The Noble Week - Chemistry 
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2008 has been awarded to Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie and Roger Y. Tsien, USA for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP.

The three men all contributed to the development of green fluorescent protein, which scientists today use widely to watch processes that were previously invisible, such as the development of nerve cells in the brain or how cancer cells spread.

Shimomura isolated the protein from a jellyfish already in 1962, and discovered its bright green glow when held under ultraviolet light. Chalfie attached the protein to material in cells in Caenorhabditis elegans, a roundworm used as a model in biological research, and made the cells glow. Tsien extended the colour palette beyond green allowing researchers to give various proteins and cells different colours. This enables scientists to follow several different biological processes at the same time.

GFP has also been used in other cases. A few years ago certain Asian fishes was genetically modified with green, red and yellow fluorescent protein and are now being sold commersially. Also pigs has been given GFP to become fluorescent and one of those pigs got a baby pig that was born fluorescent only 6 months ago.

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The Noble Week - Physics 
Today the Nobel Prize in Physics 2008 was awarded. The prize is shared by Yoichiro Nambu, USA for the discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in subatomic physics and Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa, Japan for the discovery of the origin of the broken symmetry which predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks in nature.

The works from the winners are related to a fundamental description of nature at the subatomic particle level through what is known as broken symmetries. In the early 1960s, Yoichiro Nambu developed a mathematical description of what is known as spontaneous broken symmetry related to subatomic particles. The breaking of symmetry scrambles the underlying order of nature. Nambu’s work was instrumental in some unscrambling, namely the later unification of three of the four basic forces—the weak force, strong force and electromagnetism.

Makato Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa discovered different broken symmetries in the early 1970s, which predicted the existence of three kinds of quarks, which were later discovered. Their kind of broken symmetry is at the heart of the Big Bang. Full symmetry would have snuffed the Big Bang, but a tiny deviation of an extra matter particle for every 10 billion matter-antimatter particle pairs is apparently what allowed the universe to come into existence.

One might wonder what this kind of research is good for. Well, many people was wondering the same in the early 19th century when physicists was investigating in electricity what that would be good for. So maybe in the future there will be something out of this that will affect everybody’s everyday life.

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The Noble Week - Medicine 
You might call this week the Noble week as most of 2008 Noble Prizes will be announced this week. It kicks off today with "The Nobel Prize in Medicine 2008" as it's called officially. The prize is shared by Harald zur Hausen , Germany for his discovery of human papilloma viruses causing cervical cancer and Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier , France for their discovery of human immunodeficiency virus, HIV.

So the 2008 prizes are awarded for discoveries of important viruses. The human papilloma viruses (HPV) is a family of several hundered viruses of which two, HPV 16 and HPV 18, zur Hausen proved causing cervical cancer. He argued against common belief in early 1980's and showed his proof in 1983. Thanks to his discovery vaccine has been developed and this is now given to young women to protect this form of cancer.

The human immunodeficiency virus is well-known by most of us as HIV and it causes AIDS. By identifying this virus the fight against AIDS could improve dramatically by developing preventive medicine to slow down the disease. Today an estimated 60 million people has been infected by HIV and 25 million people had died from AIDS. Without Barré-Sinoussi and Montagnier's discovery these figures would have been much higher.

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Top 10 Worst IT Disasters Of All Time 
Browsing the internet I stumbled across this article from ZD-Net Australia regarding the top 10 worst IT disasters of all time. Being a computer guy I found it rather amusing although some of them - like No. 1 - is rather scary. My favorite disasters are No. 4 and 5, so clumsy... Enjoy the somewhat lenghly reading.

1. Faulty Soviet early warning system nearly causes WWIII (1983)
The threat of computers purposefully starting World War III is still the stuff of science fiction, but accidental software glitches have brought us worryingly close in the past. Although there are numerous alleged events of this ilk, the secrecy around military systems makes it hard to sort the urban myths from the real incidents.

However, one example that is well recorded happened back in 1983, and was the direct result of a software bug in the Soviet early warning system. The Russians' system told them that the US had launched five ballistic missiles. However, the duty officer for the system, one Lt Col Stanislav Petrov, claims he had a "...funny feeling in my gut", and reasoned if the US was really attacking they would launch more than five missiles.

The trigger for the near apocalyptic disaster was traced to a fault in software that was supposed to filter out false missile detections caused by satellites picking up sunlight reflections off cloud-tops.

2. The AT&T network collapse (1990)
In 1990, 75 million phone calls across the US went unanswered after a single switch at one of AT&T's 114 switching centres suffered a minor mechanical problem, which shut down the centre. When the centre came back up soon afterwards, it sent a message to other centres, which in turn caused them to trip and shut down and reset.

The culprit turned out to be an error in a single line of code -- not hackers, as some claimed at the time -- that had been added during a highly complex software upgrade. American Airlines alone estimated this small error cost it 200,000 reservations.

3. The explosion of the Ariane 5 (1996)
In 1996, Europe's newest and unmanned satellite-launching rocket, the Ariane 5, was intentionally blown up just seconds after taking off on its maiden flight from Kourou, French Guiana. The European Space Agency estimated that total development of Ariane 5 cost more than US$8bn. On board Ariane 5 was a US$500m set of four scientific satellites created to study how the Earth's magnetic field interacts with Solar Winds.

According to a piece in the New York Times Magazine, the self-destruction was triggered by software trying to stuff "a 64-bit number into a 16-bit space".

"This shutdown occurred 36.7 seconds after launch, when the guidance system's own computer tried to convert one piece of data -- the sideways velocity of the rocket -- from a 64-bit format to a 16-bit format. The number was too big, and an overflow error resulted. When the guidance system shut down, it passed control to an identical, redundant unit, which was there to provide backup in case of just such a failure. But the second unit had failed in the identical manner a few milliseconds before. And why not? It was running the same software," the article stated.

4. Airbus A380 suffers from incompatible software issues (2006)
The Airbus issue of 2006 highlighted a problem many companies can have with software: what happens when one program doesn't talk to another. In this case, the problem was caused by two halves of the same program, the CATIA software that is used to design and assembly of one of the world's largest aircraft, the Airbus A380.

This was a major European undertaking and, according to Business Week, the problem arose with communications between two organisations in the group: the French Dassault Aviation and a Hamburg factory.

Put simply, the German system used an out-of-date version of CATIA and the French system used the latest version. So when Airbus was bringing together two halves of the aircraft, the different software meant that the wiring on one did not match the wiring in the other. The cables could not meet up without being changed.

The problem was eventually fixed, but only at a cost that nobody seems to want to put an absolute figure on. But all agreed it cost a lot, and put the project back a year or more.

5. Mars Climate Observer metric problem (1998)
Two spacecraft, the Mars Climate Orbiter and the Mars Polar Lander, were part of a space program that, in 1998, was supposed to study the Martian weather, climate, and water and carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. But a problem occurred when a navigation error caused the lander to fly too low in the atmosphere and it was destroyed.

What caused the error? A sub-contractor on the Nasa programme had used imperial units (as used in the US), rather than the Nasa-specified metric units (as used in Europe).

6. EDS and the Child Support Agency (2004)
Business services giant EDS waded in with this spectacular disaster, which assisted in the destruction of the Child Support Agency (CSA) and cost the taxpayer over a billion pounds.

EDS's CS2 computer system somehow managed to overpay 1.9 million people and underpay around 700,000, partly because the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decided to reform the CSA at the same time as bringing in CS2.

Edward Leigh, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, was outraged when the National Audit Office subsequently picked through the wreckage: "Ignoring ample warnings, the DWP, the CSA and IT contractor EDS introduced a large, complex IT system at the same time as restructuring the agency. The new system was brought in and, as night follows day, stumbled and now has enormous operational difficulties."

7. The two-digit year-2000 problem (1999/2000)
A lot of IT vendors and contractors did very well out of the billions spent to avoid what many feared would be the disaster related to the Millennium Bug. Rumours of astronomical contract rates and retainers abounded.

And the sound of clocks striking midnight in time zones around the world was followed by... not panic, not crashing computer systems, in fact nothing more than new year celebrations.

So why include it here? That the predictions of doom came to naught is irrelevant, as we're not talking about the disaster that was averted, but the original disastrous decision to use and keep using for longer than was either necessary or prudent double digits for the date field in computer programs. A report by the House of Commons Library pegged the cost of fixing the bug at 400 billion pounds. And that is why the Millennium Bug deserves a place in the top 10.

8. When the laptops exploded (2006)
It all began simply, but certainly not quietly, when a laptop manufactured by Dell burst into flames at a trade show in Japan. There had been rumours of laptops catching fire, but the difference here was that the Dell laptop managed to do it in the full glare of publicity and video captured it in full colour.

"We have captured the notebook and have begun investigating the event," a Dell spokesperson reported at the time, and investigate Dell did. At the end of these investigations the problem was traced to an issue with the battery/power supply on the individual laptop that had overheated and caught fire.

It was an expensive issue for Dell to sort out. As a result of its investigation Dell decided that it would be prudent to recall and replace 4.1 million laptop batteries.

Company chief executive Michael Dell eventually laid the blame for the faulty batteries with the manufacturer of the battery cells -- Sony. But that wasn't the end of it. Apple reported issues for iPods and Macbooks and many PC suppliers reported the same. Matsushita alone has had to recall around 54 million devices. Sony estimated at the time that the overall cost of supporting the recall programmes of Apple and Dell would amount to between 20bn yen and 30bn yen

9. Siemens and the passport system (1999)
It was the summer of 1999, and half a million British citizens were less than happy to discover that their new passports couldn't be issued on time because the Passport Agency had brought in a new Siemens computer system without sufficiently testing it and training staff first.

Hundreds of people missed their holidays and the Home Office had to pay millions in compensation, staff overtime and umbrellas for the poor people queuing in the rain for passports. But why such an unexpectedly huge demand for passports? The law had recently changed to demand, for the first time, that all children under 16 had to get one if they were travelling abroad.

Tory MP Anne Widdecombe summed it up well while berating the then home secretary, Jack Straw, over the fiasco: "Common sense should have told him that to change the law on child passports at the same time as introducing a new computer system into the agency was storing up trouble for the future."

10. LA Airport flights grounded (2007)
Some 17,000 planes were grounded at Los Angeles International Airport earlier this year because of a software problem. The problem that hit systems at United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) agency was a simple one caused in a piece of lowly, inexpensive equipment.

The device in question was a network card that, instead of shutting down as perhaps it should have done, persisted in sending the incorrect data out across the network. The data then cascaded out until it hit the entire network at the USCBP and brought it to a standstill. Nobody could be authorised to leave or enter the US through the airport for eight hours. Passengers were not impressed.

Source: ZD-Net Australia

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Champions League Matchday 2 
Some mixed results I might say. I transfered four players for this matchday and two fo those scored so that was good. Then on the other hand my captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic didn't produce anything special so I lost points there compared to the first day. 45 in total was a little bit less then expected and I hope to do better next time, especially among forwards.

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Laget i mitt hjärta 
Ända sedan Leksand slog Brynäs i SM-finalen 1978 har jag varit brynäsare, och för det mesta har det varit i dur och med stolthet. Men efter förra årets elitserie var det inte så konstigt att man hållit en låg profil hittills iår. Men nu törs jag nog hoppas lite i alla fall. Ledning i årets Elitserie efter 6 omgångar är inte fy skam.

Senast igår slogs MoDo tillbaka med 5-4 och det känns som om man åtminstone inte ska behöva hamna i kvalserien iår även om det ännu är långt kvar. Det blir att bekänna färg på lördag när Linköping kommer på besök i Läkerol Arena. Men jag är förhoppningsful obotlig optimist som jag är.

Nu är det bara IFK Norrköping som ska fixa sitt allsvenska kontrakt också så är allt frid och fröjd :)

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SM i Pong - 2008! 
Jag minns inte exakt när det var, kanske julen 1975 eller 1976, jag och min bror fick ett TV-spel som hette Pong i julklapp. En stor och bulkig låda med två rattar och en knapp i mitten. Man kopplande in den på antennuttaget på TVn och sedan dök de nu klassiska strecken och pricken upp. Vi hade en gammal svart-vit TV på vårt rum som vi fått några år tidigare när våra föräldrar köpt en sprillans färg-TV.

Det har nog aldrig varit så mycket folk i vårt rum som det var de flesta kvällarna de närmsta 3 månaderna eller så. Kanske 25 pers trängdes på våra 12 kvm och glodde på strecken och pricken på TVn. Dom om min förvåning när jag läser i DN om SM i Pong fastän det nu är 2008. Snacka om entusiaster...

Som om det inte räckte har ett företag som heter Sparkfun tagit fram ett fikabord för 4 Pong-spelare. 4096 LEDs, 64 RGB microcontrollers och fyra Atari joysticks och sedan är det bara att köra. Kolla in klippet från YouTube så vet du vad jag menar...

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Look! A Supercomputer That Fits Under Your Desk 
It's amazing to see how fast technology evolves. Supercomputers have always been gigantic. Cray has come up with a supercomputer that will fit underneath your desk. It's called the CX1. Soon, we will see houses and homes run by supercomputers, being able to do what PCs aren't yet able to do. With one centralized supercomputer, you will just need terminals all over your house, not a whole bunch of different computers.

The CX1 packs 16 Intel Xeon processors, either dual or quad-core, with 8 supercomputing nodes that can accommodate 64GB of memory per node. Internal storage tops out at 4TB. The top model is yours for a mere €58 000, but if you want a budget suggestion, this is what I would choose. And it's only €23 000...

Model CRAY CX1
Total Processors 2 CPUs
Total Memory 16 GB RAM
Total Storage 1800 GB

Configuration Detail:
System CXC108 Chassis
Redundant Power Supplies Single Phase Hot Swap Power Module (Kit of 2)
Form Factor Deskside Rolling Tray
Warranty CXC108 - 3 Years Onsite NBD - 9 x 5 Tel Support (NA)
CS5408 Storage Node CS5408 (DP - 8 x HS HDD)
Processor Xeon Quad-Core E5462 2.8GHz 12M 1600 MHz, 2 pieces
Memory 4GB FBDIMM DDR2 800MHz ECC/Reg., 4 pieces
Internal Fixed Hard Drive 200GB 7.2K RPM SATA 3Gbps 2.5"
Raid Controller RAID controller LSI SAS/SATA 8708EM2 8 ports, 3GB/s
Hot-Swap Hard Drives 200GB 7.2K RPM SATA 3Gbps 2.5", 8 pieces
Remote Management Remote Management Module
Operating System Microsoft Windows HPC Server 2008 (HPCS)
Operating System Support MSHPC2008 - 1 Year 9 x 5 Tel and Web support, unlimited incidents
Warranty CS5408 - 3 Years Onsite NBD - 9 x 5 Call Center Support (NA)
Power Cord CX1 Power Cord, 2 pieces
Keyboard and Mouse Cordless Keyboard and Mouse
Monitor Samsung 24 inches LCD Monitor Black 245T, 2 pieces
On-Site Installation Services MSHPC2008 - Onsite Install - Premium Services (per CX1 system)

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Sluta grogga - ut och jogga 
Innan jag flyttade utomlands höll jag mig igång i alla fall lite grann. Jag och min kompis Jörgen brukade springa några kilometer en gång i veckan och jag tyckte det var kul. Dessutom tyckte jag mig märka att man var piggare på vinterhalvåret och mindre förskyld. Bara fördelar alltså. Men när jag sedan flyttade till Tyskland blev jag dels av med min löparkompis, dels blev jag lite lat, och på den vägen är det.

Men nu hemma i Sverige igen tänkte jag åter ta upp springandet, om än ensam. Mina löparskor dök upp när kontainern kom förra månaden och igår påväg hem från jobbet kom jag plötsligt att tänkta på detta igen. Så jag sprang snabbt in på Stadium och köpte mig en overall, och halv 9 på kvällen bar det av ut. Det blev mycket gå och lite springa på de 6,5 km jag höll på och en timma tog det. Men det kändes bra i alla fall. Det finns nog hopp om livet trots allt, och om man kan fortsätta en gång i veckan nu framöver kanske man t o m slipper riskera en strok före 50 på samma gång.

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Computers For Him And Her 
For him: Space Cube - The Two Inch Square Computer
The two inch square Space Cube computer is a first in small form factor. It's smaller than a cup or an apple, yet packs a punch. This is what the future of computing will be, extremely small and portable computers that weigh barely more than a cup of coffee. The Space Cube comes with a 300 MHz processor, 16MB of flash memory, 64MB of SDRAM and a 1GB CompactFlash card loaded with Red Hat Linux. There is a single USB port on the outside, VGA, Ethernet port, RS232 port, a mic and speaker plugs. The Space Cube is powered by a 5V plug.

The most important port is the Space Wire port, a proprietary interface used by the space agencies, such as ESA, NASA and JAXA, for when the Space Cube actually goes into space. The Space Cube was built for the computing needs of orbital and space vehicles. The Space Cube will be available soon in Japan for about $2700. The initial estimate was around $325, but the Space Wire port makes the little thing a lot more expensive.

For her: HP Fashion Edition Notebook By Vivienne Tam
Most laptops look the same, especially with PC compatible ones. That's one of the reasons why any laptop that looks distinctive will be immensely popular. It's only recently that laptop manufacturers have started catering to people who enjoy style and function. HP has teamed up with world-renowned fashion designer Vivienne Tam to create a special edition notebook.

The HP Vivienne Tam Special Edition notebook represents the first time a computer company has partnered with a globally renowned designer to create a notebook PC that offers all the style and power needed for a delightful technology experience. Tam also worked with HP to design the notebook’s accessories and packaging. The top of the notebook is gleaming red and bursting with peony flowers. The peony design is meticulously carried inside the notebook, under the keypad. The notebook also features a complementary embroidered storage sleeve that helps keep the exterior protected while being carried as a clutch.

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