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Submission + - 10 Most Influential Tech Advances Of The Decade 2

adeelarshad82 writes: We've come a long way in just 10 years. Over the past decade we've experienced the birth of social networking, the slow death of wires, and the growth of both entertainment and business technology to the point that the gadgets, computers, and instruments we use today in both work and play look far, far different than those we used back in 2000. Our televisions are thinner, but their screens display several times more detail. Our storage devices are smaller, but they hold massive amounts of data. Based on the biggest and most influential changes seen in consumer electronics over the past ten years, PCMag counts down top ten technological advancements of the last decade.

Submission + - Research Shows That Power Corrupts (techdirt.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Power corrupts is a common phrase, and many people anecdotally believe its true, but what about the evidence? A bunch of different studies are now suggesting that the common wisdom is, in fact, correct and that people in power tend to become corrupt almost immediately. Some studies have even shown that fleeting amounts of artificial power (getting people to role play, where one person is told they're "the boss") leads to greater corruption of power. Even people who think they won't be corrupted by power tend to be corrupted, and about the only thing that prevents corruption is greater and greater transparency.

Submission + - Google & Verizon's Real Net Neutrality Proposa (blogspot.com) 3

langelgjm writes: Announced this afternoon in a joint conference call held by CEOs Eric Schmidt and Ivan Seidenberg, Google and Verizon have released a joint net neutrality proposal in the form of a "suggested legislative framework for consideration by lawmakers." This comes on the heels of last week's assertion (and subsequent denial) that Google and Verizon were close to concluding talks that would permit Verizon to prioritize certain content in exchange for pay. A look at the actual text of the framework shows some positive net neutrality principles, but there is also some more curious content: "Wireless broadband" is singled out for exclusion from most of the agreement, and providers would be permitted to prioritize "additional online services... distinguishable in scope and purpose." Public Knowledge, a watchdog group based in Washington, has criticized the agreement for these provisions.

Submission + - Debunked:Electric Cars Won't Strain the Power Grid (greencarreports.com)

thecarchik writes: Last week's heat wave prompted another eruption of that perennial question: Won't electric cars that recharge from grid power overload the nation's electricity system? A comprehensive and wide-ranging two-volume study from 2007, Environmental Assessment of Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles, looked at the impact of plug-in vehicles on the U.S. electrical grid. It also analyzed the "wells-to-wheels" carbon emissions of plug-ins versus gasoline cars. The load of one plug-in recharging (about 2 kilowatts) is roughly the same as that of four or five plasma television sets. Plasma TVs hardly brought worries about grid crashes.

Submission + - How I got a smartphone on Verizon without data (justechn.com)

justechn writes: I know there are a lot of people that want to get a new smartphone, but they are turned off by the data fees. I managed to get a Droid incredible activated on the Verizon network (through Page Plus) and I don't have to pay any data fees. I just wanted to share my experience with others in case they were looking for the same thing.

Submission + - Court Takes Away Some Of The Public Domain (techdirt.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In yet another bad court ruling concerning copyright, a federal appeals court has overturned a lower court ruling, and said that it's okay for Congress to retroactively take works out of the public domain, even if publishers are already making use of those public domain works. The lower court had said this was a First Amendment violation, but the appeals court felt that if Congress felt taking away from the public domain was in its best interests, then there was no First Amendment violation at all. It effectively said that Congress can violate the First Amendment, so long as it feels it heard from enough people (in this case, RIAA and MPAA execs) to convince it that it needs to do what it's done.

Submission + - Scientists Unlock Secret of Elusive Spider Silk (inhabitat.com)

ByronScott writes: Spider silk may seem fragile, but it actually has a tensile strength that is a whopping five times more than steel! Scientists have been trying to replicate and harness the properties of the elusive material for years and now researchers from the Technische Universitaet Muenchen and the University of Bayreuth have actually unlocked the secret to the control element that prevents bunching in the silk which is a huge step forward in being able to replicate the material.

Of the finding, Thomas Scheibel of the team says, “Under storage conditions in the silk gland these control domains are connected pair-wise in such a way that the interlinking areas of both chains can not lie parallel to each other. Interlinking is thus effectively prevented.” Franz Hagn, also of the team explains “Our results have shown that the molecular switch we discovered at the C-terminal end of the protein chain is decisive, both for safe storage and for the fiber formation process.”


Submission + - Volkswagen's production-ready folding EV Bik.e (gizmag.com) 1

ElectricSteve writes: The concept of “last few mile mobility” is one which we'll all grow accustomed to over the next decade as the world's cities become more congested and non-polluting micro mobility concepts begin to supplement other forms of transport. In the last year alone we've seen Toyota's Winglet, Honda's U3-X, Nissan's electric skis, and now Volkswagen has shown a micro mobility concept which it has dubbed the "Bik.e" – a folding electric bike with one of the most ingenious folding mechanisms we've seen. With a range of 20 kilometres (12.5 miles), the Bik.e has 20 inch wheels and folds to a footprint identical to that of a car spare tyre, enabling it to be stowed away easily. Whatsmore, the bik.e will definitely see production, and possibly even before the end of the year. VW's choice of form factor is as fascinating as its choice of a recognisable name is inspired. The Bik.e could turn out to be as important to VW as the iPod has been to Apple.

Submission + - UK ISP spots file sharing loophole, implements it (aaisp.net.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: As well as taking an active part in OFCOM's code of obligations in regards to the ill-conceived Digital Economy Act (The UK three strikes law for filesharers). Niche ISP Andrews & Arnold have identified various loopholes in the law, the main one being that a customer can be classified as a communications provider. They have now implemented measures so in your control panel you may register your legal status and be classed as such.. Has a rushed law been easily defeated or will the copyright lobby simply push further (and probably just as ill-conceived) laws through now to correct it?
The Internet

Submission + - Pope admonishes the Internet and Transparency (pbs.org) 2

tcd004 writes: At a conference on digital media at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI attacked the idea of transparency in the internet age, warning that digital transparency exacerbates tensions between nations and within nations themselves. And increases the "dangers of ... intellectual and moral relativism," which can lead to "multiple forms of degradation and humiliation" of the essence of a person, and to the "pollution of the spirit." All in all, it seemed a pretty grim view of the wide open communication parameters being demanded by the Internet age.

Submission + - NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Whistleblower Indicted (wired.com) 1

elrous0 writes: Thomas Andrews Drake, a former NSA official, was charged Thursday in the U.S. District Court of Maryland with allegedly leaking classified National Security Agency (NSA) documents to an unnamed reporter during his time with the agency. It is widely believed that Drake was one of the unnamed whistleblowers who revealed the NSA's secret (and illegal) warrantless wiretapping program to New York Times reporters in 2005 (along with Justice Department lawyer Thomas Tamm). “Our national security demands that the sort of conduct alleged here — violating the government’s trust by illegally retaining and disclosing classified information — be prosecuted and prosecuted vigorously,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer in a statement.

Submission + - Oracle Acquires Apache for $1.5 Billion

Apor writes: The Apache Software Foundation Receives Approval for Sale to Oracle Corporation. Oracle agrees to purchase the IP and all assets of The Apache Software Foundation for $1.5 Billion, reported today.

“It was Oracle’s admission that the Web is more than ‘just’ Java or databases that finalized the decision for us,” said Justin Erenkrantz, Director and President of the ASF.

Submission + - Facebook, Google and eBay slam Digital Economy Bil (techworld.com)

superapecommando writes: Google, Facebook and eBay are among the tech giants that have slammed the government's plans to tackle internet piracy, claiming it will "threaten freedom of speech".
In a letter to the Financial Times, the group, which also includes UK ISPs such as BT and TalkTalk, said the amendment to the Digital Economy Bill has "obvious shortcomings" and will lead to an "increase in internet service providers blocking websites accused of illegally hosting copyrighted material without cases even reaching a judge".


Submission + - Robot Fouled in Radioactive Mud (timesargus.com)

mdsolar writes: Concrete in a 38 year old pipe tunnel at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant has degraded so much that it has become mud at the bottom of the tunnel and fouled a robot sent in to inspect the tunnel for leaks. The robot is now trapped. At least two pipe leaks have been found with possibly more to come. Radioisotopes cobalt-60, manganese-54 and zinc-65 in addition to tritium are contaminating the environment. There is some hope though that the state of Vermont will close the plant down even sooner than 2012 when it must close as a the result of a Vermont Senate vote; an investigation starts today: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9EBCLGO0.htm Meanwhile, in an ironic bit of paper pushing, the run-to-failure-tolerant Nuclear Regulatory Commission http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/03/09/09climatewire-aging-reactors-put-nuclear-power-plant-safet-15798.html baldly asserted that the power plant had run safely in 2009: http://www.reformer.com/localnews/ci_14523408

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