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Intel

Not All Cores Are Created Equal 183

joabj writes "Virginia Tech researchers have found that the performance of programs running on multicore processors can vary from server to server, and even from core to core. Factors such as which core handles interrupts, or which cache holds the needed data can change from run to run. Such resources tend to be allocated arbitrarily now. As a result, program execution times can vary up to 10 percent. The good news is that the VT researchers are working on a library that will recognize inefficient behavior and rearrange things in a more timely fashion." Here is the paper, Asymmetric Interactions in Symmetric Multicore Systems: Analysis, Enhancements and Evaluation (PDF).
Patents

EEStor Issued a Patent For Its Supercapacitor 603

An anonymous reader sends us to GM-volt.com, an electric vehicle enthusiast blog, for the news that last week EEStor was granted a US patent for their electric-energy storage unit, of which no one outside the company (no one who is talking, anyway) has seen so much as a working prototype. We've discussed the company on a number of occasions. The patent (PDF) is a highly information-rich document that offers remarkable insight into the device. EEStor notes "the present invention provides a unique lightweight electric-energy storage unit that has the capability to store ultrahigh amounts of energy." "The core ingredient is an aluminum coated barium titanate powder immersed in a polyethylene terephthalate plastic matrix. The EESU is composed of 31,353 of these components arranged in parallel. It is said to have a total capacitance of 30.693 F and can hold 52.220 kWh of energy. The device is said to have a weight of 281.56 pound including the box and all hardware. Unlike lithium-ion cells, the technology is said not to degrade with cycling and thus has a functionally unlimited lifetime. It is mentioned the device cannot explode when being charge or impacted and is thus safe for vehicles."
The Courts

RIAA Claim of Stopping Suits "Months" Ago Is False 141

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "According to a report on Wired.com, the RIAA spokesman claimed that the RIAA has not filed any new lawsuits 'for months,' and according to the Wall Street Journal report discussed here yesterday, the RIAA stopped filing mass lawsuits 'early this fall.' Knowing that the RIAA has a problem with telling the truth, I did a little investigating, and found out that the RIAA had, in fact, commenced a wave of lawsuits just last week. Why would anyone believe anything their spokesperson says? This is an organization that has a tendency to misspeak a lot, if you know what I mean, even when under oath." CNet has a copy of the RIAA's new form letter that it will ask ISPs to pass on to alleged copyright-infringing users. It says, in part, "This letter does not constitute a waiver of our members' rights to recover or claim relief for damages incurred by this illegal activity, nor does it waive the right to bring legal action against the user at issue for engaging in music theft."
Technology

New York City Street Lights To Go LED 303

eldavojohn writes "Wired has a short piece on NYC's new street light project. I don't think we need to belabor the many benefits that LEDs hold over traditional light bulbs, but the finishing touches are being addressed, and they will hopefully be put into place sometime next year. This design won a competition back in 2004, and OVI has been whittling down the prototypes. At $1.175 million, this sounds like a pretty cheap deal considering the DOE forked over $21 million to 13 R&D projects along the same lines."
Image

Researchers Test Whether Sharks Enjoy Christmas Songs Screenshot-sm 142

Scientists plan to test whether sharks enjoy listening to Christmas pop songs, after US research showed fish could recognize melody. Chris Brown, senior marine biologist at the Loch Lomond aquarium, said seasonal music would be played through walkthrough underwater tunnels where they can be heard by dozens of nurse sharks, black-tip reef sharks, and ray species. Experts will then monitor the sharks' reactions to different songs. We'll play everything from Kim Wilde and Mel Smith's Rocking Around the Christmas Tree and Merry Christmas Everybody by Slade to Wham's Last Christmas. We may find they prefer something softer like White Christmas by Bing Crosby," Brown said. Thank you for answering this question science.
Earth

New Font Uses Holes To Cut Ink Use 540

An anonymous reader writes "A Dutch company has taken an open source Sans Serif font and added holes to it to try and save on printer ink costs. The Ecofont is claimed to save up to 20 percent of ink costs, but it allegedly took the firm a while to perfect the ratio of the maximum number of holes possible without sacrificing readability."
It's funny.  Laugh.

If Programming Languages Were Religions 844

bshell writes "With Christmas around the corner I know we are all thinking about religion, or at least maybe wondering why this one religion dominates the rest for these few weeks. A fellow named Rodrigo Braz Monteiro (amz) posted this list comparing each programming language to a religion. Guaranteed to make you chuckle and generate a good long thread here on slashdot. Great way to pass the time as work winds down this week and we relate to our own programming faiths during this very special time of year. Merry PHPmas." Fortunately Pastafarianism is referenced.
Businesses

Spaceport America Gets FAA License 61

DynaSoar writes "Spaceport America received an early and double holiday gift this week: first, the expected (positive) FAA environmental impact report, and second, the hoped-for but not immediately expected 'launch site operator's license.' With this license, and with the previously accomplished creation of a tax district, two of three pieces are in place as required by the New Mexico legislature to receive its funding package. The third, a lease with a space services tenant to use the facility, may come this week also, in the form of a contract with Virgin Galactic. While timing is impossible to predict, the contract is a virtual certainty. The New Mexico Spaceport Authority fully expects it, and so has projected late 2010 for completion of hangar and terminal facilities. Virgin Galactic also seems confident, as they have already screened and submitted their first 100 customers (called the Virgin Galactic Founders) to their contracted medical and training supervisor. They are busy screening their second 100 'spaceflight participants' (NASA and RKA having decided that only those who can tack 'career' on the front of it deserve to be called 'astronauts')."
Apple

Jobs Not Giving This Year's Macworld Keynote 371

Many readers including thermopile wrote in about Apple withdrawing from Macworld Expo after this year. The other bad news for Apple fans is that Steve Jobs won't be delivering the keynote in 3 weeks — we may have seen his last "one more thing." Apple VP Phil Schiller will be doing the honors. He's "an Apple executive notably lacking in Jobs's showmanship and star power," according to the Fortune blogger. Apple's press release states that "trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers." While this may be true, the keynote addresses have been a critical venue for major new product announcements. Apple's stock is taking a 6% hit in after-hours trading, possibly on concerns about Jobs's health. Reader Harry has gathered together YouTube clips from most of the Macworld keynotes Jobs given since 1997.
Databases

Is MySQL's Community Eating the Company? 223

mjasay writes "Craigslist's Jeremy Zawodny reviews the progress of MySQL as a project, and discovers that through third-party forks and enhancements like Drizzle and OurDelta 'you can get a "better" MySQL than the one Sun/MySQL gives you today. For free.' Is this a good thing? On one hand it demonstrates the strong community around MySQL, but on the other, it could make it harder for Sun to fund core development on MySQL by diverting potential revenue from the core database project. Is this the fate of successful open-source companies? To become so successful as a community that they can't eke out a return as a company? If so, could anyone blame MySQL/Sun for creating its own proprietary fork in order to afford further core development?"
Medicine

Why Climbers Die On Mount Everest 417

Science Daily reports that researchers have conducted the first detailed analysis of deaths during expeditions to the summit of Mt. Everest. They found that most deaths occur during descents from the summit in the so-called "death zone" above 8,000 meters, and also identified factors that appear to be associated with a greater risk of death, particularly symptoms of high-altitude cerebral edema. The big surprise that the data indicate those deaths aren't primarily from avalanches or falling ice, as had long been believed.
Wine

Wine Goes 64-Bit With Wine64 385

G3ckoG33k writes "Wine (Wine Is Not an Emulator) is a popular way to run Windows programs on Linux, and it has an impressive compatibility list. After 15 years of development it reached version 1.0 a few months ago. Now, Wine developer Maarten Lankhorst has succeeded in running 'Hello World' in 64-bit, natively! The 64-bit variety is unexpectedly named Wine64."
Space

Black Hole At Center of Milky Way Confirmed 392

Smivs writes "The BBC are reporting that a German team has confirmed the existence of a Black Hole at the center of the Milky Way. Astronomers tracked the movement of 28 stars circling the center of the Milky Way, using the 3.5m New Technology Telescope and the 8.2m Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. Both are operated by the European Southern Observatory (Eso). The black hole is four million times heavier than our Sun, according to the paper in The Astrophysical Journal. According to Dr Robert Massey, of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), the results suggest that galaxies form around giant black holes in the way that a pearl forms around grit."
Education

Bjarne Stroustrup On Educating Software Developers 538

jammag writes "Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of C++ and a professor at Texas A&M, weighs in on the problems in today's CS programs. In particular, Java (there's too much of it), the quality of graduates (companies aren't happy), and the need to balance the theoretical and the practical (long overdue). Not pulling punches, Stroustrup even talks about high schools — 'High schools could teach students to work hard at something (just about anything), to search out information as needed, and learn to express their ideas in writing and orally.' He finishes by giving advice to working developers: 'Serious programming is a team sport, brush up on your social skills. The sloppy fat geek computer genius semi-buried in a pile of pizza boxes and cola cans is a mythical creature, best buried deep, never to be seen again.'" Read on for more choice quotes from the quotable professor.
Programming

Evolution of Mona Lisa Via Genetic Programming 326

mhelander writes "In his weblog Roger Alsing describes how he used genetic programming to arrive at a remarkably good approximation of Mona Lisa using only 50 semi-transparent polygons. His blog entry includes a set of pictures that let you see how 'Poly Lisa' evolved over roughly a million generations. Both beautiful to look at and a striking way to get a feel for the power of evolutionary algorithms."

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