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Power

Submission + - Andrea Rossi's apparent cold fusion success (wired.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: Has cold fusion arrived in the marketplace in the form of a 1 MW plant? Wired.co.uk has an article that debunks the accusations of fraud by pointing out Andrea Rossi's scam-inconsistent requirement that the 1 MW plant customers be "qualified," large companies (who have lots of attorneys and legal jargon in contracts), who first validate the technology for themselves before the purchase is complete. On October 28, in Bologna, Italy, the first plant was tested and sold for to an undisclosed customer who was satisfied with the demonstration of 479 kilowatts of continuous power during a self-sustaining mode that ran for 5.5 hours before they turned it off. The present one-off price is $2000 per kW; but once mass produced, Rossi expects that price to drop to $100/kW — ten times cheaper than coal or natural gas power; without any radioactive feedstock or waste. Has the holy grail of energy arrived? Join the discussion that is beginning to percolate through the mainstream press.
Businesses

Submission + - Boeing Dreamliner landing systems fail (computerworlduk.com)

DMandPenfold writes: "The automated undercarriage systems on a Boeing Dreamliner, a new high-tech jumbo jet, entirely failed to work during the landing approach of a domestic Japanese flight carrying 250 passengers this morning.

The news follows a similar incident last week on a more conventional Boeing jet, in which a plane on a flight to Warsaw was forced to land on its belly.

In today’s problem, the automated landing gear did not operate, but the pilot was able to lower the landing gear manually – using gravity – and landed on the plane's second approach to the runway.

It was the first serious operational problem for the new Dreamliner aircraft, which has been in commercial use for only one week. The planes were sold to airlines partly on the basis of their advanced automated systems.

The Dreamliners have an all-electronic cockpit, and an aircraft-wide computer network that links the flight deck to all of the control systems as well as providing real time data to air control staff on the ground. Many of the safety systems, including the brakes, are electronically controlled, with some traditional hydraulic systems taken out.

The pilot of today’s All Nippon Airways flight 651 was warned by on-board monitoring systems, on his approach to Okayama airport, that the landing gear had failed to engage. It is understood that the monitoring screens may have identified a problem with the systems controlling undercarriage hydraulic valves.

Boeing deferred comment to All Nippon Airways, which had not provided more detail at the time of writing on why the automated systems failed to work or how the problem will be prevented in the future.

In 2008, the US Federal Aviation Administration warned that the Dreamliner could be vulnerable to hacking, because of the way critical flight systems are linked with those used by passengers. They said the problems were "critical to the safety and maintenance" of the aircraft."

Submission + - One Tenth of China's Farmland Polluted with Heavy (china.org.cn)

eldavojohn writes: A report form China's Environmental Ministry reveals that one tenth of China's 1.22 million square kilometers of farmland are polluted with heavy metals and other toxins. The AFP lists 'lead, mercury and cancer-causing cadmium' and points to the rapid pace of China's industrialization as well as factories and their operators flouting regulations and laws. Cheap batteries and lead refineries are slowly turning China into a land where whole villages are poisoned (11 incidents so far this year). According to Human Rights Watch the government's response to this scourge is laughable. The poisoned are denied treatment and China's Environmental Ministry offers no possible help: 'The report documents how local authorities in contaminated areas have imposed arbitrary limits on access to blood lead testing, for example by permitting only people living within a small radius of a factory to be tested. When tests are conducted, results have often been contradictory or have been withheld from victims and their families. And children with elevated blood lead levels who require treatment according to national guidelines have been denied care or told simply to eat certain foods, including apples, garlic, milk, and eggs.'

Submission + - Fujitsu announces 16-core SPARC64 IXfx (fujitsu.com)

A12m0v writes: "PRIMEHPC FX10 runs on the newly-developed SPARC64 IXfx processors, which offer a very significant boost in performance over the SPARC64 VIIIfx processor on which they are based and which power the K computer. Each processor has 16 cores and achieves world-class standalone performance levels of 236.5 gigaflops and performance per watt of over 2 gigaflops."
Science

Submission + - Computer-controlled cyborg yeast (extremetech.com)

MrSeb writes: "With a slightly weird world first, scientists have formed a feedback loop between common, baking and brewing yeast, and a computer. The computer can trigger the yeast to produce a protein, and the yeast then feeds back to the computer how much of the protein is being produced — the computer has exact control over the yeast’s production. This work, performed by scientists at the Automatic Control Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, is exceptional because of its simplicity: The computer turns the yeast on by flashing a red light, and it turns the yeast off by flashing a deeper red light. Connected to the yeast is a “reporter” molecule that fluoresces when the protein is produced. The computer can see this fluorescence and alter the light it emits, thus creating a full feedback loop. The simplicity is significant because of the role of yeasts and bacteria in the production of antibiotics, biofuels, and more. The problem is controlling those organisms — so far, scientists have tried to genetically add synthetic control circuits, with limited success... and now the Swiss have shown that it can be done by simply shining a couple of lights."

Submission + - NSA Declassifies another COMSEC History (governmentattic.org)

An anonymous reader writes: The National Security Agency has let out another internal history of Communications Security in the Post WW2 era, according to the Government Attic website.

Submission + - Fireworks show goes titsup (bbc.co.uk) 1

ronaldm writes: "Trigger-happy Scottish pyromaniacs celebrating Guy Fawkes Night last night ended up watching their creation go spectacularly wrong, when all the fireworks were triggered at the same time — resulting in the show being 29 minutes shorter than the 30 minutes it was supposed to last.

"Perhaps they're now regretting having asked the Pakistan cricket team to set off the fireworks?""

Submission + - World emissions of carbon dioxide soar higher than (washingtonpost.com)

Layzej writes: The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record in 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated. A chart accompanying the study shows the breakdown by country. The new figures mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago. It is a “monster” increase that is unheard of, said Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University, who has helped calculate Department of Energy figures in the past. The question now among scientists is whether the future is the IPCC's worst case scenario or something more extreme.
Security

Submission + - Help Rename the Department of Homeland Security 2

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "James Fallows writes tongue in cheek that U.S. Department of Fear, led by Secretary of Fear Malcolm P. Stag III, is running a poll. What should we re-name the Department of Homeland Security? "Possibilities include Department of ScaredyCatLand Security, reflecting the prevailing mentality of an era, and Department of Fatherland Security, to make us sound strong," writes Fallows. "There are many more to choose from, plus you can write in your own nominees. But act now, because the polls close in two days.""
Education

Submission + - Why Do So Many College Science Majors Drop Out?

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Christopher Drew writes that President Obama and industry groups have called on colleges to graduate 10,000 more engineers a year and 100,000 new teachers with majors in science, technology, engineering and math but studies find that roughly 40 percent of students planning engineering and science majors end up switching to other subjects or failing to get any degree — 60 percent when pre-medical students are included. Middle and high school students are having most of the fun, building their erector sets and dropping eggs into water to test the first law of motion but the excitement quickly fades as students brush up against the reality of what David E. Goldberg calls “the math-science death march" as freshmen in college wade through a blizzard of calculus, physics and chemistry in lecture halls with hundreds of other students where many wash out. “Treating the freshman year as a ‘sink or swim’ experience and accepting attrition as inevitable,” says a report by the National Academy of Engineering, “is both unfair to students and wasteful of resources and faculty time.” But help is on the way. In September, the Association of American Universities announced a five-year initiative to encourage faculty members in the STEM fields to use more interactive teaching techniques (PDF). “There is a long way to go,” says Hunter R. Rawlings, the association’s president, “and there is an urgent need to accelerate the process of reform.”"

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: spoof an email bounce? 2

An anonymous reader writes: One cool feature I used on kMail years ago was the ability to generate a spoofed email bounce for any given message I had received, which claimed delivery failed because of an unknown recipient. While this doesn't exactly align with expected behaviour from a mail client, it was a useful way of easily getting off mailing lists (automated, or manually created by freaky acquaintances!).

This is something I really miss, so I'm wondering if there are any mail clients for Windows that provide similar functionality?

Submission + - Could crowd-sourced democracy be made to work? (google.com) 1

maccallr writes: The Occupy Movement is getting everyone talking about how to fix the world's economic (and social, environmental...) problems. It is even trialling new forms of "open" democracy. Trouble is, it's easy to criticise the physical occupiers for being unrepresentative of the general population — and much of their debating time is spent on practical rather than policy issues. Well-meaning but naive occupiers could be susceptible to exploitation by the political establishment and vested interests. In the UK, virtual occupiers are using Google Moderator to propose and debate policy in the comfort of their homes (where, presumably, it is easier to find out stuff you didn't know). Could something like this be done on a massive scale (national or global) to reach consensus on what needs to be done? How do you maximise participation by "normal folk" on complex issues? What level of participation could be considered quorate? How do you deal with block votes? What can we learn from e-petitions and Iceland's crowd-sourced constitution? Is the "Occupy" branding appropriate? What other pitfalls are there? Or are existing models of democracy and dictatorship fit for purpose?
Canada

Submission + - One Millionth Tower High-Rise Documentary Takes Fo (wired.com)

theweatherelectric writes: One Millionth Tower is a documentary about the high-rise apartment residential areas of Toronto. The documentary is presented using an interesting combination of HTML5, WebGL, Popcorn.js, and three.js. From the article: 'The movie, which makes its online premiere above, was carefully crafted to be watched on the internet. It uses interactive tools to illustrate the Toronto residents’ ideas about how to improve the decaying high-rise in which they live. Powered entirely by HTML5 and open source JavaScript libraries, One Millionth Tower is loaded with photos and information from all over the web, and exists in an online environment that is about as close to three-dimensional as something on a flat screen can get.'

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