Interesting Reading #695 - Nanogenerators eliminate batteries, Lamborghini Aventador, Robot marathon, Google streaming, Bedbug attack and much more!

by | Feb 28, 2011 09:32 PM ET

AMD to break new ground with 32nm Bulldozer design - "We've described Bulldozer earlier as a "1.5-core" design, and that's still true. The core represents a kind of extreme approach to simultaneous multithreading, where instead of just replicating some of the instruction flow parts of the machine, AMD has also replicated the entire integer unit execution block. In one of the papers, AMD gave fresh details about the design of this integer block, and specifically about the out-of-order window...."

Verizon iPhone 4: Mind the gap, our tests show - "The Verizon iPhone 4 has a problem that could cause the phone to drop calls, or be unable to place calls, in weak signal conditions, Consumer Reports engineers have found in lab tests...."

Nanogenerators to Enable Battery-Free Handhelds - "# Forget super-sizing. Nano-sizing is the future of energy harvesters, according to researchers who claim to have mathematical proof that battery-free electronic devices can be powered by mechanical energy from vehicle vibrations to body movements...."

'Atomtronics' may be the new 'electronics' - "Forget about wires, silicon and electricity. Physicists have developed a new type of circuit that is little more than a puff of gas dancing in laser beams. By choreographing the atoms of this ultracold gas to flow as a current that can be controlled and switched on and off, the scientists have taken a step toward building the world's first “atomtronic” device...."

SeaMicro drops another Atom bomb on the server market - "Back in June, server startup SeaMicro dropped its Atom bomb on the server market, launching an extremely energy-efficient server using Intel's Atom microprocessors. That enabled SeaMicro to get customers who delivered web pages to tens of millions of internet users across four continents. Now SeaMicro is dropping another Atom bomb. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company is announcing a second generation of servers today that use a new 64-bit Atom microprocessor from Intel, improving the amount of computing power that SeaMicro's servers can use per watt of power consumed...."

World's First Robot Marathon Ends With Great Finale - "The 42.195-kilometer race (the length of a real marathon) took place in Osaka, and a little humanoid robot called Robovie-PC was the big champion. It crossed the finish line on Saturday, after a grueling 54 hours, 57 minutes and 50.26 seconds -- more than two days running non-stop on the track. Only 1.73 seconds later, another contestant, Robovie-PC Lite, completed the race. The robot naming isn't a coincidence: The two robots were the submissions of Vstone robotics company, which organized the event with the city of Osaka...."

$99 iPad rival NoteSlate: Not quite real, not quite fake - "There is no working prototype. No video. No proof that it exists. Yet NoteSlate -- a digital drawing pad, or at least the idea of one -- is burning a hole in the blogosphere. A few weeks ago, descriptions and mockups appeared online at Since then, hundreds of technology news and gossip sites around the globe have written about it in at least half a dozen languages, heralding the imminent arrival of a $99 e-ink digital tablet that mimics the simplicity of old-fashioned pen and paper...."

Google Rumored To Have YouTube-Based Movie Streaming Service On Deck - "If it's not Apple, it's Google clogging up the rumor mill pipeline. Recently, the search giant has been at the center of rumors that they could be launching a new music service to compete with iTunes, and now, The New York Post is reporting that Google may be considering the opening of a YouTube subscription-based movie service in the UK. The site is being pretty quiet about how they received this information, but they certainly seem sure of it. And honestly, it's not that hard to believe. Google's been looking to branch out and compete in burgeoning tech areas for some time, as evidenced by the advent of Google TV and Android...."

Samsung Galaxy S WiFi 5.0 hands-on - "All eyes were on Samsung's larger Galaxy Tab 10.1 at MWC 2011, but if you judge a Dell Streak 5 a tablet by virtue of its 5-inch display, then the Samsung Galaxy S WiFi 5.0 has to be considered one as well. The 5-inch PMP looks like an oversized Galaxy S – unsurprising, since Samsung considers it a varient with 3G missing – with a WVGA display, 720p HD playback and a pair of cameras for video chat and photography...."

Producing Clean Water in an Emergency - "Disasters such as floods, tsunamis, and earthquakes often result in the spread of diseases like gastroenteritis, giardiasis and even cholera because of an immediate shortage of clean drinking water. Now, chemistry researchers at McGill University have taken a key step towards making a cheap, portable, paper-based filter coated with silver nanoparticles to be used in these emergency settings...." See also: Silver filter

Facebook Like Button Takes Over Share Button Functionality - "After months of updates to its Like button, Facebook has released an update that fundamentally changes the button's functionality to that of a Share button. Now after hitting the Like button, a full story with a headline, blurb and thumbnail will be posted to your profile wall. You'll also be given an option to comment on the story link. Previously, only a link to the story would appear in the recent activity, often going unnoticed by users...." See also: Why the Facebook Like Button Change is a 'Bait and Switch'

How Social Media Is Pushing the Limits of Legal Ethics - "That some people simply cannot keep their social media usage to an acceptable level is no secret. Only unlike a student spending the entirety of Biology 101 updating her Facebook page or an NBA player tweeting from the locker room, this type of behavior can have real consequences when the user in question is sitting in a courtroom. The legal community has taken notice, and this week the American Bar Association held an entire event dedicated to the cause, complete with a keynote from former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. However, although the legal community has caught on to the fact that its very traditional profession isn't immune to the effects of social media, it's far from having figured out the far-reaching effects that social media might have, much less having found many workable solutions...."

Eliminating the Laptop Charging Brick - "A startup called Transphorm has announced a technology that could eliminate the bulky charging bricks that come with laptops and other devices. It could also make data centers and electric cars more efficient...."

Did Google Pre-Emptively Block a 4G iPhone on Verizon? - "In 2008, after much protest, Verizon accepted openness conditions attached to valuable spectrum being auctioned off by the FCC, and spent $4.7 billion to buy nationwide capacity that would ensure it could build a robust 4G network for the next generation of mobile devices...."

The Next IPad: Software Changes We'd Like to See - "You've already heard about the hardware changes we'd like to see in a new version of the iPad, if Apple unveils a new tablet at its special event Wednesday, as is widely expected. But what would new Apple hardware be without software changes also thrown into the mix?"

Beware: Bedbugs Are Now in the Schools - "As if our nation's schools need yet another problem to deal with, here comes the drama of bedbug infestations. Yes, the nightmarish little pests are showing up in schools at such great rates that at the Environmental Protection Agency's second National Bedbug Summit, there was a presentation about what policies schools should have when an infestation happens...."

JPMorgan fund eyes 10% stake in Twitter - "A JPMorgan fund is in talks to acquire a substantial stake in Twitter, one of the fastest-growing social networking sites. The fund hopes to acquire 10 per cent of the online messaging service for $450m, valuing Twitter at $4.5bn, according to people familiar with the plans...." See also: A return to Stupidland: Ten years after the dotcom boom

The Mere Existence of Whales - "Blue whales can weigh over a thousand times more than a human being. That's a lot of extra cells, and as those cells grow and divide, there's a small chance that each one will mutate. A mutation can be harmless, or it can be the first step towards cancer. As the descendants of a precancerous cell continue to divide, they run a risk of taking a further step towards a full-blown tumor. To some extent, cancer is a lottery, and a 100-foot blue whale has a lot more tickets than we do...."

YouTube urged to delete radical cleric's sermons - "Sermons from Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical cleric said to be linked to multiple terrorist plots against Britain and the United States, remain on YouTube despite calls for them to be taken down. The news follows the conviction of Rajib Karim, a former British Airways computer specialist, for terrorism offences after being inspired by Awalki to explore ways of staging al-Qaida style attacks..."

Facebook friends take on new meaning as hookers are said to be flocking to social networking site - "In 2008, Facebook accounted for 25% of the regular clients served by the women Venkatesh followed. Top NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the findings aren't too surprising. "Everybody is using the Internet," he said...."

How teacher development could revolutionize our schools - "Over the past four decades, the per-student cost of running our K-12 schools has more than doubled, while our student achievement has remained virtually flat. Meanwhile, other countries have raced ahead. The same pattern holds for higher education. Spending has climbed, but our percentage of college graduates has dropped compared with other countries. ..."

Charles Ferguson's Oscar Speech Rips Wall Street: 'Inside Job' Director Levels Criticism During Acceptance - ""Inside Job" director Charles Ferguson subjected Wall Street players, economists and bureaucrats to a fierce cross-examination to depict the economic crisis as a colossal crime perpetrated on the working-class masses by a greedy few...."

Lord British wants to take you to space, and he's closer than you think - "It is very easy to fall asleep in space. When you're at your desk at home and you've been working for hours and you nod off, your chin bumps your chest and you wake up with a start. In space, your head doesn't fall—you simply fade into sleep, and then if you're unattached you begin to float away. This is the sort of thing you hear when you speak with Richard Garriott, a man you may know better as Lord British. He made millions of dollars creating and selling video games, and then spent most of that money trying to get into space...."

The Future of the Connected Car - "Most of us who watched Knight Rider as a kid expected that by 2011 we would be driving sleek, self-aware cars like KITT — cars that would take us seamlessly from A to B while cracking witty one-liners. Though that future has not yet come to pass, things are starting to get exciting in the in-car technology space. Connected cars are hitting the consumer market in a price bracket that makes them a realistic option for many. One prediction sees “near saturation” in the U.S. market in as little as four years' time...."

The Book Surgeon (15 pieces)

The 2010 "income statement" of the United States

It's the Inequality, Stupid


Protests over state budget cuts, anti-union bills spread throughout U.S.

Judge Jim Gray on The Six Groups That Benefit From Drug Prohibition - "In 1992, Jim Gray, a conservative judge in conservative Orange County, California, held a press conference during which he recommended that we rethink our drug laws. Back then, it took a great deal of courage to suggest that the war on drugs was a failed policy...."

Toxic Contamination From Natural Gas Wells - "The New York Times collected data from more than 200 natural gas wells in Pennsylvania. Many of them are tapping into the Marcellus Shale, a vast underground rock formation. But a method being used to stimulate wells, called hydraulic fracturing, produces wastewater containing corrosive salts and radioactive and carcinogenic materials. In Pennsylvania, this wastewater has been sent through sewage treatment plants that cannot remove some of the contaminants before the water is discharged into rivers and streams that provide drinking water. The Times was able to map 149 of the wells. ..." See also: Gas industry attempted to block 'Gasland' from Oscars

Mass. company making diesel with sun, water, CO2 - "A Massachusetts biotechnology company says it can produce the fuel that runs Jaguars and jet engines using the same ingredients that make grass grow. Joule Unlimited has invented a genetically-engineered organism that it says simply secretes diesel fuel or ethanol wherever it finds sunlight, water and carbon dioxide...."

Amazon confirms the terms of its declaration of war on Netflix - "Amazon has finally confirmed what was Hollywood‘s worst kept secret: that its Amazon Prime customers will be able to get some online video for free, just like the DVD rental customers of Netflix can get online video for free...."

Do you own the gadgets you buy? - "Spending £10,000 on a car means you own it and can modify it as you wish so why - after spending £250 on a games console or £350 on a new smartphone - can you not do anything you want with it? "This is war" declared hacker and blogger George Hotz, better known as "Geohot" when Sony won a legal ruling designed to prevent PlayStation 3 (PS3) users opening up and adapting their consoles for additional uses with some of Hotz's computer code...."

2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4: In Depth - ""Aventador" was, according to the best detective work we can muster, a bull whose career peaked in 1993 in the town of Saragozza, Spain, when he and the torero had a particularly spirited encounter prior to ol' Aventador's inevitable skewering. This particular beastie belonged to the breeding stables of the sons of Don Celestino Cuadri Vides and, for unknown reasons surely banal, he bore the number 32 singed on his hide. And now he gets the strongest Lamborghini ever built named after him. And about damned time! The British were getting tired of mispronouncing "Murcièlago" over the past ten years and now they have a new proper name to mutilate...."

[[[Interesting Reading #694 – Free Kindles, 3.5GHz Bulldozers, Shuttle from airplane, Censoring adultery and much more!]]]

If you would like to follow Brainstuff on Twitter or Facebook, here are the links:

More To Explore