Friday, July 11, 2008

Scientists Learn How Food Affects The Brain: Omega 3 Especially Important

ScienceDaily (July 11, 2008) — In addition to helping protect us from heart disease and cancer, a balanced diet and regular exercise can also protect the brain and ward off mental disorders.

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If you have windows, you have solar energy

Solar energy is one of those concepts that seems like a great idea, but can be a tad complicated to undertake. Solar panels can cost a pretty penny, and you have to make sure you install them properly so the energy from the sun will be properly directed.

But for all of us who aren't so handy - or don't have a ton of money - a new study published in the journal Science could change the way we look at this alternative energy source.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers developed a process in which, when a specific dye is deposited on a plane of glass, it absorbs "visible spectrum" light and directs it to solar cells, which convert the light into electricity. The rest of the light passes through the glass and is collected in a normal solar panel, where it can be converted into electricity.

You might think, great, but why not just use a regular solar panel and forget the dye? Well, the scientists believe it makes the process 20% more efficient than a typical solar energy collection process, and want to work to make it 50% more efficient. Even better? It's inexpensive, and can be made and marketed within three years.

via [Boston Globe]

Open WiFi Owners Off the Hook In Germany

Posted by timothy on Friday July 11, @03:30AM
from the gefehlt-mir dept.
ulash writes "Ars Technica reports that a court in Germany ruled in favor of an open WiFi network owner stating that if other users use your open WiFi network without your consent and download copyrighted material, you cannot be automatically held responsible for their actions. This does not carry much (if any) weight in the US but here is to hoping that it will at least have a positive impact in the EU as starters."

The Very Worst Uses of Windows

Posted by timothy on Thursday July 10, @08:14PM
from the you-seem-to-be-attaching-an-iron-lung dept.
bigplrbear writes "I found an interesting article revealing the many places that Microsoft products reside, and what they're used for, ranging from elevators to ticket scanners." From the article: "Thanks to VMWare Windows is spreading throughout the datacenter. And, of course, there is only one operating system to use if you are dependent on Microsoft apps like Outlook, Word, and Excel. While I have joined the chorus of security folks who rail against the Microsoft Monoculture I still cannot believe some of the uses for Windows. Some of them are just downright silly, some you may claim are criminally negligent." Note: I'm making no claim of criminal negligence!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Spammers Announce World War III

Posted by timothy on Thursday July 10, @05:56PM
from the now-that's-not-cricket dept.
schliz writes with the stub of a disheartening article at IT News: "Hackers are deluging web users with malware-laden spam claiming that World War III has started following a US invasion of Iran. Security experts warned [yesterday] that spam emails with subject lines including 'Third World War has begun,' '20000 US Soldiers in Iran,' and 'US Army crossed Iran's borders' have been intercepted. The emails contain links to a malicious webpage that displays what appears to be a video player showing the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion."

New Generation Of Home Robots Have Gentle Touch

ScienceDaily (July 10, 2008) — Who doesn’t long for household help at times? Service robots will soon be able to relieve us of heavy, dirty, monotonous or irksome tasks. Research scientists have now presented a new generation of household robots, the “Care-O-bot® 3”.

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Good News About $4 Gas? Fewer Traffic Deaths

ScienceDaily (July 10, 2008) — As unwelcome as they are, higher gasoline prices do come with a plus side - fewer deaths from car accidents, says a researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

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Coal-generated Carbon Dioxide Captured In Australia -- A First

ScienceDaily (July 10, 2008) — In a first for Australia, carbon dioxide (CO2) has been captured from power station flue gases in a post-combustion-capture (PCC) pilot plant at Loy Yang Power Station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.

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Can Microorganisms Be A Solution To The World's Energy Problems?

ScienceDaily (July 10, 2008) — Microorganisms once reigned supreme on the Earth, thriving by filling every nook and cranny of the environment billions of years before humans first arrived on the scene. Now, this ability of microorganisms to grow from an almost infinite variety of food sources may play a significant role in bailing out society from its current energy crisis, according to the Biodesign Institute's Bruce Rittmann, Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, and Rolf Halden.

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NYPD, FD test out greener rides

As part of his city's $2.3B plan to cut its emissions 30% over the next three decades, Mayor Bloomberg announced a pilot program to test drive a new greener fleet of civil service vehicles. In the coming months, some New York police officers and firefighters will be making their rounds in GMC SUV hybrids, Vectrix scooters, and Segway-esque three wheeled transporters.

While it may seem counter-productive to go with the most gas-guzzling hybrid around, the New York's finest will be testing 20 GMC Yukon hybrids -- the much contested Green Car of the Year. Though they don't get very impressive gas-mileage, the Yukon's powerful engine and 2-mode system can easily haul in a carload of rowdy drunks. According to Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler, the GMC hybrids -- which get 25% better fuel economy than their gas counter parts -- will save the city $3,000 a year in fuel costs a piece.
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BMW building electric Minis-but not many

As gasoline price points move from "cheaper than water" to "more expensive than Bollinger", more auto manufacturers are hopping on the electric bandwagon. Now BMW is putting together an electric Mini which it plans to bring to California sometime in the near future.

The move is apparently a response to a California law requiring automakers to build at least 7500 emissions-free vehicles by the year 2014. The car has already been designed, and is being in manufactured England and Germany.

The bad news is that BMW only plans to build about 500 of the cars, which will be leased to "select customers", so if you want to drive one you'll probably have to buddy up with George Clooney.

No word yet on whether the new Mini will have a tab underneath so it can run on a slot car track.

via [Wired]

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Even Panda bears won't be spared from the uprising

That's Yasukawa Electric Corporation's 1.3-meter tall SmartPal V in action. He's on display in Japan right now demonstrating how the domestic-helper bot can mop floors and pick up after the kids while you supposedly sleep in secure slumber knowing that a robot is loose in the house. Poor, poor Pandas. See how SmartPal V treats the vacuum after the break.

Better Technology For Developing Plastic Solar Cells And Plastic Electronic Devices Created

ScienceDaily (July 9, 2008) — A new way to help technologists develop efficient and inexpensive plastic electronic devices, such as plastic solar cells and a new type of transistor was showcased by physicist Andrea Liscio, who is supported by the European Science Foundation (ESF) through the EUROCORES programne SONS 2 (Self-Organised NanoStructures), at the EMRS (European Material Research Society) Spring Meeting held in Strasbourg, France at the end of May.

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Mitsubishi's 1080p FL7000U projector now available for $15,000

New beater / better car? New HD projector? Pay off that second mortgage? New HD projector? C'mon folks, the choice here is crystal clear, is it not? Mitsubishi's 1080p FL7000U is apparently now ready for consumption here in the US of A, but that native 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, 5,000 ANSI lumens and 1,000:1 contrast ratio will cost you a pretty penny. 1,499,500 of them, in fact, though we heard through the grapevine that you can find it somewhat cheaper on the streets.

[Via AboutProjectors]

Spectacular 3D Medical Animations Show The Body's Inner Workings in Stunning Detail

Hybrid Medical Animation takes the inner workings of your body and creates some of the most beautiful, spectacular animations that you're likely to see. Seriously, who knew that our insides looked so awesome? If we saw stuff like this when I was in school, maybe I would have become a doctor. Also, if I was smarter, maybe I would have become a doctor, but let's just blame it on the lack of fancy animations, shall we? Above is their new 2008 demo reel, showing off the kinds of things they can model and animate. Fantastic Voyage 2, anyone? [Hybrid Medical Animation via Dark Roasted Blend]

Handheld Scanner Diagnoses Diseases

Posted on: July 09, 2008
Handheld Scanner Diagnoses Diseases

Medical science has progressed to such extent that a handheld nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) scanner has been developed, capable of diagnosing diseases and identifying pathogens on-the-go. This scanner is highly portable, being numerous times smaller compared to standard NMR spectroscopy machines. This is made possible by lining up nuclei in a sample using a powerful magnetic field and then zapping them with radio waves that cause them to wobble, or precess. The prototype is sensitive enough to detect a mere 10 bacteria in samples, and can also double up as a gizmo to test for water purity as well as gaseous samples. The design patent has already been filed, and the final product will be marketed in the near future.

Protein On 'Speed' Linked To ADHD

ScienceDaily (July 9, 2008) — A genetic change in the dopamine transporter -- one of the brain's dopamine-handling proteins -- makes it behave as if amphetamine is present and "run backward," Vanderbilt University Medical Center investigators report this week in The Journal of Neuroscience.

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Linux For Housewives. XP For Geeks.

Posted by CmdrTaco on Wednesday July 09, @10:00AM
from the or-just-cheapskates dept.
Talinom writes "ZDNet has an article sure to raise the hackles of any self-respecting geek. They report that housewives buying small laptops like the Asus EE are causing Linux usage for that demographic to spike. A reporter for Tech-On states that 'Retailers and contract manufacturers in Taiwan say that novice PC users there, like students and housewives, tend to buy the Linux version of the Eee PC701, while geeks go for Windows XP.'"

Beijing 2008: scientists predict circulation problems

Being held in one of the most polluted cities on the planet, this year's Olympics gives us a unique glimpse into just how unchecked pollution can impact human life. From water concerns, to air quality issues, and even algae infestations -- the Beijing games have already generated loads of ecological news. Now, scientists in Hong Kong are warning that particulates in Beijing's air may cause Olympians some serious blood circulation issues.

Their logic is simple: athletes consume more oxygen, and therefore absorb more particulate matter through their respiratory system -- and on into their bloodstreams. The buildup of these particulates causes inflammation in the respiratory system and the increases the viscosity of blood -- seriously altering an athlete's circulation. Not only will can these conditions hurt their cardiovascular performance, scientists say, but it has the potential to hospitalize the Olympians that are most susceptible.
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Male Cyclists Risk Sexual Problems If They Don't Choose The Right Bike

ScienceDaily (July 9, 2008) — Men who take up cycling in an effort to stay fit, do their bit for the environment or avoid spiralling motoring costs, could be harming their health if they don't choose the right bicycle. That's the stark warning from consultant urological surgeon Mr Vinod Nargund from St Bartholomew's and Homerton Hospitals, London.

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GM dropping Volt's range from 600 to 360 miles

The gas tank in the Chevy Volt is probably the least interesting thing about GM's hybrid concept, but it's causing some waves today, with reports that GM is trimming it in size, effectively dropping the vehicle's range from 600 miles to some 360. Apparently GM found that consumers rarely travel more than 40 miles a day (the range of the Volt's battery pack) and that longer trips didn't require a 600 mile range because "most bladders can't go 600 miles" -- so cutting down the 12-gallon fuel tank saves weight and cost. Sure, we can see that -- most of our cars can only go 300 or so miles before needing gas -- but it sure seems like the Volt is going from marvel of hybrid technology to just another hybrid in a much cooler skin.

[Via Autoblog]

DIY USB Popcorn Maker: pops corn, explodes your mind

You paying attention Redenbacher? Those daring kids at Instructables have created the USB Popcorn Maker from a high intensity heater light, aluminum cup, and mason jar. Add oil, non-Linux kernels, and salt and you're ready to cozy-up in an uncomfortable three-some with the Wachowski Brothers. Unfortunately, the video posted after the break jump-cuts between USB attachment and the first corn kaboom. But given the 5V USB source, you'll likely need plenty of time to get the oil boiling. Then again, nobody said this was practical.

[Thanks, Sophia D.]

"New" Words From the Geek Culture

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday July 09, @03:11AM
from the bonny-earl-of-murray dept.
thatskinnyguy sends news of Merriam-Webster's 2008 list of new words and, to no-one's surprise, a good number of them come out of geek culture: words like webinar, malware, netroots, pretexting, and fanboy are now official words according to M-W. The CNet article pulls out one "new" word for special appreciation — mondegreen — and, while the article gets the origin right, it ends with a lame call for readers to send in their favorite mondegreens. (CNet does have the good grace to link the Kiss This Guy site.) SFGate columnist Jon Carroll has been collecting readers' mondegreens since 1995 and his list is bound to be better. Quoting Carroll, in a prophetic mode: "This space has been for some years the chief publicity agent for mondegreens. The Oxford English Dictionary has not yet seen the light, but it will, it will." Would you believe, Merriam-Webster's?