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First Measurement of Magnetic Field In Earth's Core 34

An anonymous reader writes "A University of California, Berkeley, geophysicist has made the first-ever measurement of the strength of the magnetic field inside Earth's core, 1,800 miles underground. The magnetic field strength is 25 Gauss, or 50 times stronger than the magnetic field at the surface that makes compass needles align north-south. Though this number is in the middle of the range geophysicists predict, it puts constraints on the identity of the heat sources in the core that keep the internal dynamo running to maintain this magnetic field."

Survey Shows That Fox News Makes You Less Informed 1352

A survey of American voters by World Public Opinion shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. One of the most interesting questions was about President Obama's birthplace. 63 percent of Fox viewers believe Obama was not born in the US (or that it is unclear). In 2003 a similar study about the Iraq war showed that Fox viewers were once again less knowledgeable on the subject than average. Let the flame war begin!

The Android Invasion Cometh; Is Resistance Futile? 410

DeviceGuru writes "Last month, we learned from Gartner that Android will probably be the number-two worldwide mobile OS this year, and may lead the pack by 2014. With Android's growing use as the OS embedded in phones, in tablets, in set-top boxes, and in LCD HDTVs, it seems like the Linux-based OS could end up dominating the entire non-PC consumer device operating system space. What do Slashdot readers think: Is resistance futile?"

Astonishing Speedup In Solving Linear SDD Systems 157

eldavojohn writes "A new paper (PDF) out of Carnegie Mellon University shows how to solve symmetric diagonally dominant linear systems much faster than before. The technique employs graph theory, randomized algorithms, and linear algebra to achieve an astonishing advantage over current methods to solve such systems. From the article: 'The result is a significant decrease in computer run times. The Gaussian elimination algorithm runs in time proportional to s^3, where s is the size of the SDD system as measured by the number of terms in the system, even when s is not much bigger the number of variables. The new algorithm, by comparison, has a run time of s*[log(s)]^2. That means, if s = 1 million, that the new algorithm run time would be about a billion times faster than Gaussian elimination.' Developers out there who maintain matrix packages and linear algebra tools might want to take a peak at the paper. Anyone who has modeled real-world systems will be able to tell you that speedups in linear algebra algorithms have a weighty effect on efficiency in simulations — especially as one approaches the theoretical limits of optimality. This research is currently being presented at the IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science."

Yellowstone Hot Spot Shreds Ancient Pacific Ocean 69

jamie passes along this excerpt from DiscoveryNews: "If you thought the geysers and overblown threat of a supervolcanic eruption in Yellowstone National Park were dramatic, you ain't seen nothing: deep beneath Earth's surface, the hot spot that feeds the park has torn an entire tectonic plate in half. The revelation comes from a new study (abstract) in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that peered into the mantle beneath the Pacific Northwest to see what happens when ancient ocean crust from the Pacific Ocean runs headlong into a churning plume of ultra-hot mantle material."

The Push For Colbert's "Restoring Truthiness" Rally 703

jamie writes "A grassroots campaign has begun to get Stephen Colbert to hold a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to counter Glenn Beck's recent 'Restoring Honor' event. The would-be rally has been dubbed 'Restoring Truthiness' and was inspired by a recent post on Reddit, where a young woman wondered if the only way to point out the absurdity of the Tea Party's rally would be if Colbert mirrored it with his own Colbert Nation.'"

Li-Ion Batteries Get Green Seal of Approval 69

thecarchik writes "It is not an easy task to compare the environmental effects of battery powered cars to those caused by conventionally fueled automobiles. The degree to which manufacture, usage and disposal of the batteries used to store the necessary electrical energy are detrimental to the environment is not exactly known. Now, for the first time, a team of Empa scientists have made a detailed life cycle assessment (LCA) or ecobalance of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, in particular the chemically improved (i.e. more environmentally friendly) version of the ones most frequently used in electric vehicles. Researchers decided to find out for sure. They calculated the ecological footprints of electric cars fitted with Li-ion batteries, taking into account all possible relevant factors, from those associated with the production of individual parts all the way through to the scrapping of the vehicle and the disposal of the remains, including the operation of the vehicle during its lifetime."

Comment Innovation is more than just a pretty GUI (Score 4, Insightful) 378

The author seems to be taking an awfully narrow view of innovation, as if it only matters what occurs in front-page consumer electronics. All of the big companies he names are quite innovative in commercial software and hardware in systems like industrial control, telecommunications and finance that are too complex and specialized to make the splashy tech news. Occasionally news of some big company innovation like IBM's new mainframe makes it to the front page, and reading about the history and technical details of an achievement like that gives some realization of the magnitude of technical progress and innovation going on behind the scenes.

Rethinking Computer Design For an Optical World 187

holy_calamity writes "Technology Review looks at how some traditions of computer architecture are up for grabs with the arrival of optical interconnects like Intel's 50Gbps link unveiled last week. The extra speed makes it possible to consider moving a server's RAM a few feet from its CPUs to aid cooling and moving memory and computational power to peripherals like laptop docks and monitors."

Android Outsells iPhone In Last 6 Months 514

tomhudson writes "Despite all the hype about Apple's latest iPhone, Android has sold more in the last 6 months (27% of all smartphone sales) than Apple (23%). The gains for Android are coming at the expense of RIM (still #1 at 33%, down from 45% a year ago), Windows Mobile (11%, down from 20%) and the iPhone (down from 34% at it's peak 6 months ago). If the current trend continues, Android is expected to be #1 within the year."

Radioactive Boar On the Rise In Germany 165

Germans who go out in the woods today are sure of a big surprise, radioactive boars. A portion of the wild boar population in Germany was irradiated after the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, and the boars are thriving. In the last two years government payments to compensate hunters for radioactive boar have quadrupled. From the article: "According to the Environment Ministry in Berlin, almost €425,000 ($555,000) was paid out to hunters in 2009 in compensation for wild boar meat that was too contaminated by radiation to be sold for consumption. That total is more than four times higher than compensation payments made in 2007." I think the Germans are overlooking just how much money there is to be made from regenerating bacon.

New Mars Rover Rolls For the First Time 100

wooferhound writes "Like proud parents savoring their baby's very first steps, mission team members gathered in a gallery above a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to watch the Mars Curiosity rover roll for the first time. Engineers and technicians wore bunny suits while guiding Curiosity through its first steps, or more precisely, its first roll on the clean room floor. The rover moved forward and backward about 1 meter (3.3 feet). Mars Science Laboratory (aka Curiosity) is scheduled to launch in fall 2011 and land on the Red Planet in August 2012. Curiosity is the largest rover ever sent to Mars. It will carry 10 instruments that will help search an intriguing region of the Red Planet for two things: environments where life might have existed, and the capacity of those environments to preserve evidence of past life."
Input Devices

BlindType — the Amazing Keyboard of the Future 125

kkleiner writes "BlindType has created a new touchscreen keyboard program of the same name that changes size, orientation, and position to match your wandering fingers as they type. BlindType also features some of the most impressive typing correction software I've ever seen. The result is a practical touchscreen interface that knows what you meant to type, even if you make mistakes. Lots of them. In fact, you can type without looking at the screen at all."

LCD 'Engine' For Spacecraft Attitude Control 95

Bruce Perens writes "Japan's IKAROS satellite, which earlier performed the first successful demonstration of a solar sail, has broken more new ground. Liquid-crystal displays — yes, like in your video monitor — were fabricated into strips on the edges of the solar sail. By energizing some of the LCDs and changing the reflective characteristics of parts of the sail from specular to diffuse, JAXA scientists successfully generated attitude control torque in the sail, changing the spacecraft's orientation."

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