Power

Solar-Powered Flight For 81 Hours: a New Endurance World Record 34 34

Hallie Siegel writes: A team of researchers from ETH Zurich have just set a new endurance record for solar powered flight of an unmanned autonomous aircraft, achieving over four days of solar-powered flight in a range of weather conditions. Being able to demonstrate more than 24 hours of endurance is important because overcast skies can inhibit recharging and poor weather or high winds can effect power consumption. Nice achievement for this class of aircraft.
Japan

Ex-TEPCO Officials To Be Indicted Over Fukushima 76 76

AmiMoJo writes: Three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company will face mandatory indictment over the March 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The prosecution inquest panel of randomly-selected citizens voted for the indictment on Friday, for professional negligence resulting in death and injury. "Tokyo prosecutors in January rejected the panel's judgment that the three should be charged, citing insufficient evidence. But the 11 unidentified citizens on the panel forced the indictment after a second vote, which makes an indictment mandatory. The three are former chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, 75, and former executives Sakae Muto, 65, and Ichiro Takekuro, 69. Citizens' panels, made up of residents selected by lottery, are a rarely used but high-profile feature of Japan's legal system introduced after World War Two to curb bureaucratic overreach."
Japan

Japanese Scientists Fire the Most Powerful Laser On the Planet 117 117

Sepa Blackforesta writes: Scientist from University of Osaka claim have fired the world's most powerful laser. The beam was intact for 2-petawatt, pulse lasted just one picosecond. While it produced a huge amount of power, the energy required for the beam itself is equivalent to that needed to power a microwave for two seconds. An associate professor of electrical engineering at Osaka University Junji Kawanaka says “With heated competition in the world to improve the performance of lasers, our goal now is to increase our output to 10 petawatts.”
Piracy

Interviews: Kim Dotcom Answers Your Questions 89 89

Kim Dotcom was the founder of Megaupload, its successor Mega, and New Zealand's Internet Party. A while ago you had a chance to ask him about those things as well as the U.S. government charging him with criminal copyright violation and racketeering. Below you'll find his answers to your questions.
Power

Britain Shuts Off 750,000 Streetlights With No Impact On Crime Or Crashes 300 300

Flash Modin writes: English cities are hard up for cash as the national government dolls out cuts. And in response, the country's councils — local governing bodies — have slashed costs by turning off an estimated 750,000 streetlights. Fans of the night sky and reduced energy usage are happy, but the move has also sparked a national debate. The Automobile Association claims six people have died as a direct result of dimming the lights. But a new study released Wednesday looked at 14 years of data from 63 local authorities across England and Wales and found that residents' chances of being attacked, robbed, or struck by a car were no worse on the darker streets.
Power

Sharp Announces Sales of DC Powered Air Conditioner, Other Products To Follow 238 238

AmiMoJo writes: Sharp has announced that sales of DC powered air conditioners will begin by the end of the year. Most appliances use the standard AC electricity supply in homes, but as solar panels become more common switching to DC can save on conversion losses. Solar panels produce DC, which is then typically converted to AC before being fed into the house's wiring, and then converted back to DC again by appliances. Sharp has announced that it intends to produce a range of DC powered appliances for home use.
Power

Replacing Silicon With Gallium Nitride In Chips Could Reduce Energy Use By 20% 90 90

Mickeycaskill writes: Cambridge Electronics Inc (CEI), formed of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), claim semiconductors made of gallium nitride (GaN) could reduce the power consumption of data centers and consumer electronics by 20 percent by 2025. CEI has revealed a range of GaN transistors and power electronic circuits that have just one tenth of the resistance of silicon, resulting in much higher energy efficiency. The company claims to have overcome previous barriers to adoption such as safety concerns and expense through new manufacturing techniques. "Basically, we are fabricating our advanced GaN transistors and circuits in conventional silicon foundries, at the cost of silicon. The cost is the same, but the performance of the new devices is 100 times better," Cambridge Electronics researcher Bin Lu said.
Hardware

NVIDIA Tegra X1 Performance Exceeds Intel Bay Trail SoCs, AMD AM1 APUs 57 57

An anonymous reader writes: A NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV modified to run Ubuntu Linux is providing interesting data on how NVIDIA's latest "Tegra X1" 64-bit ARM big.LITTLE SoC compares to various Intel/AMD/MIPS systems of varying form factors. Tegra X1 benchmarks on Ubuntu show strong performance with the X1 SoC in this $200 Android TV device, beating out low-power Intel Atom/Celeron Bay Trail SoCs, AMD AM1 APUs, and in some workloads is even getting close to an Intel Core i3 "Broadwell" NUC. The Tegra X1 features Maxwell "GM20B" graphics and the total power consumption is less than 10 Watts.
Displays

Samsung Unveils the First Monitor That Can Wirelessly Charge Your Phone 88 88

An anonymous reader writes: Samsung wants to reduce the number of cords in your house and has unveiled a new monitor that can wirelessly charge your smartphones. Called the SE370, Samsung says the monitor is the first of its kind to have this capability. The monitor comes in 23.6-inch and 27-inch sizes. According to Samsung : The SE370 "declutters work areas by doing away with unnecessary cables and ports needed to charge mobile devices. Along with superior picture quality, enhanced visual performance and thoughtful design, the monitor seamlessly integrates advanced technologies that offer both professionals and consumers an optimal viewing and usability experience."
AI

Musk, Woz, Hawking, and Robotics/AI Experts Urge Ban On Autonomous Weapons 308 308

An anonymous reader writes: An open letter published by the Future of Life Institute urges governments to ban offensive autonomous weaponry. The letter is signed by high profile leaders in the science community and tech industry, such as Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Noam Chomsky, and Frank Wilczek. It's also signed — more importantly — by literally hundreds of expert researchers in robotics and AI. They say, "The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting. If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow. Unlike nuclear weapons, they require no costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials, so they will become ubiquitous and cheap for all significant military powers to mass-produce."
AT&T

FCC Approves AT&T's DirecTV Purchase 100 100

An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has granted approval to AT&T to purchase DirecTV for $48.5 billion. AT&T will become the largest provider of cable or satellite TV in the U.S., with 26.4 million subscribers. "Adding TV customers gives AT&T more power to negotiate with big media companies over prices for those channels. The deal also combines a nationwide satellite TV service, the country's largest, with the No. 2 nationwide wireless network as time spent on mobile devices increases." The FCC did put conditions on the deal: AT&T must make fiber internet service available to 12.5 million people, offer cheaper internet plans to low-income customers, and not mess with the internet traffic of online video competitors.
Power

MIT Stealth Startup Charges Up Wireless Power Competition 63 63

gthuang88 writes: Wireless charging of electronics is an old concept, but there's a new player in the competition between companies like WiTricity, Energous, and tech giants Apple, Samsung, and Qualcomm. A new spinout from Dina Katabi's lab at MIT, called Pi, may have a new take on how to charge mobile devices at a distance. The company isn't talking yet, but Katabi's research suggests the system uses an array of coils to produce a magnetic field and detect when a device is within range, like a Wi-Fi router. The array can then focus the magnetic field on a coil attached to a phone or mobile device and induce a current to charge the battery. But it's still very early, and the field of wireless charging needs to settle on technical standards and work out its commercial kinks.
Government

France To Reduce Reliance On Nuclear Power 484 484

AmiMoJo writes: French lawmakers have approved a bill to reduce the country's reliance on nuclear power from 75% to 50% by 2025. The policy was one of President Francois Hollande's campaign pledges. The legislation also includes a target of reducing the country's greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030, compared to the level in 1990. The new law aims to eventually halve France's energy consumption by 2050 from the 2012 level. The ambitious goal came in the lead-up to the COP 21 climate change conference in Paris later this year. France will chair the meeting.
Businesses

NY Mayor Commits To Reduce Emissions 40% By 2030 80 80

dkatana writes: New York mayor Bill de Blasio pledged this week to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030. He made the announcement at the start of a two-day conference on climate change at the Vatican. He was in Rome by invitation of Pope Francis, who has become a hero to the environmental movement and has used his moral authority and enormous popularity to focus world attention on climate change and its effects on the poor. "I believe fundamentally in the notion of giving our private sector friends an opportunity to come along peacefully. And if that's not going to work, to put strong mandates and clear mandates on. And I believe, but the way, that that has tremendous public support." de Blasio said. Nearly three quarters of New York City's greenhouse gas emissions come from energy used to heat, cool, and power buildings, making building retrofits a central component of any plan to dramatically reduce emissions.
Power

Your Body, the Battery: Powering Gadgets From Human "Biofuel" 67 67

An anonymous reader writes: This article takes a look at the future of electronic devices powered by the human body. From the electric voltage in mammal ears called the endocochlear potential, to body heat, and muscle motion, there are a number of exciting new areas of energy research being explored. Ars reports: "Staying alive guzzles energy. In order to keep us ticking, our bodies need to burn between 2,000 and 2,500 calories per day, which is conveniently enough to power a modestly used smart phone. So if just a fraction of that energy could be siphoned, our bodies could in theory be used to run any number of electronic devices, from medical implants to electronic contact lenses—all without a battery in sight. Recently, researchers have taken important strides toward unlocking this electric potential."
Space

Company Aims To Launch Spacecraft On Beams of Microwaves 120 120

MarkWhittington writes: The quest for cheap access to space, to make space travel as inexpensive as air travel, has eluded engineers, government policy makers, and business entrepreneurs from before the beginning of the space age. It has become axiomatic, almost to the point of being a cliché, that the true space age will not begin until launch costs come down significantly. Forbes reported about a company called Escape Dynamics that has a unique approach to the problem. The company proposes to launch payloads into low Earth orbit on beams of microwaves.
United Kingdom

UK Pilots Want Lithium Battery Powered Devices In the Cabin 69 69

AmiMoJo writes: The professional association and trade union of UK pilots The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), has asked airlines to require travelers to carry devices that run on lithium-based batteries with them in the passenger cabin instead of in checked luggage. The union hoping to address what it considers a significant potential safety risk, baggage fires going unnoticed in the hold. BALPA explains, "when they short circuit, [they] have a tendency to burst into high intensity fires, which are difficult to extinguish." They further point out, "lithium battery fires have caused at least three cargo aircraft crashes and the UN safety regulator has banned a specific type of lithium battery (lithium metal) from being carried as cargo on passenger aircraft."
Supercomputing

Ask Slashdot: Best Bang-for-the-Buck HPC Solution? 150 150

An anonymous reader writes: We are looking into procuring a FEA/CFD machine for our small company. While I know workstations well, the multi-socket rack cluster solutions are foreign to me. On one end of the spectrum, there are companies like HP and Cray that offer impressive setups for millions of dollars (out of our league). On the other end, there are quad-socket mobos from Supermicro and Intel, for 8-18 core CPUs that cost thousands of dollars apiece.

Where do we go from here? Is it even reasonable to order $50k worth of components and put together our own high-performance, reasonably-priced blade cluster? Or is this folly, best left to experts? Who are these experts if we need them?

And what is the better choice here? 16-core Opterons at 2.6 GHz, 8-core Xeons at 3.4 GHz? Are power and thermals limiting factors here? (A full rack cupboard would consume something like 25 kW, it seems?) There seems to be precious little straightforward information about this on the net.
Operating Systems

Haiku OS Will Get New Service Manager 93 93

jones_supa writes: Axel Dörfler writes in his blog that he is working on a replacement for Haiku OS's current shell script based boot process. It would be replaced with something more flexible, a solution similar to OS X's launchd and Linux's systemd. While there is still a lot to do, the new project called launch_daemon is now feature complete in terms of being able to completely reproduce the current boot process. Since the switch to their package manager, there was no longer a way to influence the boot process at all. The only file you could change was the UserBootscript which is started only after Tracker and Deskbar — the whole system is already up at this point. The new service manager gives the power back to you, and also allows arbitrary software to be launched on startup. Alternatively, you can prevent system components from being started at all if you so wish. Furthermore, it allows for event based application start, start on demand, a multi-threaded boot process, and even enables you to talk to servers before they actually started.
Upgrades

"Ludicrous Speed" For Tesla's Model S Means 0-60 MPH In 2.8 Seconds 171 171

Automobile Magazine, writes reader Eloking, reports that the highest-end of the Tesla line has just gotten a boost upward, thanks to a new "Ludicrous Speed" mode: In combination with a newly optional 90-kWh battery pack, this new mode brings 0-60 mph acceleration down to 2.8 seconds (from a quoted 3.2 seconds for the P85D model). This larger battery pack is offered as an upgrade from the existing 85-kWh model, creating new 90, 90D, and P90D models. It doesn't come cheap, though: this isn't just a firmware update to download. For P90D owners, the upgrade costs $10,000 (including the larger battery); P85Ds can be upgraded for half that price.