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mathfeel (937008) writes "Indulge me in some post hoc reasoning here: After last week's episode of This American Life "Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory", a very interesting show, Apple announced that "For the first time, Apple has released a list of companies that build its products around the world. In another first, the company also announced that it will allow an independent third party to check on working conditions at those factories, and to make its findings public."
But before you celebrate Apple's gesture (or complain about the potential increase in electronic price): "It doesn’t appear that Apple’s partnership with the FLA will increase transparency in this regard either. The FLA will audit 5% of the factories that make Apple products, but like Apple, it will not name which ones it checks or where it finds violations."" Link to Original Source top
mathfeel (937008) writes "NYT is reporting that China will take the top crown when Top 500 is released next month. Before one comments that the major components are still designed by US firms like Intel and Nvidia, FTA:
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.
The Chinese system follows that model by linking thousands upon thousands of chips made by the American companies Intel and Nvidia. But the secret sauce behind the system--and the technological achievement--is the interconnect, or networking technology, developed by Chinese researchers that shuttles data back and forth across the smaller computers at breakneck rates, Mr. Dongarra said.
"That technology was built by them," Mr. Dongarra said. "They are taking supercomputing very seriously and making a deep commitment."
The said interconnect designed by the Chinese are shown to be faster than the InfiniBand used in many supercomputer. In the current wave of shouting "Cut, Baby Cut" from the most vocal segment of the US's political class, will the PRC, with its endless ambition and recent acquired cash (when they are not busy loaning it to the US), catches up or even surpass the US in doing fundamental research that is the long term foundation of an economy?" Link to Original Source
mathfeel (937008) writes "A statistical study by MIT professors of their calculus-based introductory physics courses (Journal version here: http://prst-per.aps.org/abstract/PRSTPER/v6/i1/e010104 for those who have access.) has a few interesting conclusions, not the least of which is "repetitive copiers have approximately three times the chance of failing":
Equating speedy answers with copying, the team concluded that about 10 percent of the students copied more than half of their homework, about 40 percent copied 10 to 50 percent of their homework, and about half the students copied less than 10 percent of their homework. By the end of the semester, students who copied 50 percent or more homework earned almost two letter grades below students who didn't copy very much, the team found. Heavy copiers were also three times more likely to fail the course.
They also report that certain change in course formatting and self-reporting academic dishonesty survey has reduced copying by factor of 4." Link to Original Source
mathfeel (937008) writes "This video linked at WIRE shows the Mythbuster Adam Savage explaining why there isn't another episode showing how hackable the RFID's are. To quote, They where in a conference call with TI and "the chief counsel by AmEx, Visa comes on, along with everyone else. They were way way out gunned..." Discovery now won't let them go near this topics." Link to Original Source top
mathfeel (937008) writes "The unchristened bomb is said to have efficiency and power commensurable to that of nuclear weapon, but it is also environmentally friendly. Its deadly power mostly came from supersonic shockwave and high temperature. Could this usher in a new round of arms race between east and west? Stay tuned.
mathfeel writes "Here is an excellent little video that compares a similarly-made PC from each of the manufacture and see which one hardware maker includes the most bloatware and which software provides the most bloatware. Not surprisingly, household name like SONY and HP comes up on top. It is quite obvious that the slide show was done in Microsoft Powerpoint. I wonder if they also paid the $300+ to open that powerpoint again in 30 days. Finally, I suppose there's some truth in advertising after all..." Link to Original Source