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Comment Higher performance assumes higher energy use (Score 1) 80

I remember reading an article about Moore's Law and some rough calculations that at some point we would have to have the energy of the Sun moving through our computers to keep up with performance. In some sort of Matrix-style universe maybe the Milky-way is just some of super advanced alien data center. :-)

Comment "Value add" of a news organization? Editing. (Score 1) 383

I understand that 24 hours news sites need to fill a lot of air time or that news web sites would like something new for you to look at each time you refresh but not everyone wants to follow the news as it happens and sort it out themselves.

Do you want to follow the balloon boy story, be fooled and then read about the sorted details as it unfolds... or maybe I just want to read about it a few days later wrapped (mostly) up.

Do you want to read the entire stream of new articles on when they have 0 diggs or do you only want to read them later when others have dugg them and you can read the cream of the crop?

Why do you read Slashdot? Because the quality of the articles and rated comments is higher than randomly surfing the internet.

Comment Another example... climate events (Score 1) 365

How about evacuting a city several times because of a hurricane but it misses?

How about spending a lot to avoid global climate change that never happens or does not turn out to be as bad as predicted by our current understanding?

The only way I can think to explain this to the "general public" is to make the analogy with insurance. A cost you incur but probably never get any benefit from.


String Theory Predicts Behavior of Superfluids 348

schrodingers_rabbit writes "Despite formidable odds, condensed matter physicists have made a breakthrough most thought impossible — finding a practical use for string theory. The initial breakthrough was made by physicist and cosmologist Juan Maldacena. His theory states that the known universe is only a 2D construct in anti-de-Sitter space, projected into 3 dimensions. This theory manages to model black holes and quantum theory congruently, a feat that has eluded scientists for decades; but it fails to correspond to the shape of space-time in the known universe. However, it does predict thermodynamic properties of black holes, including higher-dimensional viscosity — the equations for which elegantly and almost exactly calculate the behavior of quark-gluon plasma and other superfluids. According to Jan Zaanen at the University of Leiden, 'The theory is calculating precisely what we are seeing in experiments.' Unfortunately, the correspondence cannot prove or disprove string theory, although it is a positive step." Not an easy path to follow: one condensed matter theorist said, "It took two years and two 1000-page books of dense mathematics, but I learned string theory and got kind of enchanted by it. [When the string-theory related] thing began to... make predictions about high-temperature superconductors, my traditional mainstay, I was one of the few condensed matter physicists with the preparation to take it up."

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