yahyamf writes "Applied physicists at Harvard have created an ultrathin, flat lens that focuses light without the distortions of conventional lenses. 'Our flat lens opens up a new type of technology,' says principal investigator Federico Capasso. 'We're presenting a new way of making lenses. Instead of creating phase delays as light propagates through the thickness of the material, you can create an instantaneous phase shift right at the surface of the lens. It's extremely exciting.'" And by "ultrathin," they mean it — 60 nanometers thin. The big advantage for this technology, aimed at telecommunications signals, is that "the flat lens eliminates optical aberrations such as the 'fish-eye' effect that results from conventional wide-angle lenses. Astigmatism and coma aberrations also do not occur with the flat lens, so the resulting image or signal is completely accurate and does not require any complex corrective techniques."
Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.
Diggester writes "Tata Motors (an Indian car manufacturer) is changing things up with the first car to run on air, the Airpod. The Airpod's technology was originally created in France at Motor Development International but has since been bought by Tata in hopes of bringing it to the Indian consumer car market. With virtually zero emissions and at the cost of about a penny per kilometer, it is definitely one of the most environmentally and economically friendly vehicles in the world. The tank holds about 175 liters of compressed air that can be filled at special stations or by activating the on-board electric motor to suck air in from the outside. Costing about $10,000, this car could beat out most smart cars from the market." If flying cars aren't available, sucking cars seem like a nice stop-gap.
mdsolar writes "Arctic sea ice has hit a record low extent for the period of satellite observation. Further, this record has been set in August when the minimum annual sea ice extent (and the prior record) has always come in September. Further still, the ice is still retreating as rapidly as it was in June and July when normally the decrease of sea ice extent slows in August. It is thus possible the the final minimum sea ice extend for 2012 will be seen in October rather than September as has always occurred in the past. More than one monitoring effort agree on the existence of a new record."
An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from a story describing the efforts of a 16-person team called "Group T" competing in the Formula Student 2012 challenge. They've created a car called the "Areion," described as the world's first 3D printed race car. "The Areion is not wholly 3D printed but most of it actually is. It was tested on Hockenheim race circuit and went from zero to 100km/h in just four seconds. Maximum speed Areion achieved on the same circuit was 141km/h." The car features an electric drive train and bio-composite materials, and was created using a printing system called Materialise.
hypnosec writes "TeamGhostShell, a team linked with the infamous group Anonymous, is claiming that they have hacked some major U.S. institutions, including major banking institutions and accounts of politicians, and has posted those details online. The dumps, comprised of millions of accounts, have been let loose on the web by the hacking collective. The motivation behind the hack, the group claims, is to protest against banks, politicians and the hackers who have been captured by law enforcement agencies."
First time accepted submitter ternarybit writes "By 'Linux professional,' I mean anyone in a paid IT position who uses or administers Linux systems on a daily basis. Over the past five years, I've developed an affection for Linux, and use it every day as a freelance IT consultant. I've built a breadth of somewhat intermediate skills, using several distros for everything from everyday desktop use, to building servers from scratch, to performing data recovery. I'm interested in taking my skills to the next level — and making a career out of it — but I'm not sure how best to appeal to prospective employers, or even what to specialize in (I refuse to believe the only option is 'sysadmin,' though I'm certainly not opposed to that). Specifically, I'm interested in what practical steps I can take to build meaningful skills that an employer can verify, and will find valuable. So, what do you do, and how did you get there? How did you conquer the catch-22 of needing experience to get the position that gives you the experience to get the position? Did you get certified, devour books and manpages, apprentice under an expert, some combination of the above, or something else entirely?"
Cory Doctorow has posted the content of his talk delivered at Google this month on what he calls the coming civil war over general purpose computing. He neatly crystallizes the problem with certain types of (widely called-for) regulation of devices and the software they run — and they all run software. The ability to stop a general purpose computer from doing nearly anything (running code without permission from the mothership, or requiring an authorities-only engine kill switch, or preventing a car from speeding away), he says boils down to a demand: "Make me a general-purpose computer that runs all programs except for one program that freaks me out." "But there's a problem. We don't know how to make a computer that can run all the programs we can compile except for whichever one pisses off a regulator, or disrupts a business model, or abets a criminal. The closest approximation we have for such a device is a computer with spyware on it— a computer that, if you do the wrong thing, can intercede and say, 'I can't let you do that, Dave.'"
Rick Zeman writes "Consumer reviews are powerful because, unlike old-style advertising and marketing, they offer the illusion of truth. They purport to be testimonials of real people, even though some are bought and sold just like everything else on the commercial Internet. Yet it is all but impossible to tell when reviews were written by the marketers or retailers (or by the authors themselves under pseudonyms), by customers (who might get a deal from a merchant for giving a good score) or by a hired third-party service. The New York Times tells of the rise and fall of the founder of one such hired third party service who had has been so successful planting paid fake reviews that he no longer trusts any online review. He should know. Because of him and his kind, it's estimated that one third of online reviews are fake."
mikejuk writes "The Shor quantum factoring algorithm has been run for the first time on a solid state device and it successfully factored a composite number. A team from UCSB has managed to build and operate a quantum circuit composed of four superconducting phase qubits. The design creates entangled bits faster than before and the team verified that entanglement was happening using quantum tomography. The final part of the experiment implemented the Shor factoring algorithm using 15 as the value to be factored. In 150,000 runs of the calculation, the chip gave the correct result 48% of the time. As Shor's algorithm is only supposed to give the correct answer 50% of the time, this is a good result but not of practical use."
eldavojohn writes "PJ over at Groklaw has consolidated some of the more interesting juror comments made following the landmark $1 billion settlement. Apparently the foreman (a patent holder himself) took the jury through the process of how patents work and thus allowed them to return so quickly with a verdict without need of any instructions on how to work through all the material. Most sources are incredulous that all of the information was considered in the process. CNET quotes a juror as saying 'After we debated that first patent — what was prior art — because we had a hard time believing there was no prior art, that there wasn't something out there before Apple. In fact we skipped that one so we could go on faster. It was bogging us down.' While the fact that they they voted one way on infringement and another way on invalidity shows they were at least consistent, Groklaw is reporting on some odd inconsistencies in the aftermath of accounts from jurors. The appeal for something this huge goes without question but the accounts collected at Groklaw make this verdict and verdict process sound hasty, ambiguous and probably the result of one man's (the foreman's) personal opinion of patents."
The Oatmeal's call to raise funds for a museum celebrating Nikola Tesla seems to have electrified enough people. From Digital Trends: "The Oatmeal has raised over $1 million on IndieGoGo in an effort to secure Wardenclyffe, the site of Tesla's final laboratory, to build a museum dedicated to Tesla. ... [Oatmeal founder and artist Matthew] Inman’s original goal of $850,000 would buy just half of the cost of the property, but the state of New York has agreed to match contributions, bringing total funds up to $1.7 million. Raising the capital to build a museum from the property will be another cost, but from the looks of it, with 36 days left and having already surpassed the $1 million mark, there should be funds to spare."
Hugh Pickens writes "According to the World Health Organization, nearly one in five childhood deaths worldwide is caused by pneumonia, each year killing an estimated 1.4 million children under the age of 5, more than any other disease. Even in developed countries, trained healthcare professionals have trouble accurately diagnosing pneumonia because diagnosis comes after the onset of symptoms, which often must become severe before the condition is recognized as life threatening. Now Singularity Hub reports on StethoCloud, a cloud-based service that turns a Windows smartphone into a digital stethoscope. Using a specially designed microphone called a 'stethomic' that plugs into the smartphone's audio jack, and an app that guides users through the proper method for listening to a patient's breathing, early testing shows promise at accurately detecting the disease. Currently, the group is working with the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne to develop research protocols for field testing and they've sent the stethomics to hospitals in Ghana, Malaysia, and Mozambique. By next year, the team hopes the device will be in use in areas that need it most. The team expects its stethoscope to cost around $15 to $20, significantly cheaper than current digital stethoscopes in the market which tend to cost hundreds of dollars. The team argues that the cost of the phone itself is negligible, as smartphones are quickly becoming common even in the developing countries where childhood pneumonia is most prevalent."
CowboyRobot writes "Although not as lucrative as video games or movies, Gartner projects the software application development industry will pass the US$9 Billion mark this year. They credit 'evolving software delivery models, new development methodologies, emerging mobile application development, and open source software.' Also in the report is a projection that 'mobile application development projects targeting smartphones and tablets will outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of 4:1 by 2015.'"
New submitter DevotedSkeptic writes "Hubble has produced a crisp image of the Messier 56 Globular Cluster. Messier originally noted that this object was nebula without stars. When he originally viewed the cluster in 1779, telescopes were not powerful enough to see more than a fuzzy ball. The crisp focused view we get from Hubble enables us to easily see the globular cluster and ancient stars contained within. Comparing observations from Hubble with results from the standard theory of stellar evolution, scientists have calculated the age Messier 56 at 13 billion years."
politkal writes with the lead from a CNN story: "A policeman in London appears to have accidentally revealed an arrest plan for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in what UK media have branded an embarrassing slip-up by London's Metropolitan Police. Clearly legible in a zoomed-in view of the clipboard, on a sheet of paper headed 'Restricted,' are the words: 'EQ Embassy brief — Summary of current position re. Assange. Action required — Assange to be arrested under all circumstances.' It goes on to suggest possible ways in which he could exit the building, such as in a diplomatic bag or vehicle."