November 9th, 2007

Trajedy... for YOUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!

"Near-panic atmosphere as US Federal Reserve chairman testifies before Congress"

On Thursday, one day after American stock markets plummeted in the face of mounting bank losses, soaring oil prices and record lows for the US dollar, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke gave a gloomy economic forecast in testimony before Congress’ Joint Economic Committee.

Bernanke admitted that the US housing slump and the credit crisis resulting from soaring defaults of subprime mortages had worsened since credit markets froze last August, and predicted that US economic growth would fall sharply in the fourth quarter of 2007 and the beginning of 2008.

He said the housing crisis would worsen in the coming months, as millions of homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages faced sharply higher interest payments when new rates kicked in, and hinted that the crisis on Wall Street could spiral into a full-blown recession.

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Index fell 360.92 points, wiping out all the gains since the Fed’s half-point interest rate cut on September 18. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped by 44.65, while the Nasdaq Composite Index shed 76.42 points. The rout on Wall Street was precipitated by a series of developments underscoring the depths of the financial crisis.

Gee, I wonder what that cancer eating away at the heart of America could be? I WONDER. And I wonder WHAT CAUSED IT?

I just can't figure these things out for myself. So I better turn on Rush^H^H^H^H FOX News, and uncritically believe everything... it's so much easier than thinking for myself!

Go ahead, fanboy... telnet to my potato.

This is an actual potato-powered Web server, currently online here. After the great SpudServer joke, I thought it would be interesting to see what an actual server capable of running on potatoes would look like. This server is very, very slow (around 0.2 hits/second), so you may have trouble connecting.

The CPU is a Microchip PIC16F876 running with a 76.8 KHz clock and a nominal 1.5V supply voltage (somewhat outside the manufacturer's specifications). At this speed and voltage, it draws 20 microWatts (0.00002 Watts), or roughly 100,000th to 1 millionth the power of any Intel 386 board I know of. It connects via SLIP at 4800 baud.

Every 5 minutes or so, a PC measures the voltage, current, and power output of the potato battery and sends the values in a small UDP packet to the server. The server then updates some internal RAM variables which are displayed as part of its home page. So you can watch the potatoes discharge (kind of like watching corn grow). I have no idea how long the battery will last. The server will fail when the voltage drops below about 1.35V.