How Cutting-Edge Technology & Science Are Powering The Future TPM Idealab

After more than a decade of research and testing, electronics that can bend and stretch over virtually any surface are finally making their way to the marketplace.

One company in the space is mc10, a start-up in Cambridge Massachusetts. mc10 bases its products on research by co-founder and University of Illinois materials scientist John Rogers, and it's developing a new class of semiconductor applications that broadly range from from catheters to clothes.

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Chinese web company Sina's micro-blogging service Weibo is known as "China's Twitter," but the service's usage patterns are fundamentally different from Twitter, report a trio of researchers from HP Labs.

"We find that there is a vast difference in the content shared in China, when compared to a global social networks such as Twitter," according to Louis Yu, Sitaram Asur and Bernardo A. Huberman of HP's Social Computing Lab.

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Following up on the ongoing concerns over social networking sites' management of their users' personal information, congressional lawmakers on Thursday questioned whether the government's leading agencies tasked with protecting consumers and regulating the nation's communications systems were doing enough to protect individuals' privacy.

"What is the [Federal Trade Commission] doing to oversee Google+ and the new service that apparently there's some problems with?" demanded Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

"What is the FTC doing in regards to Facebook and the facial recognition technology? Does that pose a threat to privacy?"

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By Michael Infranco

Amid the clamor over the price of oil hitting $100 a barrel and our heavy dependence on foreign sources of supply, ethanol has reemerged as an alternative fuel that seems to have all the right stuff: it's renewable, it's affordable, and it's American-made.

But is ethanol the real deal? Can it really help wean the U.S. off foreign oil? Or is it the 21st-century equivalent of Jimmy Carter's shale-oil Holy Grail?

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After many a false start, the popular European music service Spotify launched Thursday in the United States to much fanfare.

But what's the big deal? We've got a plethora of music experiments underway in the United States, and cloud-based music services are making their way into the U.S. market from, Apple and Google.

One of the main conceptual differences: Subscribers don't have to own the music to listen to it.

Instead, the service, which has 15 million tunes in its database, streams music to its users on demand. The tunes and playlists that listeners call up and create can be cached on their computers and mobile devices if they choose to pay Spotify's monthly fees.

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by Eric Smalley

The Google+Facebook and Google+Tweet browser extensions that let you add your Facebook and Twitter streams to Google+ are a great idea.

Unfortunately, they're not ready for prime time.

The extensions' maker, Israeli software developer Crossrider, built the Facebook extension in a matter of hours as a demonstration of its cross-browser development tools, Crossrider CEO Koby Menachemi told TPM. The extensions contain several bugs and limitations (I found several in a brief glimpse at them) but there's also a larger, and more serious security vulnerability.

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