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Navy's laser weapon is thwarted by Mother Nature

February 21, 2014 8:13 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Sci-Fi geeks rejoice — the U.S. Navy’s shipboard laser weapon will deploy this summer. *Cue John Williams soundtrack* But the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) — while dirt-cheap to operate — is hamstrung by Mother Nature: Inclement weather — plus a host of other conditions — could limit its effectiveness. Bummer....

#racism? Study probes slurs found on Twitter

February 19, 2014 11:25 am | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Is cyber-racism the newest form of cyberbullying? A study performed by the British organization Demos reports that over 10,000 racial slurs are posted on Twitter every day. That means that every 9 seconds or so, a racial slur is tweeted. What’s going on here?

Mini-DIN 4.1/9.5 adapters offer VSWR performance of 1.25:1 up to 6 GHz

February 18, 2014 4:15 pm | Product Releases | Comments

Fairview Microwave (Allen, TX) introduces a complete line of mini-DIN 4.1/9.5 adapters intended for use in applications requiring low passive intermodulation (low PIM) performance such as cell sites or indoor/outdoor distributed antenna systems (DAS).

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John Kerry: Climate change is a "weapon of mass destruction"

February 18, 2014 12:53 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Over the weekend, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Indonesia, and from the confines of a U.S.-funded cultural center at a Jakarta mall, Kerry described anthropogenic (aka, man-caused) global warming (AGW) as "perhaps the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction".

When the going gets tough, rugged connectors deliver

February 18, 2014 11:58 am | by David Cianciolo, Director of Engineering, Fischer Connectors | Fischer Connectors | Articles | Comments

When you’re designing equipment for extreme conditions or critical situations, high performing components are essential, and rugged connectors offer a reliable solution for the toughest situations. Rugged connectors are engineered for a variety of demanding applications, including extreme temperatures....

Eco-cables: The next generation of control cabling

February 18, 2014 11:17 am | by Rob Toenies, product manager at Newark element14 | Newark | Articles | Comments

Eco-material cables, or eco-cables, are the next generation in control cabling. Poised to replace standard polyvinyl chloride (PVC) cables, eco-cables are becoming more and more popular due to the performance and environmental benefits they provide.

Why have millennials surrendered their online privacy?

February 17, 2014 4:52 pm | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Every click you make could have real-world consequences, whether you’re shopping online or posting incriminating pictures. Terms like “internet safety” don’t mean what they used to, but a lot of us haven’t caught up yet. Is this because the internet is changing faster than we are or because we just don’t care? Do millennials take safety and privacy of their online lives for granted?

Forget the "smart home": These homes are micro-sized

February 17, 2014 11:52 am | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Cubicles have a bad rap: They’re tiny, humiliating work spaces reserved for monkeys who push buttons all day long. I don’t have to sit in one, so maybe I’d speak differently if I were stuck in a bathroom-sized box all day, but I do live in a one-bedroom apartment with my significant other. And if there’s one good thing about having less room to stretch out in, it’s that you’re forced to use it more wisely.

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The five best apps to plan your perfect Valentine’s at the last second

February 14, 2014 4:19 pm | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Waited till the last second to make your Valentine’s Day plans? Forgot about the day of love entirely? Or maybe you’re snowed in and have to rethink your plans? Not to worry — these five apps, free or inexpensive for multiple operating systems, are ready to save the day. No matter what kind of day you want.

For DARPA’s next trick: Things that disappear

February 14, 2014 12:16 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), through its Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR), is working on what it calls “transient” electronics that can disappear when activated remotely. The BBC recently reported that DARPA awarded a $3.5 million contract....

Relay system promises increased flexibility

February 14, 2014 12:14 pm | Phoenix Contact | Product Releases | Comments

Phoenix Contact (Middletown, PA) introduced RIFLINE Complete, a modular ice cube-style relay system with a broad range of accessories. The system is available as either completely assembled modules, which can save assembly time and labor costs, or as individual components, to

Power connectors aim to fill a critical power gap with a small footprint

February 14, 2014 11:45 am | Molex | Product Releases | Comments

Molex’ (Lisle, IL) Mega-Fit wire-to-board, mid-range power connector is presented as filling a significant power void in today’s interconnect marketplace by delivering 23 A in a small 5.7-mm footprint. The connectors are appropriate for

Coax connector targets high frequency applications where spacing is critical

February 14, 2014 10:48 am | Emerson Network Power Connectivity | Product Releases | Comments

Emerson Network Power (Bannockburn, IL) announced an addition to the Johnson line of coax connectors, SMPM for applications such as radar, satellite, high density packaging, and applications requiring higher frequencies up to 65 GHz. These subminiature connectors feature

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How far should the 1st Amendment protect domestic drones?

February 14, 2014 9:27 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Does the “right to know” trump privacy rights? Should journalists exercise restraint in coverage of sensitive topics? At what point does a slavish devotion to the 1st Amendment absolve the press of any moral responsibility? These are very old questions, but they’ve become particularly relevant in the age of 24/7 citizen journalism....

Photos of the Day: The Taranis Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle demonstrator

February 14, 2014 8:01 am | by ECN Staff | News | Comments

The BAE Systems Taranis, named after the Celtic god of thunder, is being billed as the most advanced British aircraft ever built. The Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator will be a semi-autonomous stealth vehicle capable of striking intercontinental targets.

3D-printed drones: The future of warfare?

February 13, 2014 9:46 am | by Allegra Sparta, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

It’s like learning about the newest celebrity couple. The only difference is that you won’t read about this development in the tabloids. The United States didn’t really need any more incentive to outdo other countries in military technology, but 3D printing is an attractive avenue to further enhance our growing preference for drone warfare.

GaN-based transistors take to the sky to capture the action

February 12, 2014 11:25 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

When Ray Breslin and Emil Rottmayer attempted a highly daring escape from a super-high security prison in this fall’s thriller Escape Plan, audiences got up close to see (spoiler alert!) our two heroes — played by Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, respectively — engage in a gunfight with the prison’s “crew”....

Is your employer tracking your every move?

February 11, 2014 4:20 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Your employer probably isn’t tracking your every move just yet, but with new technology from Hitachi, it might not be that far down the road. Obviously there are ways for employers to track your productivity now whether it’s cameras or looking at your internet logs, but it’s really time consuming and not very informative for most employees.

Crony capitalism vs. online gambling

February 11, 2014 2:25 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The 10th amendment is back in style, apparently. Back in 2011, the Justice Department issued a legal opinion on the Federal Wire Act of 1961, essentially reversing its longstanding ban on internet gambling. “Interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a 'sporting event or contest' fall outside the reach of the Wire Act,” it read.

Single poke-home WTB contacts is available in 1.7 mm size

February 11, 2014 10:46 am | Avx Corporation | Product Releases | Comments

AVX (Greenville, SC) expanded its 9296 Single Poke-Home Wire-to-Board (WTB) Contact Series with the addition of a 1.7-mm single-position contact. These contacts enable the simple, reliable, and solderless termination of

Obtaining low power for industrial devices: Energy harvesting, batteries or hybrids?

February 11, 2014 8:03 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

The concept of energy harvesting has been around for as long as windmills and waterwheels were used to harness energy. In the last decade, the possibilities of using low-power harvested energy have greatly expanded in the industrial market as devices became smaller, autonomous and required less power.

Why has the U.S. surrendered its global lead in engineering?

February 10, 2014 12:08 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

President Obama’s State of the Union address focused heavily on the domestic tech sector, and now we know why — a recent report by the National Science Board (NSB) charted America’s eroding share of the “global scientific landscape,” and its conclusions are troubling. Since 2001, the global R&D performed by Asian countries has overtaken the U.S.

Watch this fish drive his own tank around

February 10, 2014 11:34 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Do you ever feel like your fish is jealous of the cat and dog who can walk freely about the house just because they have the ability to “breathe oxygen”? Have you caught your fish eyeing the parrot and his high flying, free-wheeling ways? Is he jealous of the hamster in the ball who gets to roll around the house?

Net Neutrality is back in our court

February 10, 2014 8:53 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Last month, a federal judge dealt Net Neutrality proponents a devastating blow in Verizon’s challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Open Internet Order of 2011 (Verizon v FCC). The FCC’s Open Internet Order essentially forbid Internet service providers (ISPs) from

Average joe rescues Twitter

February 7, 2014 12:06 pm | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Many fear that Twitter is past its “honeymoon phase” of popularity. What’s your biggest issue with Twitter? The layout? The registration process? The character limit? Well, the last isn’t changing. But the rest? You’re in luck: CEO Dick Costolo has plans to address these issues.

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