to protect every US airliner from shoulder-fired missiles. Over 20 years, the cost to develop, procure and operate anti-missile systems could hit $40 billion."

Nonsense. Space is blue and birds fly through it. -- Heisenberg