DavidGilbert99 writes: Google bid $10 billion for WhatsApp before Facebook sealed a $19 billion deal this week, as well as trying to get WhatsApp founders to sign a deal which would see WhatsApp paid to tell Google when anyone else was looking to buy the popular messaging app.
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Tim Heffernan writes that when "The Fifty," as it’s known in company circles, broke down three years ago, there was talk of retiring it for good. Instead, Alcoa decided to overhaul their 50,000-ton, 6-story high forging press, now scheduled to resume service early this year. "What sets the Fifty apart is its extraordinary scale," writes Heffernan. "Its 14 major structural components, cast in ductile iron, weigh as much as 250 tons each; those yard-thick steel bolts are also 78 feet long; all told, the machine weighs 16 million pounds, and when activated its eight main hydraulic cylinders deliver up to 50,000 tons of compressive force." The Fifty could bench-press the battleship Iowa, with 860 tons to spare but it's the Fifty's amazing precision—its tolerances are measured in thousandths of an inch—that gives it such far-reaching utility. Every manned US military aircraft now flying uses parts forged by the Fifty as does every commercial aircraft made by Airbus and Boeing making the Jet Age possible. "On a plane, a pound of weight saved is a pound of thrust gained—or a pound of lift, or a pound of cargo," writes Heffernan. "Without the ultra-strong, ultra-light components that only forging can produce, they’d all be pushing much smaller envelopes." The now-forgotten Heavy Press Program (PDF), inaugurated in 1950 and completed in 1957, resulted in four presses (including the Fifty) and six extruders—giant toothpaste tubes squeezing out long, complex metal structures such as wing ribs and missile bodies. "Today, America lacks the ability to make anything like the Heavy Press Program machines," concludes Heffernan adding that "The Fifty" will be supplying bulkheads through 2034 for the Joint Strike Fighter. "Big machines are the product of big visions, and they make big visions real. How about a Heavy Fusion Program?""
MrSeb writes: "Back in the olden days, when WiFi and Bluetooth were just a glimmer in the eye of IEEE, another short-range wireless communications technology ruled supreme: Infrared Data Association, or IrDA for short. IrDA was awful; early versions were only capable of kilobit-per-second speeds, and only over a distance of a few feet. Trying to get my laptop and mobile phone to link up via IrDA was, to date, one of the worst tech experiences I’ve ever had. There’s a lot to be said for light-based communications, though. For a start, visible (and invisible) light has a frequency of between 400 and 800THz (800 and 375nm), which is unlicensed spectrum worldwide. Second, in cases where you really don’t want radio interference, such as hospitals, airplanes, and other sensitive environments, visible light communication (VLC), or free-space optical communication, is really rather desirable. Now, I think for the first time ever, researchers at the National Taipei University of Technology in Taiwan have transmitted data using lasers — not high-powered, laboratory-dwelling lasers; handheld, AAA-battery laser pointers. A red and green laser pointer were used, each transmitting a stream of data at 500Mbps, which is then multiplexed at the receiver for a grand total of 1Gbps."