November 29, 2010

Speed guns can help cops detect suicide bombers

Radar guns used by police to spot speeding motorists could help identify would-be suicide bomber in a crowd, say researchers.
A radar gun fires microwave pulses at a car and measures the Doppler shift of the reflected signal to calculate its velocity. However, the strength and polarisation of the reflected signal – the radar cross section – can provide additional information about the size and shape of the reflecting object and the material it is made from.
Researchers wondered whether the wiring in a suicide vest would alter the radar cross section of a bomber enough to allow a radar gun to pick him or her out in a crowd, reports New Scientist.
To find out, William Fox of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and John Vesecky of the University of California, Santa Cruz, used software to simulate how radar signals at 1 gigahertz and 10 gigahertz would be reflected by the most common arrangements of looped wiring typically used by suicide bombers.
They found that the clearest reflected signals were in the 10 gigahertz range.
Together with colleague Kenneth Laws, they then fired low-power 10 gigahertz radar pulses at groups of volunteers, some wearing vests wired up like suicide vests.
About 85% of the time, telltale factors in the polarisation of the reflected signals allowed them to correctly identify a “bomber” up to 10m away.
The team now hopes that the US army will fund further development of the system, allowing them to boost the detection rate and include refinements to avoid false alarms being triggered by metal parts in underwired bras, jewellery and earphone leads.
The researchers suggest military checkpoints would be major users of such a system – but it could also be installed alongside CCTV cameras in shopping malls, railway stations, airports and high streets.
source:times of india

Sugar cube-sized supercomps? Prototype Built; Massive Shrinking To Make Future Devices More Energy Efficient

IBM scientists have said that a pioneering research effort could shrink the world’s most powerful supercomputer processors to the size of a sugar cube.
The approach will see many computer processors stacked on top of one another, cooling them with water flowing between each one.
The aim is to reduce computers’ energy use, rather than just to shrink them. Some 2% of the world’s total energy is consumed by building and running computer equipment.
Bruno Michel said future computer costs would hinge on green credentials rather than speed.
Michel and his colleagues have already built a prototype to demonstrate the water-cooling principle. Called Aquasar, it occupies a rack larger than a refrigerator. IBM estimates that Aquasar is almost 50% more energy-efficient than the world’s leading supercomputers.
“In the past, computers were dominated by hardware costs – 50 years ago you could hold one transistor and it cost a dollar, or a franc,” the BBC quoted Michel as saying at IBM’s Zurich labs.
Now when the sums are done, he said, the cost of a transistor works out to 1/100th of the price of printing a single letter on a page.
The overwhelming cause of those energy costs is in cooling, because computing power generates heat as a side product.
“In the future, computers will be dominated by energy costs,” said Michel.
Until recently, the supercomputer at the top of that list could do about 770 million computational operations per second at a cost of one watt of power.
The Aquasar prototype clocked up nearly half again as much, at 1.1 billion operations. Now the task is to shrink it.


November 4, 2010

Happy diwali 2010 to all my readers

Congress avoids Adarsh scam, CWG at AICC meet

The Congress party on Tuesday studiously avoided all reference to two raging controversies - the Adarsh housing society scam and the corruption in the Commonwealth Games - at its special All India Congress Committee (AICC) meet here.

The AICC meet was addressed by party chief Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders and attended by around 1,200 delegates.

Not a single word was mentioned by the leaders - including Pranab Mukherjee - on the two controversial topics.

In fact, Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan whose role in the Adarsh housing scam is being probed by a two-member Congress panel, was seated on the dais. Party MP Suresh Kalmadi, facing allegations of corruption in the organisation of the Commonwealth Games, was seated in the front row.

When a former chief minister of Orissa, Hemanand Biswal, mentioned about the Commonwealth Games, there was expectation that he would touch upon the corruption issue. But Biswal limited his references to the demand for reservation for tribals in Delhi, who had worked for the Games projects in the national Capital.

The AICC meeting was convened on Tuesday to fulfil the party's constitutional obligation to elect members to the party working committee, the party's highest decision-making body.

The meeting unanimously authorized Sonia Gandhi to nominate the CWC members and other office-bearers.

Since Sonia Gandhi became president of the party in 1998, elections to CWC have not been held.

In her inaugural remarks, Sonia Gandhi emphasized that the Congress respects its coalition partners in states but would also attempt to gain strength on its own and keep its 'political space'.

'The party is in coalition in some states. We respect coalitions but that does not mean we will not work to gain strength or that we will leave our political space,' she said.

Pointing out that 10 states will go to assembly polls in next two years, Sonia said the party has to work with dedication and unity for its victory in the polls.

She said the party was steadfast in opposing communalism. The statement adopted by the meeting, which was read by Mukherjee, said 'recent revelations through detailed investigations have exposed the true character of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and its sister organizations'.

Without mentioning Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, she praised his efforts at democratising the working of the Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India (NSUI).


Future PM failed- ra(h)ul gandhi(vinci)