Tech Today w/ Ken May

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An anonymous reader writes: Starting about a week ago, The Great Firewall of China began blocking the Edgecast CDN. This was spurred by Great Fire’s Collateral Freedom project, which used CDNs to get around censorship of individual domains. It left China with either letting go of censorship, or breaking significant chunks of the Internet for their population. China chose to do the latter, and now many websites are no longer functional for Chinese users. I just helped a friend diagnose this problem with his company’s site, so it’s likely many people are still just starting to discover what’s happened and the economic impact is yet to be fully realized. Hopefully pressure on China will reverse the decision. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Doubling Saturated Fat In Diet Does Not Increase It In Blood

Posted by kenmay on November - 23 - 2014

An anonymous reader writes: A new study by researchers at Ohio State University found that dramatically increasing the amount of saturated fat in a person’s diet did not increase the amount of saturated fat found in their blood. Professor Jeff Volek, the study’s senior author, said it “challenges the conventional wisdom that has demonized saturated fat and extends our knowledge of why dietary saturated fat doesn’t correlate with disease.” The study also showed that increasing carbohydrates in the diet led to an increase in a particular fatty acid previous studies have linked to heart disease. Volek continued, “People believe ‘you are what you eat, ‘ but in reality, you are what you save from what you eat. The point is you don’t necessarily save the saturated fat that you eat. And the primary regulator of what you save in terms of fat is the carbohydrate in your diet. Since more than half of Americans show some signs of carb intolerance, it makes more sense to focus on carb restriction than fat restriction.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

jfruh writes:Computing devices have been gobbling up more and more memory, but storage tech has been hitting its limits, creating a bottleneck. Now researchers in Spain and Scotland have reported a breakthrough in working with metal-oxide clusters that can retain their charge. These molecules could serve as the basis for RAM and flash memory that will be leagues smaller than existing components (abstract). Read more of this story at Slashdot.

New battery composed of lots of nanobatteries

Posted by kenmay on November - 23 - 2014

Shalini Saxena We’re increasingly dependent upon our batteries, so finding ways of building ones with enhanced lifetimes would make a lot of people happy. Research on batteries has ranged from trying new materials to changing the configuration of key components. Now, researchers have managed to restructure the materials in a nano-battery, then bundle lots of these individual batteries into a larger device. Batteries rely on two electrodes to create separate currents of electrons and ions, generating electricity. Nanostructured electrodes have useful properties, such as large surface area and short ion transport time, which enables a high storage capacity and enhanced lifetimes—these batteries hold charge longer and can undergo more charge-discharge cycles. 3-D connectivity and organization of nanostructured electrodes could further improve these devices. Previously, researchers had developed 3-D nanostructured batteries by placing two electrodes within a nanopore (made of anodic aluminum oxide) and using ultrathin electrical insulating material to separate them. While this system had improved power and energy density, use of such thin electrical insulators limits charge retention and requires complex circuits to shift current between them—it’s difficult to retain the benefits of the 3-D nano-architecture due to spatial constraints of the material. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

An anonymous reader writes Google [Thursday] 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. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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

Posted by kenmay on November - 23 - 2014

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.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

With the holidays coming up, many of us are meeting relatives from our extended family. When they explain how they’re related, some of the terms are confusing. This chart gives you an easy guide. Read more…

Yoga Pro 3 review: Broadwell is a mixed blessing

Posted by kenmay on November - 23 - 2014

Specs at a glance: Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro SCREEN 3200×1800 at 13.3″ (276 ppi) OS Windows 8.1 64-bit CPU 1.1GHz Intel Core M-5Y70 RAM 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 GPU Intel HD Graphics 5300 HDD 256-512GB SSD NETWORKING Dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 PORTS 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, micro-HDMI, SD card reader, headphone/microphone dual jack SIZE 13 × 9 × 0.5″ WEIGHT 2.62 lbs BATTERY 4-cell 44.8Wh Li-polymer WARRANTY 1 year STARTING PRICE $1299.99 OTHER PERKS 720p Webcam, volume rocker, screen orientation lock button, system back-up button When Lenovo launched its first Yoga laptop, it seemed rather weird. It arrived on a wave of new Windows 8-oriented devices that tried all manner of new things to offer the best of the traditional laptop and the tablet experience. The Yoga’s premise was simple: make a hinge that bends all the way around, so you can fold the laptop back on itself to make it into a sort of chunky laptop. It skewed more heavily towards laptop usage than tablet usage—there are no compromises when using it as a laptop, unlike, for example, Microsoft’s Surface Pro range—but still offered that flexibility for those who wanted it. Although designed to let the device transform into a tablet, it is perhaps the other positions that have been the real winners with the Yoga’s hinge: what Lenovo calls “tent mode,” where the keyboard is folded most of the way back to prop the screen up, is excellent when watching movies in planes and similar cramped situations, as it drastically shrinks the footprint of the device. This flexibility made the Yoga design one of the big winners. Read 22 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Extreme Shrimp May Hold Clues To Alien Life On Europa

Posted by kenmay on November - 23 - 2014 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. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

It’s been over a year-and-a-half since documents leaked by Edward Snowden shook our sense of privacy to the core . Those documents proved that government is spying on us pretty much all the time. And now that we know Congress isn’t going to do anything about it right away, it’s time to find the tools to protect yourself. Detekt is a good one . Read more…