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Submission + - What is spent fuel anyway? (

DrBuzzo writes: ""Spent fuel" from nuclear reactors has been a hot issue recently. A lot of money has been spent on the controversial Yucca Mountain project in the US for disposal of spent nuclear fuel. But do you know what spent fuel is? What it is composed of? Here's the lowdown on what its made of and what is dangerous and what is not. An in depth analysis of the component elements and isotopes which make up the spent fuel rods and what can potentially done with it."

Submission + - Orwell Index Ranks US Near Bottom

Googling Yourself writes: "Privacy International has published their annual report on the leading surveillance societies in the world and the 1,100 page report comparing 47 countries shows that the United States has fallen near the bottom in privacy protection from the "Extensive Surveillance Society" category in 2006 to "Endemic Surveillance Society" in 2007. Key findings are that despite political shifts in the US Congress, surveillance initiatives in the US continue to expand, affecting visitors and citizens alike. In terms of statutory protections and privacy enforcement, the US is the worst ranking country in the democratic world. In terms of overall privacy protection the United States has performed very poorly, being out-ranked by both India and the Philippines and falling into the "black" category, denoting endemic surveillance."
Real Time Strategy (Games)

Submission + - Dreams Are Virtual Reality Threat Simulation

Time Slows Down writes: "Psychology Today has an interesting story on a new theory of why we dream. Finnish psychologist Antti Revonsuo believes that dreams are a sort of nighttime theater in which our brains screen realistic scenarios simulating emergency situations and providing an arena for safe training. "The primary function of negative dreams is rehearsal for similar real events, so that threat recognition and avoidance happens faster and more automatically in comparable real situations," he says. We have 300 to 1,000 threat dreams per year — one to four per night and just under half are aggressive encounters: physical aggression such as fistfights, and nonphysical aggression such as verbal arguments. Faced with actual life-or-death situations — traffic accidents, terrorist attacks, street assaults — people report entering a mode of calm, rapid response, reacting automatically, almost without thinking. Afterward, they often say the episode felt unreal, as if it were all a dream. "Dreaming is a sensitive system that tries to pay much attention to the threatening cues in our environment," Revonsuo says. "Their function is to protect and prepare us.""
Social Networks

Submission + - Communities of Mutants Form as DNA Testing Grows ( 1

GeneRegulator writes: The NY Times is running a story on communities that are forming around kids with rare genetic mutations. New technology that can scan chromosomes for small errors is being applied first to children with autism and other "unexplained developmental delays." It turns out that many of them have small deletions or duplications of DNA, and doctors creating a whole new taxonomy of syndromes with names like 16p11.2 and 7q11.23 that refer to the affected region of the genome. Meanwhile, hundreds of little groups are forming around the banner of their children's shared mutations. As new research shows that many of us have small deletions and duplications of DNA that separate us from our parents, and that many of these "copy number variants" contribute to skills and senses the families described in the story may presage the formation of all sorts of "communities of the genetically rare" in the general population, not just amongst the developmentally delayed.

Submission + - FireWire spec to boost data speeds to 3.2 Gbps 1

Stony Stevenson writes: A new set of specs for data transfer technology will quadruple top speeds to 3.2 Gbps. Formally known as IEEE 1394, the technology is called FireWire by Apple and i.LINK by Sony. The new version is called S3200 and builds on the earlier specification approved by the IEEE, according to the trade association that is preparing to unveil the details this week. The technology will be able to use existing FireWire 800 cables and connectors while delivering a major boost in performance. "It will probably go into storage products first," said 1394 Trade Association spokesman Richard Davies in an e-mail Wednesday. "It should turn up in set-top boxes and maybe Blue-ray devices, too. It's too soon to tell how fast consumer electronics makers might adopt it."

Submission + - Best toy RC helicopter?

An anonymous reader writes: Subject says it all. There seem to be a lot of these toy helicopters popping up everywhere from Chinatown to Future Shop. Having just bought a Micro Mosquito that broke in 5 minutes, I would like to know which model people buy (this is /., face it: you either want one too or you already have one). I know there are more serious RC choppers out there for 300-400$+, with gyros and sturdier build, but let's say I want a sub-100$ unit for indoor use. Any suggestions?

(I think the problem with the Mosquito is that the spacing between the drive motors is about the same as the width of a rotor blade, all that has to happen is for it to fall the wrong way and it chews its own blade off. A better design IMHO would be to place one motor aft and the other at the bow, if such words are used for a chopper.)

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