Sci/Tech briefs

Motorola releases new phone

Motorola has revealed a new smartphone called the Moto Cliq on Thursday that uses the Google Android operating system.
This is the first Android phone for Motorola, and the main focus of the device is on social networking. Motorola has modified the Android user interface to stand apart from other Android phones by building on top of it. The unique aspect of this phone is that it comes with a service called Motoblur.
Motoblur is built around social networking, and it features live widgets that integrate Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, MySpace, Yahoo,, and more.
The Moto Cliq will be available on T-Mobile later this year during the holiday season.

Source: The New York Times

Google to develop cheap solar panels

Google in 2007 announced that it would start scientific research in many areas, including areas of green energy sources. Currently, Google is looking into developing cheap solar panels that would cut costs by at least 25 percent.
Google is trying to do this by using different materials to construct the reflective mirrors of solar panels; these mirrors would cost one half of the current price of mirrors.

Although there is potential in this idea, the lack of government funding is slowing the process for further studies in green technology and testing of cost-effective solar panels.


Scientists find cause of potato famine

The Irish potato famine occurred in the 1840s and 1850s, and scientists have now unlocked the genetic code of potato famine. The potato famine was caused by a plant pathogen called the Phytophthora infestans.

The genome of the Phytophthora infestans is very large, and this allowed the pathogen to take over the potato.

The size of the pathogen’s DNA is so large that it is similar to the size of an animal’s DNA. The pathogen’s DNA is large since 75 percent of the genome is filled with repetitive DNA that appears to evolve quickly. Scientists believe that this large size enabled the pathogen to infect potatoes that were genetically modified to resist such pathogenic attack.

Source: Reuters

Open source software helps cameras

Stanford scientists are on a mission to reinvent digital photography by designing open source software for digital cameras. This will allow a community of programmers to develop new tools for digital cameras. No longer will a camera’s performance depend on the manufacturer’s software, but more on a worldwide developing community.

The open source camera can be modified in many ways, including focus, exposure, shutter speed, and flash. The open source software will be made public with a year, and it might be a while before your next Canon or Nikon runs on open source.

Source: Engadget