So what’s the latest from the fantastic worlds of science and technology on our Friday? Don’t let those snow showers get you down, we’ll warm your heart with a whole bunch of wonder…
* First of all, here are links to the Tech Report home page and Tech Report Page Two, where you will find much worthwhile news, as well as our latest reports on tech-related events and tech-related awards and certifications.
* That expansion of Lansing’s particle physics success story Niowave Inc. that we reported on yesterday will take place in the Next Michigan Development Zone at the Capital Region International Airport, the company announced Thursday. It’ll be a $202 million investment. The new building will feature a superconducting accelerator that will produce radioisotopes, along with equipment and space for isotope extraction and pharmaceutical production. The investment includes a 50,000 square foot building, the superconducting accelerator and production equipment, intellectual property, as well as regulatory and licensing costs. Niowave plans to add up to 120 new jobs to the region over the next five years with an average salary of $60,000. The expansion got a $3 million state grant and local property tax breaks worth $12 million.
* Uh-oh: The Mars rover Curiosity has temporarily stopped science observations while NASA checks out an electrical problem. The space agency said Wednesday the voltage change was first discovered on Sunday and engineers think it might be some kind of short. The six-wheel, nuclear-powered rover halted work as a precaution.
* Here’s a nifty story from CBS on JFK’s greatest enduring legacy — space exploration.
* And NASA apparently still wants a monopoly on American manned deep space exploration. Billionaire Dennis Tito, the first “space tourist, asked NASA to chip in with some new rockets and cash for a 2017 manned flyby of Mars. NASA’s response: Thanks, but no thanks.
* And as if the International Space Station could get any cooler, now it has a cubesat cannon.
* And NASA plans to make history in 2015 by growing plants on the moon.
* Cyprus’ biggest private university said Thursday it will start accepting the digital currency Bitcoin as an alternative way to pay tuition fees.
* Nokia sat on the sidelines of the tablet race for years, but it’s finally entering the game with the new Lumia 2520. This is the story of how that tablet came to be, and of how Nokia hopes to build many more.
* The folks over at iFixit dismantle the Xbox One to show that despite its bigger and bulkier appearance, Microsoft’s next-gen console is just as easy to dismantle and repair as Sony’s.
* A jury of six women and two men in San Jose, Calif. has determined the damages in a week-long retrial for Samsung’s alleged infringement of Apple’s patents. The verdict: $290 million.
* Software Development Times reports a new wave of fake tech support calls to Microsoft computer owners, telling them falsely that their computers are infected and urging them to download malware ridden ‘repair’ software.
* It’s a hackathon for immigration reform — that’s a roomful of young undocumented tech workers.
* Here’s a nifty education reform idea from Down Under — high school credits for Microsoft certifications in Australia.
* I’m usually all for science, but for Pete’s sake, couldn’t they have made the satellite tracking devices they’re making these seals wear a little cooler and more comfortable looking?
* Privacy Is No More Dept., Part The Billionth: LG Electronics Inc. said it is investigating a claim that some of its smart TVs send information on home viewing habits back to the company without consent.
* Another very cool use of design software: A historically accurate re-creation of a villa of the Roman emperor Hadrian (he of the wall). Looks kinda Californian, or Provence-ish.
* Wonderful! A new study shows airline pilots are relying too much on autopilots and other high-tech gizmos and are losing basic flying skills.
* Scientists at Columbia University have developed the world’s smallest FM transmitter — a sheet of carbon atoms one atom thick called graphene. I bet it still plays the same 40 classic rock songs over and over.
* Planning to take Friday off to play with your new Xbox One? Microsoft has posted a doctor’s note that might just convince a game-loving employer to give you a break. As the next-generation Xbox One preps to sail into stores on Friday, hot on the heels of Sony’s new PlayStation 4, Microsoft is likely expecting and certainly hoping that throngs of customers will line up to buy the new console. Eager Xbox gamers may even skip out on work for the chance to pick up, hook up, and play with the Xbox One. And it’s for those people that Microsoft’s ersatz doctor’s note is intended.
* Tablets are expected to be one of the hottest gadget gift items for Holiday 2013. And Verizon Wireless has a new daily data plan that will get customers hooked up to the company’s 4G LTE network for $5 a day.
* The creators of the Sanctri app believe there needs to be a separate place on Facebook to mourn the dead and honor them.
* Sprint is eating everyone’s dust. The nation’s third-largest wireless carrier by subscriber base sank to the bottom of a survey conducted by Consumer Reports over cell phone service. Sprint scored “dismal marks” in value, voice, text messaging, and 4G reliability, according to Consumer Reports’ survey released Thursday. Sprint ranked No. 2 behind Verizon Wireless a year ago.