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:
The hardware: http://www.ncsa.illinois.edu/BlueWaters/system.html
The building: http://www.ncsa.illinois.edu/AboutUs/Facilities/npcf.html
Keep watching until the 2 minute mark, when she starts to convulse in something similar to an epileptic fit and the boss man has to call an ambulance. Funny how Jebus descending on someone looks eerily similar to either a fit or a Satanic possession….
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.
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?
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.)
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?”
“What’s Mickey Rourke hiding under that long god-awful hair he’s had for the last four films?”