schwit1 sends this news from Businesweek: “After 2,000 years, a long-lost secret behind the creation of one of the world’s most durable man-made creations ever — Roman concrete — has finally been discovered by an international team of scientists, and it may have a significant impact on how we build cities of the future. Researchers have analyzed 11 harbors in the Mediterranean basin where, in many cases, 2,000-year-old (and sometimes older) headwaters constructed out of Roman concrete stand perfectly intact despite constant pounding by the sea. The most common blend of modern concrete, known as Portland cement, a formulation in use for nearly 200 years, can’t come close to matching that track record. In seawater, it has a service life of less than 50 years. After that, it begins to erode. The secret to Roman concrete lies in its unique mineral formulation and production technique. As the researchers explain in a press release outlining their findings, ‘The Romans made concrete by mixing lime and volcanic rock. For underwater structures, lime and volcanic ash were mixed to form mortar, and this mortar and volcanic tuff were packed into wooden forms. The seawater instantly triggered a hot chemical reaction. The lime was hydrated — incorporating water molecules into its structure — and reacted with the ash to cement the whole mixture together.’” Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Zothecula writes “Polish architectural and deep-sea engineering company Deep Ocean Technology has inked a deal with Ridgewood Hotels and Suites Pvt. Ltd. to build its futuristic part-underwater Water Discus Hotel just off the shore of Kuredhivaru Island in the Maldives. ‘The luminous hotel features two large disc-shaped lounges seven-meters above the water, housing a luxury restaurant and spa. The lounges are connected to a glass tunnel plunging 30-meters below the water, leading to 21 opulent bedrooms. Not only does the hotel look like a spaceship — it actually moves like one, with the largest underwater saucer-shaped room able to slide to the surface in emergencies. ‘If you need to replace a window for example, it’s very difficult underwater,’ explained Podwojewski. ‘So we wanted to build a building that can surface any time for maintenance or safety.’” Read more of this story at Slashdot.
An anonymous reader writes “Google and Israeli start-up Waze have agreed in principle on a deal in which the search engine giant will buy the road traffic information sharing application for $1.3 billion. Waze, which claims more than 40 million users, describes itself as an app bringing together ‘the world’s largest community of drivers who work together to fight traffic, and save time and gas money on their daily commute.’ There have been previous reports that first Apple and then Facebook wanted to acquire the Israeli start-up.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.
An anonymous reader writes “Sony claims that both the new 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch models of its Haswell-equipped Vaio Pro ultrabooks are the world’s lightest. The 11.6-inch model weighs in at 1.9lb (0.87k , where as the 13.3-incher is a little heavier at just 2.33lb (1.06kg). But it’s the battery life on offer here that really makes the new Pros stand out. The 11.6-inch Vaio Pro offers 11 hours of battery life as standard, while the 13.3-inch achieves 8 hours. However, Sony is also offering a sheet battery you can connect to the base of the ultrabooks. On the 13.3-inch Pro that increases battery life to 18 hours, but on the 11.6-inch you get a true day-long amount of juice with 25 hours of battery life claimed.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Etherwalk writes “Huang Chengqing, China’s top internet security official, alleged that cyberattacks on China from people in the U.S. are as serious as those from China on the U.S. ‘We have mountains of data, if we wanted to accuse the U.S., but it’s not helpful in solving the problem.’ Huang, however, does not necessarily attribute them to the U.S. government just because they came from U.S. soil, and he thinks Washington should extend the same courtesy. ‘They advocated cases that they never let us know about. Some cases can be addressed if they had talked to us, why not let us know? It is not a constructive train of thought to solve problems.’ In response to the recent theft of U.S. military designs, he replied with an observation whose obviousness is worthy of Captain Hammer: ‘Even following the general principle of secret-keeping, it should not have been linked to the Internet.’” A few experts think China’s more cooperative attitude has come about precisely because the U.S. government has gone public with hacking allegations. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
mask.of.sanity writes “Vulnerabilities in Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV television sets have been found that allow viewers’ home networks to be hacked, the programs they watched spied on, and even for TV sets to be turned into Bitcoin miners. The laboratory attacks took take advantage of the rich web features enabled in smart TVs running on the HbbTV network, a system loaded with online streaming content and apps which is used by more than 20 million viewers in Europe.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.
dsinc writes “The Transportation Security Administration announced it has finished removing from all airports the X-ray technology that produced graphic and controversial images of passengers passing through security screening checkpoints. The machines, which the TSA first deployed in 2008, provoked public outrage as the technology, better able than traditional X-rays to detect hidden contraband, also created images that appeared as if they were ‘virtual nudes.’ Critics called this an invasion of privacy and questioned whether the scanning devices truly lacked the ability to save the images, as the TSA claimed.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.
phantomfive writes “Some countries are worried about the privacy implications of Google Maps, but Lithuania is using them to find tax cheats. ‘After Google’s car-borne cameras were driven through the Vilnius area last year, the tax men in this small Baltic nation got busy. They have spent months combing through footage looking for unreported taxable wealth. … Two recent cases netted $130,000 in taxes and penalties after investigators found houses photographed by Google that weren’t on official maps. … “We were very impressed,” said Modestas Kaseliauskas, head of the State Tax Authority. “We realized that we could do more with less and in shorter time.”‘ The people of Lithuania don’t seem to mind. ‘Authorities have been aided by the local populace. “We received even more support than we expected,” said Mr. Kaseliauskas.’” Read more of this story at Slashdot.
New submitter Mistakill writes “It seems the case against Kim Dotcom for the NZ Police isn’t going well, with Kim Dotcom scoring another victory in his legal battles. Police have been told they must search everything they seized from Dotcom and hand back what is not relevant to the U.S. extradition claims. Justice Helen Winkelmann told police their complaints about the cost and time of the exercise were effectively their own fault for indiscriminately seizing material in the first place. She wrote, ‘The warrants could not authorize the permanent seizure of hard drives and digital materials against the possibility that they might contain relevant material, with no obligation to check them for relevance. They could not authorize the shipping offshore of those hard drives with no check to see if they contained relevant material. Nor could they authorize keeping the plaintiffs out of their own information, including information irrelevant to the offenses.’” Read more of this story at Slashdot.
kkleiner writes “Planetary Resources, the company that set its sights on mining asteroids, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $1M to crowdsource the world’s first publicly accessible space telescope. In an interview, co-founder and co-chairman Peter Diamandis stated that the ARKYD 100 telescope is a means of ‘extending the optic nerve of humanity.’ The company hopes that the campaign, which is supported by Richard Branson, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Seth Green, will make an orbiting telescope available to the public to help schools and museums in their educational efforts to inspire great enthusiasm in space.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.