Testing for Hawking Radiation

Now here is an interesting experimental result.  A team at the Israel Institute of Technology claims to have created a sonic “black hole”.  “One of the many curious properties of Bose Einstein Condensates (BECs) is that the flow of sound through them is governed by the same equations that describe how light is bent by a gravitational field.  […] –in theory, physicists can reproduce with sound and BECs, [whatever]
gravity has with light.” 

In fact, this lab claims to have created an event horizon that is the acoustic equivalent to the light event horizon of a black hole.  Having an event horizon in the lab can lead to tests of quantum gravity by analogy.  For example, it may in time provide the first experimental confirmation of some of Stephen Hawking’s work.

Technology Review: Blogs: arXiv blog: Acoustic black hole created in Bose Einstein Condensate

One reason why sonic black holes are so highly prized is that they ought to produce Hawking radiation. Quantum mechanics predicts that pairs of “virtual” phonons with equal and opposite momentum ought to be constantly springing in and out of existence in BECs.

If one of this pair were to cross the event horizon, it would be sucked into the black hole, never to escape. The other, however, would be free to go on its way. This stream of escapees would be the famous, but as yet unobserved, Hawking radiation.

Published in: on June 30, 2009 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

More fields supported in Gmail Contacts

Should make it easier to import the information from your Outlook or Apple Address book over at GMail.   No word on how this affects the sync options in Apple’s iSync.

Official Gmail Blog: New fields for Gmail contacts and better importing too

Up until now, Gmail only supported some contact fields. Whenever someone imported their contacts from apps like Outlook and OS X Address Book, we used to put fields Gmail didn’t recognize into the contact’s notes section. Based on feedback from you, we added support for more contact fields (like birthday and website) and now store each of these fields separately, which makes syncing and round-tripping your data work better.

Published in: on June 18, 2009 at 8:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Oracle Punts the Rock

Just a New York Times rumor at present, but is highly reminiscent of the fate of the technically savvy Alpha chip, which was terminated when HP acquired Compaq.

Sun Is Said to Cancel Big Chip Project – Bits Blog – NYTimes.com

But the two people familiar with Sun’s plans say Rock has met with an unceremonious end. The people requested anonymity, as they are not authorized to speak with the press about Sun’s plans.

Michelle Parkinson, a Sun spokeswoman, said the company had no comment.

Published in: on June 16, 2009 at 8:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

No ZFS in Snow Leopard?

Many reports and analysis seem to be suggesting that losing ZFS helped to shrink Snow Leopard’s footprint (by 6GB).  There are also musings that the merger *cough* of Sun and Oracle may have  – in some subtle way – reset the (shaky) terms of Apple’s project to port the file system.

Snow Leopard kisses ZFS bye-bye • The Register

We might suppose that ZFS is useful in instances of very large server storage configurations and most Mac servers aren’t massive in storage terms, running quite satisfactorily on RAIDed drive arrays.

Mac desktops and notebooks don’t need it at all, using generally one or two directly attached drives inside or outside the enclosure. Ergo Apple can dump ZFS as not being essential.

Published in: on June 10, 2009 at 3:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Google Syncs with Outlook

And so by extension, this ought to be a great way to keep your Mac Address Book synced with your Outlook.

Google Takes Another Swipe At Microsoft. Enterprise Apps Now Sync With Outlook.

Google’s small but growing enterprise app business is now going for Microsoft’s jugular. At a press conference today (see Mike’s real-time notes), Google announced a new plug-in that will sync Google’s enterprise versions of Gmail, contacts, and calendar with Microsoft’s Outlook. In the enterprise, Outlook is still king and not everyone is ready to switch just yet to browser-based email, calendars and contact management.

Published in: on June 9, 2009 at 9:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Newspaper Suicide Pact

A well researched article outlining how newspapers have chosen death by self-inflicted paywalls.

The snippet is of an exchange between the author of the article and the former editor of TIME.  Recall that newspaper conglomerates had been returning profits of 20% or so. 

Xark!: The newspaper suicide pact

In contending that the paid-content movement was not so much about revenue per se, Isaacson used this alternate rationalization: Paid content models are necessary “to protect creativity.”

That’s a pretty stunning statement, even in the favorable context of trying to save an industry in which people are compensated by middlemen for their published work. And so when I got my turn at the mic, I rose and asked him: What profit margins will these paid-content models have to generate in order to protect creativity?

Isaacson never responded to that question, unless you call staring at me with a horrified expression a response.

via /message

Published in: on June 8, 2009 at 6:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Forrester to CIOs: Game over.

A brief and obvious analysis about Enterprise IT.  But have a look anyway.  These guys all meet in Berlin, on the company dime, to hear a Forrester talking head gently break the bad news about them being dinosaurs.   

Forrester: CIOs must embrace consumer IT | 5 Jun 2009 | ComputerWeekly.com

Consumer devices are better designed, and so-called “millennial” employees expect technology and services in the workplace to be as easy to use as the technology they buy for the home.

Published in: on June 5, 2009 at 2:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Java Servlets 3.0 final draft proposal

No more web.xml?  Now how could that be controversial? 

InfoQ: Java Servlet 3.0 Specification Reaches Proposed Final Draft

A major goal of the Servlet 3.0 specification is to allow the deployment of servlets, filters and listeners without needing to resort to manual editing of an application’s web.xml file.

At the Early Draft Review stage these features proved controversial,

Published in: on June 5, 2009 at 2:34 pm  Leave a Comment