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Italian Scientists Demonstrate Cold Fusion? 815

Haffner quotes physorg which says "Italian scientists Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi of the University of Bologna announced that they developed a cold fusion device capable of producing 12,400 W of heat power with an input of just 400 W....when the atomic nuclei of nickel and hydrogen are fused in their reactor, the reaction produces copper and a large amount of energy. The reactor uses less than 1 gram of hydrogen and starts with about 1,000 W of electricity, which is reduced to 400 W after a few minutes. Every minute, the reaction can convert 292 grams of 20C water into dry steam at about 101C. Since raising the temperature of water by 80C and converting it to steam requires about 12,400 W of power, the experiment provides a power gain of 12,400/400 = 31."

Thermal Nanotape Promises Cooler, Healthier Chips 48

Blacklaw writes "A team of researchers comprised of members from the Semiconductor Research Corporation and Stanford University has developed a new thermal nanotape which it claims will lead to chips that run cooler and last longer. The thermal nanotape, constructed of binder materials surrounding carbon nanotubes, promises to lead to the creation of semiconductors — including CPUs and GPUs — that don't suffer from the rigors of frequent temperature changes, known as thermal cycling."

Road Train Completes First Trials In Sweden 345

Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports technology that links vehicles into 'road trains' that can travel as a semi-autonomous convoy has undergone its first real world tests with trials held on Volvo's test track in Sweden. Researchers believe platoons of cars could be traveling on Europe's roads within a decade cutting fuel use, boosting safety and may even reducing congestion. SARTRE researchers say that around 80% of accidents on the road are due to human error so using professional lead drivers to take the strain on long journeys could, they say, see road accidents fall. They also predict fuel efficiency could improve by as much as 20% if 'vehicle platooning' takes off, with obvious benefits for the environment. 'An automated system is likely to make it safer as it takes away driver error but it would have to be 100% reliable,' says John Franklin 'This kind of system would also require a complete change in motoring culture for drivers to hand over control.'"

New Sunlight Reactor Produces Fuel 269

eldavojohn writes "A new reactor developed by CalTech shows promise for producing renewable fuel from sunlight. The reactor hinges on a metal oxide named Ceria that has very interesting properties at very high temperatures. It exhales oxygen at very high temperatures and inhales oxygen at very low temperatures. From the article, 'Specifically, the inhaled oxygen is stripped off of carbon dioxide (CO2) and/or water (H2O) gas molecules that are pumped into the reactor, producing carbon monoxide (CO) and/or hydrogen gas (H2). H2 can be used to fuel hydrogen fuel cells; CO, combined with H2, can be used to create synthetic gas, or "syngas," which is the precursor to liquid hydrocarbon fuels. Adding other catalysts to the gas mixture, meanwhile, produces methane. And once the ceria is oxygenated to full capacity, it can be heated back up again, and the cycle can begin anew.' The only other piece of the puzzle is a large sunlight concentrator to raise the temperature to the necessary 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The team is working on modifying and refining the reactor to require a lower temperature to achieve the two-step thermochemical cycle. Another issue is the heat loss which the team claims could be reduced to improve efficiency to 15% or higher. Since CO2 is an input, the possibility exists for coal and power plants to collect CO2 emissions to be used in this process which would effectively allow us to "use the carbon twice." Another idea listed is that a "zero CO2 emissions" is developed along these lines: 'H2O and CO2 would be converted to methane, would fuel electricity-producing power plants that generate more CO2 and H2O, to keep the process going.' The team's work was published last month in Science."

Global Observer's First Hydrogen-Powered Flight 34

cylonlover writes "Following on from a successful maiden flight under battery power in 2010, AeroVironment's high altitude, long endurance (HALE) Global Observer unmanned aircraft has now taken to the skies using hydrogen-fueled propulsion. The aircraft reached an altitude of 5,000 feet during the four hour flight on January 11 at Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB) in California. Both the endurance and the altitude of the system will be expanded in further test flights in order to achieve the planned operational altitude of 55,000 to 65,000 feet."

Encrypt Your Smartphone — Or Else 304

pin0chet writes "Modern smartphones contain ever-increasing volumes of our private personal data — from text messages to images to emails — yet many smartphone security features can easily be circumvented by thieves or police officers equipped with off-the-shelf forensics equipment. Worse, thanks to a recent California Supreme Court ruling, police officers may be able to search your smartphone for hours without a warrant if you're arrested for any reason. Ars Technica has an article exploring the legal issues surrounding cell phone searches and explaining how you can safeguard your smartphone from the prying eyes of law enforcement officers."

Book Piracy — Less DRM, More Data 304

macslocum writes "Ambiguity surrounds the real impact of digital book piracy, notes Brian O'Leary in an interview with O'Reilly Radar, but all would be better served if more data was shared and less effort was exerted on futile DRM. 'The publishing industry should be working as hard as we can to develop new and innovative business models that meet the needs of readers. And what those look like could be community-driven. I think of Baen Books, for example, which doesn't put any DRM restrictions on its content but is one of the least pirated book publishers. As to sales, Paulo Coelho is a good example. He mines the piracy data to see if there's a burgeoning interest for his books in a particular country or market. If so, he either works to get his book out in print or translate it in that market.'"
Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF Offers an Introduction To Traitorware 263

theodp writes "The EFF's Eva Galperin offers a brief primer on Traitorware, devices that act behind your back to betray your privacy. 'Your digital camera may embed metadata into photographs with the camera's serial number or your location,' writes Galperin. 'Your printer may be incorporating a secret code on every page it prints which could be used to identify the printer and potentially the person who used it. If Apple puts a particularly creepy patent it has recently applied for into use, you can look forward to a day when your iPhone may record your voice, take a picture of your location, record your heartbeat, and send that information back to the mothership.' She concludes: 'EFF will be there to fight it [Traitorware]. We believe that your software and devices should not be a tool for gathering your personal data without your explicit consent.'"
The Military

Navy Uses Railgun To Launch Fighter Jet 314

Phoghat writes "In 2015 the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford will take to the seas and the plan is to use a railgun to launch planes, instead of steam powered catapults. From the article: 'The Navy developed its Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System as a replacement for the steam catapults currently used on aircraft carriers. The EMALS is a linear induction motor that's capable of accelerating a 100,000 pound aircraft to 240 miles per hour in the space of 300 feet. Compared to a steam catapult, the railgun catapult is much smaller, more efficient, simpler to maintain, gentler on airframes, and can deliver up to 30% more power. It's also capable of being cranked down a whole bunch, meaning that it can also launch smaller (and more fragile) unmanned drones.'"

8-Year-Olds Publish Scientific Bee Study Screenshot-sm 174

flintmecha writes "A group of British schoolchildren may be the youngest scientists ever to have their work published in a peer-reviewed journal. In a new paper in Biology Letters, children from Blackawton Primary School report that buff-tailed bumblebees can learn to recognize nourishing flowers based on colors and patterns. The paper itself is well worth reading. It's written entirely in the kids' voices, complete with sound effects (part of the Methods section is subtitled, ''the puzzle'duh duh duuuhhh') and figures drawn by hand in colored pencil."
The Internet

Study Finds DDoS Attacks Threaten Human Rights 118

CWmike writes "A new study warned this week that DDoS attacks launched against sites run by human rights and dissident media groups threaten to knock free speech off the Web. The study, conducted by Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, showed that such attacks frequently knocked such sites offline. Of the sites surveyed by the center, 62% were victimized by DDoS attacks in the last 12 months, and 61% experienced unexplained downtime."

Passwords Are the Weakest Link In Online Security 277

Orome1 writes "It's not surprising to find that 79% of consumers use risky password construction practices, such as including personal information and words. The recent Gawker breach and a detailed analysis of breached passwords show undeniably that passwords continue to be the Achilles' heel of the average Internet user. This insecure trend sadly doesn't shift as 26% of users reuse the same password for important accounts such as email, banking or shopping and social networking sites while 29% had their own email or social network account hacked, and over half (52%) know someone who has had a similar problem."
Open Source

De Raadt Doubts Alleged Backdoors Made It Into OpenBSD 136

itwbennett writes "In follow-up to last week's controversy over allegations that the FBI installed a number of back doors into the encryption software used by the OpenBSD operating system, OpenBSD lead developer Theo de Raadt said on a discussion list Tuesday, that he believes that a government contracting firm that contributed code to his project 'was probably contracted to write backdoors,' which would grant secret access to encrypted communications. But that he doesn't think that any of this software made it into the OpenBSD code base."

Mathematics As the Most Misunderstood Subject 680

Lilith's Heart-shape writes "Dr. Robert H. Lewis, professor of mathematics at Fordham University of New York, offers in this essay a defense of mathematics as a liberal arts discipline, and not merely part of a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) curriculum. In the process, he discusses what's wrong with the manner in which mathematics is currently taught in K-12 schooling."

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.