An anonymous reader writes "A man named Jose Delgado was so used to using a $42,000 myoelectric prosthetic hand for the last year that he didn't realize that there were other options out there. Although Delgado, born without a left hand, was able to obtain the hand via his insurance, he found that a 3D printed "Cyborg Beast," open source hand ,which costs just $50 to print, actually was more comfortable and performed better than the device which costs 840 times as much money."
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Chipmunk100 (3619141) writes "Using corn crop residue to make ethanol and other biofuels reduces soil carbon and can generate more greenhouse gases than gasoline, according to a study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change. The findings by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln team of researchers cast doubt on whether corn residue can be used to meet federal mandates to ramp up ethanol production and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
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An anonymous reader writes ""A high school science teacher at Grand Arts High School in Los Angeles was suspended from the classroom in February, after two of his science fair students turned in projects deemed dangerous by the administrators. " "One project was a marshmallow shooter—which uses air pressure to launch projectiles. The other was an AA battery-powered coil gun—which uses electromagnetism to launch small objects. Similar projects have been honored in past LA County Science Fairs and even demonstrated at the White House.""
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StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "Want to kill the rest of your weekend? Games like 1024 have taken the app world by storm, so why not take the next logical step into geekdom and do what two RPI students have done: make a version that allows you to fuse elements in stars? Going all the way up to Iron, this addictive game is actually pretty good as far as getting most of the science right. Enjoy (and play) Fe here!"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "According to the National Golf Foundation, golf has lost five million players in the last decade with 20 percent of the existing 25 million golfers apt to quit in the next few years. Now Bill Pennington writes that golf courses across the country are experimenting with 15 inch golf holes the size of pizzas to stop people from quitting the game. “We’ve got to stop scaring people away from golf by telling them that there is only one way to play the game and it includes these specific guidelines,” says Ted Bishop, president of the PGA of America. “We’ve got to offer more forms of golf for people to try. We have to do something to get them into the fold, and then maybe they’ll have this idea it’s supposed to be fun.” A 15-inch-hole event was held at the Reynolds Plantation resort last week featuring top professional golfers Sergio García and Justin Rose, the defending United States Open champion. “A 15-inch hole could help junior golfers, beginning golfers and older golfers score better, play faster and like golf more,” says García, who shot a six-under-par 30 for nine holes in the exhibition. Another alternative is foot golf, in which players kick a soccer ball from the tee to an oversize hole, counting their kicks. Still it is no surprise that not everyone agrees with the burgeoning alternative movement to make golf more user-friendly. “I don’t want to rig the game and cheapen it,” says Curtis Strange, a two-time United States Open champion and an analyst for ESPN. “I don’t like any of that stuff. And it’s not going to happen either. It’s all talk.”"
jones_supa (887896) writes "'All you need is talent or facial hair.' Adding to that a new study suggests that a lot of attractiveness of facial hair comes from its rarity. Female guppies prefer male guppies that look unusual compared to others, rather than guppies that share common features. This helps keep looks and genes variable, a distinct advantage for the species. Zinnia Janif and colleagues at UNSW wanted to see if humans displayed similar negative frequency-dependent selection. The researchers recruited over 1,400 heterosexual women and 200 heterosexual men for their study. Participants viewed 24 average male faces with varying degrees of growth. In some conditions, the four beard lengths were evenly distributed among the photos. In some, either the clean-shaven condition or the fully bearded condition was rare. The participants rated the attractiveness of the faces. The scientists found that neither the clean-shaven nor the fully bearded faces were very attractive when the facial hair types were evenly distributed. But when the clean-shaven faces or the bearded faces were the rare beards in the bunch, the participants, both men and women, rated them as significantly more attractive. The results suggest that humans do indeed use negative frequency-dependent selection when judging the attractiveness of facial hair, with a rarer look becoming slightly more attractive merely because it is rare."
Hodejo1 (1252120) writes "Tesla has already put over 25,000 cars on the road with more to come and, presumably, most will still be running well past the 8-year battery warranty. What would happen if it is time to replace the battery pack on an old Model S or X and the cost is $25K? Simple, it would destroy the resale value of said cars, which would negatively affect the lease value of new Tesla automobiles. That’s a big part of the real reason why Tesla is building its own battery factory. They not only need to ensure enough supply for new cars, but they have to dramatically bring down the price of the replacement batteries low enough so owners of otherwise perfectly running old Teslas don’t just junk them. The Tesla Roadster was not a mass produced vehicle, so the cost of replacing its battery is $40K. The economies of scale of a gigafactory alone will drop battery costs dramatically. Heavy research could drop it further over the next decade or so. The good news is that if they do it right Tesla will have the replacement battery business to itself — without a gigafactory of their own non-OEM battery suppliers won’t be able to compete — which will bring more profits rather than headaches."
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theodp (442580) writes ""The government is not the only American power whose motivations need to be rigourously examined," writes The Telegraph's Katherine Rushton. "Some 2,400 miles away from Washington, in Silicon Valley, Google is aggressively gaining power with little to keep it in check. It has cosied up to governments around the world so effectively that its chairman, Eric Schmidt, is a White House advisor. In Britain, its executives meet with ministers more than almost any other corporation. Google can't be blamed for this: one of its jobs is to lobby for laws that benefit its shareholders, but it is up to governments to push back. As things stand, Google — and to a lesser extent, Facebook — are in danger of becoming the architects of the law." Schmidt, by the way, is apparently interested in influencing at least two current hot-button White House issues. Joined by execs from Apple, Oracle, and Facebook, the Google Chairman asserted in a March letter to Secretary of State John Kerry that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is not in the economic interests of the U.S.; the Obama administration on Friday extended the review period on the pipeline, perhaps until after the Nov. 4 congressional elections. And as a "Major Contributor" to Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC, Schmidt is also helping to shape public opinion on the White House's call for immigration reform; FWD.us just launched new attack ads (videos) and a petition aimed at immigration reform opponent Rep. Steve King. In Dave Eggers' The Circle, politicians who impede the company execs' agenda are immediately brought down. But that's fiction, right?"