First time accepted submitter CanadianRealist writes "Electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen is very inefficient without the use of a catalyst. Unfortunately catalysts are currently made of crystals containing rare, expensive toxic metals such as ruthenium and iridium. Two chemists from the University of Calgary have invented a process to make a catalyst using relatively non-toxic metal compounds such as iron oxide, for 1/1000 the cost of currently used catalysts. It is suggested this would make it more feasible to use electrolysis of water to create hydrogen as a method of storing energy from variable green power sources such as wind and solar."
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Earthquake Retrofit writes "The Register reports that 'Facebook has sent out invitations to an event at its Menlo Park headquarters next week that many believe will see the launch of a new, Facebook-branded smartphone...' I have lately become disillusioned with Google having so much power over my phone and the usual privacy concerns, so this announcement means I now have a choice. Oh, wait..."
An anonymous reader writes "I started using email in the early 90s and have lost most of that first decade due to ignorance, botched backups, and so on. But since about 2000, I've got most — if not all — of my email in some form or other. I run Linux, so this has mainly been in a mix of various programs: Kmail, Evolution, Thunderbird. The past 2-3 years are still on the IMAP servers. My problem is that I only rarely NEED to look back to email of 5 years ago. But sometimes it's nice. Or I just want to reminisce about something...or find an old attachment that I was sent. But I do not want to be clogging my current email client of choice with vast backups and even more, I don't know if it will even easily convert. The file structures are different, some are mbox, others maildir, etc., and I would ideally like a way to 1) store and archive these emails, 2) access them, and 3) search by Sender, Subject, Date, Attachments. Is there anything I can do or do I just have to keep legacy applications on hand for this? Should I keep trying to upgrade and pull old files into the new applications? Any help or suggestions about what YOU do would be great."
MarkWhittington writes "Included in President Obama's 2014 budget request will be a $100 million line item for NASA for a mission to capture and bring an asteroid to a high orbit around the moon where it will be explored by astronauts. Whether the $2.6 billion mission is a replacement or a supplement to the president's planned human mission to an asteroid is unclear. The proposal was first developed by the Keck Institite in April, 2012 and has achieved new impetus due to the meteor incident over Russia and new fears of killer asteroids."
Boston Police, according to an article at Slate, are engaging in a strange use of social media to fight crime. Or at least, to stop raucous music from disturbing the city. As the Slate writer says, "While police departments have been using social media to investigate for years, its use in such seemingly trivial crimes would be rather chilling, if these efforts didn’t seem so laughably inept."
Trailrunner7 writes "China has become the go-to bogeyman behind every cyber attack or malware campaign, but if you're looking for the most malicious hosting providers on the Web, you won't find any of the top 10 in China. In fact, the United States and Russia have many more bad hosting providers in the top 20 than China does. ... [One] interesting data point is the appearance of Amazon in the top 10 list of providers hosting the highest concentration of infected Web sites. These are the kind of sites used in drive-by download attacks and to deliver exploits from exploit packs. Amazon, with more than two million IPs, ranks fourth in the list of providers hosting infected sites. Also on that list is Google, which comes in at number seven. The top spot belongs to Mail.ru, a Russian hosting provider."
An anonymous reader writes "Weeks after Canonical announced Mir, Wayland's display server protocol and Weston compositor have been forked. A contributor to Wayland found differing views with the project over desktop eye candy and other technical decisions to the X11 successor, which resulted in forming the Northfield and Norwood projects. The developer, Scott Moreau, has been outted from the project but has provided a lengthy explanation why the fork was needed to advance the Linux desktop."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft might want a piece of the mini-tablet market. The company has lowered the minimum screen resolution for Windows 8 tablets, from 1,366 x 768 pixels to 1024 x 768 pixels. "This doesn't imply that we're encouraging partners to regularly use a lower screen resolution," it wrote in an accompanying newsletter. "We understand that partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful." As pointed out by ZDNet's Ed Bott—cited by other publications as the journalist who first noticed the altered guidelines—that lowered resolution "would allow manufacturers to introduce devices that are in line with the resolutions of the iPad Mini (1024 x 768) and the Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7 (both 1280 x 800)." Whatever the contours of the smaller-tablet market, it's certainly popular enough to tantalize any potential competitor. But if Microsoft plunges in, it will face the same challenges that confronted it in the larger-tablet arena: lots of solid competitors, and not a whole lot of time to make a winning impression. There are also not-inconsiderable hardware challenges to overcome, including processor selection and engineering for optimal battery life."
Electrons may not weigh anything, but it takes some heavy lifting, both literal and figurative, to point them in the right direction. Reader terrancem writes with this excerpt: "Energy efficiency gains are failing to keep pace with the Internet's rapid rate of expansion, says a new paper published in the journal Science. Noting that the world's data centers already consume 270 terawatt hours and Internet traffic volume is doubling every three years, Diego Reforgiato Recupero of the University of Catania argues for prioritizing energy efficiency in the design of devices, networks, data centers, and software development. Recupero highlights two approaches for improving efficiency: smart standby and dynamic frequency scaling or CPU throttling."
ceview writes "Researchers at Sheffield Centre for Robotics have demonstrated that a swarm of 40 robots can carry out simple fetching and carrying tasks. This is done by grouping around an object and working together to push it across a surface. They believe that this could provide opportunities for us mere humans to harness such power to do all sorts of things like safety — what like catching falling workers perhaps? Youtube action here."
Velcroman1 writes "More than $1 billion worth of bitcoins now circulate on the web – an amount that exceeds the value of the entire currency stock of small countries like Liberia, Bhutan, and 18 other countries. Bitcoin is in high demand right now — each bitcoin currently sells for more than $90 U.S. — which bitcoin insiders say is because of world events that have shaken confidence in government-issued currencies. 'Because of what's going on in Cyprus and Europe, people are trying to pull their money out of banks there,' said Tony Gallippi, the CEO BitPay.com, which enables businesses to easily accept bitcoins as payment. 'So they buy gold, they put it under the mattress, or they buy bitcoin,' Gallippi said."
sciencehabit writes "For the first time, synthetic biologists have created a genetic device that mimics one of the widgets on which all of modern electronics is based, the three-terminal transistor. Like standard electronic transistors, the new biological transistor is expected to work in many different biological circuit designs. This should make it easier for scientists to program cells to do everything from monitor pollutants and the progression of disease to turning on the output of medicines and biofuels."
sfcrazy writes "ZFS on Linux has reached what Brian Behlendorf calls an important milestone with the official 0.6.1 release. Version 0.6.1 not only brings the usual bug fixes but also introduces a new property called 'snapdev.' Brian explains, 'The snapdev property was introduced to control the visibility of zvol snapshot devices and may be set to either visible or hidden. When set to hidden, which is the default, zvol snapshot devices will not be created under /dev/. To gain access to these devices the property must be set to visible. This behavior is analogous to the existing snapdir property.'"
hypnosec writes "The developers of the PostgreSQL have announced that they are locking down access to the PostgreSQL repositories to only committers while a fix for a "sufficiently bad" security issue applied. The lock down is temporary and will be lifted once the next release is available. The core committee has announced that they 'apologize in advance for any disruption' adding that 'It seems necessary in this instance, however.'"
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, an anonymous reader writes in with news about a giant robot jellyfish. As if there weren't enough real jellyfish around to trigger our thalassophobia, researchers at Virginia Tech have created Cryo -- an eight-armed autonomous robot that mimics jelly movement with the help of a flexible silicone hat. The man-sized jellybot altogether dwarfs previous efforts, hence the upgrade from small tank to swimming pool for mock field tests. And unlike the passively propelled bots we've seen recently, Cryo runs on batteries, with the researchers hoping to better replicate the energy-efficient nature of jelly movement to eventually increase Cryo's charge cycle to months instead of hours. That's also the reason these robotic jellyfish are getting bigger -- because the larger they are, the further they can go."