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Submission + - Mysterious Sound Waves Can Destroy Rockets

Ponca City, We love you writes: "Scientists believe that powerful and unstable sound waves, created by energy supplied by the combustion process, were the cause of rocket failures in several US and Russian rockets and have also observed these mysterious oscillations in other propulsion and power-generating systems such as missiles and gas turbines. Now, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a liquid rocket engine simulator and imaging techniques to help demystify the cause of these explosive sound waves and bring scientists a little closer to being able to understand and prevent them. The team was able to clearly demonstrate that the phenomenon manifests itself in the form of spinning acoustic waves that gain destructive power as they rotate around the rocket's combustion chamber at a rate of 5,000 revolutions per second. Researchers developed a low-pressure combustor to simulate larger rocket engines then used a very-high-speed camera with fiber optic probes to observe the formation and behavior of excited spinning sound waves within the engine. "This is a very troublesome phenomenon in rockets," said Professor Ben Zinn. "These spinning acoustic oscillations destroy engines without anyone fully understanding how these waves are formed. Visualizing this phenomenon brings us a step closer to understanding it.""

Submission + - Border wall is bypassing the well connected (

MazzThePianoman writes: "Remember those stories not so long ago about people being sued by the government for use of their land on the border to build the border wall? It turns out that some are not getting sued and there is a reason why. The Texas Observer investigated and found that Homeland Security won't say why the border wall is bypassing the wealthy and politically connected. "Holes in the Wall""
XBox (Games)

Submission + - MS announces self-published games for Xbox Live (

Khuffie writes: "At the Game Developer's Conference currently going on, Microsoft has announced Community games in which anyone can publish, review, download and play games on Xbox Live. Members of the XNA Creators Club, which costs $99 for 12 months, will be able to self-publish games after they have been reviewed and vetted by a 'community of peers' for 'appropriateness'. A special preview of 7 games will be available for download until the 24th of February. Videos and more details here."

Submission + - Microsoft releases Office file formats

Philip Bailey writes: Microsoft has released the binary formats of its major Office file types. Specifications for .doc, .xls, .ppt files, and others, have been made available. Joel Spolsky, in an article today, describes the formats as "almost completely insane" in their complexity.

Will anybody bother to fully reimplement these formats in other software? What's in this for Microsoft?

Submission + - Lawmakers Debate Patent Immunity for Banks (

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes: "Now that a small Texas company has a patent on scanning and archiving checks — something every bank does — lawmakers feel they have to do something about it. Rather than reform patent law, they seem to think it wiser to protect the banks from having to pay billions in royalties by using eminent domain to buy the patent for $1 billion in taxpayer money, immunizing the banks. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)."
Data Storage

Submission + - UK: Man Mistakenly Arrested, DNA Stored For Ever ( 1

crush writes: "A man arrested in the UK when his mp3 player was mistaken for a firearm will now have his DNA stored for ever in the national police database. The story reported in The Guardian details how armed police tracked him with CCTV, arrested him, detained him in a cell and have now stored his fingerprints, photograph and DNA even though no one is contesting that he is completely innocent. This appears to illustrate all the arguments civil liberties campaigners have made against the Orwellian police state which is unfolding."

Submission + - Muslims Attempt to Censor Wikipedia

Nom du Keyboard writes: As reported on Fox News and The New York Times, some Muslims are attempting to censor Wikipedia because of images of Muhammad contained in the article about him. So does one religion get to tell the rest of the world how they must behave because they'll be offended otherwise, or does the Internet represent all views, even when that view may be offensive to some particular minority?

Submission + - Yarro Wants to Force Wi-Fi Operators to Filter (

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes: "Ralph Yarro, the former SCO chairman, wants the Utah legislature to pass a law force anyone running an open Wi-Fi access point to be forced to verify the age of anyone using it in order to protect minors from harmful materials online. This idea was brought up by his non-profit group, CP80, which was founded to promote the idea that pornographic websites should use their own port instead of port 80. Hopefully, they don't get the filtering technology from Japan because Yarro might be disappointed to know that his last name, in some contexts, is the equivalent of 'you bastard' in Japanese."

Feed Engadget: Holocube brings 3D projection down to desktop size (

Filed under: Displays

After years of promises, it seems that holograms are finally starting to gain a little traction, although the applications for the technology so far have been fairly limited. At least one company thinks that's about to change, however, with it now touting its retro-styled Holocube as an all-purpose solution for company's to advertise their products "like never before." Measuring about 20-inches square, the Holocube packs a 40GB hard drive for storing up to 18 hours of compressed video, which can magically float at 1080i resolution within the cube at the flick of a switch. Of course, the fact the company is targeting the device solely as a means of advertising should tell you something about the price (which is on a need to know basis, it seems). Still, it's a start, and we're guessing there are at least a few folks out there that'll snag one of these to fully round out their Star Wars-inspired home theater no matter what the cost. Head on past the break for some video of it in action.

Continue reading Holocube brings 3D projection down to desktop size

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Hardware Hacking

Submission + - First ever "Bionic Eye" contact lens creat (

azuredrake writes: "Discovery News reports that, for the first time, researchers have fitted a contact lens with an imprinted circuit and lights. This could be used to overlay electronic information on natural vision, essentially providing a hassle-free heads-up-display. The device receives power from radio signals presumably emitted by a carried device. While practical implementations are still probably years away, the significant technological hurdle of crafting a safe LCD inside a contact lens has now been cleared."

Submission + - Human body heat to power energy-efficient chip (

An anonymous reader writes: A new energy efficient chip designed by researchers at MIT may use so little power that someday human body heat will be able to charge implantable medical devices. The new chip design, which researchers say will reduce power consumption by 10 times, is being unveiled this week at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco. The chip, still in the proof-of-concept stage, is expected to be used in portable electronic devices, like cell phones, PDAs and even implantable medical systems. "We intend to implant these new low-voltage techniques as quickly as we can," said Dennis Buss, chief scientist at Texas Instruments, TI engineers worked with MIT researchers on the two year project. "To get to where we'd need to be with this will take about five years. Doing a research demonstration is an important step, but making it robust for commercial production will require some work." The key to the chip's improved energy efficiency lies in making it work at a reduced voltage level, according to Joyce Kwong, a graduate student in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a member of the chip design project team. Most of the mobile processors today operate at about 1 volt. The requirement for MIT's new design, however, drops to 0.3 volts.

Submission + - Waking Engineers from the Dead

wizman writes: Hi Slashdotters! I am responsible for maintaining the uptime of our 80-ish servers. My company has an after-hours on-call rotation. At any given time, there are two engineers in the notification pool. When an outage is detected, an e-mail is sent to both engineers cell phones.

Over the past several months, I've been having more and more problems with engineers not responding to outages. This is often due to some failure of their phones. Sometimes they don't receive the SMS, sometimes they don't hear the notification sounds, sometimes they leave the phone on vibrate accidentally. The list goes on.

I'm sure there are other geeks out there who have had to deal with similar situations. I'm curious what others have found to resolve this. We've discussed having more people in rotation at once, buying secondary cell phones, providing alpha pagers (which are surprisingly hard to find these days), and other ideas. What has worked for you?
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - KS Hobbyist Hacks "Green" Vehicles, Shames (

Dragee writes: Goodwin, a 37-year-old who looks like Kevin Costner with better hair, is a professional car hacker. [And grade-school dropout.] He takes the hugest American cars on the road and rejiggers them to get up to quadruple their normal mileage and burn low-emission renewable fuels grown on U.S. soil — all while doubling their horsepower. The result thrills eco-evangelists and red-meat Americans alike: a vehicle that's simultaneously green and mean. And word's getting out.

Oh, and the conversation with GM engineers who happened upon one of Goodwin's creations?
One engineer turned and said, "GM said this wouldn't work."

"Well," Goodwin replied, "here it is.


Submission + - The iPhone Meets the Fourth Amendment ( 3

background image writes: According to Alan M Gershowitz, the doctrine of "search incident to arrest" may allow devices such as mobile phones, pdas and laptops to be thoroughly searched without either probable cause or warrants, and incriminating evidence found in such searches may be used against you whether or not it is germane to the reason for the original arrest.

Imagine that police arrest an individual for a simple traffic infraction, such as running a stop sign. Under the search incident to arrest doctrine, officers are entitled to search the body of the person they are arresting to ensure that he does not have any weapons or will not destroy any evidence. The search incident to an arrest is automatic and allows officers to open containers on the person, even if there is no probable cause to believe there is anything illegal inside of those containers. What happens, however, when the arrestee is carrying an iPhone in his pocket? May the police search the iPhone's call history, cell phone contacts, emails, pictures, movies, calendar entries and, perhaps most significantly, the browsing history from recent internet use? Under longstanding Supreme Court precedent decided well before handheld technology was even contemplated, the answer appears to be yes.

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