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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 23 declined, 3 accepted (26 total, 11.54% accepted)

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Submission + - NASA to 'lasso' a comet to hitchhike across the solar system

evilviper writes: Traveling around space can be hard and require a lot of fuel, which is part of the reason NASA has a spacecraft concept that would hitch a free ride on one of the many comets and asteroids speeding around our solar system at 22,000 miles per hour (on the slow end). Comet Hitchhiker, developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, would feature a reusable tether system to replace the need for propellant for entering orbit and landing on objects.

The spacecraft would first cast an extendable tether toward the object and attach itself using a harpoon attached to the tether. Next, it would reel out the tether while applying a brake that harvests energy while the spacecraft accelerates. This allows Comet Hitchhiker to accelerate and slowly match the speed of its ride, and keeping that slight tension on the line harvests energy that is stored on-board for later use, reeling itself down to the surface of the comet or asteroid. A comet hitchhiker spacecraft can obtain up to ~10 km/s of delta-V by using a carbon nanotube (CNT) tether, reaching the current orbital distance of Pluto (32.6 AU) in just 5.6 years.

Unfortunately rocket scientists apparently don't read the opinions of Anonymous Cowards on the internet, or else they'd know from discussions last year that it simply won't work. It seems that the idea defies "basic orbital mechanics" and "makes no sense".
Displays

Submission + - Low Power Monochrome LCD screens

evilviper writes: Ever since I picked up my Psion 5mx handheld many years ago, I was impressed all-around with the clarity and amazingly low power requirements of simple monochrome LCD screens. I didn't even find myself missing color. Now, I find myself tasked with replacing hundreds of dumb terminals with surplus PCs, doing nothing at all but running a simple terminal emulator, and wasting power. With the majority of power being drawn by the monitor, and requirements so modest that switching to a grayscale display would go practically unnoticed, naturally, my mind goes back to those inexpensive and power-sipping monochrome LCD screens. Sadly, all I've found in my searches are old CRTs, and very expensive high-end LCDs for medical imaging.

So where can decent-sized monochrome LCD screens (preferably with VGA connectors) for PC output be found? Even a text-only screen, ala. digital watches, might be acceptable. I'm sure I'm the only person to ever have this need. What do others in similar situations do to reduce the power consumption of largely idle PCs that are needed merely as a small upgrade from dumb terminals?
Cellphones

Submission + - Cellphone Signals Used to Track Traffic Patterns

evilviper writes: Engineers at the Indiana Department of Transportation have developed a method to track how long it takes vehicles and pedestrians to travel from one point to another. "Now we have a way to measure how slow traffic is on a given stretch of road or how long it's taking people to get through airport security at a given concourse and time of day." Data from such a system would provide not only information about short-term factors such as congestion from construction work zones, but also long-term trends requiring design changes.

Research findings will be detailed in a paper appearing in the June issue of the Institute of Transportation Engineers Journal. The researchers have filed a patent on the method, and the basic technology is available commercially to create the tracking system.

(apologies for the previous submission lacking URL)
Cellphones

Submission + - Cellphone Signals Used to Track Traffic Patterns

evilviper writes: Engineers at the Indiana Department of Transportation have developed a method to track how long it takes vehicles and pedestrians to travel from one point to another. "Now we have a way to measure how slow traffic is on a given stretch of road or how long it's taking people to get through airport security at a given concourse and time of day." Data from such a system would provide not only information about short-term factors such as congestion from construction work zones, but also long-term trends requiring design changes.

Research findings will be detailed in a paper appearing in the June issue of the Institute of Transportation Engineers Journal. The researchers have filed a patent on the method, and the basic technology is available commercially to create the tracking system.
Unix

Submission + - SCO shipping MPlayer with DLLs

evilviper writes: Everyone's favorite company (SCO) is now distributing everyone's favorite GPL'd Unix video program (MPlayer) for their UnixWare and OpenServer operating systems. With it, they are including numerous codecs in the form of Windows DLLs, from Microsoft, Apple, RealNetworks, and others. This brings up numerous questions about the legality of re-distributing freely downloadable files, and the enforceability of EULAs on the related software. It also raises the question of whether the GPL extends to closed-source, binary code being loaded by GPL'd programs at runtime, such as DLLs or Linux kernel modules.

http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/88956
http://www.sco.com/products/docs/MPlayer%20for%20U W714%20&%20OSR6-FINAL.pdf
http://www.sco.com/support/update/download/release .php?rid=270
http://www.sco.com/support/update/download/release .php?rid=271

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