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Earth

New York Data Centers Battle Floods, Utility Outages 186

Posted by Soulskill
from the bunker-in-tight dept.
miller60 writes "At least three data center buildings in lower Manhattan are struggling with power problems amid widespread flooding and utility outages caused by Hurricane Sandy. Flooded basements at two sites took out diesel fuel pumps, leaving them unable to refuel generators on higher levels. One of these was Datagram, which knocked out Buzzfeed and the Gawker network of sites. At 111 8th Avenue, some tenants lost power when Equinix briefly experienced generator problems." The NY Times has a running list of Sandy-related problems, including 5,700 more flight cancellations, 6 million people without power, rising water levels at a nuclear plant, official disaster declarations from President Obama, and a death toll of 38. On the upside, and despite the high water levels, the Nuclear Energy Institute was quick to point out that all 34 nuclear facilities in Sandy's path made it through without problems.

Comment: Re:I'm honestly confused... (Score 5, Interesting) 359

by Alaren (#38676126) Attached to: LG To Pay Licensing Fees To Microsoft For Using Android

Alright, here. I AM a lawyer (though not your lawyer, and nothing I post here should be construed as legal advice) and you might be interested to know that Microsoft is already backing off a bit in the suit with Barnes & Noble. So yes: "at least 6 multi-billion dollar corporations, some of which are much larger than Microsoft, have signed patent deals worth hundreds of millions over completely flimsy ridiculous patents that could easy be overturned by any court."

The nice way of saying it is that those companies have agreed to "play ball" and probably anticipate improved relations with Microsoft as a result. In the sense that it takes money to make money, these companies probably see the payoff as an investment in something else (even if that "something else" is just avoiding a protracted legal battle). Barnes & Noble is no stranger to the game of David & Goliath, though they are usually the Goliath! But they are refusing to be bullied while several of the companies who have capitulated are not treating it so much as being bullied as cutting deals.

If Microsoft hadn't insisted on an NDA ("you're violating our patents but we won't tell you which ones unless you sign an agreement with us") they might have some minimal leg to stand on. As it is, though, what they're doing looks an awful lot like bad-faith extortion. Especially if it was a natural person doing it; but of course, large companies these days get away with much worse.

Comment: It's the Size (Score 2) 274

by Alaren (#38001252) Attached to: Asus Unveils Quad-Core Transformer Prime Tablet

Ten inches is too big to be truly portable, too small to justify using as a replacement if you own an actual computer (especially if you own a laptop). I think for many non-tech types, tablets are replacing the PC--after all, they only bought a PC so they could surf the web and maybe play simple games.

But that's not me. I don't carry a cell phone (my wife uses her iPhone constantly) but I'm interested in the 7" tablets... may pick one up this Christmas, though now that the Tegra 3 is out I guess I'm waffling again. Combined with a bluetooth headset, I would definitely use a 7" tablet often.

United States

American Grant Writing: Race Matters 464

Posted by Soulskill
from the taking-for-granted dept.
PHPNerd writes "You might expect that science, particularly American science, would be color-blind. Though fewer people from some of the country's ethnic minorities are scientists than the proportions of those minorities in the population suggest should be the case, once someone has got bench space in a laboratory, he might reasonably expect to be treated on merit and nothing else. Unfortunately, a study just published in Science suggests that is not true. The study looked at the pattern of research grants awarded by the NIH and found that race matters a lot. Moreover, Asian and Hispanic scientists do just as well as white ones. Black scientists, however, fare badly."

Comment: You Never Forget Your First (Score 1) 169

by Alaren (#37008632) Attached to: World Wide Web Turns 20 Today

I tried out Mosaic via a NovaNET connection out in rural Arizona--in 1994, when I was 14. It was another year before I bothered with the web again (once we moved somewhere with local dial-up access), though by the time I graduated high school I was using it every day.

I left IT behind in 2006 and am an attorney now, but honestly the HTML (and Photoshop) I learned running an "underground" newspaper website on Geocities has been more useful to me than most anything else I learned in high school. As usual, Randall got it right.

Space

New Find Boosts Prospects For Life On Distant Moons 98

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-wonder-who-owns-that-moon dept.
sciencehabit writes "Imagine life on an Earth-like moon, one so close to its gas giant host that its landscape is bathed in a dusklike planetary glow. Such places are not only possible but also probable, according to a new study, which finds that as many as 5% of gas giant planets orbiting their stars at Earth-like distances may harbor habitable 'exomoons.' According to simulations, alien gas giants (like our Jupiter and Saturn) could pull in earth-like planets from the interior of their young solar systems. Though many of these planets would crash into the gas giants or later be flung into space, some would evolve stable orbits and stable climates, eventually setting the stage for life."

Comment: Re:I get called upon about every year... (Score 1) 528

by Alaren (#36059832) Attached to: When it comes to jury service, I ...

I've had the same experience. I've been summoned four times in the last 12 years. Twice I was out of state at school, so obviously I couldn't go. Twice I was in-state and reported happily. The first time I was down the list a ways and they selected a complete jury before getting to me. The second time I had just graduated from law school so the attorneys on the case bounced me, which was disappointing. While sometimes it doesn't work that way, most of the time if you are a lawyer or even a paralegal, you will not be selected. Which disappoints me because it means I will probably never get to serve on a jury now.

Anyway, in the same time period, my wife has never been summoned at all. Just the nature of random (here on /. do I have to say "pseudo-random?") selection; clustering tends to occur.

Comment: Re:No Repeats? (Score 1) 361

by Alaren (#35581752) Attached to: Sludge In Flask Gives Clues To Origin of Life
I'm not sure this is a particularly valid point--unless you're advocating Intelligent Design, our planet does not resemble a "lab" at all. What took hundreds of millions of years to occur randomly should nevertheless be readily reproducible provided we have sufficiently good information about the conditions under which it happened. I've read a lot of theories regarding the origins of life, but those theories seem to be but rarely followed up with experimental science. Some comments below indicate that work is ongoing at least in some places, though; I will look further into what they've said about it.

Comment: No Repeats? (Score 3, Interesting) 361

by Alaren (#35579284) Attached to: Sludge In Flask Gives Clues To Origin of Life

I'm curious as to whether these results have been revisited--or replicated--since the 1950s. This article seems to indicate that people have been talking about the experiment without really revisiting the science for more than half a century.

Biology is not my area of expertise, but I have to wonder why we haven't managed to "create life" yet (or have we?). It seems like such an experiment could yield a lot of results that would be important for everything from medicine (understanding where we came from may give us better insight into where we are now) to space travel (isn't one of the variables in the Drake equation the likelihood of life appearing? Wouldn't we need to know what it takes for life to emerge in order to calculate that?).

Are the experiments just not economically promising enough? More complicated than they sound? I'd be very interested to know more about this area of research from someone with actual background in the field.

Recursion is the root of computation since it trades description for time.

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