mdsolar sends this quote from an article at the NY Times: "From inspectors who abandoned the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as it succumbed to disaster to a delay in disclosing radiation leaks, Japan's response to the nuclear accident caused by the March tsunami fell tragically short, a government-appointed investigative panel said on Monday. ... In particular, an erroneous assumption that an emergency cooling system was working led to an hours-long delay in finding alternative ways to draw cooling water to the plant, the report said. All the while, the system was not working, and the uranium fuel rods at the cores were starting to melt."
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mikejuk writes "It was on this day 220 years ago (December 26 1791) that Charles Babbage was born. The calculating machines he invented in the 19th century, although never fully realized in his lifetime, are rightly seen as the forerunners of modern programmable computers. What if he had succeeded? Babbage already had plans for game arcades, chess playing machines, sound generators and desktop publishing. A Victorian computer revolution was entirely possible."
First time accepted submitter parkejr writes "I started off building a media library a few years ago with an old PC running Ubuntu. Folders for photos, ogg vorbis music from my CD collection, and x264 encoded mkv movies. I have a high spec machine for encoding, but over the years I've moved the server to a bigger case, with 8 TB of disk capacity, and reverted back to Debian, but still running with the same AMD Sempron processor and 2GB RAM. It's working well, it's also the family mail server, and the kids are starting to use it for network storage, and it runs both link and twonkyserver, but my disks are almost full, and there are no more internal slots. The obvious option to me is to add in a couple of SATA PCI cards, to give me 4 more drives, and buy an externally powered enclosure, but that doesn't feel very elegant. I'm a bit of an amateur, so I'd like some advice. Should I start looking at a rack system? Something that can accommodate, say, 10 3.5" drives (I'm thinking long term, and some redundancy)? Also, what about location — I could run some cat6 to the garage and move it out of the house, in case noise is an issue. Finally, what about file format, file system, and OS/software? I'm currently running with ext3 and Debian Squeeze. Happy with my audio encoding choice, but not sure about x264 and mkv. I'd also consider different media server software, too. Any comments appreciated."
David Greene writes "After many years of waiting for my provider to upgrade DSL service from the measly 1.5 Mbps I have now, I've decided to go another route. Unfortunately, no other provider in the area (Twin Cities) offers static IPs and permission to run servers. I am looking for a VPS solution to host the public parts of my personal site. What can the Slashdot community recommend as a good, inexpensive VPS provider for personal use? This will mainly be hosting a blog and a couple of Free Software projects (wikis, git repositories, etc.). I would prefer something with KVM so I can manage my own OS install but I am open to other options. Root shell access is essential."
bonch writes "Samsung has announced that the Galaxy S smartphone, which sold 10 million last year, and the Galaxy Tab tablet won't be receiving the Android 4.0 update, known as 'Ice Cream Sandwich.' Samsung claims the devices lack enough RAM and ROM to run Android 4.0 alongside TouchWiz and other custom 'experience-enhancing' software. Note that the Galaxy S runs the same hardware as the Nexus S, which is already receiving the Android 4.0 update."
An anonymous reader writes "Apple Insider reports that Apple recently filed two patents for a new breed of fuel cell-powered laptop computers. The devices would eschew lithium ion batteries in favor of fuel cells that are capable of running for weeks without requiring a recharge. The patents are entitled 'Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device' and oeFuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device."
skegg writes "Dick Smith, a major Australian electronics retailer, is being accused of regularly selling used hard drives as new. Particularly disturbing is the claim that at least one drive contained malware-infested pirated movies, causing the unlucky buyer significant data loss. Apparently the Fair Trading Commissioner will be conducting an investigation."
First time accepted submitter anwe79 writes "Those of you who have been wishing for a Raspberry Pi this Christmas will sadly not get your wish granted. However, you may be happy to hear that populated beta boards have now been produced. Beta of course means the boards still have some more testing to undergo. But, if all goes well, those inclined should be able to get their hands on production boards in January!"
hrvatska writes "The NY Times has an article about the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval of the design of Westinghouse's AP1000 reactor for the U.S., clearing the way for two American utilities to continue the construction of projects in South Carolina and Georgia. The last time a nuclear power plant in the U.S. entered service was 1996. The AP1000 was discussed on Slashdot a few years ago."
Shivetya writes with a list of prices for upcoming models from Tesla, noting that "they aren't cheap and the prices are listed assuming the $7500 tax credit. A 160-mile range S will set you back $49,900, the 230-mile is at $59,000, and the 300-mile range S will cost $69,000. Battery sizes are 40, 60, and 85kwh respectively. For your money these cars also include a very large seventeen-inch touchscreen. Is this the electric car you've been waiting for or another rich person's toy?"
MojoKid writes "Rumors of AMD's Southern Island family of graphics processors have circulated for some time, though today AMD is officially announcing their latest flagship single-GPU graphics card, the Radeon HD 7970. AMD's new Tahiti GPU is outfitted with 2,048 stream processors with a 925MHz engine clock, featuring AMD's Graphics Core Next architecture, paired to 3GB of GDDR5 memory connected over a 384-bit wide memory bus. And yes, it's crazy fast as you'd expect and supports DX11.1 rendering. In the benchmarks, the new Radeon HD 7970 bests NVIDIA's fastest single GPU GeForce GTX 580 card by a comfortable margin of 15 — 20 percent and can even approach some dual GPU configurations in certain tests." PC Perspective has a similarly positive writeup. There are people who will pay $549 for a video card, and others who are just glad that the technology drags along the low-end offerings, too.
bonch writes "After a historical reputation for not monetizing breakthrough technologies (including the mouse and desktop GUI), Xerox PARC is now focused on making money from its inventions. CEO Anne Mulcahy vowed in 2001 to return the company to profitability, encouraging 'open innovation' and mandating that research turned a profit. The latest innovation is thin-film printed electronics, intended for a variety of products, from RFID readers to price labels."
MrSeb writes "Earlier this week, an ExtremeTech writer received a press release from a Romanian overclocking team that smashed a few overclocking records, including pushing Kingston's HyperX DDR3 memory to an incredible 3600MHz (at CL10). The Lab501 team did this, and their other record breakers, with the aid of liquid nitrogen which cooled the RAM down to a frosty -196C. That certainly qualifies as extreme, but is it news? Ten years ago, overclocking memory involved a certain amount of investigation, research, and risk, but in these days of super-fast RAM and manufacturer's warranties it seems a less intoxicating prospect. As it becomes increasingly difficult to justify what a person should overclock for, has the enthusiast passion for overclocking cooled off?"
1sockchuck writes "A new data center project in Norway plans to use a fjord-powered cooling system, drawing cold water from an adjacent fjord to cool data halls. The fjord provides a ready supply of water at 8 degrees C (46 degrees F), eliminating the need for an energy-hungry chiller. The Green Mountain Data Center joins a small but growing number of data centers are slashing their cooling costs by using the environment as their chiller, tapping nearby lakes, wells and even the Baltic Sea."