Vigile writes "The new Intel Sandy Bridge architecture is being launched at CES this week but the reviews and benchmarks are out today. PC Perspective took a look at both the desktop and mobile variants, the former of which turns out to be quite an impressive processor for both highly threaded and single threaded applications. With some tweaks to the execution unit, a new Turbo Boost mode that increases clock speeds dynamically and a vastly improved integrated graphics implementation, the Core i7-2600K improves in every aspect. Also interestingly, the most expensive desktop part will start at $317, putting the screws to AMD yet again. On the mobile side of things, PC Perspective tested the quad-core Core i7-2820QM and the benchmark results are equally impressive; especially when looking at the gaming performance using integrated graphics. Sandy Bridge will no doubt put quite a dent in the discrete notebook graphics market for NVIDIA and AMD."
hnkstrprnkstr writes "MIT scientists have created a sort of genomic fossil (abstract) that shows the collective genome of all life underwent an enormous expansion about 3 billion years ago, which they're calling the Archean Expansion. Many of the new genes appearing in the Archean Expansion are oxygen related, and could be the first biological evidence of the Great Oxidation Event, the period in Earth's history when oxygen became so plentiful that many anaerobic life forms may have become extinct."
I.M.O.G. writes "Today AMD officially introduces their newest flagship GPU, the Radeon HD 6970, hot on the heels of the Radeon HD 6870 released at the end of October, then the NVIDIA GTX 580 in early November, which is Nvidia's current flagship card. Initial testing and overclocking results are publishing at first tier review sites now. While the HD 6970 is a strong performer and the price point is outstanding for consumers, the GTX 580 retains the flagship crown while the AMD 5970 keeps the single card performance crown with its dual GPUs on a single card."
Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that Ukraine plans to open up the sealed zone around the Chernobyl reactor to visitors who wish to learn more about the tragedy that occurred nearly a quarter of a century ago. Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Yulia Yershova says experts are developing travel routes that will be both medically safe and informative. 'There are things to see there if one follows the official route and doesn't stray away from the group,' says Yershova. Though it is a very sad story.' The ministry also says it hopes to finish building a new safer shell for the exploded reactor by 2015 that will cover the original iron-and-concrete structure hastily built over the reactor that has been leaking radiation, cracking and threatening to collapse. About 2,500 employees maintain the remains of the now-closed nuclear plant, working in shifts to minimize their exposure to radiation and several hundred evacuees have returned to their villages in the area despite a government ban."
Phoghat sends news of a new theory that a once-fertile landmass beneath the Persian Gulf may have supported some of the earliest humans outside of Africa. "Perhaps it is no coincidence that the founding of such remarkably well developed communities along the shoreline corresponds with the flooding of the Persian Gulf basin around 8,000 years ago... These new colonists may have come from the heart of the Gulf, displaced by rising water levels that plunged the once fertile landscape beneath the waters of the Indian Ocean."
Readers twoallbeefpatties and ngrier wrote in essentially simultaneously about the guilty verdict in the trial of former Goldman Sachs computer programmer Sergey Aleynikov. We've discussed the case several times before. The trial itself was sealed from the public to prevent discussion of GS's high-frequency trading system. Reader ngrier summarizes: "After just three hours of deliberation, the jury found Sergey Aleynikov guilty of intentionally stealing proprietary Goldman Sachs code. As he had admitted copying the code as he was preparing to join a startup competitor in 2009, the case hinged on the intent. He faces up to 10 years in prison."
J. L. Tympanum writes "CBS News is reporting the launch of an unidentified missile off the coast of California. No one wants to take credit for it." The article has visuals taken from a CBS affiliate's helicopter, and a Navy spokesman said it wasn't theirs.
The Bad Astronomer writes "Astronomers using Hubble Space Telescope have found a galaxy at the very edge of the Universe: the light from this far-flung object has been traveling a whopping 13.1 billion years to get here! The galaxy appears as a non-descript dot in the infrared Hubble Ultra Deep Field taken using the Wide Field Camera 3, but a spectrum taken using a ground-based telescope confirms that we're seeing this object as it was a mere 600 million years after the Big Bang itself."
cmansley writes "NASA Ames Director Simon Worden revealed that NASA Ames has 'just started a project with DARPA called the Hundred Year Starship,' with $1 million funding from DARPA and $100K from NASA. Worden said 'Larry [Page] asked me a couple weeks ago how much it would cost to send people one way to Mars and I told him $10 billion, and his response was, "Can you get it down to 1 or 2 billion?"'"
Smoothly interpolating away objects in still pictures is impressive enough, but reader geoffbrecker writes with a stunning demonstration from Germany's Technical University of Ilmenau of on-the-fly erasure of selected objects in video. Quoting: "The effect is achieved by an image synthesizer that reduces the image quality, removes the object, and then increases the image quality back up. This all happens within 40 milliseconds, fast enough that the viewer doesn't notice any delay."
mngdih writes with this excerpt from Wired: "A California student got a visit from the FBI this week after he found a secret GPS tracking device on his car, and a friend posted photos of it online. The post prompted wide speculation about whether the device was real, whether the young Arab-American was being targeted in a terrorism investigation and what the authorities would do. It took just 48 hours to find out: The device was real, the student was being secretly tracked and the FBI wanted their expensive device back ... His discovery comes in the wake of a recent ruling by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals saying it's legal for law enforcement to secretly place a tracking device on a suspect's car without getting a warrant, even if the car is parked in a private driveway. ... 'We have all the information we needed,' they told him. 'You don't need to call your lawyer. Don't worry, you're boring.'"
astroengine writes "The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) has, quite literally, changed our view of the Universe. And after nine years of mapping the slight temperature variations in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, its job is done and NASA has commanded the probe to fire itself into a 'graveyard orbit' around the sun. WMAP measured the most precise age of the universe (13.75 billion years), discovered more evidence supporting dark energy and dark matter theories, and found one or two mysteries along the way."
An anonymous reader writes "Switching from 1600x1200 to wide 1680x1050 to HD 1600x900, we are losing more and more vertical space, thus it is becoming less and less simple to read a full A4 page or a web page or a function call. What's the solution for retaining the screen height we need to be productive?"
shmG writes "A new high-speed train linking Chinese cities Shanghai and Hangzhou has set a fresh world record for train speed at 416.6 kilometers per hour (259 mph) on its trial run on Tuesday. The train is expected to cut the travel time by half, to 40 minutes for covering a distance of 202 kilometers between the two cities at an average speed of 350 kilometers per hour. 'The new record of 416.6 km per hour shows that China has achieved a new milestone in high-speed train technologies,' Zhang Shuguang, deputy chief engineer of the Ministry of Railways, was quoted as saying."
coondoggie writes "NASA's Mars rover Opportunity will take a small detour on its current journey to check out what could be a toaster-sized iron-based meteorite that crashed into the Red Planet. NASA scientists called the rock 'Oileán Ruaidh,' which is the Gaelic name for an island off the coast of northwestern Ireland. The rock is about 45 centimeters (18 inches) wide from the angle at which it was first seen on September 16."