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Why Twitter is a male chauvinist’s dream company

October 9, 2013 4:57 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

Twitter is in big trouble. The company, which recently began preparing to go public, came under fire for its all-male board and lack of female executives within the company. All of this was pointed out in a NYT’s piece by Clair Cain Miller where Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford Rock Center for Corporate Governance...

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Why the U.S. sucks at math

October 9, 2013 4:47 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

No doubt about it – we're failing our children. We take it for granted that American children lag behind the rest of the world in STEM literacy: In a recent survey, U.S. 15-year-olds ranked 25th out of 34 developed countries in mathematics. We also assume that kiddies are born with a natural affinity for math and science. But what if STEM literacy isn’t an innate skill? What if it can be taught?

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Meet the voice behind Siri

October 9, 2013 2:44 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

Internet, meet Siri. Siri, meet the internet. Surprise! It’s not really Siri. Obviously, Siri is a computer program on the iPhone, but Susan Bennett is the voice behind the virtual assistant. Bennett says the sassy, somewhat martyred, voice was a product of some July 2005 recording sessions for GM Voices.

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Watch dead batteries power smartphones

October 8, 2013 2:02 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

When we speak of “reanimating the dead”, we usually don’t mean dead batteries. And we certainly don’t harness these used electrochemical cells – Frankenstein-style – into a giant, mutated power station. Yet that’s exactly what Thailand’s Vitamilk did by resurrecting a battalion of dead batteries and channeling their energy to power small electronics....

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Why IKEA's solar panels are a great idea

October 8, 2013 12:31 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

Though Americans can already buy solar panels at Home Depot and Lowes, customers in the UK are just getting the opportunity as IKEA, the Swedish flat-pack furniture store, will start stocking the panels.This is such a great step towards mainstreaming the renewable energy market.

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Tool reconditioning fits nicely with lean manufacturing

October 8, 2013 10:23 am | by Jim Norton, Custom Products & Services, Inc., www.custom-products.com | Comments

Although many manufacturing processes have become automated over the past 20 years, there is still a fair amount of manual or hand assembly and rework required. Gone are the days when electronic and industrial assembly required row upon row of technicians carefully assembling circuit boards, electronic modules or entire assemblies without

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New experiments aim to give flow batteries a place in the sun

October 8, 2013 9:56 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Comments

Proponents of solar and wind energy are quick to point out that these energy sources are best because, well, they’re free. But for utilities looking to incorporate these energy sources into their grids, they’re not exactly cheap either.Wind and solar energy storage on the electric grid has always been hampered....

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Peer review is fatally broken

October 7, 2013 1:46 pm | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Comments

"Nobody reads journals," says science publisher Vitek Tracz, who has made a fortune from journals. "People read papers." Tracz sees a grim future for what has been the mainstay of scientific communication, the peer-reviewed print journal. Within the next 10 years, he says, it will cease to exist.

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Fun facts about manufacturing files

October 4, 2013 6:56 pm | by Screaming Circuits | Comments

Circuit boards live and die by their manufacturing files. Without complete and accurate information, the board fab house can't fab the boards, the assembly house can't assemble your boards and nobody can buy the parts. Our old standard, the Gerber file, has been around since about the time King Arthur pulled the inductor out of the solder pot. It's old.

This dating website caters to ghosts

October 4, 2013 10:08 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

Who says being dead has to kill your love life? Yes, a dating website actually caters to ghosts, because of course it does....and no, this isn’t a joke (at least in the sense that the website actually exists). The Internet’s limitless potential for putting the sum total of humanity’s accumulated knowledge at a keystroke has the incidental effect of uniting lonely singles who prefer niche preferences, but ethereal spirits? That’s a new one.

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Can software save Moore's Law?

October 3, 2013 4:49 pm | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Comments

I came across this short video, Can Software Save Moore's Law?, when looking for videos on programming. I like the presenter's take on the next frontier in computing. Efficient software. Back in the early days of computing, software engineers needed to understand computers well because the computing resources were so limited that you had to know the hardware well to make the best use of it.

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Why the iPhone 5s makes me nauseous

October 3, 2013 4:43 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

For a girl who loves her Apple products, I’ve generally been pretty un-opinionated about the iOS 7. I’ve heard some complaints about the size of the app icons and other curmudgeonly complaints as everyone slowly updates. My favorite—and most frequently heard—complaint is actually that they changed the color of some of the app icons and now no one can find anything.

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Top 10 must-see stories for September

October 3, 2013 3:30 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

Here’s a rundown of the most read, most popular, most awesome articles on the web. Take a look at what you missed the first time around or check up on an old favorite to see the conversation in the comments. Keep checking out the Lead at www.ecnmag.com and follow us on Twitter @ecnonline for our most up-to-date articles.

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The Dangers of ESD

October 3, 2013 9:51 am | by Screaming Circuits | Comments

Question: What do a conductive floor, foot grounding straps, conductive work smocks, wrist ground straps, foot grounding testers, ESD training, bench-top grounding monitors, anti-static bags, anti-static boxes, grounded carts, anti-static attitudes, conductive desk mats and grounded tools have in common?...

This office-training parody will make you nostalgic for the '80s

October 1, 2013 2:50 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

Ah, the ‘80s ... the Cold War was winding down, Arnold Schwarzenegger was terminating box office receipts, and hokey office-training videos were at their peak. Grasshopper – a company that provides entrepreneurs with virtual phone systems – captured all that and more in their parody/viral marketing campaign, the “Epic 80s Entrepreneur Training Video.”

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