Australia: When pranks break the law: hoax conversations


There are many prank phone calls that can be considered criminal offences: Threatening to kill or cause serious harm to someone – and not just the person on the phone; Making a hoax bomb threat is a crime; Making prank calls to 000 pretending there is an emergency is open to jail time of up to three years. Even if the prankster doesn’t threaten their victim, repeated calls can amount to harassment, stalking or bullying. Under the Criminal Code it is illegal to use “a carriage service” (that includes phones, emails, texts and social media) to menace, harass or be offensive – with a penalty of up to three years jail.

via When pranks break the law: hoax conversations – Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment – Australia.

Stanford invention could lead to better, cheaper chips :: ElectronicsOnline


Silicon and gallium arsenide both begin their progression from raw crystal to electronic device similarly. Both materials are fashioned into what electronics manufacturers call wafers. These are flat, circular platters of purified material. Subsequent manufacturing steps create computer chips, solar cells or other electronic devices on top of these wafers. But it can cost about $5000 to make a wafer of gallium arsenide 8″ in diameter, versus $5 for a silicon wafer … The new Stanford process seeks to lessen this thousand-to-one cost differential by re-using that $5000 wafer.

via Stanford invention could lead to better, cheaper chips :: ElectronicsOnline.

•Product safety is more important to consumers than a well known brand


•Product safety is more important to consumers than a well known brand.

•Consumers are willing to pay a 16% price premium for products whose safety has been independently verified by a credible, independent third-party as exceeding applicable government safety standards.

•Unsafe Products:  50% consumers had an experience with an unsafe product in past 5 yrs.

•Product Recalls: More than 2/3rds of consumer electronics companies (73%) had a recall in past 5yrs and 22% had more than 20 recalls.

•There is significant concern for the safety of consumer electronics, more so than food or toys.
•90% of consumers rate third-party testing as important or VERY important.
•84% of management believes product safety issues existing in the consumer electronics industry

see the article at

http://www.tuv-sud-america.com/us-en/services-by-activity/focus-topics/safety-gauge-s

All-electric cars may be worse for environment


The key is where the source of the electricity all-electric cars. If it comes from coal, the electric cars produce 3.6 times more soot and smog deaths than gas, because of the pollution made in generating the electricity, according to the study that is published in PNAS. They also are significantly worse at heat-trapping carbon dioxide that worsens global warming, it found.

The study examines environmental costs for cars’ entire lifecycle, including where power comes from and the environmental effects of building batteries.

“Unfortunately, when a wire is connected to an electric vehicle at one end and a coal-fired power plant at the other end, the environmental consequences are worse than driving a normal gasoline-powered car,” said Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science, who wasn’t part of the study but praised it.

But if the power supply comes from natural gas, the all-electric car produces half as many air pollution health problems as gas-powered cars do. And if the power comes from wind, water or wave energy, it produces about one-quarter of the air pollution deaths.

Hybrids and diesel engines are cleaner than gas, causing fewer air pollution deaths and spewing less heat-trapping gas.

But ethanol isn’t, with 80 percent more air pollution mortality, according to the study.

“If we’re using ethanol for environmental benefits, for air quality and climate change, we’re going down the wrong path,” Hill said.

via All-electric cars may be worse for environment.

UNSW’s solar cell achieves 40% efficiency :: ElectronicsOnline


“This is the highest efficiency ever reported for sunlight conversion into electricity,” UNSW Scientia Professor and Director of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP) Professor Martin Green said.

“We used commercial solar cells, but in a new way, so these efficiency improvements are readily accessible to the solar industry,” added Dr Mark Keevers, the UNSW solar scientist who managed the project.

“The new results are based on the use of focused sunlight and are particularly relevant to photovoltaic power towers being developed in Australia,” Professor Green said.

via UNSW’s solar cell achieves 40% efficiency :: ElectronicsOnline.

Squirrel cuts off power to part of Silicon Valley


A power outage that left part of Silicon Valley in the dark early Saturday was caused by a squirrel, an electric company spokesperson told The San Francisco Chronicle. Nearly 2,000 customers in Cupertino were without power for about two hours. Power was restored around 8:30 a.m., said the paper on its website.

via Squirrel cuts off power to part of Silicon Valley.

The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy – IEEE Spectrum


The Phoebus cartel engineered a shorter-lived lightbulb and gave birth to planned obsolescence. Phoebus expended considerable technical effort into engineering a shorter-lived lightbulb.

How exactly did the cartel pull off this engineering feat? It wasn’t just a matter of making an inferior or sloppy product; anybody could have done that. But to create one that reliably failed after an agreed-upon 1,000 hours took some doing over a number of years. The household lightbulb in 1924 was already technologically sophisticated: The light yield was considerable; the burning time was easily 2,500 hours or more. By striving for something less, the cartel would systematically reverse decades of progress.

via The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy – IEEE Spectrum.

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