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Submission + - Forget Hydrogen: Here Are the Fuels of The Future ( 1

thecarchik writes: Forget hydrogen. You can mostly ignore natural gas. Even diesel may not grow much. The two fuels that will largely power us for the next 20, maybe 30, years are already here. They are gasoline (with some ethanol in it), and electricity.

In our view, the two most viable types of fuels for the medium term are petroleum products (gasoline, diesel, natural gas) and electricity, which already has a distribution system in place.
As for hydrogen, it has enormous challenges to overcome: There's no distribution infrastructure, and it takes enormous amounts of energy to separate out hydrogen molecules from the substances they bind to, whether the source is water, natural gas, or something else. That makes its wells-to-wheels energy balance highly dubious.


Submission + - Recommending a Game-Developer Laptop 1

Mad Ivan writes: As the family's resident computer geek, I have been asked to recommend a laptop for my nephew, who will be starting a 2-year program in Computer Game Design this spring at a local technical institute. I have heard that the school uses mostly Dells, and I've had good experience with the brand, but I'm open to other thoughtful suggestions. Price is a consideration, but I want a machine that will last him throughout his educational program, if possible. I have no idea what software he will be using, or even the OS (although I assume Windows). Ideas from the crowd?

Submission + - Nvidia drops the 6150 ball. Again.

TheRedShirt writes: Nvidia seems to be dodging its legal settlement responsibility by issuing replacement laptops that don't meet the settlement requirements by issuing replacements that don't live up to the settlement terms of "like or similar kind and like or similar value."

For those unfamiliar with the tale of the 6150 woes, users of mobile computers that contained the Nvidia mGPU 6150 Go GPU were suffering from an inordinate failure rate... That is to say in a nutshell, that they would all invariably fail eventually. Nvidia discovered that the chip was defective after it was shipped and not only did they fail to recall the existing chips that had shipped to their partners, they continued to ship a known defective chip. These chips are/were in use by HP, Dell and even Apple. Full list here:

Mid year 2008, Nvidia has gone on record saying that:

"Certain notebook configurations with GPUs and MCPs manufactured with a certain die/packaging material set are failing in the field at higher than normal rates..."

It has been discovered that Hewlett Packard also knew of this defect as early as November 2007, who also continued to ship, sell and not recall computers that contained defective GPUs :;txt

A "fix" that was submitted to HP was in the form of a BIOS update that runs the cooler fan constantly in a poor attempt to keep the overheating GPU cool. There have also been allegations that this was an attempt to push the failure outside the warranty period in order to dodge costly repairs and replacements. Not to mention the fact that research indicates that this BIOS update had a higher than usual "Brick Rate."

Needless to say, Nvidia got taken to court under a class action lawsuit for consumer protection in the state of California and chose to settle out of court.

Fast forward to December 20th, 2010. Nvidia settled and the package passed the fairness hearing and was approved by the Honorable Judge James Ware. The settlement provides for Dell and Apple users to receive reimbursements for repairs and free repairs and for HP users to receive reimbursements for repairs and replacements for the defective computers. At the settlement website, the replacement remedy is worded as:

"...for a replacement HP notebook computer with one similar in kind and value if you bought a subject HP notebook computer..."

In the approved settlement documents, this is worded as:

"...Therefore, a replacement computer of like or similar kind and equal or similar value will be provided to the consumer at Nvidia's expense. The parties will meet and confer in good faith and agree on a suitable replacement of like or similar kind or equal or similar value..."

However, Nvidia has utterly failed this, because the chosen model for replacement is the Compaq Presario CQ50 family of laptops for all replacements. Preliminary research indicates that all of the sub-set models in the CQ50 family fall far short of being equal and/or similar. Especially when customers who have an affected model with a 17 inch screen and dual HDD's when all CQ50's have 15.4 inch screens and single HDD's. The CQ50 series is an older bargain model that has been discontinued for quite some time and it is quite possible that they are refurbished units.

So, Nvidia has thrown it's users under the bus. Again.
In the parlance of the Internet: Epic Fail.

As of the date of writing this, those who filed early on January 13th, when the claims period opened, have not had their claims approved yet.

Further reading:

Settlement information:
Compaq Presario CQ50 family list and information:

Submission + - First practical Metamaterial fabricated (

Rotel writes: In Nature Materials there seems to be an article on the first practical Meta-material (

It is apparently used for satellite communications.
Here is a link to some images too (

hopefully you guys find this interesting!


Submission + - North Korea launches "communication satellite&

Mad Ivan writes: "The BBC has just reported that North Korea has launched a long-range rocket, which they say is a communications satellite, but that the US and Japan fear may actually be a ballistic missile. Details are still arriving; the rocket passed over northern Japan on its way up."

F.E.A.R. 2 To Be Advertised On Cats In London 73

arcticstoat writes "Warner Bros has revealed that it plans to advertise its forthcoming shooter, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, via a clowder of black cats roaming the streets of London on the game's launch day on Friday 13th. Branded a 'cat-vertising campaign', the scheme will see the specially trained black moggies sporting F.E.A.R. 2 cat clothing. The idea, according to Warner Bros, is that the creepy kitties will 'capture the attention of superstitious passers-by,' as Friday 13th is famous for its supposed bad luck and a black cat crossing your path was listed at number 5 in a recent survey of Britain's superstitions and signs of bad luck."

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Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming