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Environment

Fjord-cooled data center in Norway claimed to be world's greenest

Upon completion, Norway's Green Mountain Data Center will be the world's greenest server farm - according to its developers, at least. By piping cool water from a nearby fjord into the mountain halls that will house the server racks, its creators hope to eliminate the need for the power-hungry electric chillers that the sadly fjordless majority of the world's data centers require.Read More

Aircraft

Latest HondaJet test aircraft lifts-off

Honda's first ever commercial aircraft, appropriately named the HondaJet, follows in the footsteps of the company's ground-breaking CB750 motorcycle and S600 sports car by aiming to provide superior performance and value - this time in the light business jet market. Continuing an intensive flight test regime to meet U.S. Federal Aviation Authority approval that began one year ago, the latest FAA-conforming test aircraft known as F2 has now begun flight testing out of the company's headquarters at Greensboro's Piedmont Triad International Airport.Read More

Science

New diode promises to uncork optical computing bottleneck

When it comes to speed, photons leave electrons for dead and have a higher bandwidth, which means optical computers will be much faster than their current electron-based cousins. While optical diodes for use in optical information processing systems already exist, these require external assistance to transmit signals so cannot be readily integrated into computer chips. Now researchers at Purdue University have developed a “passive optical diode” that not only doesn’t require any outside help to transmit signals, but is also so small that millions would fit on a computer chip, potentially leading to faster, more powerful information processing and supercomputers.Read More

Electronics

How to root the Nook Tablet

The Nook Tablet from Barnes and Noble offers meatier specs than Amazon's Kindle Fire for half the price of an iPad, but the selection of apps on offer for the e-reader/tablet hybrid is a bit underwhelming. Fortunately, it takes less than 30 minutes to turn a Nook into a fully-functional Honeycomb tablet with access to the Android Market.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Silk microneedles are claimed to better-deliver medication

Microneedles continue to show promise as a replacement – in at least some applications – for the hypodermic needle. Typically, a sheet containing an array of the tiny needles is adhered to the patient’s skin, like a bandage. The microneedles painlessly pierce the top layer of skin, then gradually deliver the medication within them by harmlessly dissolving into the patient’s bloodstream. As an added bonus, once everything is complete, there are no bio-hazardous used needles to dispose of. Now, bioengineers from Massachusetts’ Tufts University have developed what they claim is an even better type of microneedle, which is made from silk.Read More

Good Thinking

Pudding vending machine tells kids to scram

Let's say you had a sweet dessert that you wanted to market specifically to adults. Now to spice things up, let's say you're also a Scooby Doo villain and can't stop wringing your hands over all the "meddling kids" who are going to ruin your campaign trying to steal delicious treats from your intended audience. Well, what can you do about it? Make a vending machine that detects the age of its users and tells any approaching children to get lost? Apparently yes, as Kraft Foods has introduced a new machine that scans a person's face to determine their age and dispenses free samples of their Jell-O Temptations dessert only to adults. Read More

Medical

New handheld devices designed to detect brain injuries on-the-spot

It's sadly ironic that the very properties which make our skulls such excellent brain protectors, strength and rigidity, often work against us after head injuries. Not only does the hard bone conceal damage from concussions and bleeding, say, but it also confines the swelling, causing intra-cranial pressure to surge, a situation that can lead to further brain damage. While CT scans and magnetic resonance imaging systems are crucial to an accurate assessment, they are rarely available to emergency medical personnel at remote accident sites or on the battlefield. To help address the need for rapid and timely diagnosis of head traumas, separate research teams at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) have each developed hand-held devices that use Near Infra-Red (NIR) imaging to quickly detect hematomas (internal bleeding) and other life-threatening traumatic brain injury (TBI).Read More

Music

Music creation at the touch of a button with Tabstrummer

Electronics enthusiast Miroslaw Sowa and programmer Vsevolod Zagainov - both from Montreal, Canada - are currently busy putting the final touches on a new button-based, guitar-shaped sound machine called the Tabstrummer. In the same way that tablature notation has allowed players like me (who are unable to read score) to learn new songs, this new MIDI instrument allows folks who'd like to play a guitar, but for whatever reason can't, the opportunity to easily create some chord-strumming music. The instrument allows chord shapes to be assigned to clicky buttons on the short neck, which can then be recalled and played as a song by simultaneously strumming or picking the virtual strings.Read More

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