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Math

Mathematicians Solve the Topological Mystery Behind the "Brazuca" Soccer Ball

Posted by timothy
from the nature-is-scrambling-to-keep-up dept.
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "In the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, teams used a new kind of ball called the Telstar made from 12 black pentagonal panels and 20 white hexagonal panels. This ball has icosahedral symmetry and its own molecular analogue in the form of C60, the famous soccer ball-shaped fullerene. In 2006, a new ball called the TeamGeist was introduced at the World Cup in Germany. This was made of 14 curved panels that together gave it tetrahedral symmetry. This also had a molecular analogue with tetrahedral symmetry among the fullerenes. Now teams at the current World Cup in Brazil are playing with yet another design: the Brazuca, a ball constructed from six panels each with a four-leaf clover shape that knit together like a jigsaw to form a sphere. This has octahedral symmetry. But here's question that has been puzzling chemists, topologists and..errr...soccer fans: is there a molecular analogue of the Brazuca? Or put another way, can fullerenes have octahedral symmetry? Now a pair of mathematicians have finally solved this problem. They've shown that fullerenes can indeed have octahedral symmetry just like the Brazuca, although in addition to hexagonal and pentagonal carbon rings, the ball-shaped molecules must also have rings of 4 and 8 carbon atoms. The next stage is to actually synthesis one of these fullerenes, perhaps something to keep chemists occupied until the 2018 World Cup in Russia."

+ - Sand-Based Anode Triples Lithium-Ion Battery Performance->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Conventional lithium-ion batteries rely on anodes made of graphite, but it is widely believed that the performance of this material has reached its zenith, prompting researchers to look at possible replacements. Much of the focus has been on nanoscale silicon, but it remains difficult to produce in large quantities and usually degrades quickly. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have overcome these problems by developing a lithium-ion battery anode using sand."
Link to Original Source

+ - Google, Dropbox, And Others Forge Patent 'Arms Control Pact'->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Patent trolling is a serious irritatnt and financial drain on many big tech companies — but those same companies can't guarantee that their own future management won't sell the patents they own to a 'non-practicing entity', especially in the case of sale or bankruptcy. That's why a number of tech giants, including Google and Dropbox, have formed the 'License or Tranfer Network,' in which a patent will automatically be licensed to everyone else in the network in the event that it's sold to a third party."
Link to Original Source

+ - In Defense Of Techno-Panics->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Whenever new technology meets resistence from society at large, tech enthusiasts are quick to dismiss "techno-panics," invoking luddites and buggy-whip manufacturers as roadbumps to history. But actual instances of resistance to technology weren't always simply negative obstructionism. The original Luddites didn't hate machines; they were skilled machine operators engaged in a violent labor dispute. 19th 'Kodak fiends' met strong opposition that eventually solidified into social rules about public photography that maybe Google Glass users should consider. And maybe the vogue of using radioactive material in quack cures should have inspired more techno-panic than it did."
Link to Original Source
Security

India's National Informatics Centre Forged Google SSL Certificates 18

Posted by timothy
from the who-can-you-trust? dept.
NotInHere (3654617) writes As Google writes on its Online Security Blog, the National Informatics Centre of India (NIC) used its intermediate CA certificate, issued by Indian CCA, to issue several unauthorized certificates for Google domains, allowing it to do Man in the middle attacks. Possible impact however is limited, as, according to Google, the root certificates for the CA were only installed on Windows, which Firefox doesn't use — and for the Chrom{e,ium} browser, the CA for important Google domains is pinned to the Google CA. According to its website, the NIC CA has suspended certificate issuance, and according to Google, its root certificates were revoked by Indian CCA.
The Courts

Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial 52

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-fought-the-law dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with the latest in the case against the alleged creator of the Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht. The government and legal community may still be arguing over whether bitcoin can be defined as "money." But the judge presiding over the landmark Silk Road drug case has declared that it's at least close enough to get you locked up for money laundering. In a ruling released Wednesday, Judge Katherine Forrest denied a motion by Ross Ulbricht, the 30-year-old alleged creator of the Silk Road billion-dollar online drug bazaar, to dismiss all criminal charges against him. Those charges include narcotics trafficking conspiracy, money laundering, and hacking conspiracy charges, as well as a "continuing criminal enterprise" charge that's better known as the "kingpin" statute used to prosecute criminal gang and cartel leaders.

+ - UK government to rush in emergency surveillance laws-> 2

Submitted by beaker_72
beaker_72 (1845996) writes "The Guardian reports that the UK government has unveiled plans to introduce emergency surveillance laws into the UK parliament at the beginning of next week. These are aimed at reinforcing the powers of security services in the UK to force service providers to retain records of their customers phone calls and emails. The laws, which have been introduced after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that existing laws invaded individual privacy, will receive cross-party support and so will not be subjected to scrutiny or challenged in Parliament before entering the statute books. But as Tom Watson (Labour backbench MP and one of few dissenting voices) has pointed out, the ECJ ruling was six weeks ago, so why has the government waited until now to railroad something through. Unless of course they don't want it scrutinised too closely."
Link to Original Source

+ - OpenWRT, Linux and WiFi made easy->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "DPTechnics, a belgian startup company who released a small OpenWRT module a few months ago, now has a new product. The DPT board is an affordable development board featuring 7 high power outputs, resistant 0-50V inputs and much more. They combine it with a full blown 400MHz processor, 64MiB RAM, USB2.0, dual ethernet, ...

Their goal is to make internet controlled stuff easy to make for everybody. Therefore they are designing a HTML5 graphical user interface to program the IO ports. Just log in to the module via WiFi, drag and drop in your workspace and click to play. No need to program events, servers, .... just click and save."

Link to Original Source

+ - Dedicated low power embedded dev system choice?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I'm a Solaris user which is not well supported by the OSS toolchains. I'd like to have a dedicated Linux based dev system which has good support for ARM, MSP430 and other MCU lines and draws very little (5-10 watts max) power. The Beaglebone Black has been suggested. Is there a better choice? This would only be used for software development and testing for embedded systems."
AI

The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI 187

Posted by samzenpus
from the why-did-you-program-me-to-feel-pain? dept.
meghan elizabeth writes If the Turing Test can be fooled by common trickery, it's time to consider we need a new standard. The Lovelace Test is designed to be more rigorous, testing for true machine cognition. An intelligent computer passes the Lovelace Test only if it originates a "program" that it was not engineered to produce. The new program—it could be an idea, a novel, a piece of music, anything—can't be a hardware fluke. The machine's designers must not be able to explain how their original code led to this new program. In short, to pass the Lovelace Test a computer has to create something original, all by itself.
Technology

The Future of Wearables: Standalone, Unobtrusive, and Everywhere 44

Posted by samzenpus
from the computer-clothes dept.
jfruh writes Wearable tech has been a pretty niche product so far, and a widely derided one at that, but moves are in the works to help the category break into the mainstream. One of the biggest irritants is that most wearable devices must pair with a smartphone to actually connect to the Internet — but an AT&T exec says that his company will be selling a standalone wearable by the end of 2014. Google Glass has been a flashpoint of conflict not least because it's extremely obvious; its creator says that subtle, non intrusive versions are coming. And while everyone wonders what Apple's play in this space will be, it may be best to imagine what they're working on as a successor to their fading iPod line.

+ - India forged Google SSL certificates

Submitted by NotInHere
NotInHere (3654617) writes "As Google writes on its Online Security Blog, the National Informatics Centre of India (NIC) used its intermediate CA certificate issued by Indian CCA, to issue several unauthorized certificates for Google domains, allowing to do Man in the middle attacks. Possible impact however is limited, as, according to Google, the root certificates for the CA were only installed on Windows, which Firefox doesn't use, and for the Chrom{e,ium} browser, the CA for important Google domains is pinned to the Google CA.
According to its website, the NIC CA has suspended certificate issuance, and according to Google, its root certificates were revoked by Indian CCA."

+ - The Future Of Wearables: Standalone, Unobtrusive, Everywhere->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Wearable tech has been a pretty niche product so far, and a widely derided one at that, but moves are in the works to help the category break into the mainstream. One of the biggest irritants is that most wearable devices must pair with a smartphone to actually connect to the Internet — but an AT&T exec says that his company will be selling a standalone wearable by the end of 2014. Google Glass has been a flashpoint of conflict not least because it's extremely obvious; its creator says that subtle, non intrusive versions are coming. And while everyone wonders what Apple's play in this space will be, it may be best to imagine what they're working on as a successor to their fading iPod line."
Link to Original Source
Moon

Study: Why the Moon's Far Side Looks So Different 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the good-side dept.
StartsWithABang writes 55 years ago, the Soviet probe Luna 3 imaged the side of the Moon that faces away from us for the first time. Surprisingly, there were only two very small maria (dark regions) and large amounts of mountainous terrain, in stark contrast to the side that faces us. This remained a mystery for a very long time, even after we developed the giant impact hypothesis to explain the origin of the Moon. But a new study finally appears to solve the mystery, crediting the heat generated on the near side from a hot, young Earth with creating the differences between the two hemispheres.
The Military

The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere 239

Posted by Soulskill
from the flights-of-fancy dept.
schwit1 writes with an update on the U.S. government's troubled F-35 program, the cost of which keeps rising while the planes themselves are grounded. A fire in late June caused officials to halt flights for the entire fleet of $112 million vehicles last week. Despite this, Congress is still anxious to push the program forward, and Foreign Policy explains why: Part of that protection comes from the jaw-dropping amounts of money at stake. The Pentagon intends to spend roughly $399 billion to develop and buy 2,443 of the planes. However, over the course of the aircrafts' lifetimes, operating costs are expected to exceed $1 trillion. Lockheed has carefully hired suppliers and subcontractors in almost every state to ensure that virtually all senators and members of Congress have a stake in keeping the program — and the jobs it has created — in place. "An upfront question with any program now is: How many congressional districts is it in?" said Thomas Christie, a former senior Pentagon acquisitions official. Counting all of its suppliers and subcontractors, parts of the program are spread out across at least 45 states. That's why there's no doubt lawmakers will continue to fund the program even though this is the third time in 17 months that the entire fleet has been grounded due to engine problems."

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments

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