Power

First US Offshore Wind Farm To Usher In New Era For Industry (ap.org) 188

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Associated Press: The nation's first offshore wind farm is set to open off the coast of Rhode Island this fall, ushering in a new era in the U.S. for the industry. Developers, federal regulators and industry experts say the opening will move the U.S. industry from a theory to reality, paving the way for the construction of many more wind farms that will eventually provide power for many Americans. Deepwater Wind is building a five-turbine wind farm off Block Island, Rhode Island to power about 17,000 homes. The project costs about $300 million, according to the company. CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said the Block Island wind farm enables larger projects because it proves that wind farms can be built along the nation's coast. Offshore wind farms, which benefit from strong winds because of their location, are being proposed near population epicenters that lack the space to build on land. Indeed, several states are pushing ambitious clean energy goals, which include offshore wind. Among them is California, which has a target of generating 50 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2030. Vermont hopes to hit 55 percent by next year and Hawaii has called for 100 percent renewable power by 2045.
Communications

FCC OKs Sweeping Spectrum Frontiers Rules To Open Up Nearly 11 GHz Of Spectrum (fiercewireless.com) 64

Monica Alleven, reporting for FierceWirelessTech: In one fell swoop, the FCC today put the U.S. in a 5G leadership position, voting 5-0 to approve its Spectrum Frontiers proceeding and make spectrum bands above 24 GHz available for 5G. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, noting his previous remarks on the proceeding, kept his remarks brief to avoid repeating himself. But he summed it up this way before the final vote: "This is a big day for our nation. This is a big day for this agency," he said. "I do believe this is one of the, if not the most, important decision this agency will make this year. By becoming the first nation to identify high-band spectrum, the United States is ushering in the 5G era of high capacity, high-speed, low-latency wireless networks. By not getting involved in the technologies that will use the spectrum, we're turning loose the incredible innovators of this country," he said. The new rules open up nearly 11 GHz of high-frequency spectrum for mobile and fixed wireless broadband -- 3.85 GHz of licensed spectrum and 7 GHz of unlicensed spectrum. The rules create a new Upper Microwave Flexible Use service in the 28 GHz (27.5-28.35 GHz), 37 GHz (37-38.6 GHz) and 39 GHz (38.6-40 GHz) bands, and a new unlicensed band at 64-71 GHz. The FCC will continue to seek comment on bands above 95 GHz.
Government

UK Gov't Creating Secret Mega Database On Citizens Without Informing Parliament (theregister.co.uk) 70

Alexander J Martin, reporting for The Register: The Home Office is secretly creating a centralised database on the good folk of Britain without presenting the capability increases to the public or subjecting them to Parliamentary scrutiny. The Register can reveal the project, which was described as simply a "replatforming" of the department's aging IT infrastructure, has already begun to roll out, with the "first wave" of changes being delivered in what it is calling the Technology Platforms for Tomorrow (TPT) programme. TPT will lay the foundations for this mega database by ushering in "core infrastructure, compute platforms and Live Service capability" changes, primarily using Hadoop, the open source software framework for centralising databases and allowing batch queries and analyses to be run across them in bulk.
NASA

Shockwave Images Help NASA In Development of 'Quiet' Supersonic Jet (go.com) 63

An anonymous reader writes: NASA is working on developing a next-generation supersonic jet that can break the sound barrier with a soft "thump" instead of a sonic boom. They are using a technique called schlieren imagery to "visualize supersonic flow phenomena with full-scale aircraft in flight" with the sun as the backdrop for the photos. According to a NASA blog post, viewing shock waves and their density is crucial to the project so engineers can work on a design to minimize those reverberations. While the Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) research aircraft is being developed, stunning images were captured of a supersonic jet flying at Mach 1.05 with the sun in the background. NASA says when QueSST is operational, it could "unlock the future to commercial supersonic flight over land," essentially ushering in a new era of aviation that could allow us to get from point A to point B faster and without the loud roar of the Concorde as it breaks the sound barrier.
Intel

Intel NUC5i7RYH Broadwell Mini PC With Iris Pro Graphics Tested 80

MojoKid writes: In addition to ushering in a wave of new notebooks and mobile devices, Intel's Broadwell microarchitecture has also found its way into a plethora of recently introduced small form factor systems like the company's NUC platform. The new NUC5i7RYH is a mini-PC packing a Core i7-5557U Broadwell processor with Iris Pro graphics, which makes it the most powerful NUC released to date. There's a 5th-gen Core i7 CPU inside (dual-core, quad-thread) that can turbo up to 3.4GHz, an Iris Pro 6100 series integrated graphics engine, support for dual-channel memory, M.2 and 2.5" SSDs, 802.1ac and USB 3.0. NUCs are generally barebones systems, so you have to build them up with a drive and memory before they can be used. The NUC5i7RYH is one of the slightly taller NUC systems that can accommodate both M.2 and 9.5mm 2.5 drives and all NUCs come with a power brick and VESA mount. With a low-power dual-core processor and on-die Iris Pro 6100-series graphics engine, the NUC5i7RYH won't offer the same kind of performance as systems equipped with higher-powered processors or discrete graphics cards, but for everyday computing tasks and casual gaming, it should fit the bill for users that want a low profile, out-of-the-way tiny PC.
Microsoft

Microsoft Celebrates 40th Anniversary 142

HughPickens.com writes Alyssa Newcomb reports at ABC News that the software company started by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975 is 40 and fabulous and highlights products and moments that helped define Microsoft's first four decades including: Microsoft's first product — software for the Altair 8800; Getting a deal to provide a DOS Operating System for IBM's computers in 1980; Shipping Windows 1.0 in 1985; Microsoft Office for Mac released in 1989; Windows 3.0 ships in 1990, ushering in the era of graphics on computers; Windows 95 launches in 1995, selling an astounding 7 million copies in the first five weeks, and the first time the start menu, task bar, minimize, maximize and close buttons are introduced on each window.

For his part, Bill Gates sent a letter to employees celebrating Microsoft's anniversary, and how far computing has come since he and Paul Allen set the goal of a computer on every desk and in every home, and predicting that computing will evolve faster in the next 10 years than it ever has before.
Education

A Makerbot In Every Classroom 152

Daniel_Stuckey writes "At the start of this year, President Obama nicely summed up the grandiose promise of 3D printing — or rather, the hype surrounding it. In his State of the Union address the president suggested the fledgling technology could save manufacturing by ushering in a second industrial revolution. That shout-out inspired a spate of buzzkill blog posts pointing out — rightly enough — that despite its potential, 3D printing is still in its infancy. It's not the panacea for the struggling economy we want it to be, at least not yet. Apparently the naysayers weren't enough to kill the 3D-printing dream, because, with support from the federal government, MakerBot announced its initiative to put a 3D printer in every school in America. The tech startup and the administration are betting big that teaching kids 3D printing is teaching them the skills they'll need as tomorrow's engineers, designers, and inventors." Caveat: Makerbot no longer produces open hardware, and they are pushing proprietary Autodesk software and educational materials as part of the free 3D printer. Makerbot also launched a call for open models of math manipulatives on Thingiverse (you might remember them from elementary school) so that teachers have something useful to print immediately.
Image

England To Get eBay-Style Feedback System For Public Services Screenshot-sm 8

Gordon Brown has declared that the English will get more online powers to rate GPs, police, childcare and councils. Brown said, "We are ushering in a new world of accountability in which parents, patients and local communities shape the services they receive, ensuring all our public services respond not simply to the hand of government, but to the voice of local people." As we all know, the anonymity of the internet leads people to be honest, and to use feedback services in a responsible manner.
Earth

Scientists Reconstruct Millennium's Coldest Winter 290

Ponca City, We love you writes "In England they called it the Great Frost, while in France it entered legend as Le Grand Hiver, three months of deadly cold that fell over Europe in 1709 ushering in a year of famine and food riots. Livestock died from cold in their barns, chicken's combs froze and fell off, trees exploded and travelers froze to death on the roads. It was the coldest winter in 500 years with temperatures as much as 7 degrees C below the average for 20th-century Europe. Now as part of the European Union's Millennium Project, Scientists are aiming to reconstruct the past 1000 years of Europe's climate using a combination of direct measurements, proxy indicators of temperature such as tree rings and ice cores, and data gleaned from historical documents."
Role Playing (Games)

Three Downloadable Expansions Announced For Final Fantasy XI 51

Square Enix has announced plans to release three expansion chapters to Final Fantasy XI. Their blog post provided some details about the new content: "The first installment, A Crystalline Prophecy — Ode of Life Bestowing, is slated for release for all languages and platforms in Spring of next year. Subsequent installments will then follow, being released in intervals of every few months. These expansions packages will only be available through online purchase via PlayOnline. The projected cost for each installment is around $10.00. ... Up until now, expansion packs have generally been developed from a perspective of 'lateral expansion,' focusing namely on the introduction of new areas. These three new expansions, however, will deepen the storylines running through pre-existing areas by ushering in all-new plots and intrigues. While not necessarily containing as much content as traditional expansions, these episodic scenarios are designed to take anywhere from one to two months to complete."
Robotics

Robots That Serve Beyond The Vacuum 258

Tim Brown of Mobile Robotics writes "While everyone has been debating the abilities of new robotic vacuum cleaners and their varying price tags, Siemens has quietly announced they have developed a 'Dressman' robot that will iron your clothes! (my least favorite household chore). Rumoured to be priced at US$1700 it seems expensive for an iron. But it appears that the Roomba's best work might be that it is ushering in a new era of innovation in home products. (Note very cool picture with the article.)"

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