Monday, July 20, 2009

Google Cool Data Centre

Belgium is apparently a great place for energy saving data centers. Google have built a data center which relies on open air cooling, saving the electricity costs associated with traditional water cooling methods. The few days a year that the outside temperature is too hot will result in the centre offloading any work to other centres. More practically though, with a global network of data centres at your disposal, it is easy to shift your daytime peak jobs to somewhere on the night side of the planet where air cooling will be more effective.

10 Year Old Lost Love Letter

A lovely story from the BBC about a couple who met 17 years ago and how a love letter that should have been passed on got lost behind a fireplace 10 years ago. Luckily the letter was found recently by workmen and passed on the rightful recipient, that eventually resulted in the couple who met on an exchange trip tying the knot. Such a wonderful story in these times of gloom.

40 Years Since The Moon Landing And The ISS Still Has Toilet Troubles

July 20 1969 was the famous day in history that man first landed on the moon. Some still don´t believe it even though there were about 6 missions and photos from a recent lunar probe show the footprints. In any case, 40 years later the crew of Eagle (Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins) reflect on that historic day and urge men to take the next step and go to Mars. There seems to be a fair bit of media coverage at the moment, which I hope might inspire a generation to take more interest in science. That day certainly inspired my parents to name me after one of the astronauts. I can´t believe that NASA erased and reused the original tapes, though newly restored footage can be found here.

In related but somewhat less inspiring news, the ISS toilet is on the blink. Again. We managed to put a man on the moon, but how in the heavens can we make the 2.5 year trip to Mars if the loo is broken? There isn´t going to be a space shuttle come after you and install some spare parts, not least because they are decommissioning it after next year, replacing it with the Constellation programme and the Orion crew module. Or did the Russians deliberately sabotage the bog because the US got to the moon first ;)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Public Domain Art?

The National Portrait Gallery are in a spat with Wikipedia according to the BBC, as a result of high resolution art images uploaded by a volunteer. The NPG has recently completed a digitisation programme. The gallery says it normally recuperates costs by licensing images to books and magazines. This is now in danger because of Wikipedia´s actions and furthermore in breach of UK copyright. In their defence, Wikipedia say that the works are public domain, for the people and restricting access in such a way is not in the interest of the common good and that they are acting as if the works are property of the gallery. Looks like another case of copyright law not being in sync with new technologies and what should be understood as a copy and fair use.

Nickleback Parody: Popstar

Considering this was made before last year´s Britney Spears scandals, it´s almost prophetic...