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Supercomputing

Homebrew Cray-1 140

egil writes "Chris Fenton built his own fully functional 1/10 scale Cray-1 supercomputer. True to the original, it includes the couch-seat, but is also binary compatible with the original. Instead of the power-hungry ECL technology, however, the scale model is built around a Xilinx Spartan-3E 1600 development board. All software is available if you want to build one for your own living room. The largest obstacle in the project is to find original software."
Image

3 Drinks a Day Keeps the Doctor Away 470

Nzimmer911 writes "Heavy drinkers outlive non-drinkers according to a 20 years study following 1,824 people. From the article: 'But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that - for reasons that aren't entirely clear - abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.'"
United States

Building Prisons Without Walls Using GPS Devices 545

Hugh Pickens writes "Graeme Wood writes in the Atlantic that increasingly GPS devices are looking like an appealing alternative to conventional incarceration, as it becomes ever clearer that traditional prison has become more or less synonymous with failed prison. 'By almost any metric, our practice of locking large numbers of people behind bars has proved at best ineffective and at worst a national disgrace,' writes Wood. But new devices such as ExacuTrack suggest a revolutionary possibility: that we might do away with the current, expensive array of guards and cells and fences, in favor of a regimen of close, constant surveillance on the outside and swift, certain punishment for any deviations from an established, legally unobjectionable routine. 'The potential upside is enormous. Not only might such a system save billions of dollars annually, it could theoretically produce far better outcomes, training convicts to become law-abiders rather than more-ruthless lawbreakers,' adds Wood. 'The ultimate result could be lower crime rates, at a reduced cost, and with considerably less inhumanity in the bargain.'"
Cellphones

Burning Man Goes Open Source For Cell Phones 152

coondoggie passes along this excerpt from Network World: "Today I bring you a story that has it all: a solar-powered, low-cost, open source cellular network that's revolutionizing coverage in underprivileged and off-grid spots. It uses VoIP yet works with existing cell phones. It has pedigreed founders. Best of all, it is part of the sex, drugs and art collectively known as Burning Man. ... The technology starts with the 'they-said-it-couldn't-be-done' open source software, OpenBTS. OpenBTS is built on Linux and distributed via the AGPLv3 license. When used with a software-defined radio such as the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP), it presents a GSM air interface ("Um") to any standard GSM cell phone, with no modification whatsoever required of the phone. It uses open source Asterisk VoIP software as the PBX to connect calls, though it can be used with other soft switches, too. ... This is the third year its founders have decided to trial-by-fire the system by offering free cell phone service to the 50,000-ish attendees at Burning Man, which begins today in Black Rock City, Nevada. "
Power

Submission + - Australia to phase out incandescent light bulbs

rblancarte writes: Citing a reduction in greenhouse gases, the Australian government on Tuesday announced plans to phase out incandescent light bulbs and replace them with more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs across the country. 'Federal Government figures suggest energy used for household lighting in Australia contributes up to 12 per cent of coal-energy greenhouse gas emissions and around 25 per cent of emissions from commercial and public lighting.' While a small percentage in Australia's goal in greenhouse gas reduction, it is one of the first major steps taken to reduce greenhouse gases by any national government. The incandescent bulb is a 125 year-old technology with few changes made in the last century.

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