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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sci-Fi and Real Science Collide - Cybermen

I enjoy reading about new scientific discoveries. These days it seems like the science facts are colliding with science fiction. For example, read this article about "cybernetics" in Forbes.

"Eager scientists in the field say it's inevitable that we will one day be able to transmit thoughts to one another as electrical signals, bringing a new level of meaning to 'collective consciousness.'"

The article is mostly about the work of Kevin Warwick. Read these links and see if it reminds you of this Cybermen episode of the new Dr. Who series on BBC.

This research can have fantastic benefits for people suffering from a wide range of conditions and perhaps limb loss. However reading about how the research is performed could lead to nightmares or at least the plots of a few sci-fi horror movies! "Attack of the Cyber-Robot-Rats" anyone?

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Shai Agassi in the Bay Area City

A while back I had a short reference to Shai Agassi and his Better Place company. His plan for electric cars has been compared to the cell phone model. Now, they seem to have gotten a foot hold on the US main land.

It might seem odd to make that huge investment in electric cars with gasoline dropping below $2 a gallon in some parts of the country. However once the economy turns around oil will jump back up to the $60 to $80 a barrel range, and gas prices will follow.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Thinking Machines

In a previous post I reference the idea of the technical singularity. Based on the news item below, it appears we might be one step closer to Sky-Net, Cylons, the Matrix, Machine Crusade of Dune, etc. etc.

Research Triangle Park, N.C. -- IBM, the computing giant with major operations in North Carolina, said that it will team with five universities to create computing systems capable of simulating and emulating the human brain. The IBM team -- which includes researchers from Stanford University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cornell University, Columbia University Medical Center and the University of California-Merced -- has been awarded $4.9 million in funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the first phase of the project, known as Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE). The goal is to create computers that can integrate information from a variety of sources, deal with ambiguity, learn over time and carry out pattern recognition to solve difficult problems. "We believe that our cognitive computing initiative will help shape the future of computing in a significant way, bringing to bear new technologies that we haven’t even begun to imagine," said Josephine Cheng, the vice president of IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose. IBM said that its long-term goal is to build low-power, compact computers that approach mammalian-scale intelligence.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Garbage Collection Logging Options for Java

It is very hard to find all of the options for garbage collection options for Java. One of the best pages I have found is this one at Sun. But even it isn't complete. So here are the basic options I have learned about listed all in one location.

First you probably want the GC logs to go to its own file instead of mixed in with other things going to standard out, using the -Xloggc: option. Then you can use the following options to define the details logged.

-Xloggc:<file> log GC status to a file
-XX:+PrintGC Print messages at garbage collection.
-XX:+PrintGCDetails Print more details at garbage collection. (Introduced in 1.4.0.)
-XX:+PrintGCTimeStamps Print timestamps at garbage collection. (Introduced in 1.4.0.)
-XX:+PrintGCApplicationConcurrentTime The amount of time the applications runs between collection pauses
-XX:+PrintGCApplicationStoppedTime Amount of time in collection pauses
-XX:+PrintHeapAtGC Print Heap at GC


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