Graphene as a Limitless Power Generator

Graphene has long been heralded as an amazing new material that can change entire industries and revolutionize the economy. Notably this has yet to happen. Yet.

At the University of Arkansas a team of physicists found a way to use graphene to generate limitless power based on the movement of atoms. Since a graphene layer is only one atom thick the thermal changes from the Earth can move the atoms ever so slightly, so as long as the Earth generates heat this graphene sheet made the team can generate minuscule amounts of energy.

We’re finally getting to see some cool theories about graphene get turned into real applications.

The team used a relatively new field of physics to prove the diodes increased the circuit’s power. “In proving this power enhancement, we drew from the emergent field of stochastic thermodynamics and extended the nearly century-old, celebrated theory of Nyquist,” said coauthor Pradeep Kumar, associate professor of physics and coauthor.

According to Kumar, the graphene and circuit share a symbiotic relationship. Though the thermal environment is performing work on the load resistor, the graphene and circuit are at the same temperature and heat does not flow between the two.

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Submerged Servers Are More Efficient Than Landlubber Servers

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A few years ago Microsoft decided to sink a data centre and see how well it performs. The short answer is: well, the underwater server farm did just fine. This is significant because it proves that underwater data centres are feasible and, to Microsoft’s surprise can be more reliable.

Data centres take a lot of energy to keep cool so by putting it in the water the cooling system uses the chilly waters surrounding it. The carbon footprint of these underwater systems is potentially smaller too since instead of running massive air conditioners (which consume a lot of energy) they are using their local environment.

Their first conclusion is that the cylinder packed with servers had a lower failure rate than a conventional data centre.
When the container was hauled off the seabed around half a mile offshore after being placed there in May 2018, just eight out of the 855 servers on board had failed.
That compares very well with a conventional data centre.
“Our failure rate in the water is one-eighth of what we see on land,” says Ben Cutler, who has led what Microsoft calls Project Natick.

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USA Court Rules NSA Spying Illegal

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Edward Snowden risked his life and freedom to bring to the world’s attention that the American government illegal (and unethically) spies on innocent people everywhere on the planet. Many Americans called Snowden a traitor and a liar. Now, the courts in his home country agree with Snowden: the wiretapping by the National Security Agency (NSA) was indeed illegal. Hopefully the American government will stop spying on innocent people, and with his vindication hopefully others will be inspired to speak truth to power like Snowden did.

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said that the program, under which the NSA collected and analyzed bulk data provided by telecommunications companies, was in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and could have been unconstitutional.

“Seven years ago, as the news declared I was being charged as a criminal for speaking the truth, I never imagined that I would live to see our courts condemn the NSA’s activities as unlawful and in the same ruling credit me for exposing them,” said Snowden, who fled to Russia after exposing the program, on Twitter. “And yet that day has arrived.”

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Mozilla Launches an Incubator to Fix the Internet

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Due to increased consolidation of influential websites on the internet (like Google and Facebook scrapping content from other sites) the quality of the web has arguably decreased. To stymie this corporatization of the internet, the makers of Firefox, Mozilla, have decided to launch a fund to create companies that make the internet a better place. This is sorely needed in a time of media concentration and influence.

“The mission of this incubator is to catalyze a new generation of internet products and services where the people are in control of how the internet is used to shape society,” said Bart Decrem, a Mozilla veteran (think Firefox 1.0) and one of the principals at the Builders Studio. “And where business models should be sustainable and valuable, but do not need to squeeze every last dollar (or ounce of attention) from the user.”

“We think we are tapping into the energy in the student and professional ‘builder communities’ around wanting to work on ideas that matter. That clarion call really resonates,” he said. Not only that, but students with canceled internships are showing up in droves, it seems — mostly computer science, but design and other disciplines as well. There are no restrictions on applicants, like country of origin, previous funding, or anything like that.

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Fashionable Solutions to Thwart Invasive Surveillance

What you wear can impinge the ability of people to look at you. That’s been true for centuries, but today your fashion choices can actually make it harder for governments or private entities to track you throughout the day. The mass surveillance in our current society should concern you as it erodes our freedoms. One fashion designer has had enough of her liberties being attacked that the designed some flashy gear to obfuscate who you are. The clothing designed by Kate Rose confuses algorithms to think that you are something you are not, for example by wearing certain patterns a computer may think you are a car.

Use of patterning and adversarial input techniques are on the rise as computer vision analysis of everything from our faces to our license plates becomes ubiquitous for everything from marketing to state surveillance. This talk will be a highly tactical guide to give an overview of the work in the area of confounding or intentionally triggering computer vision systems with fashion. This presentation will show you the same open source guides, libraries, and resources to build your own adversarial clothing, via the process used to develop ALPR-triggering fabrics. This talk will review not only the technical and aesthetic considerations, but also getting over the manufacturing hurdle from design to prototype so you can quickly deploy your fashion hacks to the people

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