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Submission + - How to Ditch the Grid With a Woodstove and a $100 ( 3

HansonMB writes: Given one of my more immediate life goals is to be living in a somewhat self-contained cabin somewhere far away from all of this — yet still have a way to keep my deer meat frozen and my laptop charged — the Volo Stirling engine is very relevant to my interests. Basically, it’s a lot like an internal combustion engine, except instead of the heat coming from inside the engine via exploding gasoline, the heat comes from outside the engine, like from a woodstove. It’s an old concept, dating back to 1812, that got shoved to the side with the advent of the grid and the internal combustion engine. Detroiter Tim Sefton and his Volo Designs are aiming to bring it back, with plans to have a consumer-ready Stirling engine capable of generating a household’s worth of electricity ready by spring 2012, for less than $100.
Open Source

Linux 2.6.37 Released 135

diegocg writes "Version 2.6.37 of the Linux kernel has been released. This version includes SMP scalability improvements for Ext4 and XFS, the removal of the Big Kernel Lock, support for per-cgroup IO throttling, a networking block device based on top of the Ceph clustered filesystem, several Btrfs improvements, more efficient static probes, perf support to probe modules, LZO compression in the hibernation image, PPP over IPv4 support, several networking microoptimizations and many other small changes, improvements and new drivers for devices like the Brocade BNA 10GB ethernet, Topcliff PCH gigabit, Atheros CARL9170, Atheros AR6003 and RealTek RTL8712U. The fanotify API has also been enabled. See the full changelog for more details."

Astronomers Solve the Mystery of 'Hanny's Voorwerp' 123

KentuckyFC writes "In 2007, a Dutch school teacher named Hanny van Arkel discovered a huge blob of green-glowing gas while combing though images to classify galaxies. Hanny's Voorwerp (meaning Hanny's object in Dutch) is astounding because astronomers have never seen anything like it. Although galactic in scale, it is clearly not a galaxy because it does not contain any stars. That raises an obvious question: what is causing the gas to glow? Now a new survey of the region of sky seems to have solved the problem. The Voorwerp lies close to a spiral galaxy which astronomers now say hides a massive black hole at its center. The infall of matter into the black hole generates a cone of radiation emitted in a specific direction. The great cloud of gas that is Hanny's Voorwerp just happens to be in the firing line, ionizing the gas and causing it to glow green. That lays to rest an earlier theory that the cloud was reflecting an echo of light from a short galactic flare up that occurred 10,000 years ago. It also explains why Voorwerps are so rare: these radiation cones are highly directional so only occasionally do unlucky gas clouds get caught in the crossfire."

Best OSS CFD Package For High School Physics? 105

RobHart writes "I am teaching a 'physics of flight' unit to grade 11 Physics students. Part of the unit will have the students running tests on several aerofoils in a wind tunnel. I also want to expose them to a Computational Fluid Dynamics package which will allow them to contrast experimental results with those produced by the CFD package. There are a number of open source CFDs available (Windows- or Linux-based are both fine), but I don't have much time to evaluate which are the simplest to use in terms of setting up the mesh, initial conditions, etc. — a very important issue as students do not have much time in this unit." Can anyone offer insight about ease of use for programs in this niche?

New Handheld Computer Is 100% Open Source 195

metasonix writes "While the rest of the industry has been babbling on about the iPad and imitations thereof, Qi Hardware is actually shipping a product that is completely open source and copyleft. Linux News reviews the Ben NanoNote (product page), a handheld computer apparently containing no proprietary technology. It uses a 366 MHz MIPS processor, 32MB RAM, 2 GB flash, a 320x240-pixel color display, and a Qwerty keyboard. No network is built in, though it is said to accept SD-card Wi-Fi or USB Ethernet adapters. Included is a very simple Linux OS based on the OpenWrt distro installed in Linksys routers, with Busybox GUI. It's apparently intended primarily for hardware and software hackers, not as a general-audience handheld. The price is right, though: $99."

Wine 1.2 Release Candidate Announced 165

An anonymous reader writes "After evolving over 15 years to get to 1.0, a mere 2 years later and Wine 1.2 is just about here. There have been many many improvements and plenty of new features added. Listing just a few (doing no justice to the complete change set): many new toolbar icons; support for alpha blending in image lists; much more complete shader assembler; support for Arabic font shaping and joining, and a number of fixes for video rendering; font anti-aliasing configuration through fontconfig; and improved handling of desktop link files. Win64 support is the milestone that marks this release. Please test your favorite applications for problems and regressions and let the Wine team know so fixes can be made before the final release. Find the release candidate here."

Installing Linux On ARM-Based Netbooks? 179

An anonymous reader writes "I am sure that many other Slashdotters have noticed an increase in ARM-based netbooks over the past several months. For example, the Augen E-Go. It is a widely touted theory that it is impossible to install Linux on one of these notebooks, replacing the commonly installed Windows CE operating system. The sub-$100 netbooks carry decent specs, including 533MHz ARM processor; 128MB DDR RAM; and a 2GB Flash drive, as well as most expected netbook components (USB, Wi-Fi, etc.). I find it hard to believe that a computer with these specs is impossible to hack and install Linux to, but Google searches have been largely unsuccessful in finding proper information. Do any Slashdot readers have experience in installing ARM Linux distros to these cheap netbooks like this? If so, what distros do they recommend?" (In particular, I wonder if anyone can comment on Ubuntu on ARM.)

First Full Science Results From Herschel 22

davecl writes "Today the first full science results from the Herschel Space Observatory were released, including results ranging from the formation and evolution of galaxies to the detailed physics of star formation. Details can be found from The European Space Agency, the BBC, and the Herschel mission blog that I help maintain. Briefer reports, covering rather more of the science, can also be found under the #eslab2010 hashtag on Twitter."

Decades-Old Soviet Reflector Spotted On the Moon 147

cremeglace writes "No one had seen a laser reflector that Soviet scientists had left on the moon almost 40 years ago, despite years of searching. Turns out searchers had been looking kilometers in the wrong direction. On 22 April, a team of physicists finally saw an incredibly faint flash from the reflector, which was ferried across the lunar surface by the Lunokhod 1 rover. The find comes thanks to NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which last month imaged a large area where the rover was reported to have been left. Then the researchers, led by Tom Murphy of the University of California, San Diego, could search one football-field-size area at a time until they got a reflection."

Aral Sea May Recover; Dead Sea Needs a Lifeline 131

An anonymous reader writes "It's a tale of two seas. The drying up of the Aral Sea is considered one of the greatest environmental catastrophes in history, but the northern sector of the sea, at least, is showing signs of life. A dam completed in 2005 has increased the North Aral's span by 20 percent, and birds, fish, and people are all returning to the area. Meanwhile, the Dead Sea is still in the midst of precipitous decline, since too much water is being drawn out of the Jordan River for thirsty populations and crops. To keep the sea from shrinking more, scientists are pushing an ambitious scheme called the 'Red-Dead conduit,' which would channel huge amounts of water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. However, the environmental consequences of such a project may be troubling."

Rogue Brown Dwarf Lurks In Our Cosmic Neighborhood 188

astroengine writes "The UK Infrared Telescope in Hawaii has discovered a lone, cool brown dwarf called UGPSJ0722-05. As far as sub-stellar objects go, this is a strange one. For starters, it's the coolest brown dwarf ever discovered (and astronomers using the UKIRT should know; they are making a habit of finding cool brown dwarfs). Secondly, it's close. In fact, it's the closest brown dwarf to Earth, at a distance of only 10 light years. And thirdly, it has an odd spectroscopic signature, leading astronomers to think that this might be the discovery of a whole new class of brown dwarf."

Nearby Star Forecast To Skirt Solar System 135

PipianJ writes "A recent preprint posted on arXiv by Vadim Bobylev presents some startling new numbers about a future close pass of one of our stellar neighbors. Based on studies of the Hipparcos catalog, Bobylev suggests that the nearby orange dwarf Gliese 710 has an 86% chance of skirting the outer bounds of the Solar System and the hypothesized Oort Cloud in the next 1.5 million years. As the Oort Cloud is thought to be the source of many long-period comets, the gravitational effects of Gliese's passing could send a shower of comets into the inner Solar System, threatening Earth. This news about Gliese 710 isn't exactly new, but it's one of the first times the probability of this near-miss has been quantified."

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It is contrary to reasoning to say that there is a vacuum or space in which there is absolutely nothing. -- Descartes