TopSpin writes: Rust 1.0 has appeared and release parties in Paris, LA and San Francisco are taking place today. From the Rust Programming Language blog; `Today we are very proud to announce the 1.0 release of Rust, a new programming language aiming to make it easier to build reliable, efficient systems. Rust combines low-level control over performance with high-level convenience and safety guarantees. Better yet, it achieves these goals without requiring a garbage collector or runtime, making it possible to use Rust libraries as a “drop-in replacement” for C.'
TopSpin writes: From the Guardian; Harvard University has sent a memo to the university's 2,100 teaching and research staff encouraging them to make their research freely available through open access journals and to resign from publications that keep articles behind costly paywalls. The memo from Harvard's faculty advisory council said major publishers had created an "untenable situation" at the university by making scholarly interaction "fiscally unsustainable" and "academically restrictive", while drawing profits of 35% or more. Prices for online access to articles from two major publishers have increased 145% over the past six years, with some journals costing as much as $40,000, the memo said.
TopSpin writes: Alcatel-Lucent has authorized The University of California, Berkeley to `release all Plan 9 software previously governed by the Lucent Public License, Version 1.02 under the GNU General Public License, Version 2.' Plan 9 was developed primarily for research purposes as the successor to Unix by the Computing Sciences Research Center at Bell Labs between the mid-1980s and 2002. Plan 9 has subsequently emerged as Inferno, a commercially supported derivative, and ports to various platforms including a recent port to the Raspberry Pi. In Plan 9, all system interfaces, including those required for networking and the user interface, are represented through the file system rather than specialized interfaces. The system provides a generic protocol, 9P, to perform all communication with the system, among processes and with network resources. Applications compose resources using union file systems to form isolated namespaces.
TopSpin writes: A petition of the White House to "direct the FCC to Classify Internet Providers as 'Common Carriers'" and thereby enable FCC Net Neutrality rules to be created and enforced needs about 24,000 additional signatures to reach the threshold of 100,000. Should the goal be reached the Administration will issue an official statement on the matter. The petition deadline is February 14.
TopSpin writes: NVIDIA has issued a press release claiming a large performance increase of Linux games running on GeForce hardware with their latest R310 drivers. They also make a point of having "thoroughly tested" the latest driver with Steam for Linux, which they claim is "officially opened to gamers starting today," something Valve has yet to announce itself...
TopSpin writes: As part of the new Google Shopping 'commercial model,' Google has decided to ban "weapons and any related products such as ammunitions or accessory kits." All merchants must "remove any weapon-related products from [their] data feed." Indeed, today all queries containing keywords such as `ruger' or `rifle scope' return nothing.
TopSpin writes: A 'psychometric consulting' firm has correlated the results of a free online IQ tests with web clients used by participants. The results suggest that among those compelled to take online IQ tests Internet Explorer users perform poorly. AptiQuant claims this 'is a clear indication that individuals on the lower side of the IQ scale tend to resist a change/upgrade of their browsers.'
TopSpin writes: MIPS Technologies has announced new low-power CPU designs intended for mobile applications. MIPS based smartphones will be on display this week at CES along with an ebook reader and several tablets. Early releases of Android on MIPS appeared late in 2009
TopSpin writes: The first 'fully integrated' test shot of the National Ignition Facility took place Sept. 29 when 192 lasers focused over 1 Megajoule of energy (~60% of NIF design capability) onto a cryogenically layered capsule of Hydrogen isotopes. Although the 'fuel' was deliberately configured to prevent ignition, the shot yielded '1,000 times more neutrons' than previous non-cryogenic test shots. Scientists anticipate achieving fusion by 2012. On the way they will certainly vaporize many target assemblies.
TopSpin writes: Since last month when Guillermo del Toro dropped out as director of The Hobbit news has emerged on other fronts. Sir Ian McKellen (LOTR's Gandalf) tweets "sets are ready, script ready and movie is casting this month. Fans are not to worry." A large gallery (mixed LOTR and Hobbit, note the dates) of set photos can be found at the German site herr-der-ringe-film.de. The movie still has no official "go ahead" from MGM as various stakeholders wrangle for their respective cuts. Peter Jackson has said he might step in to direct if no one else turns up.
TopSpin writes: NASA's Constellation Program and Ares rockets appear to have strong support in Congress. An appropriations bill passed by the House includes language that bars "any efforts by NASA to cancel or change the current Constellation program without first seeking approval of Congress." The Administration's appointed NASA leadership is being publicly hostile towards its traditional aerospace affiliations. As Charles Bolden put it to industry execs, "We are going to be fighting and fussing over the coming year," and "Some of you are not going to like me because we are not going to do the same kind of things we've always done."
TopSpin writes: BMW's limited roll out of the electric version of its MINI has met with complaints from early adopters including less than advertised range, cold weather charging problems, bulky batteries and connection issues. Richard Steinburg, BMW's manager of electric vehicle operations, assures everyone that the manufacturer is "learning quite a bit as we go." Drivers are paying $850/month for the privilege of helping BMW learn how to build EVs, while also helping BMW meet alternative fuel mandates so that other models can continue to be sold in select markets.