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Submission + - Microsoft manufacturing Surface Hub in the US

overThruster writes: According to the New York Times, Microsoft has chosen to manufacture its Surface Hub in Wilsonville, Oregon. “It makes a lot of sense to manufacture in the U.S.,” said Steve Hix, an entrepreneur who founded several Portland-area tech companies, including one that had a manufacturing facility in Wilsonville. “The key issue is quality.”

Submission + - Pizzicato: the world's first entirely digital transmitter

overThruster writes: Gizmag reports: "For the first time in history, a prototype radio has been created that is claimed to be completely digital, generating high-frequency radio waves purely through the use of integrated circuits and a set of patented algorithms without using conventional analog radio circuits in any way whatsoever. This breakthrough technology promises to vastly improve the wireless communications capabilities of everything from 5G mobile technology to the multitude devices aimed at supporting the Internet of Things."

Submission + - Web site for visualizing earth's winds

overThruster writes: A recently launched web site, 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: " 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.

Submission + - How Blu-ray Discs Can Improve Solar Panels

overThruster writes: 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.

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

overThruster writes: A 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."

Submission + - Giant Squid Captured on Video ( 1

overThruster 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.


Submission + - Undersea Cable Map

overThruster writes: TechCentral reports: "Greg Mahlknecht has built a free map showing the world's submarine telecommunications cable systems.

The map, which took Mahlknecht several months to complete, is free of charge and will remain so."

Submission + - Police using Apple iOS tracking data for forensics

overThruster 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."

Submission + - $3 million prize for data mining algorithm

overThruster 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

Submission + - China demonstrates 25+ unmanned aerial vehicles

overThruster 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."

Submission + - Ballmer sells $1.3 billion of Microsoft stock

overThruster 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.

Submission + - Voting machines selecting default candidates (

overThruster 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?

Submission + - Symantec To Buy VeriSign's Authentication Business (

overThruster 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.

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.