Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Body Heat Energy Generation

Posted by CmdrTaco on Wednesday December 23, @09:54AM
from the i'm-sweating-right-now dept.
BuzzSkyline writes"Researchers in Belgium have developed devices to harvest the waste heat our bodies throw off in order to convert it to electricity to run devices such as a wristband blood oxygen sensor and an electrocardiogram shirt. As a side benefit, the power sources help cool you down and keep you looking cool, all while running sundry micropower devices. In fact, the researchers mention that the energy harvesting head band works so well that it can get uncomfortably cold. In that case, they say, 'This problem is solved in exactly the same way as someone solves it on the body level in cold weather: a headgear should be worn on top of the system to limit the heat flow and make it comfortable.' But it would be such a shame to cover up the golden heat-harvesting headband with a hat."

Stem cell therapy restores British man's eyesight

By Vladislav Savov posted Dec 23rd 2009 4:27AM

Russell Turnbull, now 38, lost almost all the sight in his right eye after trying to break up a fight and being sprayed with ammonia 15 years ago. The result for him was what's known as Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency, which caused him great pain, the need for therapeutic treatment, and economic dependency. Good news for Russell is that he can put all that behind him now, after becoming one of the first recipients of a new stem cell grafting procedure, whereby healthy tissue from his left eye was implanted into his right and -- just like a video game medpack -- restored his vision to normal. For the moment, this treatment is limited to patients with at least one healthy eye, but given the pluripotent nature of stem cells, it is hoped that tissue from elsewhere in the body could one day be used to regenerate damaged parts, such as the cornea in this case. You may find further enlightenment in the video after the break.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Quantum batteries are theoretically awesome, practically non-existent

By Vladislav Savov posted Dec 22nd 2009 10:45AM

Today's dose of overly ambitious tech research comes from the physics lab over at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in a proposal titled "Digital quantum batteries: Energy and information storage in nano vacuum tube arrays." It's like a who's who of undelivered promises got together and united to form one giant and impossible dream, but it's one we'd prefer to believe in regardless. Aiming to improve battery performance by "orders of magnitude," the project's fundamental premise is that when capacitors -- and we're talking billions of them -- are taken to a small enough scale and packed to within 10nm of one another, quantum effects act to prevent energy loss. The projected result is a wonderful world of rapid recharges and storage of up to ten times the energy current lithium-ion packs can hold, as well as the potential for data retention. The only problem? It would take a year just to build a prototype, meaning we can expect market availability somewhere between a score from now and just prior to the underworld morphing into an ice rink.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Digital Storm's gaming rig shows that Core i5 can trump i7

By Tim Stevens posted Dec 17th 2009 9:39AM

Digital Storm's gaming rig shows Core i5 can trump i7
Since the dawn of computing, gamers on a budget have been flaunting their ability to best higher-spec'd systems courtesy of a little extra cooling and a lot of time fiddling with BIOS settings. So, no real surprise here that an Intel Core i5 processor can keep up with a Core i7 when properly configured. What issurprising is that you can get one suitably configured with a warranty. The provider in this case is Digital Storm, the system is the Core i5-750, and the warranty is three years. HotHardware put one through its paces and found that, if anything, it was too aggressively overclocked. But, with a few minor tweaks (which hopefully will be made standard for future iterations) the machine was stable, fast, and rather noisy. It managed to keep up with Alienware's Core i7 Aurora ALX in most benchmarks, despite being about $2,000 cheaper. That kind of savings should buy enough thermal paste to last you at least 18 months.

Autonomous Intelligent Botnets Bouncing Back

Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday December 17, @09:21AM
from the duck-and-cover dept.
coomaria writes"Thought that 2009 was the year botnets died? Well, think again: compromised computers were responsible for distributing 83.4% of the 107 billion spam messages sent around the world every single day this year, and it's going to get worse if intelligent and autonomous botnets arrive in 2010 as predicted."

Local Teacher 'Bachelor' Contestant

Topic: Teachers and Principals
Source: Connection Newspaper
Publication Date: 12/16/2009
Author: Editor

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Ashley Elmore, 30, a marketing teacher at a Fairfax County high school, is one of the contestants on “The Bachelor” television series, which airs Monday, Jan 4, at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Elmore graduated cum laude from Virginia Tech, with a B.S. in marketing management. She received her MBA from Duquesne University with summa cum laude honors. She is currently a Ph.D. student at Old Dominion University. She was a top 10 contender in the Miss Virginia Pageant and the youngest person ever to win the Toyota and WJLA Channel 7 Working Woman of the Year award in 2006.

Her parents, Dr. James and Mrs. Peggy Elmore, reside in Pennsylvania. Ashley Elmore’s sister, Erin Elmore, is an attorney in Philadelphia and was on “The Apprentice 3” with Donald Trump.

LED traffic lights don't melt snow, do cause accidents

By Vladislav Savov posted Dec 17th 2009 9:16AM

A number of cold weather American states are reporting their dismay at finding out that LED traffic lights are so energy efficient that they do not produce enough excess heat to dissipate any snow that covers them. It turns out, perhaps in an homage to bad engineering everywhere, that the inefficiency of incandescent light bulbs was previously relied upon to keep traffic signals unimpeded. The new LEDs do not achieve the same effect, which has resulted in a few accidents and even a death being blamed on obstructed traffic lights. Feel free to apply palm to face now. It's not all gloomy, though, as the majority of people are said to treat a dysfunctional traffic light as a stop sign (how clever of them), and a tech fix is being worked on as we speak.

UK Wants To Phase Out Checks By 2018

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday December 17, @01:37AM
from the cash-or-credit dept.
The board of the UK Payments Council has set a date to phase out checks in a bid to encourage the advance of other forms of payment. They added, however, that the target of Oct. 2018 would only be realized if adequate alternatives are developed. "The goal is to ensure that by 2018 there is no scenario where customers, individuals or businesses, still need to use a cheque. The board will be especially concerned that the needs of elderly and vulnerable people are met," the Payments Council said in a statement.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Angry AT&T Customers May Disrupt Service

Posted by CmdrTaco on Wednesday December 16, @11:19AM
from the because-he-can dept.
g0dsp33d writes"Fake Steve Jobs, the alter-alias of Newsweek's Dan Lyons, is calling disgruntled AT&T users to protest comments from AT&T’s Ralph de la Vega that smart phone (specifically iPhone) usage is responsible for their network issues and his plan to end unlimited data plans. The post, dubbed "Operation Chokehold" wants AT&T customers to use as much data service as they can on Friday, December 19th at noon. While Fake Steve Jobs is notable for its satire, many Twitter and Facebook users seem to be rallying to its cry. It is unclear if there will be enough support to cause a DDOS."

The Importance of Attractiveness Depends on Where You Live

ScienceDaily (Dec. 16, 2009) — Do good-looking people really benefit from their looks, and in what ways? A team of researchers from the University of Georgia and the University of Kansas found that yes; attractive people do tend to have more social relationships and therefore an increased sense of psychological well-being. This seems like common sense, and might be why we spend billions of dollars each year trying to become more attractive.

McDonald's WiFi will be free like obesity starting January

By Thomas Ricker posted Dec 16th 2009 5:45AM

If you live in small-town America then you're already familiar with the hippest hangout around: McDonald's. Now everyone in the US, not just Zune owners, will be treated to free WiFi to go with their manufactured food purchases. Starting mid-January, some 11,000 Mickey Dee locations will partner with AT&T to scrub the $2.95 for 2-hours of WiFi fee according to David Grooms, CIO of McDonalds USA. The idea is to hook the nation's loitering youth into purchasing additional items in between Facebook updates capturing late-night brawls with local rent-a-cops. Thank gawd there's a middle-aged man-clown out there who likes to babysit children.

Close-Up Photos of Dying Star Show Our Sun's Fate

ScienceDaily (Dec. 15, 2009) — About 550 light-years from Earth, a star like our Sun is writhing in its death throes. Chi Cygni has swollen in size to become a red giant star so large that it would swallow every planet out to Mars in our solar system. Moreover, it has begun to pulse dramatically in and out, beating like a giant heart. New close-up photos of the surface of this distant star show its throbbing motions in unprecedented detail.

Dying Star Mimics Our Sun's Death

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday December 16, @02:59AM
from the telltale-heart dept.
coondoggie writes"In about 5 billion years, our Sun will face a nasty death. Scientists with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics this week releaseddramatic new pictures of a dying star much like the Sun, about 550 light-years from Earth. According to the researchers, Chi Cygni has swollen in size to become a red giant star so large that if it were in our solar system it would swallow every planet out to Mars and cook the asteroid belt. The star has started to pulse dramatically, beating like a giant heart with a period of 408 days."The research team produced a video of the pulsating star, using infrared images captured via very long baseline interferometry.

Hackers Counter Microsoft COFEE With Some DECAF

Posted by kdawson on Tuesday December 15, @10:36PM
from the please-mister-moto dept.
An anonymous reader writes"Two developers have created 'Detect and Eliminate Computer Assisted Forensics' (DECAF). The tool tries to stop Microsoft's Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE), which helps law enforcement officials grab data from password-protected or encrypted sources. After COFEE was leaked to the Web, Microsoft issued takedown notices to sites hosting the software."The article notes that DECAF is not open source, so you aren't really going to know for sure what it will do to your computer

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Perfect Way To Slice a Pizza

Posted by samzenpus on Tuesday December 15, @12:09PM
from the equal-distribution-of-the-pie dept.
iamapizza writes"New Scientist reports on the quest of two math boffins for the perfect way to slice a pizza. It's an interesting and in-depth article; 'The problem that bothered them was this. Suppose the harried waiter cuts the pizza off-center, but with all the edge-to-edge cuts crossing at a single point, and with the same angle between adjacent cuts. The off-center cuts mean the slices will not all be the same size, so if two people take turns to take neighboring slices, will they get equal shares by the time they have gone right round the pizza — and if not, who will get more?' This is useful, of course, if you're familiar with the concept of 'sharing' a pizza."

Aussie Scientists Find Coconut-Carrying Octopus

Posted by timothy on Tuesday December 15, @01:40PM
from the concealed-carry-in-australian-waters dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from an AP report:"Australian scientists have discovered an octopus in Indonesia that collects coconut shells for shelter — unusually sophisticated behavior that the researchers believe is the first evidence of tool use in an invertebrate animal. The scientists filmed the veined octopus, Amphioctopus marginatus, selecting halved coconut shells from the sea floor, emptying them out, carrying them under their bodies up to 65 feet (20 meters), and assembling two shells together to make a spherical hiding spot. ... 'I was gobsmacked,' said Finn, a research biologist at the museum who specializes in cephalopods. 'I mean, I've seen a lot of octopuses hiding in shells, but I've never seen one that grabs it up and jogs across the sea floor. I was trying hard not to laugh.'"

Yellowstone Supervolcano Larger Than First Thought

Posted by timothy on Tuesday December 15, @10:50AM
from the even-superer dept.
drewtheman writes"New studies of the plumbing that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano in Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park shows the plume and the magma chamber under the volcano are larger than first thought and contradicts claims that only shallow hot rock exists. University of Utah research professor of geophysics Robert Smith led four separate studies that verify a plume of hot and molten rock at least 410 miles deep that rises at an angle from the northwest."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Microsoft Fined In India For Using "Money Power" Against Pirates

Posted by Soulskill on Monday December 14, @03:05PM
from the somebody-forward-this-to-the-riaa dept.
bhagwad writes"The Delhi High Court has found Microsoft guilty of using money and influence to make it expensive to defend against piracy cases. According to the judge, 'When the constitution of India provides equality before law, this equality has to be all pervasive and cannot be allowed to be diluted because of money power or lobbying power.' Furthermore, the judge said that Microsoft had to deposit a certain amount of money beforehand, and, if they lost the case, the money would go to the defendants for their legal and travel expenses. For icing on the cake, the court also appointed a commissioner to probe the matter further and ordered Microsoft to pay the costs. In an age where muscled corporations harass the ordinary person through expensive litigation, it's highly pleasurable to see them rapped for it by a judge."

3-D Microchips for More Powerful and Environmentally Friendly Computers

ScienceDaily (Dec. 14, 2009) — The world of IT pursues its race for performance. CMOSAIC could boost the computing performance of central processors by a factor 10 while consuming less energy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Robot Can Read Human Body Language

Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday December 10, @11:35AM
from the we-are-the-robots dept.
An anonymous reader writes"European researchers have developed a new approach to artificial intelligence that could allow computers to respond to behavior as well as commands, reacting intelligently to the subtle nuances of human communication. It's no trivial feat – many humans struggle with the challenge on a day-to-day basis."

Electrolux "Silence Amplified" vacuum with iPod dock and speakers probably sucks

By Thomas Ricker posted Dec 10th 2009 6:59AM

Crazy huh? Sure, but if your company just launched a commercial vacuum cleaner so quiet that it's called the "UltraSilencer" then what better way to drive that point home than by adding an "iPod dock" (though that's no iPod we've ever seen) and speakers to the damn thing? In fact, Electrolux has taken this Silence Amplified concept so far that they've conducted a lab study to prove that "music assisted vacuuming increases the number of nozzle sweeps, improves the cleaning result and leaves a general feeling of happiness." Duh. Now go check the video evidence after the break.

Are Holiday and Weekend Eating Patterns Affecting Obesity Rates?

ScienceDaily (Dec. 10, 2009) — The holidays can be challenging for even the most diligent dieters. But are weekends just as detrimental? Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., found that weekend eating patterns change significantly.