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Submission + - Last operating Magnox nuclear reactor closes

nojayuk writes: The world's last operating Magnox nuclear reactor, Wylfa 1 in Anglesey, Wales was closed yesterday after providing carbon-free power for over 40 years. Wylfa1 was originally scheduled to shut in 2012 along with the adjacent Wylfa 2 reactor but it was kept operating for another three years with the innovative use of partially-burnt fuel from Wylfa 2 and remaining stocks of fresh Magnox fuel. The reactor will be defuelled and move into its decommissioning phase over the next year.

The Magnox design used gas-cooling and a carbon moderator with the capability to produce weapons-grade plutonium depending on how it was fuelled and operated. Its design fed into the next-generation AGRs which provide about 6GW of Britain's electricity supply today.
AMD

Submission + - AMD introduces new opterons (semiaccurate.com)

Lonewolf666 writes: According to SemiAccurate (http://semiaccurate.com/2012/12/03/amd-launches-opteron-3300-and-4300-lines/), AMD is introducing new opterons that are essentially "Opteron-ized versions of Vishera". TDPs are lower than in their desktop products, and some of these chips may be interesting for people who want a cool and quiet PC.
Transportation

Submission + - Airlines Face Acute Pilot Shortage 2

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The WSJ reports that US airlines are facing their most serious pilot shortage since the 1960s, with federal mandates taking effect that will require all newly hired pilots to have at least 1,500 hours of prior flight experience—six times the current minimum—raising the cost and time to train new fliers in an era when pay cuts and more-demanding schedules already have made the profession less attractive. Meanwhile, thousands of senior pilots at major airlines soon will start hitting the mandatory retirement age of 65. "We are about four years from a solution, but we are only about six months away from a problem.,” says Bob Reding, recently retired executive vice president of operations at AMR Corp. A study by the University of North Dakota's aviation department indicates major airlines will need to hire 60,000 pilots by 2025 to replace departures and cover expansion over the next eight years. Meanwhile only 36,000 pilots have passed the Air Transport Pilot exam in the past eight years, which all pilots would have to pass under the congressionally imposed rules and there are limits to the ability of airlines, especially the regional carriers, to attract more pilots by raising wages. While the industry's health has improved in recent years, many carriers still operate on thin profit margins, with the airlines sandwiched between rising costs for fuel and unsteady demand from price-sensitive consumers. "It certainly will result in challenges to maintain quality," says John Marshall, an independent aviation-safety consultant who spent 26 years in the Air Force before overseeing Delta's safety. "Regional carriers will be creative and have to take shortcuts" to fill their cockpits."
Science

Submission + - Supersymmetry theory dealt a blow (bbc.co.uk)

Dupple writes: Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider have detected one of the rarest particle decays seen in Nature.

The finding deals a significant blow to the theory of physics known as supersymmetry.

Many researchers had hoped the LHC would have confirmed this by now.

Supersymmetry, or SUSY, has gained popularity as a way to explain some of the inconsistencies in the traditional theory of subatomic physics known as the Standard Model.

The new observation, reported at the Hadron Collider Physics conference in Kyoto, is not consistent with many of the most likely models of SUSY.

Prof Chris Parke, who is the spokesperson for the UK Participation in the LHCb experiment, told BBC News: "Supersymmetry may not be dead but these latest results have certainly put it into hospital."

Science

Submission + - A Wet Way to Better Burning? (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Researchers in New York state report creating a new long-lived catalyst that uses the energy in sunlight to generate hydrogen gas, a carbon-free fuel. With further improvements, the advance could lead to systems that use sunlight to split water molecules, generating a fuel that can power cars and trucks without emitting any greenhouse gases.
Facebook

Submission + - Facebook's Corona: When Hadoop MapReduce Wasn't Enough (slashdot.org)

Nerval's Lobster writes: "Facebook’s engineers face a considerable challenge when it comes to managing the tidal wave of data flowing through the company’s infrastructure. Its data warehouse, which handles over half a petabyte of information each day, has expanded some 2500x in the past four years—and that growth isn’t going to end anytime soon.

Until early 2011, those engineers relied on a MapReduce implementation from Apache Hadoop as the foundation of Facebook’s data infrastructure. Still, despite Hadoop MapReduce’s ability to handle large datasets, Facebook’s scheduling framework (in which a large number of task trackers that handle duties assigned by a job tracker) began to reach its limits. So Facebook’s engineers went to the whiteboard and designed a new scheduling framework named “Corona.”"

Biotech

Submission + - Proteins made to order (nature.com)

ananyo writes: "Proteins are an enormous molecular achievement: chains of amino acids that fold spontaneously into a precise conformation, time after time, optimized by evolution for their particular function. Yet given the exponential number of contortions possible for any chain of amino acids, dictating a sequence that will fold into a predictable structure has been a daunting task.
Now researchers report that they can do just that. By following a set of rules described in a paper published in Nature (abstract), a husband and wife team from David Baker’s laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle has designed five proteins from scratch that fold reliably into predicted conformations. The work could eventually allow scientists to custom design proteins with specific functions."

Power

Submission + - Quantum entangled batteries could be the perfect power source (extremetech.com)

MrSeb writes: "Two European theoretical physicists have shown that it may be possible to build a near-perfect, entangled quantum battery. In the future, such quantum batteries might power the tiniest of devices — or provide power storage that is much more efficient than state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery packs. In a quantum system, some quantum states have energy that can be extracted, reducing the system to a passive, neutral energy state. Robert Alicki of the University of Gdansk in Poland, and Mark Fannes of the University of Leuven in Belgium, theorize that it should be possible to build a quantum battery that is full of energy-rich quantum states — and then, somehow, recharge it when you run out of juice. Better yet, the physicists also theorize that quantum entanglement could be used to create an even more efficient quantum battery. In essence, Alicki and Fannes say that you can link together any number of quantum batteries, allowing you to extract all of the stored energy in one big gulp. Their research paper goes on to say that with enough entanglement, these batteries would be perfect — with no energy lost/wasted during charge or discharge."
Australia

Submission + - Australian Government Scraps Plan To Filter The Internet (gizmodo.com.au)

lukehopewell1 writes: After three years of trying to pass a controversial plan to filter the internet from Refused Classification (material rated above X) content, the Australian Government has tonight finally walked away from its plans to subject the country's internet users to a mandated "clean-feed".

Instead the government will now compel Australian internet service providers to implement a filter that blocks out only the material listed on Interpol's blacklist.

Hardware

Submission + - A Quantum Computer Finds Factors - 15 mostly equals 3x5 (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: The Shor quantum factoring algorithm has been run for the first time on a solid state device and it successfully factored a composite number. A team from UCSB has managed to build and operate a quantum circuit composed of four superconducting phase qubits. The design creates entangled bits faster than before and the team verified that entanglement was happening using quantum tomography. The final part of the experiment implemented the Shor factoring algorithm using 15 as the value to be factored. In 150,000 runs of the calculation, the chip gave the correct result 48% of the time. As Shor's algorithm is only supposed to give the correct answer 50% of the time, this is a good result. Is this the start of the quantum computing revolution?
Chrome

Submission + - Chrome is world's number one browser for a day (statcounter.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Well, it's finally here. Chrome usage has been higher on weekends than weekdays for quite some time, suggesting that folks generally prefer Chrome to IE. While weekly averages continue to favor IE, on Sunday, March 18th, the world's Chrome users (as measure by our buddies at StatCounter) outnumbered IE users. Here's the graph [http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-ww-daily-20120101-20120325] showing today's Chrome users growing still.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Best Programs To Learn From 1

camServo writes: I took C++ classes in college and I have played around with some scripting languages. We learned the basics of how to make C++ work with small programs, but when I see large open source projects, I never know where to even start to try and figure out how their code works. I'm wondering if any of you slashdotters have suggestions for some nice open source projects to look at to get an idea for how programming works in the real world, so I can start giving back to the FOSS community

Submission + - What to cover in a short "DIY Tech" course?

edumacator writes: "Our school is working hard to provide our students with relevant opportunities of study. We have a short "seminar" period that meets three days a week for thirty minutes. I've chosen to teach a seminar on "Home Grown Technology" even though I'm an English teacher and only an amateur techie. If you had thirty minutes, three days a week, for nine weeks, what would you teach a group of high school students? I'm considering the Wii-mote smartboard and multitouch displays, but I'm afraid I'm overreaching."

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