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Science

Submission + - Thermite Reaction Responsible For WTC Collapse? (sintef.no) 6

esocid writes: Christian Simensen, a senior SINTEF scientist believes that heat melted the aluminium of the aircraft hulls, and the core of his theory is that molten aluminium then found its way downwards within the buildings through staircases and gaps in the floor – and that the flowing aluminium underwent a chemical reaction with water from the sprinklers in the floors below. “Both scientific experiments and 250 reported disasters suffered by the aluminium industry have shown that the combination of molten aluminium and water releases enormous explosions,” says Simensen.

"Alcoa Aluminium carried out an experiment under controlled conditions, in which 20 kilos of aluminium smelt were allowed to react with 20 kilos of water, to which some rust was added. The explosion destroyed the entire laboratory and left a crater 30 metres in diameter." Extrapolate that to the 30 tons from the planes, and his theory has some weight to it, no pun intended. The article was published in the trade magazine http://www.aluminiumtoday.com/news/view/world-trade-center-paper-on-tv/aluminium-news/

Space

Submission + - 1/3 of Sun-like stars may have warm Earth analogs (arxiv.org)

The Bad Astronomer writes: "An astronomer studying data from the first 136 days of the Kepler observatory missions has calculated that as many as 34% of all Sun-like stars may have Earth-sized planets orbiting in their habitable zones, where conditions are right for life as we know it. I have some reservations with his numbers, but they do match other studies. There may be 15 billion warm, Earth-sized worlds in our galaxy alone."
Power

Submission + - Germany Considers Wind Power-Storing Coal Mines (inhabitat.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The state government of Lower Saxony is working with engineers to determine the potential for using abandoned mines in the Harz Mountains to house hydroelectric pumps to store excess wind power. If it comes to fruition, the plant would be the first of its kind in the world. Since wind power is not always available at the same strength, during times of excess power, the energy needs to be stored. To do this, the excess wind power pumps water into elevated storage tanks or reservoirs. Then when the wind power is not meeting demand on its own, gravity pulls the water to a lower tank, powering the turbines along the way so they still generate electricity.
NASA

Submission + - What If the Space Shuttle Had Never Flown? (yahoo.com)

MarkWhittington writes: "As the end of the space shuttle era draws nigh, an evaluation of what benefit it brought to the United States is in order. What if the space shuttle had never flown? What if it had been canceled in the early 1970s?A plan to build a large space station along with the shuttle was still born in the early 1970s and not revived until President Reagan proposed it in 1984. In the political climate of the 1970s, the space shuttle could well have been still born as well."
Technology

Submission + - Powering Electronics with Bicycles On The Go (calstatela.edu)

Alanonfire writes: By attaching a small generator and a 12-volt battery to a standard road bike, a team of three engineering and communications students designed a system that captures the energy that is created as the bicycle wheels turn. That energy—collected whether the bike is stationary or moving—charges a battery, which, in turn, charges a cell phone or other small electronics.

Submission + - Exploding Lake Provides Electricity for Rwanda (discovery.com)

reillymj writes: There are three known "exploding lakes" in the world, where volcanic gases build up near the lake bottom until they suddenly fizz over, suffocating people with huge amounts of carbon dioxide. But the lakes also hold methane and one of them, Rwanda's Lake Kivu, is being actively tapped as a source of natural gas to fuel a power plant on the lake's shores. The government hopes that within two years, the plant will be covering a third of the country's needs. By siphoning off the gas, engineers simultaneously defuse a ticking time bomb in the lake and provide power to local communities.
Hardware

Submission + - Trojan infected computer linked to Spanair crash 2 (elpais.com)

An anonymous reader writes: El pais online newspaper (link provided in Spanish) reports that the Spanair ground computer responsible for triggering an alarm when 3 failures are reported in a plane failed to do so in the case of Spanair flight JK-5022 that killed over 150 two years ago. The computer was infected with trojans.
Games

Submission + - FREE fan-created Star Trek TOS game available (gambitrealm.com) 2

An anonymous reader writes: FREE fan-created FPS game entitled "Star Trek: NCC1701" (built using Torque 3D engine) features for the first time the entire original Enterprise rendered in full-scale 3D. This means players will actually be able to walk the entire interior of the ship from top to bottom when all decks are completed.

For now, the playable demo includes the bridge and the shuttlebay (you can turbolift between the two), and the ability to fly a shuttle around the outside of the ship and practice various combat and flight missions. The developers have the entire ship built (all 24 decks) but are still optimizing and furnishing all the floors — they plan to release the entire ship in a future demo to allow people to explore it entirely. But what the current demo offers certainly wets the appetite for more (anyone for playing as a Klingon and flying their cool fighter out the back of a giant D7 battle cruiser on a mission to hunt down Starfleet shuttles?).

This is an unofficial product, but hopefully CBS/Paramount will come calling and work out a deal with them, as this would be a great product if expanded to include other missions and ships.

Check out the website at http://gambitrealm.com/ for the free download link and more information. Live long and prosper!

Patents

USPTO Plans Could Kill Small Business Innovation 175

bizwriter writes "If protecting inventions is at the heart of high tech competitiveness, plans afoot at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will critically wound small companies. The agency's notorious 750,000 patent application backlog has long been the subject of heavy criticism. One of the key tools the USPTO wants to use is to raise fees so high as to directly reduce 40 percent of the backlog. That would mean setting filing and maintenance rates so high as to make it economically difficult, if not impossible, for many small companies to adequately protect their innovations, leaving large corporations even more in control of technology than they are now."
Open Source

Law Professors Developing Patent License For FOSS 41

Julie188 writes with this quote from a Networkworld article: "Two law professors from UC Berkeley have come up with a novel idea to protect open source developers from patent bullies. They call it the Defensive Patent License. They hope the DPL can address the objections FOSS developers have with patents the way the GPL addressed them for copyright. The DPL is similar to the concept of a defensive patent pool, but is not the same. The DPL is a bit more radical. It requires a bigger commitment from its members than the typical toe-in-the-water kind of pool, says Jason Schultz, former staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 'The perception is that bigger companies only commit their least-effective, least-important patents to a patent pool,' he says. Schultz isn't pointing fingers at any particular pool. However critics of IBM's open source patent pledge often said it didn't cover the patents most relevant to the FOSS community."
Programming

Is HTML5 Ready To Take Over From Flash? 468

The Flash platform has been taking body blows lately. First Apple, then Scribd, publicly abandon it; now ARM's marketing VP is blaming a delay in ARM smartbooks on the continuing unsuitability of Flash for the subnotebook market. But how ready is HTML5 to take over from Flash? Tim Bray offers a cautionary appraisal of the not-yet-a-standard's state of grace. While Flash may be on the way out (or so legions of its detractors hope), it is still important in many corners of the Web. Here a branding expert demonstrates that the sites of 10 out of 10 leading worldwide brands don't display on the iPad — because they're coded in Flash, of course.

Comment Re:Awe (Score 1) 29

Seriously, I'm in awe of these pictures and how much is out there. Between these and the new hubble images, it really drives home two things:

1) I miss living in the country. The night skies on clear nights were awesome. 2) I regret that I will not live long enough to see faster then light travel. Perhaps my son will see it.

I certainly hope that my children will get the chance to travel our of orbit. I'm still holding out that i'll step foot on the moon or another planet before I leave this beautiful blue marble. (A man's gotta have his dreams right?)

On a serious note faster than light travel by the next generation? We can always dream....

Comment Re:That's it? (Score 1) 400

Games don't come in 'gigantic' boxes anymore, and haven't for a while. In fact, a good old-school manual wouldn't even fit in a modern box. A lot of PC games do come in DVD-style cases, or even the more compact Blu-Ray style.

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