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Adi Oltean's Weblog - Flashbacks on technology, programming, and other interesting things

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  • Blog Post: Carbonite: discovered (or something like it)

    When I was in 7-8 grade I saw (as anyone else) the StarWars episodes. After this experience, I still had lots of unanswered questions. For example, what is carbonite - the black material they used to pack Han Solo in Episode 5? Hmmm... I had that question stuck in my head for a while. Maybe I don...
  • Blog Post: Poincare's conjecture proof completed?

    A few years ago, I was surprised to see an announcement in Mathworld stating (again) that the Poincare conjecture has been proved. "This time for real" they said. Being skeptical, I waited for more independent confirmation of this result... which never came. The author of the proof was a respected...
  • Blog Post: Wikipedia is getting pretty good lately

    Maybe I am biased, but I am pleasantly surprised by Wikipedia recently. There is a lot of material coming, at least on the subjects that interest me (I don't know, reading about coffee, tea, scientology, estimation theory, neural networks, anything). An interesting side effect is that I don't buy books...
  • Blog Post: First artificial black hole created?

    As an unexpected side effect of an experiment, Horatiu Nastase (of Brown University of Providence, Rhode Island), found something which looks like a black hole: When the gold nuclei smash into each other they are broken down into particles called quarks and gluons. These form a ball of plasma...
  • Blog Post: More news on holographic storage

    Forget the Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD battle. Think H-ROM. At CES, InPhase gave more hints on this technology in collaboration with Hitachi Maxell Ltd: InPhase will be the first company to deliver a holographic product for professional archive applications in late 2006. The media for this product will...
  • Blog Post: Bloom filters and everything else

    If, by some strange and unexplained phenomenon, all blogs on blogs.msdn.com will dissapear, except one, then my preference would be for http://blogs.msdn.com/devdev/ Very interesting stuff. I am already waiting for the next post... :-)
  • Blog Post: Short gamma-ray burst mystery is solved

    Gamma ray bursts (GRBs) are probably the most violent events that happen today in universe. In a few seconds or less, a gamma-ray burst releases an enormous quantity of energy (10 44 - 10 46 J), which is comparable to burning up the entire mass-energy of the sun in a few tens of seconds, or comparable...
  • Blog Post: Thoughts on chirality

    In a recent post that I've missed until now, Eric Lippert describes a simple mental experiment: why a mirror reverses left and right, but not top and bottom. This weird property (called chirality ) has a fascinating history, and deep implications everywhere: in physics, biology, chemistry, etc. (Chirality...
  • Blog Post: Hanford Site: now open for public tours

    I am not sure how I became fascinated about nuclear engineering in the last months. But, anyway, in the Washington state we have a unique nuclear reservation - the Hanford area, where the first nuclear reactors were put in operation more than fifty years ago. This is the place where Edward Teller and...
  • Blog Post: Nuclear fusion to be probed in France?

    ITER is one the largest physics experiments ever attempted. In short, it should be the first research fusion reactor that actually will succeed to produce power. ITER attempts to operate in the 500 MW (thermal) range, which is around the output of a small nuclear reactor. If you look at the design...
  • Blog Post: Innovative database technology coming from... High Energy physics

    How would you design a database if you have to store gigabytes of new data every second ? A particle accellerator generates a huge amount of data, that needs to be stored in real-time on very large storage systems. Usually, the offline analysis phase happens weeks later. But in these days, the quantity...
  • Blog Post: How does a four-dimensional world look like?

    Eric Lippert is running an eye-catcher series on High Dimensional spaces (see here part one and two ). Which got me thinking. The classical laws of Optics work can be easily generqalized to N spatial dimensions. You could easily imagine things like refraction point of a material, lenses, sources of light...
  • Blog Post: Humor: Tom Lehrer in The elements

    It's a classic... http://www.privatehand.com/flash/elements.html You might already know it, especially if you love (or hate) chemistry. If not, enjoy!
  • Blog Post: Remembering Chernobyl

    It was exactly 19 years ago. Soviet Union was trying, at least in theory, to reach the perfect communist society. Since May 1 (Labor day in USSR) was close, the staff at Chernobyl nuclear plant was rushing to complete one more final test that would serve as a proof that their power plant would survive...
  • Blog Post: Puzzle: do you know chemistry?

    Here is a very nice puzzle - But unfortunately you have to ressurect a little chemistry knowledge to fully appreciate it... You have two identical test tubes. Both tubes look identical - they both contain colourless, odoreless, aqueous solutions. But someone told you that one of them contains a solution...
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