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Heat Can Travel Only One Way Through New Japanese Diode
Japanese researchers create a one-way thermal conductor that could lead to a new form of information processing

Japanese researchers have developed a new diode that only transmits heat currents in one direction, and they think it could represent a new future for thermal computing.

Similar work has succeeded with individual electrons in superconductors and in lone nanotubes, according to Technology Review. But this represents the first time anyone has managed the trick in a bulk solid, which in this case consists of two types of perovskite cobalt oxides.

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Shell's New Ships Will Dwarf Everything on the High Seas
The energy giant's 600,000-ton megaships will process natural gas and shrug off typhoons

Monster Ship: I drink your milkshake  Shell
Gigantic megaships that rival anything afloat could help energy giant Shell drink the proverbial milkshake by tapping undersea gas fields worldwide. They can also safely ignore nature's wrath and weather typhoons while continuing gas sucking operations. [ Read Full Story ]
Robots That Eat Bugs and Plants for Power
Controversial robots devour biomass to gain energy independence

No matter how intelligent a robot might be, it’s nice knowing you can pull its plug to halt the anti-human insurrection. Whoops, not anymore. A new cohort of ’bots that make energy by gobbling organic matter could be the beginning of truly autonomous machines.

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Surgical Scalpel Sniffs Out Tumors While It Cuts
A chemical sniffer combined with a scalpel is slated to begin human clinical trials next month

Transforming surgical scalpels into imaging tools could provide instant feedback on suspicious tumors or tissues. European researchers plan for the new imaging tools to enter clinical trials next month.

The concept combines an elecroscalpel with a mass spectrometer to profile the molecular structures of whatever the scalpel happens to cut. It carries out its molecular analysis by using "surgical smoke," or gaseous ions produced as a waste product of the electroscalpels, which requires removal anyway during surgery.

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This Week in the Future, October 5-9, 2009

This Week in the Future, October 5-9, 2009:  Illustration by Baarbarian
The littlest gold miners, the tidiest bees, and the least fun Wii game ever. Welcome to this week's Future. [ Read Full Story ]
NASA Crashes Into the Moon -- But Where Are the Pics?
The public is disappointed by lack of flashy impact debris from NASA's lunar impactors, but scientists remain elated

NASA's double sledgehammer shot to the moon succeeded early this morning when an empty rocket stage and a lunar probe each crashed into separate craters. But the host of telescopes and other instruments pointed at the impact sites did not immediately spot huge plumes of lunar debris.

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Video: Raytheon's Free Roaming Combat Simulator Lets You Feel Getting Shot
A new combat simulator lets you toss real flash-bangs and feel the consequences of getting shot by virtual enemies

First-person-shooter video games have nothing on a new combat simulator by defense giant Raytheon. Fully rigged warfighters can roam freely in the real world and engage unseen virtual enemies through their VR goggles, tossing real flash-bang grenades and even shaking off the muscle-numbing effects of getting shot.

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UK Citizens Can Catch Crimes on Closed-Circuit Cameras for Cash

Starting next month, British citizens will be given the chance to watch a number of the country's closed-circuit security cameras in hopes of catching a crime and winning up to £1,000 as a reward. The "game," run by the website, lets participants log in online, alerting officials in real time via SMS and/or email.

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Video Artist Takes Over Every HDTV in Best Buy For Art Installation

Best Buy As Gallery:  John Mahoney
As an electronics mega-retailer, Best Buy isn't normally interested in anything but moving huge quantities of TVs, computers and appliances out of its gaping doors. But the Houston St. location in Manhattan did something unexpected last night: it approvingly looked the other way while video artist Borna Sammak took over every single HDTV in the store for to display his latest work. [ Read Full Story ]
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LHC Test Could Lead to Hyperdrive Space Propulsion (Well, In Theory)

Add one more thing to the list of mysteries, theories, and unsubstantiated ideas that will be confirmed/denied/debunked if CERN ever gets the Large Hadron Collider up and running: hyperdrive spacecraft propulsion.

In 1924, German mathematician David Hilbert published a paper noting a pretty amazing side effect to Einstein's relativity: a relativistic particle moving faster than about half the speed of light should be repelled by a stationary mass (or at least it would appear to be repelled, to an inertial observer watching from afar).

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