TPM News

Neal Ungerleider

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois have unveiled a new series of self-assembling microrobots which could have major ramifications for nanotechnology. The robots, which are only half a millimeter wide, are controlled via magnetic fields and can perform simple tasks such as opening their jaws or moving around a container of liquid.

They are among the smallest robots ever created.

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), which operates Argonne, the new robots demonstrate the ability to manipulate materials on a miniature level.

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Google Chairman Eric Schmidt is expected portray the search giant as a company struggling to keep up with competition rather than squashing it when he testifies in front of the Senate's antitrust subcommittee on Wednesday.

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Steve Westly, a venture capitalist, California's former comptroller, prominent Obama bundler, and one-time gubernatorial candidate for California, appeared on Press Here on Sunday, a weekly Bay Area show on innovation, to defend the administration's clean energy program.

It's worth listening to Westly not only because he's a major investor in clean energy technologies, but because he's influential in behind-the-scenes clean energy policymaking, by being on the Department of Energy's 12-member advisory board.

And because of his extensive fund-raising activities for President Obama, and his company The Westly Group's own investments in clean energy companies, he is likely to be much more in the political spotlight in upcoming months as Republicans look to portray Obama's clean energy policies as payback to people who helped him get elected.

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Updated September 18, 2011 1.15 EST Protestors and hacktivists of all stripes filled the streets of lower Manhattan Saturday as they sought to register their ongoing anger at what they see as the influence of big financial institutions over politics and everyday life in the United States. The protests, dubbed Occupy Wall Street, were organized through Twitter, the magazine web site Adbusters and under the banner of "Anonymous" at various sites online, and were planned for several other cities around the world we well.

New York City Police wouldn't give TPM's Idea Lab any crowd estimates, but they apparently showed up in force to keep things under control and to protect the bronze bull in Bowling Green Park, which has often been the target of anti-Wall Street wrath in the past.

A Livestream broadcast of the streets around Bowling Green Park showed a rowdy, circus-like atmosphere with people conducting yoga lessons in the park, and a choir singing behind a protest sign. The sound of police sirens blared in the background, against chants of "All day, all week, occupy Wall Street!"

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Earlier this week, it seemed Rick Perry was going to put the Ponzi scheme away forever. But have no fear, America: it's back in Perry's repertoire.

After taking a hammering from Mitt Romney and his rivals for using the metaphor to describe Social Security, Perry dialed things back a bit in a USA Today op-ed. The words "Ponzi scheme" didn't appear, and Perry focused his attention on promising the retired and retiring that he's not out to touch their entitlement. (The rest of us are not so lucky, however. Perry has talked about raising the retirement age to as high as 70 for workers 45 years old and younger, and/or scrapping the current system entirely in favor of state-run retirement schemes.)

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Updated 8.48 am ET, Saturday, September 17

That's one way to burn a bridge.

TechCrunch writer Paul Carr, one of the website's most vocal and consistent critics of its relationship with corporate parent AOL, posted his resignation "letter," on the blog late Friday, lambasting new editor Erick Schonfeld for "f***[ing] over... the whole of TechCrunch" and comparing him to a "crying baby."

Schonfeld has been on the job less than a week.

Carr begins the post with a Hunter S. Thomspon quote, explaining that his resignation from the popular gadget blog should come as little surprise since he himself threatened to resign on September 8 unless departing editor and founder Michael Arrington (who was fired from the blog by AOL's chief of content Arianna Huffintgon due to a perceived conflict of interest between Arrington's editorial integrity and the new startup fund he launched) was allowed to choose his successor.

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Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in a lengthy memo to House Republicans laid out areas of potential compromise with President Obama's jobs bill and even thanked the White House at one point for beginning to back away from an "all or nothing approach" to passing it.

"For the sake of 14 million Americans who are currently unemployed and the more than 4 million who have been unemployed for more than a year, we are pleased that the White House has begun to back away from that extreme," Boehner wrote in the letter sent late Friday afternoon.

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The FBI may or may not have psychological profiles of certain members of Anonymous -- but they definitely won't be found in this document, which has been making the rounds online lately.

An FBI spokesman speaking to Threat Post debunked the idea that the report originated from its training academy in Quantico, Virginia, as the fake document maintains.

The document was first "leaked" on Friday, September 8 by an Anonymous Tumblr account and Twitter. It circulated around the web, although most were quick to point out that it is replete with typos, grammar errors and other copy errors unbefitting of an actual FBI report.

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