Thursday, October 27, 2011

In Bolivia, a Supervolcano Is Rising

Posted by timothy  
from the going-for-volcano-of-the-year dept.
dutchwhizzman writes"Uturuncu is a Bolivian supervolcano. Research suggests that it has an eruption frequency of roughly 300.000 years and the last eruption was, give or take a few years, 300.000 years ago. Research suggests that it started rising in a 70 km circumference by 1 to 2 centimeters per year, making it the fastest-growing volcano on the planet. Break out the tin foil hats, and store plenty of canned beans, because it may just erupt before Yellowstone pops its cork."

US Funds Aggressive Tech To Cut Solar Power Costs

Posted by samzenpus  
from the aim-big dept.
coondoggie writes"The US Department of Energy wants researchers and scientists to 'think outside the box' and come up 'highly disruptive Concentrating Solar Power technologies that will meet 6/kWh cost targets by the end of the decade.' The DOE's 'SunShot Concentrating Solar Power R&D' is a multimillion dollar endeavor that intends to look beyond what it calls incremental near-term tosupport research into transformative technologies that will break through performance barriers known today such as efficiency and temperature limitations."

China Hires 1 Million People To Fight Fake Products

Posted by samzenpus  
from the authenticity-police dept.
hackingbear writes"In a sign of the Chinese Government's intention to crack down on the black market, there were about 1 million people employed to remove fake goods from Chinese streets, according to the vice-chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Wang Jinzhen. Like our War on Drugs, the chance of that succeeding is not very high. 'I don't think it will be completely corrected, but still it will be eased,' he said. 'That's good for China and the company and for everyone in the world.' One key reason why companies keep their R&D departments out side of China is because of concern over IP protection. As an engineer, should we wish their effort genuine and successful? Or as your grandma warned you, be careful what you wish for."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mitsubishi Hack Stole Nuclear, Defense Data

Posted by Soulskill  

from the nothing-important-just-some-stuff dept.

judgecorp writes"When Mitsubishi announced in September it had been hacked in August it was criticized for keeping quiet for a month. Now it appears that the attackers got nuclear power plant and military aircraft detailsaccording to sources quoted in the Japanese media."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Epic Geomagnetic Storm Erupts

Posted by timothy  
from the good-name-for-a-candy-bar dept.
astroengine writes"On Monday, at around 2 p.m. ET, a coronal mass ejection (CME) slammed into the Earth's magnetosphere. For a short time (between 3:06 p.m and 3:11 p.m. ET), energetic solar wind particles penetrated as deep as geosynchronous orbit — home to hundreds of communication satellites. As a consequence, a geomagnetic storm is underway,generating bright aurorae across very low latitudes."Adds reader dtmos, quoting from Spaceweather, which also has a beautifulphoto gallery:"'The impact strongly compressed Earth's magnetic field, directly exposing geosynchronous satellites to solar wind plasma, and sparked an intense geomagnetic storm. As night fell over North America, auroras spilled across the Canadian border into the contiguous United States.' Aurora were seen as far south as Baileyton, Alabama."

Why So Many Crashes of Bee-Carrying Trucks?

Posted by Unknown Lamer  
from the bees-are-good-people dept.
Hugh Pickens writes"Interstate 15 in southern Utah has been reopened and officials say 25 million bees that closed the road have been accounted for after a flatbed truck heading for California carrying 460 beehives overturned near a construction zone. The bees were on their way to Bakersfield, California for almond pollination next spring. 'The driver lost control, hit the concrete barrier and rolled over,' says Corporal Todd Johnson with the Utah Highway Patrol. 'Of course we then had bees everywhere.' But a similar incident happened in July, when 14 million bees, as well as a river of honey, flowed out of a wrecked semi in Idaho; and 17 million bees escaped a fatal truck crash in Minnesota last year. Why so many highway accidents involving bees? The uptick results from more and more honey bee colonies being transported around the country via highways in recent years. Local bee populations are rapidly dying off from a little-understood disease called 'colony collapse disorder': 'The number of managed honey bee colonies [in the U.S.] has dropped from 5 million in the 1940s to only 2.5 million today,' says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Unfortunately, some honey bee scientists suspect that the rise of migratory beekeeping may be contributing to the species' decline as transporting hives from farm to farm spreads pathogens to local bee populations."

Why Tokai No. 2 Nuclear Power Plant Survived March

Posted by Unknown Lamer  
from the but-that-would-have-cost-money dept.
Kyusaku Natsume writes"In a potentially damning report, the Japanese government panel probing the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown has learned that the nuclear power plant Tokai No.2 avoided station blackout thanks to making a 6.1 m high seawall ended in September 2010, but TEPCO failed to do the same in Fukushima. From the article: 'The tsunami that hit the Tokai plant on March 11 were 5.3 to 5.4 meters in height, exceeding the company's earlier estimate but coming in around 30 to 40 cm lower than its revised projection. After the tsunami hit, the Tokai plant lost external power just like Fukushima No. 1 did, because the sea wall was overrun, knocking out one of its three seawater pumps. But its reactors succeeded in achieving cold shutdown because the plant's emergency diesel generator was being cooled by the two seawater pumps that survived intact.'"

High Fizzy Soft Drink Consumption Linked to Violence Among Teens

ScienceDaily (Oct. 24, 2011) — Teens who drink more than five cans of non-diet, fizzy soft drinks every week are significantly more likely to behave aggressively, suggests research published online in Injury Prevention. This includes carrying a weapon and perpetrating violence against peers and siblings.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lego Robot Beats Human World Record For Solving the Rubik’s Cube!

by Aaron Saenz October 19th, 2011 | Comments (5)
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cubestormer“Dr. Jones. Again we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away.” 
—Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981
Solving the Rubik’s Cube puzzle popularized in the 1980s is an exercise in futility for many of us, but to a world class “speedcuber” it’s a challenge of mere moments. The currentofficial human record for the Rubik’s cube 3×3 puzzle is just 5.66 seconds. I know a robot that did it in 5.35 seconds. Take, that humanity! (Wait a second…) The puzzle solving bot is called CubeStomer II and you can watch its record breaking run in the video below. Made from Lego, powered by an Android smart phone, and created by two mad geniuses, CubeStormer II has a pedigree that sounds like it came from a children’s cartoon. That’s fitting, because I think the Lego NXT robot is a sure sign that humanity has gone meta. Why waste time on solving trivial puzzles when you can build a robot to waste time solving trivial puzzles for you instead?
CubeStormer II is controlled by four Lego NXT ‘bricks’ that communicate via Bluetooth with a Samsung Galaxy SII smart phone. A special app on the phone takes a picture of the cube, solves the puzzle virtually, and then relays the solution to the Lego robot. From click to finish the whole process takes just seconds. You have to see it to believe it:
Both the NXT bricks and the SII smart phone feature processors made ARM, who commissioned the CubeStormer II and who will be showcasing the Lego robot at ARMTechCon 2011 in Santa Clara next week (Oct 26-27). The real geniuses behind the high speed Rubik’s robot, however, are its creators: Mike Dobson and David Gilday. Dobson built the original CubeStormer early in 2010, while Gilday has constructed several other Rubik’s solving robots that are equally impressive. These Lego lunatics are at the top of their game with the CubeStormer II. Humans competing to solve the Rubik’s Cube get to study it first before their time trial beings. Not only does CubeStormer II beat their puny human records, it doesn’t need to study! Let there be no doubt about it, robots rule Rubik’s.

Early Speed Tests For Windows 8

Posted by samzenpus  
from the greased-lightning dept.
adeelarshad82 writes"You often hear in the software industry that performance optimization is one of the last steps in the software development process. That bodes well for Windows 8, considering at the early stage of Developer Preview—even before we've seen an actual beta—the nascent operating system is getting widespread praise for its performance, particularly in startup times. Anecdotal evidence is always encouraging, but PCMag decided to run some very early tests on the OS to see if the reports were wishful thinking or if there was a real, measurable boost in speed. Along with startup and shutdown times, they used several standard industry benchmarks to compare Windows 8 performance with that of Windows 7 running on the same machine."

Researchers ID Skype, BitTorrent Users

Posted by Soulskill  
from the cross-contamination dept.
itwbennett writes"Researchers have figured out a way to link online Skype users to their activity on peer-to-peer networks like BitTorrent. The team was able to sift out the nodes through which Skype calls are routed and determine the user's real IP address by sniffing the packets. To correlate the identified Skype users with files shared on BitTorrent, the researchers built tools to collect BitTorrent file identifiers, a BitTorrent crawler to collect IP addresses on the network and a verifier to match an online Skype user with an online BitTorrent user (PDF). 'As soon as the BitTorrent crawler detects a matching IP address, it signals the verifier, which immediately calls the corresponding Skype user and, at the same time, initiates a handshake with the BitTorrent client,' they wrote."