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+ - 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."

Comment: Most interesting problem (Score 4, Interesting) 40

by overThruster (#48326591) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Robert Ballard About Ocean Exploration

First, thank you for taking time to answer our questions and for the amazing work you have done both as an explorer and an author! My favorite book of yours to date is The Discovery of the Bismarck.

I have two questions:
What is the most interesting underwater engineering problem you've had to solve in your career?
What are the unsolved underwater engineering problems that you think are most important?

+ - End of an era: After a 30 year run, IBM drops support for Lotus 1-2-3->

Submitted by klubar
klubar (591384) writes "Although it has been fading for years, the final death knell came recently for the iconic Lotus 1-2-3. In many ways, Lotus 1-2-3 launched the PC era (and ensured the Apple II success), and once was a serious competitor for Excel (and prior to that Multiplan and VisiCalc). Although I doubt if anyone is creating new Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets, I'm sure there are spreadsheets still being used who trace their origin to Lotus 1-2-3, and even Office 2013 still has some functions and key compatibility with Lotus 1-2-3. Oh, how far the mighty have fallen."
Link to Original Source

+ - 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

Comment: Advertisers will demand inline ad content (Score 1) 686

by overThruster (#42077197) Attached to: Ad Blocking – a Coming Legal Battleground?

If ad blocking really starts to hurt advertisers, I expect they will demand a technical fix rather than a legal one. If sites serve ad content inline with their main site content, ad blockers in their current form will stop working.

This would be a significant change to the current ad distribution model but I think it has a better chance of success than the hypothetical legal approach posited by the article.

+ - 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

Comment: Re:Ok, Enigma machine ... what else (Score 3, Insightful) 122

by overThruster (#33153456) Attached to: NSA and the National Cryptologic Museum

I don't know what the rules are at the museum but the NSA had a booth at the RSA conference this year and they brought an Enigma with them. They allowed me to use it and it seemed to be in full working order. Dials rotated and the keys made the lights come on. You could even open it up and see the internal mechanism. It was an amazing experience to physically touch a piece of history like that--one of the highlights of the conference for me. A colleague of mine who is fluent in German was reading the instructions which mentioned that there was a printer that could be used with the device--something I hadn't heard before.

We owe a great debt to the code breakers at Bletchley Park like Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman and the Poles like Marian Rejewski who paved the way for them. Not only did they help win WWII and save countless lives, but they also planted the seeds for modern computer science in the process.

Algol-60 surely must be regarded as the most important programming language yet developed. -- T. Cheatham

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