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Mars

Submission + - Curiosity takes picture of material appearing to be plastic or a cocoon (nasa.gov) 1

njinsa writes: NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has taken a picture today of something that does not appear to belong on Mars. It kind of looks like a piece of torn plastic or an old cocoon.Can fellow /.s figure out what it is?
Here is the image:
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/raw/?rawid=0065MH0055000002R0_DXXX&s=65

Iphone

Submission + - Court Docs: iPhone Design Borrowed From Sony (itworld.com)

jfruh writes: "Documents introduced in court by Samsung show that Apple explicitly looked to Sony for design inspiration when developing the iPhone. Engineers were given the explicit instructions to imagined "What would Sony do?" Such borrowings undermine Apple's claims that Samsung stole their propietary original designs for Samsung's Android phones."
Apple

Submission + - US Judge Has Outbreak of Common Sense in Apple/Motorola Patent War (arstechnica.com)

sl4shd0rk writes: Federal Judge Richard Posner seems to be a man who "gets" the screwed up patent system in the US. As Apple pressed for more injunctions against Motorola regarding alleged patent infringement, Judge Posner has stressed the two companies should just "get along" and pay each other royalties. A jury trial set to start last week was cancelled when Posner ruled that neither side could prove damages, and grilled Apple's legal team saying an injunction against Motorola would be "contrary to the public interest,". Furthermore, as Apple tried to plead its injunction case concerning four patents, Posner called the U.S. patent system "chaos" and said an order barring the sale of Motorola phones could have "catastrophic effects.".
Science

Submission + - Multiferroic Turns Waste Heat Into Electricity (umn.edu)

schwit1 writes: Using a multiferroic(Ni45Co5Mn40Sn10) researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered a method of creating electricity from waste heat sources. Beyond creating the alloy, there are no extra costs â?? and no additional pollution, either.

Multiferroics are unusual beasts that combine elastic, magnetic, and electric properties of the constituent elements. In the case of this new alloy, its multiferroicity grants it two distinct physical states: in its base state, it is non-magnetic, but when a small amount of heat is applied, it become strongly magnetic. This change creates an electric current in a surrounding coil — and voila, electricity. Admittedly not very efficient electricity, but electricity.

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