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Liberation from Fiction

Eco-Friendly Austin (3923045) writes | just now


Eco-Friendly Austin (3923045) writes "I came across this story on Slashdot today, "" and couldn't help but make my comment which follows:

On the "Solar Liberator" website it states, "Await the opening of our online shop, where you can order your Solar Liberator units". Anyone that has ordered the 500W unit, I believe will be waiting for quite a long while.

The smaller units which are actually, solar cell phone chargers, do in fact work. I own one myself. Made by another company of course. Nevertheless, enlarging a photo of a solar cell phone charger, and calling it a "rooftop solar solution", is a stretch of the imagination. (Pun intended).

So they've successfully managed to combine fact with fiction. Solar cell phone charger technology is "plug-n-play". However, an eight foot, 44 lb. version, is pure fiction. Their website shows "preliminary" specifications of, 244cm (96") x 122cm (48") , roughly the size of a 4' x 8' piece of sheetrock or plywood.

Without, going into the realm of the National Electric Code, or UL 1741 Compliance for Grid Tied Solar Systems, lets just take a closer look at the "Solar Liberator", to see how easily it liberates us.

The Solar Liberator weighs in, according to their website at 44 lbs. for the 500 Watt panel, including the integrated batteries and inverter. Fictitiously speaking, if you did manage to cart the panel on a ladder to your roof, the hardware and flashing to mount a 5' x 4' Solar Panel, junction box to enclosure the transition wire, the conduit to run the electrical wiring, and the dedicated breaker panel and outlet, isn't exactly what I'd call, an "easy" project for a novice to undertake. Oh, and did I mention you need grounding wire for the solar mounting hardware too?

Another obvious curious feature of this device is that is has, "universal output voltage selection 110V/60hz ~ 240/50HZ" , "2 x 12V high output" plugs, and additionally a 1000Wh battery capacity (1000WH/12VDC=83.3AH Lithium Battery). A 80AH LI-ION battery alone would cost anywhere in the range of $700+. Check it for yourself ( even if it had a very thin form factor, the weight would still be almost 20 lbs, for just the battery alone.

A conventional 250 watt solar panel, could weight anywhere in the 22 lb. +/- range. So two, would be in the 44 lb. +/- range. What about the weight of the batteries and inverter? It just doesn't add up. If it's thin-film technology, the panel would be lighter in weight, but the dimensions would be be even larger than the stated 4' x 8'.

Ok, lets get back to the "universal output voltage selection 110V/60hz ~ 240/50HZ" , "2 x 12V high output" plugs. So you're generating 120V/60HZ and auxiliary 12VDC on the roof. So you're telling me, with the same device, with a flip of a switch on the roof, you can generate 240V/50HZ and "high output" 12VDC? Is this an IP65 rated ,waterproof, UL and NEMA rated switch? What gauge wire on the AC output wire? And you're also running a "high current" 12VDC output all the way from the roof to the inside of the home, What gauge wire did you say?

I think you get the point. The marketing success of the Solar Liberator does show there's a great interest in the possibilities, however, this particular device as seen on the Solar Liberator website, is sad to say, more fiction than reality.

On a positive note, a 250 Watt grid-tied Micro-Inverter mounted on a 250 watt solar panel does in fact work. And two can be linked together to feed into a grid-tied system. But even, then it's not a novice project, Fortunately we don't have to wait for the mythical 8' Solar Liberator to access the wonders of Micro Inverter technology.

Eco-Friendly Austin"

Link to Original Source

Would She-Ra Have Been a Better Choice for CSEdWeek Than Disney's Anna and Elsa?

theodp (442580) writes | 8 minutes ago


theodp (442580) writes "While the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) emphasizes the importance of gender neutrality, this year's CSEdWeek will feature Disney Frozen princesses Anna and Elsa in's signature tutorial for the 2014 Hour of Code event, which aims to introduce CS to 100 million schoolkids. maintains that Anna and Elsa are princesses-for-all-genders, even though the Disney Store and Washington Post suggest otherwise. So, if you were picking a Princess to teach girls and boys to code, wouldn't She-Ra: Princess of Power (YouTube) have broader cross-gender appeal?"

Xiaomi wants to become a leader in 10 years

Anonymous Coward writes | 17 minutes ago


An anonymous reader writes "After becoming the third largest manufacturer of smartphones, Xiaomi aims the first place in 5-10 years.
Created in 2010, the Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi introduced its first smartphone in 2011. In three years, the company has benefited greatly increasing sales in Asia. During the third quarter 2014 sales of 17.3 million smartphones were up on a year of 211.3%. With this triple-digit growth, Xiaomi has become the third largest manufacturer with 5.3% market share. This rapid growth is far from pleasing and convincing leaders Apple and Samsung, which recently responded."

Link to Original Source

The Birth of Space and Time

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes | 42 minutes ago


StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "Finite to the past, infinite to the past, or cyclical in nature: those are the three options for the nature of our spacetime. We can trace our Universe's history back billions of years, to the earliest moments of the Big Bang and even before to the epoch of cosmic inflation that preceded it, but was there truly a singularity from which space-and-time emerged? Here's the limits of our knowledge on that front."

Derby Della Mole

lozano77 (3920573) writes | about an hour ago


lozano77 (3920573) writes "The Turin derby was first played on 13 January 1907. It was also the first competitive match of Torino after its founding on 3 December 1906. The rivalry stems from the fact that Torino was founded through a merger of Football Club Torinese and a group of Juventus dissidents, led by major financier Alfredo Dick. It is said that prior to the first derby, Dick was locked inside the changing room, causing him to miss the game and having to listen to updates via players and staff."
Link to Original Source

Ukraine's IT Brigade Supports the Troops

Anonymous Coward writes | 4 hours ago


An anonymous reader writes "From the minute the army started using drones, the engineers and commanders realized it was cheaper to assemble them locally than to buy them from abroad, Markevich says. Western drones cost upwards of $200,000 apiece; the Ukrainians brought the cost down to about $60,000. About 10 informal groups of technology and aviation experts, all volunteers, are making about 40 drones a month, using open-source software and cameras and other parts bought mostly from China... Oleksiy Skrypnyk owns Eleks, an IT company that employs a thousand workers in the western city of Lviv, where it produces videoconferencing and event software for hospitals and entertainment companies such as Cirque du Soleil. Skrypnyk is heavily involved in developing new military hardware, including an unmanned armored fighting vehicle that looks like a scruffy version of the battlefield robots in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones."
Link to Original Source

Get me off your f**king mailing list

Frosty Piss (770223) writes | 4 hours ago


Frosty Piss (770223) writes "'Get Me Off Your F**king Mailing List' is an actual science paper accepted by the journal International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology. As reported at Vox and other web sites, the journal, despite its distinguished name, is a predatory open-access journal. These sorts of low-quality journals spam thousands of scientists, offering to publish their work for a fee. In 2005, computer scientists David Mazières and Eddie Kohler created this highly profane ten-page paper as a joke, to send in replying to unwanted conference invitations. It literally just contains that seven-word phrase over and over, along with a nice flow chart and scatter-plot graph. More recently, computer scientist Peter Vamplew sent it to the IJACT in response to spam from the journal, and the paper was automatically accepted with an anonymous reviewer rating it as 'excellent', and requested a fee of $150. Over the years, the number of these predatory journals has exploded. Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, keeps an up-to-date list of them to help researchers avoid being taken in; it currently has 550 publishers and journals on it."

What Does The NSA Think Of Cryptographers?

mikejuk (1801200) writes | 5 hours ago


mikejuk (1801200) writes "A recently declassified NSA house magazine, CryptoLog, reveals some interesting attitudes between the redactions. What is the NSA take on cryptography?
The article of interest is a report of a trip to the 1992 EuroCrypt conference by an NSA cryptographer whose name is redacted.We all get a little bored having to sit though presentations that are off topic, boring or even down right silly but we generally don't write our opinions down. In this case the criticisms are cutting and they reveal a lot about the attitude of the NSA cryptographers. You need to keep in mind as you read that this is intended for the NSA crypto community and as such the writer would have felt at home with what was being written.
Take for example:
Three of the last four sessions were of no value whatever, and indeed there was almost nothing at Eurocrypt to interest us (this is good news!). The scholarship was actually extremely good; it’s just that the directions which external cryptologic researchers have taken are remarkably far from our own lines of interest.
It seems that back in 1992 academic cryptographers were working on things that the NSA didn't consider of any importance. Could things be the same now?
The gulf between the two camps couldn't be better expressed than:
The conference again offered an interesting view into the thought processes of the world’s leading “cryptologists.” It is indeed remarkable how far the Agency has strayed from the True Path.
The ironic comment is clearly suggesting that the NSA is on the "true path" whatever that might be.
Clearly the gap between the NSA and the academic crypto community is probably as wide today with the different approaches to the problem being driven by what each wants to achieve. It is worth reading the rest of the article."

Link to Original Source

Extreme Shrimp May Hold Clues to Alien Life on Europa (3830033) writes | 6 hours ago

0 (3830033) writes "Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are studying a mysterious ecosystem at one of the world's deepest undersea hydrothermal vents to get clues about what life could be like on other planetary bodies, such as Jupiter's icy moon Europa, which has a subsurface ocean. At the vents tiny shrimp are piled on top of each other, layer upon layer, crawling on rock chimneys that spew hot water. "You go along the ocean bottom and there's nothing, effectively," says Max Coleman. "And then suddenly we get these hydrothermal vents and a massive ecosystem. It's just literally teeming with life." Bacteria, inside the shrimps' mouths and in specially evolved gill covers, produce organic matter that feed the crustaceans. The particular bacteria in the vents are able to survive in extreme environments because of chemosynthesis, a process that works in the absence of sunlight and involves organisms getting energy from chemical reactions. In this case, the bacteria use hydrogen sulfide, a chemical abundant at the vents, to make organic matter. The temperatures at the vents can climb up to a scorching 842 degrees Fahrenheit (450 degrees Celsius), but waters just an inch away are cool enough to support the shrimp. The shrimp are blind, but have thermal receptors in the backs of their heads.

According to the exobiologists, these mysterious shrimps and its symbiotic bacterium may hold clues "about what life could be like on other planetary bodies." It's life that may be similar—at the basic level—to what could be lurking in the oceans of Europa, deep under the icy crust of the Jupiter moon. According to Emma Versteegh "whether an animal like this could exist on Europa heavily depends on the actual amount of energy that's released there, through hydrothermal vents." Nobody is seriously planning a landing mission on Europa yet. But the European Space Agency aims to launch its JUpiter ICy moons Explorer mission (JUICE) to make the first thickness measurements of Europa's icy crust starting in 2030 and NASA also has begun planning a Europa Clipper mission that would study the icy moon while doing flybys in a Jupiter orbit."

Judge Approves $450M Settlement For Apple's Ebook Price Fixing

Anonymous Coward writes | 7 hours ago


An anonymous reader writes "On Friday a U.S. federal judge approved a settlement in the Apple ebook price-fixing case that could see the technology giant paying $450 million. $400 million of that would go to the roughly 23 million consumers thought to be affected by the price fixing, and the rest would go to lawyers. Though the case is now settled, the dollar amount is not necessarily final — an appeals court still has to rule on a previous verdict. If the appeals court finds in Apple's favor, then the total settlement drops to only $70 million. If they find against Apple, then it's the full amount. "The settlement appeared to reflect fatigue by Apple, the Justice Department, state attorneys general and class-action lawyers eager to conclude a case that has dragged on, largely because of delays by Apple.""
Link to Original Source

Tully: A big thank you to great teachers

Johongarmon (3922725) writes | 9 hours ago


Johongarmon (3922725) writes "I bring this up because I had that same “Wow, this is wonderful” feeling last spring, during a dinner in which four Indianapolis Public Schools teachers were celebrated, and given $25,000 each, for lifetimes of amazing work and dedication on behalf of students. Their stories were almost mind-boggling in their generosity. Their efforts to pull students out of their sometimes-heartbreaking circumstances were nothing short of heroic."
Link to Original Source

Replacement for Turing Test Proposed

mrspoonsi (2955715) writes | 9 hours ago


mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "A US professor is proposing a new way to test whether artificial intelligence (AI) is on a par with that of humans. Currently scientists use the Turing test — named after computer scientist Alan Turing — which evaluates whether an AI can convince a judge that it is human in a conversation. Prof Mark Riedl, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, is proposing a new test. It would ask a machine to create a convincing poem, story or painting. Dubbed Lovelace 2.0 it is an iteration of a previous Lovelace Test, proposed in 2001. "For the test, the artificial agent passes if it develops a creative artefact from a subset of artistic genres deemed to require human-level intelligence and the artefact meets certain creative constraints given by a human evaluator," explained Prof Riedl. The 65-year-old Turing test is successfully passed if a computer is mistaken for a human more than 30% of the time during a series of five-minute keyboard conversations."

Google's Project Loon Can Now Launch Up To 20 Balloons Per Day, Fly 10x Longer

Anonymous Coward writes | yesterday


An anonymous reader writes "Google today shared an update from Project Loon, the company’s initiative to bring high-speed Internet access to remote areas of the world via hot air balloons. Google says it now has the ability to launch up to 20 of these balloons per day. This is in part possible because the company has improved its autofill equipment to a point where it can fill a balloon in under five minutes. This is a major achievement, given that Google says filling a Project Loon balloon with enough air so that it is ready for flight is the equivalent of inflating 7,000 party balloons."

Linux on a Motorola 68000 solderless breadboard

lars_stefan_axelsson (236283) writes | 12 hours ago


lars_stefan_axelsson (236283) writes "When I was an undergrad in the eighties, "building" a computer meant that you got a bunch of chips and a soldering iron and went to work. The art is still alive today, but instead of a running BASIC interpreter as the ultimate proof of success, today the crowning achievement is getting Linux to run:

"What does it take to build a little 68000-based protoboard computer, and get it running Linux? In my case, about three weeks of spare time, plenty of coffee, and a strong dose of stubborness. After banging my head against the wall with problems ranging from the inductance of pushbutton switches to memory leaks in the C standard library, it finally works! "


Brick & mortar retail stores in India refuse to sell Android One phones

oyenamit (2474702) writes | yesterday


oyenamit (2474702) writes "Online shopping in India is still in its infancy but is growing tremendously to reach the mostly untapped market of 1.2 billion people. Invariably, the conflict between pure online retailers like Amazon and Flipkart and brick and mortar stores was bound to emerge. Unfortunately for Google's Android One, it has been on the receiving end of this friction. Leading brick and mortar retailers in India have refused to sell Android One handsets ever since the US company chose to launch its products exclusively online.

The three Android One makers in India — Micromax, Karbonn and Spice — launched their handsets exclusively online in mid-September. When sales did not meet their expectations, they decided to release their products via the brick and mortar store channel. However, smaller retailer and mom-n-pop shops have decided to show their displeasure at having being left out of the launch by deciding not to stock Android One."

Critical XSS Flaws Patched in WordPress and Popular Plug-in

itwbennett (1594911) writes | yesterday


itwbennett (1594911) writes "The WordPress development team on Thursday released critical security updates that address an XSS vulnerability in the comment boxes of WordPress posts and pages. An attacker could exploit this flaw to create comments with malicious JavaScript code embedded in them that would get executed by the browsers of users seeing those comments. 'In the most obvious scenario the attacker leaves a comment containing the JavaScript and some links in order to put the comment in the moderation queue,' said Jouko Pynnonen, the security researcher who found the flaw."
Link to Original Source

How about paid, open-source style development...

enbody (472304) writes | yesterday


enbody (472304) writes "A year-old startup, Assembly, is built on the premise of creating products using open-source style development, but structured in a way that you get paid for your contributions. Open-source development is well-known in the Slashdot community, as are a variety of ways to earn a living around open-source, such as support. What is new here is being paid as part of the development, and not just for coding — your contribution might be as project manager or sales. A nice description with video showed up today on the Verge. Of course, the devil is in the details, but they have products so someone in Slashdot land may be interested. (Bias warning: I know one of these guys.)"

Another hint for Kryptos

rastos1 (601318) writes | yesterday


rastos1 (601318) writes "Four years ago Jim Sanborn, the sculptor who created the wavy metal pane called Kryptos that sits in front of the CIA in Langley revealed a clue for breaking the last remaining part of the encrypted message on Kryptos. The clue was: BERLIN.

But the puzzle resisted all all decryption efforts and is still unsolved.

To honor the 25th anniversary of the Wall’s demise and the artist’s 69th birthday this year, Sanborn has decided to reveal a new clue to help solve his iconic and enigmatic artwork. It’s only the second hint he’s released since the sculpture was unveiled in 1990 and may finally help unlock the fourth and final section of the encrypted sculpture, which frustrated sleuths have been struggling to crack for more than two decades. The next word in the sequence is: “clock”."

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