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Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Reflectivity Reaches a New Low

sporkme writes: "A new nanocoating material developed by a team of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has the lowest level of reflectivity ever seen, or not seen in this case. The amount of light reflected by the composite of silica nanorods and aluminum nitride is almost the same amount reflected by air. From the article:

Schubert and his coworkers have created a material with a refractive index of 1.05, which is extremely close to the refractive index of air and the lowest ever reported. Window glass, for comparison, has a refractive index of about 1.45.
. . .
Using a technique called oblique angle deposition, the researchers deposited silica nanorods at an angle of precisely 45 degrees on top of a thin film of aluminum nitride, which is a semiconducting material used in advanced light-emitting diodes (LEDs). From the side, the films look much like the cross section of a piece of lawn turf with the blades slightly flattened.
Suggested applications include increased efficiency in solar cells, more energy-efficient lighting and advances in quantum mechanics. No word yet on invisibility cloaks."
Software

Submission + - Software tweak could boost your car's gas mileage

coondoggie writes: "Think it's possible to improve your car's gas mileage just by downloading a new piece of software? Seems to be the case according to a Dutch scientist who this week said most modern cars could reduce fuel consumption by almost 3% by downloading software he and Ford worked to develop. John Kessels' software shuts on or off the car's alternator, which charges the car battery, when it is particularly inefficient for the engine to power it, thus improving the overall efficiency of the engine. A similar technique is used for hybrid cars. The software is not proprietary to Ford and can be used in any vehicle with an engine computer, which includes the vast majority of cars sold today, Kessel says. http://www.networkworld.com/community/?q=node/1195 6"
Power

Submission + - Thorium the Key to Non-Prolfieration?

P3NIS_CLEAVER writes: Nuclear energy has been proposed as an alternative to coal power plants that generating carbon dioxide and emit mercury. As we are seeing now in Iran, the desire for nuclear energy has created a gray area that places peaceful civilian power generation at odds with nuclear non-proliferation. An article at Resource Investor claims that thorium reactors can be used to replace existing reactors without creating isotopes that may be used in nuclear weapons.
Music

Submission + - RIAA slams FAIR USE Act

Tyler Too writes: The RIAA has weighed in on the just-introduced FAIR USE Act, and to no one's surprise, they're not at all happy with it. 'The FAIR USE Act "would repeal the DMCA and legalize hacking," says the RIAA. "It would reverse the Supreme Court's decision in Grokster and allow electronics companies to induce others to break the law for their own profit."' Looks like the CEA's lobbyists and the RIAA's lobbyists will be battling it out on Capitol Hill.
Databases

Submission + - Free global virtual scientific library

An anonymous reader writes: More than 20,000 signatures, including several Nobel prize winners and 750 education, research, and cultural organisations from around the world came together to support free access to government funded research, "to create a freely available virtual scientific library available to the entire globe. The European Commission responded by committing more than $100m (£51m) towards facilitating greater open access through support for open access journals and for the building of the infrastructure needed to house institutional repositories that can store the millions of academic articles written each year. From the BBC article: "Last month five leading European research institutions launched a petition that called on the European Commission to establish a new policy that would require all government-funded research to be made available to the public shortly after publication. That requirement — called an open access principle — would leverage widespread internet connectivity with low-cost electronic publication to create a freely available virtual scientific library available to the entire globe." Isn't this the way its suppose to be?
Patents

Submission + - Watermark system scours the net for infringement

Almond Cookie writes: What if all copyrighted material contained watermarks, and software could scan videos and images online for those watermarks in order to report back to the content maker? A new patent filing shows plans for such a system to crawl sites like YouTube and MySpace for images or video that's copyrighted, which seems to focus more on casual piracy than that being done on P2P networks. Will it really work though? From the article:

For the system to work, players at multiple levels would need to get involved. Broadcasters would need to add identifying watermarks to their broadcast, in cooperation with copyright holders, and both parties would need to register their watermarks with the system. Then, in the event that a user capped a broadcast and uploaded it online, the scanner system would eventually find it and report its location online. [...] Generally we've laughed off most watermarking solutions because they seemed like solutions in search of a problem. Now that Google has learned the hard way that content owners want to be paid when their content shows up on YouTube, we may see more of these "solutions" in the future.
Quickies

Submission + - Big 'Ocean' Discovered Beneath Asia

anthemaniac writes: Seismic observations reveal a huge reservoir of water in Earth's mantle beneath Asia. It's actually rock saturated with water, but it's an ocean's worth of water ... as much as is in the whole Arctic Ocean. How did it get there? A slab of water-laden crust sank, and the water evaporated out when it was heated, and then it was trapped, the thinking goes. The discovery fits neatly with the region's heavy seismic activity and fits neatly with the idea that the planet's moving crustal plates are lubricated with water.

Audio Watermark Web Spider Starts Crawling 173

DippityDo writes "A new web tool is scanning the net for signs of copyright infringement. Digimarc's patented system searches video and audio files for special watermarks that would indicate they are not to be shared, then reports back to HQ with the results. It sounds kind of creepy, but has a long way to go before it makes a practical difference. 'For the system to work, players at multiple levels would need to get involved. Broadcasters would need to add identifying watermarks to their broadcast, in cooperation with copyright holders, and both parties would need to register their watermarks with the system. Then, in the event that a user capped a broadcast and uploaded it online, the scanner system would eventually find it and report its location online. Yet the system is not designed to hop on P2P networks or private file sharing hubs, but instead crawls public web sites in search of watermarked material.'"

Feed 'Fair Use' Bill Returns, Gutted (wired.com)

Reps. Boucher and Doolittle try for a third time to tone down the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but a key revision takes the teeth out of the measure. In Listening Post.


Sci-Fi

Submission + - Slashdot in a sci-fi book

An anonymous reader writes: I was reading 'Century Rain' by Alastair Reynolds and was very surprised to see Slashdot mentioned there. Apparently a powerful, technologically advanced human society in the future will be founded by Slashdotters. From the book: "It's all right," Niagara said. "I won't be the least bit offended if you call me a Slasher. You probably regard the term as an insult." "Isn't it?" Auger asked, surprised. "Only if you want it to be." Niagara made a careful gesture, like some religious benediction: a diagonal slice across his chest and a stab to the heart. "A slash and a dot," he said. "I doubt it means anything to you, but this was once the mark of an alliance of progressive thinkers linked together by one of the very first computer networks. The Federation of Polities can trace its existence right back to that fragile collective, in the early decades of the Void Century. It's less a stigma than a mark of community."
XBox (Games)

Submission + - XBOX360 Hypervisor Security Protection hacked

ACTRAiSER writes: "A recent Post on Bugtraq claims the hack of the XBOX360 Security Protection Hypervisor. It includes sample code as well. "We have discovered a vulnerability in the Xbox 360 hypervisor that allows privilege escalation into hypervisor mode. Together with a method to inject data into non-privileged memory areas, this vulnerability allows an attacker with physical access to an Xbox 360 to run arbitrary code such as alternative operating systems with full privileges and full hardware access.""
Patents

Patent Office Head Lays Out Reform Strategy 253

jeevesbond writes to tell us that Jon Dudas, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office has laid out a plan for patent reform. "Speaking at the Tech Policy Summit in San Jose, Dudas said that characterizing the patent system as hurting innovation is a 'fundamentally wrong' way to frame the debate. 'I have traveled around the world, and every nation is thinking how it can model [intellectual property governance] after the U.S,' Dudas said. 'It's a proven system, over 200 years old. The Supreme Court, Congress and policy makers are involved [in cases and legal reforms] not because the system is broken. It's not perfect, and we should be having the debate on how to improve.'"
Google

Submission + - Gmail let's you get mail from other POP3 accounts.

snower1313 writes: "Gmail has just added a new feature for a limited number of users that allows 3rd party POP3 account emails to be retrieved into your Gmail Inbox. "You can retrieve your mail (new and old) from up to five other email accounts and have them all in Gmail. Then you can even create a customized 'From:' address, which lets you send messages from Gmail, but have them look like they were sent from another one of your email accounts.""
Education

Submission + - BBC Micro: Britain's First PC Hit

An anonymous reader writes: North American children grew up with the Apple II. Across the Atlantic, the BBC gave its blessings to the unreleased Acorn Proton (another 6502 micro) and it became the standard in education and home for almost a decade as the BBC Micro, even though there were cheaper, more capable machines on the market. Read about how Acorn won the lucrative contract and slowly disintegrated after their RISC home computer (released in 1987) failed to catch on.

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