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Submission + - NSA Director Keith Alexander Is Reportedly Stepping Down (

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Keith Alexander will step down by April or May of next year. What's more, the agency’s deputy director Chris Inglis also plans to retire by the end of next year, anonymous US officials told Reuters today.

Though the news comes in the midst of a global public backlash over the NSA's widespread surveillance programs, it's worth pointing out that Alexander had revealed his plans to retire before Edward Snowden leaked details of PRISM in June. Officials didn’t give a reason for his departure.

Submission + - Google to support Windows XP longer than its developer Microsoft (

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft will officially retire its Windows XP operating system early next year, but Google on Wednesday announced it will continue to support its Chrome browser for the platform through at least early 2015.

The Mountain View, Calif., Web giant announced it will keep sending out updates and security patches to the Windows XP version of Google Chrome "until at least April 2015."

Submission + - Hundreds Gather in NYC for Anti-NSA Guerilla Video Premier

skaterperson writes: Nearly three hundred people gathered around 9PM, stopping traffic and packing a street corner to watch a crowdfunded video on the NSA spying programs, projected high on the side of a building from a bike-mounted projector & sound system. Now the video's live and we can all watch it. One impression was just impossible to avoid: tons of people care about this issue, perhaps more than any issue in the Internet freedom space. The mission is to reach reach them all and build a movement, and no doubt they can take apart the NSA’s mass spying operation piece by piece.

Comment Re:Two independent cut and paste clipboards is gre (Score 1) 729

Emacs has the kill ring: press one button to paste the last thing you cut/copied, press another afterwards to cycle through the clipboard history.

So with cua-style copy/paste keybindings it would go something like: select first part, Ctrl-C, select second part, Ctrl-C. Move to target, Ctrl-V, Alt-V to paste first part, Ctrl-V to paste second part.

Of course the problem is you can only use it inside emacs (as usual with emacs...). Maybe it's possible to create a program to do this in X/Wayland?

Comment Re: incredibly small (Score 1) 107

But they are nanometres thick as well. Say the structures are ~30nm high and assume that half the surface is covered in gold for the sake of simplicity. Then the volume of gold per m**2 is 15e-9 (m**3) = 0.015 (cm**3)

Density of gold is approx 19.30 g cm**-3 so it needs ~0.3g to make 1 m**2 of material.

Price of gold is around $40/g so that's about $12 per metre squared of material.

I had trouble finding reliable estimates of current prices but they seem to be in the range $300-$1500 per square metre. So if the gold can make it perform better it is certainly worth it.

Comment No relation to NAND flash (Score 1) 25

The part about NAND flash is a complete misinterpretation of the press release by computerworld's journalists. The actual press release says

It should also be possible to create a solid state memory device with no moving parts to implement this technology, researchers said. Unlike conventional hard-disk drive storage, solid state memory would offer durability.

They are talking about a magnetic solid state drive of some description. Completely unrelated to NAND flash except for the lack of a spinning disk.

I think this sort of filtering research press releases through multiple non-technical writes is a big problem for science reporting. The scientists say one thing, then the university press release people try to rewrite it to make it more sound more important than it is. Then journalists try to re-write parts of the press release (without understanding it) so that they can publish it as "their own" story.

The end result is like chinese whispers: confusing and often wrong.

Comment Odd but necessary (Score 5, Insightful) 333

As a comment on the ars technica article pointed out

Do you want George Lucas to go edit the Wiki pages on Star Wars and note that Greedo always shot first? Enforcing a secondary source means he first has to convince some citable source that it's what happened, which provides a check that Wikipedia's crowdsourced model on its own can't.

Comment Re:What was the dose? (Score 2) 252

From the (free to view) abstract:

TCS acutely depresses hemodynamics and grip strength in mice at doses 12.5 mg/kg i.p., and a concentration 0.52 M in water compromises swimming performance in larval fathead minnow.

From the paper itself (pg. 5)

Typical routes of exposure to TCS (oral, dermal) are sufcient in bringing the compound into systemic circulation (38, 39). Importantly, one study reported plasma Cmax of nearly 1 M within 1–3 h after administering a 4-mg oral dose in human subjects (38).

So the doses used could quite possibly be meaningful, I'm no biologist though...

Comment Re:Something missing in the explanation (Score 5, Informative) 99

I read the article (I know it's not considered good form here on Slashdot), and there seems to be a discrepancy: this is described as being a graphene transistor, but the gate uses silicon carbide as the semiconductor. So it seems like a better description would be a hybrid graphene/semiconductor transistor. Is this correct?

If it is a hybrid then what are the limitations and how is it better then current all semiconductor circuits? As far as I know (not very much) there is no reason to build silicon carbide integrated circuits, so why would anyone want to use SIC with graphene? Is this a step to something more useful?

I'm not trolling, I just want to get a better understanding.

Yes. They have only used graphene for the gates and contacts, not the channel itself, so a hybrid graphene/SiC transistor would probably be a better description.

As for advantages over existing technology: as far as I know the switching speed is dependent on the channel material, NOT the gate etc. So these transistors will (afaik) be no faster than a normal SiC transistor. All the hyperbole about graphene transistors being is only in the linked news article and not in the paper. In fact the final conclusion of the paper is:

The concept's particular strength, however, lies in the following property: within the same processing steps, many epitaxial graphene transistors can be connected by graphene strip lines along with graphene resistors and graphene/SiC Schottky diodes, and therefore complex circuits can be built up. As a special feature of graphene in contrast to semiconductors, we anticipate that even a complete logic is feasible.

On the other hand this is still interesting for other reasons:
1) They have demonstrated large scale integration of graphene. If we can get a bandgap in graphene without sacrificing too much mobility then combined with this kind of work we have a complete graphene chip.
2) Another thing they emphasise in the paper is the simplicity of the lithography process. Simpler lithography means it's easier to go smaller. Smaller features = better chips.

TL;DR - the news article is bullshit, the real result is interesting but not revolutionary (yet).

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