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Comment Yes, let others do what laws forbid you to do (Score 1) 145

Americans think themselves a bit safer because the NSA is not supposed to spy on them. But what tells me that the NSA is not letting a foreign partner agency collect and evaluate the data of the Americans for them and just gets back the hits? For these hits they would have no problems getting a warrant, even from a non-secret court.

Submission + - Lockeed "Skunk Works" Announces Fusion Power Demo in Five Years (

Required Snark writes:

At the recent Google “Solve for X” conference on February 7, Lockheed Martin's long-term R&D department (“Skunk Works”) announced they are working on a compact fusion reactor. With what seems a 4th generation prototype called "T4", the aerospace giant says to have developed a high beta configuration, which allows a compact reactor design and faster development timeline.

Public reactions describe the announcement of their activities on nuclear fusion remarkable, because Lockheed Martin doesn't usually make public announcements about Skunkwork projects unless they have a high degree of confidence in their chances of success. The developement timeline indicates plans to have a prototype 100-megawatt nuclear fusion machine of Lockheed Martin tested in 2017, and that a fully operational machine should be grid-ready ten years from now.

Some of the properties reported from the presentation:

  • A self-tuning feedback mechanism whereby the magnetic field increases the farther out that the plasma goes
  • Novel magnetic field configuration that has very few open field lines compared to tokamak design
  • Very "good arch curvature" of the field lines The system has a beta of about 1
  • System is working with D-T fuel

Although the presentation is short on details, Lockheed Skunk Words has a phenomenal track record, and they are putting their reputation of the line when they make this kind of announcement at a high profile Google event. A video of the presentation is here.

Comment Re:He just used more solar cells (Score 1) 410

No, he just compared it to an inefficient distribution (a roof with panels on the south and the north side).

As was pointed out in other comments there are 20 cells on the tree and, most probably, 10 cells on each side of the roof. Had he really compared to 20 cells in a flat panel array, he would have found that the tree distribution is less efficient than the flat panel.

By the way, there is an optimum inclination (vertical angle) of a photovoltaic module, which in Europe is between 30 and 50 (depending on the latitude and the height), see this map (pdf, 11 Mb).

I nevertheless admire the idea and the work of the young boy. As an adult I'm sure he would have spotted the error in the result, unlike the jury and the submitter of the story.

Comment Re:OK - so I RTFA... (Score 1) 241

If I read the original Science paper correctly this is nothing more than an etalon in front of an absorbing material (i.e. a plate of silicon, as they used in their experiment, in front of a black sheet of paper). Of couse it works as a selective absorber or "anti-laser", this is well known.

I wonder if they wrote the Science paper just to show what you can publish using a lot of buzzwords...

Comment Re:Image protected, but is it useful? (Score 2) 139

The original image can be resized without showing the watermark, see their demo page (and press Ctrl +/- if you browse with Firefox). But so can the re-encoded picture, it shows the watermark only at the zoom level of 100%.

From this I suppose that there is also one zoom level at which the original picture shows the VOID watermark (you better choose it to be an odd value)!


Antarctic's First Plane, Found In Ice 110

Arvisp writes "In 1912 Australian explorer Douglas Mawson planned to fly over the southern pole. His lost plane has now been found. The plane – the first off the Vickers production line in Britain – was built in 1911, only eight years after the Wright brothers executed the first powered flight. For the past three years, a team of Australian explorers has been engaged in a fruitless search for the aircraft, last seen in 1975. Then on Friday, a carpenter with the team, Mark Farrell, struck gold: wandering along the icy shore near the team's camp, he noticed large fragments of metal sitting among the rocks, just a few inches beneath the water."

Submission + - Munin 1.4.1 has been released (

SF:janl writes: I\'m happy to announce that Munin 1.4.1 has been released today. Munin is a networked resource monitoring tool that can help analyze resource trends and \"what just happened to kill our performance?\" problems. It is designed to be very plug and play. A default installation provides a lot of graphs with almost no work. It is currently available in the project svn, please see as well as on sourceforge: Changelog is here: Slightly more digested announce is here: If you\'re upgrading from the 1.2 series please see

Over 160 Tutorial Videos Created For Unreal Dev Kit 48

As a follow-up to Epic Games' release of a free version of the Unreal Engine last month, the company has now posted over 160 video tutorials which demonstrate the various uses of the Unreal Development Kit. Roughly 20 hours of footage were created by technical education company 3D Buzz, with topics ranging from user interface to game physics to cinematics.

Scientists Say a Dirty Child Is a Healthy Child 331

Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California have shown that the more germs a child is exposed to, the better their immune system in later life. Their study found that keeping a child's skin too clean impaired the skin's ability to heal itself. From the article: "'These germs are actually good for us,' said Professor Richard Gallo, who led the research. Common bacterial species, known as staphylococci, which can cause inflammation when under the skin, are 'good bacteria' when on the surface, where they can reduce inflammation."

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