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Spectrum, IEEE

Issue 3 • Date March 2005

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Displaying Results 1 - 20 of 20
  • Cheaper hydrogen beckons [hydrogen energy]

    Publication Year: 2005
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    Energy systems using hydrogen could free us from dependence on oil and from the threats of smog and greenhouse gases. Yet three problems make hydrogen prohibitively expensive: generating it from a clean source, storing it, and moving it to wherever it's needed. To keep the dream of hydrogen alive, the INEEL researchers talk of using it to refine low-grade petroleum and make synthetic fuels. But if the goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions, why use the hydrogen to refine petroleum? In fact, why make hydrogen at all? If instead we used nuclear energy to replace coal-fired power plants, it would save four times as much in carbon dioxide emissions. And if the goal is to reduce petroleum imports then hydrogen can be made more efficiently from natural gas. View full abstract»

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  • Star-crossed [space-based weapons]

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 40 - 49
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    This paper discusses the arguments for and against the development of space-based weapons in the US. It has been suggested that the military advantages that might be gained from space-based weapons are outweighed by the political and economic price that the US would have to pay. Deploying such weapons would also create new, asymmetric vulnerabilities to the US armed forces and would be a significant political and strategic departure from 50 years of international law and diplomatic relations. An attractive alternative to using space weapons to protect valuable communications, imaging and other satellites, however, is to reduce the dependence on space assets, thereby avoiding the political, economic and technical difficulties of space weapons. Even without space weapons, the US could respond to an attack on its satellite with its unmatched terrestrial military capabilities. Adversaries would expect a heavy toll to be exacted as a result of any attack on US satellites. That expectation alone would almost certainly suffice to deter any such attack. View full abstract»

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  • London broil? The UK's capital prepares for rising tides and temperatures

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 10 - 12
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    London already has a barrier in place to seal the River Thames from the sea in time of need, and it is now launching a multibillion-pound project to augment the barrier against the higher tides that the UK government believes warmer weather will hurl against the city. In the 1970s, London commissioned the Thames Barrier, an underwater gate that stretches 520 meters across the River Thames, in east London. When rotated to the vertical plane, they rise above the waterline to form a seamless wall strong enough to resist tidal surges, even those aided by an onshore wind, from pushing sea-water upstream. The environment agency considers sewage spills so serious that it is contemplating construction of a tunnel underneath the Thames to cope with future overflow. The tunnel would normally be kept dry after a flood, water would be pumped out to a sewage treatment center. The problem of heat exhaustion among commuters is so serious that anyone who can come up with a reasonable cheap way to air-condition the network will get a reward from the mayor. View full abstract»

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  • Spectral Lines: Bell Tolls for AT&T

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 8
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  • The artful- and mobile-dodger [location-based social networking]

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 59 - 60
    Cited by:  Papers (3)  |  Patents (3)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1953 KB)  

    A new cellphone-based social networking tool aims to make urbanites evenings a lot less hit-or-miss. Thanks to Dodgeball.com, location-based social networking may be the next cellphone craze. This paper discusses a mobile social networking tool, called Dodgeball, that allows young urbanities to link up and meet face to face when they're out on the town. Joining Dodgeball means filling out a profile, posting photographs of yourself on the Dodgeball Web site and listing your friends and their cellphone numbers. Whether Dodgeball succeeds as a business may depend on its success as a social platform. View full abstract»

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  • The price is wrong [consumer electronics]

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 50 - 51
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    This paper relates the story of Apex Digital Inc., a California upstart maker of ultracheap DVD players, televisions and other consumer electronics, from being a rising star in the field to its downfall for having a total of $467 million in unpaid debt. The paper also describes the findings of Chipworks Inc., a technology research company in Ottawa, after reverse engineering an Apex DVD player in an attempt to shed some light on Apex's margins as a consumer electronics maker. View full abstract»

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  • PHOTO ESSAY: The Tangled Web Electrons Weave

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 20 - 21
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  • From peace to war [office conflict]

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 60 - 62
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
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    This paper provides some useful tips on how to resolve work-related disputes effectively. Dealing effectively with conflict means you can get on with the important things you need to do. View full abstract»

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  • Top 10 tech cars [hybrid electric vehicles]

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 22 - 30
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (4205 KB)  

    A number of new hybrid electric vehicle owners have expressed their disappointment with their purchase because of poor mileage. Official ratings for fuel use, based on the outdated driving patterns of US government test, turned out to be a poor predictor for what typical buyers could expect. Still, though hybrids are hot, no single vehicle is likely to make as much of a splash this year as the revamped Prius did in 2004. The closest thing to a recurring theme in 2005 will be electronic stability control. Among concept cars, hybrid electrics are still going strong, and more of them are being built with lithium-ion batteries rather than the standard nickel-metal hydride. Lithium-ion, now used mostly in consumer electronics, offers close to twice the energy density of nickel-metal hydride. The widest lithium-ion vehicle so fat has to be the luxury-sedan concept Elica from Japan. This paper presents the top ten hybrid cars from different countries. View full abstract»

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  • Forum

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 6
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  • The race to the bottom [consumer nanodevice]

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 32 - 39
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
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    This paper discusses how Gerd Binning, a Nobel laureate in physics and a star in IBM Corp.'s metamorphosing research apparatus, and Tom Rust, a self-taught engineer who founded Nanochip Inc., are competing to develop nanotechnology's first truly big commercial breakthrough, called probe storage. Probe storage is a memory system that could keep data storage on a par with the pitiless pace of advances in consumer and computing electronics. They are prime candidates to combine the low cost, high capacity and random access features of ordinary magnetic hard disk drives with the low power draw, high data rate, small size, and nonvolatility of solid-state flash memories. View full abstract»

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  • Cyber Insecurity?

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 15 - 16
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  • Books: Writing Nasa's Marching Orders

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 63
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  • Seven myths about voice over IP

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 52 - 57
    Cited by:  Papers (3)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1309 KB)  

    Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is one of the fastest growing and most misunderstood technologies in the world at the moment. Confusion, outdated beliefs and urban mythology reign over such simple issues as how it works, the quality of the calls, and, of course, how much it costs. This paper examines seven existing myths about VoIP. These myths are that: (1) VoIP is free; (2) the only difference between VoIP and regular telephony is the price; (3) the quality of service isn't an issue nowadays because there's plenty of bandwidth in the network; (4) VoIP can't replace regular telephony because it still cannot guarantee quality of service; (5) VoIP is just another data application; (6) VoIP isn't secure; and (7) a phone is a phone is a phone. View full abstract»

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  • Transparent transistors: a new class of semiconductors makes for fast, flexible, and invisible electronics

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 18 - 19
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
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    Two groups, in Japan and the United States, have reported making see-through circuits out of a new class of semiconductors. Besides holding out the possibility of building displays into the windows of cars and trains, the materials' low cost and low-temperature fabrication may suit them to future applications that don't need transparency, notably roll-up electronic displays. Standard silicon-based techniques can't compete in this area, because even if they could be made flexible, their processing temperatures, generally around 250 °C, are so high they would melt any plastic substrate holding the silicon in place. To get around the problem, several academic and corporate laboratories are developing pentacene and other organic semiconductors - so called because they consist of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. But although organic transistors can be processed at low temperatures and even printed like ink, they don't let electrons and other charge carriers move around very quickly; therefore, they perform poorly. Besides, organic materials tend to be thermally and chemically unstable. The semiconductor is n-type, meaning that electrons carry charges through it. The speed at which the electrons move in the device - called the field-effect charge carrier mobility - is the key, because it limits how fast a transistor can switch. In a-IGZO devices, the mobility is 6-10 square centimeters per volt-second, about five times that in similar organic thin-film transistors and more than seven times that of the hydrogenerated amorphous silicon in flat-panel displays today. View full abstract»

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  • Waiting and waiting for the next killer wave [tsunami early warning system]

    Publication Year: 2005
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    The United Nations working group on disaster reduction advocated building a tsunami early-warning system in the Indian Ocean, but nothing happened. Now the United Nations wants to put one together in a year. A tsunami alarm for the Indian Ocean may be worth the cost, but can it retain public support over the long haul? It took many scares over the course of half a century to coax the nations of the Pacific Ocean to build their tsunami warning network. But tsunamis are 2 percent as likely in the Indian Ocean, and the nations there will find it harder to maintain their resolve. The Pacific warning system ties together two elements: a surveillance network of seismic sensors, tide gauges, and satellites - and detailed maps of the ocean floor. Together they enable scientists to predict how hard a given tsunami will hit a given target's shores. Neither the monitoring nor the mapping has gone very far in the Indian Ocean. View full abstract»

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  • Tools & Toys: Akimbo In Limbo

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 65 - 66
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  • The Back Story: Dodgeball: Just the Right Look

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 5
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  • Inventions: Patent Watch

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 64
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    Describes various recent inventions and technologies that are novel, new or noteworthy. View full abstract»

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  • Robert's Rules [Reflections]

    Publication Year: 2005 , Page(s): 80
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    Freely Available from IEEE

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IEEE Spectrum Magazine, the flagship publication of the IEEE, explores the development, applications and implications of new technologies.

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