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Submission + - None more black 2

toxcspdrmn writes: Bad news for Spinal Tap fans. The BBC reports that researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, have produced the darkest known material by manufacturing "forests" of carbon nanotubes. This forms a surface that absorbs or scatters 99.9% of all incident light.

Submission + - Super Soaker Inventor to Double Solar Efficiency

mattnyc99 writes: And you thought CES was going green: With top geeks saying photovoltaic cells are still four years away from costing as much as the grid, and the first U.S. thermal power plant just getting into production, there's plenty of solar hype without any practical solution that's efficient enough. Until Lonnie Johnson came along. The man who invented the Super Soaker water gun turns out to be a nuclear engineer who's developed a solid-state heat engine that converts the sun's heat to electricity at 60-percent efficiency—double the rate of the next most successful solar process. And his innovation, called the Johnson Thermoelectric Energy Conversion (JTEC) system, is getting funding from the National Science Foundation, so this is no toy. From the article: "If it proves feasible, drastically reducing the cost of solar power would only be a start. JTEC could potentially harvest waste heat from internal combustion engines and combustion turbines, perhaps even the human body. And no moving parts means no friction and fewer mechanical failures."

Submission + - Teaching Sub-Atomic Physics to Elementary Students

Anonymous Coward writes: " is a website from the University of Kansas that attempts to counter the dogma which states that physics and other abstract concepts can not be taught to younger children in school. The site takes a neat approach to introducing sub-atomic particles as characters in a cartoon along with several flash based games in order present a selection of concepts previously thought only understandable to students in college. Early results seem to indicate that the children actually develop an understanding of the ideas presented on the website and though outreach programs. The idea is to introduce cool science content to children early enough to reduce the overwhelming pressure that physics or other technical classes are too difficult. More high school kids enjoying science, what a cool and neat concept!"

Submission + - My Wife's SSN was Hacked. What can I do?

Anonymous Coward writes: "My Wife received a letter yesterday from UCLA confirming that she was on the short list of 28,000 people who had their personal information compromised by the UCLA database hack reported last month: 2,0,7111141.story?coll=la-home-headlines UCLA has suggested that she put out a fraud alert on her credit as precautionary measure. I'm skeptical of doing this since the data has already been compromised for over a year and the fraud alert only lasts for 90 days. In addition to this, fraud alerts do not mandate that creditors actually research any credit applications. It's merely advisory. It seems that filing a fraud alert on her credit will only inconvenience her and do little to actually deter anyone who wishes to abuse her social security number in the distant future or prevent any fraud that has already taken place. So far we have no evidence that her SSN has been abused in any way or that there has been fraudulent use of her credit or identity. I am of the understanding that changing her SSN is next to impossible. Are there any other steps that I can take to help protect her personal information?"

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