Science and Technology Update – February 27, 2014

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By Science and Technology Staff

IBM Super Solar Panels

IBM has successfully developed prototypes of its new solar panels, called the High Concentration Photo Voltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system. IBM’s new system is capable of harnessing anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 the amount of energy from the sun collected by current solar panels. The research has been funded by the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation, which is supplying a $2.4 million grant over three years. In a 2009 study, Greenpeace estimated that “it would take only 2 percent of the Sahara Desert’s land area to supply the entire planet’s electricity needs,” if the HCPVT system is fully developed. The HCPVT system is able to outperform current solar panels due to increased efficiency in heat retention— losing less heat in the storage process.

Sleeping Jade Rabbit

China’s moon rover, the Jade Rabbit, is entering a two week sleep at the moment as it enters its third sleep cycle on the moon. A lunar sleep schedule lasts for two weeks at a time, and is usually required by lunar probes, since the temperatures on the moon go low enough to severely damage a probe’s measurement devices. At the end of January, Jade Rabbit ran into mechanical difficulties when one of its solar panels was unable to close properly, putting the entire rover at risk of being destroyed. The Jade Rabbit probe was designed to last China at least three months on the moon’s surface, but was declared dead in late January. Shortly thereafter, Chinese Xingua News Agency announced that the probe had “come back to life,” and may survive the solar panel set-back.

ITS Alert: Apple Security 

On Feb. 24 and Feb. 26, Union College Information Technology Services (ITS) made the following announcements:

February 24

‘On Friday, February 21, 2014 Apple released a patch to iOS 6 and iOS 7 to fix a vulnerability in the way SSL is handled. These patches should be installed immediately on your iOS devices. OS X still has the security vulnerability. Until a patch comes out for OS X, ITS recommends using Chrome or Firefox instead of Safari for your secure browsing.

If you require assistance or have any questions, please contact the ITS Help Desk (call 518.388.6400 or email helpdesk@union.edu). Please check our website http://its.union.edu /help-desk/information-security-union for the latest information.

Kelly A. Andolina Director, User Services Information Technology Services’

February 26

‘On Wednesday, February 26, 2014 Apple released a patch to fix the vulnerability in OS X that we previously reported to the campus community (http://its.union.edu/security-tips/major-ssl-security-flaw-osx-and-ios-devices).

This patch should be installed immediately on your Mac OS X computers. For more information, please see this article: http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/02/26/apple_patched_the_ssl_goto_fail_flaw_vulnerability_in_os_x.html

If you require assistance or have any questions, please contact the ITS Help Desk (call 518.388.6400 or email helpdesk@union.edu). Please check our website http://its.union.edu/help-desk/information-security-union for the latest information.

Sincerely,

Kelly A. Andolina Director, User Services Information Technology Services’

 

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