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Hugh Pickens writes: ""Plate tectonics are essential to life as we know it," says Planetary Scientist Diana Valencia of Harvard University. According to Valencia, movement of huge chunks, or plates, of a planet's surface, are crucial to a planet's habitability because they enable complex chemistry and recycle substances like carbon dioxide, which acts as a thermostat and keeps Earth balmy. Valencia and her colleagues examined planetary extremes to determine whether plate tectonics would be more or less likely on different-sized rocky worlds. "Our calculations show that bigger is better when it comes to the habitability of rocky planets," says Valencia. If so-called "Super-Earths," planets more than twice the size of Earth (pdf) and up to 10 times as massive are as common as observations suggest, then it is inevitable that some will enjoy Earth-like orbits and could be excellent havens for life. Earth itself was found to be a borderline case, not surprisingly since the slightly smaller planet Venus is tectonically inactive and Mars is in a stagnant lid convection. "It might not be a coincidence that Earth is the largest rocky planet in our solar system, and also the only one with life," said Valencia."
Dan Cabrera writes: "So I just took delivery of a large package (pickup truck bed sized box) labeled 'server' — turns out it's the one I've been waiting for a while from a client. We had some miscommunication and I assumed this was a 2-4, maybe 5TB system for use as a production content shared drive, but it turned into a real monster, SuperMicro SC-836 with HighPoint 2240 Controller and *16*x*1TB* Hitachi drives in a RAID5 array. It's got WinXP64 loaded, but there must be a better solution after reading of ZFS and related technology now available as open source, no?
Looking forward to your comments and suggestions! I'll repost with some benchmarks as this puppy grows up (into the wee hours of the morning I'll work:)
PS: Just need a large drive to save rendered projects to and backup music/other projects (This is for a world known DJ, so the each tour/show can involve a LOT of media!)...and, how the heck am I gonna do off-site backup for this in event of disaster? Ay-yay-yi!"
cowtamer writes: According to a National Geographic Article certain fungi can use ionizing radiation to perform "radiosynthesis" using the pigment melanin (the same one in our skin that protects us from UV radiation). It is speculated that this might be useful on long space voyages where energy from the Sun is not readily available.
thefickler writes: "Microsoft has announced that Office 2008 for Mac, originally slated for a 2007 release, will now be released in January 2008. No specific reasons were pinpointed in the announcement other than the software was not meeting its quality checkpoints in June and July of this year. Surprise, surprise."