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Friday Tech Link Roundup 31Jan14

Here’s a random assortment of technology news and links from the week.

Google sells Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 billion via @verge
Google has had a string of acquisitions recently, but have gone the other was this time by unloading (currently unprofitable) Motorola. After paying $12.5B for Motorola in 2012, Google is now unloading it to Lenovo for $660M in cash and $750M in stock, with $1.5B to be paid over three years.

“Lenovo has the expertise and track record to scale Motorola Mobility into a major player within the Android ecosystem,” Google CEO Larry Page said in a statement. “This move will enable Google to devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere.”

‘Obviously A Major Malfunction’: 28th Anniversary of Challenger’s Explosion via @universetoday
January 28, 1986 was a pretty vivid memory for me. We were all watching the shuttle launch in elementary school in celebration of the first teacher in space. Hard to believe that was 28 years ago this week. NASA has changed quite a bit since then with their flight rules and safety procedures (won’t debate the efficiency of that today…), but with the commonality of launches to ISS I think the general public tends to forget how dangerous manned spaceflight is.

Flying aboard mission 51-L were commander Francis “Dick” Scobee, pilot Michael Smith, mission specialists Judith Resnik, Ellison Onizuka and Ronald McNair, and payload specialists Gregory Jarvis and McAuliffe. The physical cause of the explosion was traced back to a faulty O-ring on one of the shuttle’s external boosters, which weakened in the cold before launch and then failed, leading to the explosion about 72 seconds after launch.

Facebook Hilariously Debunks Princeton Study Saying It Will Lose 80% Of Users via @techcrunch
Pretty funny rebuttal by Facebook to the flawed Princeton study. Correlation != Causation.

This trend suggests that Princeton will have only half its current enrollment by 2018, and by 2021 it will have no students at all, agreeing with the previous graph of scholarly scholarliness. Based on our robust scientific analysis, future generations will only be able to imagine this now-rubble institution that once walked this earth.

Adobe Adds 3D Printing for Photoshop via @PopMech
Adobe helps add to the mad rush of people wanting to play with 3D printers by adding capabilities to Photoshop. I had some back and forth tweets with one of the software engineers at Adobe about it. Looks like this will be more useful for creatives and artists and not engineers, but I’m happy to be wrong about that.

Photoshop isn’t exactly known for CAD modeling. Although you can create basic 3D models in the program, Adobe sees Photoshop as a go-between that allows users to tweak and polish designs before printing. “The new 3D print capabilities in Photoshop CC take the guess work out of printing 3D models for everyone”

Drilling surprise opens door to volcano-powered electricity via @ConversationUK
Very interesting article about a research team that accidently drilled into a magma pocket from the Earth’s core. Calling it a “surprise” seems like a pretty drastic understatement. This discovery could lead the way to future power plants that harness the heat and steam for a virtually endless supply of energy.

The well funnelled superheated, high-pressure steam for months at temperatures of over 450°C – a world record. In comparison, geothermal resources in the UK rarely reach higher than around 60-80°C.

The magma-heated steam was measured to be capable of generating 36MW of electrical power. While relatively modest compared to a typical 660MW coal-fired power station, this is considerably more than the 1-3MW of an average wind turbine, and more than half of the Krafla plant’s current 60MW output.

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