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Windows

New Phoenix BIOS Starts Windows 7 Boot In 1 Second 437

suraj.sun excerpts from a tantalizing Engadget post: "Phoenix is showing off a few interesting things at IDF, but the real standout is their new Instant Boot BIOS [video here], a highly optimized UEFI implementation that can start loading an OS in just under a second. Combined with Windows 7's optimized startup procedure, that means you're looking at incredibly short boot times — we saw a retrofitted Dell Adamo hit the Windows desktop in 20 seconds, while a Lenovo T400s with a fast SSD got there in under 10."
Graphics

Promised Platform-Independent GPU Tech Is Getting Real 102

Vigile writes "Last year a small company called Lucid promised us GPU scaling across multiple GPU generations with near-linear performance gains without restrictions of SLI or CrossFire. The company has been silent for some time, but now it is not only ready to demonstrate the 2nd generation hardware, but also to show the first retail product that will be available with HYDRA technology. In this article there is a quick look at the MSI 'Big Bang' motherboard that sports the P55 chipset and HYDRA chip and also shows some demos of AMD HD 4890 and NVIDIA GTX 260 graphics cards working together for game rendering. Truly platform-independent GPU scaling is nearly here and the flexibility it will offer gamers could be impressive."
Censorship

Left 4 Dead 2 Banned In Australia 215

An anonymous reader writes "According to Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification, Left 4 Dead 2's content exceeds that allowable for an MA15+ rating. Any such game is rated as Refused Classification, effectively banning it. From the report: 'The game contains realistic, frenetic, and unrelenting violence which is inflicted upon "the Infected" who are living humans infected with a rabies-like virus that causes them to act violently. The player can choose from a variety of weapons including pistols, shotguns, machine guns, and sniper rifles. However, it is the use of the "melee" weapons such as the crowbar, axe, chainsaw and Samurai sword which inflict the most damage. These close-in attacks cause copious amounts of blood spray and splatter, decapitations and limb dismemberment as well as locational damage where contact is made to the enemy which may reveal skeletal bits and gore.'"
Books

New Wheel of Time Book — Chapter One Online, Released Oct 27 269

Tor Books has made the first chapter of the latest Wheel of Time book available to readers for free via their website. This is the first book to have work from Robert Jordan's replacement, Brandon Sanderson, since Jordan died in September of 2007. The Gathering Storm is complete and will be released on October 27th of this year. In addition, the prologue to this book will be available in e-book format on October 17th for $2.99. The whole of the Wheel of Time series will also be released as e-books with several of the books receiving new cover art as well.
Update: 09/07 23:42 GMT by KD : Reader Daniel Benamy points out that the correct release date for the prologue e-book is September 17.
Medicine

Augmented Reality In a Contact Lens 196

Toe, The writes "Bionanotechnology researcher Babak A Parviz writes about his research toward producing a computer interface in a contact lens. At the moment, they have only embedded a single LED, but they foresee a much more complex interface such as detailed in Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End. Such lenses potentially could also read human bio-information from the eye, providing medical information on the order of what is now taken from blood tests, but on a continuous basis. An example would be monitoring glucose levels for diabetics. The author states that, 'All the basic technologies needed to build functional contact lenses are in place,' and details what refinements and advances will be necessary to bring this technology to reality."
Power

Watermelon Juice Makes Great Biofuel 160

Mike writes "Watermelons are more than just a tasty summer snack — researchers at the USDA have determined that the fruit constitutes a promising and economically viable source of biofuel. It turns out that the relatively high concentration of directly fermentable sugars in watermelon juice can be easily converted into ethanol. Rather than grow fields of the fruit for the purpose, the report suggests that farmers capitalize on the 20% of each annual watermelon crop that is left in the field because of surface blemishes or because they are misshapen."
Hardware Hacking

Using a House's Concrete Foundation To Cool a PC 465

Agg writes "Well the slab gets poured on Wednesday so I thought I would sink 6 meters of copper pipe in the slab so that I can run my water loop through it when the house is finished. I hope to have water year round at about 16deg [about 61F]. No need for radiators or fans with chilled water coming straight out of the slab!"
Robotics

High-Speed Robot Hand Shows Dexterity and Speed 133

An anonymous reader tips a blog posting that begins "A few blogs are passing around videos of the Ishikawa Komuro Lab's high-speed robot hand performing impressive acts of dexterity and skillful manipulation. However, the video being passed around is slight on details. Meanwhile, their video presentation at ICRA 2009 (which took place in May in Kobe, Japan) has an informative narration and demonstrates additional capabilities. ... [It] shows the manipulator dribbling a ping-pong ball, spinning a pen, throwing a ball, tying knots, grasping a grain of rice with tweezers, and tossing / re-grasping a cellphone!"
Power

US Navy Tries To Turn Seawater Into Jet Fuel 402

Hugh Pickens writes "New Scientist reports that, faced with global warming and potential oil shortages, the US Navy is experimenting with making jet fuel from seawater by processing seawater into unsaturated short-chain hydrocarbons that with further refining could be made into kerosene-based jet fuel. The process involves extracting carbon dioxide dissolved in the water and combining it with hydrogen — obtained by splitting water molecules using electricity — to make a hydrocarbon fuel, a variant of a chemical reaction called the Fischer-Tropsch process, which is used commercially to produce a gasoline-like hydrocarbon fuel from syngas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen often derived from coal. The Navy team have been experimenting to find out how to steer the CO2-producing process away from producing unwanted methane by finding a different catalyst than the usual one based on cobalt. 'The idea of using CO2 as a carbon source is appealing,' says Philip Jessop, a chemist at Queen's University adding that to make a jet fuel that is properly 'green,' the energy-intensive electrolysis that produces the hydrogen will need to use a carbon-neutral energy source; and the complex multi-step process will always consume significantly more energy than the fuel it produces could yield. 'It's a lot more complicated than it at first looks.'"
Math

Pi Calculated To Record 2.5 Trillion Digits 432

Joshua writes "Researchers from Japan have calculated Pi to over 2.5 trillion decimals using the T2K Open Supercomputer (which is currently ranked 47th in the world according to a June, 2009 report from Top500.org). This new number more than doubles the previous record of about 1.2 trillion decimals set in 2002 by another Japanese research team. Unfortunately, there still seems to be no pattern."
Operating Systems

Behind Menuet, an OS Written Entirely In Assembly 419

angry tapir writes "MenuetOS is an operating system written entirely in assembly language. As a result it's extremely quick and compact (it can even fit on a floppy disk, despite having a GUI). It can run Quake. Two of the developers behind MenuetOS took time out to talk about what inspired them to undertake the daunting task of writing the operating system, the current state of Menuet and future plans for it."

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