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Submission + - World's Most Efficient Solar Cell Unveiled by French-German Team (

oritonic1 writes: In the increasingly fast-paced race to create the most efficient solar cell possible, a team comprised of French and German companies has created a unique design that yields 44.7% efficiency, beating the previous record set by Sharp just three months ago. The multi-junction cell, created for use in concentrator photovoltaics, was developed in a little over three years, and its creators hope to reach 50% efficiency by 2015.

Submission + - Science Fiction Writer Proposes 12 Mile Skyscraper to Launch Rockets into Space ( 3

Taffykay writes: Science Fiction author Neal Stephenson has teamed up with Arizona State University engineers and scientists to design a 12.4 mile tall skyscraper that would be used to launch rockets into space. Part of Project Hieroglyph, which encourages scientists to dream big, the skyscraper would be 24 times taller than the current world record holder in Dubai — the 2,722 foot Burj Dubai — if it ever lifts off the ground.

Submission + - World's First iPad 3D Scanner Triples Kickstarter Goal in One Day (

An anonymous reader writes: The world's first iPad 3D scanner just launched on Kickstarter — and it has already tripled its funding goal in a single day. The Structure Sensor is a portable $349 3D scanner that attaches to an iPad to allow users to scan objects anywhere — and it can even scan entire rooms and record their dimensions.

Submission + - At least 300 tonnes radioactive water leak found at Fukushima, discharge ongoing

AmiMoJo writes: Radioactive water has leaked from a storage tank into the ground at Japan's Fukushima plant, operator TEPCO says. Officials described the leak as a level-one incident — the lowest level — on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (Ines), which measures nuclear events. This is the first time that Japan has declared such an event since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. A puddle of the contaminated water was emitting 100 millisieverts an hour of radiation, equivalent to five year's maximum exposure for a site worker. In addition up to 300 tonnes a day of contaminated water is leaking from reactors buildings into the sea.

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 + - Elon Musk Unveils Long Awaited Hyperloop Design

Taffykay writes: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk finally unveiled design plans for the $6 billion Hyperloop, which will transport passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in half an hour for $20. Comprised of two steel tubes side by side that allow capsules or pods to travel both ways, the system would be built on pylons above ground. The system includes solar panels mounted on the tube that provide all of the necessary energy, as well as an electric motor similar to the one used in the Tesla Model S except that it is rolled flat.

Submission + - UOW Australia's Illawarra Flame House Wins First-Ever Solar Decathlon China (

oritonic1 writes: The first Solar Decathlon to be held in China has been won by UOW Australia, whose Illawarra Flame House "is the first retrofitted structure to be entered into the competition... Built using Living Building Challenge standards, the dwelling features a 9.4 kW photovoltaic array, greywater treatment and rainwater capture systems, garden, skylights, and ample ventilation. All materials are low in VOC content and come primarily from recycled sources."

Submission + - $375,000 Lab-Grown Beef Burger to Debut on Monday ( 1

sciencehabit writes: If you take some scientists' word for it, the biggest agricultural revolution since the domestication of livestock is starting on Monday—in an arts center in London. At a carefully orchestrated media event, Dutch stem cell researcher Mark Post is planning to present the world's first test-tube hamburger. Its patty--financed by an anonymous billionaire--is made from meat that Post has laboriously grown from bovine stem cells in his lab at an estimated cost of $375,000, just to prove a point: that it is possible to produce meat without slaughtering animals.

Submission + - Man Dresses Pet Turtle as a Hamburger in Attempt to Bypass Airport Security

oritonic1 writes: Smugglers delve into all kinds of strange techniques to transport animals illegally, but few are as downright bizarre as the efforts of a Chinese man identified as Li who wanted to travel with his beloved turtle. Replacing a KFC patty with his pet, Li was stopped by airport security screeners when they noticed "odd protrusions" emerging from a burger in the man's luggage .

Submission + - Jimmy Carter Calls Snowden Leak Ultimately "Beneficial" (

eldavojohn writes: According to RT, the 39th president of the United States made several statements worth noting. Carter said that 'America has no functioning democracy at this moment' and 'the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far.' The second comment sounded like the Carter predicted the future would look favorably upon Snowden's leads — at least those concerning domestic spying in the United States — as he said: 'I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial.' It may be worth noting that, stemming from Zurcher v. Stanford Daily, Jimmy Carter signed the Privacy Protection Act of 1980 into law and that Snowden has received at least one nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead