ShieldW0lf writes: From my understanding, when you're making computer chips, the primary costs involved are building the infrastructure to make them. Actually making them once you've got your infrastructure set up is relatively cheap.
We're finding uses for spare computer cycles all over the place. Cloud computing is becoming a reality, vast server farms are continuously being built, and vast amounts of effort is invested in keeping these installations cool.
In my home office, keeping the room cool enough to concentrate in the presence of these silicone chips is a real task. And all the while, I've got baseboard heaters made of relatively expensive metal that I'm running electricity through in an effort to heat the place.
It occurred to me that we could replace those heaters with computer chips.
The material chips are made from is in greater supply than the metal we currently use, so we would be recovering metal by implementing such a scheme. Instead of varying the activity of the chips in response to demands from the network, you could vary the activity in response to the home thermostat. So, every time there was a cold snap, the computing resources available in the cloud would increase. The energy consumption would be subsidized, because you needed to use it to heat your home regardless.
Ideally, to maximize returns to society, you'd be looking at a national initiative to implement such a plan across the board, but there could be a business model in, say, replacing office and apartment heating infrastructure with such technology and selling those spare cycles.
Is there any technical reason this isn't practical?
ShieldW0lf writes: Microsoft has been encouraging children to chat with "Santa" by adding firstname.lastname@example.org to their contact lists. The bot would pretend to be Santa, asking what they want for Christmas and replying intelligently.
Until, one fateful day, a young girl invited Santa to eat pizza too many times, only to have Santa say "You want me to eat what?!? It's fun to talk about oral sex, but I want to chat about something else."
Microsoft spokesman Adam Sohn said the company's engineers tried to clean up Santa's vocabulary, but even after making changes to the software, the company wasn't comfortable keeping him online.
ShieldW0lf writes: "The governments of Canada and Nova Scotia announced a $400,000,000 plan to solidify a 100-hectare toxic waste site affectionately known as the "Sydney Tar Ponds" by mixing it with a concrete like substance.
The site was polluted by almost a century of of steel manufacture, and contains 700,000 tons of soil contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), solvents and heavy metals.
Approximately 26,000 people live within a four-kilometre radius of the tar ponds, the majority of them less than 1.5 kilometres from the site.