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Morphing Metals 121

aarondubrow writes "Imagine a metal that 'remembers' its original, cold-forged shape, and can return to that shape when exposed to heat or a magnetic pulse. Like magic out of a Harry Potter novel, such a metal could contract on command, or swing back and forth like a pendulum. Believe it or not, such metals already exist. First discovered in 1931, they belong to a class of materials called 'shape memory alloys (SMA),' whose unique atomic make-up allows them to return to their initial form, or alternate between forms through a phase change."

Comment Re:Or you could (Score 1) 390

It's considered a luxury.

Or an option for people who do not care about performance. There is still the widespread illusion that automatic transmissions shift at sub-optimal moments. Many people want to control shifting gears themselfs and regard automatic transmissions as inferior. Even more so for (much more efficient and responsive) Continuous Variable Transmission (invented in the Netherlands). Those were marketed as "so easy even your grandmother can drive one" and are subsequently associated with granny's driving performance.

Comment Re:Abolish the Penny (Score 1) 594

Even more interesting: even though the prices are rounded with cash payments, they are not for debit or creditcards. You could profit from this!(though not much :-)

Even stranger: you cab still use the 1 or 2 ct coins, but even then you have to pay the rounded amount (, dutch)

Incidently, your two cents should be rounded to 0.

XBox (Games)

Submission + - Microsoft admits the Xbox 360 scratches discs

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft admitted this after 2 broadcasts on the subject by the dutch television program Kassa. Microsofts states: "It is possible that scratches on discs can arise as a result of regular use." The hardware magazine that examined the complaints has some aditional information on the case. Dutch customers can get their consoles fixed, and broken games replaced. The situation for customers from other countries is unclear.

Submission + - Shooting Massacre at Virginia Tech

ConcernedStudent writes: "A violent gunman has apparently unleashed a deadly massacre on the famed science and tech campus, Virginia Polytechnic University (better known as Virginia Tech). The first reports of gunshots were received by police around 7:15 A.M. but shooting continued across the campus for hours longer. Over 25 people are now confirmed dead with many more injured. The shooter appears to have either killed himself or to have been killed by responding police officers. The New York Times has posted front page coverage, and the local Roanoke Times has been providing blog-style coverage, updated regularly. NYT Link — g.html?hp Roanoke Times Link — "

Feed Xbox 360 scratching discs? Maybe, says Microsoft (

Filed under: Gaming, Storage

So far the Xbox 360 has had its fair share of hardware problems, both large and small, and while Microsoft has dealt with most of these challenges by extending warranties and offering up free fixes, it usually takes its own sweet time to come around, which seems to be the case here. After completely ignoring a minor public outcry over what appeared to be a problem with a decent number of the 360s produced in December 2006 -- where a missing part in the drive caused the Xbox to scratch the disc it was reading -- Microsoft is finally confessing that there might actually be a problem and promising to look into it. This statement comes after Dutch TV show "Kassa" gave the movement some PR and ran its own tests on the 360, proving it to be the scratching culprit. Microsoft's still pretty wishy-washy about the whole thing: "We are not able to respond in detail on the results. It is possible that scratches on discs originate from frequent use. However, we have no indication that the results of the tests from Kassa are a large scale problem." But at least now Microsoft is willing to hear out customer complaints on the matter, and recommends that affected users contact support to deal with the issue. We're not quite sure what kind of pyrotechnics it'll take for Microsoft to actually run its own tests on these things, but at least things are moving in the right direction.


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