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Third Party Debates Moderated by Larry King: Discuss 221

Since the two big guys got their three debates covered, and the last third party debate kind of fizzled due to technical difficulties, we invite you to discuss the third party debate happening at 9 p.m. EDT tonight. Candidates from the Green, Libertarian, Constitution, and Justice parties will be debating in the same room with Larry King moderating. It would appear that C-SPAN is rebroadcasting it, so you catch it using rtmpdump if you happen to not use Flash. Since third party politicians are still politicians, remember to print out some Logical Fallacy Bingo. Topics for the debate include climate change, the drug war, and civil liberties. Update: 10/24 02:32 GMT by U L : It turns out there will be a final third party debate next Tuesday on foreign policy between two of the candidates. To determine who will be in the debate Free and Equal is holding an IRV vote until 10:30 p.m. EDT October 24.

Website Pitches Scientific Solutions In Search of Problems 39

ananyo writes "In this age of social media, innovators eager to develop high-tech products are tapping into the wisdom of crowds to solve problems, with crowdsourcing sites such as Innocentive and Kaggle offering cash prizes for answers to science or data questions. The launch this week of a site called Marblar is turning this model on its head. Marblar gives scientists a space to tout solutions that have yet to find their problem (it's not in beta, despite the redirect). Members, who can come from any background, are invited to publicly discuss potential uses for patented discoveries made in research laboratories that as yet may not have led to real-world applications. Every suggestion at Marblar is posted on a public forum alongside video interviews with the scientists and explanations of their work. Website visitors suggest applications and vote them up and down, and the scientists behind the discovery are encouraged to take part in the discussion. Popular suggestions are recognized with a points system (denoted by marbles — hence the name) and, in some cases, small cash prizes. A trial run seems to have been pretty successful."

Comment Re:Why CentOS instead of Redhat? (Score 0) 46

Because that way they don't have to pay Red Hat anything.

I think they are going to find it tough to keep Enterprise-level SLAs using Centos vice Red Hat. Anytime there is a major security vulnerability, rather than waiting on Red Hat to release an Erratum, they are going to have to wait on Red Hat to release AND then wait on the CentOS folks (who have no financial motivation to do things with any urgency) to take what Red Hat released and rebuild it for CentOS.

Comment Depends on whether or not it's election season (Score 1) 228

I typically get 1-2 robocalls PER DAY during the 2-3 weeks leading up to an election. If the election is for a federal office (senate, etc.) or state office in addition to local positions (judges, etc.) that number can be as high as 4-5 per day. Any other time of year I get 0-1 per month (My number is on the do-not-call list).

Candidates for judge and Senate (both federal and state) seem to be the worst offendors.

It is extremely frustrating that lawmakers felt the need to exempt themselves from do-not-call legislation.

Comment Re:NFC (Score 1) 87

So 10 years ago everyone was talking about how the phones of tomorrow would have this neat technology called "bluetooth" that would let us use our phones like an ATM card. Obviously that never happened. So what does NFC give us that bluetooth didn't that will actually allow mobile payments to work?

Comment Seems inefficient (Score 1) 66

Supercomputers are big. Even when idle they still require lots of power and cooling, so ideally you want your supercomputer to be 100% utilized all of the time. That's why most supercomputers are "over-subscribed" and have batch schedulers (moab/torque, PBS, LSF, etc.). Users submit jobs, and the scheduler goes about placing those jobs on the supercomputer in a way that keeps utilization as close to 100% as possible. This means that typically when you submit a job it will not run immediately.

If your cellphone "out in the field" is relying on a supercomputer to do calculations, you probably aren't going to want to sit there waiting the minutes/hours/days it might take for your job to make its way through the queue. So you have a few choices: Make some sort of system reservation and only use your phone during the reservation time (probably not practical when you are "out in the field"), configure your scheduler to pre-empt currently running jobs in favor of the "cell phone" jobs (this might piss off non-cellphone users), or dedicate some or all of the system to doing nothing but being available for cell phone jobs....and the portion you dedicate will have to be enough to cover all of your cell phone users.

The last option is probably the best in terms of making sure that there is always supercomputing resources available for the cell phone users, but this undersubscription will cause your supercomputer to sit idle when field work isn't being done. So suddenly you are paying to power and cool a supercomputer that is sitting there waiting on the user to do something.

Supercomputer companies are slowly working on making supercomputers "greener", i.e. requiring less power/cooling, the ability to power off cpus/nodes/frames when not in use, etc. But until this green technology is perfected paring supercomputers with cell phones seems like a very inefficient way to do things.

PlayStation (Games)

US Air Force Buying Another 2,200 PS3s 144

bleedingpegasus sends word that the US Air Force will be grabbing up 2,200 new PlayStation 3 consoles for research into supercomputing. They already have a cluster made from 336 of the old-style (non-Slim) consoles, which they've used for a variety of purposes, including "processing multiple radar images into higher resolution composite images (known as synthetic aperture radar image formation), high-def video processing, and 'neuromorphic computing.'" According to the Justification Review Document (DOC), "Once the hardware configuration is implemented, software code will be developed in-house for cluster implementation utilizing a Linux-based operating software."

Comment Re:Cost savings? (Score 3, Insightful) 72

There are plenty of reasons why supercomputers have to be shut down....besides the fact that even with generators and UPSes facilities outages are still a fact of life. What if there is a kernel vulnerability (insert 50 million ksplice replies here...yeah yeah yeah)? What if firmware needs to be updated to fix a problem? You can't just depend on RAM for storage. HPC jobs use input files that are ten's of Gigabytes and produce output files that can be multi Terrabytes. The jobs can run for weeks at a time. In some cases it takes longer to transfer the data to another machine that it takes to generate/process the data. You can't just assume that the machine will stay up to protect that data.

Comment Where are you finding these "requirements"? (Score 5, Informative) 211

I am a Linux administrator at a DoD site. I have never seen anything that says that you must run kernel 2.6.30 or anything like that. Can you please provide a link to where you read this? (links to CAC-authenticated websites are ok)

DoD I-8500.2 requires you to run an OS that is EAL certified at a certain level depending on your classification. The only Linux distributions I know of that have EAL certification are SLES (9 and 10) and RHEL (4 and 5). I keep hearing about people that run things like Fedora, CentOS, and Ubuntu on DoD networks, but I have no idea how they get away with that.

As far as software versions go, what versions you must be at are dictated by IAV-A, IAV-B, and IAV-T notices. The IAV-A may say that there is a vulnerability that affects kernel versions = 2.6.30 and that you must go to 2.6.30 to be compliant, but as long as your vendor's kernel version addresses the CVEs that the IAV-A references then you are covered.

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