vbraga writes: The Economist shows how easy it is to set up an untreaceable company in OECD countries. From the article: "Posing as consultants, the authors asked 3,700 incorporation agents in 182 countries to form companies for them. Overall, 48% of the agents who replied failed to ask for proper identification; almost half of these did not want any documents at all. ". Additional discussion at hackernews.
vbraga writes: New photos have appeared in Google Maps showing unidentified titanic structures in the middle of the Chinese desert. The first one is an intricate network of what appears to be huge metallic stripes. It'(TM)s located in Dunhuang, Jiuquan, Gansu, north of the Shule River, which crosses the Tibetan Plateau to the west into the Kumtag Desert. It covers an area approximately one mile long by more than 3,000 feet wide. The tracks are perfectly executed, and they seem to be designed to be seen from orbit.
vbraga writes: Radiation level in Fukushima Reactor 1 drywell has has just hit the highest ever reading since the crisis began, or 204 sieverts/hour, recorded in the drywell. Not Micro. Not Milli. Sieverts. More here and here.
vbraga writes: The German government has confirmed that the German Foreign Office is to switch back to Windows desktop systems. The Foreign Office started migrating its servers to Linux in 2001 and since 2005 has also used open source software such as Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice on its desktop systems. The government's response to the SPD's question states that, although open source has demonstrated its worth, particularly on servers, the cost of adapting and extending it, for example in writing printer and scanner drivers, and of training, have proved greater than anticipated. The extent to which the potential savings trumpeted in 2007 have proved realisable has, according to the government, been limited – though it declines to give any actual figures. Users have, it claims, also complained of missing functionality, a lack of usability and poor interoperability.
vbraga writes: The Antikythera Mechanism: is the oldest known scientific computer, built in Greece at around 100 BCE. Lost for 2000 years, it was recovered from a shipwreck in 1901. But not until a century later was its purpose understood: an astronomical clock that determines the positions of celestial bodies with extraordinary precision. In 2010, a fully-functional replica out of Lego was built.
vbraga writes: This week, during the visit of the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, to the United States, G.E. plans to sign a joint-venture agreement in commercial aviation that shows the tricky risk-and-reward calculations American corporations must increasingly make in their pursuit of lucrative markets in China. G.E., in the partnership with a state-owned Chinese company, will be sharing its most sophisticated airplane electronics, including some of the same technology used in Boeing’s new state-of-the-art 787 Dreamliner.
vbraga writes: With the release of Mathematica 8 it now allows, just like the Wolfram|Alpha engine, input in a free form English instead of the Mathematica syntax. The results are impressive. From the blog post:
With the release of Mathematica 8 today, the single most dramatic change is that you don’t have to communicate with Mathematica in the Mathematica language any more: you can just use free-form English instead.
vbraga writes: The Nissan Land Glider concept is a tiny electric vehicle that features a computer controlled steering system that leans the car into the turns. The pilot driver is seated centrally in the cabin with space for a single passenger directly behind in the narrow cabin. At least, it looks like that's where the passenger would sit. Although the photos clearly show a driver's four-point harness, none of the pictures show a rear seat belt.
vbraga writes: "Emergency vehicle maker American LaFrance (ALF) has claimed that a bungled implementation of IBM software contributed to the demise of its business.
The firm voluntarily filed for bankruptcy protection in the US district court of Delaware in Wilmington yesterday, in which it said that the installation of a new ERP system had caused significant disruptions to production, and given execs a massive $100m debt headache.