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Newly Announced Motorola Defy is Rugged and Runs Android 2.1

Newly Announced Motorola Defy is Rugged and Runs Android 2.1

Who said rugged meant a phone had to actually look like a piece of military equipment? With the announcement of the Motorola Defy, Moto brings their second Android handset specced out to resist the elements and keep chugging under even the most hostile conditions. Taking a page from the Motoro

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Science Team Make Gut Bacteria Do Math: Living Computers On Way? [Slimy

Science Team Make Gut Bacteria Do Math: Living Computers On Way? [Slimy

Computers made by this method would be superfast no doubt replacing electrons with bateria at a microscopic level good small, efficient, but god, imagine when bateria & living cells form computers, medical companies will be having a good time producing "antibiotics" for feeding your computer too

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Putting Multiple Credit Card Accounts On the Same Plastic

Putting Multiple Credit Card Accounts On the Same Plastic

The worst part about getting your credit card declined? Reaching back into your wallet to find one that works. Embarrassing! The Dynamics Card 2.0 MultiAccount feature solves that by putting two different accounts on the same piece of plastic. Card 2.0, shown off today for the first time, feature

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Intel's 6-Core Gulftown Gets Tested, Blows Us Away

Intel's 6-Core Gulftown Gets Tested, Blows Us Away

Six cores. That's how many are in Intel's ridiculous new Core i7-980x. MaximumPC takes us deep inside the world's fastest CPU, with full, mind-searing benchmarks. Meet the world's fastest CPU. OK, so we just gave away the big reveal to our report before you even flipped one page, and without s

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Broadcom Launches 802.11n Wi-Fi Chip For Cellphones

Broadcom Launches 802.11n Wi-Fi Chip For Cellphones

The new chip, which also integrates Bluetooth and FM radios, can grab 802.11n data at speeds of up to 50Mbps, and Broadcom claims it can do it all without totally devastating your battery. While mobile browsers are far from fast enough to handle data coming in at draft-N speeds, this does op

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Nokia PC Suite 7.0 Release 8.2 Final

Nokia PC Suite 7.0 Release 8.2 Final

Nokia PC Suite is a package of Windows-based PC applications developed especially for use with Nokia phones. Depending on your phone model, Nokia PC Suite lets you edit, synchronize and back up many of your phone's files on a compatible PC through a cable or wireless connection. Key features

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Urine a candidate for energy independence

Urine a candidate for energy independence

We thought we were supposed to have fusion-power for our DeLorean by now but it perhaps urine-power is just around the corner instead. [Gerardine Botte] has been working on creating hydrogen from urine, the world’s most abundant waste product. The voltage needed to break apart the urea atoms

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Opera 9.6 Faster, Stronger, Available Now

Opera 9.6 Faster, Stronger, Available Now

Opera just popped out the latest version of their desktop browser, 9.6. Besides being just plain faster, it adds feature improvements all around, like a new low-bandwidth mode in the built-in email client, expanded syncing (speed dial, search engines and notes), and RSS feed previews, so you c

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Creme That Egg: Rube Goldberg Machine Destroys Easter In 8,000 Easy Steps

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrCb_fNmSTA[/youtube] I have to admit, this Rube Goldberg machine is pretty friggn' ingenious—even if it does result in a the gruesome death of a delicious Cadbury Egg. [Telegraph via Jezebel]

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A Novel Plastic Surface Almost Perfectly Hydrophobic

For the first time, a water-repelling surface has been developed that is almost perfectly hydrophobic and uses no treatments.

Engineering researchers at the University of Florida have created a novel plastic surface by dint of mimicking the random shape and patterns of the minute hairs that grow on the bodies of spiders. The result is a water phobic surface where droplets skitter across it like ball bearings tossed on ice.

Wolfgang Sigmund, a professor of materials science and engineering, discovered the new material, and a paper about the surface appears in this month’s edition of the journal Langmuir.

Let’s take a look at how the always-dry surface was developed. According to Sigmund, making the water repelling material involves applying a hole-filled membrane to a polymer, heating the two, and then peeling off the membrane. Made gooey by the heat, the polymer comes out of the holes in the desired thin, randomly sized fibers. And it’s precisely this randomization that counts as the leap forward with this research.

Credit: Shu-Hau Hsu and Wolfgang M. Sigmund

Five years ago when he started this research, Sigmund’s natural tendency as an engineer was to make all the fibers the same size and distance apart. But then he realized that spider hairs are both long and short and variously curved and straight, forming a surface that is anything but uniform. He then tried to mimic this random, chaotic surface using plastic hairs varying in size but averaging about 600 microns, or millionths of a meter. And it worked. It’s physics, not chemistry, that makes it water repellent.

“Most people that publish in this field always go for these perfect structures, and we are the first to show that the bad ones are the better ones,” Sigmund said. “Of course this is a finding in a lab. This is not something you expect from theory.”

Using video and close-up photographs, he observed water droplets on dime-sized plastic squares as they maintained their spherical shape, whether standing still or moving. As gravity pulls the droplets down they bulge on most other surfaces, dragging a kind of tail as they move. Sigmund said his surface is the first to shuttle droplets with no tail.

And it is self-cleaning because as waters scampers off the surface it carries dirt with it.  Therefore, the potential applications for the ultra-water-repellent material is widespread says Sigmund, including some food packaging, windows, and solar cells that must stay clean to gather sunlight. And boat designers might coat hulls with it, making boats faster and more efficient.

There are some drawbacks, however. It’s inexpensive to produce, but hard to do so with great reliability. Different techniques need to be developed to make the surfaces in commercially available quantities and size, Sigmund said. And more research is needed to make the surfaces hardy and resistant to damage.

Sigmund said a variation of the surface also repels oil–also a first for the industry–but he hasn’t published the research as of yet.

It’s worth noting that scientists have also reproduced other biologically inspired water repelling surfaces, including ones patterned after lotus leaves.

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