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Submission + - Ancient Roman Concrete Is About to Revolutionize Modern Architecture (businessweek.com) 1

schwit1 writes: After 2,000 years, a long-lost secret behind the creation of one of the world’s most durable man-made creations ever—Roman concrete—has finally been discovered by an international team of scientists, and it may have a significant impact on how we build cities of the future.

Researchers have analyzed 11 harbors in the Mediterranean basin where, in many cases, 2,000-year-old (and sometimes older) headwaters constructed out of Roman concrete stand perfectly intact despite constant pounding by the sea. The most common blend of modern concrete, known as Portland cement, a formulation in use for nearly 200 years, can’t come close to matching that track record. In seawater, it has a service life of less than 50 years. After that, it begins to erode.

The secret to Roman concrete lies in its unique mineral formulation and production technique. As the researchers explain in a press release outlining their findings, “The Romans made concrete by mixing lime and volcanic rock. For underwater structures, lime and volcanic ash were mixed to form mortar, and this mortar and volcanic tuff were packed into wooden forms. The seawater instantly triggered a hot chemical reaction. The lime was hydrated—incorporating water molecules into its structure—and reacted with the ash to cement the whole mixture together.”

Your Rights Online

Submission + - West Virginia Refuses to Release Broadband Report Because it is "Embarrassing" (wvgazette.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: The Charleston Gazette is reporting that the state of West Virginia hired a consulting firm for over $100,000 to investigate the state's use of Federal stimulus money to purchase $22,000 routers for tiny buildings, but is refusing a FOIA request to release the firm's report. The reason: the findings "might be embarrassing to some people", according to Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette.
Books

Submission + - Capitalists Who Fear Change (lfb.org)

bill_mcgonigle writes: "In his essay, Capitalists Who Fear Change, author Jeffrey Tucker takes on "wimps who don’t want to improve." From DMCA take-downs on 3D printing files to the constant refrain that every new form of music recording will "kill music", Mr. Tucker observes: "Through our long history of improvement, every upgrade and every shift from old to new inspired panic. The biggest panic typically comes from the producers themselves who resent the way the market process destabilizes their business model" and analyzes how the markets move the march of technology ever forward. He takes on patents, copyrights, tariffs, and protectionism of entrenched interests in general, with guarded optimism: "The promise of the future is nothing short of spectacular — provided that those who lack the imagination to see the potential here don’t get their way.""
Politics

Submission + - Vermont to Vote on Corporate Personhood (alternet.org)

buswolley writes: Resolution calling to amend the constitution banning corporate person-hood was introduced in Vermont. This resolution is a reaction to the Supreme Court's Citizen United ruling that ruled freedom of speech of corporations is constitutionally protected.
Google

Submission + - Android Threatens Oracle's Embedded Java Business (infoworld.com)

snydeq writes: "InfoWorld's Josh Fruhlinger reports on the Oracle's underlying motivation for its lawsuit against Google — that Google's Java-derived hybrid must die for a profitable Java Mobile Edition to live. 'While Java SE is open source and distributed free of charge, OEMs must pay a fee to put Java ME on their gadgets,' Fruhlinger writes. 'But in the last few years, advances in processor power have produced embedded platforms that are capable of running Java SE — so, oops, no need to pay for Java ME.' To combat this, Sun added a 'field of use restrictions' to Java SE's license terms, under which Apache's Harmony, the basis for the Android programming environment, never received Sun's seal of approval, thereby raising flags around Android's 'routing around Sun's IP' back in 2007. 'And the fight isn't just about phones: Android is at the heart of the embryonic Google TV, and that's another market where Oracle would love to see Java ME thrive.'"

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