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Russians Build Nuclear-Powered Data Center ( 58

judgecorp writes: The government-owned Russian energy company Rosenergoatom is building Russia's largest data center at its giant Kalinin nuclear power station. Most of the space will be available to customers, and the facility expects to be in demand, thanks to two factors: reliable power, and the data residency rules which require Russian citizens' data to be located within Russia. Facebook and Google don't have data centers within Russia yet — and Rosenergoatom has already invited them into the Kalinin facility.

In France, TGV Test Train Catches Fire, Derails, Killing 10 ( 129

McGruber writes with the Mirror's report that: Earlier today in Eckwersheim, France, TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) 2369 Test Train caught fire, derailed and overturned. Two carriages were partially submerged into a river and at least five people were killed. As of now, there are no direct links with the terrorist attacks on Paris and the train crash does not appear to have been caused deliberately. A TGV test train holds the record for the fastest wheeled train, having reached 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph) on 3 April 2007. Today's derailment appears to have been the first fatal crash of a TGV while running at high speed.
NBC News reports that 10 people were killed, all employees of the French national railway system.

Dubai Buys Commercial Jetpacks For Firefighters ( 91

_Sharp'r_ writes: Want to fly a jetpack? Join the fire department in Dubai. In a skyscraper filled city where cops drive Ferraris and Lamborghinis, it was actually cheaper to buy twenty $150K jetpacks (plus two simulators) for fire rescue rather than find 2700 ft ladders. Slashdot has had stories about these coming for five years. A VR-headset based jetpack flight-simulator for the masses would be fun, too, even better if the object were to put out fires in skyscrapers..
United States

Rural Mississippi: The Land That the Internet Era Forgot ( 154

New submitter lesedeuezghe writes with this Wired story by W. Ralph Eubanks about the efforts of the Extension Service to broaden its scope from mostly agricultural information to bringing broadband to rural communities. "In sleepy public libraries, at Rotary breakfasts, and in town halls, he [Assistant Extension Professor Roberto Gallardo] gives PowerPoint presentations that seem calculated to fill rural audiences with healthy awe for the technological sublime. Rather than go easy, he starts with a rapid-fire primer on heady concepts like the Internet of Things, the mobile revolution, cloud computing, digital disruption, and the perpetual increase of processing power. ('It’s exponential, folks. It’s just growing and growing.') The upshot: If you don’t at least try to think digitally, the digital economy will disrupt you. It will drain your town of young people and leave your business in the dust. Then he switches gears and tries to stiffen their spines with confidence. Start a website, he’ll say. Get on social media. See if the place where you live can finally get a high-speed broadband connection—a baseline point of entry into modern economic and civic life."
The Internet

Cuba's Internet Routing Is Messed Up 64

Internet access in Cuba has gotten far better in the last year, thanks in large part to thawing relations between Cuba's government and the U.S. In the case of a censorship-heavy, technology-impaired regime, though, "better" doesn't necessarily mean good. Northwestern engineering professor Fabián E. Bustamante and graduate student Zachary Bischof decided to quantify the performance of Cuban internet connections, and found them "perhaps even worse than they expected," with regards to routing in particular. Reader TheSync writes with this excerpt: During their study, Bustamante and Bischof found that when a person in Havana searched for a topic on Google, for example, the request traveled through the marine cable to Venezuela, then through another marine cable to the United States, and finally landed at a Google server in Dallas, Texas. When the search results traveled back, it went to Miami, Florida, up to the satellite, and then back to Cuba. While the information out of Cuba took 60-70 milliseconds, it took a whopping 270 milliseconds to travel back.

The Chicago Suburb That's Trying To Kill the Car ( 259 writes: T. R. Goldman writes at Politico that downtown Evanston, Illinois—a sturdy, tree-lined Victorian city wedged neatly between Lake Michigan and Chicago's northern border, is missing one thing — cars. Or, more accurately, it's missing a lot of cars. Thanks to concerted planning, new developments are rising within a 10-minute walk of two rail lines and half-a-dozen bus routes and the local automobile ownership rate is nearly half that of the surrounding area. According to Goldman, the whole point of the suburbs, reinforced by decades of local zoning laws and developers' plans for a car-centric lifestyle, was that you weren't supposed to live on top of your neighbor, that there was supposed to be plenty of parking everywhere you went and that you weren't supposed to walk anywhere.

"But Evanston had a different idea: What if a suburban downtown became a place where pedestrians ruled and cars were actively discouraged?" writes Goldman. "Beginning in 1986, a new plan for Evanston embraced the idea of a '24/7' downtown, pouring resources into increasing the density of its downtown—a density that also meant decreasing residents' reliance on automobiles. As a compact city, Evanston couldn't compete with the vast sprawling parking spots of the Old Orchard Mall. It had to build a different sort of appeal."


Immersion Cooling Drives Server Power Densities To Insane New Heights ( 80

1sockchuck writes: By immersing IT equipment in liquid coolant, a new data center is reaching extreme power densities of 250 kW per enclosure. At 40 megawatts, the data center is also taking immersion cooling to an entirely new scale, building on a much smaller proof-of-concept from a Hong Kong skyscraper. The facility is being built by Bitcoin specialist BitFury and reflects how the harsh economics of industrial mining have prompted cryptocurrency firms to focus on data center design to cut costs and boost power. But this type of radical energy efficiency may soon be key to America's effort to build an exascale computer and the increasingly extreme data-crunching requirements for cloud and analytics.
The Military

Russian Presence Near Undersea Cables Concerns US ( 273

An anonymous reader writes: The NY Times reports that the presence of Russian ships near important, undersea internet cables is raising concern with U.S. military and intelligence officials. From the article: "The issue goes beyond old Cold War worries that the Russians would tap into the cables — a task American intelligence agencies also mastered decades ago. The alarm today is deeper: The ultimate Russian hack on the United States could involve severing the fiber-optic cables at some of their hardest-to-access locations to halt the instant communications on which the West's governments, economies and citizens have grown dependent.
Just last month, the Russian spy ship Yantar, equipped with two self-propelled deep-sea submersible craft, cruised slowly off the East Coast of the United States on its way to Cuba — where one major cable lands near the American naval station at Guantánamo Bay. It was monitored constantly by American spy satellites, ships and planes. Navy officials said the Yantar and the submersible vehicles it can drop off its decks have the capability to cut cables miles down in the sea. What worries Pentagon planners most is that the Russians appear to be looking for vulnerabilities at much greater depths, where the cables are hard to monitor and breaks are hard to find and repair.


Walmart Plays Catch-Up With Amazon 203 writes: According to James B. Stewart in the NY Times, for the past 16 years Walmart has often acted as though it hoped Amazon would just go away. When Walmart announced last week that it was significantly increasing its investment in e-commerce, it tacitly acknowledged that it had fallen far behind Amazon in the race for online customers. Now, the magnitude of the task it faces has grown exponentially as e-commerce growth continues to surge globally. " has been severely mismanaged," says Burt P. Flickinger III. "Walmart would go a few years and invest strategically and significantly in e-commerce, then other years it wouldn't.Meanwhile, Amazon is making moves in e-commerce that's put Walmart so far behind that it might not be able to catch up for 10 more years, if ever."

In 1999, Amazon was a fledgling company with annual revenue of $1.6 billion; Walmart's was about $138 billion. By last year, Amazon's revenue was about 54 times what it was in 1999, nearly $89 billion, almost all of it from online sales. Walmart's was about three times what it was 15 years before, almost $486 billion, and only a small fraction of that — 2.5 percent, or $12.2 billion — came from Walmart's superefficient distribution system — a function of its enormous volume and geographic reach — was long the secret to Walmart's immense profitability. Ravi Jariwala, a Walmart spokesman, says that Walmart is building vast new fulfillment centers and is rapidly enhancing its delivery capabilities to take advantage of its extensive store network to provide convenient in-store pickup and adds that 70 percent of the American population lives within five miles of a Walmart store. "This is where e-commerce is headed," says Jariwala, which is to a hybrid online/in-store model. "Customers want the accessibility and immediacy of a physical store," along with the benefits of online shopping.

Data Centers Coming To a City Near You ( 39

1sockchuck writes: There are more wired businesses than ever in towns and cities across America. That's why the data center industry is coming to smaller cities you may not think of as technology hubs. Industry executives say the convergence of cloud computing, Big Data and the Internet of Things will require data centers in many places outside the traditional "Big Six" markets (Northern Virginia, New York/New Jersey, Chicago, Dallas, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles). "We're seeing success in the Tier 2 markets," said Kevin Bostick of 365 Data Centers, which operates in markets like Buffalo, Nashville and Pittsburgh. "We feel very confident with our ability to grow in these markets, especially given what we've seen over the past six months." Commercial real estate brokers confirm the trend, citing strong interest in the Pacific Northwest (especially Portland).

New Concerns Over Earthquakes In Oklahoma Near Vast Oil-Storage Facility ( 103 writes: The NY Times reported on October 14, 2015 that a magnitude 4.5 quake struck Saturday afternoon about three miles northwest of the Cushing Hub, a sprawling tank farm that is among the largest oil storage facilities in the world, now holding 53 million barrels of crude with a capacity for 85 million barrels. The Cushing oil hub stores oil piped from across North America until it is dispatched to refineries. The Department of Homeland Security has gauged potential earthquake dangers to the hub and concluded that a quake equivalent to the record magnitude 5.7 could significantly damage the tanks and a study by Dr. Daniel McNamara study concludes that recent earthquakes have increased stresses along two stretches of fault that could lead to quakes of that size. "It's the eye of the storm," says Dana Murphy, vice chairman of the state's oil and gas regulatory body, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

"When we see these fault systems producing multiple magnitude 4s, we start to get concerned that it could knock into higher magnitudes," says Daniel McNamara, author of a paper published online that a large earthquake near the storage hub "could seriously damage storage tanks and pipelines." "Given the number of magnitude 4s here, it's a high concern."


Orange County Developer To Install Tesla Batteries In Two Dozen Buildings ( 89

Lucas123 writes: The Irvine Company, a Newport Beach-based real estate developer that is a dominant landlord in Orange County, plans to install Tesla commercial batteries in two dozen of its buildings around Irvine Spectrum and John Wayne Airport. The project is the first of its kind of that size. The batteries will charge during non-peak hours and distribute power to the buildings during peak hours, a process that's expected to save the developer up to 10% of its energy costs or about $1 million a year.

Hundreds of Southwest Flights Delayed By Online Booking Problems 36

An anonymous reader writes: A technology problem delayed hundreds of Southwest Airlines flights Sunday while the airline checked-in passengers manually at airports. Around 300 flights had been delayed as of Sunday afternoon. In a statement on its website, Southwest said intermittent technical issues "are impacting website performance in creating new bookings and requiring us to process some customers manually as they arrive for travel."

Google Helped Cause the Mysterious Increase In 911 Calls SF Asked It To Solve ( 166

theodp writes: Android users have long complained publicly that it's way too easy to accidentally dial 911. So it's pretty astonishing that it took a team of Google Researchers and San Francisco Department of Emergency Management government employees to figure out that butt-dialing was increasing the number of 911 calls. The Google 9-1-1 Team presented its results in How Googlers helped San Francisco Use Data Science to Understand a Surge in 911 Calls, a Google-sponsored presentation at the Code for America Summit, and in San Francisco's 9-1-1 Call Volume Increase, an accompanying 26-page paper.

Worries Mount Over Upcoming LTE-U Deployments Hurting Wi-Fi 173

alphadogg writes: LTE-U is a technology developed by Qualcomm that lets a service provider broadcast and receive signals over unlicensed spectrum, which is usable by anybody – specifically, in this case, the spectrum used by Wi-Fi networks in both businesses and homes. By opening up this new spectrum, major U.S. wireless carriers hope to ease the load on the licensed frequencies they control and help their services keep up with demand. Unsurprisingly, several outside experiments that pitted standard LTE technology or 'simulated LTE-U' technology, in the case of one in-depth Google study, against Wi-Fi transmitters on the same frequencies found that LTE drastically reduced the throughput on the Wi-Fi connection.

"Today's robots are very primitive, capable of understanding only a few simple instructions such as 'go left', 'go right', and 'build car'." --John Sladek