wonkavader writes: Lawrence Lessig's MAYDAY.US Super PAC to end all Super PACs (and more) is now on it's second round of funding. The PAC has been reported on here before, but now the numbers are bigger. They hit their $1 million first goal easily, but now they aim to get another $5 million in the same time period. Lessig says that he's arranged for matching, again. It seems like the goals will be even higher in 2016: "For 2014, our goal is to raise $12 million and use it to make fundamental reform the key issue in five congressional races. And we’ll apply what we learn then to 2016." While his initial funding campaign got some reporting in the mainstream media, there seems to be general silence this time around.
wonkavader writes: USC researchers have an article in JES on improvements to iron-air batteries. They seemed like a good idea 40 years ago, but were abandoned because hydrolysis cost them 50% of their energy. The researchers have solved the hydrolysis problem. Because iron is incredibly cheap, these batteries could be 25% the cost of lithium-ion batteries per kWh.
wonkavader writes: There's talk of it costing a little more (perhaps $49) and the low price is in quantity 1 million, but the device works, and it looks like the Indian government is poised to make good on their idea. They'll pay half the cost of the device and the schools providing these to their students will pay the other half. The $35 (or $49) price isn't retail — expect to pay more for these if you want one yourself.
wonkavader writes: Nufront's Cortex ARM-A9 Dual core chip now runs at 2Ghz, and they have a couple of examples of systems using it. Articles/videos showing it in a desktop, and a laptop/netbook can be found at here, here and here. Details which can be gleaned from the videos include: The laptop's target price is about $200, as is the desktop's. The chip itself should cost about $30. It needs a heat sink, right now (though not a fan, even though one is mounted in one of the videos) but is being optimized to try to eliminate even that heatsink. The chip represents a PC on a chip, such that few if any support chips are necessary and will run at something below 2 watts. The laptop they show is very thin, and I certainly want one. They currently run Android and Ubuntu. The desktop system is snappy, though it seems like their Ubuntu setup doesn't benefit from any hardware video acceleration, currently. They are partnered with Microsoft, and clearly really aiming at being a desktop for the new ARM-compatible Windows which is supposed to be in the works.
wonkavader writes: Not in one single instance did BP cut corners to minimize costs. It's official. The government investigative panel says so. "'We have not seen a single instance where a human being made a conscious decision to favor dollars over safety,' Fred Bartlit, the trial lawyer in charge of the investigation, said today." Not one.
wonkavader writes: The Guardian has a cute little video demonstration [http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2010/may/06/cofferdams-bp-solution-deepwater-horizon] of what BP has in mind to stop the oil leaks which are creating the mess in the gulf of Mexico, which just recently made landfall [http://www.bellona.org/articles/articles_2010/spill_hits]. Apparently, BP has constructed a 180 ton plastic water bottle, then cut it in half and... well, the video makes things pretty clear.
wonkavader writes: Tuesday was a good day for smartbook news. News articles from Sep 8 tell us that both Foxconn and Hon Hai are developing ARM-based smartbooks.
PC World reports that Foxconn's devices "use a few different Linux operating systems, including one similar to the Intel-backed Moblin OS and one developed by Foxconn. The company is currently looking into Google's Android mobile OS for possible use as well."
Reuters reports that Hon Hai is also developing them. Hon Hai makes the iPhone and the Wii.
wonkavader writes: According to the Article: "In an effort to expand its Linux offerings, Dell is researching new netbook-type devices and will soon offer netbook Linux OS upgrades, a company official said on Wednesday.... The company is researching the possibility of offering new Linux-based mobile devices called smartbooks, said Todd Finch, senior product marketing manager for Linux clients, at the OpenSourceWorld conference in San Francisco.... Smartbooks are netbook-type devices that are powered by chips designed by Arm."
I don't think Finch said "ARM" but he apparently did say "SmartBook". Then again, he also said "researching the possibility".
wonkavader writes: Subaru has made opposed enginies for a long time — this means that the cylinders pound directly into one another, which when properly tuned, reduces vibration, amongst other things. They came up with an opposed diesel engine, last year, and now are putting it in cars. They expect "fuel economy of 49.6mpg and a 151g/km CO2 rating" on one of their first offerings. They also expect it to be very quiet.
These sources are somewhat old, but talk about the opposed engine:
wonkavader writes: Two small articles in the Consumerist juxtapose the policies on rebates of Newegg and buy.com. Newegg will, at least sometimes, honor rebates for companies which go out of business. Buy.com implies that it won't. This doesn't absolutely mean that Newegg would do it every time, or that buy.com would never make good in any situation, but the responses:
Newegg: "All rebates are issued through the manufacturers directly. However, as you are our valued customer, we have made an exception and credited you $20.00..."
Buy.com [paraphrased]: "...buy.com was currently legally pursuing Connect 3D and a full rebate would not be issued."
seem to confirm a general impression of the two retailers.
wonkavader writes: "On Jan 12, members of John Niremberg's impeachment march (which started over a month ago in Boston) were either denied entry to or expelled from the National Archives for wearing clothing printed with the articles of the Constitution concerning impeachment."
The National Archives bars or boots people with parts of the constitution printed on T-Shirts? Yikes. The excuse used was that the Archives security should prevent protests in the Archives, but clearly, the people were expelled because of who they were, not what they did (which was apparently nothing other than get in line to see the Constitution). Does a national resource have the right to expel anyone based on political leanings? (The audio referenced is a little shrill, but has some interesting details.)
wonkavader writes: Detroit's Metro Times has a story on U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, and his dilemma over impeachment. On one hand, he says, his best friends urge him to impeach. And as the article says, "He knows, more than most people, how deeply lawless President Bush is. He knows he deserves impeachment, and knows that Cheney does, probably even more so."
But Conyer's priority isn't the constitution or justice or limiting presidential power. "Listen." he told me. "The most important thing is that we don't elect another Republican. That is the most important issue. I am supporting Obama, but any of the Democrats would be better than any Republican."
Is he saving his country or placing the needs of his party over the needs of the people?
wonkavader writes: The New York Times [UR:http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/18/technology/1 8chip.html?ref=technology] reports today that "Researchers plan to announce on Monday that they have created a silicon-based chip that can produce laser beams. The advance will make it possible to use laser light rather than wires to send data between chips, removing the most significant bottleneck in computer design." The work is from Intel and the University of California, Santa Barbara. This suggests breakthroughs in both computing performance and networking.