Sharp reveals progress in consumer-use fuel cells
Sharp has developed a prototype direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) that can output more power for its size than others developed to date. Methanol is a type of alcohol that can be used as an alternative fuel or as a gasoline additive. It is less volatile than gasoline; when blended with gasoline it lowers the carbon monoxide emissions but increases hydrocarbon emissions. Used as pure fuel, its emissions are less ozone-forming than those from gasoline.
This is the first time Sharp has disclosed it is working on DMFCs, so the announcement not only adds Sharp to the growing list of companies chasing the technology, but catapults it past some competitors.
DMFCs produce electricity from a reaction between methanol, water and air. The only by-products of the reaction are a small amount of water vapor and carbon dioxide, so the fuel cells are typically seen as a much greener form of energy than traditional batteries. A big advantage of DMFCs is that they can be replenished with a new cartridge of methanol in seconds so thereís no waiting for a recharge.
Companies like Sharp are keen to use the cells in portable electronics products like music players, laptop computers and cell phones but there remains a fair amount of development work to be done before the cells replace Lithium-ion batteries as the power source of choice in such products.
The prototype Sharp cell has a power density of 0.3W/cc, which means that itís capable of producing 0.3 Watts of power per cubic centimeter of the power generation part of the cell. Sharp didn't disclose the size of the cell.
The companyís goal is the development of fuel cells that offer a longer life than Lithium-ion batteries for the same volume, but itís not clear when they will be available: Work remains to be done and they wonít be commercialized soon, a spokeswoman said. Many other companies are also developing DMFCs.
Toshiba said last week that it plans to begin commercialization of its devices some time this financial year. The company has been promising them 'next year' for the last several years but now they are closer at hand, its president has told. Competitors including NEC and Sony are also working on the same technology.
Sharp already has a foot in the clean-energy camp as a leading manufacturer of solar energy systems. -IDG News Service
Wikipedia, a Teaching Tool
VANCOUVER, Canada: Wikipedia, the upstart Internet encyclopedia that most universities forbid students to use, has suddenly become a teaching tool for professors.
Recently, university teachers have swapped student term papers for assignments to write entries for the free online encyclopedia. Wikipedia is an open-source website, which means that entries can be started or edited by anyone in the world with an Internet connection.
Typically, thousands or millions of people visit a Wikipedia enties, and each visitor is able to edit entries, or even flag an article considered unworthy to have it removed.
Wikipedia itself invites professors to use Wikipedia in your class to demonstrate how an open content website works (or doesn't).
But the experiment has had controversies, including student work that was instantly deleted as not 'notable.'
So, visit and take advantage: Main Page - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia -AFP
Hacker splashes data from six million Chileans
SANTIAGO: A hacker broke into Chile's government sites mining data from six million people which he then posted on the Internet on two popular servers for several hours.
The personal data included names, street and email addresses, telephone numbers, social and educational background, and was taken from Education Ministry, Electoral Service and state-run telephone companies' websites.
Stolen laptop itself leads victim to alleged thieves
A tech-savvy White Plains woman whose apartment was burglarized solved the crime herself after she was able to log on to her stolen laptop. The thieves were picked up at their homes night after the victim turned the pictures over to police.
"The victim did a phenomenal job," said Lt. Eric Fischer, commander of the Detective Division. "She knew her computer, and she let us know as soon as she obtained the information. We rolled on it immediately, and the result is the arrest of two burglary suspects and the recovery of most of the stolen property."
The burglary was reported April 27, when three roommates returned to their apartment about 10 p.m. to discover that it had been ransacked. Among the items taken were two laptops, two flat-screen televisions, two iPods, gaming consoles, DVDs and computer games. Police found no sign of force.
One of the victims, who works at The Apple Store in a mall, received a call from a friend asking her if she was online. The victim said no, and was told by the friend that his computer showed her as being logged onto the Internet.
At that point, police said, the victim signed onto another computer and used the 'Back to My Mac' program to determine that her stolen Macintosh laptop indeed was signed onto the Web and that someone was using it to shop online. She then activated the stolen computer's camera, allowing her to 'see' what was in front of the laptop.
At first, police said, she saw only an empty chair. But a short time later, they said, she was able to photograph a man, sitting in front of her stolen laptop. The victim then was able to find photos of the person using the computer after it had been stolen.
Fischer said the victim did not know either man but showed the photos to one of her roommates, who recognized them as having attended a get-together at the apartment a few weeks before the burglary. Police both the men apparently are friends of a friend of the victims.
The computer-savvy victim contacted police, gave them the tell-tale photos, and the arrests were made a short time later. The burglars Shahikian and Frias are charged with second-degree burglary and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, both felonies. -The Journal News