An anonymous reader writes "Sometimes, it's the oldest machines that are the most fascinating. PC & Tech Authority has posted this gallery of photos of the first automatic electronic stored-program computer in Australia and one of the first in the world — CSIRAC. The photos show a machine massive in size — the main system comprised nine steel cabinets containing 2000 valves that weighed over 7000kg. Using valve technology and World War II radar systems as a starting point, the machine was used for various purposes including weather forecasting, forestry, loan repayments and building design. It boasted a 1000Hz memory clock and a serial bus that transferred one bit at a time. The system generated so much heat, cool air needed to be blown up through the cabinets from the basement below. In addition to being Australia's first computer, it is also said to have been the first computer to play digital music anywhere in the world. When CSIRAC was turned off for the last time, a witness described it as 'like something alive dying.'" Museum Victoria has some short but informative pages about CSIRAC, too, including this one about programming the thing, and another about the dangers and annoyances of working on it.
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ArmageddonLord writes with this news from the IEEE Spectrum, reporting on display industry gathering Display Week: "Liquid crystal displays dominate today's big, bright world of color TVs. But they're inefficient and don't produce the vibrant, richly hued images of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens, which are expensive to make in large sizes. Now, a handful of start-up companies aim to improve the LCD by adding quantum dots, the light-emitting semiconductor nanocrystals that shine pure colors when excited by electric current or light. When integrated into the back of LCD panels, the quantum dots promise to cut power consumption in half while generating 50 percent more colors. Quantum-dot developer Nanosys says an LCD film it developed with 3M is now being tested, and a 17-inch notebook incorporating the technology should be on shelves by year's end."
First time accepted submitter Quillem writes "Muthu Alagappan, a 5'9" biomechanical engineering undergraduate at Stanford, made a presentation at this year's MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference which might well do to basketball what Moneyball did to baseball. His contribution revolves around a topographical analysis of NBA games which contends that there are really 13 positions in basketball — not just five. Besides a rather patronising — but informative — read in Gentlemen's Quarterly, there are earlier stories over at Wired and NYT blogs. Muthu's talk and slides are also available."
stillnotelf writes "ScienceInsider is covering a National Institutes of Health advisory committee report that details problems in the U.S. biomedical research workforce. Current policies encourage the training of large numbers of biomedical graduate students, as they are the cheapest labor available, but the research enterprise is not structured to absorb them into full-time scientist positions. The report's varied suggestions include removing graduate student funding from investigator-linked research grants (shifting it to institution-linked training grants instead) and encouraging the hiring of staff scientists as permanent lab members. This would reduce the number of trainees, but increase the proportion of trainees that maintain careers as researchers. ScienceInsider further notes that a National Research Council report 14 years ago noted a similar problem, but never motivated change."
An anonymous reader writes "Want to fly your own experiment in space? dvice are reporting on a project called Ardusat — a satellite based (unsurprisingly perhaps, given the name) on Arduinos. For $500 you can upload your own code to the satellite, and run your own experiment for 1 week. Experimenters will have access to a veritable battery of 25 sensors including magnetometer, geiger counter, accelerometer, gas sensors and various others. As well as allowing for affordable space science, this sounds like it would be awesome for educational institutes."
Lucas123 writes "New numbers show hybrid drives, which combine NAND flash with spinning disk, will double in sales from 1 million to 2 million units this year. Unfortunately for Seagate — the only manufacturer of hybrids — solid-state drive sales are expected to hit 18 million units this year and 69 million by 2016. Low-capacity, cache SSDs, which typically have 20GB to 40GB of capacity and run along side hard drives in notebooks and desktops, will see their shipments rise even more this year to 23.9 million units, up by an astounding 2,660% from just 864,000 units in 2011. Shipments will then jump to 67.7 million units next year, cross the hundred-million-unit mark in 2015, and hit 163 million units by 2016, according to IHS iSuppli. If hybrid drives are to have a chance at surviving, more manufacturers will need to produce them, and they'll need to come in thinner form factors to fit today's ultrabook laptops."
New submitter halcyon1234 writes "I'm currently cutting the webhost cord, and setting up a simple webserver at home to host a couple hobby websites and a blog. The usual LAMP stuff. I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous; I know how to get everything set up and get it up to date, but not enough to be sure I'm not overlooking common, simple security configurations. And then there's the issue of new vulnerabilities being found that I'm not even aware of. The last thing I want is to contribute to someone's botnet or spam relay. What readings/subscriptions would you recommend for security discussions/heads up? Obviously I already read (too much) Slashdot daily, which I credit for hearing about some major security issues. Are there any RSS feeds or mailing lists you rely on for keeping up to date on security issues?"
coondoggie writes "It's not one-of-a-kind, but it's pretty darn close. Sotheby's this week auctioned off a rare, working Apple 1 computer for $374,500 to an unnamed bidder. The price was more than double the expected price listed on the Sotheby's web site. Sotheby's notes about the Apple 1 say it is one of six thought-to-be-operational boxes and one of about 50 known to exist."
chicksdaddy writes "A web site used to distribute software updates for a wide range medical equipment, including ventilators has been blocked by Google after it was found to be riddled with malware and serving up attacks. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is looking into the compromise. The site belongs to San Diego-based CareFusion Inc., a hospital equipment supplier. The infected Web sites, which use a number of different domains, distribute firmware updates for a range of ventilators and respiratory products. Scans by Google's Safe Browsing program in May and June found the sites were rife with malware. For example, about six percent of the 347 Web pages hosted at Viasyshealthcare.com, a CareFusion Web site that is used to distribute software updates for the company's AVEA brand ventilators, were found to be infected and pushing malicious software to visitors' systems."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Wikipedia, which features nearly 4 million articles in English alone, is widely considered a godsend for high school students on a tight paper deadline. But for University of Illinois researcher Kalev Leetaru, Wikipedia's volumes of crowd-sourced articles are also an enormous dataset, one he mined for insights into the history of globalization. He made use of Wikipedia's 37GB of English-language data — in particular, the evolving connections between various locations across the globe over a period of years. 'I put every coordinate on a map with a date stamp,' Leetaru told The New York Times. 'It gave me a map of how the world is connected.' You can view the time lapse/data visualization on YouTube."
OverTheGeicoE writes "Over a month after Sen. Rand Paul announced his desire to pull the plug on TSA, he has finally released his legislation that he tweets will 'abolish the #TSA & establish a passengers "Bill of Rights."' Although the tweet sounds radical, the press release describing his proposed legislation is much less so. 'Abolition' really means privatization; one of Paul's proposals would simply force all screenings to be conducted by private screeners. The proposed changes in the 'passenger Bill of Rights' appear to involve slight modifications to existing screening methods at best. Many of his 'rights' are already guaranteed under current law, like the right to opt-out of body scanning. Others can only vaguely be described as rights, like 'expansion of canine screening.' Here's to the new boss..."
MojoKid writes "Did you know that the FCC hasn't updated its guidelines regarding maximum radiation levels in mobile devices since 1996? FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is apparently aware of this, because he's looking to launch a formal inquiry into the matter. In a statement that was recently circulated, the FCC isn't exactly concerned that current standards are too lax, but it makes sense to periodically review standards for an industry that changes and evolves so rapidly and dramatically. There has been much debate in recent years about the potential danger of radiation from cell phones, and although there has been some study on the subject, there is not yet a general consensus on whether there is a real danger from mobile device radiation, and if there is, what the acceptable levels might be."
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "In the wake of confirmation that the U.S. government was involved in the creation of Stuxnet and likely Flame, a look over job listings on defense contractor sites shows just how explicitly the Pentagon and the firms that service it are recruiting offense-oriented hackers. Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, SAIC, and Booz Allen have all posted job ads that require skills like 'exploit development,' have titles like 'Windows Attack Developer,' or asks them to 'plan, execute, and assess an Offensive Cyberspace Operation.'"
alphadogg writes "Linux developers will soon have a chance to compete for prizes of laptops and smartphones, thanks to Canonical's announcement this week of the Ubuntu App Showdown contest. Developers will have from June 18 until July 9 — a total of three weeks — to create an app using Canonical's Quickly development tool, which combines Python and GTK into a single Ubuntu-centric package. The resulting apps will be judged by a five-member panel, with the developers of the top three receiving new Nokia N9 smartphones."
An anonymous reader writes "The Canadian government is expected to pass copyright reform next week. The bill's anti-circumvention rules are a mirror image of the DMCA, leading many to conclude that the government simply caved to U.S. led lobbying pressure. Now Michael Geist provides the evidence — a secret series of unreported meetings between MPAA head Christopher Dodd and Canada's foreign minister, heritage minister, and a senior industry official, just weeks after the bill was introduced and days before SOPA landed in the U.S."