An anonymous reader writes "Researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in collaboration with colleagues at the École Polytechnique in France, have been able to prove the theory behind LED 'droop.' LED droop is the term for how LEDs emit less light when the amount of current being pushed through them goes above a certain level. 'The cost per lumen of LEDs has held the technology back as a viable replacement for incandescent bulbs for all-purpose commercial and residential lighting.' Now that we understand what causes this, we should start to see research go into technology to circumvent LED Droop. 'LEDs have enormous potential for providing long-lived high quality efficient sources of lighting for residential and commercial applications. The U.S. Department of Energy recently estimated that the widespread replacement of incandescent and fluorescent lights by LEDs in the U.S. could save electricity equal to the total output of fifty 1 GW power plants.'" A pre-print of the team's paper is available at the arXiv.
coondoggie writes "The term sequestration has certainly become a four-letter word for many across the country — and now you can count business and regular traveling public among those hating its impact. The Federal Aviation Administration today issued a blunt statement on the impact of sequestration on the nation's air traffic control system, which this week begain furloughing about 10% of air traffic controllers for two days or so per month. It reads as follows: 'As a result of employee furloughs due to sequestration, the FAA is implementing traffic management initiatives at airports and facilities around the country. Travelers can expect to see a wide range of delays that will change throughout the day depending on staffing and weather-related issues. ... Yesterday more than 1,200 delays in the system were attributable to staffing reductions resulting from the furlough.'" U.S. Democrats and Republicans spent the day using the FAA's statement as political fodder rather than working on resolving sequestration.
jfruh writes "The rap on the under-30 crowd is that they don't care anywhere near as much about online privacy as their elders — but that's not quite true. According to a recent study by USC's Annenberg Center for the Digital Future, millennials are just as concerned about the use of their personal data online as their elders. The difference arises when it comes to why they share that data: older users share with someone they trust, while millennials share when they perceive that there's something in it for them."
mdsolar writes "'A U.N. nuclear watchdog team said Japan may need longer than the projected 40 years to decommission the Fukushima power plant and urged Tepco to improve stability at the facility. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency team, Juan Carlos Lentijo, said Monday that damage at the nuclear plant is so complex that it is impossible to predict how long the cleanup may last.' Meanwhile, Gregory B. Jaczko, former Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said that all 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology."
An anonymous reader writes "In conjunction with its earnings report for the second quarter of 2013, Apple issued a press release announcing some major plans for its ever growing stockpile of cash. It is increasing its quarterly dividend payout to investors by 15%. What's more, the company will spend $60 billion in stock repurchases, making it in Apple's words, 'the largest single share repurchase authorization in history.'"
ananyo writes "Two dangerous things together might make a medicine for one of the hardest cancers to treat. In a mouse model of pancreatic cancer, researchers have shown that bacteria can deliver deadly radiation to tumours — exploiting the immune suppression that normally makes the disease so intractable. The researchers coated the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes with radioactive antibodies and injected the bacterium into mice with pancreatic cancer that had spread to multiple sites. After several doses, the mice that had received the radioactive bacteria had 90% fewer metastases compared with mice that had received saline or radiation alone."
Meshach writes "A recent study (PDF) detailed in the Washington Post verifies that using hands-free or voice-activated texting is no safer than texting with your hands while you are driving a car. Using a handheld device to tap out a text message while driving has been banned in many states and provinces. From the article: '"One of the common comments was that they felt an inclination to look down at the screen to see if it heard them correctly, so that could be one possible explanation of why they were not looking at the roadway more frequently," Yager said. She said drivers said they felt safer when using voice-activated texting than when entering messages on a keyboard. "Perhaps it is because they view it as safer and therefore it must be, but still they have this inclination to look down at the screen," she said. "We found that their driving performance suffered equally with both methods." As has been proven in studies of cellphone conversations, Yager said drivers engaged in any form of texting were distracted by the communication effort.'"
Dan Milstein from Hut 8 Labs has written a lengthy post about why software developers often struggle to estimate the time required to implement their projects. Drawing on lessons from a book called Thinking Fast and Slow by Dan Kahneman, he explains how overconfidence frequently leads to underestimations of a project's complexity. Unfortunately, the nature of overconfidence makes it tough to compensate. Quoting: "Specifically, in many, many situations, the following three things hold true: 1- 'Expert' predictions about some future event are so completely unreliable as to be basically meaningless 2- Nonetheless, the experts in question are extremely confident about the accuracy of their predictions. 3- And, best of all: absolutely nothing seems to be able to diminish the confidence that experts feel. The last one is truly remarkable: even if experts try to honestly face evidence of their own past failures, even if they deeply understand this flaw in human cognition they will still feel a deep sense of confidence in the accuracy of their predictions. As Kahneman explains it, after telling an amazing story about his own failing on this front: 'The confidence you will experience in your future judgments will not be diminished by what you just read, even if you believe every word.'"
An anonymous reader writes "BitTorrent on Tuesday announced it has released its file synchronization tool Sync into open alpha. You can download the latest version now for Windows, Mac, and Linux over at labs.bittorrent.com. The company first announced its Sync software back in January, explaining at the time that it uses peer-to-peer technology to synchronize personal files across multiple computers and devices."
New submitter Mike Lape writes "Stocks plunged and recovered within minutes after the hacked AP Twitter account sent out a tweet that indicated that the White House had been the victim of an explosion and that President Obama had been injured. '...the Dow Jones Industrial Average took a quick 143-point plunge, before recovering most of its losses within minutes. The three-minute plunge triggered by the tweet briefly wiped out $136.5 billion of the S&P 500 index's value, according to Reuters data. Interestingly, Tuesday has been the best day of the week for the blue-chip this year with an average return of 0.46 percent. If the index closes in the black today, it will have been up for the 15th consecutive Tuesday. The last time the Dow rose for 15 straight Tuesdays was in 1927.' An analyst said, 'That goes to show you how algorithms read headlines and create these automatic orders – you don't even have time to react as a human being.'"
thecarchik writes "Most advocates and industry analysts expect lithium-ion batteries to dominate electric-car energy storage for the rest of this decade. But is Tesla Motors planning to add a new type of battery to increase the range of its electric cars? Tesla has filed for eight separate patents on uses of metal-air battery technology (for example, #20120041625). The metals covered for use in the metal-air battery are aluminum, iron, lithium, magnesium, vanadium, and zinc. Metal-air batteries, which slowly consume their anodes to give off energy, hit the news last month when Israeli startup Phinergy demonstrated its prototype battery and let reporters drive a test vehicle fitted with the energy-storage device. Mounted in a subcompact demonstration car, Phinergy's aluminum-air battery provides 1,000 miles of range, it said, and requires refills of distilled water (which acts as electrolyte in the cells) about every 200 miles."
colinneagle writes "Verizon's 2013 Data Breach Investigation Report is out and includes data gathered by its own forensics team and data breach info from 19 partner organizations worldwide. China was involved in 96% of all espionage data-breach incidents, most often targeting manufacturing, professional and transportation industries, the report claims. The assets China targeted within those industries included laptop/desktop, file server, mail server and directory server, in order to steal credentials, internal organization data, trade secrets and system info. A whopping 95% of the attacks started with phishing to get a toehold into their victim's systems. The report states, 'Phishing techniques have become much more sophisticated, often targeting specific individuals (spear phishing) and using tactics that are harder for IT to control. For example, now that people are suspicious of email, phishers are using phone calls and social networking.' It is unknown who the nation-state actors were in the other 4% of breaches, which the report says 'may mean that other threat groups perform their activities with greater stealth and subterfuge. But it could also mean that China is, in fact, the most active source of national and industrial espionage in the world today.'" The report also notes that financially-motivated incidents primarily came from the U.S. and various Eastern European countries.
I've been really, really excited about digital video distribution lately: first Netflix greenlights jms's return to science fiction TV, and then Amazon announces their new pilots. Perhaps the decade long dearth of any good television is nearing its end! So, with that in mind, I finished up editing Slashdot for the day and sat down to watch some of these new pilots. Only to discover that Amazon has taken away my ability to watch entirely in the name of Digital Restrictions Management.
waderoush writes "Plenty of technology companies serve free breakfast, lunch, and dinner to their employees, but Dropcam CEO Greg Duffy says that's a form of mind control designed to get people to to work late. To keep employees happy, Duffy says, it's better to make them go home to their families for dinner. Some other suggestions from the San Francisco video monitoring startup: don't fill your engineering department with young, single, childless males (aka brogrammers). Keep your business model simple by making actual stuff that you can sell for a profit. And don't hire assholes. Why pay attention to Duffy's advice? Because Dropcam has a 100 percent employee retention rate — no one who has joined the 4-year-old company has ever left."
new submitter heybiff writes "It is the time of year where students are scrambling for extra credit assignments to boost grades. As a middle school science teacher, I want to accommodate them, while still keeping science involved; and book reports are a popular activity in my school. Unfortunately, I have only been able to come up with a short list of science related books that a 11-14 year old would or could read in their free time: Ender's Game, Hitchhiker's Guide. What books would you recommend as a good read for an extra credit book report, that would still involve a strong science twist or inspire a student's interest in science? The book must be in print, science related, fiction or non-fiction, and not be overtly objectionable or outright banned. I look forward to the submissions." "Outright banned" actually seems a rich vein on which to draw; note that not even Ender's Game is safe.
First time accepted submitter ckwu writes "Scientists once thought that pathogens could not reach drinking water wells sunk into deep, protected groundwater aquifers. Nevertheless, over the past decade, researchers have identified diarrhea-causing viruses at a handful of deep bedrock well sites in the U.S. and Europe. Now, researchers report where these pathogenic viruses may have originated. The viruses appear to seep from sewer pipes and then swiftly penetrate drinking water wells. Experts recommend that public water systems might need to start testing for viruses on a routine basis."
itwbennett writes "Amazon sent out a press release over the weekend announcing that the pilots for their original shows 'held 8 spots on the list of 10 most streamed Amazon VOD episodes.' So blogger and entertainment junkie Peter Smith decided to spend a couple of hours seeing if they were worth watching. He managed to sit through 4 of the 8 comedy shows and found a mixed bag — one a clear miss, two meh, and one he'd like to see turned into a series. Have you watched any of the pilots? What did you think?" The quality of these the pilots is not the only way they're a mixed bag: for many Linux users, they're simply not watchable. Watch soon for unknown_lamer's screed on the fat lot of good(will) Amazon is generating by making it harder to legally get these shows.
ananyo writes "Activists occupied an animal facility at the University of Milan, Italy, at the weekend, releasing mice and rabbits and mixing up cage labels to confuse experimental protocols. Researchers at the university say that it will take years to recover their work. Many of the animals at the facility are genetic models for psychiatric disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. Some of the mice removed by activists were delicate mutants and immunosuppressed 'nude' mice, which die very quickly outside controlled environments. No arrests have been made following the 12-hour drama, which took place on Saturday, although the university says that it will press charges against the protesters. The attack was staged by the animal-rights group that calls itself Fermare Green Hill (or Stop Green Hill), in reference to the Green Hill dog-breeding facility near Brescia, Italy, which it targets for closure."
kkleiner writes "Recently developed noodle-making robots have now been put into operation in over 3,000 restaurants in China. Invented by a noodle restaurant owner, each unibrow-sporting robot currently costs 10,000 yuan ($1,600), which is only three months wages for an equivalent human noodle cook. As the cost of the robot continues to drop, more noodle shops are bound to displace human workers for the tirelessly working cheaper robots."
Nerval's Lobster writes "With emotions high in the hours and days following the Boston Marathon bombing, hundreds of people took to Reddit's user-generated forums to pick over images from the crime scene. Could a crowd of sharp-eyed citizens uncover evidence of the perpetrators? No, but they could definitely focus attention on the wrong people. 'Though started with noble intentions, some of the activity on reddit fueled online witch hunts and dangerous speculation which spiraled into very negative consequences for innocent parties,' read an April 22 posting on Reddit's official blog. 'The reddit staff and the millions of people on reddit around the world deeply regret that this happened.'"
Peetke writes "As we all know Oracle is not the biggest friend to the Open Source Community. Long standing OSS supporter Wikipedia has now moved from an optimized fork of MySQL 5.1 to MariaDB 5.5, for both its English and German sites. Wikipedia expects all other languages to follow within a month. Performance-wise, this move has no big implications, but it will ensure our biggest community database will live long and prosper."
An anonymous reader writes "Two men were arrested in Canada, accused of conspiring to carry out an 'al-Qaeda supported' attack against a VIA passenger train in the Greater Toronto Area. The arrests were products of 'extensive' co-operation between Canadian and US intelligence agencies, who had been investigating the plot since August 2012." From this article, it's not clear whether any actual al-Qaeda support was forthcoming, or whether the accused plotters merely thought there was, by means of an FBI sting operation, as in the 2006 case in Florida.
DeviceGuru tipped us to the release of the latest single board computer from Beagle Board. It's been two years since the previous BeagleBone was released, and today they've released the BeagleBone Black (including full hardware schematics) at a price competitive with the Raspberry Pi ($10 more, but it comes with a power brick). Powered by a Cortex-A8, it has 512M of DDR3 RAM, 2G of onboard eMMC, two blocks of 46 I/O pins, a pair of 32-bit DSPs, the usual USB host/client ports, Ethernet, and micro-HDMI (a much requested feature). Support is provided for Ångstrom GNU/Linux, Ubuntu, and Android out of the box. Linux Gizmos reports where some of the cost savings came from: "According to BeagleBoard.org cofounder Jason Kridner, interviewed in a Linux.com report today, cost savings also came from removing the default serial port as well as USB-to-serial and USB-to-JTAG interfaces, and including a cheaper single-purpose USB cable. (Three serial interfaces are available via the expansion headers.) In addition, the power expansion header for battery and backlight has been removed."
littlesparkvt writes in with a bit from Space Industry News about Bigelow Aerospace's plans for the moon: "NASA and Bigelow Aerospace are in the initial planning phases for a moon base. 'As part of our broader commercial space strategy, NASA signed a Space Act Agreement with Bigelow Aerospace to foster ideas about how the private sector can contribute to future human missions,' Said David Weaver NASA Associate Administrator for the Office of Communications." Bigelow will be performing the study for free too. Robert Bigelow chatted with a radio host a few weeks ago about Bigelow's long-term space plans. They include refueling depots and a commercial moon base, since NASA isn't planning to go there.
derekmead writes "According to a new study (PDF) from Pew Charitable Trusts, China was the world leader in clean energy investment in 2012. The U.S., meanwhile, saw its grip loosen on many of the clean energy technologies it developed. According to the research, total clean energy investment totaled $269 billion worldwide last year, a decline from 2011's record high of $302 billion. However, clean energy investment in the Asia and Oceania markets grew by 16 percent to $101 billion. In terms of investment — which is an indicator that a country or region has offered compelling projects, struck a good regulatory balance, and has a strong economy — that makes Asia the epicenter of the global clean energy market. The Pew researchers thus labeled the U.S. clean energy sector as 'underperforming,' largely for a trio of reasons. First, China's boom and manufacturing prowess has taken investment away from the U.S.. Second, the U.S. regulatory environment for clean energy is horrifically unstable (as is the regulatory environment as a whole) as politicians battle over budget rhetoric. Finally, the U.S. has failed to capitalize on its innovation prowess and develop its clean energy manufacturing sector to its full potential." They do not count nuclear as clean, but including nuclear would only widen China's lead over everyone else (they almost have their first new AP1000 ready and are building lots more).
judgecorp writes "Privacy groups have accused British ISPs of a 'conspiracy of silence' over the impact of the UK government;s proposed Communications Data Bill or 'Snooper's Charter.' The letter accuses the SPs of allowing themselves to be 'co-opted as an arm of the state' — and of not telling their customers what they are up to. Under the bill, ISPs can be ordered to store their users' communications data (the who when and where but not the content of emails etc) for police to search through."