China Has Built The Fastest Supercomputer Ever Made, Wrests Title From US

Now China will be No.1 in HIGH-FREQUENCY TRADING!

See also: China Unveils World Speed Record Train Line


A Chinese scientific research center has built the fastest supercomputer ever made, replacing the United States as maker of the swiftest machine, and giving China bragging rights as a technology superpower.

The computer, known as Tianhe-1A, has 1.4 times the horsepower of the current top computer, which is at a national laboratory in Tennessee, as measured by the standard test used to gauge how well the systems handle mathematical calculations, said Jack Dongarra, a University of Tennessee computer scientist who maintains the official supercomputer rankings.

Although the official list of the top 500 fastest machines, which comes out every six months, is not due to be completed by Mr. Dongarra until next week, he said the Chinese computer “blows away the existing No. 1 machine.” He added, “We don’t close the books until Nov. 1, but I would say it is unlikely we will see a system that is faster.”

Officials from the Chinese research center, the National University of Defense Technology, are expected to reveal the computer’s performance on Thursday at a conference in Beijing. The center says it is “under the dual supervision of the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Education.”

The race to build the fastest supercomputer has become a source of national pride as these machines are valued for their ability to solve problems critical to national interests in areas like defense, energy, finance and science. Supercomputing technology also finds its way into mainstream business; oil and gas companies use it to find reservoirs and Wall Street traders use it for superquick automated trades. Procter & Gamble even uses supercomputers to make sure that Pringles go into cans without breaking.

And typically, research centers with large supercomputers are magnets for top scientific talent, adding significance to the presence of the machines well beyond just cranking through calculations.

Over the last decade, the Chinese have steadily inched up in the rankings of supercomputers. Tianhe-1A stands as the culmination of billions of dollars in investment and scientific development, as China has gone from a computing afterthought to a world technology superpower.

“What is scary about this is that the U.S. dominance in high-performance computing is at risk,” said Wu-chun Feng , a supercomputing expert and professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. “One could argue that this hits the foundation of our economic future.”

Modern supercomputers are built by combining thousands of small computer servers and using software to turn them into a single entity. In that sense, any organization with enough money and expertise can buy what amount to off-the-shelf components and create a fast machine.

Read moreChina Has Built The Fastest Supercomputer Ever Made, Wrests Title From US

China Unveils World Speed Record Train Line


The CRH380 train has been clocked at almost 262 mph (AP)

A new high-speed rail line has been opened in China amid boasts from officials over the use of domestic technology to set world records.

Many of the trains plying the new railway between Shanghai’s western suburb of Hongqiao and Hangzhou will travel the 126 miles in 45 minutes – about half the time trains usually take to make the trip at their fastest speeds.

The China-made CRH380 train has been clocked at almost 262 mph – a world speed record – though it will usually operate at a maximum speed of 220 mph.

The line was opened as China prepares to have 10,000 miles of high-speed rail in operation by 2012.

The effort to develop China’s own ultra high-speed rail technology is a showcase project almost on a par with the country’s space programme as a symbol of national pride and importance.

Railway officials recently announced they were working on technology to boost speeds to more than 312 mph.

Read moreChina Unveils World Speed Record Train Line

Google’s Street View cars grabbed emails, passwords

Google admits its cars grabbed emails, passwords


2010 CeBIT Technology Fair
in Hanover

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google Inc admitted for the first time its “Street View” cars around the world accidentally collected more personal data than previously disclosed — including complete emails and passwords — potentially breathing new life into probes in various countries.

The disclosure comes just days after Canada’s privacy watchdog said Google had collected complete emails and accused Google of violating the rights of thousands of Canadians.

“If in fact laws were broken…then there’s some serious question of culpability and Google may need to face significant fines,” said Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington DC-based privacy advocacy group.

Regulators in France, Germany and Spain, among others, have opened investigations into the matter.

A coalition of more than 30 state attorneys general in the United States also have launched a joint probe.

It remains unclear how many people may have been affected by the privacy breach.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who is leading the multi-state investigation, said in a statement on Friday that Google’s disclosure about the types of data it collected “validates and heightens our significant concerns,” and noted that the investigation is continuing.

Google’s Street View cars, which are well known for crisscrossing the globe and taking panoramic pictures of the city’s streets, accidentally collected data from unsecured wireless networks used by residents in more than 30 countries, Google disclosed in May.

Read moreGoogle’s Street View cars grabbed emails, passwords

Chinese Pensioners Tracked by GPS

Forgetful grandparents in Shanghai are being tracked by satellite to help their children keep an eye on them.


Shanghai has 3.2 million residents aged 60 or above and by 2020 one-third of its population will be over 60 Photo: EPA

A pilot scheme in China’s most advanced city will give GPS devices to 35 families to track their elderly relatives.

If the seniors move a certain distance away from their home, a text message with their exact position is sent to their families.

The device can also inform relatives if its wearer has been motionless for longer than ten hours.

“Protecting elderly people, especially those with mental health problems, by keeping them from wandering off, is a major challenge. We often get reports that old people are lost, or that they have wandered off,” said Gong Linglin, the deputy head of the office in charge of ageing-related issues, who said the scheme particularly targeted people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.

Read moreChinese Pensioners Tracked by GPS

Ministry of Defence Reports Reveal Dozens Disastrous Nuclear Weapons Safety Flaws

Row with US over arming system put Trident warheads at risk, papers reveal


A Trident II missile, usually armed with a nuclear warhead, is launched from an Ohio class submarine

Dozens of potentially disastrous flaws in the safety regime for nuclear weapons have been exposed by secret Ministry of Defence reports seen by the Observer.

Safety procedures at the bomb factory at Aldermaston in Berkshire have been “poor”, nuclear weapons convoys have suffered from “crew fatigue” and safety regulations have been ignored by nuclear submarine commanders, according to the MoD’s internal safety watchdogs.

The reports, released after a three-year freedom of information battle, also show that the “intrinsic safety” of Trident nuclear warheads was put at risk by an argument between Britain and the United States. A new US-made “arming, fusing and firing” system being fitted on to warheads worried the MoD’s nuclear weapon regulator, Andy Moore. There was a “medium risk that safety justifications will lack key information” and a need for “engagement with US on information supply”, he warned.

A major fire in August in a high-explosive building at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston had raised concerns about safety. Fire brigade logs showed that 20 fire engines and 95 crew had fought the blaze for almost nine hours.

Concerns have now been heightened by a series of damning reports from the MoD’s nuclear safety regulators. The ministry has been trying to keep the reports secret since 2007, but last week it was forced to release them on the eve of an appeal to the UK Information Tribunal. The reports provide an unprecedented insight into the intensely secretive world of Britain’s bomb. They reveal a series of problems with safety across the whole nuclear weapons programme.

The most critical is a 2005 report from Moore listing eight “issues and regulatory risks”. There has been “slow progress in implementing the regulation framework for the nuclear weapons programme”, he said. There was a problem with his authority at Aldermaston being “constrained” while a new contract for managing the site was being negotiated.

Moore had even greater problems with the Royal Naval commanders of the four Vanguard-class submarines armed with Trident nuclear missiles. There was confusion over their safety responsibilities, he said. The commitment of the commanders to respond to regulation was uncertain, he warned. “A recent reissue of a safety management plan fails to acknowledge the introduction of regulation or the existence of the regulator.”

There were “inconsistent arrangements for managing transport activities”, Moore’s report said. This meant there was a risk that safety arrangements for moving nuclear materials such as plutonium “does not meet departmental standards”.

Read moreMinistry of Defence Reports Reveal Dozens Disastrous Nuclear Weapons Safety Flaws

Google Tests Cars That Steer THEMSELVES – In Busy Traffic


Google takes over the roads: The test car has been sent out with a team of engineers in case of technical problems

Google is driving head first into more controversy today after revealing it has been testing its innovative hands-free car technology on California’s roads.

For it wasn’t talking about keeping hands off the phone or the GPS – alarmingly, it was testing cars driven with hands off the steering wheel.

Road safety experts were raising questions about the robot-driven cars after Google revealed it has logged over 140,000 miles around the state – almost all of them on auto-pilot.

The specially adapted Toyota Prius automated cars drove from Google’s HQ in Mountain View, Northern California, down the famously scenic Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Monica.

They also drove across the Golden Gate Bridge and down San Francisco’s Lombard Street, one of the nation’s steepest and curviest roads.

The computer giant boasts that seven cars, which have funnel-like cylinders on the roof that acts as the vehicle’s ‘eye’, have driven 1,000 miles at a time without any hands-on human input.

Read moreGoogle Tests Cars That Steer THEMSELVES – In Busy Traffic

Novartis & Craig Venter to Create Seed Viruses for Synthetic Vaccines


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Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) — Novartis AG agreed to use technology from Synthetic Genomics Vaccines Inc., a company run by genome pioneer Craig Venter, in an effort to cut the time needed to develop influenza shots.

Novartis and San Diego-based Synthetic Genomic Vaccines will work together to create so-called seed viruses, templates from which large amounts of vaccine are created, Novartis said in a statement today. Novartis hopes to reduce the time needed to start vaccine output by two months, which is critical in the case of a flu pandemic, the company said.

See also:

Novartis microchip to help ensure patients take their medicine

“There is always the risk a of pandemic,” Rino Rappuoli, who heads vaccine research at Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis, said in a telephone interview today. The company produced enough vaccine only after the peak of the flu pandemic was over last year, Rappuoli said.

Read moreNovartis & Craig Venter to Create Seed Viruses for Synthetic Vaccines

VW Passat BlueMotion Sets New World Record After Going 1,527 Miles Without Refueling

Gavin Conway, writer for the Sunday Times, buckled into a Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion and embarked on a journey. This trip was not your typical Sunday jaunt, nor was it what we’d call a grocery run. Let’s just say that Conway had Guinness World Record visions dancing in his head. Followed by independent representatives who verified the run, Conway and the Passat hit the French roads and never looked back.

Powered by a 1.6-liter common rail TDI engine with stop-start technology and equipped with low-rolling resistance tires, longer gearing and aerodynamics modifications, the Passat BlueMotion is one heck of an example of efficient motoring and Conway’s drive put the vehicle’s fuel-sipping abilities to the test. Conway hit the French autoroutes to determine just how far the efficient Passat could travel on a single tank, which holds 20.4 gallons of diesel. During his three-day record-setting run, Conway averaged 45 miles per hour and discovered that the BlueMotion’s efficiency was simply amazing. After completing the journey, the Volkswagen Passat clocked 1,526.63 miles, setting a Guinness World Record for the longest distance traveled by a production passenger car on a single tank of fuel; the 74.8 miles per gallon (U.S.) it got ain’t too shabby either. Hit the jump for more on the Passat BlueMotion’s record-setting run.

[Source: Volkswagen | Image: Media Inventions Ltd.]

PRESS RELEASE

1,527 MILES ON ONE TANK: PASSAT BLUEMOTION SETS NEW WORLD RECORD

A Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion has set a new Guinness World Record for the longest distance travelled by a standard production passenger car on a single tank of fuel.

The attempt, carried out by a team from The Sunday Times, involved driving from Maidstone in Kent to the South of France and back. The Passat BlueMotion finally ran out of fuel close to Calais after completing a distance of 1,526.63 miles.

The route mainly followed French autoroutes, but included some town driving, resulting in an average speed of just over 45 mph.

Read moreVW Passat BlueMotion Sets New World Record After Going 1,527 Miles Without Refueling

Implanted Fuel Cell Powered by Rat’s Body Fluids

In a medical first, the device made electricity from inside a living animal.

mice-fuel-cells-implants-pacemaker
An x-ray picture of a human shows an implanted pacemaker (file photo).

A new fuel cell is putting a twist on alternative energy from biofuels: The implanted device draws power from chemicals in living animals.

Dubbed a glucose biofuel cell, the implant gets its juice from glucose-aka blood sugar-and oxygen, both of which are naturally present in the fluids between a body’s cells.

In a recent study, researchers created a test version of their glucose biofuel cell and implanted it in a white lab rat named Ricky. The rat sported the device successfully for 11 days and suffered no ill effects.

Wires running from the fuel cell out of the rat’s neck showed that the device was producing a significant amount of energy.

The team hopes that their biofuel cell could one day provide safe, longer-lasting power to the next generation of medical implants, such as smaller pacemakers and artificial organs.

“In the future we are expecting to develop, for instance, implantable biosensors able to monitor the level of glucose to control the insulin pump,” an implant used to treat diabetes, said study co-author Serge Cosnier of the Université Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France.

“The injection of insulin will be more efficient if the glucose level is detected continuously.”

First Fuel Cell to Work in Live Animal

Previous versions of glucose biofuel cells worked only in specific lab conditions and not inside living bodies. That’s because the chemicals used required acidic conditions not typical of body fluids, as well as higher than normal glucose levels.

Read moreImplanted Fuel Cell Powered by Rat’s Body Fluids

‘Mind-reading machine’ Converts Thoughts Into Speech

A mind reading machine is a step closer to reality after scientists discovered a way of translating people’s thoughts into words.

brain_mind-reading-machine-converts-thoughts-into-speech
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Researchers have been able to translate brain signals into speech using sensors attached to the surface of the brain for the first time.

The breakthrough, which is up to 90 per cent accurate, offers a way to communicate for paralysed patients who cannot speak and could eventually lead to being able to read anyone thoughts.

“We were beside ourselves with excitement when it started working,” said Professor Bradley Greger, a bioengineer at Utah University who led the team of researchers.

“It was just one of the moments when everything came together.

“We have been able to decode spoken words using only signals from the brain with a device that has promise for long-term use in paralysed patients who cannot now speak.

“I would call it brain reading and we hope that in two or three years it will be available for use for paralysed patients.”

Read more‘Mind-reading machine’ Converts Thoughts Into Speech