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Submission + - Microscopic Fractal Trees Hold Key to New Solar Cells (

An anonymous reader writes: A team of chemists at the University of California, Davis believe that the future of solar technology may lie in cells made from a film of tiny silver nitrate fractal trees. The research team, led by Professor Frank Osterloh, believes that by harnessing the conductive power of these fractal trees, they can create “better, more efficient solar cells” than the silicon-based photovoltaic panels currently available. The silver nitrate fractals form when silver salt is applied to fluorine-doped tin oxide. The resulting electrochemical reduction causes the silver nitrate to grow into a tiny tree like structure, with central “branches” of silver nitrate less than 1/50th the width of a human hair supporting ever smaller branches.

Submission + - US Lawmaker Opens up ACTA to Online Comments (

WhyNotAskMe writes: "Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican, posted ACTA on his site Tuesday. Even though the U.S. and seven other countries signed the agreement in October, the public needs to be included in the debate as President Barack Obama's administration begins to implement ACTA, Issa said.

Issa criticized the agreement, saying most negotiations were in secret. The deal appears to violate Congress' authority to make policy affecting U.S. trade and intellectual property law, he added. "ACTA appears to be an unconstitutional power grab started by President George W. Bush and completed by President Barack Obama."

Gee — President Obama seemed to be such a nice guy. Then he sold out to the entertainment lobbies. "Yes we can — bypass Congress and impose a treaty developed by the MPAA on the whole world". Now that's optimism!"


Submission + - $1B of TSA Nude Body Scanners Made Worthless (

TheNextCorner writes: "This video is here to demonstrate that the TSA’s insistence that the nude body scanner program is effective and necessary is nothing but a fraud, just like their claims that the program is safe (radiation what?) and non-invasive (nude pictures who?). The scanners are now effectively worthless, as anyone can beat them with virtually no effort."

Submission + - IBM Watson heads to Wall Street (

MrSeb writes: "After conquering Jeopardy, battling patent trolls, making inroads into medical insurance claims, and threatening to replace customer service representatives, IBM’s Watson is now looking to take its first foray into Wall Streetesque financial services. Working with Citigroup, IBM has entered into an 'exploratory agreement' that will cover everything from streamlining the banking experience for customers, through to 'empowering financial professionals to make better business decisions.' In other words, watch out stock traders: Watson’s coming, and he wants a piece of your fat bonus."

Submission + - Facebook's Timeline Apps Are Beacon 2.0 (

jfruhlinger writes: "Remember Beacon, the Facebook advertising initiative that went down in a hail of privacy protests in late 2009? Well, as privacy blogger Dan Tynan points out, the array of Facebook Timeline apps announced today look an awful lot like Beacon 2.0. There have been some genuine privacy improvements over the original — and there's probably also been a definite shift in attitudes about sharing in the last 2+ years."

Submission + - Genes about a quarter of the secret to staying sma

ananyo writes: A Scottish intelligence study that began 80 years ago has borne new fruit. Researchers have tracked down the study's surviving participants — who joined the study when they were 11 years old — to estimate the role that our genes have in maintaining intelligence through to old age.

After conducting fresh intelligence tests on the surviving participants, the researchers tested the DNA samples they had collected for the presence of more than half a million common genetic variants, each affecting only a single letter in the DNA sequence of the genome. The team then calculated whether these variants were associated with cognitive stability — how well intelligence had been maintained over time.

The sample size of 2,000 people was too small to grant the statistical power needed to track down individual genetic signatures associated with cognitive stability. But it was enough to estimate how much genetics contributes to cognitive ageing.

The team found that these variants accounted for nearly one-quarter of the differences in cognitive stability. The results are published online today in Nature (abstract .

Comment Re:Booster recommendations? (Score 1) 231

I use the Wilson dual-band CDMA/Sprint version in rural TX. I don't have the model info in front of me, but it is 12vDC, comes with a contact retransmit antenna (you have to set your phone in contact with it to work) and a 25' magnetic uni-directional exterior antenna. It is designed primarily for use inside a vehicle, but my understanding is you can replace both antennas (BNC connectors to coax) with directional models. As long as you don't overlap the coverage (or you are effectively retransmitting inside a Faraday cage like me) it will work for a small coverage area (100 sq. ft. 'ish).

With the existing setup I go from 0-1 bar max to 3-4 bars, and on a good day can get full EVDO data. At some point I may swap the antennas and try the area setup, but that is another $100-150 in antennas unless I want to build my own.

Comment Re:Sure you are (Score 1) 413

Well stated. I'm gonna continue with a couple of points and apologize for calling troll since you put some thought on this response.

>A faster processor isn't going to get you to the moon, you still need a lot of fuel and a lot of hardware.

Yes, there is work to be done, and money to raise, but this group is not afraid of that. Those faster processors don't appear overnight, and this may take as long or longer than to go from 8088 to x64, or from Linus in his basement to Ubuntu. It may not work at all, but we may just learn something about how to do it on the journey. That knowledge or the quest for it may inspire someone who can figure it out down the road.

>But I'm also realistic enough to know that open source isn't a magic wand

I have to say it has become a marketing buzzword. I think a good few of us saw that coming. It sux when a paradigm shift gets co-opted by the marketers.

>I honestly think that if you have the resources to have a legitimate shot than $7500 isn't an amount you'd bother fund-raising.

I know they would like more than $7.5k, but you have to start somewhere. That amount will get you some bandwidth and hardware that can survive the /. effect or render a decent animation.

>I hope they prove me wrong, if this effort succeeded that would be unbelievably awesome on multiple fronts.

Me too, on that we can agree. I'm glad you aren't that jaded after all.

BTW, in case you haven't figured it out I know these guys and they are the type that are worth a flame war at least. On this Paul just wanted some CAD and since its not strictly his area he went with what he knew. There were some good responses in there that may at least help him balance the engineering side vs. the art/marketing.

Comment Re:Sure you are (Score 2, Insightful) 413

Ok, I'm gonna feed the Troll on this one...

>But you don't start by landing a manned spaceship on the moon using a development model that's never >effectively been applied to large scale hardware projects.

I thought that was just what Russia and the US did in the 50's and 60's. Granted they had the budgets of their whole countries to wager on it, but that doesn't hold water as an argument either for many reasons. I'll propose one - it may be hard, but not so fantastic to think that a project like this could be done in 2010 for a couple of orders of magnitude less dollars than in 1960. If it can't then maybe we haven't learned anything from history and we are all doomed. I hope not. I could say something about "shoulders of giants" now but I think that was already somewhere on the website.

I'm sorry you are so jaded by your open source volunteer work that you have lost all ability to dream big. Go back to your cube now and do whatever it is you do. Let the dreamers dream big, you sir are apparently not suited to it.

Comment Re:PC Repair Scams (Score 1) 665

> I think plugging a cartridge into a SNES is harder than installing a PCI card.

If this is not hyperbole you need to learn about ESD. This is probably what fried your all-in-one's motherboard after GS worked on it. When I work inside a server I'm always wearing a strap. When I work on a customer PC I make sure I'm grounded when before I touch components out of the static bag. When I work on my machines, well admittedly sometimes I roll the dice. YMMV.

Comment Re:Hell NO! They'll Probably Use As A Selling Poin (Score 1) 280

We know via the Bush domestic spying program and the revelations to EFF about "secret NSA rooms" in the telco switching centers, that the US has this capability on a massive scale. Link for the uninformed My comment at the time was, "Think what you could do with that equipment."

To assume the Brits or any other mostly solvent government on the planet can't do the same 7 years later is not just naive and funny, it is downright ignorant.

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