May 26, 2015

Bitcoin mining on a 55 year old IBM 1401 mainframe: 80 seconds per hash

posted by Christy Wilding

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Could an IBM mainframe from the 1960s mine Bitcoin? The idea seemed crazy, so I decided to find out. I implemented the Bitcoin hash algorithm in assembly code for the IBM 1401 and tested it on a working vintage mainframe. It turns out that this computer could mine, but so slowly it would take more than the lifetime of the universe to successfully mine a block. While modern hardware can compute billions of hashes per second, the 1401 takes 80 seconds to compute a single hash. This illustrates the improvement of computer performance in the past decades, most famously described by Moore’s Law.

via Dangerous Prototypes

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May 26, 2015

The Air Force can use an electromagnetic pulse to kill enemy computers

posted by Christy Wilding

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One of the US Air Force’s most high-tech weapons is a tool that can’t hurt people — but it kills electronic devices.

The CHAMP (Counter-Electronics High-Powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project) is a computer-frying device that emits a strong blast of targeted microwave energy that can take down enemy data centers and infrastructure without blowing anyone up.

via Gizmodo

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May 26, 2015

NASA patched Curiosity rover's autofocus problem over the air

posted by Larra Morris

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Curiosity rover recently received a patch that improved the autofocus of its "ChemCam" telescope. Over the air. On Mars. Before the update, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory would take nine pictures of a subject (each at a different focus) to get one usable close-up image of any of the Red Planet's rocks and soils, and send them back home. Same goes for any sample analyses the laser was doing. The problem is that for those analyses to be anywhere remotely useful, the telescope projecting said laser needsto be in focus and the workaround in place wasn't very efficient.

The solution? Get the rover to keep taking nine images, but for it to self-analyze the photos and choose the one that has the best focus -- all with software totaling 40 kilobytes. That's right: The software used to spot water in Martian soil is lighter than the last Gmail update for your phone. The patch went live this week and Curiosity's already back in action.
via Engadget

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May 26, 2015

Bohemian Rhapsody on played on a 110 year old fairground organ

posted by Larra Morris

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This organ is 110 years old, but with new programming (on paper strips), it can play the relatively modern "Bohemian Rhapsody" in a uniquely majestic way.

The instrument is a Marenghi Organ with 81 keys and 350 pipes, from the collection of Bill Nunn. It was used in a dance hall in Antwerp, Belgium, for the first half of its life.
via Neatorama

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May 26, 2015

Canadian Catalin Duru breaks world record for furthest hoverboard flight

posted by Larra Morris

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A man from Canada has broken the world record for the furthest hoverboard flight.

Catalin Alexandru Duru's propeller-based prototype managed to travel a total distance of 275.9m (905ft 2in) along the edge of Lake Ouareau in Quebec.

The inventor claims the machine, which he built and designed over 12 months, can be used anywhere and can reach "scary heights" which he says he'd like to explore in the future.
via BBC News

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May 25, 2015

This light bulb costs less than $1 and fits in your wallet

posted by Christy Wilding

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With summer coming, chances are that you'll be spending a little more time outside at night than usual. Which means you'll need artificial sources of illumination.

I just came across one such glowing goodie that I needed to share with Crave readers.

It's called the "New LED Design Renovation Credit Card Size Ultra-slim Fold-up LED Pocket Wallet/Purse Lamp/Light," which is truly an unfortunate name for something so cool. I think "Pocket Bulb" or something like that would have done much better.

via C Net

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May 25, 2015

Bus powered by cow poop beats speed record

posted by Christy Wilding

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The land speed record for a regular bus has been shat on. "Bus Hound," powered by biomethane derived from cow manure, clocked 76.785mph in speed trials in England.

Operated by Reading Buses, the vehicle was painted black and white in honor of the Frisian cows whose excrement powers its mighty engines. It was designed to advance the "power and credibility of buses fuelled by cow poo," reports the BBC.

via Boing Boing

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