esocid writes "Researchers at TU Delft (Netherlands) and the FOM (Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter) have found irrefutable proof that the so-called avalanche effect by electrons occurs in specific semiconducting crystals of nanometer dimensions. This physical effect could pave the way for cheap, high-output solar cells. Solar cells currently have relatively low output, typically 15%, and high manufacturing costs. One possible improvement could derive from a new type of solar cell made of semiconducting nanocrystals and could theoretically lead to a maximum output of 44%, with the added benefit of reducing manufacturing costs. In conventional solar cells, one photon can release precisely one electron. However, in some semiconducting nanocrystals, one photon can release two or three electrons, hence the term 'avalanche effect.' This effect was first measured by researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratories in 2004, and since then the scientific world had raised doubts about the value of these measurements. This current research does in fact demonstrate that the avalanche effect can occur."
Thomas Nybergh writes "Due to an appeal court decision from a couple of days back, breaking the not-very-effective CSS copy protection used on most commercial DVD-Video discs is now a criminal act in Finland (robo translated). The verdict is contrary to what a district court thought of the same case last year when two local electronic rights activists were declared not guilty after having framed themselves by spreading information on how to break CSS. Back then, it was to the activists' benefit has CSS been badly broken and inneffective ever since DeCSS came out."
stoolpigeon writes "Reuters reports on a Harvard Medical School study on sleep patterns and how they relate to food. Researchers already knew that the sleep patterns of mice would change to match the opportunity to feed, but they did not know the mechanism that enabled the change. To find out, they looked for the part of the brain that was involved. They bred mice without a certain master gene that regulates the body's clock, and then targeted various parts of the brain with the gene, delivered in the shell of a virus. The results may, among other things, provide a new method for preparing to deal with jet lag: 'A period of fasting with no food at all for about 16 hours is enough to engage this [alternate body] clock,' the lead researcher said. The study appears in the journal Science."
An anonymous reader writes: Several sites are reporting that a student has been given detention for using "Firefox.exe" to do his classwork. No, really. The student was in class, working on an assignment that necessitated using a browser. The teacher instructed him to stop using Firefox and to do his classwork, to which the student responded that he was doing his classwork using a "better" browser (it is unclear whether the computer was the student's own computer or not). The clueless teacher (who called the rogue program "Firefox.exe") ordered him to detention.