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OCAU News
Friday Afternoon #2 (0 Comments) (link)
 Friday, 7-November-2008  14:20:34 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

A judge has blocked the construction of a solar farm in the Californian desert. The desert project was a joint initiative by San Diego Gas & Electric and Phoenix-based Stirling Energy Systems signed in 2005. It aimed to install 900 MW of Stirling solar power in uninhabited Southern Californian desert wasteland. Stirling power is a method of concentrating sunlight with mirrors onto water fueling a Stirling engine, and is thought to possibly yield higher efficiencies than photovoltaic cells. The plant would feature 34,000 dishes, each generating 25 kW.

But maybe small is the next big, as far as solar cells are concerned. The solar cells, about the size of a 12-point font letter ‘o,’ are being tested to eventually power microscopic machines, such as those used to test chemical leaks in the air. The researchers at the University of South Florida say these are some of the smallest solar cells ever, with twenty aligning to form one panel at just one inch. Typical single cells are around two inches across on their own, and then form the large silicon panels we see on rooftops.

Tiny solar cells didn't feature in Time Magazine's top 50 inventions of 2008 though. From a genetic testing service to an invisibility cloak to an ingenious public bike system to the world's first moving skyscraper — here are TIME's picks for the top innovations of 2008

What about 10 spy gadgets that should be illegal? Hey there, secret agent man. Do you have a reckless disregard for the law? Have you ever wanted to be in a heist? Thomas Crown, James Bond, and Max Smart got you itching for a gadgetized suit? Any villains in your life? Then this list if for you! Here are 10 spy gadgets that are so awesome they should be illegal.

Global broadband prices are down 20% in 2008. The biggest price drop is for DSL broadband over phone lines, with the average monthly price falling from nearly $67 in the first quarter to $53 in the third, according to the analyst firm, Point Topic. However, little of the decrease has happened in the U.S., where prices have been largely stable and are already lower than the global average. Americans are paying $16 per megabit per second of download speed, far lower than the $46 average in the Middle East and Africa.

Obama has big plans for American tech. President-elect Barack Obama has an ambitious and comprehensive national agenda that seeks to put into effect many initiatives and changes. To assist him in implementing this vision, he is recruiting top leaders to his transition team, which will prepare his plans and flesh out his plans, and ready them for proposal to the new House and Senate.

However, he is still looking for a Chief Technology Officer. The person in this new position--and possibly a new White House technology office staff--could be given the directive to create new levels of transparency and access to government agencies, or to guide policies that spur innovation and growth. Technology experts within the Beltway warn, however, that a CTO would have to avoid potential pitfalls such as creating new spending for ineffectual projects, running into conflict with other agencies, or simply becoming nothing more than a symbolic office.

Delicious is 5 years old today. Delicious, the social bookmarking site that was largely responsible for making ‘tagging’ one of the defining elements in today’s web, has turned 5. The site launched back in 2003 and was one of the first companies to be profiled on TechCrunch. In December 2005 the site had its big payday when it was acquired by Yahoo, and has racked up 5.3 million users since launch.



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All original content copyright James Rolfe. All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.