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Google

Google Caffeine Drops MapReduce, Adds "Colossus" 65

Posted by samzenpus
from the time-to-upgrade dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With its new Caffeine search indexing system, Google has moved away from its MapReduce distributed number crunching platform in favor of a setup that mirrors database programming. The index is stored in Google's BigTable distributed database, and Caffeine allows for incremental changes to the database itself. The system also uses an update to the Google File System codenamed 'Colossus.'"

Comment: Would you trust Amnesty International... (Score 1) 578

by Samarian Hillbilly (#33200640) Attached to: Human Rights Groups Join Criticism of WikiLeaks

...with the names of your critically placed Agents? How hard would it be for an intelligence organization to infilterate Wikiileaks or Amnesty? How are they erasing the names? Where and how are the original documents kept?
I like the idea of WikiiLeaks but they need to clarify their policy for releasing potentially dangerous information.

Biotech

First Halophile Potatoes Harvested 117

Posted by timothy
from the integrated-dill-is-the-next-step dept.
Razgorov Prikazka writes "A Dutch-based company from Groningen is trying to create a potato race that is able to survive in a saline environment. The first test-batch was just harvested (English translation of Dutch original) on the island Texel and seem to be in good shape. The company states that rising sea-levels will create a demand for halophile crops. I do wonder if one still has to put salt on ones potatoes when they are grown in salt water."
Mars

New Evidence Presented For Ancient Fossils In Mars Rocks 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-the-protectors-leave-them-alone dept.
azoblue passes along a story in the Washington Post, which begins: "NASA's Mars Meteorite Research Team reopened a 14-year-old controversy on extraterrestrial life last week, reaffirming and offering support for its widely challenged assertion that a 4-billion-year-old meteorite that landed thousands of years ago on Antarctica shows evidence of microscopic life on Mars. In addition to presenting research that they said disproved some of their critics, the scientists reported that additional Martian meteorites appear to house distinct and identifiable microbial fossils that point even more strongly to the existence of life. 'We feel more confident than ever that Mars probably once was, and maybe still is, home to life,' team leader David McKay said at a NASA-sponsored conference on astrobiology."
Intel

The Big Technical Mistakes of History 244

Posted by kdawson
from the seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time dept.
An anonymous reader tips a PC Authority review of some of the biggest technical goofs of all time. "As any computer programmer will tell you, some of the most confusing and complex issues can stem from the simplest of errors. This article looking back at history's big technical mistakes includes some interesting trivia, such as NASA's failure to convert measurements to metric, resulting in the Mars Climate Orbiter being torn apart by the Martian atmosphere. Then there is the infamous Intel Pentium floating point fiasco, which cost the company $450m in direct costs, a battering on the world's stock exchanges, and a huge black mark on its reputation. Also on the list is Iridium, the global satellite phone network that promised to make phones work anywhere on the planet, but required 77 satellites to be launched into space."
Earth

An Animal That Lives Without Oxygen 166

Posted by timothy
from the besides-me dept.
Julie188 writes "Scientists have found the first multicellular animals that apparently live entirely without oxygen. The creatures reside deep in one of the harshest environments on earth: the Mediterranean Ocean's L'Atalante basin, which contains salt brine so dense that it doesn't mix with the oxygen-containing waters above."
Medicine

Child Receives Trachea Grown From Own Stem Cells 103

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-add-oxygen dept.
kkleiner writes "Doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) along with colleagues at the University College London, the Royal Free Hospital, and Careggi University Hospital in Florence have successfully transplanted a trachea into a 10 year old boy using his own stem cells. A donor trachea was taken, stripped of its cells into a collagen-like scaffold, and then infused with the boy's stem cells. The trachea was surgically placed into the boy and allowed to develop in place. Because his own cells were used, there was little to no risk of rejection. This was the first time a child had received such a stem cell augmented transplant and the first time that a complete trachea had been used."
Education

Memorizing Language / Spelling Techniques? 237

Posted by timothy
from the save-up-for-neural-implants dept.
NotesSensei writes "My kids are learning Chinese in school. While the grammar is drop-dead simple, writing is a challenge since there is no relation between sound and shape of the characters. I would like to know any good techniques (using technology or not) to help memorize large amounts of information, especially Chinese characters. Most of the stuff I Googled only helps on learning speaking."

Comment: Let's get it straight... (Score 1) 502

by Samarian Hillbilly (#31269210) Attached to: Triumph of the Cyborg Composer

David Cope's system can produce music on the level of a grad student of composition imitating great composers. It has to go through a learning process with lot's of music from the original composer in order to imitate his style. "Original" music hardly. It hasn't produced anything anyone (but a muzack fan) would want to listen to. The controversy surrounding it isn't Ludditism, it's a methodology dispute. How much does he hand-edit his examples after generation? He has not produced a stand-alone version for others to reproduce his results. This is not science, but the religious devotees of scientism propound another triumph of machine over man!

Comment: ...as usual the science "press" makes up a story.. (Score 1) 270

The difference between the claims of the author and the quotes by the scientists is quite remarkable. The scientists claimed they succeeded in creating a "self-replicating" molecule that could optimize it's response to different environments by passing 30 bits of information to the next generation. They specifically denied that they'd created "evolution" in the sense of evolving molecules of higher and higher complexity and more ingenious responses. This didn't stop the author of the story from making these claims however. And of course skeptics will be accused of being "creationists". Good experiment + bad press = scientism not science

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. -- H. L. Mencken

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