holy_calamity writes “Slashdot noted in September that Google had bought 1023 patents from IBM. Now IP analytics firms IPVision says they’re a ‘mixed bag’ of mostly unrelated patents that won’t be much use in defending against competitors such as Microsoft or Apple. Patents are most useful when they are tightly linked into clusters by references, such that they cover every angle on an idea, something Google’s new collection lacks.”
mikejuk writes “The latest version of FlightGear, 2.4, has just been released — and it has some significant improvements. Now it simulates weather so that you can ride the up draft from a range of hills and seek out thermals — but watch out for the simulated fog! For the future the implementation of an HLA interface means that you can build clusters of interacting simulators and perhaps even work with commercial flight simulators.” The FlightGear website has gotten a long-deserved upgrade, too.
theodp writes “Over at TechCrunch, Jon Bischke is troubled by the growing divide between Silicon Valley and unemployed America. While people who spend most of their days within a few blocks of tech start-up epicenters are enjoying a boom/bubble, the number of unemployed now eclipses 14 million nationwide, labor under-utilization is 16.2%, and the mean duration of unemployment has spiked to 40 weeks. ‘Which bring us to an important question,’ writes Bischke. ‘Should Silicon Valley (and other tech clusters throughout the country) care? After all, as long as people in Nebraska or the Central Valley of California have enough money to buy virtual tractors to tend their crops in Farmville, should the tech community be worried about whether those same people are getting paid to do work in the real world? Is what’s best for Silicon Valley also good for America?’”
Researchers sifted through a whole lot of AT&T mobile phone data to find out who’s talking to who—or, really, where’s talking to where. The Connected States of America, as the project is called, has produced some amazing maps showing clusters of communication, from the surprising—neighboring states like Oklahoma and Arkansas pair off, chatting mostly with each other—to the expected: the flood of continent-spanning calls between New York and San Francisco.
eldavojohn writes “Some soon-to-be-published research on gyrochronology has yielded a possible method for more accurately determining a star’s age. While determining the age of stars in clusters has been done using the patterns of its color and brightness, singular stars are much more difficult. By comparing established age information from clusters and analyzing the spin of stars, the researchers have established a defined relationship between color (mass), spin and age giving them the beginning of a guide of “stellar clocks.” This was accomplished after four painstaking years of collecting data from 71 single dwarf members of the open cluster NGC6811 and establishing a model using data from Kepler.”
tlhIngan writes “The US Air Force, having purchased PS3s for supercomputing research, is now the latest victim of Sony’s removal of the Install Other OS feature. It turns out that while their PS3s don’t need the firmware update, it will be impossible to replace PS3s that fail. PS3s with the OtherOS feature are no longer produced since the Slim was introduced, so replacements will have to come from the existing stock of used PS3s. However, as most gamers have probably updated their PS3s, that used stock is no longer suitable for the USAF’s research. In addition, smaller educational clusters using PS3s will share the same fate — unable to replace machines that die in their clusters.”
In related news, Sony has been hit with two more lawsuits over this issue.