May 2nd, 2008


"Nukes accidentally loaded on bomber" - even dumber than I thought.

One might think that the United States’ nuclear weapons—the cornerstone deterrent in the country’s arsenal—would be treated with the utmost precision.

This comfortable illusion was shaken on Aug. 31, 2007, when crews loaded six live nuclear warheads onto a B-52 bomber and flew from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, cruising over the nation’s heartland. Each warhead was 10 times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

During the analysis of the incident by the Defense Science Board (DSB), released this month, the ugly truth came out: America’s nukes are so neglected that they are stored alongside conventional missiles, with nothing but an 8.5 x 11-in. sheet of paper to differentiate the two. The last day in August, Air Force personnel loaded the nuclear warheads on a routine repositioning of weapons stocks, believing them to be cruise missiles.

The system of checks and balances has degraded to a point that six of the planet’s most powerful weapons were missing for 36 hours—and no one noticed until they had landed in Louisiana. "The process and systemic problems that allowed such an incident have developed over more than a decade and have the potential for much more serious consequences," the report warns.

Life imitates Metal Gear Solid. :P

How Google tries to protect innovation.

Q: What obstacles does Google face in continuing to innovate?

A: A problem that we face now is that we have people in multiple sites. It's a problem that everybody faces, but we're going to face it bad. We have, like, 50 locations.

Q: So you still need that face-to-face contact?

A: The best programming team is a "telephone call," which is two people, you and I, programming together. The second-best programming team is, everybody fits into a single room. All other variants are bad.

Q: Can innovation really be managed, or is it a case where you have to keep the company and its managers out of the way?

A: I disagree with the word "managed." You have to have a set of necessary conditions for innovation to occur. To start with, you have to listen to people.

Q: Pretty basic, no?

A: But not often practiced. Innovation comes from places that you don't expect.

The 10 most promising entrants to the Auto X Prize.

The central component is a fuel conversion system that vaporizes gasoline before it enters the alé’s engine—an idea developed more than 25 years ago by FVT founder George Parker (the company is officially just two years old). The result, when combined with a narrow, aerodynamic fiberglass body on a three-wheel chassis, is an astonishing 92 miles per gallon—not to mention a 0-to-60 time around 5 seconds. FVT intends to design a series hybrid that shares the body of the current gas-only alé, with a small onboard generator that utilizes the vapor technology to charge lithium-ion batteries for extended range.

The VentureOne and Aptera are among them.