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Space

Two Totally Unique Star Systems Discovered 141

Posted by Zonk
from the two-of-a-kind-beats-ace-high dept.
esocid writes "Astronomers have spied a faraway star system that is so unusual, it was one of a kind — until its discovery helped them pinpoint a second one that was much closer to home. In a paper published in a recent issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters, Ohio State University astronomers and their colleagues suggest that these star systems are the progenitors of a rare type of supernova. In research funded by the National Science Foundation, they found a star system that is unusual, because it's what the astronomers have called a 'yellow supergiant eclipsing binary' — it contains two very bright, massive yellow stars that are very closely orbiting each other. In fact, the stars are so close together that a large amount of stellar material is shared between them, so that the shape of the system resembles a peanut."
Security

11-Year-Old Becomes Network Admin for Alabama School 345

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-he's-salaried dept.
alphadogg points out a story about 11-year-old Jon Penn, who took over control of a 60-computer school network in Alabama after the old administrator suddenly left. Penn provides technical support, selects software, and teaches his classmates about computers. From NetworkWorld: "The first thing Jon found as he leapt into the role of network manager was that he had to map out the network to find out what was on it. He bought some tools for this at CompUSA and realized there was an ungodly amount of computer viruses and spam, so he pressed the school to invest in filtering and antivirus protection. 'These computers are so old they don't support all antivirus programs,' Penn says. The school took advantage of a Microsoft effort called Fresh Start that offers free software upgrades for schools with donated computers, switching from Windows 98 to Windows 2000."
Sun Microsystems

Sun Turns to Lasers to Speed Up Computer Chips 130

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the friggin-lasers dept.
alphadogg writes to mention that Sun is attempting to move from the typical design of multiple small chips back to a unified single-wafer design. "The company is announcing today a $44 million contract from the Pentagon to explore replacing the wires between computer chips with laser beams. The technology, part of a field of computer science known as silicon photonics, would eradicate the most daunting bottleneck facing today's supercomputer designers: moving information rapidly to solve problems that require hundreds or thousands of processors."

Why Microsoft Won't Have Blu-ray on the Xbox 395

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the wtb-final-fantasy-on-360 dept.
Ian Lamont writes "Ever since Toshiba stopped production of HD DVD players, many Xbox 360 owners have been wondering when Microsoft will offer some sort of Blu-ray option for the Xbox 360. The answer: Probably never. Microsoft's product manager for the Xbox 360 has told Reuters that Microsoft is not in talks with Sony or the Blu-ray Association. Why not? The Industry Standard points to HDi, an obscure Microsoft technology that was part of the HD DVD interactivity layer. HDi may be dead on physical media, but it could potentially be applied to other Microsoft HD-compatible technologies such as Xbox Live Arcade and Windows Media Center, and be part of a long-term play to own a big share of the market for HD content delivered over the Internet."
Patents

Seagate May Sue if Solid State Disks Get Popular 242

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sure-why-not dept.
tero writes "Even though Seagate has announced it will be offering SSD disks of its own in 2008, their CEO Bill Watkins seems to be sending out mixed signals in a recent Fortune interview 'He's convinced, he confides, that SSD makers like Samsung and Intel (INTC) are violating Seagate's patents. (An Intel spokeswoman says the company doesn't comment on speculation.) Seagate and Western Digital (WDC), two of the major hard drive makers, have patents that deal with many of the ways a storage device communicates with a computer, Watkins says. It stands to reason that sooner or later, Seagate will sue — particularly if it looks like SSDs could become a real threat.'"
Science

Beer-Drinking Scientist Debunks Productivity Correlation 130

Posted by kdawson
from the sipping-a-magnificent-pacific-northwest-microbrew-porter dept.
austinpoet writes in with a blog post debunking the theory we discussed a few days back that scientists' beer consumption is linearly correlated with the quality of their work. Chris Mack, Gentleman Scientist and beer drinker, has analyzed the paper and found it is severely flawed. From his analysis: "The discovered linear relationship between beer consumption and scientific output had a correlation coefficient (R-squared) of only about 0.5 — not very high by my standards, though I suspect many biologists would be happy to get one that high in their work... Thus, the entire study came down to only one conclusion: the five worst ornithologists in the Czech Republic drank a lot of beer."

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