vikingpower writes "The Little Ice Age, lasting from the end of the Middle Age into the 17th century, may very likely have been caused by the combined effects of four major volcanic eruptions and increased sunlight reflection by increasing sea ice, the so-called Albedo effect. ... The University of Boulder has a press release with maps and photographs. Bette Otto-Bliesner, one of the scientists behind the 'volcano + sea ice' thesis, fields an earnest warning against drawing conclusions too quickly from this research: 'I think people might look at the Little Ice Age and think that all we need to save us from rising temperatures are some volcanic eruptions or the geo-engineering equivalent [...] But when you see what happened when global temperatures dropped by just one degree and you look at current predictions of six or seven degree increases for the future, you realize how precarious things are for life as we know it.'"
Andy Hefner has a detailed blog post covering his quest to program an NES with the assistance of Common Lisp. He developed a new 6502 assembler, a mini-language for composing musical sequences, and a neat demo (rom image).
redletterdave writes "In the weeks leading up to Facebook's massive $100 billion initial public offering, Mark Zuckerberg reportedly told JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and the other banks involved in the IPO to stop leaking information to the media. Zuckerberg was reportedly unhappy that the banks leaked details about his company's Wall Street debut, including the Feb. 1 date it chose to file its S-1 paperwork with the SEC. Facebook execs are also miffed about the subtle rivalry between Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, which were jockeying to become the lead underwriter for the IPO, the largest since Google's $1.7 billion offering in 2004. The banks are heeding Zuckerberg's warning, urging their employees to keep quiet about Facebook's filing, because disobeying Zuckerberg's wishes could mean getting dropped from one of the most lucrative IPOs in recent memory. The banks stand to make $40 million from their deals with Facebook."
angry tapir writes with an excerpt from an article over at TechWorld: "A French laptop buyer has won a refund from Lenovo after a four-year legal battle over the cost of a Windows license he didn't want. The judgment could open the way for PC buyers elsewhere in Europe to obtain refunds for bundled software they don't want, according to French campaign group No More Racketware."
alphadogg writes "Google on Monday released a website and video regarding its Solve for X project, which the company says is 'a place where the curious can go to hear and discuss radical technology ideas for solving global problems.' It's got a TED-like think tank feel to it, but possibly with oodles of Google resources behind it. It appears related to Google's up-to-now largely secretive Google X research lab that the New York Times recently shed some light on."
New submitter albinobee writes "The Kinect for Xbox 360 isn't only about gaming; it can also be used to help compensate for impaired vision, as a team of Indian engineers is working to prove. A device called viSparsh, still in its nascent stage, is a motion sensing belt that can help alert the blind to obstacles that lie in their path."
crookedvulture writes "Intel continues to partner with third-party controller makers for high-end SSDs. Its new 520 Series drives pair the latest SandForce controller with Intel's own firmware and 25-nm NAND. HotHardware, Tech Report, and PC Perspective all have reviews of the drive, and the verdict is pretty consistent. While the Intel 520 Series offers slightly better performance than competing SandForce solutions, it also costs 30-40% more. That's a steep margin even considering the Intel SSD's five-year warranty."
Hugh Pickens writes "Anna Leach reports that Siri support has been a contentious issue for owners of earlier iPhones, but a recent filing from Audience shows that Siri won't run on the iPhone 4 because the phone's chip can't handle it. Linley Gwennap of the Linley Group cracked one of the secrets of the new iPhone's A5 chip after working out that it packs some serious audio cleaning power not available on the iPhone 4's A4 chip. Audience has developed technology that removes most or all of the background noise when someone places a cell-phone call from a restaurant, airport, or other noisy location. The iPhone 4S integrates Audience's 'EarSmart' technology directly into the A5 processor, improving its technology to handle 'far-field speech,' which means holding the device at arm's length rather than directly in front of the mouth. Apple has also licensed the Audience technology for a 'new generation of processor IP,' which may mean that the forthcoming A6 processor will appear in the iPad 3 and iPhone 5. 'Why Apple has not simply purchased Audience is unclear. An acquisition would prevent Audience's other major customer, Samsung, from using the technology to compete with Apple,' says Gwennap. 'The company may be hedging its bets, as it could switch to Qualcomm's Fluence noise-reduction technology in the future.'"
Trailrunner7 writes "Adobe, which has spent the last few years trying to dig out of a deep hole of vulnerabilities and buggy code, is making a major change to Flash, adding a sandbox to the version of the player that runs in Firefox. The sandbox is designed to prevent many common exploit techniques against Flash. The move by Adobe comes roughly a year after the company added a sandbox to Flash for Google Chrome. Flash, which is perhaps the most widely deployed piece of software on the Internet, has been a common attack vector for several years now, and the attacks in some cases have been used to get around exploit mitigations added by the browser vendors. The sandbox is designed to prevent many of these attacks by not allowing exploits against Flash to break out into the browser itself."
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists at the Universities of Southampton and Penn State have found a way to embed electronic components into optical fibers, in a breakthrough that could lead to the creation of super high-speed telecommunications networks. Rather than trying to merge flat chips with round optical fibers, the team of scientists used high-pressure chemistry techniques to deposit semiconducting materials layer by layer directly into tiny holes in optical fibers. This bypasses the need to integrate fiber-optics onto a chip, and means that the data signal never has to leave the fiber."
New submitter Hector's House writes "'Nothing is certain. Nothing is secure,' reflects one of the characters in Paolo Bacigalupi's novel The Windup Girl. In 23rd century Bangkok, life for many hangs by a thread. Oil has run out; rising seas threatens to engulf the city; genetically engineered diseases hover on Thailand's borders; and the threat of violence smolders as government ministries vie for power. Environmental destruction, climate change and novel plagues have wiped out many of the crop species that humanity depends on: the profits to be made from creating — or stealing — new species are potentially enormous. After a century of collapse and contraction, Western business sees hope for a new wave of globalization; Thailand's fiercely guarded seed banks may provide just the springboard needed." Keep reading for the rest of Aidan's review.
judgecorp writes "A research team at Manchester has taken a big step toward building transistors with graphene. So far graphene's marvelous conductivity has actually proved a drawback, but the team has sandwiched a layer of molybdenum disulfide between layers of graphene to provide a high on/off ratio. Also, the British Government is finding £50 million to fund Manchester as a center for graphene study and development, led by two professors there, Sir Kostya Novoselov and Sir Andre Geim, who shared the 2010 Nobel prize for Physics for their work on graphene."
astroengine writes "It's a strange irony that to afford the expense of space exploration, international collaboration is often sought after — spreading the cost across several international partners means the biggest space missions may be accomplished. And yet in times of austerity, national budgets balk at the prospect of investing in international projects like ExoMars. Sadly, that's exactly what could be facing the ambitious ESA-led Mars rover/satellite mission if NASA's Science Mission Directorate budget is slashed in the next financial year. NASA may pull out of the project, leaving ExoMars with no rockets or a means to actually land on Mars. Could Russia help out? Possibly, but it will still lead to ESA taking on more cost than it has budgeted for."
jfruh writes "In an email exchange with privacy blogger Dan Tynan, Columbia law professor Eben Moglen referred to Facebook as a 'man in the middle attack' — that is, a service that intercepts communication between two parties and uses it for its own nefarious purposes. He said, 'The point is that by sharing with our actual friends through a web intermediary who can store and mine everything, we harm people by destroying their privacy for them. It's not the sharing that's bad, it's the technological design of giving it all to someone in the middle. That is at once outstandingly stupid and overwhelmingly dangerous.' Tynan is a critic of Facebook, but he thinks Moglen is overstating the case."
New submitter Kiyyik writes "After weeks of wrangling over shared space on utility poles, Google and the KC Board of Public Utilities have gotten their act together and Google is starting to wire Kansas City, Kansas today. They will be paying attachment fees and hanging the fiber optic lines in the space on the poles reserved for telecommunications. The Kansas City, Missouri side is still on track to begin a few months behind the Kansas side."