A concise blog reporting on articles of importance to the future of human and social development.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Space, politics, computers... all that sort of stuff.

Here we go, another post in not too many days. I'll use up to my backlogged news eventually.

The DailyTech blog reports that IBM has developed a new vertical stacking method for computer chips. Most modern integrated circuits are all sketched onto a single plane, but by expanding upwards, they allow much more processing power to be contained in less real estate. The downside being that there is less surface area to dissapate heat, requiring more complex cooling systems.

Physorg.com is running an article about the development of a new telescope. This telescope is similar to the very large array in Arizona, with the notable exception that it is an optical-, rather than a radio-telescope. This first generation tech will only have a few telescopes small working in concert, but they will have an effective aperture of dozens of meters. One can easily imagine blanketing the sky with a large array of these sometime in the future, making a telescope the size of a planet.

Also out in space, Wired reports on a Pentagon imagining of orbit-based solar farms beaming power down to the planet. Unfortunately, economics will most likely prevent it from occurring without a breakthrough in solar panel efficiency or great reduction in shipping costs to space. Fortunately, developments are working along both those lines, see the previous post or google for space elevators.

Slashdot reports that the NSA and the leaders of our executive branch are working on expanding the already broad power granted to them. Now, I'm totally not opposed to letting the president tap phones at will and do whatever he likes as long as we are granted the same power. If the NSA wants to listen in on me, let us listen in on them. It's a balance of power between the three branches of government (which is being demolished) and the state and people tha has maintained our nation for so long. Times change and the balance will shift but we have to push back so that no one leg of our five-legged table grows too long and flips us on our metaphorical backs.

An Iraqi veteran is one of 25 or so trying out a new prosthetic leg designed for above the knee amputees. The new limb acts more like a natural limb than those previous by sensing the environment and preforming the actions of calf muscles. It's being called the first bionic prosthetic for it's efficiency in acting like a regular limb, and personally, the guy looks awesome wearing it. Check out the pic through the link.

And our last article for the night, also from physorg.com, describes a new online census showing more female Americans are online than male. It's not stunning news, what with myspace, flickr, and other social and life-sharing sites popping up, it stands to reason that more persons less interested in viral video would come onboard. I guess the old meme about there being no girls on the interwebs has finally had it's coffin nailed shut.

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