2008年10月30日 星期四



━━ n. (詩の)リズム; (声の)抑揚; 【楽】終止法.

n., pl. -denc·es.
  1. Balanced, rhythmic flow, as of poetry or oratory.
  2. The measure or beat of movement, as in dancing or marching.
    1. A falling inflection of the voice, as at the end of a sentence.
    2. General inflection or modulation of the voice.
  3. Music. A progression of chords moving to a harmonic close, point of rest, or sense of resolution.

[Middle English, from Old French *cadence, from Old Italian cadenza, from Vulgar Latin *cadentia, a falling, from Latin cadēns, cadent-, present participle of cadere, to fall.]

(1) The pattern of video frames created from a film source. See telecine and cadence correction.

(2) (Cadence Design Systems, Inc., San Jose, CA, www.cadence.com) A company that combines electronic design automation (EDA) software technology with a range of professional services to produce chip design technology. Cadence products are used worldwide to design and develop integrated circuits and systems for computers, telecom and networking equipment, automotive electronics and consumer goods. In 1988, two pioneering EDA companies, ECAD, Inc. and SDA Systems, merged to form Cadence Design. Today, Cadence is the world leader in EDA software and services.

Cadence Design Systems

日立製作所,Encounter Testにより製品の品質を向上,製造向けのテスト・コストを削減

ケイデンスが提供するEncounter Testのパターン・フォルト・モデリングと先進的なテスト・パターン生成,圧縮,および故障解析テクノロジを活用し,日立は複雑で高性能なLSIが設計した通りに動作することを確実なものとした。
日 立とケイデンスは,革新的なテスト・テクノロジにおける協業により,先端LSIの品質を大幅に向上した。ケイデンス独自のパターン・フォルト・モデリン グ・テクノロジ,SDFベースのダイナミックなテスト生成,およびOPMISR+圧縮を,日立のテスト・メソドロジと組み合わせ,300分の1を上回るテ スト・ベクタの圧縮が実現した。2007年に発表されたITRSの調査によると,これは2011年に目標とされる圧縮の要求レベルに相当する。さら に,single-stuck-at-fault,遅延故障,およびブリッジ故障のテスト・カバレッジの結果は,いずれも日立の要求水準を超えるもので あった。

HP : http://www.cadence.co.jp/

2008年10月29日 星期三


Wikipedia article "Microelectromechanical systems".

這是筆者就MEMS代工業務采訪該公司Director of Technology and Marketing, Silicon MEMS, Microdisplay & 3D IC負責人黃河(Herb Huang)時獲悉的。

  我們從通過微細化以外的方法來發展半導体的“More than Moore”的角度進行MEMS的生產。由MEMS技術將光學部件和机械部件等集成在LSI上,使LSI成為不只是電子電路的多功能器件,實現了產品的差异化…

bovine serum albumi

A stitch in time, suture, sew sth up

BSA即Bovine Serum Albumin,也称Bovine albumin,或Cohn Fraction V,中文名为牛血清白蛋白

Surgical sutures

A stitch whose time has come

Oct 29th 2008
From Economist.com

A protein extracted from cows’ blood may provide the best answer yet to the question of how to sew up wounds

Eyal Zussman What a surgeon's dreams are made of

FIFTY years ago a soldier injured on the battlefield would be sewn up by medics using sheep’s gut. A hundred years earlier they would have used silk. Before that, metal wire. Today, surgeons often prefer plastics such as polypropylene. Sutures have a long and bizarre history, dating back to ancient Egypt where everything from tree bark to hair was used to stitch torn human flesh back together again.

The latest suggestion, though, is probably the most bizarre of the lot: bovine serum albumin, a protein found in cows’ blood. The reasons for picking it are that it is already produced on a commercial scale (it has many applications in biochemistry) and that it is sufficiently similar to human serum albumin, one of the most abundant proteins in the human body, for the immune system not to notice the difference. That reduces the risk of a wound becoming inflamed. But there is a problem. Bovine serum albumin does not come in thread form.

Eyal Zussman and his colleagues at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa think, however, that they have found a solution to this problem. They propose to use a technique called electrospinning to turn the stuff into threads that a surgeon can use.

Electrospinning works by connecting a needlelike spinneret to a high-voltage power source and releasing a charged liquid from it towards an earthed collector plate. Like a spark between a cloud and a lightning conductor, the liquid stretches out to the collector. If the molecules within it hold together while this is happening, a solid thread may form.

Some materials, however, are easier to spin in this way than others, for if the molecules do not stick together, the liquid stream will break up. And, until now, that has been true of bovine serum albumin. The molecules of this protein are more or less globular, and are held in that shape by internal cross-links between different parts of the amino-acid chain of which the protein is composed. That discourages them from forming fibres. Though electrospun bovine serum albumin does not actually break up into droplets, the resulting threads have been so short and irregular as to be useless.

What Dr Zussman and his colleagues have managed to do is break the internal bonds in the protein molecules by mixing them with a chemical called beta-mercaptoethanol. The result, as they report in Biomacromolecules, is that they can spin bovine serum albumin into long, even fibres that are perfect for creating both suture threads and thick mats similar to conventional wound dressings, but on a small scale. Not only are these threads and mats readily accepted by the body, but the albumin of which they are composed has glue-like properties, which helps to stick torn tissues together.

The consequence is that sutures made with these new threads are expected to reduce the scarring left when the stitches are removed. More significantly, that they do not provoke inflammation means they might be used to repair the wounds of patients with conditions such as diabetes, in which chronic skin infections often get in the way of healing when normal stitches are used. And that would be a real advance on polypropylene and sheep’s gut.

21-Year Study of Children Set to Begin

21-Year Study of Children Set to Begin

Published: October 27, 2008

After nearly a decade of planning, researchers will begin recruiting pregnant women in January for an ambitious nationwide study that will follow more than 100,000 children from before birth until age 21.

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Yarek Waszul

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The goal of the federally financed project, the National Children’s Study, is to gain a better understanding of the effects of a wide array of factors on children’s health.

“What we are doing is bold and needs to be bold in order to answer some pressing questions,” said the study’s director, Dr. Peter C. Scheidt, a pediatrician on the staff of the child-health division of the National Institutes of Health.

Investigators hope to find explanations for the rising rates of premature births, childhood obesity, cancer, autism, endocrine disorders and behavioral problems. To that end, they will examine factors like genetics and child rearing, geography, exposure to chemicals, nutrition and pollution.

While few quarrel with the goal, some experts worry that the expansive project will take resources away from smaller and more focused perinatal and pediatric research, particularly when budgets are certain to be strained by the financial crisis. The total cost is estimated to be $2.7 billion.

Participating mothers and children (fathers will be encouraged but not required to take part) will be given periodic interviews and questionnaires. They will further be asked to submit samples of blood, urine and hair. Air, water and dust from their environments will also be sampled and tested.

“Something like this has never been done in this country,” said a principal investigator for the study, Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, professor and chairman of community and preventive medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan. “It’s past time for us to do this.”

Studies of comparable size and scope are under way in Britain, Denmark and Norway.

Conceived during the Clinton administration and authorized by the Children’s Health Act of 2000, the National Children’s Study is being led by a group of federal agencies. Besides the health institutes, they are the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education.

Since 2000, more than 2,400 health care, environmental and technology professionals have met in panels for hundreds of hours to work out such details as sampling methodology, data collection and privacy protection.

Subjects will be chosen from 105 counties to achieve a representative mix of racial, ethnic, religious, social, cultural and geographic characteristics. Forty regional centers will administer the study — mostly well-known medical institutions like Mount Sinai, the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and the University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston.

Dr. Russ Hauser, a professor of environmental and occupational epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health who served on a National Academy of Sciences committee that reviewed the study’s design, said the study would be “worthy and feasible” as long as it was properly financed.

But other experts questioned whether it was worth the cost. “The question isn’t whether the goals can be accomplished,” said Dr. Arthur Reingold, professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. “It’s more a question of is this the best use of almost $3 billion, particularly when it will inevitably take funding from other research, especially with the economy falling to pieces.”

Researchers involved in the study counter that it will more than pay for itself by leading researchers to the causes or contributing factors for so many childhood disorders. Dr. Landrigan said a “dress rehearsal” of the study, which began in 2001 with 1,500 subjects from New York and California, has already shown that pregnant women exposed to organophosphates in pesticides were more likely to have babies with small brains and impaired cognition.

Another concern is that the study’s advisory board — which is choosing the chemical exposures to be studied — includes scientists from 3M and Pfizer, who have apparent conflicts of interest.

But Richard Wiles, executive director of the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, said that since there were only 2 such scientists among the board’s 33 members, he hoped they would not have undue influence.

BPA Ruling Flawed, Panel Says


[編輯] 對環境生物和人類的影響




BPA Ruling Flawed, Panel Says

FDA Ignored Scientific Evidence of Harm, Report Finds

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 29, 2008; Page A13

The Food and Drug Administration ignored scientific evidence and used flawed methods when it determined that a chemical widely used in baby bottles and in the lining of cans is not harmful, a scientific advisory panel has found.

In a highly critical report to be released today, the panel of scientists from government and academia said the FDA did not take into consideration scores of studies that have linked bisphenol A (BPA) to prostate cancer, diabetes and other health problems in animals when it completed a draft risk assessment of the chemical last month. The panel said the FDA didn't use enough infant formula samples and didn't adequately account for variations among the samples.

Taking those studies into consideration, the panel concluded, the FDA's margin of safety is "inadequate". The panel is part of the Science Board, a committee of advisers to the FDA commissioner, and was set up to review the FDA's risk assessment of BPA.

Many of the studies that the panel said the FDA ignored were reviewed by the National Toxicology Program, which concluded in September that it had "some concern" that BPA can affect brain and behavioral development in infants and small children.

Officials at FDA, which regulates the chemical's use in plastic food containers, bottles, tableware and the plastic linings of food cans, accepted some of the criticism in the report.

"FDA agrees that due to the uncertainties raised in some studies relating to the potential effects of low doses of bisphenol-A that additional research would be valuable," said spokeswoman Judy Leon. The agency has commissioned new research on BPA.

The report adds fuel to the debate over whether to ban the use of BPA, which is used to harden plastic, particularly in baby bottles and cans of liquid formula. Infants are considered more vulnerable to the health effects of many chemicals.

"The current levels of exposure are not safe," said Sarah Janssen, a reproductive biologist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group. "We should get rid of it in food containers."

The American Chemistry Council, a trade group that represents BPA manufacturers, said its members would comply with whatever the FDA decides to do.

"If the agency determines that existing margins of safety are insufficient in infant applications, our member companies that manufacture BPA will put processes in place to promptly phase out the use of materials containing BPA in baby bottles and infant formula packaging," ACC spokeswoman Tiffany Harrington said.

Retailers have already begun selling BPA-free baby bottles in response to consumer concerns. This month, Canada banned its use in baby bottles.

House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), as well as several state attorneys general, have called on formula-makers to remove BPA from their products.

The report likely will be fodder for critics of FDA who have accused the agency of relying too heavily on industry-funded studies. But it is likely to put to rest charges by environmental groups and public health advocates that the panel's chairman, Martin Philbert, co-director of the University of Michigan's Risk Science Center, was influenced by grants that his center received from Dow Chemical, a major BPA manufacturer. Dow gave the center $15 million for research on dioxin.

The center also received $5 million from Charles Gelman, a retired businessman who has been vocal in his support for BPA. Philbert has said that those donations did not influence his work or the center's.

2008年10月28日 星期二

Microsoft 兩事

【財經新聞組綜合27日電】軟體巨頭微軟(Microsoft)27日宣布,將推出全新運算服務平台,讓網路軟體開發業者,使用他們的數據中心,來從事各種網路運用業務,希望籍此打入「雲端運算(Cloud Computing)服務市場。

微 軟軟體架構長歐奇(Ray Ozzie )在洛杉磯舉行的專業開發者大會上,展示了該公司的雲端運算 平台,讓與會專業人士初覽了這項他稱為「雲端視窗」(Windows Azure)。這個平台可以讓第三方開發者使用微軟管理的數據中心,建立主頁,管理、運行各種基於網際網路的軟體,並存儲數據。







Microsoft Stirs Up Pirates In China

In a move that has caused an unexpected stir in China, Microsoft Corp. went on the offensive against users of pirated software this week, sending millions of computer users a software update that can turn their desktop wallpaper black.

The security measure, part of a world-wide antipiracy initiative that began in August, was sent out through a software update that users of the Windows XP operating system would have been prompted to download.

The update wasn't limited to China and doesn't affect a personal computer's functionality, but it has prompted vocal protests from users on the Internet here. Some people called it a violation of their rights, even though many may not have paid for their Microsoft software.

The move is perhaps the most attention-grabbing yet by the Redmond, Wash., software giant, which has long attempted to discourage software piracy. Piracy has been a particularly stubborn problem in China, the world's second-largest personal computer market by units sold.

Microsoft also lowered the price of its software this month in China in a temporary promotion and now charges less than $30 for home and student versions of Microsoft Office, down from $102.

The dramatic wallpaper change can be reversed, and it doesn't render computers unusable. But if it detects that an illegitimate version of Windows is running, it will interrupt users periodically with notifications that they may be victims of software counterfeiting. Volunteers are already circulating programs on the Web that users can download to get around Microsoft's add-on.

The program is 'part of Microsoft's ongoing effort to protect customers and partners from counterfeit software and to increase customer awareness of the value of genuine Microsoft software,' a company spokesman said. 'This is a completely voluntary program' because users need to actively download the add-on in order to participate.

But Tuesday, when it was launched, PC users in China lashed out at the program. 'We do not stand up for piracy, but against your company for not thinking how the users feel,' wrote one blogger, called Ling Ge, in an open letter to Microsoft.

Microsoft responded to the complaints Wednesday, saying the measure was meant to help those who are duped into buying illegal software at full price, a user-segment that Microsoft estimates to account for 20% of all users of pirated software. The company also said the software would not affect users' applications nor cause any data losses.

China is increasingly important to technology companies worldwide, especially as technology budgets shrink in the wake of the economic downturn. Microsoft, which has been expanding its staff rapidly here, struggled until recently because of rampant software piracy. But in the past few years, the company has joined with personal-computer makers, including Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd., to install Microsoft applications on computers before sale, which has helped its business.

In addition, as part of its enforcement strategy, Microsoft has been filing lawsuits against companies using pirated versions of its software. Even when it wins, however, software developers say China's piracy problems are far from solved, partially because intellectual property rights violations aren't treated as criminal offenses in China.

Piracy can take place a number of ways in China both knowingly and by accident, where users can easily pirate software for less than two dollars or download it for free. Many buy their computers from markets, where sellers can easily pre-install pirated software in order to sell PCs at lower prices without the user knowing.

This was true for Chen Xuemei , a 33-year-old from the western city Chongqing whose desktop turned black Tuesday. 'When I bought [my computer] back from the shop, it already had everything installed by the staff there,' she said. When her screen turned black, she 'had no idea what was happening and had to call the technician in my company to help.'

Loretta Chao / Juliet Ye


軟(Microsoft Corp.)本週對盜版軟件用戶展開攻勢﹐給數百萬電腦用戶發送了一個軟件更新﹐盜版用戶的桌面壁紙會因此變成黑色﹐此舉在中國掀起軒然大波。

作為始於8月的全球反盜版行動的一部分﹐這一安全措施通過軟件更新發出﹐Windows XP操作系統的用戶已被提示下載了該更新。



微軟本月還在中國進行短期促銷﹐調低了其軟件的價格﹐Microsoft Office家庭版和學生版的售價從此前的102美元下調至現在的不到30美元。





中 國對全球科技公司都具有越來越重大的意義﹐尤其是在全球經濟低迷、科技預算縮水的情況下。微軟在中國的人員規模迅速增長﹐但直到最近都因盜版猖獗而處境艱 難。不過在過去幾年中﹐微軟與惠普(Hewlett-Packard Co.)、戴爾(Dell Inc.)和聯想(Lenovo Group Ltd.)等個人電腦製造商聯手﹐在電腦售前預裝微軟應用軟件﹐這一策略提振了微軟的業務。




Loretta Chao / Juliet Ye




英国诺里奇(Norwich)的约翰·英尼斯中心(John Innes Centre)从金鱼草(snapdragon)抽取基因,注入西红柿植物中,培育出紫色的西红柿。











约翰·英尼斯中心将关于紫色西红柿的研究发表在最新一期的《自然生物科技》杂志(Nature Biotechnology)中。

2008年10月26日 星期日

Homage to Polaroid

Spectrum | 24.09.2008 | 00:30

Homage to Polaroid

A year ago the camera maker Polaroid decided to stop making its instant cameras. Subsequently -- earlier this year – the company announced it would no longer make its magical instant film.

With the advent of digital photography, much of the instant camera's consumer appeal has been transferred to digital cameras. Even most passport photo cameras have gone to digital, leaving instant cameras to a niche market. Susan Stone has this appreciation of a technology that embraced pictures instead of pixels.

Revolutionary New Blood Bank

Spectrum | 24.09.2008 | 00:30

Revolutionary New Blood Bank

A British cancer charity has opened a revolutionary new blood bank which will store samples from the umbilical cords of new born babies.

The Anthony Nolan Trust says the bank could provide stemcells for transplant or research. The Trust aims to collect as many as fifty thousand samples. Leukemia sufferers have welcomed the move; stemcell transplants have already saved the lives of thousands of leukaemia patients around the world. But a leading medical academic and researcher has questioned some of the publicity surrounding the new blood bank. Professor Robert Winston says stemcell research is in its very early stages and a wide range of effective stemcell treatments could be many years away. Stephen Beard reports.

Computing's trade-off between sovereignty and efficiency

Information technology

Clouds and judgment

Oct 23rd 2008
From The Economist print edition

Computing is about to face a trade-off between sovereignty and efficiency

Illustration by David Simonds

WORRYING about the next big thing in high-tech may seem otherworldly just now. The world is flirting with recession and IT is likely to suffer badly as a result (see article). Yet this will not stop a shift that promises to affect everyone (see our special report this week). Computing is fast becoming a “cloud”—a collection of disembodied services accessible from anywhere and detached from the underlying hardware. The chances are that much of business and everyday computing will one day be mediated by this ethereal cloud.

This presents a paradox. On one hand, computing will be a borderless utility. Technically, it need not matter whether your data and programs are stored down the road or on the other side of the world; everything will look as if it is happening on the screen in front of you. On the other, geography still matters. The data centres that contain the cloud, each often the size of several football pitches, cannot be built just anywhere. They need cheap power, fibre-optic cables, a chilly climate and dry air (otherwise you have to remove heat and humidity, which do horrible things to electronics). Good sites are scarce. Iceland fits the bill. Google is even thinking of building floating data centres, cooled by seawater and powered by the waves.

The legal and political issues are thornier. Even more than previous cross-border utilities, such as the telephone and the internet, the cloud will be a cosmopolitan prisoner to laws that are mainly local. Personal information will be nowhere and everywhere, but most privacy laws still assume that data resides in one place. It is the same with obscenity, hate crime and libel. And online crooks can easily jump from one jurisdiction to another, whereas the authorities from different countries have yet to learn how to co-operate.

The danger is less that the cloud will be a Wild West than that it will be peopled by too many sheriffs scrapping over the rules. Some enforcers are already stirring up trouble, threatening employees of online companies in one jurisdiction to get their employers based in another to fork over incriminating data for instance. Several governments have passed new laws forcing online firms to retain more data. At some point, cloud providers may find themselves compelled to build data centres in every country where they do business.

There is a balance to be struck here between sovereignty and efficiency. If democracies decide to ban certain types of speech or to protect their citizens’ data, they must be able to enforce their rules. Yet at the same time, the more the cloud is lassoed with regulation, the more its costs will grow. That would be a loss. The cloud’s main promise is to make computing cheaper using huge economies of scale. Such savings promise to help countless smaller firms in developing countries, say, to benefit from IT and the productivity gains it creates.

The dearth of distance

It will not be easy to strike the balance, but at the very least governments can enhance efficiency without threatening their own sovereignty. Countries could sign up to a global minimum standard in areas such as privacy. Law-enforcement agencies from different countries could foster the habit of co-operation. Governments need to be sure that standards are not just an underhand way of keeping the data business within their own borders. Even then, some national differences are bound to endure, so cloud-computing services will have to take place on systems designed to cope. For instance, Microsoft, which is building a global computing platform, is designing a system that can accommodate some regulation, such as keeping data within national borders. The cloud may be global, but the climate will sometimes be local.

2008年10月25日 星期六

In Age of Impatience, Cutting Computer Start Time

In Age of Impatience, Cutting Computer Start Time

Published: October 25, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO — It is the black hole of the digital age — the three minutes it can take for your computer to boot up, when there is nothing to do but wait, and wait, and wait some more before you can log on and begin multitasking at hyper-speed.

Some people stare at their screen and fidget. Others pace or grab a cup of coffee. “Half the time, I go brush my teeth,” said Monica Loos, 40, who is starting a business selling stationery online from her home in San Francisco.

Now the computer industry says it wants to give back some of those precious seconds. In coming months, the world’s major PC makers plan to introduce a new generation of quick-start computers, spotting a marketing opportunity in society’s short attention span.

“It’s ridiculous to ask people to wait a couple of minutes,” said Sergei Krupenin, executive director of marketing of DeviceVM, a company that makes a quick-boot program for PC makers. “People want instant-on.”

Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Lenovo are rolling out machines that give people access to basic functions like e-mail and a Web browser in 30 seconds or less. Asus, a Taiwanese company that is the world’s largest maker of the circuit boards at the center of every PC, has begun building faster-booting software into its entire product line.

Even Microsoft, whose bloated Windows software is often blamed for sluggish start times, has pledged to do its part in the next version of the operating system, saying on a company blog that “a very good system is one that boots in under 15 seconds.” Today only 35 percent of machines running the latest version of Windows, called Vista, boot in 30 seconds or less, the blog notes. (Apple Macintoshes tend to boot more quickly than comparable Windows machines but still feel glacially slow to most users.)

There is nothing new about frustration with start-up times, which can be many minutes. But the agitation seems more intense than in the pre-Internet days. Back then, people felt less urgency to log on to their solitary, unconnected machines. Now the destination is the vast world of the Web, and the computer industry says the fast-boot systems cater to an information-addicted society that is agitated by even a moment of downtime.

Yet it is a condition that the technology industry — with smartphones and other always-on gadgets — helped create, said Gary Small, a professor at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Our brains have become impatient with the boot-up process,” Dr. Small said. “We have been spoiled by the hand-held devices.”

PC makers are not merely out to ease our data anxieties with the new machines. They want to help themselves, too. The industry has grown so competitive, and profit margins so thin, that each company is looking for any advantage it can trumpet. Computer makers say the battle for boot-up bragging rights could resemble the auto industry’s race to shave tenths of a second from the time it takes a car to go from 0 to 60 miles an hour.

Hewlett-Packard research shows that when boot times exceed more than a few minutes, users have an exaggerated sense of the time it takes. Four or five minutes can feel like an eternity.

In June, H.P. introduced a new kind of fast-booting laptop, for $1,200, and the company says the technology is destined to spread quickly. Right now, H.P.’s goal is to offer PCs that boot in 30 to 45 seconds, said Philip McKinney, chief technology officer for the company’s personal systems group. “In 18 months, you’ve got to be 20 to 30 seconds.”

Until Microsoft comes up with a way to greatly shorten the time it takes to load Windows, PC makers are speeding up boot times using programs that bypass Windows. The systems vary technically, but they all rely on a version of an operating system called Linux that gives users quick access to Web browsing and other basic functions of their computer. In some cases, Windows never boots, while in others, Windows starts in the background.

DeviceVM, the maker of a fast-boot program called Splashtop, says it charges PC makers $1 to $2 a machine for its software. The company hopes to make more revenue over the long term by charging other software providers that want to include their applications in the menu of programs accessible without a full boot.

Of course, some computer users try to avoid slow boot times by never turning off their machines; they simply leave them in standby mode. But PCs sometimes have a hard time waking up from standby and tend to crash the longer they run without rebooting. Leaving a machine on also wastes electricity and, for laptops, can drain the battery.

Victor Dailey, 54, a computer engineer from San Diego who works at NASA, has an alternative prescription for boot-up anxiety: “I’ll do the cigarettes and a cup of coffee while I wait.”

But he would much rather skip the caffeine and nicotine and get his fix from his computer. “If you could just open it up immediately, just like you do with your cellphone, and text somebody or whatever and close it back up, that would be ideal,” he said.

2008年10月23日 星期四

Partying Helps Power a Dutch Nightclub

Rotterdam Journal

Partying Helps Power a Dutch Nightclub

Robin Utrecht/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Movement on the dance floor at Club Watt in Rotterdam, which opened last month, generates electricity used in the light show.

Published: October 23, 2008

ROTTERDAM, the Netherlands — If you felt that the atmosphere in the new hip Club Watt was somehow electric, you would be right: Watt has a new type of dance floor that harvests the energy generated by jumps and gyrations and transforms it into electricity. It is one of a handful of energy-generating floors in the world, most still experimental.

With its human engineering, Watt partly powers itself: The better the music, the more people dance, the more electricity comes out of the floor.

At Watt, which describes itself as the first sustainable dance club, that electricity is used to power the light show in and around the floor. “For this first club, we thought it was useful for people to see the results,” said Michel Smit, an adviser on the project. “But if the next owner wants to use the electricity to power his toaster, it can do that just as well.”

Watt is in large part the creation of the Sustainable Dance Club, a quirky company formed last year by a group of Dutch ecological inventors, engineers and investors now headed by Mr. Smit. More than a year in the making, Watt is a huge performance space with not just the sustainable dance floor, but also rainwater-fed toilets and low-waste bars. (Everything is recycled.) Its heat is harvested in part from the bands’ amplifiers and other musical equipment.

“Our idea is that there’s enough energy in this world, you just have to use it the right way,” Mr. Smit said. “If you have a full dance club, there’s lots there, you just have to turn it into a usable product.”

Greener clubbing will obviously not solve the problem of rising greenhouse gas emissions, which scientists say are responsible for global warming. With their woofers and strobes, nightclubs are electricity guzzlers, unlikely ever to be carbon neutral even if scientists could harness the energy of a mosh pit. (The club’s lights do use low-energy bulbs, however.)

Still, the energy produced by an average person dancing is about 20 watts’ worth, so two people could light a bulb, Club Watt’s scientific consultants have found. Aryan Tieleman, one of the club’s owners, hopes his sustainable dance floor will ultimately produce 10 percent of the club’s electricity. Green innovations at the venue will reduce energy use by 50 percent and water use by 30 percent, compared with the previous club in the building, he said.

The United Nations has said the world must reduce greenhouse gases between 25 percent and 40 percent by 2020 to prevent dangerous warming. Some of that reduction could come from large changes, like the closing of coal-fired plants and better protection of rain forests. But sustainability experts emphasize that much of the gain should come from doing the things everyone does now, but in ways that are a bit more efficient and green.

“The concept is you party like you always do, but here it will be better for the earth,” Mr. Smit said.

Watt is the clubbing equivalent of driving a hybrid.

Customers seem to like it. “Sure, I care about the environment, and I’m happy to do my bit in this way,” said Bas Muller, a student, emerging from bathrooms that feature waterless urinals and rainwater-fed toilets, with tanks that show how many liters are used per flush. Mr. Muller was attending a concert of the Norwegian band Motorpsycho, but had also been at the club in September.

Club Watt, which holds about 1,400 people, is part consciousness-raising, part green-energy experiment — and in large part simple entertainment. (Indeed, Mr. Tieleman offered the British pop singer Amy Winehouse hundreds of thousands of dollars to perform at the club’s opening. It opened without her.)

“The first thing is, I wanted to do my little something for the planet,” said Mr. Tieleman, who decided to build an entirely green club after seeing a presentation by Sustainable Dance Club on the dance floor, which functions through a technology called piezoelectricity.

But he added: “I’ll be very happy with whatever energy the floor produces for the club. And as a businessman, I know it attracts attention.”

Mr. Tieleman spent about $257,000 on the floor, an investment that will not be recouped from the energy it saves, he said, because as a first-generation model it is fairly inefficient. He lends out parts of the roughly 270-square-foot floor for demonstrations. (Part of it will be flown to New York in December.)

It is perhaps natural that this concept has taken off in Rotterdam, a gritty port city with a booming club scene where young residents have a strong vested interest in controlling global warming.

Located at sea level, Rotterdam would be one of the first cities to go under if global ice melted and sea levels rose significantly. And the Netherlands — which has reclaimed substantial tracts of territory from the sea — has gained a reputation for environmental innovation.

In 2006, a group of local architects, academics and engineers was convened by Döll architects and Enviu, an environmental research group, to brainstorm on the eco-club idea. They ultimately created the Sustainable Dance Club company to develop a blueprint for a greener party place that included what they called “spectaculars” (elements like the no-waste bars that customers could see) as well as hidden elements, like a promise to consider sustainability in purchasing.

The most spectacular “spectacular” is, of course, the dance floor. It takes advantage of the piezoelectric effect: certain materials, when squeezed, develop a charge and produce electricity. When people are dancing, the sustainable dance floor yields by about 1 centimeter — less than half an inch — compressing cells containing piezoelectric material underneath.

In theory, piezoelectric floors can take the energy of any step or jump and convert it into electricity, although that process is now expensive and inefficient, converting just a fraction of human energy to usable power. But the technology is evolving, and the world’s first sustainable dance floor is being reprogrammed and electronically adjusted to improve output.

The company hopes to sell the dance floor technology to other clubs and is offering green certification to those that reduce emissions 30 percent. Sustainable Dance Club is now getting an inquiry a day from clubs about the floor.

“You can use it anywhere there’s movement, but the question now is when does it become cost-efficient?” Mr. Smit said, noting that the company was working to develop cheaper, more effective materials.

Energy-generating sidewalks? Subway platforms? Recently, the company identified the next frontier: Gyms and fitness centers.

2008年10月22日 星期三

Carbon black

謂Carbon Black就是顏色非常黑、顆粒非常細的無定型碳總稱,一般稱為碳黑,是由烴類不完全燃燒而得的煙黑,主要用作汽車輪胎補強和其他橡膠類製品,正因為重要性高,日本BRIDGESTONE遂於墨西哥成立生產基地,來提升輪胎品質和競爭力。 為了拓展中南美洲市場,並強化北美 ...

Carbon black

(¦kär·bən ¦blak) (chemistry) An amorphous form of carbon produced commercially by thermal or oxidative decomposition of hydrocarbons and used principally in rubber goods, pigments, and printer's ink. gas black

Sci-Tech Encyclopedia: Carbon black

An amorphous form of carbon produced commercially by thermal or oxidative decomposition of hydrocarbons. It is used principally in rubber goods, pigments, and printer's ink. It is not an inert filler but enhances and reinforces various properties of rubber.

Manufacturing processes may be classed as contact, furnace, or thermal. In the channel (contact) process, natural gas is burned with insufficient air for complete combustion. The smoky flame from individual burners impinges on a cool channel iron, and carbon black deposited on the channel is removed by a scraper blade. In the furnace process, the hydrocarbon and air are fed into a reactor. Combustion of part of the hydrocarbon raises the temperature to 2000–3000°F (1100–1700°C), causing decomposition of the unburned hydrocarbon to carbon black. A water spray quickly cools the hot reaction products, and the finely divided black is recovered by cyclones and bag filters, In the thermal process, natural gas is decomposed to carbon and hydrogen by heated refractories.

2008年10月20日 星期一


英特爾在台北IDF(英特爾開發者論壇)中表示,「Nehalem」架構的處理器及預計於2009年至2010年間上市 的「Moorestown」平台,可幫助英特爾在行動上網裝置(MID)等手持式裝置的發展。不過目前如MID的概念、電池續航力及無線寬頻環境等問題都 還需要時間去化解。 ...


(Mobile Internet Device) Intel's moniker for a low-cost handheld device that has Internet access. The term was coined with Intel's introduction of its Atom chips in 2008, and MID devices are expected to be slimmer versions of the Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC). See Atom and Ultra-Mobile PC. See also MIDI file.

bio-control technique

Japanese Knotweed

Spectrum | 21.10.2008 | 04:30

Scientists Find a Solution to Fight the Japanese Knotweed Menace in Britain

Britain has been invaded……by an alien plant species. Japanese Knotweed (or Fallopia Japonica) has spread with ferocious speed across the UK.

It has undermined buildings, destroyed flood defences and overwhelmed private gardens and public parks. Tackling it is costing millions of pounds. But now scientists have come up with a simple solution -- Aphalara itadori -- a sap-sucking insect that devours the dreaded knotweed. Scientists from the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International have asked for government permission to introduce the insect. If they get the go-ahead, it will be the first time that a bio-control technique involving a natural organism to control a pest will have been used in Europe. From London Stephen Beard ( or Stephanus Barbus) reports.

植物界 Plantae
被子植物門 Magnoliophyta
双子葉植物綱 Magnoliopsida
タデ目 Polygonales
タデ科 Polygonaceae
ソバカズラ属 Fallopia
イタドリ F. japonica

Japanese Knotweed

INTERVIEW: IBM is seeking innovation in Taiwan

INTERVIEW: IBM is seeking innovation in Taiwan

Mark Wiltse leads the engineering teams at IBM’s Taiwan System and Technology Laboratory and one in Shanghai responsible for delivering software and services to customers. He is also a director of IBM’s Greater China group System x development. ‘Taipei Times’ staff reporter Elizabeth Tchii talked with Wiltse last Monday

Monday, Oct 20, 2008, Page 11

Mark Wiltse, director of IBM’s Greater China Group System x Development, talks during an interview with the Taipei Times last Monday.
Taipei Times (TT): Explain what a server is to the non-tech savvy readers out there.

Mark Wiltse: Servers help information to flow around the world. As more people get on the Internet, and more people communicate through Google and Yahoo, [these companies] need a lot of computer power. [These companies] have server farms, rolls and rolls of computers, multiples of them. As you surf on the Internet you want it to be pretty quick.

TT: What are your goals and responsibilities as the director of Taiwan System and Technology Laboratory (TSTL)?

As director of the lab, and as the very visible face of IBM here in Taiwan from a development perspective, my job function mirrors more of a general manager’s role than a development director’s role.

[I am] general manager in the sense [that] I do have product delivery responsibility [and] external visibility responsibility. As a senior leader here interfacing to some of the other functions, I communicate regularly with other labs.

[For instance, there are many common building blocks among the labs]. If there’s a certain mechanical chassis between two or three product lines, we communicate frequently to make sure we’re all designing to the same mechanical chassis.

TT: What are your views on the research and development (R&D) environment in Taiwan? Can you contrast that to the environment in the US or in China?

There’s more similarity than differences from a worldwide perspective. Differences [lie only in] what technologies people have started to work on. Worldwide there are more similarities. Math is math. If you take that to an extreme, it’s engineering, it’s all the same. The logical thinking and the rigor is [all] the same.

TT: You mentioned previously that TSTL is “not merely a remake of the US experience.” Can you elaborate on that?

TSTL is not merely a remake of the US experience. We’re new; people have only been here [for] four years. Most of the labs in the US have been around for 30 to 35 years. They take on a certain mature personality; they have a lot of experts because we have been innovating for that long in those places.

First, TSTL is more of a partnership environment that our US colleagues, so that has generated an interesting development model. Secondly, being younger in general [makes a difference]— our average age [here] is a little bit younger. Thirdly, from a responsibility perspective, we are able to provide opportunities to people earlier in their careers. And, lastly, there’s a certain eagerness [at TSTL for engineers] to try things when you have fresh energy and fresh people.

TT: TSTL can be very discrete sometimes. Why is that?

We are secretive not to be evil, but because we are working on unannounced products. Many of those programs we are designing, we are trying to make better than our competitors. The more that I can keep hidden until I announce it, [the more] I can be in a better position.

TT: Who are your competitors? Do you look at each other’s products when designing your own?

Dell and HP are the big two for us. We watch them on multiple elements: cost, performance, design and ease of use. We do not copy them and they don’t copy us because each of these companies has a different focus from a customer perspective. We all have different personalities.

[At IBM] we offer innovation and high value to customers. This isn’t something our competitors are good at. They might be much better at low-cost design, for example. But that’s not what IBM is focused on. We’re trying to find the hard problems and solve them for our customers.

TT: Let’s talk a little about your collaboration with local companies.

Part of the reason we’re here is to partner up with the companies that are really experts at designing and developing the components for the computer. We’re excellent at system design. [With] the sub components [of our systems] throughout our history, we have allowed other companies to become the experts. And we began to utilize them.

So there are many companies here in Taiwan that we partner with in order to deliver products to our customers. Many of these are the same companies that Dell and HP partner with.

TT: How is TSTL helping local companies to transit from being original equipment manufacturers (OEM) to original design manufacturers (ODM)?

The evolution of local Taiwanese companies that we’re partnering with has been happening for over 15 years.

They started out being focused on manufacturing that expertise began to solidify, there were lower level design elements that became more efficient for them to do, rather than for us to do in the United States.

Over time, as Taiwanese company skills began to grow, we began to continue our education to try to move them to places higher up the skill set. That evolution has been happening and is expected to [continue] over the next 15 to 20 years.

These local companies began to change their thinking process of simply doing what they’re told to [do]. If I have my partners focused on innovation and contributing to invention, that expands the number of people making IBM products better and more innovative.

TT: What are IBM’s efforts toward green technology?

Saving energy has turned out to be something our customers are now demanding. If I can save 1, 2 or 3 watts a server, these [server farms save] real money. [Also] It goes beyond just computers because the less heat I put out, there’s more savings.

We have both won and lost based on power consumption. Although people like to talk about green, we’re pursuing green for a very basic business reason: Our customers are demanding it.

If we don’t pursue green, we’re not going to be competitive. So clearly, given our innovation and our expertise, that’s a key area [in which] we think we can be [a leader].

Today, if you look at the purchase price, the computer has been the smallest part of the expense of a computer. Operating cost, cooling cost, maintenance cost are significantly larger portions of total cost of ownership for computers.

TT: Due to the economic slowdown, are you witnessing diminished corporate spending on IT products?

It’s too early to tell. If you look at companies around the world that are well managed, they have long-term strategies. The best IBM customers, we have long-term relationships. I’m optimistic that our relationships are going to be maintained with our key customers. We’ll continue to talk to our customers and continue to develop the solution that they need.

TT: What are your thoughts on cloud computing?

It’s wonderful. If you take cloud computing as a concept, one of the building blocks of cloud computing is the iDataPlex. The concept of sharing IT resources without anyone being dedicated to one particular server. [This] really helps companies increase efficiency of computer usage. [Cloud computing means] to be able to use IT and infrastructure for multiple applications.

[If] you can extend that further where people can share, that [would] generate a little bit of nervousness if one company wants to share its IT resources with another company. We’re still working on that concept.

Parallel [cloud computing] with electricity. You don’t have a dedicated power plant. The electricity is just in the infrastructure. If computing power is part of the infrastructure, then it becomes more like a utility than anything else.

[In fact] computer technology is very, very evolutionary. Every once in a while we’ll come to a point where several technologies that have been evolving over a number of years come together in form. Now [as] there [is] some excitement, more people get in, more innovation applies, and [we are more] able to generate real solutions for customers.

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2008年10月14日 星期二

The Architecture of Platforms—A Unified View

Working Paper: The Architecture of Platforms—A Unified View

Download the paper. Product and system designers have long exploited opportunities to create families of complex artifacts by developing and recombining modular components. An especially common design pattern is associated with the concept of a platform. HBS professor Carliss Baldwin and coauthor C. Jason Woodard shed light on the relationships between platforms and the systems in which they are embedded to better understand and explain firms and industries where platforms play an important role.

2008年10月8日 星期三



约 克大学(University of York)的心理学家汤普森(Peter Thompson)向“横条显宽,竖条显瘦”的穿衣“公理”发起挑战。汤普森向参加试验的志愿者展示200对妇女的照片,照片上的妇女都穿着有横向或竖向 条纹的衣服。结果,观看照片者认为,穿横向条纹衣服的妇女比穿纵向条纹衣服的妇女看上去“窄”了6%。


其实,汤普森的理论并不算首创。早在1860年代,一个叫亥姆霍兹(Hermann von Helmholtz)的德国心理学家就创造了视觉错觉的经典之一,“亥姆霍兹方块错觉”(Helmholtz squares illusion)。




亥 姆霍兹在他的《心理视觉手册》(Handbook of Physiological Optics)一书中建议,希望显得苗条的妇女应该穿有横向条纹的衣服。然而,亥姆霍兹的发现并没有引起一场时装设计革命。相反,进入20世纪,随着胖人 越来越多,横宽竖瘦成了“常识”。为什么?



汤 普森的实验不知花了多少经费。我倒是可以提供一条免费的理论:横条也罢,竖条也罢,在胖人身上都只会更“显块”。一个“残酷”的事实是,胖就是胖,衣料条 纹的走向是遮掩不了的。事实上,如果想遮掩,最好彻底避免条纹,无论是横向还是纵向,而应该从颜色上打主意,确切的说,黑色。


2008年10月7日 星期二

Three Physicists Share Nobel Prize

Three Physicists Share Nobel Prize

Reuters, via Kyodo

From left, the Japanese scientists Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Yoichiro Nambu, an American born in Tokyo.

Published: October 7, 2008

An American and two Japanese physicists on Tuesday won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work exploring the hidden symmetries between elementary particles that are the deepest constituents of nature.

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Nobel Prizes
Nobel Prizes

Complete coverage, including a list of this year's winners.

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Yoichiro Nambu, of the University of Chicago’s Enrico Fermi Institute, will receive half of the 10 million kroner prize (about $1.3 million) awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Makoto Kobayashi, of the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) Tsukuba, Japan, and Toshihide Maskawa, of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics (YITP), Kyoto University, will each receive a quarter of the prize.

Ever since Galileo, physicists have been guided in their quest for the ultimate laws of nature by the search for symmetries, or properties of nature that appear the same under different circumstances.

However, in the 1960s, Dr. Nambu, who was born in Tokyo in 1921, suggested that some symmetries in the laws of nature might be hidden or “broken” in actual practice.

A pencil standing on its end, for example, is symmetrical but unstable and will wind up on the table pointing in only one direction or the other. The principle is now embedded in all of modern particle physics.

“You have to look for symmetries even when you can’t see them,” explained Michael Turner of the University of Chicago, who described his colleague as “the most humble man of all time.”

In 1972, Dr. Kobayashi and Dr. Maskawa, extending earlier work by the Italian physicist Nicola Cabibbo, showed that if there were three generations of the elementary particles called quarks, the constituents of protons and neutrons, this principle of symmetry breaking would explain a puzzling asymmetry known as CP violation. This was discovered in 1964 by the American physicists James Cronin and Val Fitch - a discovery that also won a Nobel prize.

C and P stand respectively for charge and parity, or “handedness.” Until then, physicists had naively assumed that if you exchanged positive for negative and left-handed and right-handed in the equations of elementary particles, you would get the same answer.

The fact that nature operates otherwise, physicists hope, is a step on the way to explaining why the universe is made of matter and not antimatter, one of the questions that the Large Hadron Collider, the new particle accelerator now preparing for operation, is designed to explore.

Written in stone --A new way of detecting ancient earthquakes

Dating earthquakes

Written in stone

Oct 2nd 2008
From The Economist print edition

A new way of detecting ancient earthquakes

ON DECEMBER 16th 1811, the residents of New Madrid, Missouri, were startled out of their beds by a huge earthquake, which was quickly followed by a second. Those who survived the catastrophe reported that cracks opened in the earth’s surface, that the ground rolled visibly in waves and that large areas of land sank downwards. The crew of the New Orleans, the first steamboat to ply the Mississippi, told locals that they had moored on an island the evening before the earthquake only to discover that it was gone in the morning. People in places as far away as Boston declared that they heard church bells ringing at the time the earthquake happened.

That huge earthquakes occur in parts of North America outside their traditional habitat on the Pacific margin is well known from accounts like those from New Madrid. Such records, however, have been kept only since Europeans arrived, so it has been hard to work out how active the faults that cause them are. Now it is a little easier. A study carried out by Samuel Panno of the Illinois State Geological Survey and his colleagues has revealed that nearby caves store the dates of past earthquakes in stone.

Dr Panno and his team found their recording angel in the form of stalagmites, the conical projections that grow on the floors of limestone caves. (The structures that hang down above them are called stalactites.) They made their discovery when they were using a radioactive dating technique to check the ages of small stalagmites occupying a number of caves in the Midwest. Many of these stalagmites, they found, had come into existence at about the same moment, and that moment coincided with the New Madrid earthquake.

This makes sense. Stalagmites form when water trickles through crevices in a cave’s ceiling and drips to the floor. Each drop carries with it a quantity of dissolved calcium carbonate (the defining ingredient of limestone) that it has picked up while flowing through the rock above. When a drop lands, some of this mineral is deposited at the landing site, where it accumulates, forming a stalagmite. A paper to be presented at a meeting of the Geological Society of America in Houston on October 5th by Dr Panno’s colleague Keith Hackley suggests that when large earthquakes shake the ground, new cracks in cave ceilings open. The result is the formation of a new generation of stalagmites.


━━ n. 【鉱】石筍(せきじゅん).

Like trees, stalagmites are often composed of concentric layers that represent annual growth periods. Counting the layers is one way of assessing how old a stalagmite is. But radioactive dating provides a second, and sometimes more accurate, assessment. In this case the geologists drilled into the stalagmites and estimated their age from the way that uranium decays into an isotope of thorium. Many, they found, dated back to 1811, while others began life in 1917, the date of another nearby earthquake.

Subsequent investigation has confirmed a further seven big earthquakes previously suspected to have happened over the course of the past 18,000 years. An average interval between quakes of 2,500 years is a hopeful sign for New Madrid’s immediate future. But if the technique can be tried out in other places it might reveal areas now thought safe, precisely because there has not been a recent earthquake, that are actually under threat.