Friday, December 21, 2007

Exploit Found to Brick Most HP and Compaq Laptops

Posted by Soulskill on Thursday December 20, @08:01PM
from the cool-looking-paperweight dept.
Ian Lamont writes "A security researcher calling himself porkythepig has published attack code that can supposedly brick most HP and Compaq laptops. The exploit uses an ActiveX control in HP's Software Update. It would 'let an attacker corrupt Windows' kernel files, making the laptop unbootable, or with a little more effort, allow hacks that would result in a PC hijack or malware infection.' The same researcher last week outlined a batch of additional vulnerabilities in HP and Compaq laptops, for which HP later issued patches."

No Right to Privacy When Your Computer Is Repaired

Posted by Zonk on Thursday December 20, @06:01PM
from the ouch-vaguely-ironic-name-there dept.
Billosaur writes "ZDNet's Police Blotter bring us the interesting story of a Pennsylvania man who brought his computer into Circuit City to have a DVD burner installed on his computer and wound up being arrested for having child pornography on his hard drive. Circuit City employees discovered the child pornography while perusing Kenneth Sodomsky's hard drive for files to test the burner, then proceeded to call the police, who arrested Sodomsky and confiscated the computer. Sodomsky's lawyer argued in court that the Circuit City techs had no right to go rifling through the hard drive, and the trial court agreed, but prosecutors appealed and the appeals court overturned the lower court's decision, based on the fact that Sodomsky had consented to the installation of the DVD drive."

LEXID prototype gun can peek through walls

Believe it or not, devices used to see through walls are far from revolutionary, but hey, we'll take every one we can get. Reportedly, Physical Optics Corporation has concocted a prototype gun that utilizes the same method of viewing that a lobster does to see what's ahead in murky waters. The LEXID (Lobster Eye X-ray Imaging Device) functions by "radiating objects with tiny amounts of X-ray energy," subsequently allowing its user to see behind steel, wood or concrete. According to David Throckmorton, a project manager in Homeland Security's Science and Technology division, the resulting images aren't exactly drool-worthy, but they do allow you to make out a stash of weapons or a crouching enemy. Unfortunately, completion is too far out to estimate a price, but its creators are hoping to one day make it cheap enough for exterminators and contractors to purchase and use. 'Course, we could imagine middle schoolers getting into all sorts of trouble if one of these floated into the locker room.

[Via The Raw Feed, image courtesy of POC]

Tiny, Morphing, Electricity-Stealing Spy Planes Developed

Posted by Zonk on Thursday December 20, @04:42PM
from the go-go-gadget-gadgetery dept.
tkohler writes "The Air Force Research Lab is developing an Electric Motor-powered Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) that can 'harvest' energy when needed by attaching itself to a power line. It can also temporarily change its shape to look more like innocuous piece of trash hanging from the cable. For domestic spying, maybe it will morph into a pair of sneakers?"

Stem Cell Lines Derived to Avoid Immune Rejection

Journal written by stemceller (975823) and posted by Soulskill on Friday December 21, @01:24AM
from the making-miniscule-medical-marvels dept.
stemceller brings us a story about an experiment that was published online in the journal Cloning & Stem Cells. The paper demonstrated that embryonic stem cells can be used to develop therapeutic cells which will not provoke an immune response from a significant portion of the population. This comes alongside news that UC Irvine researchers have found a method of sorting stem cells that should be "quicker, easier and more cost-effective than current methods." The Cloning & Stem Cells publication states: "It is likely that treatment of large numbers of patients by cell therapy will only be possible if methods are found using any one cell line to treat very large numbers of patients. This very exciting paper represents a significant step forward towards the use of such cells in cell therapy."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Couple Busted For Shining Laser At Helicopter

Posted by kdawson on Thursday December 20, @01:24PM
from the do-not-look-directly-into-laser-beam-with-your-remaining-eye dept.
coondoggie sends us to another Network World piece, this one about a couple charged with shining a green laser into the cockpit of a police helicopter. The FBI and the US attorney's office charged the California couple under a federal statute. They could end up paying a $250,000 fine and doing 20 years of jail time. "The complaint states that on November 8, 2007, at about 10:55 p.m., a green laser beam illuminated the cockpit of a Kern County Sheriff's Department helicopter, which was flying at 500 feet during routine patrol in Bakersfield, California. When the light hit the cockpit, it disoriented the Kern County Sheriff's pilot, causing pain and discomfort in his eyes for a couple of hours, the FBI said in a statement."

Angry UNIX sysadmin tries to shut down California power grid

Looks like someone's trying to inspire a new generation of BOFH posts -- Lonnie Charles Denison, a UNIX sysadmin working at power grid data center in Folsom, CA, just pled guilty to attempting to kill the western US power grid in April. Denison had been fighting with his bosses and lost his access privileges to the system, which apparently led him to sudo up the old-fashioned way -- by taking a hammer to the data center's emergency shutoff switch. Fortunately, he did it late on a Sunday night, when the power-management center was not in high demand, but officials say he could have caused a power disruption in the western US if he'd gone loco in the AM. Denison also apparently emailed in a fake bomb threat to another worker the next morning, leading to his eventual arrest, and it looks like he's facing a fine of up to $250,000 and five years in jail. Wonder if he flipped an excuse card while on the stand?

NCAA Puts Severe Limits On Sport Event Blogging

Posted by Zonk on Thursday December 20, @02:41PM
from the because-commentary-isn't-appropriate-for-sporting-events dept.
An anonymous reader writes "You would think that the NCAA would be thrilled to have reporters live blogging events in order to generate more interest and keep passionate fans talking about NCAA sports. Not so. The governing body of the NCAA has released new rules for receiving press credentials and it includes severe limits on live blogging. If you're covering NCAA football, make sure you don't blog more than 3 times in a single quarter. If it's baseball, one post an inning is all you get. If you don't follow the rules expect to get ejected and have your press credentials pulled."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Avoid Bust Buy in Fair Lakes, VA if you can

Let me start off by saying that I may grumble like most people from time to time but I am not normally the type of person to escalate things like this and this is certainly the first time I have taken it to this level.

I had a horrible experience at the Best Buy in Fair Lakes, VA last night. Here is a summary of what went on and why you may save yourself some trouble by driving a few extra miles to the Best Buy in Springfield, VA.

12/16 We celebrate Christmas with my in-laws and among other nice gifts they gave us, they gave us a 19 inch HDTV with a built in DVD player for our bedroom. All 4 of us are excited but my kids were doubly so, that is until they found out that this did not meant that we would still receive the cartoon network over the air. We got home about 8 PM so we decided to set the TV up at some other point during the week.

12/17 I asked my mom if we could borrow their HD antenna they were not using so we could receive over-the-air HD.

12/18 5:30 I stopped in at my parents to pick up the HD antenna.

7:30 I start setting up the TV and discover that the side of the TV is damaged I ask my wife if she wants me to try it out to see if it works or if we should just return it. We decide to not even try it in case there is something that breaks later or somehow it is damaged further.

7:45 We arrive at Best Buy in Fair Lakes and the saga begins.

We get the little pink sticker on the box and go straight to the customer service counter. This nice fellow by the name of Kenny was both kind and helpful in working with us to exchange the gift. I give him two thumbs upJ Anyway; we sort through all the info that he needs and then takes the TV into the Geek Squad room and asks them to look it over. Kenny comes back out and with a shocked look and in an apologetic tone says the geek squad determined that they are not able to take it back as they are not able to determine how the damage got there. He quickly recognizes that we are both upset and offers to get a manager for us. When he returns, he has a shift manager named Laurie in tow and after she finds us, he attends to other customers as the line has stacked up behind us during this time.

8:15 Laurie was not helpful nor was she willing to listen to our (the customers) side of the story. We tried to explain that we were not looking for our money back and that we were intending to look at a slightly larger model because we had a few gift cards saved up. She squared her jaw at me; dug her heals in and repeated the chant that they could not take back damaged goods. I tired to help her to see other examples such as, if I bought a hard drive and after bringing it home found that it was DOA (dead on arrival) that they would take it back. She remained intent that she could not take damaged products back.

Eventually I recognized that I was not going to get anywhere with Laurie and ask if I could speak with her supervisor. She responded with a no and says that she is the only manager I can speak with in the customer service area. I asked to speak with the manager on duty and she says no again. I asked who the manager on duty was and she refused to provide the information. I ask who the store manager is and she provides me with a name. I ask if he is in and she says no. Again, I ask for his phone number and she writes down the number 703-631-3332. My wife asks for the TV back and while she goes to get it, I decide to try Darryl’s number to leave my first voice mail. She gave me the store’s general info line believe it or not. When she gets back I call her on it and ask again for his number or extension. She provides me with 2100. I also asked what his hours were and as incredible as it sounds, she refused. By this time I am pretty suspicious about everything she has told me so I try the number then and there. If you have not already guessed it, it just rings and rings and rings. I continue to remain calm and ask one of the employees behind the counter (not Laurie) who the MOD (Manager on Duty) is and for Darryl’s real extension and he happily obliges. I noted how strange it was that the employees provide better customer service than Laurie who should be setting the example and asked where I could find her? He indicates she is helping to move the customer line along with a nod and looks out of the corner of his eye to see if Laurie is looking. At this point I meet the MOD who was helpful and seemed willing to listen at first. Once she spoke in private with Laurie she was more professional but still resolute that they would not take the item back and allow me to purchase a more expensive model and suggests I take it back to the store it was purchased at.

9:00 On our way to the other Best Buy in the area, Springfield, my wife and I are so confused at what just happened that we barley say two words but are remaining calm. I mentioned to her that I was seriously considering taking off work the next few days to picket the Fair Lakes Best Buy until I felt I had cost them at least as much money as the item was worth because of the poor treatment they gave me. We agree that this store is a new store and that we will put the smiles back on and start all over again. We get the little pink sticker again and walk to the customer service desk to find a nice girl there ready to help us. She returned the smile and gave me an emphatic Sure! If she was not behind the counter, I would have hugged her and called her a saint. I walk off and after my wife and I picked out a different model she exchanged the item for us with a smile. At 9:30, we walk out with what we expected a few hours ago, an undamaged product. On the way home I decide that even though I had my issue resolved, I should call the store manager because he would want to know how poor of a customer experience we had.

12:00 I finally fall asleep not because I was doing anything, but because I was so upset by the manager at the Fair Lakes Best Buy.

12/19 5:00 I wake up and believe it or not, I am still bothered by the experience. Talk about OCD!J Anyway, I get up and write down my two main points of concern, that they would not stand behind their product and that I had been treated so poorly and blocked from escalating the issue.

10:30 I called (using the extension I got from the employee) the Best Buy in Fair Lakes to try to either speak with the Darryl, the store manager, over the phone or schedule few minutes with him this week because I understand he is a busy man. The man on the other end of the phone asks who this is and I give my name. He was gone for a few minutes and when he came back, said that Darryl was on the phone and that he wanted to know what this was in regards to. I explained that this was about an issue I had last night at his store and would really like to speak with him about it when he had a few minutes. He took my number and said that if Darryl is not able to call me back that I should report my concerns on their web site or their main pone number. I tried to get a feel for if the person thought the manager was really going to call me back because this was not sounding encouraging. Though he did not directly say it, I had the distinct impression that he was not going to.

I am REALLY upset about the treatment I received at the Fair Lakes Best Buy at the hands of their managers, in particular, Laurie’s and Darryl’s apparent lack of concern for customer service. Will I picket? No because Springfield took care of me, but I will go to the Fair Lakes Best Buy again. In the end, the only thing I did was call Best Buy’s corporate number and relate my experience. The woman I spoke with at least sounded sympathetic and said that this complaint would go to the executive office and the store manager. I hope someone in the executive office reads this because I believe that the store manager has set the example for this behavior and will be unresponsive.

Many a retailer has risen on low prices. However like Hechinger’s, a number have fallen because of lack of care for their customers. Best Buy is on the books as blowing their third quarter projections out of the water and is also on track to exceed analyst expectations for the year. I wonder if this experience is the first spider crack in the chain or if my experience is just an aberration in an otherwise sound company, only time will tell.

I will update this Blog if anything changes and if anyone from Best Buy cares to comment, I am listening.

Wiimote as Multi-Touch Display Controller

Posted by Soulskill on Wednesday December 19, @09:37AM
from the amazing-home-projects dept.
Tmack writes "While hard-hacks with the Wiimote are somewhat old news, this particular implementation is quite interesting. Using the infrared camera on the Wiimote, pens with LEDs instead of ink, and an LCD projector, Johnny Chung Lee of Carnegie Mellon University has created software to use them as a (relatively) cheap multi-touch display. Any surface onto which you can project becomes an interactive multi-touch display, as demonstrated in the video at the link. He has the software available for download, along with some other neat projects. Lee has also documented another impressive Wiimote hack.

Plink Jet makes beautiful music with dried up ink jets

Despite our best attempts at trashing the planet in hopes that Al Gore will grow a beard again, we can't help but love repurposed electronics. The Plink Jet, spotted at NYU's ITP Winter Show 2007, uses the back-and-forth mechanisms out of four old ink jets to slide up and down four guitar strings, with various knob-controlled settings to control pitch and strumming patterns. The resulting noise is nice hybrid of robotic clicking and analog twang, but we hear HP charges a fortune for the strings.

Stanford's nanowire battery leapfrogs Li-ion

Stanford claims its latest advances in silicon nanowires have it building batteries with 10 times the capacity of existing Li-ion cells. Apparently people have been trying to stuff silicon -- which has a much higher capacity than existing materials -- into a battery for decades, but since it swells when charged with positively charged lithium and shrinks during use, the silicon has a tendency to "pulverize." Who knew batteries could be so dramatic? Oh, right. The advancement at Standford, led by Yi Cui, builds the battery in the form of silicon nanowires, giving the silicon room to grow and shrink without damage. A patent is being filed, and Yi Cui is already considering forming a company or licensing the tech to a manufacturer.

XP Service Pack 3 release candidate ready to download

Posted Dec 19th 2007 1:50AM by Thomas Ricker
While Microsoft is quick to downplay XP when comparing it to Vista, the legacy OS continues to shackle the hearts (and systems) of many. Fortunately, Microsoft just opened up their XP service pack 3 release candidate for general download -- that means you. SP3 RC was previously only available by invitation. Now get going, you'll need time to download all 336MBs of the last major update to the six-year old OS.

P.S. This is a "release candidate." The final SP3 release isn't expected until the first half of 2008.

[Via PC World]

Artificial Blood Vessels Grow On Nano-Template

Posted by kdawson on Tuesday December 18, @06:16PM
from the hemo-the-magnificent dept.
Invisible Pink Unicorn writes "Researchers at MIT have found a way to induce cells to form parallel tube-like structures that could one day lead to tiny engineered blood vessels. The researchers found that they can control the cells' development by growing them on a surface with nano-scale patterning. The work focuses on vascular tissue, which includes capillaries, the tiniest blood vessels. The team has created a surface that can serve as a template to grow capillary tubes aligned in a specific direction. The cells, known as endothelial progenitor cells, not only elongate in the direction of the grooves, but also align themselves along the grooves. That results in a multicellular structure with defined edges — a band structure. Once the band structures form, the researchers apply a commonly used gel that induces cells to form three-dimensional tubes."

Burying a Mainframe In Style

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday December 19, @05:24AM
from the 10-bit-words dept.
coondoggie writes "Some users have gone to great lengths to dispose of their mainframes but few have gone this far. On November 21, 2007, the University of Manitoba said goodbye to its beloved mainframe computer by holding a New Orleans-style jazz funeral for its 47-year-old IBM 650, Betelgeuse. In case you were wondering what an IBM 650's specifications were, according to this Columbia University site, the 650's CPU was 5ft by 3ft by 6ft and weighed 1,966 lbs, and rented for $3200 per month. The power unit was 5x3x6 and weighed 2,972 pounds. The card reader/punch weighed 1,295 pounds and rented for $550/month. The memory was a rotating magnetic drum with 2000-word capacity (10 digits and sign) and random access time of 2.496 ms. For an additional $1,500/month you could add magnetic core memory of 60 words with access time of .096ms. Big Blue sold some 2,000 of the mainframes, making it one of the first successfully mass-produced computers."

Jackson Slated to Make Hobbit Movie, Sequel

Posted by Zonk on Tuesday December 18, @12:44PM
from the hobbit-two-electric-bugaloo dept.
syrinx writes "Peter Jackson, New Line Cinema, and MGM have agreed to work on two new movies: a film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit', and a further sequel. From the article: 'The two Hobbit films ... are scheduled to be shot simultaneously, with pre-production beginning as soon as possible. Principal photography is tentatively set for a 2009 start, with the intention of 'The Hobbit' release slated for 2010 and its sequel the following year, in 2011.'" Not sure if it would be possible to nab Ian Holm as Bilbo, but here's hoping.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ten years of the Toyota Prius - now it comes in cake form

Remember the wonderful 10th anniversary Prius commercial featuring Astro Boy? While Japan got to celebrate the first decade of the iconic hybrid with animated characters, there are other ways to enjoy the party. Like a Prius cake (above). I'm not sure which group Toyota UK is highlighting with the batch of three images to note the anniversary (customers, perhaps?), but I'm certainly a fan of that cake. If you click on the image to enlarge it, you can really see the detail in the decorations. Nice, at least if that is cake as I suspect.

If you've like to see the details of the Prius' first decade, Toyota has thoughtfully provided some of them in a press release. It's after the jump. The two galleries below are, first, Toyota's images that accompany the release and, second, some imaginative visions of the Prius of the future.

Businesses Generally Ignoring E-Discovery Rules

Posted by Zonk on Tuesday December 18, @12:03PM
from the going-to-get-messy dept.
eweekhickins writes "A full year after the institution of new federal e-discovery court rules, only a minority of companies are paying attention. Keeping track of every IM, email, and document for a court order that may never come must seem like a tall order. Researcher Michael Osterman said that only 47 percent of companies have some kind of e-mail retention policy in place. 'I don't think it's difficult to understand the rules,' Osterman told eWEEK. 'I just think that it sometimes takes headline shock to make people move on some things.'"

North Pole ice gone by 2012?

In 1897, a little girl named Virginia wrote a letter to the New York Sun asking if Santa Claus was real.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus
was the editorial reply.

The New York Sun might have saved Santa Claus from the cynicism of older friends, but 115 years later we might not be able to save Santa from losing his home if the current global warming trend continues unabated. With new data, scientists are more worried than ever, and some scientists believe we might have passed one of the first tipping points in climate crisis.

The acceleration of the Arctic summer ice melt is occurring more rapidly than predicted in years past.

National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) senior scientist Mark Serreze said, "The sea ice cover is in a downward spiral and may have passed the point of no return. As the years go by, we are losing more and more ice in summer, and growing back less and less ice in winter. We may well see an ice-free Arctic Ocean in summer within our lifetimes. The scientists agree that this could occur by 2030."

Recently, NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally stated we do not have nearly that long before we experience an ice-free Arctic during the summer melt season. Zwally, who refers to the Arctic as the canary in the coal mine of climate warming, suggests we only have until 2012 before a complete summertime melt of the North Pole.

The data shows the alarmingly rapid and changing ice melt predictions for the Arctic Ocean:

  • In September 2004, the record for 1979 through 2004 estimated a decline of 7.7 percent per decade.
  • In September 2005, the estimated decline became 8 percent per decade.
  • In September 2007, the estimated decline is now over ten percent by decade. In addition, this year marked an event not remembered before -- the opening of the Northwest Passage.
According to the NSIDC, this summer started with a slightly greater ice extent in comparison to 2005. Might seem like good news. However, the rapid thaw began in late June and by early July, each day the sea ice melted by an area roughly equal to the size of Kansas. Sea ice extent continued its rapid disappearance through September.

Greenhouse gases caused by human activities, primarily through fossil fuel and coal CO2 emissions that began with the Industrial Revolution over 150 years ago, are the most likely cause for the accelerated Arctic ice melt today. It is not hopeless but we need to continue to change our lifestyle to a more earth friendly one, and demand that our government do the same in effectively addressing the global warming climate crisis. In the US, we have a presidential election coming up, and we must ask where each candidate stands on climate change. Technologies to capture the CO2 already in our atmosphere and dispensing fine particles to reflect sunlight are some of the ideas being considered as short term solutions.

To view an animation of the Arctic ice melt from June 2007 through September 2007, click here or click on the image at the beginning of this post.

Monster seaweed fields could gobble CO2

Hey you, put down that California roll! Seaweed may be destined for greater things than sushi and sliming up beaches. Environmental scientists at the climate change conference in Bali are suggesting that huge seaweed farms may be a quick way to create "carbon sinks" that suck up CO2. While we're used to thinking of forests as the best way to absorb greenhouse gases, certain types of seaweed can soak up 5 times more carbon than terrestrial plants, and it grows as fast as, well, a weed. There are still bugs to work out - seaweed has a much shorter lifespan than,say, a Douglas fir, and once it dies the CO2 typically goes back into the atmosphere. However, using seaweed as a carbon sink would open up a whole lot of new space to grow in.

Related Link

Nanosolar begins shipping thin-film solar cells

In some ways, nothing is cheaper than solar energy. After all, it falls from the sky and anyone can collect it. Solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity, on the other hand can be kind of pricey. So of course, a lot of companies are sinking a ton of money into figuring out how to make cheaper solar cells.

California-based Nanosolar today begins shipping printed thin-film solar cells after 5 years of development. OK, but what the heck does that mean? Essentially, Nanosolar has developed a way to "print" solar cells by painting CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide) ink onto the back of flexible material.

The printed panels work as semiconductors and have two benefits:
  1. They're flexible, which means you can install them in unusual places
  2. They're much cheaper to produce than traditional solar panels, at just $.99 per watt.
Nanosolar's first commercially produced panels are on their way to Germany for deployment at a power plant.

[via VentureBeat]
Related Link

Waterworld, the sequel: Sea levels rising much faster than expected

Will New York be the new Venice? A study in the journal Nature Geoscience suggests that global warming might cause sea levels to rise twice as fast as predicted by the International Panel on Climate Change.

By looking back at the last time in the geological record that temperatures warmed as quickly as they're doing right now, the researchers determined that we may be wildly underestimating the rate at which the oceans may rise. Their study suggests that the actual rise in sea level by the end of the 21st century could be around 64 inches, double the IPCC estimate of 32 inches. The end result could be catastrophic for low-lying areas, which would become much more vulnerable to flooding and storm surges.

The report comes follows recent news that sea ice in the Arctic is melting far more rapidly than expected. While that doesn't directly contribute to a rise in sea levels, the loss of sunlight-reflective ice is believed to create a feedback loop which accelerates global warming.

Related Link

Boy arrested for opening his Christmas present early

From USA Today

Police arrest boy who opened Christmas present without permission

Police charged a 12-year-old boy with petty larceny Sunday after he opened a Christmas present without permission.

"The boy's great-grandmother had specifically told him not to open his Nintendo Game Boy Advance, which she had wrapped and placed beneath the Christmas tree, according to a police report," The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald reported. "But on Sunday morning, she found the box of the popular handheld game console unwrapped and opened. When the boy's 27-year-old mother heard about the opened gift, she called police."

"He took it without permission. He wanted it. He just took it," the 63-year-old great-grandmother told the newspaper.

The boy, who has a history of disciplinary problems, was booked as a juvenile and released the same day. His mother plans to ask the state to take custody of him during an upcoming court appearance.

"Yeah, it's strange," a police spokesman said of the case.

Kite-Powered Ship Launched

Posted by kdawson on Tuesday December 18, @03:36AM
from the aeolius-called-left-message dept.
The Grand Poobah writes "The big-kite technology we discussed last month has officially launched in Hamburg, Germany. Reuters has a writeup of the new technology, which aims to cut fossil fuel use on sea voyages by an estimated 20% by means of a huge computer-controlled kite. The link includes a video."

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bees Can Optimize Internet Bottlenecks

Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Monday December 17, @03:33PM
from the bee-all-that-you-can-bee dept.
prostoalex writes "Georgia Tech and University of Oxford scientists claim bees can help up develop a better Internet traffic algorithms. By observing bees, the researchers noticed that bees pass back information on route quality. 'On a basic level, the honeybee's dilemma is a tale of two flower patches. If one patch is yielding better nectar than the other, how can the hive use its workforce most efficiently to retrieve the best supply at the moment? The solution, which earned Austrian zoologist Karl von Frisch a Nobel Prize, is a communication system called the waggle dance.' Any practical applications of that? Well, apparently ad servers, serving banners across a variety of servers, can report back on the time it took to generate the page."

Researchers create light-based quantum circuit that does math

It looks like quantum computing could now be one step closer to some form of practicality, as a team of researchers from the University of Queensland have announced that they've created a light-based quantum circuit that's capable of performing basic calculations. According to ZDNET Australia, that was done by using a laser to send "entangled" photons through a linear optical circuit, which allowed them to create a circuit consisting of four "qubits," (or quantum bits, pictured at right), which in turn allowed them to calculate the prime roots of fifteen, three and five. Somewhat interestingly, the university's research is funded in part by none other than DARPA, which the researchers themselves admit may be due to the technology's potential for cracking otherwise uncrackable codes.

[Via Slashdot, image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]