esocid writes: Using NASA, Japanese, and European X-ray satellites, a team of Japanese astronomers has discovered that our galaxy's central black hole let loose a powerful flare three centuries ago. The finding helps resolve a long-standing mystery: why is the Milky Way's black hole so quiescent? The black hole, known as Sagittarius A*, is a certified monster, containing about 4 million times the mass of our Sun. Yet the energy radiated from its surroundings is billions of times weaker than the radiation emitted from central black holes in other galaxies. X-ray pulses emanating from just outside the black hole take 300 years to traverse the distance between the central black hole and a large cloud known as Sagittarius B2, so the cloud responds to events that occurred 300 years earlier. "By observing how this cloud lit up and faded over 10 years, we could trace back the black hole's activity 300 years ago," says team member Katsuji Koyama of Kyoto University. "The black hole was a million times brighter three centuries ago. It must have unleashed an incredibly powerful flare."
Who knew black holes were supposed to be so bright?
mrneutron2003 writes: "Daktronics is in-charge
of putting together a 19+ million dollar integrated video and scoring
system inside the new Yankee Stadium. The project's time table is set
for spring 08 through the end of the year. They will be visible
beginning the 09 baseball season.
Daktronics will also hold the world's largest led screen record when they complete the Kansas City Royal's 100
feet high by 85 feet wide screen behind center field. Keep in mind that
these screens have a 16mm led spacing and have to be assembled from
many small led "cubes". Would love to play crysis on one of these
screens since they can play HD signals.
DeeQ writes: Nvidia has launched its anticipated 'Tri-SLI' technology as "3-way SLI", allowing gamers to connect not one, not two but three graphics cards in co-operative rendering harmony.
They have to be Nvidia GeForce cards, natch, but when connected deliver up to 2.8 times the performance of a single GPU. That, the company claimed, is enough to allow games 60fps frame-rates at a resolution of 2560 x 1600 with 8x anti-aliasing enabled.
As expected, 3-way SLI works on systems build upon Nvidia's nForce 680 SLI chipset, and requires three GeForce 8800 GTX or 8800 Ultra cards. A special three-card connector links the three add-in boards.
Oh, and you'll need an 1100W power supply with six six-pin PCIe power connectors... phew
E5Rebel writes: "The New York Stock Exchange is investing heavily in x86-based Linux systems and blade servers as it builds out the NYSE Hybrid Market trading system that it launched last year. Flexibility and lower cost are among the goals. But one of the things that NYSE Euronext CIO Steve Rubinow says he most wants from the new computing architecture is technology independence. Interestingly, while Linux is embraced, virtualisation is rejected because it slows processing speeds....
pthompson writes: "Computer skills are still undervalued in the UK board room, according to Microsoft. In a survey of 500 UK business leaders, knowledge of IT was seen as only the seventh most important workplace skill."
netbuzz writes: That's the suspicion of the IT staff at Morrisville State College in New York, who report that the Xbox 360 emits a strong signal that's doing strange things to other equipment. What's not clear is whether the signal disrupts the college's WLAN access points or students' wireless notebooks. There is some anecdotal evidence, however, that it at least affects other radios in the same 2.4GHz band. Tests are being conducted. Microsoft mum, so far.
mrneutron2003 writes: "Sony , purveyor of rootkits and exploding batteries, has just released a battery-less digital camera apparently for those times when your in the middle of the Australian Outback or the frozen wastelands of the Antarctic, and can't find a battery store or a charger outlet. The device, shaped somewhat like a pizza-cutter, has an external wheel that you "roll" for approximately 15 seconds to generate the amount of electricity needed to operate the camera. For one photo.
It is no suprise too, that this is currently a Japanese market item only. Good proof-of-concept perhaps, but a fundamentally stupid idea.
Reservoir Hill writes: "Many meteor showers tend to disappoint, but the annual Geminid shower which peaks tonight, is expected to be a great one with forecasters predicting one or two shooting stars per minute during the peak hours. The moon is near its new phase, so skies will be dark. Meteors could start showing up anytime after dark this evening, low on the eastern horizon but a better display should begin after 10 pm local time, when the constellation Gemini, from which the meteors emanate, rises higher into the Eastern sky. By 2 am local time Gemini is directly overhead, and meteors will streak outward in all directions like spokes on a wheel. Here's some tips: Turn off all lights, indoors and out, dress warmer than you think necessary, give your eyes 15 minutes to adjust to the darkness, lie back on a lounge chair or blanket and scan as much of the sky as possible, and don't use binoculars or telescopes — meteors move too fast. If you live in the city, get out of town — city lights will overpower most of the meteors. "At first you might not see very many meteors — but be patient," said NASA astronomer Bill Cooke. "The show really heats up after midnight and by dawn on Friday.""
Roland Piquepaille writes: "Did you know that bacteria 'talked' with each other by using small molecules to coordinate their behavior and decide when it's a good time to infect you? A recent American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac briefly describes how UK researchers are working toward a Rosetta stone for microbes' secret language (scroll to article #3 in the PressPac). Their method, known as 'quorum sensing,' decodes 'the structure and function of compounds involved in this signaling process.' The researchers think they can now develop artificial signals to interfere with this signal process and that this could lead to new treatments for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Read more for additional details and a picture showing how the researchers learned the language of bacteria."
MochaMan writes: "As of this Tuesday, November 20th, Japan will be requiring mandatory fingerprinting and mug shots of all foreigners entering the country, making it one of only two countries in the world to do so. The program goes further than the US program in that it also applies to visa-holders and permanent residents. The prints will be stored and shared with other governments. The Japanese government has produced an explanatory video, and even a promotional PDF poster. Japanese and international civil rights groups have raised concerns that the practice is both an invasion of privacy and discriminatory. An online petition to abolish the program is available. Is the age of privacy over?"