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Updated: 12 min 59 sec ago

Google Challenge Results In Astoundingly Efficient Inverters

Mon, 07/03/2016 - 2:28pm
AmiMoJo writes: A few summers ago, Google and IEEE announced a one million dollar prize to build the most efficient and compact DC to AC inverter. It was called the Little Box Challenge, with the goal of a 2kW inverter with a power density greater than 50 Watts per cubic inch. Typical solar inverters have a density of about 5 W/cubic inch. Now the results are in, with the winners hitting 143 W/cubic inch using GaN transistors, and two other teams meeting Google's goal.

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MIT's Eyebrowse To Rank and Review Internet Sites, While Retaining Privacy

Mon, 07/03/2016 - 1:43pm
An anonymous reader writes: MIT has launched a new scheme whereby participating users can voluntarily share data on their website viewing habits, via the use of a Google Chrome extension and by signing up to an MIT website. The scheme, called Eyebrowse, began development in 2010 and has been in closed beta for the last 18 months. Cornell information science professor Mor Naaman says of the project: "Data has traditionally been used by anyone from corporations to the government...but the goal of this system is to make the data more useful for the individuals themselves, to give them more control, and to make it more useful to communities."

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Google Is Testing Self-Promotion Ads On Search Results

Mon, 07/03/2016 - 1:02pm
An anonymous reader writes: Google Inc. is testing a new feature to allow local businesses, celebrities, and organizations to post self-promoting information and ads on the company's search results. The information would be displayed on a design similar to Google's "mobile cards." This new type of self-promoting campaigns impulsed by Google appears to be an extension of "Google Podium," a beta that started last month with the collaboration of the U.S. presidential candidates. "This is an experimental search feature we are testing, but it is not tied to Google+. We are currently experimenting with presidential candidates and just started with some SMBs for a select pilot period," said a Google representative, as quoted by Modern Readers on Sunday.

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France's Oldest Nuclear Plant To Close This Year

Mon, 07/03/2016 - 9:50am
mdsolar writes: France is to close down its oldest nuclear power plant, at the center of a row with neighboring Germany and Switzerland, by the end of this year, a green minister said Sunday. "The timeline is one the president has repeated to me several times, it's 2016," said Emmanuelle Cosse, who was named to President Francois Hollande's cabinet last month, referring to the Fessenheim plant. Cosse was speaking to French media after a row sparked Friday when Germany demanded that France close down Fessenheim following reports that a 2014 incident there was worse than earlier portrayed. France's Nuclear Safety Agency said that safety at the plant was "overall satisfactory" but that the government's energy policy "could lead to different choices" regarding the facility, which is near the German and Swiss borders. It said there was "no need" to shut the plant from a nuclear safety point of view. France has promised to cut reliance on nuclear energy from more than 75 percent to 50 percent by shutting 24 reactors by 2025, while stepping up reliance on renewable energy.

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Raspberry Pi 3 Is a Nice Upgrade, But Alternatives Exist With Faster Performance

Mon, 07/03/2016 - 6:39am
An anonymous reader writes: With the Raspberry Pi 3 now available, benchmarks have been done comparing the Raspberry Pi 3 to other ARM SBCs. The Raspberry Pi 3 was found to be a faster upgrade compared to the Raspberry Pi 2, but the ODROID-C2 is a much faster alternative. For only $5 more than the Raspberry Pi 3, it includes twice the amount of RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, and a faster SoC. The ODROID-C2 also has HDMI 2.0 and superior Ethernet while the Raspberry Pi 3 has an advantage of 802.11n WiFi. The ODROID-C2 also has a heatsink for ensuring the SoC doesn't get as toasty as the Raspberry Pi 3.

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High-Tech 'Bazooka' Fires a Net To Take Down Drones

Mon, 07/03/2016 - 4:03am
An anonymous reader writes: The brainchild of U.K.-based OpenWorks Engineering, SkyWall 100 uses a compressed air launcher to fire smart projectiles at targeted drones. The system, which has a range of 328 feet, uses a high-tech scope to lock on to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). An onboard computer then tracks the target's flight path and calculates the trajectory required for the projectile to intercept either a hovering or flying drone. The canister-style projectile opens up when it reaches the drone and uses a net to capture the flying device. The projectile then deploys a parachute to bring the captured drone and the canister components safely back to the ground. "Once captured it can be impounded, forensically investigated or simply handed back with some words of education where appropriate," OpenWorks Engineering explained, adding that the risk of damaging the drone is also reduced.

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Comcast Hit With FCC Complaint Over Net Neutrality Violations

Mon, 07/03/2016 - 1:46am
An anonymous reader writes: Non-profit public interest group Public Knowledge has filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission regarding Comcast's Stream TV service. The complaint says that Comcast excludes Stream TV traffic from its own data cap, which is both a violation of its merger agreement and counter to the FCC's Open Internet rules. Stream TV is a $15 per month offering for Xfinity internet customers. It includes local channels, some basic cable, HBO, and the use of a cloud DVR. Most content is streamed over the home network. Public Knowledge's senior staff attorney, John Bergmayer says, "Comcast's actions could result in fewer online video choices for viewers nationwide, while increasing its dominance as a video gatekeeper. If its behavior persists, prices will go up, the number of choices will go down, creators will have a harder time reaching an audience, and viewers will have a harder time accessing diverse and independent programming."

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Transmission BitTorrent App Contained Malware

Mon, 07/03/2016 - 12:28am
An anonymous reader writes: Apple users were targeted in the first known Mac ransomware campaign. Hackers targeted Transmission, which is one of the most popular Mac applications used to download software, videos, music, and other data from the BitTorrent peer-to-peer information sharing network. As per this forum post (English screenshot of warning), OS X detected malware called OSX.KeRanger.A. This is the first one in the wild that is functional as it encrypts your files and seeks a ransom. An Apple representative said the company had taken steps over the weekend to prevent attacks by revoking a digital certificate from a legitimate Apple developer that enabled the rogue software to install on Macs.

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MIT's New 5-Atom Quantum Computer Could Make Today's Encryption Obsolete

Sun, 06/03/2016 - 11:41pm
An anonymous reader writes: In traditional computing, numbers are represented by either 0s or 1s, but quantum computing relies on atomic-scale units, or "quibits," that can be simultaneously 0 and 1 -- a state known as a superposition that's far more efficient. It typically takes about 12 qubits to factor the number 15, but researchers at MIT and the University of Innsbruck in Austria have found a way to pare that down to five qubits, each represented by a single atom, they said this week. Using laser pulses to keep the quantum system stable by holding the atoms in an ion trap, the new system promises scalability as well, as more atoms and lasers can be added to build a bigger and faster quantum computer able to factor much larger numbers. That, in turn, presents new risks for factorization-based methods such as RSA, used for protecting credit cards, state secrets and other confidential data. "If you are a nation state, you probably don't want to publicly store your secrets using encryption that relies on factoring as a hard-to-invert problem," said Chuang. "Because when these quantum computers start coming out, [adversaries will] be able to go back and unencrypt all those old secrets."

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Eric Schmidt Gets A Job At The Pentagon

Sun, 06/03/2016 - 10:49pm
An anonymous reader writes: Alphabet Chairman and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is heading up a new effort to make the Pentagon more tech savvy. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carton on Wednesday appointed Schmidt the head of a new Defense Innovation Advisory Board, which will help the Pentagon keep up with the latest Silicon Valley ideas and apply them at the Department of Defense. The board will address problems in the way the Pentagon uses technology, and it will be tasked with offering "quick solutions." Schmidt's group will have no access to information about military operations strategy. Schmidt will oversee a group of up to 11 other board members, who also have led large private companies and public organizations.

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Scuba Diver Survives Being Sucked Into Nuclear Plant

Sun, 06/03/2016 - 9:58pm
mdsolar writes: A man scuba diving in Florida somehow survived being sucked into a nuclear power plant in a terrifying log flume ride. Christopher Le Cun was boating off the coast of Hutchinson Island when he and his friend went under to check out three large shadows beneath the waves that looked like buildings. After diving down, he felt a current that quickly pulled him toward one of three intake pipes, got sucked in and was immersed in darkness for five minutes in the water being taken to cool the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant. Le Cun told WPTV that he thought he was going to be chopped into tiny bits when he hit a turbine at the end of the 16-foot-wide, quarter-mile tube. However, the turbine never came, and the pipe eventually spat him out into a reservoir at the plant holding water used to cool the nuclear reactor. After finding a passing worker, Le Cun was able to call wife Brittany, who thought her husband was dead after seeing the shocked face of his diving partner.

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How Common Is Your PIN?

Sun, 06/03/2016 - 9:06pm
phantomfive writes: We've seen password frequency lists, here is an analysis of PIN frequency with a nice heatmap towards the bottom. There is a line for numbers starting with 19*, which is the year of birth, a cluster around MM/DD for people's birthdays, and a hard diagonal line for the same digit repeated four times.

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