A look at ITAR and the US Space Industry

See the full report here

Space Foundation Publishes “ITAR and the U.S. Space Industry” White Paper | SpaceRef – Your Space Reference

Findings of the report include the impact of ITAR compliance on companies of different sizes, the implications for the U.S. space economy, and the effect on space technology innovation here and abroad. The report proposes steps to modernize ITAR, enabling the regulations to accomplish their original purpose of protecting important security technologies while allowing more U.S. space companies to compete successfully in the global economy.

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Published in: on September 30, 2008 at 9:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

A couple of cosmological results

Not necessarily unrelated….

Do We Live in a Giant Cosmic Bubble? | LiveScience

Earth may be trapped in an abnormal bubble of space-time that is particularly void of matter. Scientists say this condition could account for the apparent acceleration of the universe’s expansion, for which dark energy currently is the leading explanation.

Weird News: Astronomers detect cosmic ‘dark flow’ across billions of light years

Using the cluster catalog and WMAP’s three-year view of the microwave background, the astronomers detected bulk cluster motions of nearly 2 million miles per hour. The clusters are heading toward a 20-degree patch of sky between the constellations of Centaurus and Vela.

What’s more, this motion is constant out to at least a billion light-years. “Because the dark flow already extends so far, it likely extends across the visible universe,” Kashlinsky says.

The finding flies in the face of predictions from standard cosmological models, which describe such motions as decreasing at ever greater distances.

Published in: on September 30, 2008 at 5:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

The HPC Market

Summary graphs of the status of the HPC market over the past 5 years from IDC.

Supercomputing now dominated by X86 architecture – The INQUIRER

This market, worth a total of US$ ten billion and with a ten per cent growth rate, is worth keeping track of, especially since the power of these machines today will reflect what our personal computers could be doing a decade from now.

Published in: on September 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Transcription via the Turk

We’ve mentioned the Mechanical Turk before.  But since the Scotsman was just being appalled today that there were no free and open source Speech to Text software packages (but see this for one option that takes some babysitting) it was a surprise to see this turn up in a feed by coincidence.

While $15 is still way above my price limit of free, its a great how-to on using the Turk for a concrete, useful task at a significant savings.

Cheap, Easy Audio Transcription with Mechanical Turk – Waxy.org

The result: my 36-minute recording was transcribed while I slept, in less than three hours, for a grand total of $15.40.

Published in: on September 23, 2008 at 7:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Compare and Contrast: Enterprise Architecture Methodologies

Zachman, Open Group, Federal, and Gartner EA reviewed by Roger Sessions.

A Comparison of the Top Four Enterprise-Architecture Methodologies

Twenty years ago, a new field was born that soon came to be known as enterprise architecture. This paper covers a broad introduction to the field of enterprise architecture. Although the history of the field goes back 20 years, the field is still evolving—and rapidly so. (36 printed pages)

Published in: on September 23, 2008 at 6:52 pm  Comments (19)  

Apple’s patch process and the enterprise

Here you go.   IT departments have realized that they cannot apply their Microsoft system administration formula to Macs.

Microsoft releases its patches on patch Tuesday.  By the following week, a cracker jack IT department will have tried it out on each of the PCs they support from the past 3 model years and their 3 major PC vendors to make sure the patch does not cripple any group of users.  They then meticulously build system images of the upgraded OS on each platform and roll it out in the dead of the night, rebooting their users machines while they sleep, and brace for the impact the following day.  In the mean time, the users continue to be exposed to the threat the patch addresses.

In contrast, Apple releases a patch for its systems after testing it on its own hardware.  So like if you installed OS X on a EeePC, the patch is going to mess you up.  On the other hand if you’re running a genuine Mac (like an Enterprise would), you (the user) punch update and it pretty much works.  No IT department intervention needed.  The security patch protects you right now; no waiting for Tuesday.

Now there are exceptions to both scenarios, to be sure.  But I know which one sounds messiest.  Its the one that keeps the IT staff busily employed.

Apple’s patch process a mess, say researchers

“You get an update from Apple and it’s always a surprise,” Storms said. “The first thing you do is sit down with your team, look at the update, set priorities and assign resources. And then the next day, another update arrives, and you have to do it all over again.

Published in: on September 22, 2008 at 9:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cloud computing put to the test.

Another Flying Fickle Finger of Fate is needed, as the cloud continues to self-correct shoddy behavior. 

TG Daily – Proxy server trail leads FBI to Palin email hacker

Ramuglia told Goodin that he hasn’t a chance yet to examine his logs, but added that there is a good chance that it will lead to the hacker. Since the interview, he’s received a call from the Anchorage Alaska FBI field office and agents there are highly suggesting that he not lose the logs.

But it gets even better. White hat hackers didn’t even need proxy information to find the culprit because they discovered that the Rubico forum handle was linked to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it A few searches on Google and YouTube further links this email address to 20-year-old David Kernell, a student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. His father is Democratic Tennessee state representative Mike Kernell.

As you can expect, the Yahoo account has been frozen and all the incriminating forum posts on 4chan.org have been deleted. But this didn’t stop Wired.com from printing some of the posts. Don’t you just love it when hackers brag about the “leet” skills?

Published in: on September 22, 2008 at 4:01 pm  Comments (1)  

Sun’s four way Sparc T2 machine

256 Threads in a 4U box. 

Sun faces up to the 64 thread question with T2+ • The Register

According to Fowler, the four-socket variant of the “Victoria Falls” Sparc T2+ processor is “imminent to ship”. This processor first appeared in two-socket “Niagara” class servers, code-named Maramba, back in early April.

To make the Sparc T2+ chip, Sun took a Sparc T2 chip and took out two on-chip memory controllers and the integrated “Neptune” 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports. It replaced them with symmetric multiprocessing links that use some of the memory lanes on the processor to lash the two caches in the chips together into a two-way processor complex. Each Sparc T2 and T2+ chip has eight Sparc cores, with eight threads each, for a total of 64 threads.

Cores run at 1.2 GHz or 1.4 GHz. With the four-socket Victoria Falls machine, Sun will be able to put 256 threads in a 4U box purportedly code-named “Botaka”. The four processors in this impending server do not link together gluelessly (as they did in the two-socket box using T2 chips), but rather are connected through a crossbar switch named “Zambezi”.

And once you have a crossbar switch, of course, there is no reason to stop at four sockets – and perhaps Sun won’t. Fowler is not saying, and sources at Sun speaking earlier this year said larger T2+ boxes were not on the way.

Published in: on September 22, 2008 at 3:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Twitter the Stars

Have your personal message launched with the Kepler Mission to locate Earth-like planets.

SPACE.com — How Rare Is the Earth?

What do you think about the search for extrasolar planets? NASA’s Kepler Mission team would like to know, and so would the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. On the Kepler Mission “Names in Space” web page, you are invited to submit a short statement (up to 500 words) about the Kepler Mission and its search for other Earths. We’d like to hear your opinion about the significance of this project and its search. You are also invited to submit your name, city, state and country. Once registered, you will be able to download a Kepler Mission certificate of participation from the website. (No SPAM: Email addresses are NOT collected.

The names and statements of all participants will be burned onto a DVD, and launched into space on board the Kepler spacecraft next spring. The information will also be provided to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum as a historical document of public opinion about the mission and space exploration.

There’s a deadline to get on board: November 1, 2008.

Published in: on September 18, 2008 at 7:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Asteroid and Enterprise 1.0

There is an article with an interesting point of view over at FastForward. Namely, the ongoing financial melt down is taking its toll primarily (at least for now) on the archetypes of Enterprise 1.0 – dinosaurs in a meteor strike – to use the metaphor of the article. 

The author asserts that in the ecological vacuum left behind, the nimble Enterprise 2.0 early adopters will catch the same break that mammals did 65 million years ago.

While poetic, I don’t know if that assertion can be supported with rational arguments.  But I do know that I get to link to this way-cool image:

The FASTForward Blog » Enterprise 2.0 – Now a necessity in a low/no capital world – The Death of the Dinos: Enterprise 2.0 Blog: News, Coverage, and Commentary

A deep undercurrent of this blog has been how difficult it is for a conventional organization to adopt a 2.0 world. The entrenched habits of control, centralization and top down could not be shifted. No amount of appeals, about the power of a 2.0 world, more speed, better infomation, better conection inside and outside the enterprise, landed with the change.

       …

So until last week, it was still possible for organizations to chug along with a 1.0 perspective. For its key environmental factor, cheap and easy credit and access to capital was still in place.

Published in: on September 18, 2008 at 6:45 pm  Leave a Comment