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Submission + - ACM Awards 2009 Turing Prize to Charles Thacker (

scumm writes: "This years Turing Prize has been awarded to Charles Thacker, whom they describe as (among other things) the "creator of the first modern personal computer."

From the ACM's announcement:
NEW YORK, March 9, 2010 — ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery today named Charles P. Thacker the winner of the 2009 ACM A.M. Turing Award for his pioneering design and realization of the Alto, the first modern personal computer, and the prototype for networked personal computers. Thacker's design, which he built while at Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), reflected a new vision of a self-sufficient, networked computer on every desk, equipped with innovations that are standard in today’s models. Thacker was also cited for his contributions to the Ethernet local area network, which enables multiple computers to communicate and share resources, as well as the first multiprocessor workstation, and the prototype for today’s most used tablet PC, with its capabilities for direct user interaction. The Turing Award, widely considered the “Nobel Prize in Computing,” is named for the British mathematician Alan M. Turing. The award carries a $250,000 prize, with financial support provided by Intel Corporation and Google Inc.

For further reading, the Wall Street Journal has an article ( providing more background about Mr. Thacker and the Turing Prize.

In the spirit of full disclosure, the submitter feels compelled to point out that this Mr. Thacker is his uncle, and thinks this is really cool."


Submission + - Scientists Need Volunteers to Look at the Sun

Hugh Pickens writes: "BBC reports that Royal Observatory's "Solar Stormwatch" needs volunteers to help scientists spot Sun storms — known as coronal mass ejections — before they cause damage on Earth. "When you look up at the Sun obviously it's too bright to look at properly," says Dr Marek Kukula of the Royal Observatory, but "with special instruments and telescopes you can see there's all sorts of stuff going on." Nasa already monitors the Sun using two 'Stereo' spacecraft that produce 3D images of earth's nearest star which can show the trajectory of these explosions. However, the sheer amount of data means Nasa's scientists are unable to analyse the data as closely as they need — which is where the world's internet population comes in. After a brief tutorial, users get access to the actual 3-D images taken by the Stereo spacecraft. If a user believes they have spotted the beginnings of a solar storm, they can bring it to the attention of scientists. "Every little bit counts," says Kukula. "I've spoken to the scientists involved and they all agree that even if you log-on and just do it for a few hours, get bored and never touch it again it's all really useful — and helps them to do their work.""

Submission + - Awesome Underwater Robot Lost At Sea (

this_boat_is_real writes: Somewhere off the coast of Chile a pioneering underwater robot named Abe lies in a watery grave today. The Autonomous Benthic Explorer (ABE) was one of the first truly independent research submersibles, being both unmanned and un-tethered to its launching ship. While on its 222nd research dive on Friday all contact with the craft was lost, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has announced.

Comment Re:Disappointing (Score 5, Insightful) 231

If you think stories shows up on Digg before /., you should check out Reddit (especially the various tech subreddits). That's where you find the stories 4 days before they show up on Digg.

Nowadays, I mostly come to /. for the discussions. I will admit that the quality of discourse might have sagged a bit since its heyday, but on a whole I still find genuinely stimulating articles and commentary often enough to be a regular reader after all these years.


Submission + - US State Dept asks Twitter to Postpone Maintenance (

viyh writes: "The US State Department asked Twitter to postpone it's maintenance window scheduled for June 16th at 2pm PST. The maintenance window was already previously scheduled to take place at 9:45pm on June 15th, but was postponed due to a massive uprising by Twitter users since it has been such a critical tool for communication during the Iran election aftermath. The window is not directly being scheduled from Twitter, rather, it's coming down from their hosting provider, NTT America. No word as of yet on a decision from Twitter or NTT America."

Submission + - British court rules against whistleblower bloggers (

An anonymous reader writes: In a dangerous judgment for British bloggers and whistleblowers, a British court has ruled absurdly that simply because blogging itself is a public activity, bloggers have "no reasonable expectation of privacy" regarding their identities, and newspapers are allowed to publish their identities if they can find them by fair or foul means. A British police detective who recently won the Orwell Prize for his excellent political writing used his blog to write highly critical accounts of police activities and unethical behavior, making very powerful enemies in the process. A well-funded newspaper with powerful connections quickly heard of his blog and decided it was absolutely vital to expose his identity using an investigative journalist. Like any good newspaper, the blogger anonymized the people and the locations in all the cases he discussed on his blog, but the newspaper alleges these were not sufficiently anonymized and complains that they could work out the identities, though British newspapers don't complain that they are allowed to publish the identities of men who are falsely accused of rape and cleared in court. The newspaper also helpfully contacted the blogger's employer, and his job is now threatened.

Submission + - Moore's Law to die at 18 nm

PeterK writes: iSuppli most certainly will initiate yet another discussion whether Moore's Law, a forecast made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit will double every 18 — 24 months, can be upheld in the future. The market research firm believes chip makers will crash into financial barriers as soon as the 20 nm mark is passed.

Submission + - Cocaine test prompts Red Bull removal in Germany ( 2

viyh writes: "Six German states have told retailers to stop selling Red Bull Cola energy drinks after a test found a trace amount of cocaine.

The bans started Friday after a sample test conducted by authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia state found 0.4 micrograms per liter in the drink.

Five other states also banned it from shops amid concerns over possible narcotics law violations.

Red Bull Cola company has come out and protested against the action of taking their product off the shelves saying that the flavouring is used worldwide in foods."

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