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Hardware

Submission + - PARC unveils first printed, flexible CMOS circuit (extremetech.com)

MrSeb writes: "Researchers at PARC and Thinfilm Electronics have finally managed to print — as in, using a printer that is similar to the one attached to your computer — a computer circuit consisting of transistor-transistor logic and memory. Dubbed Thinfilm Addressable Memory, the new device marries Thinfilm’s printed memory technology and PARC’s printed transistors to create an honest-to-Moore CMOS circuit. How? Using organic, ferroelectric polymer ink. The exact process isn’t detailed, but the printed circuit basically looks like a horizontal, rolled-out-flat integrated circuit. In other words, instead of stacking multiple layers of semiconductor to make a transistor, they are laid out next to each other, with different inks forming the various features required to make a memory cell or transistor. It’s no where near as space-efficient, and the number and size of components is obviously limited to the resolution of the printer but by Thor, it actually works, they're very cheap to produce (a few cents), and they're physically very flexible."
Space

Submission + - KickSat Would Launch Members' Nanosatellites into (gizmag.com)

Zothecula writes: Pssst, do you wanna buy a satellite? No, really — do you? Well, Zac Manchester would like to sell you one. Not only that, but he claims that the thing could be built and launched into orbit for just a few hundred dollars. For that price, however, you're not going to be getting a big satellite. Manchester's Sprite spacecraft are actually about the size of a couple of postage stamps, but they have tiny versions of all the basic equipment that the big ones have, and yours could end up transmitting your initials from outer space.

Submission + - Obama Issues Executive Orders to Forgive Student L (whitehouse.gov)

cjcurrie writes: "(My first submission and I accidentally posted anonymously. Resubmitted here so you can get a copy of the full email if you want it.)

IIRC, the Obama Administration took all online petitions with over 25,000 signatures and promised an official response. Today, at 6:31 Central, they issued an email to all voters with a link to this reply:

"Today, the Obama Administration announced [...] a series of executive actions to put Americans back to work and strengthen the economy because we can’t wait for Congressional Republicans to act.

[...]

"The new “Pay As You Earn” proposal will allow about 1.6 million students the ability to cap their loan payments at 10 percent [...] and forgive the balance of their debt after 20 years of payments."

After describing mortgage consolidation tweaks, the Office of the Press Secretary also announces (in the email, but not in the letter):

"In addition to capping student loan repayments, the Healthcare and Education Reconciliation Act helped increase the maximum Pell Grant to $5,500 and saved taxpayers billions by cutting out banks as middlemen. Because of this reform, there will be over 800,000 additional Pell Grants awarded over the next 10 years and the value of Pell Grants will be able to keep up with additional college costs."

Pell Grants are not loans, but money given to students to help pay for a bachelor's degree.

This executive order will take place starting January 2012."

NASA

Submission + - NASA Scientist Claims Evidence of Alien Fossils (journalofcosmology.com)

the_scoots writes: "Dr. Richard B. Hoover of the NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center has published "definitive evidence" in this month's Journal of Cosmology of alien microbe fossils in meteorites. The findings were previously made available to other researchers and responses will be published along side the article beginning March 7th."

Comment On Demand Video Prices (Score 1) 364

I think the reason for the pricing at ~$2.00 GB is that it makes the bandwidth price for a Netflix or other streaming movie about equal with your standard cable On-Demand movie. If the ISP, which also is a cable company, owns the On-Demand rights to content also available to streaming, it seems very likely that they would want to find a way to keep people watching their $4-$8 movies when they are "free" with an $8 Netflix subscription.

Businesses

Retailers Dread Phone-Wielding Shoppers 725

Ponca City writes "The WSJ reports that until recently, retailers could reasonably assume that if they just lured shoppers into stores with enticing specials, the customers could be coaxed into buying more profitable stuff too. But now, marketers must contend with shoppers who can use their smartphones inside stores to check whether the specials are really so special. 'The retailer's advantage has been eroded,' says analyst Greg Girard, adding that roughly 45% of customers with smartphones had used them to perform due diligence on a store's prices. 'The four walls of the store have become porous.' Although store executives publicly welcome a price-transparent world, retail experts don't expect all chains to measure up to the harsh judgment of mobile price comparisons, and some will need to find new ways to survive. 'Only a couple of retailers can play the lowest-price game,' says Noam Paransky. 'This is going to accelerate the demise of retailers who do not have either competitive pricing or a standout store experience.'"
Medicine

Americans Less Healthy, But Outlive Brits 521

An anonymous reader writes with this intriguing snippet: "Older Americans are less healthy than their English counterparts, but they live as long or even longer than their English peers, according to a new study by researchers from the RAND Corporation and the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London. Researchers found that while Americans aged 55 to 64 have higher rates of chronic diseases than their peers in England, they died at about the same rate. And Americans age 65 and older — while still sicker than their English peers — had a lower death rate than similar people in England, according to findings published in the journal Demography."
Piracy

Considering a Fair Penalty For Illegal File-sharing 728

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt, following up on yesterday's announcement of the 1.5 million dollar verdict against Jammie Thomas: "This week a federal jury handed down the verdict in the third file-sharing trial against a Minnesota mother of four who has been fighting against the charges brought by the RIAA since 2005. Understandably, a lot of people are outraged by this verdict and while reading through comments about the fine on some online forums, I saw some interesting opinions on how these fines should be assessed. The point that $62,500 per song is excessively high seems to be something that everyone can agree on, but what actually is fair seems to be a big point of contention."
Oracle

33 Developers Leave OpenOffice.org 500

dkd903 writes "We all knew it would come to this, and it has finally happened — 33 developers have left OpenOffice.org to join The Document Foundation, with more expected to leave in the next few days. After Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, OpenOffice.org fell into the hands of Oracle, as did a lot of other products. So, last month a few very prominent members of the OpenOffice.org community decided to form The Document Foundation and fork OpenOffice.org as LibreOffice, possibly fearing that it could go the OpenSolaris way."

Comment Project Based Learning (Score 1) 325

I'm surprised at the knee jerk reaction to technology in education. Technology is just a tool that is only as good as the teacher who uses it. Laptops, whiteboards, etc have been great tools in the project based learning area, and study after study shows that project based learning is better than rote learning. http://edutopia.org/project-based-learning-research

In my opinion, we need much better training for educators in how to properly use these tools. Putting devices into a classroom that uses the same teaching techniques as the 19th century will get the results we are currently getting in most schools, nothing.

Patents

Why Geim Never Patented Graphene 325

gbrumfiel writes "As we discussed on Tuesday, Andre Geim won this year's Nobel prize in physics for graphene, but he never patented it. In an interview with Nature News, he explains why: 'We considered patenting; we prepared a patent and it was nearly filed. Then I had an interaction with a big, multinational electronics company. I approached a guy at a conference and said, "We've got this patent coming up, would you be interested in sponsoring it over the years?" It's quite expensive to keep a patent alive for 20 years. The guy told me, "We are looking at graphene, and it might have a future in the long term. If after ten years we find it's really as good as it promises, we will put a hundred patent lawyers on it to write a hundred patents a day, and you will spend the rest of your life, and the gross domestic product of your little island, suing us." That's a direct quote.'"

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