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Submission + - Graphene Earphones Enable Inter-Species Communication (

sumakor writes: Chinese researchers have created a pair of earphones using laser-scribed-graphene (LSG) as the resonating membrane and demonstrated frequency response better than commercial models. The team coated a DVD disc with graphene oxide and selectively reduced areas of the film to graphene (or graphite) in a LightScribe DVD-RW drive before peeling the film off the DVD and assembling it into the earphones. Testing revealed the earphones' frequency response extended far beyond the range of human hearing.

Although most would consider that additional performance of dubious value, the authors remind us that the tiny Phillippine tarsiers primates, bats, whales and dolphins communicate using frequencies as high as 90kHz, 160kHz, 175kHz and 300kHz respectively, and thus these new graphene earphones might be of use to them. To demonstrate their achievement, the group tested their earphones on a dog, which clearly responded to 35kHz signal inaudible to humans. The authors conclude that this work could open up "a whole new way of interspecies communication."

Submission + - ACLU and EFF Endorse Weaker USA Freedom Act Passed by Committee ( 1

sumakor writes: The House Judiciary Committee has advanced a weakened version of the USA Freedom Act (HR3361). The amended compromise version allows collection of phone call records up to two hops away from a target, potentially including millions of customer records, and allows for collection without a judge's order in emergency cases. The amended bill also drops the requirement for a privacy advocate who can appeal the rulings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and extends the controversial Section 215 of the Patriot Act from 2015 through 2017.

Despite these significant changes the amended bill has been endorsed by the ACLU and the EFF as a first step and the most promising path towards reigning in government surveillance. The two organizations called for further Congressional measures to tighten control of surveillance authorities including an explicit definition of the term "selector," a reduction in the number of hops from 2 to 1 under most circumstances and the closing the loophole that allows searches of Americans' data inadvertently collected thru Section 702.

The bill now proceeds to the House Intelligence Committee, who has advanced its competing bill, the FISA Transparency and Modernization Act (HR 4291). The committee will mark up both bills on the same day, begining at 10am Thursday, behind closed doors.

Submission + - Congress Actually Does Something on NSA Reform (

An anonymous reader writes: With unanimous support, the House Judiciary Committee approved 32-0 an amended version of the USA Freedom Act, which would limit the government's ability to collect bulk metadata of Americans' phone records. Among its several reform provisions, the Freedom Act would move the storage of phone metadata—the numbers and call durations but not the contents of a call—out of the government and into the hands of the phone companies. The bill, authored by Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, only allows data collection for counterterrorism purposes, and it reduces from three to two the number of "hops," or degrees of separation, away from a target the NSA can jump when analyzing communications.

Comment Seriously, this is great news! (Score 3, Insightful) 88

Graphene needed this technological development. It was a pre-requisite for electronics applications, which are currently based on large single crystal silicon wafers. For comparison, this is something that's yet to be achieved with carbon nanotubes, which still have no electronics applications despite being 13 years older than graphene and having excellent properties. People have the same attitude towards graphene: yeah it's great, but it may never be integrated into any mass-produced products and it may just die out and fade away. So if Samsung can grow monocrystalline graphene many inches across, it moves graphene from some pie-in-the-sky research material like nanotubes to something we could actually commercialize. It knocks out one of the big legs from the "Graphene will never replace silicon," argument. Although not all the questions about graphene have been answered, this advance makes those questions and their answers matter a lot more to many more people than they did last week.

Submission + - Samsung Claims Breakthrough In Graphene Chip Design (

jfruh writes: Graphene, a carbon-based crystalline lattice that is extremely strong, lightweight, and an excellent conductor of electricity and heat, is coveted as a potential base for semiconductor chip design, and Samsung, working with the Sungkyungkwan University School of Advanced Materials Science and Engineering, has claimed a big jump towards that goal. With IBM also making progress in this realm, the days of silicon could actually be numbered.

Comment Re:PR Guys (Score 1) 491

Washington Post now has a link to Inmarsat's analysis documents: I've no idea what variable D1 is. Maybe some inherent frequency offset in the system that has to be subtracted. Maybe that's the minimum 85 Hz offset in the data. The difference between northbound and southbound flightpaths is almost 100Hz at times (e.g. 19:40 UTC). That's pretty big ; 100Hz from a 131 MHz signal (the higher 137MHz bands are North America only, I think) I get 100Hz / (131E6 Hz) ~ 7.63E-7, and (7.63E-7 x c = 229 m/s = 445 knots. That's a difference of 445 knots in plane-satellite line-of-sight closing speeds between north and south tracks. The 270 Hz peak at 18:20 UTC is an additional 100Hz, or 445 knots directly towards the satellite. The satellite is west, but also really high up. How could an airplane following the surface of the Earth achieve 445 knots closing speed towards a satellite? I still don't see all the details here.

Comment Moving Satellite (Score 1) 491

The satellite we're talking about, Inmarsat-3 F1, is not perfectly geostationary. Nothing's perfect. This one's orbit is inclined 1.7 degrees with respect to the equator, which means it oscillates North-South and crosses the equator twice a day. If you know the motion of the satellite at the time of the flight (say it was moving south), then the Doppler shift between north and south tracks would be a little different (the south track would have a smaller shift). Of course, with a 130MHz signal you're talking about a shift of 1Hz or less. How much resolution do their tuners have? Maybe enough.

Comment Re:PR Guys (Score 1) 491

The Inmarsat-3 F1 satellite is geostationary, it moves little and slowly relative to the Earth's surface. There is effectively no doppler shift due to motion of the satellite relative to the Earth.

I think 'geostationary' satellites wobble more than you think. This one is inclined 1.7 degrees to the equator, and whether that Doppler shift is detectable... it depends on your detector. Maybe it's really that good.

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