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Submission + - Kinect for the Xbox One: Sensor revolution or marketing hype? (extremetech.com)

massivepanic writes: For all the buzz about the new Kinect that will ship with the Xbox One, there are remarkably few facts to go around. Sources trumpet its infrared-enabled ability to detect motion in a dark room, for example, but so could the original Kinect. Taking a look at what we know about the new Kinect, it isn’t at all clear whether it is an exciting breakthrough or just a group of incremental updates.
Chrome

Submission + - SPAM: Google May Open Its Own Stores by the End of The Year 1

vividtimes writes: "It’s no secret that Apple’s retail stores have proven extraordinarily beneficial for the company, and it looks like Google may be getting into the game now as well. 9to5Google is reporting that the company will be building a line of stand-alone retail stores, with the first locations scheduled to open by the end of the year."
Link to Original Source
Government

Submission + - Yet another costly government software upgrade failure (latimes.com)

g01d4 writes: "California's computer problems, which have already cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, have mounted as state officials cut short work on a $208-million DMV technology overhaul that is only half done. Last week, the controller's office fired the contractor responsible for a $371-million upgrade to the state's payroll system, citing a trial run filled with mishaps. More than $254 million has already been spent." It's hard not to feel like the Tokyo man in the street watching the latest round of Godzilla the state vs. Rodan the big contractor.
Power

Submission + - New Fabrication Process May Realize Potential Of Solar Nanoantenna Arrays? (rdmag.com)

CCarrot writes: From the article:

A novel fabrication technique developed by UConn engineering professor Brian Willis could provide the breakthrough technology scientists have been looking for to vastly improve today’s solar energy systems.

For years, scientists have studied the potential benefits of a new branch of solar energy technology that relies on incredibly small nanosized antenna arrays that are theoretically capable of harvesting more than 70% of the sun’s electromagnetic radiation and simultaneously converting it into usable electric power.

The technology would be a vast improvement over the silicon solar panels in widespread use today. Even the best silicon panels collect only about 20% of available solar radiation, and separate mechanisms are needed to convert the stored energy to usable electricity for the commercial power grid. The panels’ limited efficiency and expensive development costs have been two of the biggest barriers to the widespread adoption of solar power as a practical replacement for traditional fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, the stumbling block for nanoantenna solar arrays has always been the inability to produce a rectifier small or fast enough to convert electron flows to usable energy at the speeds of visible (and infrared) light. Researchers at the University of Connecticut have now developed a way to use atomic deposition technology (widely used in the production of microelectronics) to create small, fast rectifiers (or 'rectennas') that should, in theory, convert the high frequency electron flows generated by the nanoantennae into usable electricity.

Could this really be the breakthrough moment that at last allows an alternative-energy source to truly compete with non-renewable sources on all fronts: convenience, availability, efficiency and cost?

Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft rumored to be taking a 'meaningful look' at Office for Linux (engadget.com) 1

alancronin writes: Open source obsessive Michael Larabel says he has it on good authority that Microsoft is considering a native version of Office for Linux. Specifically, the company is taking a "meaningful look" at the idea, now that Linux is showing signs of becoming more of a player in the OS stakes. The information came to Larabel from an unnamed source during the Free Open-Source Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) in Brussels, and this voice in the shadows apparently also revealed the port could be ready in 2014.
Earth

Submission + - Political Idealogy Shapes How People Perceive Temperature (arstechnica.com)

benfrog writes: "In what likely isn't that much of a surprise, a study has shown that political ideology shapes how we perceive temperature changes (but not drought/flooding conditions). (An abstract of the study is here. 8,000 individuals were asked about temperatures and drought/flood events in recent years, then their political leanings. Answers regarding drought/flood events tended to follow the actual changes in conditions, while answers regarding temperature tended to follow people's political beliefs."
Science

Submission + - German Scientists Claim To Have Created Worlds Lightest Material, Aerographite

An anonymous reader writes: A team of German scientists have claimed that their new material, aerographite, is the world's lightest material. Made from interwoven porous carbon tubes, aerographite weighs just 0.2 milligrams per cubic centimeter, and could be used in the construction of new, lighter lithium ion batteries.
Microsoft

Submission + - Ubuntu Secure Boot Is Worse Than Windows Secure Boot? (muktware.com)

sfcrazy writes: Canonical has given recommendations for ODMs planning Ubuntu pre-installed PCs. Their solution seems a selfish one compared to Fedora's. The significant difference between the Ubuntu approach and the Microsoft approach is that there's no indication that Canonical will be offering any kind of signing service. A system carrying only the Ubuntu signing key will conform to these requirements and may be certified by Canonical, but will not boot any OS other than Ubuntu unless the user disables secure boot or imports their own key database. That is, a certified Ubuntu system may be more locked down than a certified Windows 8 system.
Science

Submission + - Giant celestial disk hard to explain (sciencenews.org) 1

AlfonAri writes: "Paulin: By Nadia Drake — ANCHORAGE, Alaska — About 80 light-years away, an enormous, dusty ring swirls around a sunlike star, with a defined inner edge that is probably sculpted by a planet orbiting at 140 times Earth’s distance from the sun... more"
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft Releases Tablet: Microsoft Surface (silicon-news.com)

Anthony_Cargile writes: Microsoft's Steve Ballmer just released Microsoft's tablet, Microsoft Surface (the name of an existing technology being extended by Windows 8 to the mobile market). It does not include any collaboration by Barnes and Noble, quelling those rumors, and is Windows 8-based running software very similar to what existing Microsoft Surface products have been running in restaurants for over a year now.
Education

Submission + - Liberal Arts: Lost Tools of Wisdom? (tirnasaor.com) 2

TirNaSaor writes: "The trivium and quadrivium comprise the seven liberal arts which are the very tools for effective critical thinking. These tools can then be applied to the study of any subject in a systematic manner and are therefore essential for discovering the very nature of reality itself."
China

Submission + - China to Build World's Tallest Tower in 90 Days (broad.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Even since the current world’s tallest builing – the Burj Khalifa in Dubai – was completed, there has been a constant battle to build the world’s next tallest building. The current record holder stands tall at 828 meters and took five years to build, but a Chinese company called Broad Sustainable Building (BSB) aims to smash that record by building the 838 meter Sky City tower, in Changsa, China in a mere 90 days. BSB plans to use prefab building techniques to construct the tower in record time.
Australia

Submission + - Australian company surcharges IE7-using customers (www.cbc.ca)

PhotoJim writes: "Australian company Kogan has decided to add a 6.8% surcharge to orders by customers using Internet Explorer 7. The reason? To offset the costs of supporting the 6-year-old web browser. "But don't worry," Kogan says, "...we're making it easy to get around this one with a simple upgrade away from IE7". Their blog has the details."

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