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Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

The Lost City of Melbourne

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

It appears like there is a new lost city. Melbourne.

Though they’re trying to minimise it, the recent relocation of Melbourne Australia to the ocean east of Japan in Microsoft’s flagship mapping application is blamed on someone having flipped a sign in the latitude given for the city’s Wikipedia page.

This statement may or may not be the actual cause of the issue. One thing is certain though, it does produce a question about accuracy on other areas of the map.

As unfortunate as this is it won’t deter me from using the service in the future.

Floating Solar Device Boils Water Without Mirrors

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

The search for better/cheaper methods of distilling water or generating steam has been ever on going. Now researchers from MIT and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, led by George Ni, describe a prototype design that boils water under ambient sunlight.

Central to their floating solar device is a “selective absorber”—a material that both absorbs the solar portion of the electromagnetic spectrum well and emits little back as infrared heat energy. For this, the researchers turn to a blue-black commercial coating commonly used in solar photovoltaic panels. The rest of the puzzle involves further minimizing heat loss from that absorber, either through convection of the air above it or conduction of heat into the water below the floating prototype.

But it’s probably not a last. The researchers used computer modeling to look for factors they could optimize, and they calculated that the device should make steam even at about half of direct sunlight’s full intensity. With that much wiggle room, they say that a cheaper, less effective absorber material could bring the cost down even more. The current design should only cost about $6 per square meter to make, and the researchers think they could reduce that to $2 per square meter. At that price, they estimate you could produce steam for about five percent of the cost of a system that has to concentrate sunlight.

You can read the article in its entirety on arstechnica.com.

HAARP Under New Management and You’re Invited to an Open House

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

There have been rumors about HAARP since news broke about a year of two ago that people thought it was used in some sort of mind control array or whatever. Well it s now under new management.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks now owns and operates the High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program and invites the public to an open house Saturday. This is interested visitors’ chance to learn about the scientific mission and research at the Gakona facility, which was transferred last year from the U.S. Air Force to UAF.

HAARP’s original purpose was to analyze the ionosphere and investigate the potential for developing ionospheric enhancement technology for radio communications and surveillance. But now that the University of Alaska Fairbanks has taken control of the station they intend to make the facilities available for researchers on a pay-per-use basis.

If I actually lived in Alaska (yeah, I know it’s big, let’s say Gakona) I would have considered spending my day there. The reason? They are holding an open to the public to an open house. This is gives interested visitors’ a chance to learn about the Gakona facility.

For nerdy Gakona residents this your chance to see the station for yourself. A chance I am betting doesn’t happen all that often.

“We hope that people will be able to see the actual science of it,” said Sue Mitchell, spokesperson for UAF’s Geophysical Institute, which operates the facility. “We hope to show people that it is not capable of mind control and not capable of weather control and all the other things it’s been accused of.”

And if you’re uncertain about attending, well let’s just say that the station isn’t capable of mind control else you wouldn’t have had a choice when it came to attending the open house.

25-Core Processor and it’s Open Source

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

Researchers at Princeton announced at Hot Chips this week their 25-core Piton Processor. The processor was designed specifically to increase data center efficiency with novel architecture features enabling over 8,000 of these processors to be connected together to build a system with over 200,000 cores. Fabricated on IBM’s 32nm process and with over 460 million transistors, Piton is one of the largest and most complex academic processors every built. The Princeton team has opened their design up and released all of the chip source code, tests, and infrastructure as open source in the OpenPiton project, enabling others to build scalable, manycore processors with potentially thousands of cores.

See it for yourself.