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Submission + - Germany Produces Record-Breaking 5.1 Terawatt Hours of Solar Energy in One Month 2

oritonic1 writes: Germany is rapidly developing a tradition of shattering its own renewable energy goals and leaving the rest of the world in the dust. This past July was no exception, as the nation produced 5.1 TWh of solar power, beating not only its own solar production record, but also eclipsing the record 5TWh of wind power produced by German turbines in January. Renewables are doing so well, in fact, that one of Germany's biggest utilities is threatening to migrate to Turkey.

Submission + - German Court Rejects Apple's Privacy Policy (

redletterdave writes: A German court rejected eight out of 15 provisions in Appleâ(TM)s general privacy policy and terms of data use on Tuesday, claiming that the practices of the Cupertino, Calif. company deviate too much from German laws. According to German law, recognized consumer groups can sue companies over illegal terms and conditions. Apple asks for âoeglobal consentâ to use customer data on its website, but German law insists that clients know specific details about what their data will be used for and why.

Submission + - 400 parts per million CO2 breached (

symbolset writes: Over the past month a number of individual observations of CO2 at the Mauna Loa Observatory have exceeded 400 parts per million. The daily average observation has crept above 399 ppm, and as annual the peak is typically in mid-May it seems likely the daily observation will break the 400 ppm milestone within a few days. This measure of potent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere should spark renewed discussion about the use of fossil fuels. For the past few decades the annual peak becomes the annual average two or three years later, and the annual minimum after two or three years more.

Submission + - Germany Fines Google Over Street View - But Says €145k Is Too Small (

judgecorp writes: Germany's privacy regulator has fined Google €145,000 over its Street View cars' harvesting of private data — but the official has complained that the size of the fine is too small, because of limits to the fines regulators can impose. German data protection commissioner Johannes Caspar said the fine was too low, for "one of the largest known data breachers ever", saying, "as long as privacy violations can be punished only at discount prices, enforcement of data protection law in the digital world with its high abuse potential is hardly possible." In 2010 it emerged that Google's Street View cars captured personal data from Wi-Fi networks as well as taking pictures — since then regulators have imposed a series of fines — the largest being $7 reportedly paid to settle a US government probe.

Submission + - 2013: the year of Android on the desktop ? (

obarthelemy writes: While Ouya and Gamestick are having a go at consoles, even cheaper Android computers are quickly gaining traction as low-end desktops, HTPCs, and gaming consoles.

At $50 for a dual-core A9 computer with typically 720p to 1080p HDMI out, 1GB RAM, 8GB Flash, a SD slot, 2 to 3 USB ports, Wifi N, Bluetooth, and nothing else, the poetically named MK808B, MK802III, Neo G4, UG007 and their numerous ICS-running, PlayStore-equipped brethren have enough chops for basic Internet stuff, dlna/LAN/Airplay streaming, Skype, light Office work and light gaming and emulators. Basically, tablets in desktop's clothing.

While not having a touchscreen nor gyroscope nor accelerometer throws off quite a few games (the portrait aspect ratio doesn't help, either), almost all non-game software runs fine, as do about half the games. Surprisingly, Android has OK keyboard and mouse support (no right-click, tough), and most devices also support xbox and DualShock controllers, though few games actually take advantage of that.

No major OEM has launched a product yet, so a few small manufacturers (Minix, Rikomagic, Tronsmart...) are making a name for themselves. Upcoming quadcore, 2GB RAM refreshes with Android 4.2 might further boost interest.

Sent from my Minix Neo X5

Submission + - Officials Did Not Shut Down Boston's Cell Network Following the Marathon Bombing (

An anonymous reader writes: Gut instinct suggests that the network must've been overloaded with people trying to find loved ones. At first, the Associated Press said it was a concerted effort to prevent any remote detonators from being used, citing a law enforcement official. After some disputed that report, the AP reverse its report, citing officials from Verizon and Sprint who said they'd never had a request to shut down the network, and who blamed slowdowns on heavy load.

(Motherboard's Derek Mead was able to send text messages to both his sister and her boyfriend, who were very near the finish line, shortly after the bombing, which suggests that networks were never totally shut down. Still, shutting down cell phone networks to prevent remote detonation wouldn't be without precedent: It is a common tactic in Pakistan, where bombings happen with regularity.)

Submission + - Nano-Suit Protects Bugs From Space-Like Vacuums (

sciencehabit writes: Put a fruit fly larva in a spacelike vacuum, and the results aren't pretty. Within a matter of minutes, the animal will collapse into a crinkled, lifeless husk. Now, researchers have found a way to protect the bugs: Bombard them with electrons, which form a "nano-suit" around their bodies. The advance could help scientists take high-resolution photographs of tiny living organisms. It also suggests a new way that creatures could survive the harsh conditions of outer space and may even lead to new space travel technology for humans.

Submission + - Who 'Owns' The Google Driverless Car IP?

theodp writes: Q. Why DIDN'T the chicken cross the road? A. To avoid infringing on Google patents like Traffic Signal Mapping and Detection! Google co-founder Sergey Brin recently revealed that he is now leading Google's efforts to ready a driverless car for the consumer market, a project that Google CEO Larry Page is presumably stoked about (despite downplaying it for Wall Street analysts), but one big publicly-unanswered question is: Who exactly owns the intellectual property behind the highly-touted vehicles? To develop the Google Car, Google said it tapped 'the very best engineers from the DARPA Challenges', a series of autonomous vehicle races organized by the U.S. Government which provided university teams with millions in development funding and millions more in prizes. Last year, Carnegie Mellon reported that 8 of the 15-member Google Car team had current or past ties to DARPA Challenge participants CMU and Stanford. Whether Google's sponsorship of the Stanford Racing Team and CMU Tartan Racing entitled it to the IP is unclear. Clouding matters further is that key Google Car Team members are listed as inventors of autonomous car technology in pending patents assigned to the likes of General Motors and Toyota, and it was reported that the credit (and liability) for another key team member's successful robotic, autonomous Prius project was his-and-his-alone, not Google's. So, should Google manage to make driverless cars ready for prime time (there are some doubts), could another party lay claims to the technology, like Microsoft managed to do with Android, or does Google have all of its IP ducks in a row on this one?

Submission + - USPS Losing Battle Against the E-mail Age ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: An article in the NY Times explains how the United States Postal Service is in dire financial straits, and will need emergency action from Congress to forestall a shutdown later this year. Postmaster General Patrick Donahue said simply, 'If Congress doesn't act, we will default.' Labor agreements prohibiting layoffs are preventing one avenue for reducing costs, and laws forbidding postage rates from surpassing inflation rates keeps income down. On top of that, the proliferation of e-mail and online bill-paying services have contributed to a 22% reduction in snail-mail volume since 2006. They're currently hoping for legislation that would relax their economic requirements and considering an end to Saturday delivery.

Submission + - Employer Demands Facebook Login from Job Applicant 2

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Alex Madrigal reports in the Atlantic that the ACLU has taken up the case of Maryland corrections officer Robert Collins who was required to provide his Facebook login and password to the Maryland Division of Corrections (DOC) during a recertification interview so the interviewer could log on to his account and read not only his postings, but those of his family and friends too. "We live in a time when national security is the highest priority, but it must be delicately balanced with personal privacy," says Collins. "My fellow officers and I should not have to allow the government to view our personal Facebook posts and those of our friends, just to keep our jobs." The ACLU of Maryland has sent a letter to Public Safety Secretary Gary Maynard (PDF) concerning the Division of Correction's blanket requirement that applicants for employment with the division, as well as current employees undergoing recertification, provide the government with their social media account usernames and personal passwords for use in employee background checks. After three weeks the ACLU has received no response."

Submission + - Gates & Ballmer dumping MSFT shares (

walterbyrd writes: Microsoft Founder and Chairman Bill Gates sold 10 million Microsoft shares earlier this month, for a total of 90 million shares sold over the past year (a value of approximately $2.5 billion). CEO Steve Ballmer also sold nearly 50 million shares in the past week, his first stock selloff in seven years. Gates is still Microsoft's largest shareholder, with nearly 600 million shares. But should other investors be nervous about the accelerated rate of his divestiture?

Submission + - Model Says Religiosity Gene will Dominate Society 3

Hugh Pickens writes writes: PhysOrg reports on a study by Robert Rowthorn, emeritus professor at Cambridge University, that predicts that the genetic components that predispose a person toward religion are currently “hitchhiking” on the back of the religious cultural practice of high fertility rates and that provided the fertility of religious people remains on average higher than that of secular people, the genes that predispose people towards religion will spread. For example, in the past 20 years, the Amish population in the US has doubled, increasing from 123,000 in 1991 to 249,000 in 2010. The huge growth stems almost entirely from the religious culture’s high fertility rate, which is about 6 children per woman, on average. Rowthorn says that while fertility is determined by culture, an individual’s predisposition toward religion is likely to be influenced by genetics, in addition to their upbringing. In the model, Rowthorn uses a “religiosity gene” to represent the various genetic factors that combine to genetically predispose a person toward religion, whether remaining religious from youth or converting to religion from a secular upbringing. Rowthorn's model predicts that the religious fraction of the population will eventually stabilize at less than 100%, and there will remain a possibly large percentage of secular individuals. But nearly all of the secular population will still carry the religious allele, since high defection rates will spread the religious allele to secular society when defectors have children with a secular partner.
Data Storage

Submission + - Seagate Attempts To Justify Lack of SSD Engagement (

MojoKid writes: "Seagate issued a general announcement recently in an apparent attempt to clarify its SSD plans going forward. Of all the various hard drive vendors, Seagate has been by far the most acrimonious towards SSD development. Former CEO Bill Watkins' plans for dealing with the introduction of SSDs was to threaten to sue the companies out of existence. Watkins is gone, but Seagate has barely dipped a toe into the SSD market. Seagate's latest official press release statement attempts to justify the company's decision to mostly ignore SSDs in favor of conventional hard drives or hybrid drives. Seagate's decision to stay out of most SSD markets won't impact the company's bottom line in the short term, but its continued near-total dismissal of solid state drives is a curious thing. It's one thing to remark that your company will continue to focus on its core business and something else entirely to dismiss a fledgling market where you might one day find yourself competing for dear life."

The first version always gets thrown away.