This morning the news came over the internet: Dennis Ritchie has died.Dr. Ritchie doesn't have the mainstream adoring following of Steve Jobs, but he can take considerably more credit for the creation, and even the aesthetics, of the computer world we live in. It's almost impossible to find a personal computing product or paradigm that doesn't owe a direct debt to Ritchie.
NASA has gone to great lengths to seed and cultivate the commercial space industry over the past few years, but it may want to be careful that it doesn't make the grass look too much greener on the commercial side. Mike Moses, NASA's deputy space shuttle program manager and former flight director--the guy who oversaw all shuttle operations over the last three years of the program--is jumping ship, heading over to Virgin Galactic to oversee operations at the space tourism front-runner.
Apple today released its last iteration of the iOS software, version 5, across the globe. While the update brings a suite of new features, it doesn't seem as though every user managed to enter Apple's version of mobile nirvana unscathed, with more than a few users reporting issues post-update.
Typing in Braille is tricky, requiring clunky and expensive dedicated devices--some costing as much as US$6,000--with limited functionality beyond their primary design purpose. But a team of researchers at Stanford University in California, including an undergrad on loan from New Mexico State University, have created a touchscreen interface that brings the ability to write in Braille to tablet PCs.
Back in June when the latest edition of TOP500 dropped (TOP500 lists the world's top supercomputers), Japan's K Computer leapt ahead of China's Tianhe-1A supercomputer to become the biggest, baddest computing platform on the planet. But after more than a year of slipping down the ranks as its competitors across the Pacific surged ahead, Oak Ridge National Labs Jaguar supercomputer is poised to become the fastest computer in the world once more.
We all know that one of the biggest obstacles to electric car adoption is the long, often overnight recharge time. But Nissan claims that they've created a new charging system that'll fill up your car (Nissan would undoubtedly prefer to say "your Leaf") in only ten minutes--not much different than a regular trip to the Earth-killing pump.
Pervasive, persistent optimism is one of those uniquely human traits/flaws - we tend to believe things are better than they really are, or that negative consequences won't befall us, even if they befall others. It stands to reason that people would adjust their expectations when confronted with harsh reality, yet they don't. Our brains are to blame, according to a new study - we're wired to have a positive outlook.
We have been enjoying plenty of BigDog/AlphaDog videos of late, showing off the US Marines' sure-footed four-legged robot. Well apparently the US isn't the only country planning to build a pack of quadruped bots. Check out this small South Korean robot dog, prancing quietly around a trade show.
Last US summer, as sweet crude oil gushed unabated into the Gulf of Mexico, the overriding emotion was one of frustration. It wasn't just directed at the well owner, BP, or at rig-builders Transocean and Halliburton, or even the government and its difficult-to-understand oil flow estimates. The inability to shut off the well was one thing - but why, in an era of nanotubes and autonomous robots and invisibility cloaks, couldn't we just clean it up?