Blue Waters To Go Online by 2011

Iowa State University will take delivery is a partner with NCSA & IBM* in the development of Blue Waters – the world’s first supercomputer to be able to sustain 1 petaflop – in 2011. (source: FoxNews). IBM says Blue Waters will have a peak performance of 10 petaflops. (source: Wikipedia)

Blue Waters, an implementation of PERCS technology, is planned to be composed of:
– more than 25,000 eight-core POWER7 CPUs with 32MB on-die L3 cache running at 4.0 GHz (200,000 cores)
– more than 1 petabyte of main memory
– more than 10 petabytes of disk storage
– half an exabyte of archival storage
– up to 400 Gbit/s external (Internet) connectivity

Why is this important?

Well, according to Ray Kurzweil (listen to 2005 my interview with him here), the human brain probably has a computational level of 20 petaflops. (source: The Enlightened Blog)

And we all know that Moore’s Law says that theoretical computing speeds double every 2 years. That means we should have a supercomputer doing 20 petaflops by 2013.

Take THAT, stupid Mayans.

* The first draft of this post said Iowa State was “taking deliver” of Blue Waters. My thanks to Trish Barker from National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) for sending me an email pointing out that “while Iowa State is a partner on the project and scientists from Iowa State will use the supercomputer to do big science, the supercomputer will be here at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign”.

She also gave me these additional links:

Overview: http://www.ncsa.illinois.edu/BlueWaters/
The hardware: http://www.ncsa.illinois.edu/BlueWaters/system.html
The building: http://www.ncsa.illinois.edu/AboutUs/Facilities/npcf.html

My IRON MAN 2 Review

If you became, not only a superhero, but a world famous superhero whose identity was public knowledge….

And if your superpowers came not from a burst of interstellar radiation or gamma rays or a spider bite or anything else you had nothing to do with, but instead came out of your own genius and willpower….

Would you become a complete dickhead?

If you’re Tony Stark the answer is – YES.

That’s basically what IRON MAN 2 is about. The guy is, without a doubt, a dickhead.

We’ve already seen this in the last (please, Darwin, make it the last) SPIDEY film, with Peter going all jerko with the help of the symbiote – but in IRON MAN 2, Stark doesn’t need any help. He’s just an egomaniac dickhead.

AWESOME.

Cuz I’m pretty sure I’d be a complete dickhead if I had a suit like that, too.

Okay, let’s cut to the chase. What did I like, what didn’t I like?

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!

LIKES:

The film is less about fight sequences and CGI effect (thank Darwin, ZERO 3D), and more about characters. Favreau made a smart decision casting RDJ. He sells it 100%.

Robert Downey Jr – I’ve always been a huge fan and IRON MAN 2 is the perfect film for him. We all know RDJ has a history of substance abuse. Well now Tony Stark has serious problems, too. (By the way, I reminisced during the film about those long-gone days when Downey’s addictions got the better of him and his AIR AMERICA co-star, Mel Gibson, was the SANE one who swept him into rehab….).

Sam Rockwell – perfect casting as one of Stark enemies, HAMMER. He invents a range of killer androids called…. wait for it… the HAMMEROIDS (and he’s a real pain in the ass).

Jon Favreau – again the director plays Stark’s driver Happy Hogan, but fortunately this time he gives himself more action and screen time and he’s awesome.

Mickey Fucking Rourke – just cuz he’s Mickey Fucking Rourke. Nuff said. Sean Penn STOLE his Oscar.

Garry Shandling – cuz he’s Garry Fucking Shandling.

The Suitcase Armour – yeah you know why. It makes ZERO sense, but it’s just awesome.

Cap’s unfinished shield that Stark somehow gets hold of and uses as a prop.

Sam Jackson’s additional screen time.

AC/DC playing the intro AND the outro music. Yeah baby.

Sam Rockwell’s little James Brown dance.

Iron Man gets his triangle arc reactor.

John Slattery (aka MAD MEN’s Roger Sterling) as Howard Stark. Nice casting.

The teaser scene nearly nobody stayed around for after the final credits. It’s AWESOME (even though most of the people in the cinema who DID stay around for it with me were going “whaa?”, like they had NO IDEA what they were looking at. Pity the fools.)

DISLIKES:

Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard as Rhodey – why??

Rhodey just jumps into the Mark 2 suit and knows how to fly it and work the weapons? WTF? And how the hell does he power it? Does he have a hidden arc reactor in HIS chest cavity??

The whole “Tony Stark Has Holographic Computer Screens About 100 Years Beyond STNG”. Why??? It isn’t necessary and just breaks my suspension of disbelief.

Scarlett Johansson – meh

Larry Ellison’s cameo. Okay, I laughed, cuz we all know Downey’s portrayal of Stark has to be based on Larry (dickhead), and if it had just been a cameo I would have let it go, but all of the blatant Oracle branding in the film was awful. Audi I can live with. But Oracle??? Yuk.

Paul Bettany’s voice replacing Jude Law’s as Jarvis. Threw me. Thanks to Valeria in the comments for smacking me upside the head on this one. I could have *sworn* Jude Law did the original voice. WTF?

More tech-related stuff like how quickly Stark, Natasha and Ivan can hack into the most secure systems in the world in 3 seconds. Again, why do bullshit like that when it isn’t necessary?!? You know a lot of your audience are going to be geeks and that kind of shit just pisses me off. The screenwriters couldn’t think up something believable? Was that too hard?

Tony invents a new element… in three days. WTF? Please shoot me.

Well… the film isn’t perfect, but it was still a fun couple of hours and I’m looking fowards to taking my kids and Chrissy on the weekend for another look.

The best thing about it is the exploration of themes such as

“Would having these powers make you into a dickhead?”

and

“What’s Mickey Rourke hiding under that long god-awful hair he’s had for the last four films?”

No Illusions Podcast 09 – Black Holes & Cannibals

Late last week, Chrissy and I sat down with Hugo Sharp for a cigar and a chat about the latest news in politics, religion, science and philosophy…. oh and cannibalism.

Here’s the list of stories we chatted about:

Maxim Golovatskikh and Yury Mozhnov ‘killed Karina Barduchian and ate her’

Every Black Hole Contains Another Universe?

Iraq Body Count

Bolivian President Blames Capitalism for Global Warming

Was Mexico Earthquake “Payback”?

On March 23, 2010, this site predicted that China and Russia would use a “HAARP-like instrument” to create earthquakes on the US West Coast.

On 28 March, 2010, a 7.2 earthquake hit Baja California.

Coincidence?

And in today’s news, there are concerns that these strange images appearing on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s site are evidence of HAARP being used to create violent weather in Australia. Believe it or not.

News Corp’s Facebook Scare Campaign

This morning I ran a quick experiment. I searched through News.com.au’s site for stories that mention Facebook in the title to see what percentage of those stories had a negative slant. My theory is that large media companies such as News are scared about the amount of traffic Facebook is getting, as it’s decreasing their own readership thereby affecting the revenue they can generate from advertising. So they are running Facebook scare campaigns.

News Corp, of course, has even more reason that other media companies to be hatin’ on the Facebook, because they own MySpace, Facebook’s biggest competitor.

So – on with the results.

NEGATIVE STORIES

Facebook pedophiles stalk TV star, 11

Police probe students’ Facebook hate group

Spook’s wife in strife over Facebook post

Pupil’s Facebook slur against teacher

Facebook affair behind murder, suicide

Teacher dies after nude Facebook photos

Facebook used to organise Auburn racial riot – police

Nicole Kidman bullied on Facebook

Teenager fired from job via Facebook

Fake police Facebook page fools users

Premier Bligh writes to Facebook boss

Facebook removes kill-a-prostitute page

Teen’s death posted on Facebook first

Parents use Facebook to trap paedophile

Facebook deal forces computer clean-up

Rail bash teen’s mates turn to Facebook

Smiling in a bikini on Facebook costs Canadian woman her insurance

POSITIVE STORIES

Facebook extended to iPhone, iPod Touch

Pure Digital Sensia radio goes on Facebook, Twitter

Orangutan photographer a Facebook hit

Thief nabbed by Facebook detectives

So… out of twenty-one stories, there are FOUR positive stories (19%) and SEVENTEEN negative stories (81%).

The question is – does this show a bias in coverage?

Discuss.

Subprime Mortgages Are Being Pumped Again!!

The very financial product that triggered the GFC – subprime mortgages, aka banks making home loans to people who can’t afford them – is apparently the hot new thing on Wall Street – again.

“Subprime-mortgage securities are rising at an accelerating pace as the U.S. begins to encourage reductions to homeowners’ balances, which may lead to fewer foreclosures and a quicker end to the housing slump….Senior-ranked bonds tied to borrowers with poor credit will mostly benefit after the Treasury Department said for the first time it would seek to cut the size of mortgages, reducing the likelihood that loan modifications will fail, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Barclays Plc. (Bloomberg)

According to the Smirking Chimp:

This is how it works: The new program offers incentives to banks and other deep-pocketed investors (in mortgage-backed securities) to slash the principal on underwater mortgages which keeps people from strategic default or foreclosure. Sounds good, right? But here’s the catch: When the mortgage is refinanced, it’s converted into a FHA-backed loan which provides an explicit gov-guarantee. So, for a slight loss on the face-value of the MBS, the investors (ie–investment banks, hedgies, etc) are able to resuscitate their moribund securitizations (MBS) and reap hefty gains. It’s like taking Fido’s steaming pile on the front lawn and turning it into the Hope Diamond. Abracadabra!

Geithner has figured out how to put together a bailout that will cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars without any money actually exchanging hands. The value of the putrid mortgage-paper will soar because of the gov-underwriting, and the ginormous losses won’t be realized until the mortgages start blowing up sometime in the future. That’s when FHA will be put-to-pasture along with fellow-homicide victims, Fannie and Freddie. Pretty clever, eh?

So, the cutthroat speculators and bunko artists who fleeced us all with their dogshit subprimes, have returned for another dip at the public trough. That means taxpayers will get scalped on the same investments a second time. Hey, it’s a double-whammy!

I’m currently reading “The Creature From Jekyll Island” and “Whoops!“, two books about how the U.S. Federal Reserve, Congress, The White House and Wall Street have been working together for nearly a century (The Fed was created in 1910) to fleece the American public. The thing most people don’t understand is that The System is designed to encourage stupid risks which deliver massive profits to a small group of bankers for a decade, then collapse, only to be bailed out by the American public. It’s been going on for a century and isn’t about to stop anytime soon, because Congress and The White House are all on the payroll.