OCC TECH NEWS
July 3, 2014
When most people look at a flame, they likely do not think about the many chemical processes involved. For those that do consider the mechanics of combustion though, there has been a mystery for some time about how soot and compounds are formed. Researchers at Berkeley Lab and the University of Hawaii though have finally found the first step in the process, which could lead to many interesting and useful discoveries.
Under ideal conditions, combustion should just create carbon dioxide and water vapor. Reality is hardly ideal though, and so we see fumes and particulates, such as soot, created as well. The mechanisms that convert gas-phase molecules into these solid particles have been theorized for some time, but now the researchers have experimental evidence for what happens. One family of theories called HACA (hydrogen abstraction-acetylene addition) involves benzene molecules, which are a ring of six carbon atoms with six hydrogen atoms connected, that lose a hydrogen atom and have a tail of acetylene take its spot. Another acetylene molecule eventually attaches to the first, making the tail long enough to curl around and attach to the original benzene ring. This double-ring molecule, called naphthalene, is what eventually develops into soot and other macro molecules.
To identify the mechanism, the researchers created a combustion environment and let the process start before sending the molecules into a mass spectrometer that identified the naphthalene and benzene with acetylene tail. This supports the version of HACA that has the benzene forming a single tail, instead of multiple.
How this matters is that by better understanding the real-world mechanisms of combustion, it may be possible to develop fuels that burn more closely to ideal, making them more efficient and cleaner. Also these mechanisms have implications for how gases emitted by stars can become the carbon-based matter we find in space.
Source: Berkeley Lab
DEEPCOOL has announced a trio of new all-in-one liquid coolers as part of the Maelstrom series. All of the models use a copper cooling block full of micro channels to help dissipate the heat and are compatible with all models of Intel and AMD processors. The base model is the Maelstrom 120k and uses a 20mm thick 120mm fan to help make it ideal for small cases. The Maelstrom 120 uses a rubber covered PWM fan to help reduce noise and vibration. The Maelstrom 240 uses two of the rubber covered fans. The 120k will have an MSRP of $69.99, the 120 will cost $75.99, and the 240 will cost $105.99.
Source: Press Release
Officially announced in April, Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth will be releasing globally on October 24, 2014 for $49.99. Beyond Earth brings the Civilization franchise to space with elements from Alpha Centauri. While the game is a turn-based strategy game played on a hexagonal grid with a lot of gameplay mechanics that will be instantly recognizable to any Civilization fan, Beyond Earth features a lot of drastic differences: custom civilizations based on pre-game decisions, an asymmetric start, a "technology web", and native life that affect gameplay even into the end game.
Civilization: Beyond Earth is coming exclusively to Windows, though previous entries have Mac and Linux support, so it's likely that'll come in the future. Pre-ordering the game provides the Exoplanets Map Pack at launch, which includes "six custom maps inspired by real exoplanets:"
- Kepler 186f: This lush forest planet is one of the oldest known Earth-like planets;
- Rigil Khantoris Bb: Orbiting the closest star to our solar system, the historical records of this arid continental planet's settlement are well-preserved;
- Tau Ceti d: This planet of seas and archipelagos features a booming biodiversity and a wealth of resources;
- Mu Arae f: Tidally locked in orbit around a weak star, the southern hemisphere of this planet is a blistering desert where the sun never sets, while the northern hemisphere is perpetually in frozen darkness;
- 82 Eridani e: An alien world of scarce water and wracked by tectonic forces;
- Eta Vulpeculae b: A mysterious new discovery with unknown terrain.
Source: Press Release
Depending on its form, carbon can be a very useful material with special properties, but producing the proper form can be difficult and messy. Typically the methods used are chemical in nature, which can leave residues that have to be cleaned off and may be tricky to work with. Researchers at Rice University however have found a means to create graphene nanoribbons mechanically, and this could have some large impacts on future technologies.
To make graphene nanoribbons, one starts with carbon nanotubes, which are essentially the ribbons wrapped into a cylinder. By unzipping them you have the desired nanoribbons, and traditional methods applied chemistry to trigger the unzipping, which then requires cleaning the ribbons. The Rice researchers discovered that nanotubes could also be unzipped by firing them at 15,000 miles per hour at a target in a vacuum chamber. If the nanotubes strike the target along their length, the impact will crush the tube walls and cause them to unzip. Nanotubes that strike end first or at a steep angle though just crumbled. The researchers were firing the nanotubes at that speed to find possible applications for space missions, as such hypervelocity impacts are used to test projectiles on shields, spacecraft, and satellites.
By providing an easy and clean means to produce high-quality graphene nanoribbons, this research could help make them more accessible for future technologies. Thanks to their superb electrical properties, graphene nanoribbons could one day be used to create advanced electronic materials.
Source: Rice University
If you are in the market for a new video card, you're in luck as today we have a look at two different AMD Radeon R9 280s. The first one comes from MSI, which features a custom cooler and factory overclock to help get your games looking good right away. The other card is from HIS, and it features the company's high-end IceQ X2 cooler along with overclocks to the core and memory. Both should work out quite well, so hit up the reviews to see for sure. We also have a review on the Evercool Venti CPU cooler; a rather slim product that shouldn't take up much space from tall RAM heat sinks. Finally there's a comparison of the Exynos and Snapdragon-powered Samsung Galaxy S5s to see which one is more powerful.
MSI Radeon R9 280 3GB Gaming @ PC Perspective
HIS Radeon R9 280 IceQ X2 OC 3GB @ Benchmark Reviews
Evercool Venti @ LanOC Reviews
Battle of the Galaxy S5s: Exynos vs Snapdragon @ TechSpot
July 2, 2014
A truth of all topics, great and small, is the difficulty to spread awareness and information on the subject. Indeed there are many topics that are many decades old that are still woefully misunderstood by many, so finding ways to familiarize people with them is crucial. Researchers at Oregon State University have recently suggested that the topic of sustainability could be brought into video games to increase awareness amongst gamers, by presenting us with related puzzles to solve.
By bringing sustainability concepts to video games, the researchers hope to have an approach that is neither pedantic nor educational, but still satisfying and informative through fun and challenge. Specifically four areas the researchers would like to see in more games are: a shift away from growth as a goal, as it would eventually be unsustainable; scavenging instead of combat to collect resources; more complex social interactions to foster social collaborations; and more complex resource strategies with long-term consequences, and interdependencies between resources.
Already there are some games with some of these elements, such as EVE Online, with its economy, and DayZ with its scavenging and player interactions. The researchers would like to see more games and mechanics that encourage thought on sustainability.
Source: Oregon State University
In order to support its growing customer base, BitFenix has just released its latest product known as the Phenom Vented Side Panel Accessory. This accessory is made out of high quality steel and features an array of ventilation holes used to enhance the cooling performance of BitFenix Phenom cases by increasing heat dissipation and airflow. After installation of the BitFenix Phenom Vented Side Panel Accessory, which takes just seconds according to the company, the ventilation holes themselves are placed directly over the area where graphics cards are installed.
The BitFenix Phenom Vented Side Panel Accessory is available in black and white and can be purchased immediately. The accessory supports Phenom Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX cases.
Source: Press Release
Sony has recalled roughly 680 Vaio Flip laptops due to fire and burn hazards associated with the included battery. The recall comes just a few months after Sony urged customers to stop using Vaio Fit 11A computers for the same reason. At this point in time Sony is aware of four incidents total, which all occurred in Asia, where overheating batteries have not only smoked, but also caught on fire and melted. While no injuries have been reported from the incidents, consumers are being urged to immediately stop using and charging their Vaio Flip laptops. Consumers can check to see if their Vaio Flip has been recalled by verifying if their laptop is indeed model number SVF11N13CXS.
Sony is providing consumers with instructions on how to arrange for a free inspection, and is also providing free repairs for Vaio Flip laptops that can be fixed. For laptops deemed unrepairable, Sony will provide a full refund of the purchase price to the consumer.
Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Corsair has announced a partnership with eSports organization compLexity Gaming to "work together to promote the world of eSports to the masses." Corsair will use the partnership to help develop new products geared towards gamers, similar to work done by Thermaltake and others, and compLexity has gained a new sponsor for its peripheral needs. Senior Director of Consumer Marketing at Corsair Mark Bony said, "compLexity Gaming are both leaders and veterans in the eSports field. We look forward to working with them to elevate the state of the art in PC gaming hardware and broadening the awareness of eSports." COO of compLexity Gaming Jason Bass added, "Corsair is a brand that I have always personally respected. I am very excited to have the opportunity to partner with them as well as to utilize their incredible mice and keyboards."
Source: Press Release
Tripwire Interactive has announced the annual summer event for the multiplayer zombie shooter Killing Floor, and this year it is entitled End of the Line. The name for the update is likely a reference to the upcoming Killing Floor 2 sequel, and it looks like the game will go out with a bang. The event is available starting today and brings with it some free and paid content. Two new wave mode maps are included in addition to a single objective and wave mode based map. A new character can also be unlocked by completing the new map on objective mode. A neon themed character and weapons pack are available as paid DLC. In celebration of the new event, Killing Floor is currently 50% off on Steam.
Source: Tripwire Interactive
Back in April, Capybara Games announced that its Roguelike exploration game BELOW will be coming to Steam alongside the Xbox One. Today, Capy announced that its side-scrolling, time-traveling shooter Super Time Force, which released for Xbox One and Xbox 360 in May, will be heading to Steam as well. But it's not just a mere port! Entitled Super Time Force Ultra, or lovingly abbreviated as STFU, Capy is "adding some very cool (but presently very secret) stuff to [its] crazy time-traveling game!"
In addition to STFU coming to Steam, the 53-track Super Time Force Soundtrack by 6955 is now available for purchase. I wouldn't be surprised if it's sold on Steam as well, maybe even as a pre-purchase bonus. You can listen to the soundtrack at the official site linked below.
Super Time Force Ultra will be coming to Steam sometime this Summer. Pricing and an exact date have not been disclosed and the Steam Store Page has not yet been published.
Source: Official Site via Facebook
Supernatural detective thriller Murdered: Soul Suspect launched last month, but while it had looked like a promising and unique game, it was sadly met with rather mediocre reception. Unfortunately for developer Airtight Games, that mediocre reception was probably met with sub-par sales, and it now seems like the studio couldn't withstand those poor numbers. After laying off 14 employees back in April in what was called "necessary restructuring [as] part of the normal ebb and flow of game production," it now seems like the indie studio has closed its doors for good.
While its website remains online and company executives have not released an official statement, Geekwire is reporting that there's a sign outside Airtight's Redmond office saying the company is closing its doors, "and its office equipment was being sold off at heavy discounts." This seems a bit at odds with what an Airtight executive told IGN after the April layoffs, claiming that "existing projects are on schedule and Airtight Games is actively seeking partners for exciting upcoming projects." It's possible the studio couldn't find partners quick enough to keep the bills paid, or it's also possible that with the downsizing of the company, the smaller team will simply be moving to a smaller office. If the company has indeed shut down, that would certainly be a shame, especially considering its 2012 Portal-inspired, puzzle-platformer Quantum Conundrum was quite well-received (and I certainly recommend any Portal fan to pick it up).
Airtight Games was certainly willing to take risks and try new ideas, but sadly that risk may have caught up to it. Hopefully we'll learn more soon.
Anyone who has had to pay a power bill or seen rates increase can understand one reason why energy efficiency is important. Sometimes it feels like anything that could reduce usage would be worth it, but could it be possible for a home to zero net energy usage over a year? That is a question researchers at NIST decided to test and the year is up, with great success.
The Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF) is a four-occupant house and laboratory in Maryland with many technologies to reduce energy usage, or to even produce energy. There are solar panels on the roof, a geothermal system underground, a solar water-heating system, and the house was built with double the insulation level. Inside the home had all of the appliances you can find around your own house, with extra equipment to control and monitor them, in order to simulate the use of a four-person family. After a year, which included severe weather, the home not only met the net-zero energy goal but exceeded it with a 491 kilowatt hour surplus. In total it used 13,086 kWh, which was 3000 kWh more than expected with normal weather, but roughly 14,000 kWh less than a comparable Maryland home, built to state energy standards, would use.
With this experiment done, and the point of a net-zero home proven, the NZERTF will continue to be used to test technologies and measures to reduce energy use and improve efficiency, with an aim at reducing costs. The researchers estimate the technologies used and efficiency-enhancing construction would add about $162,700 onto the cost of a comparable home built to Maryland's building code, when totaled together.
We have a few items for you to check out on this Wednesday, so hopefully they can help you get through the day. There is a look at the MSI Z97 XPower motherboard, which resembles the Z87 version, just with a slightly different layout and water cooling barbs on the CPU VRM heat sink. We also have a review on the SteelSeries Sensei wireless gaming mouse to see how the company's first wireless mouse stacks up to its wired brethren. Finally there's an article covering Steam In-Home Streaming and what it means for the future of gaming.
MSI Z97 XPower @ PC Perspective
SteelSeries Sensei Wireless Gaming Mouse @ Madshrimps
Steam In-Home Streaming and Gaming Future @ Benchmark Reviews
July 1, 2014
Back in January, CD Projekt RED announced The Witcher Adventure Game, a tabletop game that will be getting a PC and mobile version. But apparently that's not the only mobile Witcher game in the works. Today, CD Projekt RED announced that it'll be entering the world of free mobile gaming with The Witcher Battle Arena, "a fast, fun and accessible MOBA game based in the Witcher universe." Battle Arena has been designed with mobile devices in mind, combining "great accessibility and a balanced learning curve with complex tactics and a limitless array of skill-based strategies gamers can deploy during each battle." Most importantly, CD Projekt RED is determined to put fun before profit – every piece of in-game content can be unlocked via gameplay, with microtransactions simply allowing players to unlock certain items faster. According to Creative Analyst Tadek Zielinski, "Battle Arena is all about skill and dedication, and we've spent hundreds of hours planning to make it a paragon of fairness in mobile gaming."
So how does the game play out? "In the Arena, six heroes battle it out to the death, trying to capture and hold three conquest points in short, intense and action-packed skirmishes." Battle Arena offers a 3v3 PvP mode, a co-op mode against "mischievous bots," and yes, even the ability to "play alone if your Internet decides to take the day off." As of now, there are eight heroes planned, each with their own unique skills and tactics: Eithne of Brokilon, Philippa Eilhart, The Golem, Iorveth, Letho of Gulet, The Operator, Saskia of Aedirn, and Zoltan Chivay. Be sure to check the official site for detailed information on each hero.
The Witcher Battle Arena is scheduled to launch sometimes in Q4 2014 on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows Tablets, "with free future updates planned to expand the game both in terms of number of characters, gameplay modes and more." While CD Projekt RED designed the game, development duties fall to fellow Polish studio Fuero Games.
Source: Press Release and Official Site
Japan Industrial Partners, the investment firm that bought the Vaio brand from Sony earlier this year so that Sony could focus on its mobile offerings, has just relaunched the Vaio brand. Although Sony sold the brand, it still holds a small stake in the Vaio PC business, which allows it to sell the computers. Two new laptops, known as the Vaio Fit and Vaio Pro, are now available through Sony's online Japanese storefront. While the name brand lives on, Japan Industrial Partners is at this time only providing Vaio products to consumers within the Japanese market. The company is attempting to gain a foothold in the crowded laptop segment by pushing innovative features such as the latest Intel processors, solid state drives, and touch screens, but only time will tell how popular the Vaio brand becomes.
ASUSTOR has just released ASUTOR Data Manager 2.2, just over four months after it released version 2.1. The latest version adds in various new features and optimizations, much of which were included thanks to user input and feedback, according to Product Manager at ASUSTOR, Steve Huang. ADM 2.2 contains several new core features, including Night Mode scheduling, hard disk hibernation indicators, multilingual username support, more advanced UPS functionality, and support for external CD, DVD, and Blu-ray drives. New applications are also available in ADM 2.2 and include Photo Gallery, MiniDLNA, Google Drive, HiDrive, and Mail Server. Another feature that is included with ADM 2.2 is a Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox add-on known as Download Helper, which provides one-click downloading of online streaming video.
ADM 2.2 is available for all ASUSTOR NAS devices and can be downloaded now.
Source: Press Release
Music streaming service Songza is the latest company to be purchased by Google, at a rumored price of $35 million. The company "is in the business of learning about what songs people want to listen to when they’re in particular situations such as a summer cookout or relaxing at home." The acquisition joins a growing number in that technology sector including the purchase of Beats Music by Apple. Google is reportedly planning to use the team to work on the Google Play Music All Access service.
Source: NY Post
The Samsung 850 Pro is the latest solid state drive from the company and it is the first to use the new 3D vertical NAND flash memory technology. The new technology "features a proprietary vertical cell structure that overcomes the density limit currently facing planar NAND architecture." The 850 Pro is capable of read and write speeds up to 550MB/s and 520MB/s, respectively, and also boasts 100,000 read IOPS and 90,000 IOPS. It will be available in capacities of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB.
Source: Maximum PC
Sometimes small things can mean very big things, but before those big things can happen, you have to detect the small things. Detecting the almost infinitesimal is hardly easy though, but researchers at Berkeley Lab and the University of California, Berkeley have recently measured a force of roughly 42 yoctonewtons (yN). That would be 0.000000000000000000000042 (42*10-24) Newtons, and one ounce of force is 0.278 N (or 2.78*1023 times greater).
This ultrasensitive detector uses an optical trap to hold and cool a cloud of rubidium atoms. Two standing-wave light fields are what actually trap the atoms and isolate them from the external environment. By modulating one of the fields, the cloud's center of mass can be moved, and this movement can be picked up by another, probe beam of light. The key aspect of this detector is that it decouples the atoms from the environment, which allows the measurement to approach the Standard Quantum Limit, which is the smallest force that can be measured, according to the Uncertainty principles. The closest we have gotten to the SQL before was six to either orders of magnitude, but this got us to just four times above it.
The ability to measure such unbelievably small forces could impact Newtonian physics and General Relativity. We have to be able to measure forces, specifically gravity, at very small scales to answers some of the questions these fields present us with.
Source: Berkeley Lab
Depending on your age, you may have never played Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss, but if you follow video game history or development, odds are you're at least aware of its existence and impact on the industry. Released in 1992, it's considered the first first-person 3D role-playing game, and is cited as inspiration for The Elder Scrolls, System Shock, Deus Ex, and many more. Legends Richard Garriott and Warren Spector directed and produced the game, respectively, but the real vision of the game came from Paul Neurath, who later went on to lead the development of such classic franchises as Thief and System Shock.
Seemingly out of the business for the past decade, Paul Neurath is back as founder and CEO of brand new, Boston-based indie studio OtherSide Entertainment, with the goal of "bringing to core gamers reboots of classic game franchises." Underworld Ascension is the studio's first title and will mark a return to the Underworld franchise for the first time since 1993's Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds. With Underworld Ascension, OtherSide aims "to innovate and revitalize the fantasy genre in the same way that its predecessor did in 1992."
As of now, Underworld Ascension is only planned for PC, but no release window has been provided. In addition, it's unclear if this new entry in the series will have any ties to Ultima, as Electronic Arts holds the IP rights to that; which may be why the Ultima name is absent this time around.
Source: Press Release
The Dead Island universe is expanding once again. The original Dead Island and its sequel Dead Island: Riptide are survival horror action-RPGs with an emphasis on melee combat and co-op. Then there's Dead Island: Epidemic, which is a zombified twist on the MOBA genre. At E3, Dead Island 2 was announced, which brings the series back to its roots with seamless co-op multiplayer and "first-person melee combat with dedicated RPG elements such as character development, looting and weapon crafting." But now comes the announcement of an entirely new game in the series, entitled Escape Dead Island, which is unlike any of the previous games.
Escape Dead Island is a "third-person single-player survival mystery spin-off that unravels the origins of the zombie outbreak and tells the story between multi-million-seller Dead Island and the recently announced successor Dead Island 2." It's a story-driven adventure that follows Cliff Calo, who arrives on the island of Narapela, part of the Banoi archipelago, seeking to document the unexplained events he heard about. Aside from the switch to third-person perspective, the other major difference you'll notice right away is the aesthetic change – Escape Dead Island uses a cel-shaded look, as you can see in the trailer and screenshots below.
Escape Dead Island is set to launch on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 this Fall for $39.99. The game is being developed by Fatshark, the studio behind (in order from oldest to most recent) Lead and Gold, Bionic Commando Rearmed 2, Hamilton's Great Adventure, Krater, War of the Roses, and War of the Vikings – quite the broad range. Meanwhile, Dead Island 2 is being developed by Yager Development, the studio behind Spec Ops: The Line and the upcoming Dreadnought.
Source: Press Release
Getting information can be of vital importance for many systems and situations, but sometimes the environment is too harsh to use traditional sensors. Specialized sensors have to be developed then, and some can be very complicated and inelegant. As published in the Optical Society's Optics Letters journal, a new sensor system has been developed that fits inside a single optical fiber, and sets an impressive record.
The researchers were inspired to develop simpler sensors after seeing what NASA has to do to measure liquid hydrogen in microgravity. They turned to fiber optics because they realized that the cables can deliver energy just as they can carry signals, so sensors integrated into the cables can be powered. This power enables a variety of active sensors and devices to be built into the cable, such as gas flow sensors and devices to convert optical energy into ultrasonic energy and microwaves. Hundreds of these could be put into a single fiber, and by the nature of fiber optics, they can be very resilient. Already the researchers have built a gas flow sensors that can operate at temperatures above 800 ºC, which is two hundred degrees above other sensors.
Potentially these sensing fiber optics could be used in nuclear reactors, deep geothermal drill cores, and in outer space. The researchers are now looking to see what else they can carry along optical cables, perhaps by changing its shape and size.
Source: The Optical Society
July has arrived at long last, which means we're already halfway through the year. We have a good amount of items for you to check out today, especially when it comes to solid state drives. There are several looks at the new Samsung 850 PRO SSD, which uses the company's new 32 layer 3D V-NAND technology to deliver twice the density and write speed of typical 20nm NAND flash. There is also a PCIe SSD in the form of the OCZ RevoDrive 350, so plenty of fast storage options are covered today. For something more audio related, there's a look at the Wicked Audio Heist earbuds that features an in-line connector so you can share your music with another person's headphones/earbuds. Finally there's a handy guide on some computer maintenance everyone should be doing to keep their system running nice and smooth throughout the year.
Samsung 850 PRO 512GB SSD @ PC Perspective
Samsung 850 PRO @ TechSpot
Samsung 850 PRO @ Benchmark Reviews
OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB PCIe SSD @ PC Perspective
Wicked Audio Heist Earbuds @ ThinkComputers
Summertime PC Maintenance @ LanOC Reviews
June 30, 2014
The BitFenix Parts Store has just been opened and promises to be your one stop shop for all your spare parts needs for BitFenix cases and accessories. Upon visiting the site users will be presented with an easy to use interface for browsing for all the parts they might need, from side panels to hard drive trays. BitFenix decided to create the parts store after "dozens of requests from enthusiastic BitFenix fans around the world." BitFenix has listed a number of potential uses for the store including "getting practice parts for modding, finding replacement parts for mods that went wrong, and additional side panels for creating custom window mods."
Source: Press Release
Biostar has announced a new motherboard based on the Intel B85 chipset supporting fourth generation Core i7 and i5 processors, the TB85. The TB85 has a broad range of features that will make it appealing to a wide audience including "IT departments in larger companies as well as small firms," and for Bitcoin miners as the board has six PCI-E slots. The board supports up to 16GB of memory in two DR3 slots, uses 100% solid capacitors, has a total of six SATA connections, and features onboard audio.
Source: Press Release
Various parks around Boston, to include Titus Sparrow Park in the South End, the Boston Common, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway, will be receiving smart benches known as “Soofas” over the next week. The benches, which were shown off for the first time at a White House meeting for innovators and entrepreneurs, were invented by MIT Media Lab product Changing Environments, which is a Verizon Innovation Program. Solar panels are incorporated in the benches, allowing visitors to charge their phones while taking a break from the activities located at the Boston parks. Besides providing virtually endless power to charge cellular phones, the benches can also connect wirelessly to the Internet through the Verizon network, sharing location-based environmental information such as air quality and noise data.
Source: The Boston Globe
A new law has recently been passed by California Governor Jerry Brown that repeals Section 107 of California’s Corporations Code. This section stated that companies or individuals were prohibited to issue money in any form other than U.S. dollars. Section 107 of California’s Corporations Code covered all alternative currencies, which included virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and others. With the ban on alternative currencies now lifted thanks to the new law, it is obvious that the California state government is looking to accommodate the growth of virtual currencies, something that companies have been racing to do in order to support as many customers as possible.
While a roof covered with solar panels can look very clean and harmless, manufacturing those panels can be anything but. Some of the materials used to create solar panels can be highly toxic and make special safety and disposal methods necessities. Researchers at the University of Liverpool however, have discovered a potential replacement for one of these toxic chemicals, and it is actually found in tofu, bath salts, and is used for de-icing roads.
Magnesium chloride is found in seawater and used in many products already, demonstrating its safety. At $0.001 per gram, it is also relatively cheap, especially compared to cadmium chloride at $0.3 per gram. The reason the latter chemical is used in solar panels is to improve the efficiency of some of the cheapest solar cells made today. Thin films of cadmium telluride can be cheaply turned into solar cells that can convert about 2% of light into electricity, but by applying cadmium chloride, the efficiency can surpass 15%. As it turns out though, magnesium chloride can have the same affect, at a fraction of the cost and much more safely.
To test magnesium chloride, the researchers applied it to solar cells at a bench using a spray gun from a model shop. Applying cadmium chloride requires the use of a fume cupboard to prevent exposure, for comparison.
Source: University of Liverpool
Belgian studio GRIN has been hard at work on its first independent title, Woolfe: The Redhood Diaries, since receiving support from the Flemish Game Fund in May 2013, and it's just about ready to show off the game publicly. Woolfe is a 2.5D side-scrolling platformer that takes a "non-sugarcoated" and twisted look at the pre-Grimm, French fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. Players control a vengeful Red Riding Hood seeking to eliminate her demon, B.B. Woolfe, across various dark fantasy locations, "including dangerous smoke-spewing factories, charming medieval villages and woodland landscapes twisted by evil forces."
Woolfe: The Redhood Diaries will be playable for the first time publicly at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany from August 13-17. It'll simply be a pre-beta, single-level demo, but there will be a special "high score challenge" with the top scorers winning limited edition Woolfe Gamescom prizes. GRIN also released some cosplay reference images for those that would like to cosplay as the game's protagonist, promising "something extra special" for those that do. The game is expected to release sometime during Q1 2015 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game was greenlit on Steam just five days after its Steam Greenlight page went live.
Source: Press Release and Official Blog  and