Friday, February 11, 2011

All The Digital Data In The World Is Equivalent To One Human Brain

Supercomputer An IBM Blue Gene/P supercomputer rack. Wikimedia Commons

From Popular Science:

If you could put all the data in the world onto CDs and stack them up, the pile would stretch from the Earth to beyond the moon, according to a new study. The world’s technological infrastructure has a staggering capacity to store and process information, reaching 295 exabytes in 2007, a reflection of the world’s almost complete transition into the digital realm. That's a number with 20 zeroes behind it, in case you're wondering.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Glimpse Into World's Biggest Wind Tunnel

The massive propellers, weighing a tonne each, are 24 metres in diameter and can get up to speeds of 230 rotations a minute

Rare Glimpse Into World's Biggest Wind Tunnel That Blows Gusts Twelve Times The Speed Of Sound -- The Daily Mail

Shrouded in total secrecy, massive wind tunnels that test the resistance of European aircraft have been opened up and photographed.

Journalists were offered the rare glimpse of the 24 metre diametre steel tubes at the National Centre for Aeropsace Research (Onera), where propellers, weighing over a tonne each, power the huge gusts of wind.

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My Comment: That's one big wind tunnel.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Swimming With Polar Bears

Within touching distance: Children swim incredibly close to two enormous polar bears at a rescue centre with a difference in Ontario, Canada

Polar Scare! Children Swim Inches From Monster Bears (Which Would Be A Worry If You Don't Notice The Glass Barrier) -- The Daily Mail

It's a heart-in-the-mouth moment that would have most parents running for help.

The massive carnivores loom menacingly over their bite-size pool companions in these remarkable pictures.

But there's more to the scenario than meets the eye, in fact the children are separated from certain death by 10-inch thick plexiglas.

Read more ....

My Comment: I can only imagine what the polar bears are thinking.

Facebook Moving To Menlo Park From Palo Alto

Facebook to Find New Home in Menlo Park City -- TMCnet

Facebook on the move: Company relocating to former Sun Microsystems headquarters

Mark Zuckerberg’s $50-billion empire may be getting a whole host of new neighbors as word is spreading that the company is saying “goodbye” to its leased space on S. California Avenue and 1050 Page Mill Road in Palo Alto (News - Alert), Calif, and “hello” to Sun Microsystems old headquarters. The new location boasts 11 buildings, 57 acres and one million square feet of property, according to a TechCrunch article.

Read more ....

Winter Scuttles Effort to Reach Ancient Arctic Lake

(Credit: Getty Images)

From CBS News:

In a race against the clock, Mother Nature won. A Russian team that has been toiling around the clock to pierce through to a sub-glacial lake in Antarctica is calling it quits - for now - because of harsh winter weather that's freezing their hydraulic tools.

The sub-glacial Lake Vostok is located at the bottom of a 12,000 foot-thick ice sheet in Antarctica but the project leaders reported the evacuation of its team 29.53 meters short of the final destination. They plan to resume their work next spring, when temperatures allow them to again use their drills. Lake Vostok has some of the lowest recorded temperatures found anywhere, with the thermometer going as low as -129 degrees Fahrenheit.

Read more ....

Solar Physicists Will Soon have Their First 360-Degree View Of Our Star

Image: The Stereo satellites are already feeding data into space weather forecasts

Stereo Satellites Move either Side Of Sun -- BBC

Two US spacecraft have moved either side of the Sun to establish observing positions that should return remarkable new information about our star.

Launched in 2006, the Stereo satellites have gradually been drifting apart - one in front of the Earth in its orbit, the other lagging behind.

On Sunday, Nasa said the spacecraft had arrived at points that put the Sun directly between them.

It will give solar physicists the first 360-degree view of our star.

Read more ....

My Comment: The data from this satellite alignment is probably going to be astounding.

View the World's Art Without Leaving Home

From ABC News:

Google Partners With 17 International Museums for Art Project.

Next time you want to get yourself some culture, you won't need to battle the crowds at a museum. You won't even need to leave the house.

Google today announced its Art Project, which lets users tour 17 of the world's top art museums -- virtually.

Read more ....

My Comment: Sorry .... but it is not the same experience.

The Secret Life Of Bees

Many plants produce toxic chemicals to protect themselves against plant-eating animals, and many flowering plants have evolved flower structures that prevent pollinators such as bees from taking too much pollen. Now ecologists have produced experimental evidence that flowering plants might also use chemical defences to protect their pollen from some bees. (Credit: iStockphoto/James Knighten)

Secret Life Of Bees Now A Little Less Secret -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Feb. 6, 2011) — Many plants produce toxic chemicals to protect themselves against plant-eating animals, and many flowering plants have evolved flower structures that prevent pollinators such as bees from taking too much pollen. Now ecologists have produced experimental evidence that flowering plants might also use chemical defences to protect their pollen from some bees.

Read more ....

My Comment: Nothing can remain secret forever.

Human Genome Turns 10

Human Genome Turns 10: 5 Lessons Learned -- Live Science

Ten years ago this month, in what was heralded as the opening to a new era in human biology and medicine, two rival teams of scientists published their first official reports of the sequencing of the human genome.

"Humanity has been given a great gift," announced one of the two journals, Science, to publish the drafts.

Read more ....

My Comment: Ten years already .... how the time flies.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Computer Pioneer Ken Olsen Dead At 84

Ken Olsen (Credit: Computer History Museum)

From The CBS News:

Ken Olsen, co-founder of the defining technology company of a bygone era, Digital Equipment Corporation, has died. He was 84.

A spokeswoman for Gordon College in Massachusetts, where Olsen was a trustee and prominent donor, confirmed Monday evening Twitter reports of his death on Sunday. Olsen's company dominated the minicomputer era of the tech industry from the 1960s through the 1980s with the PDP and VAX series computers, and was a key part of the famed Route 128 technology corridor just outside Boston, along with companies like Data General and Wang.

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Say Hello To The Bloodhound Supercar

Construction Begins On Bloodhound Supercar -- BBC

Construction work formally begins this week on what is expected to be the world's fastest car.

Called Bloodhound, the vehicle has been designed to reach 1,000mph (1,600km/h).

The British car will attempt to set the mark as it breaks the land speed record on a dried out lake bed in South Africa's Northern Cape late next year.

Bloodhound has been in design for the past three years. It will be powered by a Eurofighter-Typhoon jet engine bolted above a hybrid rocket.

Read more ....

My Comment:
1,600 kilometers an hour .... now you are talking.

Space Shuttles To Be Used By The Private Sector?

Endeavour Rolls Out Space Shuttle Endeavour rolls to the launch pad at dawn a year ago for STS-130, which delivered the Tranquility node to the International Space Station. NASA is considering keeping Endeavour flight-ready after its last flight this April. NASA

After Retiring from Government Service, Space Shuttles May Be Sold For Flights In Private Sector -- Popular Science

NASA contractor suggests private spaceflights starting in 2013.

A NASA contractor wants to go all Brett Favre on America’s space shuttles, pulling them out of retirement past their prime to keep them going, even if it’s to play for the other side.

United Space Alliance, which manages the shuttle program for NASA, wants to spend $1.5 billion annually to fly two missions a year from 2013 to 2017, using Endeavour and Atlantis. It would bridge the gap between the end of the shuttle program and the start of privately run space taxis, and help prevent American reliance on Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

Read more ....

My Comment: I do not know about this. The shuttles are fast approaching their lifetime .... flying them will probably not be safe.

Roaches Inspire Robotics

Locusts like these in Eilat, Israel, are inspiring future robotic advances.
(Credit: Photo by Prof. Amir Ayali)

Roaches Inspire Robotics: Researchers Use Common Cockroach To Fine-Tune Robots Of The Future -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Feb. 7, 2011) — Ask anyone who has ever tried to squash a skittering cockroach -- they're masters of quick and precise movement. Now Tel Aviv University is using their maddening locomotive skills to improve robotic technology too.

Prof. Amir Ayali of Tel Aviv University's Department of Zoology says the study of cockroaches has already inspired advanced robotics. Robots have long been based on these six-legged houseguests, whose nervous system is relatively straightforward and easy to study.

Read more ....

My Comment: Cockroaches?

A Satellite Network Is One Way To Bypass An Internet Shutdown

Could Satellites Bypass an Internet Shutdown? -- Live Science

Online censorship and Internet kill-switches could meet their match if satellite-enabled services and ground peer-to-peer networks become more widespread in the future. That's the view of Kosta Grammatis, CEO and founder of, who sees Internet access as a basic necessity.

An independent satellite operator could have kept Egyptian protesters online and connected to the outside world despite the Egyptian government's shutdown of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) this past week. Governments would find it difficult to jam an independent satellite signal across an entire country, Grammatis said in a TIME interview.

Read more ....

My Comment: I support anything that gets us away from the clutches of the government.

Governments Seek Veto Powers Over New Domain Names

U.S. Seeks Veto Powers Over New Domain Names -- CNET News

The Obama administration is quietly seeking the power for it and other governments to veto future top-level domain names, a move that raises questions about free expression, national sovereignty, and the role of states in shaping the future of the Internet.

At stake is who will have authority over the next wave of suffixes to supplement the venerable .com, .org, and .net. At least 115 proposals are expected this year, including .car, .health, .nyc, .movie, and .web, and the application process could be finalized at a meeting in San Francisco next month.

Read more ....

My Comment: So much for freedom on the web.

Robot On The Moon?

SpaceX to the Moon Lunar X Prize

Private Company Wants To Put A Robot On The Moon Next Year -- Popular Science

A private company aims to send a robotic lander and rover to the lunar surface as soon as December of next year on a Falcon 9 rocket.

Astrobotic Technology Inc., a spinoff of Carnegie Mellon University, announced its contract with SpaceX Sunday. The Falcon 9’s upper stage will slingshot Astrobotic’s spacecraft on a four-day trip to the moon. Astrobotic’s lander will enter lunar orbit, align itself and land autonomously, using guidance systems designed for driverless cars.

The rover will explore the moon for three months, operating continuously during the day and hibernating at night.

Read more ....

My Comment: This is an interesting project .... I wish everyone success.