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Technology

MIT Solar Towers Beat Solar Panels By Up To 20x 159

Posted by timothy
from the if-they-had-pants-they'd-have-been-beaten-off dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A team of MIT researchers has come up with a very different approach to solar collectors: building cubes and towers that extend solar cells upward in three-dimensional configurations. The results from the structures they've tested show power output ranging from double to more than 20 times that of fixed flat panels with the same base area (abstract, full pre-print). The biggest boosts in power were seen in the situations where improvements are most needed: in locations far from the equator, in winter months and on cloudier days."
Censorship

UK Man Jailed For 'Offensive Tweets' 922

Posted by timothy
from the hate-speech-join-the-crowd dept.
Motor writes "A UK judge has jailed a man for 56 days after he posted offensive comments on twitter about a footballer who had a heart attack during a game. He's also been thrown out of his university degree course weeks from graduating. His comments may have been offensive... but do they really justify a prison sentence and ruining his life?"
Power

Hoover Dams For Lilliput: Does Small Hydroelectric Power Have a Future? 302

Posted by timothy
from the plenty-of-room-at-the-bottom dept.
New submitter MatthewVD writes "Boing Boing's Maggie Koerth-Baker, author of Before The Lights Go Out, writes that the era of giant hydroelectric projects like the Hoover Dam has passed. But the Department of Energy has identified 5,400 potential sites for small hydro projects of 30 MWs or less. The sites, in states as dry as Kansas, represent a total 18,000 MW of power — enough to increase by 50 percent America's hydro power. Even New York City's East River has pilot projects to produce power from underwater turbines. As we stare down global warming and peak oil, could small hydroelectric power be a key solution?"
Earth

'Frothy Gunk' From Deepwater Horizon Spill Harming Coral 149

Posted by timothy
from the rick-someone-I-think-he-said dept.
sciencehabit writes "The massive oil spill that inundated the Gulf of Mexico in the spring and summer of 2010 severely damaged deep-sea corals more than 11 kilometers from the well site, a sea-floor survey conducted within weeks of the spill reveals. At one site, which hadn't been visited before but had been right in the path of a submerged 100-meter-thick oil plume from the spill, researchers found a variety of corals — most of them belonging to a type of colonial coral commonly known as sea fans — on a 10-meter-by-12-meter outcrop of rock. Many of the corals were partially or completely covered with a brown, fluffy substance that one team member variously calls 'frothy gunk,' 'goop,' and 'snot.'"
Open Source

Blackboard Buys Moodlerooms and Netspot 95

Posted by timothy
from the cutting-the-ropes-instead-of-boring-the-hull dept.
crumley writes "Blackboard, the proprietary giant in the learning management software market, has purchased two companies, Moodlerooms and Netspot, that sell support for their open source competitor Moodle. Blackboard said that they plan to allow Moodlerooms and Netspot to continue operating with their current leadership. It will be interesting to see if this move leads to an exodus from Moodlerooms and Netspot, since many of their clients were intentionally trying to avoid doing business with Blackboard."
Communications

What Does Google Get Out of Voice? 119

Posted by timothy
from the achieving-sentience-takes-patience dept.
itwbennett writes "Assuming Google isn't offering Voice out of the goodness of their hearts, what's the payoff? One likely, if cynical, possibility is that Google Voice is 'just another feeder for their vast database on you,' writes Kevin Purdy in a recent blog post. Or maybe Google just wants to get better at speech-to-text, and collecting your voice messages is just one big voice-mining effort. 'They already did it with GOOG-411, the free phone directory service that mined voices across the country to launch Google Voice's current transcription offering,' says Purdy. For its part, Google says it has no plans to monetize Voice beyond the international calling and number porting fees that it currently charges."
Facebook

Why Gay Men Are Worth So Much To Facebook 270

Posted by timothy
from the commerce-mutes-prejudice dept.
Barence writes "PC Pro has a feature on how social networks sold your privacy, which includes some interesting comparisons on the value of different demographics to Facebook. For example, an advert that targets everyone within a 10-mile radius of a medium-sized British town (Dorking) is valued at 28p per click by Facebook's advertising tool. However, targeting single gay men in the area with a preference for nightclubbing raises the price to 71p per click — 2.5x the price of targeting the general public. Such precise targeting also raises other issues. Whittling down ads to target such precise demographics can result in ads targeting as few as 20 people, making it theoretically possible to identify those targeted. 'I think the worst scenario might be where someone who hates gays uses Facebook's targeting to identify gay users and later attack them,' says Paul Francis, scientific director of the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems."
Censorship

UK MPs Threaten New Laws If Google Won't Censor Search 154

Posted by timothy
from the bittorrent-in-congress-means-us-is-next dept.
It's not just Japan that wants to regulate how Google displays search results: judgecorp writes "A committee of British MPs and peers has asked Google to censor search results to protect privacy and threatened to put forward new laws that would force it to do so, if Google fails to comply. The case relates to events such as former Formula One boss Max Mosley's legal bid to prevent Google linking to illegally obtained images of himself."
Music

Kim Dotcom Alleges Studios Wanted to Work With Megaupload 139

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the sociopaths-versus-sociopaths dept.
Fluffeh writes "In a recent story that is beating around the nets, Kim Dotcom has fired back at studios with emails that make for some interesting reading: 'A Disney executive e-mailed Megaupload in 2008. He said he was interested in having Megaupload host Disney content, but said he would need Megaupload to tweak its terms of service to make it clear Disney retained ownership of files uploaded to the site. He sent Megaupload a proposed alternative to the standard Megaupload TOS. Fox emailed "Please let me know if you have some time to chat this week about how we can work together to better monetize your inventory," in an attempt to promote their newly launched ad network. And finally, this gem: a Warner Brothers executive e-mailed Megaupload seeking to expedite the process of uploading Warner content to Megaupload. "I would like to know if your site can take a Media RSS feed for our syndications," he wrote. "We would like to upload our content all at once instead of one video at a time."' Pot calling the kettle black anyone?" Torrentfreak is running the full interview with Kim Dotcom.
Spam

Microsoft Blocking Pirate Bay Links In Messenger 198

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the references-replaced-with-fnord dept.
RemyBR writes with an excerpt from an article at El Reg: "Microsoft has confirmed that users of its instant messaging app will not be able to send each other links to popular torrent site The Pirate Bay, citing malware fears. 'We block instant messages if they contain malicious or spam URLs based on intelligence algorithms, third-party sources, and/or user complaints. Pirate Bay URLs were flagged by one or more of these and were consequently blocked,' Redmond told The Register in an emailed statement."
Medicine

Drug Turns Immune System Against All Tumor Types 330

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the confused-mice-with-foot-tumors dept.
sciencehabit writes, quoting an article in Science: "A single drug can shrink or cure human breast, ovary, colon, bladder, brain, liver, and prostate tumors that have been transplanted into mice, researchers have found. The treatment, an antibody that blocks a 'do not eat' signal normally displayed on tumor cells, coaxes the immune system to destroy the cancer cells." The abstract and full paper are freely available. It seems fairly promising: "In mice given human bladder cancer tumors, for example, 10 of 10 untreated mice had cancer that spread to their lymph nodes. Only one of 10 mice treated with anti-CD47 had a lymph node with signs of cancer. Moreover, the implanted tumor often got smaller after treatment — colon cancers transplanted into the mice shrank to less than one-third of their original size, on average. And in five mice with breast cancer tumors, anti-CD47 eliminated all signs of the cancer cells, and the animals remained cancer-free 4 months after the treatment stopped."
Security

Murdoch Faces Allegations of Sabotage 201

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the cloak-and-dagger dept.
Presto Vivace writes "Neil Chenoweth, of the Australian Financial Review, reports that the BBC program Panorama is making new allegations against News Corp of serious misconduct. This time it involves the NDS division of News Corp, which makes conditional access cards for pay TV. It seems that NDS also ran a sabotage operation, hiring pirates to crack the cards of rival companies and posting the code on The House of Ill Compute (thoic.com), a web site hosted by NDS. 'ITV Digital collapsed in March 2002 with losses of more than £1 billion, overwhelmed by mass piracy, as well as technical restrictions and expensive sports contracts. Its collapse left Murdoch-controlled BSkyB the dominant pay TV provider in the UK.' Chenoweth reports that James Murdoch has been an advocate for tougher penalties for pirates, 'These are property rights, these are basic property rights,' he said. 'There is no difference from going into a store and stealing a packet of Pringles or a handbag, and stealing something online. Right?'"
Piracy

German Pirate Party Enters 2nd State Parliament 188

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the former-pirate-turned-navy-legislator dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After its recent success in the Berlin elections, the German Pirate Party scores 7.4% of votes for the state parliament of Saarland, earning them 4 seats out of 51. While the campaign didn't center around copyright issues and/or ACTA (the party's stance is well-known), it centered around open government, access to education, and participative governing models, effectively ridding the party of its 'one issue' notion."
China

Censorship of Chinese Social Media Is Real, Comprehensive 62

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the byline-redacted-due-to-subversive-messages dept.
chicksdaddy writes "Threatpost has a write-up of a study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University that provides the first conclusive evidence that Chinese government censorship extends to social media sites like Sina Weibo, the popular micro blogging Web site that many have likened to a Chinese Twitter. 'The study ... found that censors in China delete around 16 percent of the messages submitted to Sina Weibo ... The study, released in March, concludes that "soft censorship" in China — the removal of controversial subject matter from blogs and Web pages — is at least as popular as hard censorship, like the blocking of offensive sites. The result is suppression of news about events or individuals that are deemed threatening to the ruling Communist party.'"
Government

Congress Capitulates To TSA; Refuses To Let Bruce Schneier Testify 435

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the security-threatre-drama-troupe dept.
McGruber writes "Following up on an earlier Slashdot story, earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a hearing titled 'TSA Oversight Part III: Effective Security or Security Theater?' ... In a blog update, Bruce Schneier says that 'at the request of the TSA' he was removed from the witness list. Bruce also said 'it's pretty clear that the TSA is afraid of public testimony on the topic, and especially of being challenged in front of Congress. They want to control the story, and it's easier for them to do that if I'm not sitting next to them pointing out all the holes in their position. Unfortunately, the committee went along with them.'"

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