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Submission + - Crushed Silicon Triples Life of Li-Ion Batteries in the Lab (

derekmead writes: Batteries rule everything around us, which makes breakthroughs a big deal. A research team at Rice says they have produced a nice jump: By using a crushed silicon anode in a lithium-ion battery, they claim to have nearly tripled the energy density of current li-ion designs.

Engineer Sibani Lisa Biswal and research scientist Madhuri Thakur reported in Nature’s Scientific Reports (it has yet to be published online) that by taking porous silicon and crushing it, they were able to dramatically decrease the volume required for anode material. Silicon has long been looked at as an anode material because it holds up to ten times more lithium ions than graphite, which is most commonly used commercially.

But it’s previously been difficult to create a silicon anode with enough surface area to cycle reliably. Silicon also expands when it’s lithiated, making it harder to produce a dense anode material. After previously testing a porous silicon “sponge,” the duo decided to try crushing the sponges to make them more compact. The result is a new battery design that holds a charge of 1,000 milliamp hours per gram through 600 tested charge cycles of two hours charging, two hours discharging. According to the team, current graphite anodes can only handle 350 mAh/g.


Submission + - YouTube Refuses to Remove anti-Islamic Film Clip

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "BBC reports that Google officials have rejected the notion of removing a video that depicts the prophet as a fraud and philanderer and has been blamed for sparking violence at US embassies in Cairo and Benghazi on grounds it does not violate YouTube's policies, but restricted viewers in Egypt and Libya from loading it due to the special circumstances in the country. Google's response to the crisis highlighted the struggle faced by the company, and others like it, to balance free speech with legal and ethical concerns in an age when social media can impact world events. "This video – which is widely available on the Web – is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube," Google said in a statement. "However, given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt, we have temporarily restricted access in both countries." Underscoring Google's quandary, some digital free expression groups have criticised YouTube for censoring the video. Eva Galperin of the Electronic Frontier Foundation says given Google' s strong track record of protecting free speech, she was surprised the company gave in to pressure to selectively block ithe video "It is extremely unusual for YouTube to block a video in any country without it being a violation of their terms of service or in response to a valid legal complaint," says Galperin. "I'm not sure they did the right thing.""

Submission + - SPAM: News in Brief: Highlights from the IAU Meeting

AlfonAri writes: A collection of reports from the 28th General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union, Beijing

write: By Nadia Drake — Super neutrinos spotted Two super-high-energy particles have been detected by IceCube, the massive neutrino telescope buried in Antarctic ice. IceCube is looking for neutrinos that point toward the still-unknown astrophysical objects responsible for slinging ultra-high-energy cosmic rays toward Earth. These two neutrinos, one seen in August 2011 and the other in January 2012, have enough energy to be from an ultra-high-energy cosmic ray source, such as a gamma-ray burst. “They are at least 10 times the energy of any neutrino we’ve seen before,” says Francis Halzen, an IceCube team member from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, who discussed the find on August 22. But these particles are electron neutrinos — flavors that, instead of streaking through the detector and neatly pointing toward home, leave a more bulbous footprint. The shape means that even though IceCube scientists can find the general direction from which the particles came, they won’t be able to pinpoint a direct source in the sky... more

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Submission + - Java's Answer to LINQ

twofishy writes: "Currently Java has no clear alterative to Microsoft's LINQ though it does arguably have the more advanced O/R framework in the Java Persistence API (JPA). JPA 2.0 will introduce a new type-safe criteria-based query API similar in scope, if not approach, to LINQ. There are two alternative proposals under consideration by the Expert Group and the group is seeking feedback from the wider development community. InfoQ has a good summary of the options. Of the two the proposal from Red Hat's Gavin King, which exploits the javax.annotation.Processor introduced in Java 6 to allow a compiler plugin to build a metamodel type for each persistent class in the application, is the most technically interesting though it looks rather cumbersome for simple queries where a more fluid style API might be more appropriate"

Submission + - Conficker virus hijacks 'Autoplay' in Windows (

JagsLive writes: The Conficker virus has opened a new can of worms for security experts :

Drives such as USB sticks infected with the virus trick users into installing the worm, according to researchers.

The "Autoplay" function in Vista and early versions of Windows 7 automatically searches for programs on removable drives. However, the virus hijacks this process, masquerading as a folder to be opened. When clicked, the worm installs itself.

It then attempts to contact one of a number of web servers, from which it could download another program that could take control of the infected computer.

The worm is unusually clever in the way that it determines what server to contact, according to F-Secure's chief research officer Mikko Hypponen. "It uses a complicated algorithm which changes daily and is based on timestamps from public websites such as and," said Mr Hypponen in a blog post.

"This makes it impossible and/or impractical for us good guys to shut them all down — most of them are never registered in the first place. "However, the bad guys only need to predetermine one possible domain for tomorrow, register it, and set up a website — and they then gain access to all of the infected machines," he added.

It has also emerged that the virus automatically disables the automatic updates to Windows that would prevent further infection.

BBC News :

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