The well-publicized failures of cold fusion may have tainted the field's reputation, but physicists have been successfully joining nuclei with hot fusion since 1932. Today, research in hot fusion could lead to a clean energy source free from the drawbacks that dog fission power plants. Fusion power plants cannot melt down; they won't produce long-lived, highly radioactive waste; and fusion fuel cannot be easily weaponized.
A recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) made headlines when it revealed that the biggest energy drain in your house likely isn't the fridge, air conditioner, or heater--it is, unbelievably, the TV set-top box. These ridiculously energy-inefficient boxes, typically provided by your cable company, have received little scrutiny until now, which means the cable companies have had little reason to embrace readily available methods to decrease their energy use. We've put together a list of the best and worst existing set-top boxes, so you can at least know what you're getting.
This week’s big cyber news comes packing quite a headline: More than four million PCs have been infected by a malicious program known as TDL-4, a botnet that is so sneaky, so evasive, so hard to detect and disinfect that it is “practically indestructible.” That quote comes courtesy of security researchers Sergey Golovanov and Igor Soumenkov of Kaspersky Labs, a cyber security firm and maker of anti-virus software. It’s a scary thought: a botnet so sophisticated that it can’t be detected and dismantled. But is it true?
The military and defense contractors can learn a lot from the wisdom of the masses, and American fighting forces could be better equipped and better protected if higher-ups would embrace the DIY ethos of ingenuity and agility. At least that’s how Jay Rogers, founder of an automotive firm that just built a military concept vehicle from crowdsourced plans, sees things.
Internet IDs will be ineffective, risky, and won't address the root of our real problems with online security
By Bryan GardinerPosted 06.28.2011 at 11:00 am 22 Comments
They go by many names—trusted identities, ID ecosystems, Internet driver's licenses—but the basic idea is always the same: Create a single online credential system that somehow increases accountability, combats fraud and identity theft, and helps deter cybercrime. Over the years we've seen many of these schemes trotted out in the private sector only to fail time and again. And for good reason. These plans are not only impractical, they also ignore history, confuse the primary threats we face online, and, worst of all, have the potential to do infinitely more harm than good.
It'll save us money and provide secure (yet optional) ways to do our online banking, healthcare, and taxes
By Becky FerreiraPosted 06.28.2011 at 11:00 am 12 Comments
Has a friend ever called you to say, "Hey, unless you are genuinely trying to sell me property in the Dominican Republic, your email is hacked"? Or received a call from your bank asking if you truly meant to donate $7,000 to some pasty kid in Ohio claiming to be a Nigerian prince? Internet security is broken, and we need to roll up our cyber-sleeves and fix it. That's why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced this new proposal on April 15, designed to fight the steady increase in online crime. Entitled the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, or NSTIC, it outlines the beginnings of an "identity ecosystem" to be created jointly by the private and public sector to spur more innovative and effective online authentication methods. Even if you're not as immediately and easily swayed by snazzy, futuristic phrases like "identity ecosystem" as I am (and oh, how I am) there are still lots of other reasons to support increased Internet security.
In the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster in March, the appetite for new nuclear power plants slipped to post-Chernobyl lows. Regulators from Italy to Switzerland to Texas moved to stop pending nuclear-power projects, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) began to reevaluate the safety of all domestic plants. Yet nuclear power still provides 20 percent of America's total electric power and 70 percent of its emissions-free energy, in large part because no alternative energy source can match its efficiency.
One nuclear plant with a footprint of one square mile provides the energy equivalent of 20 square miles of solar panels, 1,200 windmills or the entire Hoover Dam. If the country wants to significantly reduce its dependence on carbon-based energy, it will need to build more nuclear power plants. The question is how to do so safely.
Science fiction is where the future happens first, and that puts futurist Syd Mead at least two steps ahead of the rest of us. The 78-year-old conceptual artist may be best known for designing the flying-cop-car-patrolled Los Angeles streetscapes in Blade Runner, but he also dreamed up the original light cycles in Tron, the Marine-transport starship in Aliens, and visions of a class-stratified, off-Earth world for Neill Blomkamp's highly anticipated March 2013 feature Elysium. Here, Mead makes predictions for what we might one day see in film, in real life, or both.
Del Toro begins his creature creation with "the National Geographic approach"
By Steve DalyPosted 06.14.2011 at 10:02 am 3 Comments
Consider the plant monster from Hellboy II or the eyeless creep in Pan’s Labyrinth: Director Guillermo del Toro has a genius for putting bizarre beings on screen. But no matter how grotesque the vision, he always begins his creations with what he calls “the National Geographic approach.” Start with a nightmarish idea, and then look to nature for details. “You want to make the creatures outlandish enough that they’ll thrill the imagination,” he says, “but recognizable enough that they feel real.”
A machine that uses exhaust heat to treat onboard sewage
By Bjorn CareyPosted 06.10.2011 at 11:30 am 14 Comments
When Namon Nassef had to buy a new engine for his boat, he saw an opportunity. He could finally install the invention he had been working on, a machine he calls the Zero Liquid Discharge Sewage Elimination System (ZLD). The device uses engine heat to oxidize and evaporate toilet, shower and galley waste.