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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 11 declined, 8 accepted (19 total, 42.11% accepted)

+ - Web site for visualizing earth's winds

Submitted by overThruster
overThruster (58843) writes "A recently launched web site, windyty.com displays an animated map of earth's winds, both present and predicted.

According to the developer, who describes himself as an an addicted kiter, helicopter and jet pilot: "Windyty.com is advertisement free and a strictly non-commercial project. GFS forecast model, produced by NOAA, is the major source of weather data."

The maps are simultaneously beautiful and useful for people who need to know what the wind is or will be doing."

+ - How Blu-ray Discs Can Improve Solar Panels

Submitted by overThruster
overThruster (58843) writes "livescience.com reports: Blu-ray discs could help make the solar cells used in solar panels more efficient, researchers say.

Prior research had revealed that if microscopic structures that are only nanometers (billionths of a meter) high are placed on the surface of solar cells, they can scatter light in ways that increase the cells' efficiency. The best patterns of nanostructures to place on solar cells are quasi-random ones — patterns that are neither too orderly nor too random.

The researchers used a Blu-ray of "Police Story 3: Supercop," starring Jackie Chan, to create a mold for a quasi-random surface texture that they placed on a solar cell. They found that this pattern boosted light absorption significantly — by 21.8 percent over the entire solar spectrum, more so than either a random pattern or no pattern."

+ - New chemical process could make ammonia a practical car fuel 1

Submitted by overThruster
overThruster (58843) writes "A phys.org article says UK researchers have made a breakthrough that could make ammonia a practical source of hydrogen for fueling cars.

From the article:

"Many catalysts can effectively crack ammonia to release the hydrogen, but the best ones are very expensive precious metals. This new method is different and involves two simultaneous chemical processes rather than using a catalyst, and can achieve the same result at a fraction of the cost."

"Professor Bill David, who led the STFC research team at the ISIS Neutron Source, said "Our approach is as effective as the best current catalysts but the active material, sodium amide, costs pennies to produce. We can produce hydrogen from ammonia 'on demand' effectively and affordably.""

"Ammonia is already one of the most transported bulk chemicals worldwide. It is ammonia that is the feedstock for the fertilisers that enable the production of almost half the world's food. Increasing ammonia production is technologically straightforward and there is no obvious reason why this existing infrastructure cannot be extended so that ammonia not only feeds but powers the planet.""
Science

+ - Giant Squid Captured on Video-> 1

Submitted by overThruster
overThruster (58843) writes "After years of trying, Japanese scientists have captured live video of the giant squid in its natural habitat. The squid was filmed at a depth of 2066 feet, 9.3 miles (15 kilometres) east of Chichi Island, a small archipelago about 150 miles (241.4 kilometers) north of Iwo Jima. The video will air on January 27th on the Discovery Channel.

Tsunemi Kubodera, the mission leader:

“It was shining and so beautiful. I was so thrilled when I saw it first hand, but I was confident we would because we rigorously researched the areas we might find it, based on past data. Researchers around the world have tried to film giant squid in their natural habitats, but all attempts were in vain before.”

High resolution still pictures from the video have been released."

Link to Original Source

+ - Police using Apple iOS tracking data for forensics

Submitted by overThruster
overThruster (58843) writes "Since the story broke that Apple's iPhone and iPad devices automatically store tracking data on their user's location, some have attempted to claim that this is nothing to worry about. Not so fast. CNET reports that law enforcement agencies have known about this data for some time and have been using a commercial product to extract it for use in forensic investigations of crimes.

From the article:
"The information on the phone is useful in a forensics context," Levinson told CNET today. Customers for Lantern 2, he said, include "small-town local police all the way up to state and federal police, different agencies in the government that have forensics units.""
Medicine

+ - $3 million prize for data mining algorithm

Submitted by overThruster
overThruster (58843) writes "Fast Company reports that the Heritage Provider Network is offering a $3 million prize for "the most effective predictive algorithm for incipient hospitalizations".

"HPN has assembled data on 100,000 patients, which it will be sharing with contest entrants. ("It's all HIPAA-compliant," assures Gluck; the patients cannot be reidentified.) Lab data, prescription information, treatment plans--it's all there. "Teams then look at the data and create an algorithm that says, in the year following the data, did they wind up going to hospital?" Since the data is all from a few years back, the answers are available, so the coders can test themselves.""
The Military

+ - China demonstrates 25+ unmanned aerial vehicles

Submitted by overThruster
overThruster (58843) writes "The Wall Street Journal and Defense News report that China had more than 25 different unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on display at the Zhuhai Airshow. In addition to a jet powered UAV that is potentially faster than U.S. made drones such as the Predator and Reaper, the Chinese have developed an unmanned "thopter" for surveillance.
"ASN showed off 10 different UAVs, including the new ASN-211 Flapping Wing Aircraft System, which simulates a bird in flight. The prototype on display has a take-off weight of only 220 grams with a maximum speed of six-to-10 meters a second and an altitude ranging from 20-200 meters. A spokesperson said the micro-UAV would mainly be used for low-altitude reconnaissance for troops in the field.""

+ - Ballmer sells $1.3 billion of Microsoft stock

Submitted by overThruster
overThruster (58843) writes "Mashable reports: "Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has sold 12% of his stake in the tech giant in a transaction worth over $1.3 billion." According to Ballmer, this is a "personal financial matter" and he remains "fully committed to Microsoft and its success."

There are also rumors of a desire of internal factions at Microsoft to oust him due to poor stock performance."

+ - Voting machines selecting default candidates->

Submitted by overThruster
overThruster (58843) writes "Some voters in Las Vegas have noticed Democrat, Harry Reid's name is checked by default on their electronic voting machines. By way of explanation???, the Clark County Registrar says that when voters choose English instead of Spanish, Reid's Republican opponent, Sharron Reid's name is checked by default. Since when should a voting machine check *any* candidates name by default?"
Link to Original Source
Security

+ - Symantec To Buy VeriSign's Authentication Business->

Submitted by overThruster
overThruster (58843) writes "Security giant Symantec is taking another step toward global domination of the information security market with the purchase of VeriSign's authentication business. Back in April they purchased PGP Corporation and GuardianEdge. VeriSign is the best known Certificate Authority; they are virtually synonymous with certificates for SSL and PKI. It seems like this could dilute the trust value of their brand rather than enhance it. It is not clear yet what effects this will have on VeriSign customers but the cynic in me says it can't be good. In terms of putting all your eggs in one basket, this will sure make Symantec a juicy target for hackers (as if they weren't already.) Imagine you could hack one company and control a large chunk of endpoint security software and the bulk of the Internet's public key infrastructure."
Link to Original Source
Businesses

+ - RIP Bookpool.com

Submitted by overThruster
overThruster (58843) writes "It appears that bookpool.com is out of business. For many years this was the best place I knew to buy technical books. Their prices, speed and selection were second to none. So sad to see them go... All I've found on the subject are these blog entries. It would be interesting to hear whether fellow slashdotters know any more about their demise and whether there is any chance they will be coming back."
Announcements

+ - Vote for Woz!

Submitted by overThruster
overThruster (58843) writes "OK folks, you may not care about ballroom dancing (yet) but it's time to show your support for one of the original gangstas of geekdom! The silly judges on Dancing with the Stars keep giving Woz low scores but you can help! Get out the VOTE! You can vote by SMS with an AT&T phone or you can vote online!"
Biotech

+ - "Subhuman project" human powered submarine

Submitted by overThruster
overThruster (58843) writes "Inventor Ted Ciamillo and marine biologist Frank Fish (yes, that's his real name) are at work on a human-powered sub designed to cross the Atlantic. What's interesting is the highly efficient propulsion system which uses a "tail" modeled after CAT scans of a dolphin's. From the article:

"Ciamillo and Fish say they knew they were onto something when the first prototype Lunocet, a piece of sculpted foam sandwiched between two pieces of carbon fibre, essentially swam by itself. When they released it at the bottom of a test pool, its buoyancy combined with its cambered shape generated a forward thrust that made it scoot across the tank.""
Security

+ - Vista Power Management Security Design Flaw

Submitted by overThruster
overThruster (58843) writes "By default, Vista does not require a password when resuming from hibernation or suspend. Being a security geek, I turned this feature on only to discover that it only worked sometimes. After a bit of research, I found out that this feature needs to be turned on manually for every power management scheme that exists on a Vista machine! Furthermore, there is no global setting that can make this the default. This, coupled with a counter-intuitive UI that buries the setting makes it very likely that users wanting to password protect their machines on resume will think they have properly secured their machines when they haven't. This is a serious security design flaw and a step down from XP's security."

One of the chief duties of the mathematician in acting as an advisor... is to discourage... from expecting too much from mathematics. -- N. Wiener

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