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Science

Graphene: Fast, Strong, Cheap, and Impossible To Use 182

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-my-space-elevator dept.
An anonymous reader writes: We keep hearing about the revolutionary properties of graphene, an atom-thick sheet of carbon whose physical characteristics hold a great deal of promise — if we can figure out good ways to produce it and use it. The New Yorker has a lengthy profile of graphene and its discoverer, Andre Geim, as well as one of the physicists leading a big chunk of the bleeding-edge graphene research, James Tour.

Quoting: "[S]cientists are still trying to devise a cost-effective way to produce graphene at scale. Companies like Samsung use a method pioneered at the University of Texas, in which they heat copper foil to eighteen hundred degrees Fahrenheit in a low vacuum, and introduce methane gas, which causes graphene to "grow" as an atom-thick sheet on both sides of the copper—much as frost crystals "grow" on a windowpane. They then use acids to etch away the copper. The resulting graphene is invisible to the naked eye and too fragile to touch with anything but instruments designed for microelectronics. The process is slow, exacting, and too expensive for all but the largest companies to afford. ... Nearly every scientist I spoke with suggested that graphene lends itself especially well to hype."
The Military

How Governments Are Getting Around the UN's Ban On Blinding Laser Weapons 180

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-stare-directly-into-the-rifle dept.
Lasrick writes Despite the UN's 1995 Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons, the world is moving closer to laser weapons in both military and law enforcement situations that can cause temporary and even permanent blindness. Military-funded research in this area continues to be conducted by the Optical Radiation Bioeffects and Safety program, and already "dazzlers" have been in use in Afghanistan. Domestic versions of these weapons are intended for use by law enforcement agencies and in theory cause motion-sickness type illness but not blindness. "But something bright enough to dazzle at 300 meters can cause permanent eye damage at 50 meters, and these devices can be set to deliver a narrow (and more intense) beam."
Classic Games (Games)

Raspberry Pi Gameboy 60

Posted by Soulskill
from the what's-old-is-new dept.
An anonymous reader writes: An enterprising hacker took on a project to rebuild a broken Gameboy using emulation software, a Raspberry Pi, and a few other easily-obtainable parts. The result: success! The hacker has posted a detailed walkthrough explaining all of the challenges and how they were solved. "Using a Dremel, I cut out a most of the battery compartment as well as some posts that on the case for the LCD that would no longer be needed. Doing so, the Pi sits flush with the back of the DMG case. ... The screen was the first challenge. The screen runs off 12V out of the box which wouldn't work with the USB battery pack. The USB battery pack is rated at 5V, 1000mAH so the goal was go modify the screen to allow it to run at 5V. ... I finally got it to work by removing the power converter chip as well as soldering a jumper between the + power in and the resister on the top right."
Networking

MIT May Have Just Solved All Your Data Center Network Lag Issues 83

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the hierarchy-beats-anarchy dept.
alphadogg (971356) writes A group of MIT researchers say they've invented a new technology that should all but eliminate queue length in data center networking. The technology will be fully described in a paper presented at the annual conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication. According to MIT, the paper will detail a system — dubbed Fastpass — that uses a centralized arbiter to analyze network traffic holistically and make routing decisions based on that analysis, in contrast to the more decentralized protocols common today. Experimentation done in Facebook data centers shows that a Fastpass arbiter with just eight cores can be used to manage a network transmitting 2.2 terabits of data per second, according to the researchers.
Communications

Quad Lasers Deliver Fast, Earth-Based Internet To the Moon 131

Posted by timothy
from the but-the-latency dept.
A joint project involving NASA and MIT researchers had demonstrated technology last year that could supply a lunar colony with broadband via lasers ("faster Internet access than many U.S. homes get") and has already demonstrated its worth in communications with spacecraft. From ComputerWorld's article: "The Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) kicked off last September with the launch of NASA's LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer), a research satellite [formerly] orbiting the moon. NASA built a laser communications module into LADEE for use in the high-speed wireless experiment. LLCD has already proved itself, transmitting data from LADEE to Earth at 622Mbps (bits per second) and in the other direction at 19.44Mbps, according to MIT. It beat the fastest-ever radio communication to the moon by a factor of 4,800." Communicating at such distances means overcoming various challenges; one of the biggest is the variability in Earth's atmosphere. The LLCD didn't try to power through the atmosphere at only one spot, therefore, but used four separate beams in the New Mexico desert, each aimed "through a different column of air, where the light-bending effects of the atmosphere are slightly different. That increased the chance that at least one of the beams would reach the receiver on the LADEE. Test results [were] promising, according to MIT, with the 384,633-kilometer optical link providing error-free performance in both darkness and bright sunlight, through partly transparent thin clouds, and through atmospheric turbulence that affected signal power." At the CLEO: 2014 conference in June, researchers will provide a comprehensive explanation of how it worked.
United States

US Officials Cut Estimate of Recoverable Monterey Shale Oil By 96% 411

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-drink-your-tiny-milkshake dept.
First time accepted submitter steam_cannon (1881500) writes "The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA.gov) is planning to release a major 96% reserve downgrade to the amount of oil and gas recoverable from the Monterey Shale formation, one of the largest oil/gas reserves in the United States. After several years of intensified exploration the Monterey oil shale play seems to have much less recoverable oil and gas then previously hoped. This is due to multiple factors such as the more complex rippled geology of the shale and over-hyped recovery estimates by investors. By official estimates the Monterey Shale formation makes up 2/3 of the shale reserves in the US and by some estimates 1/3 of all crude reserves in the US. Not a drop in the bucket. Next Month the EIA.gov will be announcing cutting it's estimates for Monterey by 96%. That's a huge blow to the US energy portfolio, trillions of dollars, oil and gas the US might have used for itself or exported. Presently the White House is evaluating making changes to US oil export restrictions so this downgrade may result in changes to US energy policy. As well as have a significant impact on US economy and the economy of California."

Comment: Re:now I never looked into it (Score 1) 420

So don't take a bath, get a 1.5 gpm showerhead, don't leave the water running while brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, etc. It will also rapidly become worthwhile to get a high efficiency clothes washer and dishwasher. Seriously, I live in a water-rich area, and even I do a lot of these things, so I don't think it will be too difficult for people to manage when they have a serious incentive to do so.

Comment: Re:In the future... (Score 1) 174

by tirerim (#46865521) Attached to: Google Using Self-Driving Car Data To Make Cars Smarter
Hell, I wonder that now. As far as I can tell, the vast majority of drivers only barely escape disaster every time they get behind the wheel, mostly because their frequent lapses are adjusted for by other drivers who happen to be paying attention at that time. If two lapses occur simultaneously, *crash*.
Space

Big Bang's Smoking Gun Found 269

Posted by samzenpus
from the lets-have-a-look dept.
astroengine writes "For the first time, scientists have found direct evidence of the expansion of the universe, a previously theoretical event that took place a fraction of a second after the Big Bang explosion nearly 14 billion years ago. The clue is encoded in the primordial cosmic microwave background radiation that continues to spread through space to this day. Scientists found and measured a key polarization, or orientation, of the microwaves caused by gravitational waves, which are miniature ripples in the fabric of space. Gravitational waves, proposed by Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity nearly 100 years ago but never before proven, are believed to have originated in the Big Bang explosion and then been amplified by the universe's inflation. 'Detecting this signal is one of the most important goals in cosmology today,' lead researcher John Kovac, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said in a statement."

Comment: Depends on how you count. (Score 1) 177

by tirerim (#46193169) Attached to: At my current workplace, I've outlasted ...

I became a regular employee of the company I work for just this week, making me the newest in one sense.

I've been contracting for them since 2009, which would put me in the middle of the pack.

I started working for the company that merged into this one way back in 2003, and I'm the only one who used to work for that company still left, as well as having been at one or the other longer than most employees of the current company.

Comment: Yes, they are. (Score 4, Informative) 380

by tirerim (#45916303) Attached to: Many Mac OS Users Not Getting Security Updates
I'm not sure where the author gets the idea that Apple has stopped releasing security updates for older systems. The page linked from the summary lists updates for software for OS X 10.7 and up as recently as 16 December, a Java update for versions 10.6 and up on 15 October, and the most recent actual security update, also for versions 10.6 and up, on 12 September. Apple releases security updates when necessary, not every Tuesday like Microsoft. The fact that they've released an OS update, which includes security patches, for the most recent version of the OS without releasing one for older versions most likely means that the vulnerabilities addressed were not present in older versions; this has been the Apple release strategy for at least a decade.
Music

Unreleased 1963 Beatles Tracks On Sale To Preserve Copyright 230

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
Taco Cowboy writes "Back in 1963, the Beatles did some performances for the BBC and other places. The songs were recorded, but never officially released. Now, 50 years later, Apple has packaged all 59 tracks together and put them up for sale on iTunes for $40. The reason? Copyright. The copyright for unreleased works expires 50 years after the works are recorded. By releasing the 59 tracks on iTunes before the end of December, the songs will be protected under copyright law for 20 more years."

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 249

by tirerim (#45490297) Attached to: Hammerhead System Offers a Better Way To Navigate While Cycling
Around here, if I'm in a hurry a car would most likely be slower. I frequently beat friends who are driving to places while I am cycling, mostly because the bike lanes don't get clogged with traffic nearly as much as the car lanes, and there are a few very useful shortcuts on bike paths.

If I'm going someplace unfamiliar, though, having a navigation aid is pretty useful. I find that the voice directions from my phone mostly work.

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