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Submission + - Will 787 battery redesign work? (forbes.com)

" rel="nofollow">SternisheFan writes: "The Wall Street Journal's Peter Cohan reports on MIT's Don Sadoway's recomendations:

When he looked at photographs of the 787s lithium-ion battery, he saw that it is actually eight notebook sized batteries all packed next to each other in a closed box. This means that only the batteries on the ends have any hope of venting the heat they generate. The other six batteries just heat each other up since they can’t release their heat outside the box.

Sadoway did not have access to investigators’ details, however, based on what he saw, he urged Boeing to create vents within the box so the batteries could dissipate heat.

He also argued that Boeing should put temperature sensors on each of the eight batteries and implement a “system of forced airflow” inside the box to help assure that the temperature of each battery would stay below a threshold level.

Sadoway estimated that these changes to the design of the lithium-ion battery would add to its cost. Instead of $1,000 per battery, the cost might rise to $2,000. But that cost would be “peanuts” compared to the $207 million retail price of the 787.

And reports out Thursday suggest that Boeing engineers are thinking about a redesign of the 787s lithium-ion batteries that appear to reflect Sadoway’s ideas.

For example, The Wall Street Journal reports that Boeing is “looking at increasing the separation between cells in the lithium-ion batteries to reduce the potential hazards from heat or fire spreading within the batteries and adding enhanced heat-sensors.”

These ideas are consistent with Sadoway’s approach. For example, physically separating each of the cells would make it easier to vent the heat that each one generates. And the idea of enhanced heat sensors could mean that Boeing could implement a battery control system that would sense if the cells’ temperature was rising above a threshold level and take action to stop the batteries for burning up.

The Journal also reports that Boeing is also “considering ways to keep cells more rigid, preventing them from shifting under certain conditions and interfering with electronics.”

And a report from Thursday’s New York Times suggests that Boeing is working on working “more solid containment cases and better venting mechanisms in the event of overheating.” This sounds like an improvement. However, unless Boeing can stop the problem of thermal runaway – a chemical reaction in which a rising temperature causes progressively hotter temperatures — the 787s will not be safe.

But the Times reports that Boeing has a Plan B — tasking engineers to use more conventional batteries in case regulators banned the lithium-ion ones. And the alternatives they consider should include the one that Sadoway recommended — a safer, but less powerful Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery.

Sadoway reckoned that this NiMH battery would have to be 50% heavier — perhaps 37 more pounds — representing 0.01% of the 787s 502,500 pound weight in order to deliver sufficient current to the 787.

As Sadoway suggested, using a new battery would require Boeing to order Thales, the French company that makes the 787s electrical system part of which controls the lithium-ion battery, to develop a new control system that would work for the NiMH battery. Sadoway thinks that could take a year to design, build, test, and make safe to fly. Based on Sadoway’s insights on the 787 battery, perhaps he should be heading up the team that is working on this problem.

However, it is easier to solve the technical problem of how to power the 787 than it is to change the actions and culture of Boeing — the company that managed to convince regulators and customers that its flawed lithium-ion batteries made the 787 safe to fly."

Submission + - AT&T Data usage definition proprietary???

stox writes: "As many of you know, AT&T has implemented caps on DSL usage. When this was implemented, I started getting emails lettting me know my usage as likely to exceed the cap. After consulting their Internet Usage web page, I felt the numbers just weren't right, so with the help of Tomato on my router, I started measuring my usage, and ended up with numbers subnstantially below what AT&T was reporting on a day to day basis. Typically around 20-30% less. BTW, this usage is the sum of inbound and outbound. At this point, I decided to contact AT&T support to determine what exactly they were defining as usage, as their web pages never really define it. Did I get a suprise, after several calls, they finally told me that they consider the methodology by which they calculate bandwidth usage to be PROPRIETARY. Yes, you read that right, it is a secret. They left me with the option to contact their Excutive Offices via snail mail, email was not an option.

So, I bring my questions to you, all knowing slashdotters, are there any laws that require AT&T to divulge how they are calculating bandwidth? Should I contact my state's commerce commission or the FCC to attempt to get an answer to this?"

Submission + - Airlines Face Acute Pilot Shortage 2

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The WSJ reports that US airlines are facing their most serious pilot shortage since the 1960s, with federal mandates taking effect that will require all newly hired pilots to have at least 1,500 hours of prior flight experience—six times the current minimum—raising the cost and time to train new fliers in an era when pay cuts and more-demanding schedules already have made the profession less attractive. Meanwhile, thousands of senior pilots at major airlines soon will start hitting the mandatory retirement age of 65. "We are about four years from a solution, but we are only about six months away from a problem.,” says Bob Reding, recently retired executive vice president of operations at AMR Corp. A study by the University of North Dakota's aviation department indicates major airlines will need to hire 60,000 pilots by 2025 to replace departures and cover expansion over the next eight years. Meanwhile only 36,000 pilots have passed the Air Transport Pilot exam in the past eight years, which all pilots would have to pass under the congressionally imposed rules and there are limits to the ability of airlines, especially the regional carriers, to attract more pilots by raising wages. While the industry's health has improved in recent years, many carriers still operate on thin profit margins, with the airlines sandwiched between rising costs for fuel and unsteady demand from price-sensitive consumers. "It certainly will result in challenges to maintain quality," says John Marshall, an independent aviation-safety consultant who spent 26 years in the Air Force before overseeing Delta's safety. "Regional carriers will be creative and have to take shortcuts" to fill their cockpits."

Submission + - LG ends blue ray burner support

databinder writes: "LG manufactured a series of affordable blue ray burners about a year ago. If you purchased one of them you may be in for the same rude surprise that I got when the software suite supplied with the burner quit working about a year after install. It requires a serial number before it will work again. The install cd has "Bundle Only Not for Resale" written on the CD which implies it is part of the purchase. It does not say trial on the CD or on any of the paperwork that came with the CD or at anytime during install. Now I have a drive that is out of warranty, and is nonfunctional without the associated software. This kind of practice reminds me of ransomware, where you have to pay money to get what you already purchased operating again. Beware of shady underhanded practices such as these employed by LG."

Submission + - Kazaa, StreamCast founders file new patent suit (itnews.com.au)

littlekorea writes: The founders of P2P services Kazaa and StreamCast have filed suit against Google/YouTube, Amazon, VMware, EMC, Dropbox, Caringo and NEC over cloud computing patents. Weiss (StreamCast/Morpheus) and Burmeister (Kazaa) has originally planned to target hosted music services but widened the scope considerably. The suit is filed in East Texas, home of the patent troll.

Submission + - Sun's 'quiet period' explained (bbc.co.uk)

Arvisp writes: Solar physicists may have discovered why the Sun recently experienced a prolonged period of weak activity.
The most recent so-called "solar minimum" occurred in December 2008.
Its drawn-out nature extended the total length of the last solar cycle — the repeating cycle of the Sun's activity — to 12.6 years, making it the longest in almost 200 years. The new research suggests that the longer-than-expected period of weak activity may have been linked to changes in the way a hot soup of charged particles called plasma circulated in the Sun.

Submission + - Non-human sugar drugs causes inflammations

wog777 writes: Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that a kind of sugar molecule common to chimpanzees, gorillas and other mammals but not found in humans provokes a strong immune response in some people, likely worsening conditions in which chronic inflammation is a major issue.This non-human sialic acid sugar is an ingredient in some biotechnology drugs, and may be limiting or undermining their therapeutic effectiveness in some patients, the scientists report in a letter published in the advance online July 25 edition of the journal Nature Biotechnology. However, they also propose a simple modification to the drug-making process that could solve the problem.
GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - Apple says you can't have freedom.. As said by FSF

penguinewing writes: ""Apple seems to have missed that last part — just like you can do on any other computer and many other cell phones already. Instead, they claim that users removing the DRM system are criminals, who should be prosecuted. They say that if you can modify your own phone — as in, if you install an application from anyone but Apple — you might deliberately bring down the whole cell network or make anonymous phone calls to arrange drug deals. You might also break your phone." Link to Article"

Submission + - Groundbreaking For A New New York CPU Factory (nytimes.com) 1

ReverendDC writes: "The New York Times had an article about a state of the art factory being built in, well, New York. The factory is being built by the AMD spinoff, and also has some good info about the spinoff's backers: "While chip design is a big business in the United States, most chips are manufactured in China, Taiwan and Singapore. The factory here, some experts say, will help make the country globally competitive in chip manufacture for the first time in years. "The grants and tax support level the playing field on a global basis," said Douglas A. Grose, the chief executive of Global Foundries. "We looked all over the world for the next site. Every country that wanted a facility like this stepped forward.""

Submission + - Tron Legacy exposed (kingofgng.com) 1

KingofGnG writes: "As already occurred during the past year, Disney has chosen the San Diego Comic-Con International to present its new sci-fi project. The sequel to Tron, the classic movie from 1982 dealing with videogames, virtual reality and 3D graphics when none of these three things was widely popular, has got an official title and synopsis now while the major has released (and this time without silly censorship) the very first trailer from the movie together with some concept art and the teaser poster."

Submission + - Airbus could be asked to ground long-range jets (timesonline.co.uk)

DesScorp writes: "Airbus is expected to face calls to ground its worldwide fleet of long-range airliners tomorrow when French accident investigators issue their first account of what caused Air France Flight 447 to crash off Brazil on June 1, reports the Times Online. The story states that The European Aviation Safety Agency will be asked why it hasn't taken more aggressive action concerning problems in the Airbus A330 and A340 series of airliners. France's accident bureau is expected to rule that while bad weather was a factor, faulty speed data and electronics were the main problem in the accident. "Suspicion over the air data systems on the Airbus 330 and 340 series has increased after the disclosure that the aircraft had experienced 36 episodes similar to the one that brought Flight 447 down as it flew from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.""
Linux Business

Submission + - Asus Says: If You Want Linux, Go To Toys R Us! (eweekeurope.co.uk)

judgecorp writes: "Despite virtually inventing the netbook as a low-cost Linux device, Asus has now given up on Linux versions of its Eee. Asus' UK site lists Linux as an option on all Eee version, but callers are told that the company no longer provides Linux SKUs, only XP. eWEEK Europe asked for a Linux Eee and was told to buy one from Toys R Us or Misco."

Submission + - 'Microsoft Subsidy' Cuts Tuition for H-1B Families

theodp writes: "If you're a U.S. citizen, but not a permanent resident of Washington State, your kids will pay $24,367-a-year (pdf) if they want to attend the University of Washington. But if you're in the U.S. on a temporary H-1B or L visa, you, your spouse, and your kids will soon be able to pay only $7,692-a-year to attend UW thanks to HB 1487, which has been dubbed the 'Microsoft Subsidy Bill'. Sponsored by former Microsoft exec Ross Hunter, the bill stands to benefit the families of thousands of Microsoft workers. Lydia Tamez — associate general counsel and director of global migration at Microsoft — defended the bill, explaining that it will not only make life easier for H-1B employees who rely on Microsoft for their sole income, but also address the concerns of Microsoft guest workers who want to earn MBAs or second degrees, but balk at having to pay out-of-state tuition rates. Not all are impressed by her argument. The 'emergency' law (deja vu, anyone?), which legislators deemed 'necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions,' takes effect on July 1."
Linux Business

Submission + - Red Hat @SCO Bankruptcy - Tells SCO "Not so fa 1

capnkr writes: Red Hat Linux takes aggressive action against sue-happy SCO in their bankruptcy proceedings. Over at Groklaw, PJ writes:

"Red Hat is letting the court know that it cares about its litigation, it intends to vigorously pursue it as soon as the bankruptcy stay is lifted, and its claim should not be thrown off a cliff without giving Red Hat notice and an opportunity to be heard."

It seems that SCO wants what has been (for them) a very favorable judge to just take care of the matter of that pesky Red Hat litigation they began oh-so long ago...

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval