Pages 24 and 25 of the September 12, 2008 issue of New Scientist
magazine have an article describing in detail the dangers in near-Earth
space from more than 10,000 pieces of debris orbiting right now. The
volume of space junk continues to grow and is causing more and more
hazards to flight plans. The New Scientist article suggests a type of
"Space Traffic Control" division is needed to monitor all of the
debris, then making the data available through a central system. But
the editors at TG Daily believe there's a more appropriate question
that needs to be asked: Is it time to create an International Space
Trucker fleet designed to safely capture and dispose of all this space
Take away the marketing hype about innovation, and the computer business looks strikingly staid. For decades, customers have had two flavors to choose from: desktop PCs and laptop PCs. That menu is now set for a major revamp.
Read the complete story here.
It seems death threats aren’t the only thing
the scientists at the Large Hadron Collider are dealing with.
According to the Telegraph UK, a group of Greek hackers managed to
deface one of the LHC’s websites and also planted six suspicious
looking files on project servers.
Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox captured the browser headlines
this week, igniting a new discussion about performance increases and
possible new features that are likely to drive a new round of
innovations. Here is our list of the ten features - five for Chrome,
five for Firefox - which we would like to see in the next versions.
JetBlue, a low-cost air carrier, has started
auctioning hundreds of flights and some “mystery” vacation packages on
eBay. With starting bids of 5 and 10 cents, many of these auctions
have zoomed up to more than $3000 as people hope to win luxurious trips
to Las Vegas, Aruba or the Bahamas. But according to one website, some
of these early bidders are being suckered into paying too much.
Researchers working at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
(MHMFL) in Florida are putting the final touches on what will be the
largest reusable magnet ever constructed. It's a nearly six foot
diameter outer case with an 8" center core. Capable of producing
magnetic fields roughly 100 times more powerful than an MRI or two
million times more powerful than a refrigerator magnet, each $20,000
core will withstand around 100 1200-megajoule pulses, with the $8
million outter case withstanding around 10,000. Previous "big magnet"
research efforts like this have lead to the creation of neodymium
magnets which enable our cell phones and cordless hand tools.
Analysis & Charts – Victory and defeat in the monthly unit shipments battle of the three major game consoles are closely tied to the availability of blockbuster games. Madden NFL 09 had a phenomenal launch in August, selling more than 2.3 million units, but failed to show any positive impact on platform sales. Shipments for all three dropped, dramatically for the Wii and the PS3, while the Xbox 360 had a softer landing and was able to grow its market share. Sony may have to act soon and drop the price of its PS3.
MTV practically pioneered reality television, by bringing together the
first group of young adults to reside together in a series titled “The
Real World”. With the help of a major technology company MTV has joined
together 16 young, creative, tech geeks to live together in a loft in
Brooklyn. These kids will compete in a contest that can be watched
either online or on television.
A small silicon chip could eliminate a good chunk
of our air conditioning bills, according to the folks at Microstaq. At
the recently completed DEMOfall 08 corference in San Diego, the company
introduced its “Ventilum” chip which replaces the valves in home and
car air conditioning systems. Company reps say 15% of world energy
consumption is used by air conditioners and that their chip could cut
that use by 25%.
Analysis – You may have decided against a switch to Chrome (at least
market share data indicates that Chrome is losing share quickly again),
but there is a good chance you won’t get rid of the browser entirely.
We guess you may even launch it from time to time, especially when IE
or Firefox get stuck. Whatever Chrome’s future path may be, its
responsiveness and speed have left a lasting impression that will
stick. Other browser makers took notice and are working on faster
browsers as well: Firefox 3.1, scheduled for a late 2008 release, comes
with TraceMonkey and Web Workers, two key technologies that could
easily render Chrome's speed gains obsolete. TG Daily had a close look
on what to expect from the current speed race and next-gen browsers.
The startup and initial testing performed at CERN's Large Hadon
Collider (LHC) yesterday went off without a hitch. Everything the
scientists intended on their to do list was carried out flawlessly and
without any surprises. In fact mused one scientist, "I couldn't
believe it. I had to look at the screens twice for it to sink in."
The LHC has gone through its initial startup procedures and we are
still here. The truly powerful colliding experiments will begin in the
weeks and months to come.
The Apple iPhone continues to look as if it is coming on strong in the
global mobile market, particularly when it comes to smartphones. This
is among the key findings from the latest AdMob mobile metrics report.
AdMob, reporting about global mobile traffic for August, said the iPhone showed a large growth in network traffic with more than 2.9 million requests per day.
Two days ago in San Diego, Plastic Logic wowed
DEMOfall 08 attendees with its full-page electronic reader that was as
thin as a pad of paper. Available next year, this reader can easily
display Microsoft Office, PDF and other documents. It also has a
touch-screen that lets users annotate documents by either drawing with
their fingers or by tapping on a pop-up keyboard. But how will this
reader compete with the Amazon Kindle? We talked to Plastic Logic’s
marketing team to find out.
At 10:28am local time today, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was
activated and successfully powered up navigating a beam of high-energy
protons smaller than a human hair through a pipe running through the
entire 17 miles of superconducting magnets. While the $20 billion
device is not yet operating at full capacity or with high-energy
collisions, the earliest stages of the required calibration, often
down to one billionth of a second, are being carried out. The LHCs
impact on science was echoed by the electricity felt in the air by LHC
project leader Lyn Evans who said, "It is a fantastic moment!" as the
device passed several of its initial power-on procedures.
Zooming out of the of Sheraton San Diego parking lot in his new Chevy Z06, Pete Tenereillo is a prime target for a speeding ticket, but he isn’t worried. Tenereillo is the founder of Trapster.com, a social-networking speed trap warning website. Website users receive and submit warnings about nearby speed traps, red light cameras, speed cameras and live police officer locations. The warnings are superimposed on Google Maps, which sounds impressive, but even better, an iPhone application has recently been released for testing. We tested out this app by taking a nail-biting ride with Tenereillo through the mean streets of San Diego and almost got killed in the process.
Chemistry professor Harry Dorn from Virginia Tech said he developed
reliable ways to manufacture and construct 80-atom fullerene molecules
– and figured out how to stick different elemental atoms inside the 3D
structure, such as gadolinium and yttrium to increase the sensitivity
of magnetic receptors for MRI devices. He stumbled onto something
researchers have been trying to do for the computer industry, develop a
fullerene molecule which is one electron short in its design. The
result: A fundamental molecule-sized base for a semiconductor circuit.
Google has an idea how to increase the mobility of data centers around
the world and make them available in extreme environments: The company
thinks of crane-mounted, floating data center units on a sea platform.