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Comments

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Caltech and UVic set 339Gbps internet speed record

MrSeb Gigabytes (1 comments)

Oops, I got the scale wrong here. It's not 5.3GB/s, it's 53GB/s. Not 2.9, but 29 -- and so on.

about 2 years ago
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US Air Force's 1950s supersonic flying saucer declassified

MrSeb Special character (2 comments)

Oops, we lost the special character -- 'Coand' should be 'Coanda' (with a breve over the A)

about 2 years ago
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DARPA combines human brains and 120-megapixel cameras

MrSeb Wedding (1 comments)

Damn, that ought to be 'weeding.'

about 2 years ago
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The TSA's latest investment: Terahertz laser scanners

MrSeb TSA/DHS (1 comments)

Thinking about it, should probably say 'DHS' rather than 'TSA' -- though I guess they're one and the same thing.

more than 2 years ago
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A computer that learns the rules of a game by watching you play

MrSeb Researcher's name (1 comments)

Seems the first letter of his name got stripped out -- probably because it's a weird letter. It's L, with a stroke through it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%81

HTML entity 0321.

more than 2 years ago
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Zeolite thermal storage retains heat indefinitely, absorbs four times more heat

MrSeb Title (2 comments)

Doh, 'water' should be at the end of the title. The title is a bit long... if you can come up with something better... by all means :)

more than 2 years ago
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Microsoft bans third-party browsers from Windows on ARM

MrSeb More info (1 comments)

It seems in Windows on ARM, third-party apps will only have access to the WinRT (Metro) API, while Microsoft's own software (such as IE10) will have access to Win32. Without Win32, Firefox (or Chrome, or..) won't be able to do things such as JIT compilation of JavaScript, and other low-level stuffs.

more than 2 years ago
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Intel Unveils Tiny Next Unit of Computing To Match Raspberry Pi

MrSeb Re:Not bad, but still missing the point... (194 comments)

I'm fairly sure that this will come with a bundled CPU. Look at the heatsink/fan assembly -- it's like a laptop. Asking consumers to fiddle around with that would be a bit silly.

more than 2 years ago
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Cooling a PC with toilet water

MrSeb Linux (1 comments)

I forgot to mention: The system runs ClearOS.

more than 2 years ago
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Warehouse robots come of age as Amazon buys Kiva

MrSeb title (1 comments)

Simply 'Warehouse robots come of age' would probably make a fine title, too.

more than 2 years ago
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MIT makes 3D solar cell stacks, increases power by 20x

MrSeb Re:Old news as new news? (2 comments)

Huh. The MIT news guys sent me this as... news. But you're right, the Technology Review thing is the same thing, and old. Hrm.

more than 2 years ago
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Nvidia releases GTX 680, first Kepler GPU

MrSeb Link (2 comments)

Got the link slightly wrong -- I linked through to page 2. Need to remove the "/2" from the Original Source URL.

more than 2 years ago
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Angelina: An AI that makes computer games from scratch

MrSeb Scratch (1 comments)

I've just been told that 'Scratch' is the name of a product made by MIT. If it's confusing, might wanna change the title and first sentence a little.

more than 2 years ago
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IBM creates 1Tbps Holey Optochop

MrSeb Title (1 comments)

... Optochip. Not Optochop. Though an Optochop sounds pretty cool...

more than 2 years ago
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview now available to download

MrSeb Updated (2 comments)

The post has now been updated with hands-on impressions, too.

more than 2 years ago
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview now available to download

MrSeb Link (2 comments)

This is the same story as the other identically-titled submission -- but I forgot to include a link to the ET story :)

more than 2 years ago
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Sensor networks in San Francisco eliminates parkin

MrSeb Title (1 comments)

Doh, bad title. Should be 'sensor network' singular, and obviously the end has been snipped off.

more than 2 years ago
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What happens to your files when a cloud service sh

MrSeb Title (2 comments)

No, don't worry, the missing word in the title is not 'shits' -- it's 'shuts down'

more than 2 years ago
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Fujifilm X-Pro1 smashes Bayer sensor image sharpne

MrSeb Correction (1 comments)

D'oh -- 'viewfinder' should be 'rangefinder'

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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How long do hard drives actually live for?

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about a year ago

MrSeb (471333) writes "For more than 30 years, the realm of computing has been intrinsically linked to the humble hard drive. It has been a complex and sometimes torturous relationship, but there’s no denying the huge role that hard drives have played in the growth and popularization of PCs, and more recently in the rapid expansion of online and cloud storage. Given our exceedingly heavy reliance on hard drives, it’s very, very weird that one piece of vital information still eludes us: How long does a hard drive last? According to some new data, gathered from 25,000 hard drives that have been spinning for four years, it turns out that hard drives actually have a surprisingly low failure rate."
Link to Original Source
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AMD's Verizon server win was actually a massive win for Intel

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about a year ago

MrSeb (471333) writes "Yesterday, Verizon announced that it’s building its own cloud computing platform to compete with the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. Rather than designing its own hardware, or using readymade big iron setups from someone like IBM, Verizon instead opted for high-density SeaMicro servers. AMD, which acquired SeaMicro last year, has been touting this as a huge victory over Intel and its dominance in the server market. ExtremeTech can exclusively reveal, however, that more than three quarters of the SeaMicro servers purchased by Verizon are actually powered by the Intel Xeon E3, not AMD’s own Opteron chip. AMD has, rather ironically, become an Intel OEM."
Link to Original Source
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Astrobiologists discover fossils in extraterrestrial meteorite fragments

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about a year and a half ago

MrSeb writes "Researchers at Cardiff University in the UK have found algae-like fossils in meteorite fragments that landed in Sri Lanka last year. This is the strongest evidence yet of cometary panspermia — that life on Earth began when a meteorite containing simple organisms landed here, billions of years ago — and, perhaps more importantly, that there’s life elsewhere in the universe. These findings aren’t a slam dunk, though. There’s a possibility that the fossils aren’t actually biological in nature — they simply look biological. There’s also the fact that the research was published in the Journal of Cosmology, a peer-reviewed journal that has come under critical scrutiny numerous times since it was established in 2009. The journal faced a lot of controversy when it published a paper by NASA engineer Richard Hoover claiming to have found fossils “similar to cyanobacteria” in meteorites. One thing’s for certain, though: For this to actually become science — for Chandra Wickramasinghe’s dream of panspermia to become a reality — this work will need to be replicated by many other groups around the world. It would be very, very exciting indeed if biological fossils have been found on an extraterrestrial meteorite. It would be proof that there’s life on other planets — and essentially a guarantee that the universe is full of life. But, as always, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
Link to Original Source
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Bitcasa's infinite online hard drive: Interesting idea, rough around the edges

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about a year and a half ago

MrSeb writes "Online storage service Bitcasa opened its doors this week, promising an end to external storage or pesky online capacity limits. The company’s pitch is simple: You give them $99 per year, they give you infinite storage space online. The deal is currently being offered for $69, which comes out to $5.75 a month. That’s it. No capacity limits. No additional charge for certain file types or for web/smartphones. File version history? Infinite. Want backup and mirroring of existing data? You can get that, too. Bitcasa promises an online drive that seamlessly integrated with Windows Explorer, giving you all the benefits of local storage for substantially less money. That was enough to pique ExtremeTech's curiosity, and to take the service for a spin. What it found was a genuinely interesting and valuable service, but there are a lot of bugs that need to be ironed out before you should recommend it to your friends and family."
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The wind tunnel computer that hopes to conquer cancer

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about a year and a half ago

MrSeb writes "Mike Shropp, the self-titled Total Geek who brought us the monstrous-yet-beautiful three-motherboard PC made out of Lego last year, has gone one better and created a wind tunnel for his new PC. The PC itself is a beast: An Intel Core i7-3770K clocked at 4.5GHz, with twin Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards. Like Schropp’s Lego workstation, the wind tunnel-cooled computer is used for grid computing — in specific, IBM’s World Community Grid, which researches possible cures for cancer and AIDS. But enough about the specs: What we really care about is that Schropp built a damn wind tunnel to cool his PC. Building the wind tunnel seems like it was fairly easy: Schropp built the basic shape out of MDF edged with aluminium, with a couple of pieces of polycarbonate forming the see-through window around the PC itself. Schropp then painted the whole thing, added some awesome buttons to the front of the case, put a standard box fan at the entrance to the tunnel (recessed a little, to reduce its noise output), and finally mounted his PC in the middle. The end result is a fantastic-looking case — and, almost as an added bonus, it’s also quite effective as a cooling solution."
Link to Original Source
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MIT discovers a new state of matter, a new kind of magnetism

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about 2 years ago

MrSeb writes "Researchers at MIT have discovered a new state of matter with a new kind of magnetism. This new state, called a quantum spin liquid (QSL), could lead to significant advances in data storage, superconductors, and long-range quantum entanglement communications. Generally, when we talk about magnetism’s role in the realm of technology, there are just two types: Ferromagnetism and antiferromagnetism. Ferromagnetism has been known about for centuries, and is the underlying force behind your compass’s spinning needle or the permanent bar magnets you played with at school. In ferromagnets, the spin (i.e. charge) of every electron is aligned in the same direction, causing two distinct poles. In antiferromagnets, neighboring electrons point in the opposite direction, causing the object to have zero net magnetism. In combination with ferromagnets, antiferromagnets are used to create spin valves: the magnetic sensors used in hard drive heads. In the case of this new state of matter, quantum spin liquids, the material is a solid crystal — but the internal magnetic state is constantly in flux. The magnetic orientations of the electrons (their magnetic moment) fluctuate as they interact with other nearby electrons. “But there is a strong interaction between them, and due to quantum effects, they don’t lock in place,” says Young Lee, senior author of the research. It is these strong interactions that apparently allow for long-range quantum entanglement."
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Cree releases landmark 200 lumen-per-watt LED

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about 2 years ago

MrSeb writes "One of the ways — if not the best way — to track the progress of LEDs over the past few years has been through the metric of lumens-per-watt. As you can gather from the name this is an efficiency rating that is based on the amount of visible light emitted relative to the amount of power consumed. A lumens-per-watt (lpw) rating is especially interesting because it works regardless of the light source — the lpw rating for an incandescent bulb is a lowly 15 (or so) while newer LED bulbs are in the range of 75. While 75 lpw is plenty efficient, it’s no where near what manufacturers like Cree are working on. In fact, the company has just put out a 200 lpw LED known as the XLamp MK-R."
Link to Original Source
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Is safe, green thorium power finally ready for prime time?

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about 2 years ago

MrSeb writes "If you’ve not been tracking the thorium hype, you might be interested to learn that the benefits liquid fluoride thorium reactors (LFTRs) have over light water uranium reactors (LWRs) are compelling. Alvin Weinberg, who invented both, favored the LFTR for civilian power since its failures (when they happened) were considerably less dramatic — a catastrophic depressurization of radioactive steam, like occurred at Chernobyl in 1986, simply wouldn’t be possible. Since the technical hurdles to building LFTRs and handling their byproducts are in theory no more challenging, one might ask — where are they? It turns out that a bunch of US startups are investigating the modern-day viability of thorium power, and countries like India and China have serious, governmental efforts to use LFTRs. Is thorium power finally ready for prime time?"
Link to Original Source
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The Windows 8 Store is broken: Here's how to fix it

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about 2 years ago

MrSeb writes "When Microsoft built Windows 8, it bet that it could create a Windows Store experience that would rival competitors like Apple and Google. The company was confident enough of its abilities in this sphere that it decided to lock Windows RT devices to purchases made within the Windows Store, and made WS-exclusive distribution a requirement for any Metro x86 products as well. ExtremeTech has been keeping an eye on the Windows Store since the OS launched — with the Christmas holidays upon us, and the two-month anniversary approaching, we’re circling back to investigate the status of the Store. The blunt truth is that two months after launch, the Windows Store is still in rough shape. Some of this is due to a relatively small app selection, but that’s an inevitable problem for any company that launches a service like this. While it’s true that Microsoft can’t wave its hand and create apps from companies like Twitter and Facebook, there are steps the company could take to improve the Windows Store and help customers navigate the often-confusing application situation."
Link to Original Source
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DARPA begins work on 100Gbps wireless tech with 120-mile range

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about 2 years ago

MrSeb writes "DARPA has begun development of a wireless communications link that is capable of 100 gigabits per second over a range of 200 kilometers (124mi). Officially dubbed “100 Gb/s RF Backbone” (or 100G for short), the program will provide the US military with networks that are around 50 times faster than its current wireless links. In essence, DARPA wants to give deployed soldiers the same kind of connectivity as a high-bandwidth, low-latency fiber-optic network. In the case of Afghanistan, for example, the US might have a high-speed fiber link to Turkey — but the remaining 1,000 miles to Afghanistan most likely consists of low-bandwidth, high-latency links. It’s difficult (and potentially insecure) to control UAVs or send/receive intelligence over these networks, and so the US military instead builds its own wireless network using Common Data Link. CDL maxes out at around 250Mbps, so 100Gbps would be quite a speed boost. DARPA clearly states that the 100G program is for US military use — but it’s hard to ignore the repercussions it might have on commercial networks, too. 100Gbps wireless backhaul links between cell towers, rather than costly and cumbersome fiber links, would make it much easier and cheaper to roll out additional mobile coverage. Likewise, 100Gbps wireless links might be the ideal way to provide backhaul links to rural communities that are still stuck with dial-up internet access. Who knows, we might even one day have 100Gbps wireless links to our ISP."
Link to Original Source
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Vector vengeance: British claim they can kill the pixel within five years

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about 2 years ago

MrSeb writes "The humble pixel — the 2D picture element that has formed the foundation of just about every kind of digital media for the last 50 years — may soon meet its maker. Believe it or not, if a team of British are to be believed, the pixel, within five short years, will be replaced with vectors. If you know about computer graphics, or if you’ve ever edited or drawn an image on your computer, you know that there are two primary ways of storing image data: As a bitmap, or as vectors. A bitmap is quite simply a giant grid of pixels, with the arrangement and color of the pixels dictating what the image looks like. Vectors are an entirely different beast: In vector graphics, the image is described as a series of mathematical equations. To draw a bitmap shape you just color in a block of pixels; with vector graphics, you would describe the shape in terms of height, width, radius, and so on. At the moment, bitmaps are used almost exclusively in the realm of digital media — but that isn't to say they don't have their flaws. As display (and camera and cinema) resolution increases, so does the number of pixels. The obvious problem with this is that larger bitmaps are computationally more expensive to process, resulting in a slower (or more expensive) workflow. Pixel bitmaps don’t scale very gracefully; reduction is okay, but enlargement is a no-no. There is always the issue of a master format, too: With pixel bitmaps, conversions from one format to another, or changing frame rates, is messy, lossy business. Which finally leads us back to the innovation at hand: Philip Willis and John Patterson of the University of Bath in England have devised a video codec that replaces pixel bitmaps with vectors."
Link to Original Source
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Is it worth investing in a high-efficiency power supply?

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about 2 years ago

MrSeb writes "If you’ve gone shopping for a power supply any time over the last few years, you’ve probably noticed the explosive proliferation of various 80 Plus ratings. As initially conceived, an 80 Plus certification was a way for PSU manufacturers to validate that their power supply units were at least 80% efficient at 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of full load. In the pre-80 Plus days, PSU prices normally clustered around a given wattage output. The advent of the various 80 Plus levels has created a second variable that can have a significant impact on unit price. This leads us to three important questions: How much power can you save by moving to a higher-efficiency supply, what’s the premium of doing so, and how long does it take to make back your initial investment? ExtremeTech investigates."
Link to Original Source
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GE develops ultra-thin, almost-silent cooler for next-gen laptops and tablets

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about 2 years ago

MrSeb writes "General Electric has unveiled what seems to be the thinnest, high-performance cooler for the next-generation of ultra-thin tablets and laptops. While this cooler obviously allows for slimmer designs (or more space for other components), it also uses just half the power of a comparable fan, granting a significant boost to battery life. Oh, it’s almost silent, too. The technology behind GE’s cooler is called DCJ — Dual Piezoelectric Cooling Jets. DCJ basically acts as a miniature pair of bellows: Expanding to suck in cool air, and then contracting to expel hot air. GE originally invented DCJ to help cool commercial jet engines, but two years ago it seems someone had the clever idea of miniaturizing the tech for use in computers — and so here we are. GE’s cooler is roughly the size and thickness of a credit card, and the complete cooling solution (presumably including a heat sink/pipe) is 50% thinner than existing fan-based solutions. Perhaps most importantly, though, according to GE VP Chris Giovanniello, “DCJ can be made so quiet that users won’t even know it’s running.”"
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Nokia engineer shows how pirate Windows 8 Metro apps, bypass in-app purchases

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about 2 years ago

MrSeb writes "The principal engineer for Nokia’s WP7 and WP8 devices, Justin Angel, has demonstrated, in rather frank detail, how to pirate Windows 8 Metro apps, how to bypass in-app purchases, and how to remove in-game ads. These hacks aren’t exactly easy, but more worryingly they’re not exactly hard either. Angel shows that turning a trial version of a Metro appinto the full version — i.e. pirating an app — is scarily simple. It’s just a matter of downloading an open-source app and changing an XML attribute from “Trial” to “Full.” Likewise, a quick change to a XAML file can remove an app’s ads. Bypassing in-app purchases is a little trickier, involving some reverse engineering of some DLLs and and decryption of database files, but Angel still makes it look fairly easy. Angel gives himself one million credits in Soulcraft, an RPG game — something that would cost you over a thousand dollars, if you performed a legitimate in-app purchase. Angel also demonstrates a way to bypass in-app purchases in WinJS (Metro/JavaScript) apps, by injecting scripts into IE10 (the rendering engine for WinJS apps). It’s easy to blame Microsoft for this, but isn't this really an issue that is intrinsic to all installed applications? The fact is, Windows 8 Metro apps are stored on your hard drive — and this means that you have access to the code and data. Hex editors, save game editors, bypassing Adobe’s 30-day trials by replacing DLL files, pirating Windows 8 apps — these are all just different incarnations of the same attack vectors."
Link to Original Source
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Intel unveils 22nm SoC transistors, while TSMC and GloFo plan risky process jump

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about 2 years ago

MrSeb writes "Transistor announcements aren’t the sexiest occasions on the block, but Intel’s 22nm SoC unveil is important for a host of reasons. As process nodes shrink and more components move on-die, the characteristics of each new node have become particularly important. 22nm isn’t a new node for Intel; it debuted the technology last year with Ivy Bridge, but SoCs are more complex than CPU designs and create their own set of challenges. Like its 22nm Ivy Bridge CPUs, the upcoming 22nm SoCs rely on Intel’s Tri-Gate implementation of FinFET technology. According to Intel engineer Mark Bohr, the 3D transistor structure is the principle reason why the company’s 22nm technology is as strong as it is. Other evidence backs up this point. Earlier this year, we brought you news that Nvidia was deeply concerned about manufacturing economics and the relative strength of TSMC’s sub-28nm planar roadmap. Morris Chang, TSMC’s CEO, has since admitted that such concerns are valid, given that performance and power are only expected to increase by 20-25% as compared to 28nm. The challenge for both TSMC and GlobalFoundries is going to be how to match the performance of Intel’s 22nm technology with their own 28nm products. 20nm looks like it won’t be able to do so, which is why both companies are emphasizing their plans to move to 16nm/14nm ahead of schedule. There’s some variation on which node comes next; both GlobalFoundries and Intel are talking up 14nm; TSMC is implying a quick jump to 16nm. Will it work? Unknown. TSMC and GlobalFoundries both have excellent engineers, but FinFET is a difficult technology to deploy. Ramping it up more quickly than expected while simultaneously bringing up a new process may be more difficult than either company anticipates."
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The first flexible, fiber-optic solar cell that can be woven into clothes

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about 2 years ago

MrSeb writes "An international team of engineers, physicists, and chemists have created the first fiber-optic solar cell. These fibers are thinner than human hair, flexible, and yet they produce electricity, just like a normal solar cell. The US military is already interested in weaving these threads into clothing, to provide a wearable power source for soldiers. In essence, the research team started with optical fibers made from glass — and then, using high-pressure chemical vapor deposition, injected n-, i-, and p-type silicon into the fiber, turning it into a solar cell. Functionally, these silicon-doped fiber-optic threads are identical to conventional solar cells, generating electricity from the photovoltaic effect. Whereas almost every solar cell on the market is crafted out of 2D, planar amorphous silicon on a rigid/brittle glass substrate, though, these fiber-optic solar cells have a 3D cross-section and retain the glass fiber’s intrinsic flexibility. The lead researcher, John Badding of Penn State University, says the team has already produced “meters-long fiber,” and that their new technique could be used to create “bendable silicon solar-cell fibers of over 10 meters in length.” From there, it’s simply a matter of weaving the thread into a fabric."
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The first open-source 3D-printed gun

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about 2 years ago

MrSeb writes "In its continuing mission to build a “Wiki Weapon,” Defense Distributed has 3D printed the lower receiver of an AR-15 assault rifle and tested it to failure. The printed part only survives the firing of six shots, but for a first attempt that’s quite impressive. And hey, it’s a plastic gun. Slashdot first covered the 3D-printed gun back in July. The Defense Distributed group sprung up soon after, with the purpose of creating an open-source gun — a Wiki Weapon — that can be downloaded from the internet and printed out. The Defense Distributed manifesto mainly quotes a bunch of historical figures who supported the right to bear arms. DefDist (its nickname) is seeking a gun manufacturing license from the ATF, but so far the feds haven’t responded. Unperturbed, DefDist started down the road by renting an advanced 3D printing machine from Stratasys — but when the company found out what its machine was being used for, it was repossessed. DefDist has now obtained a 3D printer from Objet, which seemingly has a more libertarian mindset. The group then downloaded HaveBlue’s original AR-15 lower receiver from Thingiverse, printed it out on the Objet printer using ABS-like Digital Material, screwed it into an AR-57 upper receiver, loaded up some FN 5.7x28mm ammo, and headed to the range. The DefDist team will now make various modifications to HaveBlue’s design, such as making it more rugged and improving the trigger guard, and then upload the new design to Thingiverse. Thus the open-source circle is complete!"
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Self-healing, self-heating flash memory survives more than 100 million cycles

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about 2 years ago

MrSeb writes "Macronix, one of the world’s largest producers of flash memory, has produced a new kind of flash memory that can survive more than 100 million program/erase (PE) cycles — most likely long enough to persist until the end of human civilization. By comparison, the NAND cells found in conventional flash memory — as in commercial SSDs — generally have a lifespan of just a few thousand PE cycles. For such a huge advance you would expect an equally vast technological leap — but in this instance, that’s certainly not the case. Macronix just adds a bit of heat — literally, each of Macronix’s new memory cells contains a heating element that can deliver a jolt of 800C (1472F) heat to the cell, healing it and preventing wear-out. Furthermore, 100 million PE cycles is a low-ball estimate: In reality, Macronix’s new flash might survive billions of cycles — but it would take so long to test that the company doesn’t yet know."
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New plastic light bulbs are cheap, bright, shatterproof, and flicker-free

MrSeb MrSeb writes  |  about 2 years ago

MrSeb writes "A team of material scientists from Wake Forest University in North Carolina have developed plastic light bulbs that are shatterproof, flicker-free, and seem to last forever. Furthermore, these plastic bulbs are about twice as efficient as fluorescent bulbs, on-par with LED bulbs, and — perhaps best of all — they produce a color and quality of light that “can match the solar spectrum perfectly.” These new bulbs are based on field-induced polymer electroluminescent (FIPEL) technology, with a twist. FIPEL is a fairly old technology that involves running electricity through a conductive polymer called poly(vinylcarbazole) to produce light — but not enough light to be used as a light bulb. Now, by doping the polymer with carbon nanotubes, Wake Forest has increased the polymer’s luminance by about five times — and voila, we’re into light bulb territory."
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