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News Archives for October 2012

Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: October 1, 2012 @ time: 04:15AM
Author: Nemo

We start the week off with a pair of reviews on the Borderlands 2 gaming title. Both reviews point to an exciting and fun gaming experience. We also picked up another review of the Corsair Vengeance C70 chassis. We have several other articles on tap for you to read today including a review of the Sapphire Flex HD 7770 GHz Edition video card, so sit back and enjoy.

Cases
Corsair Vengeance C70 Gaming Case @ ThinkComputers

Gaming
Borderlands 2 @ LanOC Reviews
Borderlands 2: Irreverent Bloodthirsty Mayhem and FUN! @ Computer Ed

Storage/Hard Drives
MCE OptiBay for Unibody Kit @ Madshrimps

Trade Shows/Conventions
Mid Ohio Comic Con 2012 @ LanOC Reviews

Video
Sapphire Flex HD 7770 GHz Edition @ Bjorn3D

Miscellany
Why I Still Use Windows; an editorial @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


Biological Internet Created

Posted: October 1, 2012 @ time: 05:57AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Communication is key for many endeavors for many species, so means by which to improve communications are quite valuable. In the decades since the Internet was first created, we have seen the size of the world shrink and the information it contains grow. Now researchers at the Stanford University Medical Center have created a biological internet to connect cells that may greatly grow what cellular communities are capable of.

Though many people may think of viruses as something that make you sick, a great many are actually not harmful to humans or even the cells they occupy, such as M13. This virus invades its host and consumes some of its food, but that is roughly the extent of its damage to the host cell. While M13 sits there though, it does package up bits of DNA to send out to other cells. What the researchers have done is modify M13 so they can control what DNA is broadcasted outside of its host.

Of course this "Bi-Fi" may never be used to transmit data as our computers know it, but it could be used to send complex signals to other cells, which would be of great use to cellular communities that are used to produce specific chemicals. Such coordination could increase the efficiency of the production of these chemicals or even the complexity of the chemicals being produced, which would be great for production of fuels and pharmaceuticals.


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Morrowind Overhaul 3.0 Releases at Long Last

Posted: October 1, 2012 @ time: 01:30PM
Author: bp9801

Near the end of July, a new trailer appeared for the Morrowind Overhaul 3.0 mod, which showcased all the various enhancements and improvements to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. At the time the mod was expected to arrive soon after the trailer, however that did not happen. Fast forward a little, and now the Morrowind Overhaul 3.0 mod is officially released. There are several places you can download it from at the source, along with aa link to the mod's Wiki and forums. If you are wondering what all is new in the 3.0 version, well, performance has been improved, all known bugs have been fixed, mods have been updated and new ones added, a new installer, and plenty more. Morrowind Overhaul 3.0 is about a 1.7GB download, but judging by the screenshots below, it is well worth it to experience the RPG in a whole new light.


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Making Stronger Glasses

Posted: October 1, 2012 @ time: 02:24PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Every time a new smartphone releases or is announced, it is not long before someone asks the question, "Does it se Gorilla Glass?" Of course this is a reasonable question, as one does not want their cellphone's screen to scratch or break, but why is it that some glass is stronger than others? That is the question researchers at Rice University decided to look into and they have found a very promising answer.

In general there is a trend that materials with higher melting points are also stronger, because their internal structure is quite elastic. Some glasses have very high melting points though, yet are relatively easy to fracture. The researchers decided to investigate this using a model they had developed some time ago for the kinetic properties of the molecules in the glass as it cools. At the time they developed that theory they simply never thought to see how it applies to a glass's strength, but now they are glad they have done so.

According to their theory, the strength of glass is indeed related to its molecular structure which can be manipulated when the glass is created, more or less. An ideal glass with its maximum possible strength could only be made by allowing it to cool infinitely slowly, which is not practical, but the researchers found it should be possible to get half way there with chemical vapor deposition. While half way still leaves a lot to be desired, such a piece of glass would be at least twice as strong as current glasses.


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Sapphire Pure Platinum A85XT Motherboard Launches Tomorrow

Posted: October 1, 2012 @ time: 04:13PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Sapphire has announced that its newest motherboard, the Pure Platinum A85XT, will launch tomorrow. The ATX board is targeted at AMD APU Trinity processors that are compatible with the A85X chipset. Included on the board are four USB 3.0 ports, seven SATA 6Gb/s ports, and four different graphics connector options. The board can handle up to 32GB of DDR3 in four slots, and also supports CrossFire.


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Swedish Police Raid Hosting Company PRQ

Posted: October 1, 2012 @ time: 04:25PM
Author: CheeseMan42

PRQ, a hosting company started by two founders of the Pirate Bay, has been raided by police. As a result of the raid, a number of public and private torrent sites, as well as some sports streaming websites were taken down. The Pirate Bay appeared to be down at the same time, but the site attributed the outage to a power failure. Owner of PRQ Mikael Viborg claimed that the police were "looking for four servers," potentially related to intellectual property theft.


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Vibrating Magnetic Beads for Biomedical Tests

Posted: October 1, 2012 @ time: 05:07PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

There is a definite interest to create lab-on-a-chip devices which are able to identify chemicals quickly, cheaply, and with small samples. Researchers across the planet are working towards these devices that will cut medical costs and save lives, and now researchers at MIT have developed a new approach that is quite innovative. Instead of relying on specific chemical reactions within microscope channels, this new technique looks at vibrating magnetic beads, which are already used in biomedicine.

This new method starts by coating the magnetic beads with a biomolecule that attaches to other molecules in a sample, but only a specific kind of molecule. As the molecules attach, the volume of the bead increases, which alters the friction on it as it moves through a fluid. The beads are then subjected to magnetic domain walls, which are essentially very powerful and localized magnetic fields that will isolate a single bead from another. By moving the field and watching the bead's movement, the researchers are able to determine how much of the targeted biomolecule is present in the sample.

There are several advantages to this approach over other methods, including its reusability. The device that creates the magnetic fields is separated from the sample and it is the beads which determine what biomolecule is detected. Instead of changing the entire device for a new test, the sample can simply be flushed out and new beads used.


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New Report Says XCOM FPS is Now Third-Person

Posted: October 1, 2012 @ time: 11:43PM
Author: bp9801

Much has been made of 2K Marin's upcoming XCOM remake. Unlike Firaxis' XCOM: Enemy Unknown, 2K's was announced as a straight first-person shooter. The change was defended soon after E3 last year, but the majority of the news since has been about Firaxis' RTS version. Earlier this year we learned that XCOM would be delayed for a while, and now a new report has surfaced that may explain why. According to an anonymous tip, XCOM has shifted from a first-person shooter to a third-person one, has you commanding a team of agents, and would be downloadable. All of those are departures from 2K's previous stance, but again it is only a rumor for now.

The rumor comes from an apparent survey to judge interest in a third-person XCOM, and a downloadable one at that. A $30 price is mentioned for the PS3 and 360 versions, but curiously no PC version. It would not be the first time a PC version of a game has been canned, but we'll just have to see what happens. Remember, all of this is just a rumor until 2K Games or parent company Take-Two makes an official statement. XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the RTS, comes out next week, so at least fans of the franchise can still get their fix.


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Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee New 'N' Tasty Lands in 2013

Posted: October 2, 2012 @ time: 12:45AM
Author: bp9801

Quirky side-scrolling platformer Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee is getting remade in high definition, just don't call it an HD remake. Called Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee New 'N' Tasty, the new game is set to arrive next fall for the PC, PS3, PS Vita, and 360 as a download. The reason Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning isn't adding HD to the title is because New 'N' Tasty is essentially being made from the ground up in 3D. It still handles like a 2D game, just with vastly better visuals and upgraded camera movements. The faster Abe moves in the game, the faster the camera shifts (up to 15 degrees) to give gamers a better view of the world. Other things like flip screen scrolling are removed because the 3D engine doesn't require those.

Development duties are handled by Just Add Water, with between 80-90% of the game's levels and puzzles intact. A few things are changed to be more modern, like anything that relied on a flip screen to reset an enemy, such as a sleeping Slig. Other changes come in the form of gameplay balancing, quick saving, and a modified puzzle system that is more user friendly. As Just Add Water's Stewart Gilray puts it, "The nice thing is we're not reinventing the wheel. We know the wheel. We're just putting better spokes on it."


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Samsung Files Lawsuit Against Apple Over iPhone 5

Posted: October 2, 2012 @ time: 04:05AM
Author: CheeseMan42

Samsung has announced that it will be returning fire at Apple in regards to patents in the smartphone market. A lawsuit was filed in California claiming that the iPhone 5 violates eight Samsung patents. The company said, "We have always preferred to compete in the marketplace with our innovative products, rather than in courtrooms. However, Apple continues to take aggressive legal measures that will limit market competition." In addition to filing this lawsuit, the sales ban of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has been overturned by the court system.


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: October 2, 2012 @ time: 04:52AM
Author: Nemo

Last week we got previews on the graphics performance of AMD's Trinity processors. Today we have a couple of reviews that look at the CPU performance of the APUs to see if they can stand up to Intel's offerings. We also picked up an additional pair of reviews on Borderlands 2 to add to the two reviews from yesterday. We also have some articles on mobile devices from Acer with reviews on the Iconia Tab A210 and the Aspire S5 Ultrabook.

Cases
CM Storm Scout 2 Gaming PC Case @ Benchmark Reviews

CPUs
AMD Trinity Review: The A10 5800K and A8 5600K Break Cover @ PC Perspective
AMD “Virgo” Platform: 2nd Generation APU @ Bjorn3D

Gaming
Borderlands 2 Gameplay Performance and IQ @ [H]ardOCP
Borderlands 2 PhysX Performance and PhysX Comparison - GTX 680 and HD 7970 @ PC Perspective

Motherboards
ASRock Z77 OC Formula Motherboard @ ThinkComputers

Notebooks/Tablets
Acer Iconia Tab A210 @ XSReviews
Acer Aspire S5 Ultrabook @ TechSpot


Complete Story


HTC One X+ Armed with 1.7 GHz Quad-Core NVIDIA Tegra 3 Processor and Longer Battery Life

Posted: October 2, 2012 @ time: 05:38AM
Author: edwardquilo

HTC's quad-core flagship Android phone just got a little better and more powerful with its latest iteration, the HTC One X+. While the original HTC One X was arguably one of the year's best smartphones, the refreshed 4.7-inch smartphone features an impressively mighty 1.7 GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip, a roomy internal storage of 64GB, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS, along with a 2,100 mAh battery. These upgrades look all set to provide longer battery life with six hours more talk time, and boost the performance of the HTC One X+ by up to 67% compared to the original. Complementing the One X+ is an update to Sense UI, the Sense 4+, which adds features such as a self portrait camera mode and "Tap and Go" pairing for those sporting Beats Speakers. The HTC One X+ is scheduled for release starting October in North Asia and Europe, with a North American release sure to follow. 


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Keeping it Cool May Not be Necessary

Posted: October 2, 2012 @ time: 06:08AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

We know how important it is to keep our computers cool, especially as we push their performance. This is true for our personal computers and for the servers in data centers which can hold a great many computers, all of which are pouring out heat. Now some researchers at the University of Toronto Scarborough are asking if maybe the data centers are kept cooler than they need to be.

Overheated computers will throws errors and typically will shutdown before components can be damaged, but for large datacenters, downtown could be unacceptable, and errors definitely would be. This is why they are typically cooled to somewhere between 20 ºC and 22 ºC, but the researchers are questioning if that range could be raised. After analyzing data from data centers run by Google, Los Alamos National Labs, and others, and some equipment tests in their own labs, the researchers found that higher temperatures either had no negative effects or the effects were less than predicted.

As data centers are currently estimated to represent 1% of the world's power consumption, any way to reduce their energy requirements is worth investigating. Estimates predict that raising the temperature even one degree could cut this requirement by 2-5%, so this research could definitely lead to some impressive savings.


Complete Story


Steam Now Offering Non-Gaming Software

Posted: October 2, 2012 @ time: 12:09PM
Author: bp9801

It's come a little later than originally planned, but you can now purchase non-gaming software on Steam. The first list of titles include GameMaker: Studio, 3D-Coat, ArtRage Studio Pro, 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 11, CameraBag 2, and Source Filmmaker. Valve is celebrating the event by offering 10% off all the products until next Tuesday, which is a nice way to save a bit of cash. Source Filmmaker is a public beta so no purchase is necessary, while GameMaker: Studio has a free version with purchaseable upgrades adding more content. All the programs benefit from Steamworks, so any updates can be automatically downloaded to keep you benchmarking, editing photos, creating models, or even building a game. More titles are on the way, so keep a lookout on the Steam software page to see what arrives.


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Smartphone App to Intelligently Prevent Car Accidents

Posted: October 2, 2012 @ time: 12:10PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Most people are likely familiar with warnings about using a smartphone while driving, as the distraction of the phone can lead to a serious accident. Smartphones are not the only distraction though or cause of preventable accidents either, but they may be able to provide a solution. Researchers at Dartmouth College have created an app to alert drivers when they are at risk of having an accident by processing data from its many sensors.

Along with the phone's accelerometer, gyroscope, and GPS, the CarSafe app also uses the front and back facing cameras of the smartphone to monitor the driver and the road. The back facing camera measures the distance to the car in front and tracks the road, to detect swerving, while the front facing camera watches for signs of distracted driving or drowsiness. This was not easy for the researchers to achieve though, as smartphones are not designed to handle the streams from both cameras at the same time, but by switching back and forth they achieved real-time performance.

Sadly this app is not available at the moment as it is going through large-scale evaluation, but the researchers hope to have it out early next year. As this will bring functionality only available as optional features on specific cars at the moment, it will hopefully be welcomed by many as a way to keep safe and without purchasing a new vehicle.

 


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Synology Announces Two New DiskStations

Posted: October 2, 2012 @ time: 05:28PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Synology has announced a pair of new DiskStation Network Attached Storage devices, the DS213air and DS2413+. The DS213air is the first unit with integrated wireless, with the goal of making setup easier for home and small office users. It features a media server package to easily stream various media to networked machines, Cloud Station to sync files from all types of devices, and Quick Connect for direct download links. The DS2413+ is billed as "great for photographer/creative agencies and small and medium businesses." This unit also features the media server package and includes Photo Station for easy photo sharing. It can handle backups from both Windows and Mac computers, and has improved VMware support.


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ECS Reveals A85F2-A Golden Motherboard

Posted: October 2, 2012 @ time: 05:50PM
Author: CheeseMan42

ECS has announced a new motherboard for AMD socket FM2, the A85F2-A Golden. The black ATX motherboard features several gold plated components and is certified by ECS Nonstop Technology testing. The board has two PCIe x16 slots and support for CrossFireX. Four memory slots can handle up to 64GB of dual channel DDR3. Also found on the board are seven SATA 6Gb/s connectors, six USB 3.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, DVI, and HD audio support. The company is also holding a contest to win one of these motherboards and you can enter by simply liking the ECS Facebook page.


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Vagrantclan.com Announces 'King of the Hill' Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Tournament - Sponsored by OCC

Posted: October 2, 2012 @ time: 06:20PM
Author: bp9801

Counter-Strike players can rejoice, as Vagrant is holding a public "King of the Hill" tournament in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. All matches will be played on the infamous The Art of Drowning server, with HLStatsX:CE keeping track of all in-game statistics. OverclockersClub.com is sponsoring the tournament with several prizes, including computer cases, RAM, motherboards, and more. Head on over to Vagrant's website for full details on how to enter and win prizes. The King of the Hill tournament begins on November 1 and runs to November 30, with prize winners announced on December 1. This is something you do not want to miss, so stop by Vagrant's website and its Facebook page to stay up-to-date on all the news. Check out the OCC thread for more details.

To be eligible to win prizes in The Art of Drowning Server from November 1 through the 30:


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Pushing to New Battery Technology

Posted: October 2, 2012 @ time: 06:47PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

This day in age, there are many pieces of technology that are almost impossible to avoid, and among them are batteries. They are in our computers, phones, cars, remotes, headphones, media players, computer mice and keyboards, clocks, and much more. Despite how common they are though, there is still a great deal of work to be done on them to make them what we want them to be, and researchers at Kansas State University are among those doing that work.

Two of the most important properties of a battery are its energy density or capacity, and its charge/discharge rate. Traditionally batteries have been good at achieving high capacities, but cannot stand up to capacitors for charge/discharge rates. This is something the researchers are trying to change though by redesigning the electrode. The new structure they are testing has silicon coated with carbon nanofibers for the electrodes and can store 10 times more energy as current electrodes. This would represent a 10-15% improvement in overall battery performance and should make the gap between batteries and capacitors a little narrower.

The researchers are also working on improving the lifespan of batteries because having a battery only last a year or two is not ideal. Batteries can be quite expensive, so a future filled with battery-powered vehicles could be very costly with the number of replacements required.


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Details Revealed for Mass Effect Trilogy

Posted: October 2, 2012 @ time: 06:48PM
Author: bp9801

Last week, BioWare announced the Mass Effect Trilogy would arrive on November 6 for the PC and 360, with a PS3 version at a later date. There was not a lot else announced with it at the time, but today BioWare has revealed more details on the Mass Effect Trilogy. The PC version appears to be the most inclusive, as the Bring Down the Sky and Pinnacle Station DLC for the first Mass Effect are included on the disc. Mass Effect 2 benefits from the Ceberus Network and its DLC (Zaeed, Firewalker, Cerberus Assault Gear, Arc Projector, and Normandy crash site), while Mass Effect 3 has the Online Pass for co-op multiplayer.

The Xbox 360 version only includes the ME2 and 3 extras of the PC version, as the ME1 DLC is not included. Information on the PS3 DLC is not available yet, but should be soon. Mass Effect 1 will arrive as a standalone title on the PlayStation Store for $14.99. It will be available the same day the Trilogy launches, however that day is still to be announced.


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Nickel Improves and Hurts Battery Performance

Posted: October 2, 2012 @ time: 07:10PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

The batteries that power our devices are largely based on lithium-ions because of their potency. Not all lithium-ion batteries are equal though as different internal designs and materials affect their performance, and one of those materials is nickel. Nickel has the ability to improve the energy density of a battery but also can impair its long-term performance, and researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Berkeley Lab have discovered why.

Within a battery, ions move around and their placement determines how much energy is being stored. The more easily the ions can move, and more places they can connect to the electrodes, the better the battery will perform. It turns out though that the nickel in lithium-ion batteries can prevent the movement of the ions by clumping together in solid blocks in the ions' channels. This is why a battery will seem to hold less and less of a charge over time, because fewer and fewer ions can connect with the electrode.

The good news is that because we now know what is going on, the PNNL researchers and others can find a way to address this issue. It may be awhile before a fix is found, but now we know the direction it is in, albeit roughly.


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New Stretch Goals and Features for Project Eternity as Kickstarter Surpasses 50,000 Backers

Posted: October 3, 2012 @ time: 12:28AM
Author: bp9801

Project Eternity, Obsidian Entertainment's upcoming RPG, has surpassed 50,000 backers on Kickstarter. To celebrate the occasion, Obsidian is adding a mega dungeon to the game called "The Endless Paths of Od Nua." Currently the plan is to create three subterranean levels, but for every 2,500 additional backers a new level will be added. The more backers Project Eternity gets, the bigger the dungeon becomes, so Obsidian wants everyone to spread the word. The developer has also created a new stretch goal at $2.4 million, which adds crafting and enchanting to the RPG. Obsidian will design the system to be "easy to use and very flexible," meaning players can customize many aspects of their creation. Want to make a simple potion or completely change a basic sword to a magic-infused, awesome one? All that and more can be accomplished, and considering it's approaching $2.3 million right now, I say odds are pretty good.

There are 13 days remaining to help Obsidian expand Project Eternity, as the more money it receives the more can be added to the game. Every little bit helps, and we just may get a ton more sweet content to go with it.


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: October 3, 2012 @ time: 05:24AM
Author: Nemo

It's hump day and our middle of the week roundup features two more reviews on the AMD A10-5800K Trinity desktop processor, with additional performance results compared to the previews we saw last week. We also have a couple of gaming headsets in the mix with reviews on the Asus Vulcan ANC and the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 QuietPoint headphones. The final entry in today's roundup covers the gameplay performance of Sleeping Dogs.

CPUs
AMD A10-5800K Trinity APU @ TechSpot
AMD A10-5800K Trinity Desktop Processor @ Benchmark Reviews

Gaming
Sleeping Dogs Gameplay Performance and IQ @ [H]ardOCP

Speakers/Headphones
Asus Vulcan ANC @ LanOC Reviews
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 QuietPoint Headphones @ [H]ardOCP


Complete Story


Monitoring and Manipulating Etching in Real-Time

Posted: October 3, 2012 @ time: 05:53AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Fabricating the assorted chips of a computer is a very complicated process in part because it is almost trial and error at first. The only way to know if the mask, which controls the etching, is going to work for mass production is to make some dummy wafers to test it, and if there is a problem, a new mask has to be made. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with support from NSF, have a new technique that allows one to watch the etching process in real-time, and change the pattern being etched while the etching is occurring.

To monitor the etching the researchers bounced lasers off of the material and measured for interference. Where the semiconductor has been etched into its height will be different, and different heights interfere with the light differently. With this nanoscale monitoring, the researchers are able to watch the etching process and identify where any trouble spots are. To give them the ability to correct these issues on the fly, the researchers used a projection system instead of a glass mask.

Together these advances could cut costs in the semiconductor industry as fewer and cheaper trials will be needed to test a design for a new component. However this technology is not limited to semiconductors and the researchers hope it can be used to monitor other processes, like those associated with the growth of nanotubes.

 


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Tensions Rise in Latest Walking Dead Episode 4 Trailer

Posted: October 3, 2012 @ time: 06:35AM
Author: edwardquilo

With only two more hotly anticipated episodes to go, things are unraveling fast for Lee, Clementine and their frazzled band of uneasy allies. The Walking Dead: Episode Four - Around Every Corner features a gripping narrative by screenwriter Gary Whitta, who hints that big things are about to happen to the characters that we've all grown attached to. "It is undoubtedly the biggest and most ambitious episode so far in terms of action, and the choices," said Whitta. A mysterious new character also makes an appearance, and she's not someone you'd want to mess around with. "Let's just say that Lee's group hasn't encountered anyone quite like her before now, " he adds. If Episode Four builds up on the sheer brilliance of its' past chapters, it could very well be the best entry in the series yet. "While I think it's a riveting chapter in its own right, Episode Four is also designed to tee up the big season finale that follows. In that regard I think we've succeeded; the climactic events of Episode Four should make the wait for Episode Five even more agonizing."

 

 

 


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The Force of Light Used to Control Light

Posted: October 3, 2012 @ time: 06:37AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Light is a funny phenomenon as it has no mass, yet it can still strike things with enough force to move them. That is what researchers at the University of Minnesota have taken advantage of in their new optical device. With two waveguides and a resonator, the researchers used optomechanical effects to amplify an optical signal, which should be very useful for the optical backbone of the Internet and other large networks.

Optical waveguides are, in effect, like electrical wires as they guide light along a certain path. Unlike an electrical wire though, the shape of the waveguide can affect how well it works, and this is where the resonator comes in. The input signal from one waveguide jumps to the resonator that amplifies it enough to physically move a second waveguide. This second waveguide can be carrying an optical signal many times more powerful than the original input signal, but the movement induced by the resonator disrupts its transmission. These disruptions match those in the original signal, effectively duplicating it but at a much higher power.

Currently the device only operates one million times per seconds, but the researchers are confident they can achieve several billion times per second. When that is achieved we may start seeing new advances in signal processing as the device uses considerably less power than modern electrical devices.


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The Final Hours of Tomb Raider Continues its Behind the Scenes Exploration of Telling Lara's Origin Story

Posted: October 3, 2012 @ time: 08:23AM
Author: edwardquilo

In continuation of Crystal Dynamics' The Final Hours video documentary about its Tomb Raider reinvention, the devs talk in greater detail about just how much of an ambitious project it is to breath new life into the precociously young Lara Croft. A few lucky fans got to toy with a playable build of the game at Comic-Con 2012, which Crystal Dynamics' Karl Stewart notes as a slightly nerve-wracking experience considering its the first time the game gets showed off to the public. Tomb Raider lead writer Rhianna Pratchett also shares some insight into creating the identity of Lara, who she sees as a girl who's shaken to her very core as she struggles to make sense of the impossible odds that are thrown against her. We still have some very long months to wait before we get to play as the beautiful (but as-yet inexperienced) adventurer, but you'll also get the chance to nab some cool bonuses such as an in-game skin, an art book and a digital copy of the Final Hours series for your Kindle Fire, if you pre-order on Amazon. 

 


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Fusing Photos to Digitize Art

Posted: October 3, 2012 @ time: 10:37AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

While much can still be said for the older media of the arts, like canvas and film, they lack the reproducibility and sharing potential of digital media. If you want to preserve or share a digital image, you just need to make copies, but artwork is not so easily copied without losing something from the original. The traditional process of digitizing a painting though is quite complicated as a photographer has to find the ideal placement and lighting, but researchers at the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics have a new technique that could really speed things up.

Instead of relying on a single photo to capture a painting, this new method fuses together a great many images, and employs statistical methods to keep artifacts present in the images from being in the final product. These methods also remove the need for special lighting on the painting as glare and reflection noise are two of the issues this will remove. Professional cameras are not even needed for taking the bursts of images.

Of course these post-production methods are quite intense, but they are fully automated as well, so the overall cost for digitizing paintings can still be decreased. Next the researchers hope to improve this technique more so it can operate well on 3D works of art.


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Cliff Bleszinski Leaves Epic Games

Posted: October 3, 2012 @ time: 03:07PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Cliff Bleszinski has announced that he will be leaving his position of design director at Epic Games after being with the company for 20 years. Cliff helped to create popular games such as the Unreal Tournament and Gears of War franchises, and will now be taking a "much needed break." It is unclear whether this will be a permanent departure from the gaming industry or if he will make his return at some point to an existing or new company. Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney said, "In 20 wonderful years with Epic, Cliff Bleszinski has grown into a true design luminary, and his contributions to the ‘Unreal’ and ‘Gears’ series have helped shape the game industry into what it is today."


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Noctua Unveils A-Series Fans

Posted: October 3, 2012 @ time: 03:22PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Noctua has introduced three fans from its A-series, aimed at users who are looking for quiet cooling. The fans will be available in sizes of 40mm, 60mm, and 92mm and will have model numbers NF-A4x10, NF-A6x25, and NF-A9x14. The company was able to achieve the audible performance of these fans by reducing the motor hub size of the fans and by using Flow Acceleration Channels, which alter the shape of the fan blades. The 92mm fan is only 14mm thick and will also be an excellent choice in applications like HTPCs where space is at a premium. The fans will cost $15.90, $17.90, and $19.90 for the 40mm, 60mm, and 92mm fans, respectively.


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Light Converted to Electricity Observed in a Single Molecule

Posted: October 3, 2012 @ time: 04:17PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Nature still has many secrets from us, despite our ongoing efforts to discover them since our species first learned how to do so. Among these secrets is how photosynthesis works as well as it does, and especially the protein Photosystem-I (PS1). This protein can achieve almost perfect conversion of light to electricity, which is why many are trying to find ways to use it. Now researchers at Technische Universitaet Muenchen and Tel Aviv University have successfully measured the electrical output of a single molecule of PS1, when exposed to light.

The reason to investigate a single molecule is to determine if it can be used in nanotechnology as a power source, but that size also made the investigation difficult. How do you connect leads to a single molecule to measure the electric current produced when you shine light on that molecule? What the researchers did was combine the light source and electrical contact into a single device. The light was guided through a gold-covered glass tip to the molecule, and the conducting tip allowed the researchers to make their measurements.

Finding that even a single molecule of this protein is able to produce a current is very useful as it means PS1 is a viable option for optoelectrical devices at the molecular scale. Hopefully this study will also lead to a better understanding of the protein and eventually a means to use it on the macroscale.


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Huge Patch Set to Arrive Today for Mass Effect 3

Posted: October 4, 2012 @ time: 12:59AM
Author: bp9801

Make sure to prepare your hard drives, as a huge patch for Mass Effect 3 is set to arrive later today. BioWare's Michael Gamble tweeted the news, which is the "largest patch" for ME3 and has been in development for "months." The patch is designed to fix technical issues, gameplay exploits, and platform-specific problems (crashes, message pop-ups, enemy combat, multiplayer powers, and more). You can read the full list of fixes at the BioWare Social forums, but it may take you a little while to go through all of them. PC gamers can download the patch through Origin, while PS3 and 360 gamers will be prompted to update the game when they start it.

Interestingly, Gamble revealed this patch sets BioWare up for "future...things," however it is anyone's guess what those are. The Omega DLC is set to arrive later this year, as are other single player stories, so Gamble could just be hinting at those. Or it could be something else entirely. We just have to wait and see.


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: October 4, 2012 @ time: 04:58AM
Author: Nemo

We've been seeing several reviews on AMD's A10-5800K Trinity desktop processor and today we get a look at the other member of the Trinity family with a review on the A8-5600K APU. While the new AMD CPUs made a socket change, Intel's venerable Socket 1155 is still around and our roundup also includes a review of the MSI Z77A-G43 Socket 1155 motherboard based on the Z77 chipset.

CPUs
AMD A8-5600K APU Trinity Desktop Processor @ Benchmark Reviews

Motherboards
MSI Z77A-G43 Socket 1155 Motherboard @ Madshrimps


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Curved Crystals Heal Defects

Posted: October 4, 2012 @ time: 06:32AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Very often people want to work with ideal materials that are free of defects, but sadly this is not always possible. Defects can be caused by many things and there is not always something you can do about it. Researchers at the University of Chicago though have discovered that curved crystals will actually remove defects on their own.

Years ago it was predicted that a spherical crystal with a regular hexagonal pattern to it would always have 12 scars, because hexagons cannot make a perfect sphere. The new research investigates what happens when an additional defect is added between the scars, and the results are not what the researchers expected. For a flat crystal, the defect would just remain where it was and affect the properties of the crystal, but the curved shape caused the defect to actually break apart and travel to the scars. Once at the scars, the defect was removed from the crystal, though the mass of the added particle that created the defect would have remained where it was placed.

This healing property could be very useful for many systems including two forms of carbon; Buckyballs and graphene. Buckyballs already have a spherical shape while graphene is a two dimensional material. By bending the graphene though, it may be possible to remove imperfections and improve its conductivity for use in consumer electronics.


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Crystal Dynamics: PC Gamers will be Very Happy with the Tomb Raider Reboot

Posted: October 4, 2012 @ time: 09:09AM
Author: edwardquilo

Good news for Lara Croft fans intent on playing the Tomb Raider rebirth on the PC - our version won't simply be a half-baked port but rather something that takes advantage of the hardware muscle that only a gaming rig can deliver. Crystal Dynamics' senior art director Brian Horton notes that the environments in Tomb Raider won't have any postcard-worthy visuals, as its going for a grittier feel with darker tones and stronger colour palettes. "We spent a lot of time making sure that the standard here is good enough for someone who’s only ever experienced Tomb Raider on PC," says Horton. It will play just as seamlessly as its console counterparts, but much better-looking in the graphics department. "We’ll have things like being able to have higher-resolution textures - there’s a lot of details I can’t go into right now, but the PC version will definitely make those who have a powerful gaming PC very, very happy." Sleeping Dogs and Deus Ex: Human Revolution both pumped out some pretty awesome eye-candy on the PC, so it's likely that Square Enix will make Lara Croft a stunner on our monitors, even as she's fighting for her life. 


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Researchers Build a Super-Network to Test Cyber Disruptions of Android

Posted: October 4, 2012 @ time: 10:53AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

There are two opposing forces to balance when designing an experiment that only represents a system. One is to have the experiment as close to the actual system as possible and the other is to keep the experiment something you can control, which is easier on smaller scales. Thankfully modern technology allows our experiments to reach impressive sizes, such as the 300,000 virtual Android devices in the MegaDroid network at Sandia National Laboratories.

MegaDroid, like MegaTux and MegaWin before it, was built to allow researchers to study different kinds of attacks, such as those that spoof wireless data. Instead of looking at the effects an attack can have on a single device, this device will allow the researchers to examine its impacts on a larger network of devices. As Android devices and mobile computing in general grows in popularity, such study is needed to protect individuals, companies, and groups from different kinds of hazards.

Building MegaDroid was not easy for the researchers, due to the complexity of the code. Android itself is roughly 14 million lines of code, but the Linux kernel it runs on top of more than doubles that. Some of the issues the researchers may find might not even be the result of a malicious attack, but a mistake within the code no one noticed before.


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id Software Co-Founder and Wizardy Designer Team Up for Old School RPG on Kickstarter

Posted: October 4, 2012 @ time: 02:44PM
Author: bp9801

Classic RPGs are seeing a comeback of late on Kickstarter, with Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity leading the way. Hopefully it turns into a full-on revival, and luckily a new Kickstarter project can join the ranks. Brenda Brathwaite, developer on the Wizardy series, and Tom Hall, co-founder of id Software, are teaming up to launch a Kickstarter for Old School RPG, a first-person, sci-fi/fantasy role-playing game. The designers work at independent studio Loot Drop, but want to get back to their roots. Old School RPG will feature a party of four characters with customizable races, professions, and skills. A "richly detailed world" awaits the group, where recruitable characters, quests, monsters, loot, and more await. Combat is of the turn-based variety, which will be interesting to see in first-person.

Old School RPG has a $1 million goal to reach by November 4, with tiers ranging from $20 to $10,000. There is a $15 early bird tier for the first 15,000 backers to get everything in the $20 tier at a discount, which is a DRM-free copy of the game, access to the forums, and an in-game reward pack. The $60 tier even includes a pen and paper version of Old School RPG for a truly classic experience. There are multiple stretch goals beyond the initial one, with one being rather unique. If Old School RPG's Kickstarter reaches $1.9 million, Brathwaite and Hall will each create an RPG with unique worlds, quests, and characters. The ending of each game provides new beginnings in the other when you import your party, so importing from Brathwaite's game to Hall's game and vice versa presents unique experiences. That will only happen if Old School RPG hits $1.9 million in funding, so be sure to get word out on the Kickstarter project.

There are 31 days remaining for Old School RPG to reach its $1 million goal. As of press time it's a little shy of $150,000, so there is still plenty of time foor the game to become reality.


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Cooler Master Releases NotePal I300

Posted: October 4, 2012 @ time: 03:58PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Cooler Master has added a new model to its NotePal series of laptop coolers, the I300. The I300 can cool laptops up to 17", while being one of the thinnest and lightest models on the market. The cooler is just 1.4" at its thinnest point and has a 160mm fan to help cool your laptop. The I300 also gives off a blue LED glow from the center, providing some ambient lighting to your surroundings. It will retail for $24.99 and will be available early this month.


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Artificial Corneas Created

Posted: October 4, 2012 @ time: 04:12PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

More and more parts of the body are having equivalent prosthetics made that will return last abilities to a great many people. Now researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research have created an artificial cornea for patients in need of transplants, or unable to accept donor corneas.

The cornea is a clear lens at the front of the eye that both protects the eye and provides a great deal of its focusing power. It can be damaged by traumatic injury or disease, and these injuries can greatly affect a patient's vision. Artificial corneas could be used to return lost vision to the patients without having to find a donor cornea. Also, as the artificial corneas are made of biologically inert materials, the body will not attack them as though they were infection.

The researchers have already tested the corneas in rabbits which suffered no irritation and the corneas remained firmly anchored where they needed to be. Exactly when these may be used on human patients is hard to say, but ArtCornea® has been trademarked by the researchers in preparation.


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Cooler Master Announces Storm Recon Mouse and Storm Skorpion Leash

Posted: October 4, 2012 @ time: 04:13PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Cooler Master has announced a pair of new gaming peripherals for its Storm line, the Recon mouse and Skorpion mouse leash. The Recon mouse boasts the ability to be used by both left and right handed gamers comfortably, a trait not seen in most mice. A number of on-the-fly customization options are included giving gamers the option to adjust the DPI from 800 to 4000 DPI and also change the USB polling rate. The scroll wheel will change colors to indicate which of the five stored profiles are in use. The Skorpion mouse cord holder will help to keep the mouse cord out of your way when you are gaming with an adjustable rubber arm. Weighted down by an iron core, the Skorpion should stay in place wherever you put it. Both items will be available this month with prices of $39.99 and $19.99 for the Recon and Skorpion, respectively.


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Schrodinger's Cat Tamed (More or Less)

Posted: October 4, 2012 @ time: 04:23PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

There is a decent chance that if you have been reading my news items here for a while, you will have read a form of the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment, as it serves as a good analogy for multiple quantum mechanical phenomena. Now researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have disrupted that and defied the premise of the thought experiment, as New Scientist reports. This was accomplished by a subtle approach only recently made possible by technology.

Though often used to describe superposition, the phenomenon where one particle can have multiple states at the same time, the thought experiment was created by Schrodinger to describe the delicacy of a quantum system. Unlike what happens in classical mechanics, when you measure a quantum system, it actually can change because of the measurement. Superposition and some other phenomena come in as they are among the delicate things that change upon measurement, or at least direct measurement. Instead of measuring the particle directly, the researchers 'gently' measured the oscillation they were using to create the superposition. They also fed back a signal to counter the random noise in the oscillation as a result of their measurement. The result was a means to measure the particle, without it collapsing to a single state.

This discovery could have a great impact on quantum computers as preventing quantum bits, which exist in superposition, is one of the challenges to be overcome. Until then, does this mean I will need a new analogy to describe superposition? We won't know until I have to write one.


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Mass Effect 3: Retaliation DLC Sees the Return of The Collectors

Posted: October 4, 2012 @ time: 07:55PM
Author: bp9801

Mike Gamble's tweet about "future...things" certainly did not wait long to be revealed, as a new, free multiplayer DLC is on the way for Mass Effect 3 when Retaliation arrives next week. The Collectors, the bug-like enemy from Mass Effect 2, have returned, as players have to square off against the Praetorian, Scion, Abomination, Trooper, and Captain. The Collectors are just as disturbing as before, but luckily there are some co-op friends to help defeat them. Cerberus and Geth forces have also been bolstered, as Cerberus adds the Dragoon and Geth the Drones to make battles that much tougher. New characters have been added to defeat all these new enemies, as the Turian Havoc Soldier and Ghost Infiltrator are just the first two of many joining the party. Six maps have been upgraded to a "Hazard" status, with different environmental hazards and traps shaking things up. The Firebases will be on a rotating basis for the hazards, so you never know what to expect.

The Retaliation DLC also adds new weapons, upgrades, and a challenge feature that rewards players with points for completing different goals. These can be from using a certain power or weapon enough to gain points, which you can use on new titles and banners in multiplayer. Challenge points can also unlock certain items, like weapons and characters, so it pays to experiment. As is the norm with ME3's multiplayer DLC, characters, weapons, and more need to be unlocked to enjoy. Mass Effect 3: Retaliation arrives for the PC, PS3, and 360 on October 9 (European PS3 users on October 10).


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New Free-to-Play Online Game Being Built at Bethesda's Battlecry Studios

Posted: October 5, 2012 @ time: 01:05AM
Author: bp9801

Recently, Bethesda Software announced the formation of a new studio in Austin, Texas, called Battlecry Studios. Former executive producer on Star Wars: The Old Republic, Rich Vogel, is running the studio and currently hiring staff, but luckily he should be able to pull in a lot of former BioWare Austin employees. What exactly Bethesda and Battlecry have in mind was not mentioned except for calling it an "unannounced project," but those job listings may provide some insight.

One position is for a "Monetization Designer" to "manage pricing of virtual goods and balance free vs. paid currency in the game economy," while another position, "Platform Lead," needs to help "build and manage the micro-transaction platform technology for our online game." The "Lead Designer" position is looking for someone with FPS and RPG experience, while other positions mention the same genres and PC and next generation consoles. All of those point to Battlecry Studios' first project as a free-to-play game, but that is pretty much all that can be pulled from the job listings. Could this be an F2P version of an established franchise (Fallout Online, maybe) or a brand new IP? We just have to wait and see, but the possibilities are endless.


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: October 5, 2012 @ time: 03:22AM
Author: Nemo

We made to the end of another week and we get to wrap up with a few good hardware reviews. We have a couple of solid state drives in the 250GB range to look at today. The Samsung 840 Series 250GB uses a triple-level cell format to bring down the price and make it more consumer friendly. The OCZ Vertex 4 256GB drive is equipped with OCZ/Indilinx's latest Everest 2 controller and still manages to keep it fairly friendly pricewise with a retail price around $200. We also get to bring you reviews on the Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 1500W power supply and Kingston's Hyper X Predator Dual Channel 8GB 2400C11 memory kit. Enjoy your reading and have a great weekend!

Memory
Kingston Hyper X Predator Dual Channel 8GB 2400C11 Kit @ Madshrimps

Power Supplies
Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 1500W Power Supply @ ThinkComputers

Storage/Hard Drives
Samsung 840 Series 250GB SSD Full Review - Time for some TLC @ PC Perspective
OCZ Vertex 4 256 GB Solid State Hard Drive SSD @ [H]ardOCP

Miscellany
Podcast #221 @ PC Perspective


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Program to Train Engineers to Develop Recyclable Medical Devices Created

Posted: October 5, 2012 @ time: 06:10AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

If you look through our Forums here at Overclockers Club or visit computer stores, it is not uncommon to find used parts for sale. Provided they operate correctly, these parts can represent a pretty good deal for the consumer who does not require a new, retail item. Electronics are not the only field where devices are resold and now Clemson University has a certificate program for recycling and reprocessing medical devices.

When first hearing about recycled medical devices, you may be thinking of the number of diseases these devices could carry on them, but defeating those issues is actually the point of the program. Already there are companies that are regulated by the FDA to take some medical devices to sterilize and resell them to hospitals, at a much lower cost. This saves the hospitals money and keeps the products out of landfills. What the certification program aims to do is train engineers who are going to be designing new medical devices to design them with reprocessing in mind, instead of making them disposable after a single use.

Devices that can already be reprocessed include some used for endoscopic surgeries, which use a probe to perform the surgery with a minimal incision. Non-invasive products can also be reprocessed, instead of being thrown out, such as pulse oximetry sensors; those devices that clip to a patient's finger to collect oxygen levels in the blood.


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Skyrim: Hearthfire DLC Now Available on Steam

Posted: October 5, 2012 @ time: 06:55AM
Author: edwardquilo

Elder Scrolls players looking for something a little more domesticated in Skyrim can now purchase Hearthfire, Bethesda's latest DLC which is available on Steam for $4.99. That almost seems like a small price to pay, especially if you've been dreaming of decorating a home right in the salt marshes of Hjaalmarch, the forests of Falkreath, or the immense plateaus of The Pale. Those with even bigger real estate plans can make an empire of sorts, if that strikes a Dragonborn gamer's fancy. It won't be all about building though, as you'll also be able to adopt children, which you'll have to protect against kidnappers, enormous giants, and pesky skeevers. Incidentally, folks yet to experience Bethesda's long-running RPG series can nab The Elder Scrolls Collection on Steam as well - this includes Skyrim, the Dawnguard DLC, Oblivion (Game of the Year Edition), and Morrowind (Game of the Year Edition). 


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Most Accurate Measure of Hubble's Constant Made

Posted: October 5, 2012 @ time: 07:27AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

One hundred years ago, it was considered fact that the Universe was completely contained within the Milky Way galaxy; our galaxy. It was not until Edwin Hubble measured the distance to 'spiral nebulae' that it was determined that other galaxies exist beyond our own. Hubble did more than that to reshape the world of cosmology as he also discovered that the Universe is expanding, based on the movement of those galaxies. Now we call the rate of that expansion Hubble's Constant and a team of researchers led by those at the Carnegie Institution have made the most accurate measurement of this constant to date.

Determining the Hubble Constant requires very precise distance measures, which is why the researchers used the Spitzer Space Telescope. This telescope operates in the infrared portion of the spectrum, which is able to pass through stellar gas, unlike visible light. Without the gas to impair the telescope, the researchers determined the brightness and distance to ninety stars that pulse in a predictable manner in our galaxy and the nearby Large Magellanic Cloud. After crunching the numbers the researchers arrived at a value of 74.3 ± 2.1 Km per second per megaparsec (so every second, one megaparsec grows an additional 74.3 Km, roughly). At just 3%, the uncertainty of this measurement is lower than any previous.

Hubble's Constant has a myriad of uses in cosmology as it is used to determine the age and size of the Universe, as well as the effects of dark energy. Dark energy is an unknown force or energy that is causing Hubble's Constant to increase and counteracting gravity's attempts to pull the Universe together.


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An Assassin's Journey Trailer Gives a Look into Connor's Motivations for Assassin's Creed III

Posted: October 5, 2012 @ time: 09:24AM
Author: bp9801

Console gamers will be able to enjoy Assassin's Creed III at the end of the month, while PC gamers have to wait until the end of November. Regardless of your platform of choice, Ubisoft has launched a new trailer for Assassin's Creed III called An Assassin's Journey. This trailer gives a look into the life of AC3's half-Native American protagonist Connor and how he became a master assassin. We get an idea of his background, his motivations, and even his storyline in his part of America's creation. Assassin's Creed III offers a unique perspective on the American Revolution, one filled with assassins and Templars. The trailer below is just long enough to leave you wanting for more, and luckily the wait is nearly over for Assassin's Creed III.


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Bringing Advanced Medical Scanners to Primary Care Physicians

Posted: October 5, 2012 @ time: 11:05AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

There are many advanced tools available to medical specialists, such as surgeons, that are not readily available to primary care physicians, despite the fact that the physicians are typically the first to try diagnosing an illness. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as reported by the Optical Society of America, are looking to change that though by creating a new imaging device for physicians.

This new device is like a light-based sonogram as it penetrates the body with near-infrared light instead of sound waves. The time it takes for the light to reflect back to the scanner is measured and processed into an image or 3D model in real-time. Thanks to the relatively small size of the required components, the researchers were able to fit all of this into a handheld device which can be used to examine any part of the body.

The dream is to put this device in the hands of every physician as the tool could be used to monitor for many illnesses, such as diabetes, but without requiring visits to a specialist. Also if a specialist is required, more information could be provided to them by the physician, so the best course of action can be determined more quickly.


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Kingston Offering Preview of HyperX LoVo Memory at AMD Fan Day

Posted: October 5, 2012 @ time: 02:22PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Kingston will be offering an exclusive first look at its upcoming HyperX LoVo low voltage SO-DIMM memory at AMD Fan Day in Austin, TX on October 6. These memory kits are "designed for notebook users looking to boost system performance as they auto-overclock with no need to adjust system BIOS settings." Full specifications will be announced later this month. In addition to showing off the LoVo memory in AMD Trinity laptops, Kingston will also be on hand to give away 500 sets of HyperX memory.


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