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Science

Scientists Breed Big-Brained Guppies To Demonstrate Evolution's Trade-Offs 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-fat-headed-just-big-brained dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists have long suspected that big brains come with an evolutionary price — but now they've published the first experimental evidence to support that suspicion, based on their efforts to breed big-brained fish. A Swedish team found it relatively easy to select and interbreed common guppies to produce bigger (or smaller) brains — as much as 9.3 percent bigger, to be precise (abstract). But the bigger-brained fish also tended to have smaller guts and produce fewer babies."

Comment: Re:Wow (Score 1) 223

by warrior (#41513527) Attached to: AMD Trinity APUs Stack Up Well To Intel's Core 3
Just curious, I'm an engineer at AMD, albeit on the CPU cores/cache memory side. I work on the transistors, so I can't really comment on our GPU drivers (although I work with the GPU team from time to time as there is some commonality between CPU cache memory design and GPU shader memories, so I can vouch for the hardware being excellent, at least the SRAM). I use the AMD binary drivers under linux and they're rock solid. I wonder if the issues are specific to DirectX?
NASA

Air Force Sets First Post In Ambitious Space Fence Project 65

Posted by samzenpus
from the making-good-neighbors dept.
coondoggie writes "The US Air Force this week said it will base the first Space Fence radar post on Kwajalein Island in the Republic of the Marshall Islands with the site planned to be operational by 2017. The Space Fence is part of the Department of Defense's effort to better track and detect space objects which can consist of thousands of pieces of space debris as well as commercial and military satellite parts."

Comment: This is about energy efficiency, not GHz (Score 1) 286

by warrior (#39187055) Attached to: AMD's Piledriver To Hit 4GHz+ With Resonant Clock Mesh
Too bad the article is lacking on the technical details. This is about energy efficiency, not GHz. They have hit 4GHz and higher with a traditional clock mesh. The point here is that they hit 4GHz with a resonant clock mesh. What this means is that instead of charging and discharging the huge capacitor that is the clock grid every cycle using only FETs connected to VDD and VSS (traditional digital logic), there is an LC tank circuit that is resonating with the clock grid. The power rails still do some of the charging and discharging of the grid, but now some of the energy comes from the oscillator. I have seen the paper, the distributed LC tank is pretty cool. The technical achievement is that they got this to run at 4GHz while keeping the skew between clock grid points as low as a traditional mesh (had the skew increased, the max frequency of the processor would go down). They claim reduced clock power of 25%. Given that clock power is roughly half the power of a core, that's a 12% power reduction overall, pretty impressive. It's also really cool that the whole thing is on-die - they made the inductors out of back-end wires on the CPU die itself, no additional components on the package so no increased cost.

Comment: Re:Reading List (Score 2) 446

by warrior (#38893353) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Transitioning From 'Hacker' To 'Engineer'?
I would also add "The Art of UNIX Programming" to that list. This book isn't just about programming in UNIX. It is more about the philosophy behind UNIX, which in turn describes properties of any sustainable software system.

It can be found online here: http://www.faqs.org/docs/artu/

One of my favorite parts is on transparency and discoverability: http://www.faqs.org/docs/artu/ch06s02.html
EU

In the EU, Water Doesn't (Officially) Prevent Dehydration 815

Posted by timothy
from the you-need-prescription-only-dihydrogen-monoxide dept.
New Kohath writes with this news from The Guardian: "Bottled water producers applied to the EU for the right to claim that 'regular consumption of significant amounts of water can reduce the risk of development of dehydration'. The health claim was reviewed by a panel of 21 scientists on behalf of the European Food Standards Authority. The application was denied, and now producers of bottled water are forbidden by law from making the claim. They will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the EU edict."
Image

Man With 10 Million Air Miles Gets Plane Named After Him 249 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the fly-me-to-the-moon dept.
Chicago car salesman Thomas Stuker has set a record by accumulating an astonishing 10 million air miles on United Airlines. In the past 29 years Thomas has flown almost 6,000 times - racking up a total mileage that would circle the Earth 400 times. From the article: "Mr Stuker has already been highly rewarded with access to a special lounge at the airlines hub in Chicago, first-class upgrades as a matter of course and even a plane named after him on the fleet."
Encryption

17% Smaller DES S-box Circuits Found 45

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-bigger-than-a-breadbox dept.
solardiz writes "DES is still in use, brute-force key search remains the most effective attack on it, and it is an attractive building block for certain applications (the key size may be increased e.g. with 3DES). Openwall researchers, with funding from Rapid7, came up with 17% shorter Boolean expressions representing the DES S-boxes. Openwall's John the Ripper 1.7.8 tests over 20 million combinations against DES-based crypt(3) per second on a Core i7-2600K 3.4 GHz, which roughly corresponds to a DES encryption speed of 33 Gbps."

Comment: Re:Processor use (Score 1) 129

by warrior (#35068590) Attached to: Julia Meets HTML5
Exactly. This is why the "application" is a bad idea. I understand the goal of moving "heavy lifting" to the cloud and having "thin" clients. However, it appears that the "thin" client envisioned here is a machine that parses and interprets lots and lots of text. It's so inefficient and wasteful. As a hardware designer, we keep making mobile devices more powerful and energy efficient all so lazy programmers can throw steaming piles of crap onto the devices. It's a hack on top of a hack on top of a hack. Some sort of binary protocol where minimal bytes are passed between server and client is needed here.
Iphone

Apple May Remove the Home Button On the Next IPad 329

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the death-to-the-button dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Steve Jobs is notoriously frugal when it comes to buttons so the latest rumor emanating out of Cupertino might not come as a huge surprise. Apple is reportedly planning to do away with the home button on the next-gen iPad and iPhone and replace its functionality with multitouch gestures. And as luck would have it, the newly seeded iOS 4.3 includes support for new multitouch gestures, one of which is the ability to use a four or five finger pinch to go back to the homescreen" The attached video demonstrates the new gestures for switching applications and demonstrates how you could function without the home button.

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