Archive | June, 2013

A battery made of wood: long-lasting, efficient, environmentally friendly

Wood fibers can withstand the swelling and shrinking in charging/discharging batteries (credit: University of Maryland) University of Maryland researchers have developed and tested a battery with anodes made of tin-coated wood that are a thousand times thinner than a piece of paper. Using sodium instead of lithium (which is used in many rechargeable batteries) makes the battery environmentally […]

New step towards silicon-based quantum computer

(Credit: University of New South Wales) Researchers at the University of New South Wales have proposed a new way to distinguish between quantum bits that are placed only a few nanometers apart in a silicon chip, taking them a step closer to the construction of a large-scale quantum computer. Quantum bits, or qubits, are the basic building blocks of […]

Fear of thinking war machines may push US to exascale

Tianhe 2 (credit: National University of Defense Technology, China) China’s retaking of the global supercomputing crown was discussed at a congressional forum this week on cognitive computing, Computerworld reports. Unlike China and Europe, the U.S. has yet to adopt and fund an exascale development program. Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), who talked about China’s new 33.89-petaflop system, Tianhe-2, is finalizing a […]

Edward Snowden: NSA whistleblower answers reader questions

Edward Snowden took readers’ questions on why he revealed the NSA’s top-secret surveillance of U.S. citizens, the international storm that has ensued, and the uncertain future he now faces, The Guardian reports. [A few  excerpts — Editor.] Q: Some skepticism exists about certain of your claims, including this: “I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities […]

UltraRope could make kilometer-high elevators possible

(Credit: Kone) With a new lightweight material known as UltraRope, however, elevators should now be able to travel up to one kilometer (3,281 ft) continuously, Gizmag reports. Using traditional steel lifting cables, they can’t go farther than 500 meters (1,640 ft) in one vertical run. UltraRope from Finnish elevator manufacturer Kone, unveiled this Monday in London, is ribbon- or […]

Google calls for greater transparency and challenges surveillance gag order

Google has called on the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Tuesday to relax its gag order on tech companies targeted in U.S. security investigations, The Guardian reports. The legal filing cites the first amendment’s guarantee of free speech and follows on from a letter to attorney general Eric Holder asking for permission to disclose the number of requests Google […]

NASA announces asteroid grand challenge

Asteroid (credit: NEAR Project, NLR, JHUAPL, Goddard SVS, NASA/Wikimedia Commons) NASA announced Tuesday a Grand Challenge focused on finding all asteroid threats to human populations and knowing what to do about them. The challenge is a large-scale effort that will use multi-disciplinary collaborations and a variety of partnerships with other government agencies, international partners, industry, academia, and citizen scientists. […]

European neuroscience projects to benefit from hybrid supercomputer memory

IBM BlueGene/Q (credit: IBM) To handle large amounts of data from detailed brain models used in the Blue Brain Project and the Human Brain Project, IBM Research, EPFL, and ETH Zürich are collaborating on a new hybrid memory strategy for supercomputers. The Blue Brain Project, for example, is building detailed models of the rodent brain based on vast amounts of […]