Friday, October 14, 2011

Jaguar To Be The World's Fastest Supercomputer Again

ORNL's Petascale Jaguar Supercomputer The petascale Jaguar is the world's fastest computer, but DARPA wants to take computing to the next level.

Jaguar Is Getting A GPU Upgrade, To Make It The World's Fastest Supercomputer Again -- Popular Science

The new souped-up supercomputer will be renamed Titan.

Back in June when the latest edition of TOP500 dropped (TOP500 lists the world’s top supercomputers), Japan’s K Computer leapt ahead of China’s Tianhe-1A supercomputer to become the biggest, baddest computing platform on the planet. But after more than a year of slipping down the ranks as its competitors across the Pacific surged ahead, Oak Ridge National Labs Jaguar supercomputer is poised to become the fastest computer in the world once more.

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Apple's iPad 3 Moving into Production Early?

Rumor: Apple's iPad 3 Moving into Production Early -- Techland

Move over iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 rumors, here comes the iPad 3! What, you thought the grapevine was closed with Apple's iPhone 4S hitting shelves today? Not when it sounds like Apple's newest slate is right around the corner...if we buy Susquehanna Financial analyst Jeff Fidacaro's claims, anyway.

Fidacaro believes, based on supply chain probing, that Apple's ramping up fourth quarter iPad production activity because it plans to produce—ahead of schedule— as many as one million iPads 3s yet this year.

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My Comment: I so wish it was on the market right now. Sighhh ... but I have to wait.

Finding Out Who Wrote the Bible

Write stuff: The computer program searches for how common words are used throughout the scriptures

Computer Program To Reveal Who Wrote The Bible -- Daily Mail

* Can determine when passage has been written by more than one person and when new author takes over
* Scientists and scholars have written algorithm that analyses writing styles

Precisely who wrote the Bible has been debated for centuries – but now scientists have devised a computer program that sheds much more light on the sources of the various religious texts within it.

Israeli computer scientists and Bible scholars have written an algorithm that analyses the writing styles found within various sections.

While it can’t pinpoint an individual author, the program has been able to determine when a passage has been written by more than one person and can detect the point at which a new author has taken over.

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Stealth Weapons From Around The World

Photo: Department of Defense/Flickr

Now You See ‘Em, Now You Don’t: Stealth Weapons From Around The World -- The Danger Room

Not long ago, the U.S. was the only country in the world with aircraft that could stroll the skies without fear of being caught. Not any more. Today, militaries from around the world — including Russia and China — are developing their own stealth arsenals. The American monopoly on near-invisible flight is being eroded.

Stealth technology makes vehicles sneakier by limiting the signatures that give them away to enemy radar, sensors and ears. To reduce a plane's radar cross section, designers have two basic options: shape an aircraft to cast incoming radar away from its originating source and coat it to absorb radar waves.

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Steve Wozniak Gets His Apple iPhone 4S

Steve Wozniak First In Line As Apple's iPhone 4S Goes On Sale -- L.A. Times

Steve Wozniak, the man who co-founded Apple with the late Steve Jobs, was first in line waiting to buy an iPhone 4S at an Apple Store in Los Gatos on Friday.

The Los Gatos Apple Store opened at 8 a.m., but Wozniak queued up about 18 hours before the store's opening, as he mentioned on Twitter from his @stevewoz account on Thursday, writing:

The long wait begins. I'm first in line. The guy ahead was on the wrong side and he's pissed.

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My Comment: Good for him.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Double-Checking CERN's Revolutionary Faster-Than-Light Claim

MINOS Experiment Far Detector NuMI/Fermilab

Fermilab Will Double-Check CERN's Revolutionary Faster-Than-Light Claim -- Popular Science

So far, the only thing moving faster than light is speculation. But in the wake of last week’s baffling neutrino news out of CERN, physicists are crunching numbers to test whether these ghostly particles really can move faster than photons. Physicists at Fermilab are re-examining some old data to help answer the question.

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First Antimagnet Developed

Bar magnet with iron filings showing magnetic field pattern. Researchers have designed what they believe to be a new type of magnetic cloak, which shields objects from external magnetic fields, while at the same time preventing any magnetic internal fields from leaking outside. (Credit: © Awe Inspiring Images / Fotolia)

Cloaking Magnetic Fields: First Antimagnet Developed -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Sep. 23, 2011) — Spanish researchers have designed what they believe to be a new type of magnetic cloak, which shields objects from external magnetic fields, while at the same time preventing any magnetic internal fields from leaking outside, making the cloak undetectable.

The development of such a device, described as an 'antimagnet', could offer many beneficial applications, such as protecting a ship's hull from mines designed to detonate when a magnetic field is detected, or allowing patients with pacemakers or cochlear implants to use medical equipment.

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How Asia Was Settled By Man

To extract DNA from a fossilized bone, researchers extract material using a dentistry drill. (Credit: Image courtesy of the National Science Foundation)

Asia Was Settled in Multiple Waves of Migration, DNA Study Suggests -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Sep. 26, 2011) — An international team of researchers studying DNA patterns from modern and archaic humans has uncovered new clues about the movement and intermixing of populations more than 40,000 years ago in Asia.

Using state-of-the-art genome analysis methods, scientists from Harvard Medical School and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have found that Denisovans -- a recently identified group of archaic humans whose DNA was extracted last year from a finger bone excavated in Siberia -- contributed DNA not just to present-day New Guineans, but also to aboriginal Australian and Philippine populations.

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Dog Bites: The Stats

CSN Editor: From Live Science

Most Polluted Cities In The World

Iranian cities have some of the worst pollution in the world, with fine particle presence 20 times higher than the recommended upper limit. Photograph: Vahid Salemi/AP

Iran, India, Pakistan And Mongolia Have Most Polluted Cities In The World -- The Guardian

World Health Organisation's first global survey of fine particle pollutants says US and Canadian towns are among cleanest

Cities in Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia are among the worst on the planet for air pollution, while those in the US and Canada are among the best, according to the first global survey.

The Iranian city of Ahvaz had the distinction of the highest measured level of airborne particles smaller than 10 micrometres, according to the UN's World Health Organisation (WHO) survey.

Outdoor air pollution causes an estimated 1.34 million premature deaths a year, said WHO. Investments to lower pollution levels quickly pay off owing to lower disease rates and, therefore, lower healthcare costs, it said.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tiny Robot To Attempt The Hawaii Ironman Triathlon

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tiny Robot To Attempt Hawaii Ironman Triathlon -- MSNBC/Reuters

'Evolta', just 20 inches tall, is expected to complete course in about a week

TOKYO — After scaling the cliff walls of the Grand Canyon and driving the Le Mans racetrack for 24 hours, a tiny Japanese robot is set for a new challenge — Hawaii's grueling Ironman triathlon course.

Fitted with three different bodies, the hand-sized "Evolta" from electronics firm Panasonic will swim, bicycle and run its way through one of the world's toughest triathlon routes, the company said Thursday.

"This is very tough even for a sportsman, but I think it is worth a challenge," said Tomotaka Takahashi, who created the green-and-white toy-like robot.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Precious Metals On Earth May Have Come From Asteroids

Artist's impression of the Earth during the period of the terminal bombardment.
CREDIT: Julian Baum/Take 27 Ltd

Asteroids May Have Brought Precious Metals To Earth -- Live Science

The precious metals that we see on Earth today may be largely heavenly in nature, coming from the sky billions of years ago, scientists now find.

Back when the Earth was just forming, the materials that make up the planet were combining and differentiating into layers by weight — lighter materials floated to the surface and now make up Earth's crust, while heavier materials such as iron sank to the planet's interior.

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Will We Now Be Able To Control Fear?

A) Schematic cross-section of a mouse brain showing the distribution of CRHR1 gene activity and the associated neurotransmitter specificity. B) Glutamatergic neuron of the hippocampus. (Credit: © MPI of Psychiatry)

Control of Fear in the Brain Decoded: Emotional Balance Is Regulated by Molecular Factors Behind Stress Response, Study Finds -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Sep. 7, 2011) — When healthy people are faced with threatening situations, they react with a suitable behavioural response and do not descend into a state of either panic or indifference, as is the case, for example, with patients who suffer from anxiety.

With the help of genetic studies on mice, scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry have discovered two opposing neuronal regulatory circuits for the generation and elimination of fear.

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My Comment: I can see many applications from this science.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How 9/11 Inspired New Robots

The PackBot, first used in response to 9/11, helps explore an overheating nuclear plant in Japan this year.

How 9/11 Inspired A New Era Of Robotics -- CNN

When Robin Murphy saw the World Trade Center towers fall on September 11, she knew of an unexpected group that could help respond: robots.

Robots had never been tried in such real-world disasters, but they had gotten much smaller and more nimble in the years before that tragic event. So Murphy, a professor of computer science at Texas A&M University, and a small group of her fellow roboticists decided it was time. The robots were ready.

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A Computer That's As Clever As A Human?

Rollo Carpenter, the inventor of the Cleverbot

Has Inventor Made A Computer That's As Clever As A Human? -- The Independent

Rollo Carpenter's Cleverbot was smart enough to convince a group of techies it was a person. But can it fool Tom Peck?

Given that, in countless science fiction films, the moment when the computers start thinking for themselves tends to coincide with the end of the world as we know it, it is perhaps a little unsettling that an American inventor has for more than 20 years been sponsoring a prize to encourage such a feat.

More worrying still, a conversational computer by the name of Cleverbot has arguably just come closer than ever to doing it.

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Supernova 'Of A Generation'

This Hubble Space Telescope image of the face-on spiral galaxy Messier 101, known as the Pinwheel Galaxy, was released in 2006. Newscom/File

Supernova 'Of A Generation': How You Can See It With Binoculars -- Christian Science Monitor

A supernova in the nearby Pinwheel Galaxy is the closest supernova in 25 years. Situated near the Big Dipper, the SN 2011fe supernova can be seen with binoculars this week.

If you’ve got a decent pair of binoculars and clear skies, you’ll have a good view Wednesday night of the closest and brightest supernova display of the past 25 years.

The supernova, named SN 2011fe, is the 136th seen by astronomers this year, but its proximity makes it significant not only for stargazers but to the scientific community.

The event was first observed on Aug. 24, only hours after it first became visible from Earth. Located within the Pinwheel Galaxy, the explosion happened 21 million light-years away – a relatively small distance by astronomical standards.

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Arctic Sea Ice Falls To A Record Low

Ice thickness is just as important or more so in helping understand what is happening in the far north Photo: AP/John McConnico

Arctic Sea Ice Falls To Record Low -- The Telegraph

The minimum summertime volume of Arctic sea ice fell to a record low last year, researchers said in a study to be published shortly, suggesting that thinning of the ice had outweighed a recovery in area.

The study estimated that last year broke the previous, 2007 record for the minimum volume of ice, which is calculated from a combination of sea ice area and thickness.

The research adds to a picture of rapid climate change at the top of the world that could see the Arctic Ocean ice-free within decades, spurring new oil exploration opportunities but possibly also disrupted weather patterns far afield and a faster rise in sea levels.

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The Evolution Of Micro-Air-Vehicles (MAV)

Cyborg Beetle Aktakka, et al. via PhysOrg

Scientists Fit Cyborg Beetles With Generators That Turn Their Own Wings Into Power Plants -- Popular Science

No more battery-driven bugs for DARPA.

For years now, DARPA and other free-thinking research institutions have been developing micro-air-vehicles (MAV), usually modeled after insects. But building a tiny, lightweight flying robot is tough when you need a power supply--like an onboard battery--to keep the MAV flying. Then researchers turned to insect mind control--implanting live insects with machinery that lets humans manipulate their movements--but the problem remained: neural control hardware requires a battery to run.

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My Comment: The tools for surveillance are getting smaller and smaller.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

World's First Commercial Spaceport Is Now 90% Completed

Phase One Of World's First Commercial Spaceport Is Now 90% Completed - In Time For First Flights In 2013 -- Daily Mail

Phase one of the world's first commercial spaceport, which will be the hub for Virgin's consumer spaceflights, is now 90 per cent complete.

The 1,800-acre Spaceport America site, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, is the home base for Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's most ambitious business venture yet.

It already boasts a runway stretching to nearly two miles long, a futuristic styled terminal hanger, and a dome-shaped Space Operations Centre.

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Quantum Computers Closer to Reality Than Ever

Chip for Quantum Computing The two black squares are the qubits, or processor; the center meandering line is the quantum bus; and the lateral meandering lines are the quantum memory. Erik Lucero

Two Key Advances Bring Quantum Computers Closer to Reality Than Ever -- Popular Science

Researchers on two continents are reporting two big breakthroughs in quantum computing today — a quantum system built on the familiar von Neumann processor-memory architecture, and a working digital quantum simulator built on a quantum-computer platform. Although these developments are still constrained to the lab, they’re yet another sign that a quantum leap in computing may be just around the corner.

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