GeekSpeak for 2008-06-14

Probing Space, Rootkits, and Supercomputers

NASA is launching a probe to the Sun and a satellite to probe the secrets of super-massive black holes outside our own galaxy. This and more including rootkit woes and supercomputers on this week’s episode of Geek Speak.

Skynet has been launched

If you are a fan of the Terminator series, this headline in BBC News sent shivers down your spine today. The idiots actually did it, the countdown has started! What the BBC claims the story is about: ‘An advanced satellite that will improve greatly the ability of UK military forces to communicate around the globe has been launched into space.’ Quite frankly, that sounds scary enough as it is, but why the heck did they have to name it Skynet?

NASA Plans Probe to the Sun

For more than 400 years, astronomers have studied the sun from afar. Now NASA has decided to go there. ‘We are going to visit a living, breathing star for the first time,’ says program scientist Lika Guhathakurta of NASA Headquarters. ‘This is an unexplored region of the solar system and the possibilities for discovery are off the charts.’

Supermassive Black Holes Beyond Milky Way

On June 11th, a Delta II rocket lifted the Gamma Ray Large Area Telescope (GLAST) spacecraft off the launch pad toward an astounding mission to explore the most extreme environments in the universe, and search for signs of new laws of physics and what composes the mysterious dark matter, explain how black holes accelerate immense jets of material to nearly light speed, and help crack the mysteries of the staggeringly powerful explosions known as gamma-ray bursts most of which will be supermassive black holes in the cores of distant galaxies.

We may be extraterrestrials after all

London (UK) – Scientists from the Imperial College of London claim to have found evidence that life on our planet did not originate from Earth itself. For the first time, the scientists say, it is confirmed that an important component of early genetic material found in meteorite fragments is of extraterrestrial origin.

Brute force attacks on cryptography

128 bit keys are impractical to attack by brute force methods using current technology and resources, and 256 bit keys are not likely to be broken by brute force methods using any obvious future technology.

New Military Supercomputer Breaks Performance Record

A new supercomputer in the U.S. has broken a barrier that many thought wouldn’t be broken for years to come. A new supercomputer— dubbed Roadrunner— has broken the petaflop barrier.

Mac OS X 10.6 to take advantage of GPU acceleration

As expected, Apple has previewed the next version of Mac OS X, code-named Snow Leopard. We were somewhat surprised to hear that there will be no new features, but focus on performance instead. However, if you consider performance a feature – and most of us probably will – the Apple prepares a real treat: GPU acceleration.

Kaiser Permanente partners with Microsoft on health records

Kaiser Permanente, the largest integrated managed care organization in the United States, and Microsoft are partnering on a new pilot program to provide patients with better access to their medical records. Information currently accessible from Kaiser Permanente’s My Health Manager will be transferred into Microsoft’s HealthVault consumer health platform.

Pluto gets Classified

After being demoted from a planet to a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) two years ago, the IAU has announced the term “plutoid” will be given to Pluto and similar dwarf planets. Members of the IAU argued amongst themselves for two years, confused on how to classify dwarf stars like Pluto.

Moog Unveils Badass Guitar with Infinite Sustain

Bob Moog’s synthesizers and effects changed the world. Now, the company that bears his name is trying to apply its vision to a new instrument: the guitar.

Wall Street becoming Linux stronghold

Wall Street firms increasingly are buying into Linux, but some still need convincing that open source licensing and support models won’t make using the technology more trouble than it’s worth.

iPhone 3G is finally official

It’s been a long, leak-filled wait, but Apple finally took the wraps off its 3G iPhone. Thinner edges, full plastic back, flush headphone jack, and the iPhone 2.0 firmware — Apple’s taking a lot of the criticisms to heart from the first time around.

$500 network cables??? Bogus!

Miles was shocked to see network cables selling for so much money. Even $50 seems like a lot, but $500??? But they are very pretty cables!


! More Information

!! [Ubuntu|http://www.ubuntu.com/]
You can [download|http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download] or [request|https://shipit.ubuntu.com/] a free Ubuntu CD from the website.

!! [Firefox Download Day|http://developer.mozilla.org/devnews/index.php/2008/06/11/coming-tuesday-june-17th-firefox-3/]
Tuesday, June 17th is the official Firefox 3 download record attempt. The Mozilla Foundation gets some publicity and you, the individual downloader, gets one of the best web browsers available free of charge!