Christopher Blanc writes: "The latest news is that Riley has convinced the AFL-CIO to come out against the latest attempt at patent reform. Now there's a lot to dislike in the latest attempt at patent reform, and we'd be upset if it passed as is. But the two specific things that the unions are complaining about are the two most reasonable things in the reform package.
There's certainly no shortage or researchers and companies promising to bring fuel cells into everydaygadgets, but Ronald Besser of the Stevens Institute of Technology seems to think he has a system that can stand out from that pack. According to MIT's Technology Review, Besser's proposed system consists of a cylindrical design with "combustor" at the center that facilitates all the necessary reactions to convert methanol into hydrogen. Apparently, that design not only allows for the fuel cells to be made smaller, but more efficient as well. While it seems to still just be on the drawing board, Besser says the system could eventually allow for laptops to run for upwards of 50 hours, and could be made small enough to power other portable electronics as well. In the meantime, however, you may want to keep an eye on some of the systems a littler closer to reality.
Talk about your movie-plot threats: Wissahickon is the most recent district to mandate see-through backpacks, joining several other area suburban districts and private schools as they look to avert tragedies like the 1999 gun killings at Columbine and last December's...
First Person writes: Kudos to those engineers who challenge social conventions, pushing technology into places it has never been (and probably should never go). Consider these recent achievements from the 'Sex Hacks' conference as described in The Register. One might wonder "How could our society advance without access to Fourier-modulated sex toys, platform shoes for trollops, or appliances for interfacing ambient noises with various bodily orifice?" Thankfully, we need not wonder, as all these technologies are available today.