Sun is trying to replace the wires between computer chips with laser beams to eliminating a bottleneck. For decades, the semiconductor industry has broken silicon wafers into smaller chips to improve manufacturing yields. From the article:
Sun Microsystems is trying to do for computing what all the kingâ€™s horses and men failed to do for Humpty Dumpty. For decades, the semiconductor industry has broken silicon wafers into smaller chips to improve manufacturing yields.
Now Sun has found a way to reconnect the chips so they can communicate with each other at such high speeds that computer designers can build a new generation of computers that are faster, more energy-efficient and more compact.
The computer maker, which is based in Santa Clara, Calif., plans to announce on Monday that it has received a $44 million contract from the Pentagon to explore the high-risk idea of replacing the wires between computer chips with laser beams.
I’m not an expert in electricity or electronics but on paper a laser should move as fast as energy. I really hope this will to improve speed :) Each chip would be able to communicate directly with every other chip via a beam of laser that could carry billions of bits of data a second.
A neutrino is a neutral particle with very low mass, possibly zero. It has spin 1/2 and so is a fermion. It does not interact with the strong force or the electromagnetic force, but does interact with the weak force (and with gravity if it turns out to have mass). The cosmic neutrino background (CNB) is the universe’s background particle radiation composed of neutrinos. Like the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB), the CNB is a relic of the big bang, and while the CMB dates from when the universe was 380,000 years old, the CNB decoupled from matter when the universe was 2 seconds old. It is estimated that the CNB has a temperature of 1.9 kelvins or lower. Neutrinos are notoriously difficult to detect, and because the cosmic neutrinos are so cold, the CNB might never be observed directly.
A Nasa space probe measuring the oldest light in the Universe has found that cosmic neutrinos made up 10% of matter shortly after the Big Bang.
Five years of study data also shows that the first stars took over half a billion years to light up the Universe.
WMAP launched in 2001 on a mission to measure remnants of light left over from the Big Bang.
Scientists say it is collecting a “treasure trove” of information about the Universe’s age, make-up and fate.
=> Cosmic ‘treasure trove’ revealed
Interesting development; from the article:
Hardware piracy, or making knock-off microchips based on stolen blueprints, is a burgeoning problem in the electronics industry.
Computer engineers at the University of Michigan and Rice University have devised a comprehensive way to head off this costly infringement: Each chip would have its own unique lock and key. The patent holder would hold the keys. The chip would securely communicate with the patent-holder to unlock itself, and it could operate only after being unlocked.
The technique is called EPIC, short for Ending Piracy of Integrated Circuits. It relies on established cryptography methods and introduces subtle changes into the chip design process. But it does not affect the chips’ performance or power consumption.
=> Unique locks on microchips could reduce hardware piracy
Internet Explorer 8 (MSIE 8) has been in development since August 2007. In March 2008, a public beta (Beta 1) was released to the general public. Microsoft has revealed a list of the new features in IE8, including two interesting new additions called Activities and WebSlices:
Activities are contextual services to quickly access a service from any webpage. Users typically copy and paste from one webpage to another. Internet Explorer 8 Activities make this common pattern easier to do.
WebSlices is a new feature for websites to connect to their users by subscribing to content directly within a webpage. WebSlices behave just like feeds where clients can subscribe to get updates and notify the user of changes.
Download MSIE 8
Popular video sharing site YouTube is testing a new service which allows to view high resolution videos using high speed internet. This feature is currently in testing mode. All you have to do is add a a parameter onto the end of a video’s URL (add the &fmt=6 onto the end each url) and you’re able to watch it in a higher quality.
For example, The Sights & The Sounds url is
Now add the &fmt=6 onto the end each url to watch high quality video:
Not all videos have been converted at this point.
Gene is unit of heredity in all living organisms. A gene is part of a DNA molecule within the nucleus of all cells. Each gene codes for a particular protein. Thus a gene is a unit of the inheritable characteristics of the organism. Humans have tens of thousands of different genes; these determine the phenotype of the individual.
According to new study our level of happiness throughout life is strongly influenced by the genes with which we were born.
An Edinburgh University study of identical and non-identical twins suggests genes may control half the personality traits keeping us happy. The other half is linked to lifestyle, career and relationships.
So if you are not happy, just blame to your genes ;). On a related note positive thinking may improve overall life.
=> Genes ‘play key happiness role’
WR 104 is a Wolf-Rayet star located 8000 light years from Earth. It is a binary star with a class OB companion. One of the most energetic explosive events known is a supernova. These occur at the end of a star’s lifetime, when its nuclear fuel is exhausted and it is no longer supported by the release of nuclear energy. If the star is particularly massive, then its core will collapse and in so doing will release a huge amount of energy. This will cause a blast wave that ejects the star’s envelope into interstellar space.
( Image Credit: University of Sydney)
WR 104’s supernova going to produce jets from their rotational poles. It is possible that WR 104 may even produce a Gamma ray burst, though it is not possible to predict with certainty at this time. Earth may be right in the line of fire. According to this report:
Though the risk may be remote, there is evidence that gamma ray bursts have swept over the planet at various points in Earth’s history with a devastating effect on life. A 2005 study showed that a gamma-ray burst originating within 6,500 light years of Earth could be enough to strip away the ozone layer and cause a mass extinction. Researchers led by Adrian Melott at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, U.S., suggest that such an event may have been responsible for a mass extinction 443 million years ago, in the late Ordovician period, which wiped out 60 per cent of life and cooled the planet