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Submission + - Google Earth adds citizen balloon images (suasnews.com)

garymortimer writes: "The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science announced today that community-generated open source maps — captured from kites and balloons — have been added to Google Earth. The 45 plus maps are the first aerial maps produced by citizens to be featured on the site, and are highlighted on the Google Lat Long Blog.

The Public Laboratory is an expansion of the Grassroots Mapping community. During an initial project mapping the BP oil spill, local residents used helium-filled balloons and digital cameras to generate highresolution D.I.Y “satellite” maps documenting the extent of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — at a time when there was little public information available. Expanding the toolkit beyond aerial mapping, Public Laboratory has been growing into a diverse community, both online and offline, experimenting with new ways to produce information about our surroundings. The lab’s DIY kits cost less than $100 to assemble."


Submission + - Sick of smudges on your screen? Get a candle (extremetech.com)

MrSeb writes: "Who would have guessed that the solution to one of the biggest problems for a technophile would be simple candle soot? It may seem implausible, but researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Germany have indeed proven that the carbon residue released when burning a candle can be used to create a coating that is both oil and water resistant. Of course the process to make this happen is much more scientific then slapping a pile of soot on your device, so please don’t be rushing for your fireplace. By using the carbon residue from a lit candle, the team was able to coat a glass slide with black soot. While this substance is relatively sticky in itself, it can easily be washed off with a bit of elbow grease. The researchers decided to give the soot a coating of silica to protect it since the chemical makeup of the soot was not what they were after, but the way it created a rough surface on the glass at microscopic levels. From that point, the team baked the slide in an oven at 600C (1112F) which served to make the soot transparent. The result was a thin, cheap, clear coating that repelled both oil and water molecules while leaving the screen clean and dry, or "superamphiphobic" in scientific terms."

Submission + - Windows 8 an "irrelevance" for PC users (pcpro.co.uk)

Barence writes: "High-profile analyst firm IDC has labelled Windows 8 an "rrelevance" for PC users. As part of its predictions for 2012, IDC claims: "Windows 8 will be largely irrelevant to the users of traditional PCs. We expect effectively no upgrade activity from Windows 7 to Windows 8 in that form factor."

The scathing assessment will put further pressure on Microsoft to drop the Metro interface for users of traditional PCs. At the unveiling of Windows 8 earlier this year, Microsoft's director of Windows Experience, Jensen Harris, gave an indication of the company's attitude to the traditional PC desktop, stating that "every screen needs to be touch. A monitor without touch feels dead.”"

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