Carbon-negative energy, a reality at last -- and cheap, too

BERKELEY, Calif. -- In 2007, officials from this famously liberal city shut off the electricity to an artists space known as the Shipyard. That action, which forced the artists there to seek a new way to power their flamethrowers, is the origin story of a company that now produces what it says is the world's only carbon-negative power source.

Located in one of the grittiest areas of town, where train tracks, garbage, and broken down cars are far more prevalent than the hippies Berkeley is famous for, All Power Labs has set up shop inside the Shipyard. Run by CEO Jim Mason -- who owns the space -- the 5-year-old startup now produces technology used to transform dense biomass like corn husks or wood chips into clean, sustainable, and cheap energy. … Read more

Samsung's acquisition list zeroes in on software -- report

Samsung's recent acquisition shopping list zeroes in on several software names, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

According to the paper, some of those possible targets have included Unity Technologies, a San Francisco-based gaming platform developer; Green Throttle Games, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based company that makes game controllers and software that connects mobile devices to televisions; Israeli mobile search engine; Israeli video-chat app maker Rounds; and location-sharing app Glympse of Seattle, Wash.

It's not clear from the report whether Samsung is still looking at any of the companies aside from Glympse. In … Read more

Samsung Galaxy Gear available for preorder at Best Buy

Best Buy announced Thursday that Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch will be up for preorder on Friday. It will be one of the only retailers to carry all six colors of the device.

Samsung announced the Galaxy Gear earlier this month at the IFA show in Berlin. The device has hit some countries around the world already and will be available in the US next month. Sprint announced that it will start selling the smartwatch on October 4.

The Gear, which costs $299, features a touch screen that tells time, provides access to notifications and messages, and works with apps. … Read more

Johns Hopkins apologizes for yanking prof's NSA blog

Johns Hopkins University is now aiming to prove it made a mistake in trying to censor a professor's blog post about the National Security Agency. After a back-and-forth on Monday, the dean of the university's Whiting School of Engineering wrote an apologetic letter to the professor.

"I write to apologize for any difficulty I caused you yesterday over the post on your blog. I realize now that I acted too quickly, on the basis of inadequate and -- as it turns out -- incorrect information," Dean Andrew Douglas wrote. "I requested that you take down … Read more

Johns Hopkins reverses decision forcing prof to pull NSA post

Johns Hopkins University was alerted earlier Monday that one of its professors wrote a blog post allegedly linking to classified National Security Agency documents. Swiftly, the university asked this professor to take down his post. However, hours later, when the school realized he was just linking to news articles -- he was allowed to reinstate the blog post.

The whole debacle began after major news stories spread across the Web last Thursday detailing claims that the NSA has been setting up a clandestine program to break digital encryptions for everything from users' smartphones to everyday e-mails to medical records.

Matthew … Read more

How Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin survived murder, fires, constant change

SPRING GREEN, Wis. -- Is it possible for a masterwork of architecture to be best known for a grisly murder?

In the case of Taliesin, architect Frank Lloyd Wright's longtime home, the answer may well be yes.

In 1911, Wright built a stunning home on a terrific piece of land with a steep drop on one side and a gentle descent on the other. He built it for Mamah Borthwick, a client's wife with whom he had fallen in love. Needing to escape Oak Park, Ill., where he had lived and worked, but where the client lived, he … Read more

Senate approves immigration bill with increased H-1B visas

In a rare bipartisan effort, the U.S. Senate approved the immigration bill with a 68-32 vote on Thursday. This means the lobbying efforts put forth by Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and other major tech companies most likely made a difference.

The 1,200-page measure, dubbed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, which ultimately won the Senate's approval, calls for boosting security on the U.S.-Mexico border, helping immigrants that are currently in the U.S. illegally, and increasing H-1B visas to foreign workers.

It's the bit about H-1B visas that the tech companies were … Read more

Star Apps: Seth Green on Hipstamatic

Superstar Seth Green is perhaps best known for his work on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," three "Austin Powers" films, "Party Monster," "Family Guy," and his Emmy Award-winning, stop-motion-animated series "Robot Chicken."

What many fans might not know is that Green, who will soon appear on-camera in the upcoming feature "The Identical," the upcoming miniseries "Delete," and on fall's Fox comedy series "Dads," is quite the pro behind the camera as well, as his online photo album demonstrates. Green opened up about his HipstamaticRead more

Electric aircraft start finding a foothold in aviation industry

LE BOURGET, France -- Maybe we should call them e-craft.

At the Paris Air Show here, a handful of companies tried out their own version of a change sweeping the automotive industry: electric power. There are abundant challenges to the approach, but some believe that the technology will catch on at least in some circumstances.

Early electric cars were small and light, and electric aircraft are following suit for the same reason: having less mass to push around means a vehicle can get farther on a limited amount of energy. Thus, you shouldn't expect a 250-passenger electric jet any … Read more

Children's cancer wing transformed into superhero ward

Kids dealing with cancer at the A.C. Camargo Cancer Center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, are getting a slightly different kind of cancer-fighting treatment. The medicine is the same, but the delivery method carries a superheroic message. The IV fluid is now covered with superhero logos created by advertising agency JWT Brazil.

Warner Brothers (owner of DC Comics) is also a client of JWT and gave its blessing and a helping hand to the project that features Green Lantern, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. The kids are given custom comic books and animations that show the popular superheroes undergoing similar treatments. The superheroes recover thanks to the "superformula" and continue in their crime-fighting ways.… Read more