Archive for October 7, 2011

Desert Living Tackled With California Roll House

October 7, 2011 Leave a comment

“At times, the simplest form with least manipulation from its original form can offer visual amenities and adapted solution to the context.

California Roll prefabricated house takes this methodology to create its morphological adaptation to its environemt : desert.

Homogeneous exterior material which provides high grade of energy efficiency and reflects heat from the sun covers the entire surface except for glass panels which is electronically controlled to change its transparency.

Modularization of every structure members and finish materials are maximized to provide mobilty with rapid assembly and disassembly on site.

To sustain its challenging structural stand, carbon fibre truss frame under neath the exterior material holds the entire architecture.

Hydraulic powered automatic doors and security system is used for main entrance door which allows less spaces to operate the door mechanism.

California Roll house features these latest technologies applied to architecture which breaks the boundary of product or vehicle design and architectural design which brings more mobility to living spaces.”

OPERA May Have Ignored Einstein for Neutrino Speed Calculation

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The OPERA experiment's stopwatch is coming under scrutiny.CERN

“Less than two weeks after the revelation that ghostly particles called neutrinos had been spotted travelling faster than the speed of light, physicists are saying they have found flaws in the analysis that would stop the claim in its tracks…

Since the OPERA group’s 22 September announcement, more than 30 papers attempting to explain the result using various exotic theoretical models have been posted to the physics preprint server at

But one paper2, posted on 28 September by theorist Carlo Contaldi of Imperial College London, bears the distinction of being the first to challenge the experimental calculations.

The OPERA team timed the neutrinos using clocks at each location that were synchronized using GPS (Global Positioning System) signals from a single satellite. Contaldi’s paper says the group’s calculations do not take into account one aspect of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity: that slight differences in the force of gravity at the two sites would cause the clocks to tick at different rates.

Because of its location relative to the centre of Earth, the CERN site feels a slightly stronger gravitational pull than Gran Sasso. Consequently, a clock at the beginning of the neutrinos’ journey would actually run at a slower rate than a clock at the end. “It would reduce the significance of the result,” Contaldi says.”

Researchers Create SICE – a Secure, Stealth VM on Virtual Servers

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“A team of researchers have devised a way to create an isolated and trusted environment on virtualized servers. Called the “Strongly Isolated Computing Environment” (SICE), the approach makes it possible to run sensitive computing processes alongside less secure workloads on the same physical hardware.

SICE, developed by Ahmed M. Azab and Peng Ning of North Carolina State University and Xiaolan Zhang of IBM’s T. J. Watson Research Center, is currently a research prototype.

Peng and his fellow researchers will present a paper on SICE at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security in Chicago on October 19. But if further developed, it potentially addresses one of the major security concerns with using virtualized environments: that attackers could take advantage of exploits in a hypervisor environment to access the memory and storage of the virtual machines running within it.

While it uses a hypervisor to communicate with the network and other workloads, SICE uses low-level functionality in x86 processors to carve off processing power and memory from the host computer, creating an environment partitioned off from less secure processes.

SICE uses x86 processors’ Systems Management Mode (SMM) to lock down regions of the computer’s memory, “so even the hypervisor can’t look inside,” Dr. Peng said in an interview with Ars Technica. “Even though it’s only one computer, it can be separated into two or more isolated environments,” he said.

SICE uses an extremely small amount of code to create the system isolation—approximately 300 lines—which makes the system much easier to secure, and “only these 300 lines of code need to be trusted to ensure the isolation,” according to Peng.”

Fraunhofer Develops Lightweight, Crash-Proof Battery for Electric Cars

October 7, 2011 Leave a comment

“Everyone is talking about electric drives, and the scientists from Fraunhofer are also working on them. Engineers have replaced a battery box for lithium-ion batteries with a lightweight component. Not only does the housing save weight and sustain no damage in an accident — for the first time ever, it can also be mass-produced…

To advance the symbiosis between electromobility and lightweight construction, engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Pfinztal, Germany, are developing manufacturing concepts that have one goal — they want to gradually replace individual components in the vehicle with lightweight ones…

The experts, along with colleagues from the Fraunhofer Institutes for Mechanics of Materials IWM, for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF and for High-Speed Dynamics, Ernst-Mach Institut EMI, have developed a mass-production-ready, crash-safe battery housing that meets strict requirements.

The battery housing that surrounds the battery that weighs 340 kilograms (749.57 lbs.) only weighs 35 kilograms (77.16 lbs.). “Traditional solutions made of steel weigh up to 25 percent more,” said Reif. “The battery housing can withstand a crash, assuming a ten-fold gravitational acceleration.”

And even if a sharp object collides with the housing at 60 km/h (45mph), the highly sensitive battery on the inside remains intact. In addition, the 16 lithium-ion modules are protected from humidity, and a semi-permeable membrane to equalize pressure also guarantees that the batteries are able to “breathe.

What make the new battery protection so special are the new fiber-reinforced composite materials.”

Brain Cells Injected into Pancreas May Cure Diabetes

October 7, 2011 1 comment

“Scientists in Japan have shown that implanting brain cells into a rat pancreas was a successful treatment for diabetes – rat diabetes.

In humans, the disease affects nearly 26 million people in the United States, 200 million worldwide. It costs us about $174 billion per year (that figure from 2007, it has likely increased), and in that same year it was the seventh leading cause of death. So if the the results could be repeated in humans, that would obviously be amazing.

In a press release, the scientists suggest that exactly that is their goal.

Tomoko Kuwabars and his colleagues at AIST Institute in Tsukuba, Japan, extracted neural stem cells from the hippocampus of rats, then injected them directly into the animals’ pancreases. The rats, which had been engineered to exhibit symptoms of diabetes, showed lower blood sugar levels (a good thing, since diabetes can dangerously increase blood sugar levels) after the brain cell injection. The scientists tested their theory that the neuronal cells were pumping out insulin by removing them, after which blood sugar levels went back up.”

Microsoft Azure Fastest in Cloud Speed – Beats Amazon, Google

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“Microsoft’s Windows Azure has beaten all competitors in a year’s worth of cloud speed tests, coming out ahead of Amazon EC2, Google App Engine, Rackspace and a dozen others.

The independent tests were conducted by application performance management vendor Compuware using its own testing tool CloudSleuth which debuted last year. Anyone can get results from the past 30 days for free by going to the CloudSleuth website, but this is the first time Compuware has released results for an entire 12-month period.

Compuware uses 30 testing nodes spread around the globe to gauge performance of the cloud services once every 15 minutes. The company performed 515,000 tests overall for a year’s worth of data covering August 2010 to July 2011, which Compuware released today.

Each test requires the loading of a simulated retail shopping site consisting of two pages, one page containing 40 item descriptions and small JPEG images, and the second page containing a single, larger image of 1.75MB.

The Windows Azure data center in Chicago completed the test in an average time of 6,072 milliseconds (a little over six seconds), compared to 6.45 seconds for second-place Google App Engine. Both improved steadily throughout the year, with Azure dipping to 5.52 seconds in July and Google to 5.97 seconds.

Also scoring below 7 seconds for the whole year were the Virginia locations of OpSource and GoGrid along with BlueLock in Indiana. Rackspace in Texas posted an average time of 7.19 seconds, while Amazon EC2 in Virginia posted a nearly identical 7.20. Amazon’s California location scored 8.11 seconds on average.”

CLASH Robot Can Climb Vertically Like an Insect

October 7, 2011 Leave a comment

“UC Berkeley has a long history of developing innovative legged robots: There was ROACH, there was BOLT, there was DASH. DASH, a cockroach-Inspired design, was a very simple, very fast hexapedal robot that could scuttle along the ground at 15 body lengths per second.

Now meet the latest addition to this family of robot bugs: CLASH, pictured above, is a vertically-enabled successor to DASH, and it’s designed to zip up vertical or near-vertical cloth surfaces with the aid of tiny little spiny toes. It’s sort of like what you’d get if you put DASH and SpinyBot together in a dark room along with a 3D printer and some Barry Manilow (or whatever it is robots are listening to these days).

For a vertical climbing robot, CLASH is surprisingly quick. It may actually be one of the quickest climbing robots in existence, able to move upwards at 24 centimeters per second, which is really quite a lot faster than it sounds.

Part of the reason that CLASH can scramble around so fast is that it’s small and lightweight with a simple, but clever, design. CLASH is 10 centimeters long and weighs only 15 grams. The back-and-forth climbing motion of four legs (the back two are passive) is entirely driven by one single motor that gives CLASH a gait frequency of a brisk 34 strides per second.”