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Thermonuclear Reactor To Use Coconut Shells 251

destinyland writes "A key component of a $10 billion nuclear fusion plant is vintage 2002 Indonesian coconut-shell charcoal. After a 20-year search, German researchers discovered that the coconut-shell charcoal is the best medium for 'adsorbing' waste byproducts sucked out of the thermonuclear reactor's vacuum chamber. In what will be the first fusion power facility that's commercially viable, magnetic fields will heat hydrogen isotopes to over 150 million degrees Centigrade. (Essentially, the super-hot plasma creates artificial stars.) As the article points out, 'It's not quite a Starship warp drive, but it does harness the power of the sun.'"

How Dangerous Could a Hacked Robot Possibly Be? 229

alphadogg writes "Researchers at the University of Washington think it's finally time to start paying some serious attention to the question of robot security. Not because they think robots are about to go all Terminator on us, but because the robots can already be used to spy on us and vandalize our homes. In a paper published Thursday the researchers took a close look at three test robots: the Erector Spykee, and WowWee's RoboSapien and Rovio. They found that security is pretty much an afterthought in the current crop of robotic devices. 'We were shocked at how easy it was to actually compromise some of these robots,' said Tadayoshi Kohno, a University of Washington assistant professor, who co-authored the paper."

Comment I've been carless for over a year now (Score 1) 1385

And have instead been relying on Philadelphia's Regional Rail to get to work. It's so much nicer than having to drive into work. Consider the following:

- 25 minute train ride versus a 45-60 minute drive

- I can read or sleep on the train. Can't do either when driving!

- I no longer have to worry about maintaining my car, insurance, gas prices, etc. Not only do I have more peace of mind, but I'm saving hundreds of dollars per month now.

I've noticed something else when dealing with public transit companies, they respect us more than car companies. Every time I took my car in for maintenance, or when I would buy a new car, I would also feel like I was being taken advantage of--it was just this unpleasant vibe I got from doing business with the dealership. But with public transportation, I don't get the same feeling.

Don't get me wrong, SEPTA has tried raising its rates and cutting service a number of times, but when that happens, there is a public outcry as passengers criticise the company en masse, and SEPTA backs down. That's the way it should be, and it's worked out pretty well so far.

Please, Mr. Obama, build more trains. I'll ride 'em!


Submission + - Anti LGBT Rights Group Blows Web Campaign 1

$robertus writes: "It's an old story by now, but you almost have to feel sorry for the National Organization for Marriage. First, they decide to be called NOM, without knowing that everyone who's heard of lolcats will be snickering every time they hear the name. Then they launch their Two Million for Marriage campaign with The Gathering Storm video, and someone posts the audition tapes to YouTube, since pulled. To make matters worse, they decided they needed their campaign to sound hip, so they want everyone to refer to Two Million for Marriage as 2M4M. Obviously no one involved reads the personals. Rachael Maddow had fun with that. They also did not have the foresight to register the obvious domain before launching their campaign. So a group of marriage rights supporters have secured, and have set up a site to counter NOM's claims, and support marriage rights. They, or their supporters, have also secured 2M4M on LiveJournal, Twitter, and FaceBook."

Comment Re:Student need a bill of rights (Score 1) 626

They force each student sign a "Student Responsibilities and Rights" document essentially stating you understand FCPS has the right to deal with you any way they please should you screw up.

Where I come from, this is called "coercion".

Also, aren't minors unable to legally agree to a contract?

Just wondering how the school could ever hope to enforce such a contract should things make their way to a court...

Helium Leads to Geothermal Energy Resources 317

Roland Piquepaille writes "When we think about alternative sources of energy, we often forget the potential of geothermal energy resources. In fact, it has been estimated that accessible geothermal energy in the U.S. represents 90 quadrillion kilowatt-hours or 3,000 times the country's total annual energy consumption. So far, it has been difficult and expensive to locate good sources of geothermal energy. But now, two U.S. researchers have found a new method which doesn't require drilling. They are using the ratio of helium isotopes in surface waters to point to the best sources of geothermal energy."

Meteorite Causes Illness in Peru 357

eldavojohn writes "A meteorite struck in Peru on Saturday leaving cinders, rock & water boiling out of the ground. Villagers nearby reported headaches & vomiting and attributed it to the event. From the article, 'Seven policemen who went to check on the reports also became ill and had to be given oxygen before being hospitalized, Lopez said. Rescue teams and experts were dispatched to the scene, where the meteorite left a 100-foot-wide (30-meter-wide) and 20-foot-deep (six-meter-deep) crater, said local official Marco Limache.' It's not yet clear whether this is from the meteorite, gas trapped underground that was released or a chemical reaction between the two."

A Telescope as Big as the Earth 172

Roland Piquepaille writes "A week ago, seven telescopes around the world were linked together to watch a distant galaxy called 3C273 in real time and create a single world telescope. The data from these telescopes, which are located in Australia, China and Europe, was streamed around the world at a rate of 256 Mb per second. One of the Australian researchers involved in the project said that it was the first time that astronomers have been able to instantaneously connect telescopes half a world apart. He added that 'the diameter of the Earth is 12,750 km and the two most widely separated telescopes in our experiment were 12,304 km apart.'"

Low-Energy Neutrinos Detected In Real Time 73

Roland Piquepaille sends us word of first results from the Borexino detector in Italy, where an international team of more than 100 researchers has detected low-energy solar neutrinos for the first time. These results confirm recent "theories about the nature of neutrinos and the inner workings of the sun and other stars." In particular, it's now almost certain that neutrinos oscillate among three types, namely electron, muon, and tau neutrinos. The Borexino detector lies almost a mile underground near L'Aquila, Italy, and it sets new standards in the purity of the materials used in its construction.

Gunplay Blamed For Cutting Fiber 276

coondoggie writes "Internet service providers in the US experienced a service slowdown Monday after fiber-optic cables near Cleveland were apparently sabotaged by gunfire. TeliaSonera AB, which lost the northern leg of its US network to the cut, said that the outage began around 7 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday night. When technicians pulled up the affected cable, it appeared to have been shot up over a length of a kilometer. 'Somebody had been shooting with a gun or a shotgun into the cable,' said a TeliaSonera spokesman. The company declined to name the service provider whose lines had been cut, but a source familiar with the situation said the lines are owned by Level 3 Communications Inc. Level 3 could not be reached for comment."

Images of Endeavour's Damaged Tiles 331

Roland Piquepaille writes "Neptec Design Group, a Canadian company and a NASA prime contractor for 25 space missions, was kind enough to send me exclusive images of Endeavour's damaged tiles during its last take-off. So here are some of these pictures" The pictures are pretty amazing and make the urgency of this whole thing much more amazing.

BitTorrent Closes Source Code 390

An anonymous reader writes ""There are two issues people need to come to grips with," BitTorrent CEO Ashwin Narvin told "Developers who produce open source products will often have their product repackaged and redistributed by businesses with malicious intent. They repackage the software with spyware or charge for the product. We often receive phone calls from people who complain they have paid for the BitTorrent client." As for the protocol itself, that too is closed, but is available by obtaining an SDK license."

Submission + - Atheist To "Rapturites": "Leave Me Out->

IConrad01 writes: "Functionalism In Action: An Atheist's Message To "The Rapturites": "Leave Me Out Of This!" is a commentary by a technophile libertarian (yours truly), with an atheist's perspective, on exactly why it is that the modern christian belief in John Darby's "Rapture" is something that threatens all of humanity."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Is HD DVD Trying to Lose?->

mrnomas writes: "Clint over at Audioholics is on the HD DVD bashing bandwagon again. This time he's charging that HD DVD is trying to lose. With hybrid HD DVD/DVD discs costing more than their Blu-ray counterparts, maybe he's got a point.

"Why won't consumers want these hybrid discs? Because no one likes to spend 3x the cost of a regular DVD just to have a disc available in the eventuality they decide to buy a high definition DVD player whose format may or may not exceed niche status let alone "win" the current format war.""

Link to Original Source

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