Obama gives the Queen an iPod


On Barack Obama’s official visit to Buckingham Palace last night, he handed over an iPod to the Queen as a gift, stuffed with video of her 2007 visit to the U.S. and a bunch of tracks from Broadway musicals including “Cats”, “South Pacific” and “Oklahoma!”.

Not that impressive, really, is it? It wasn’t even engraved with the Royal Seal. She’s already got one, too – a 6GB iPod Mini, which Prince Andrew suggested she buy in 2005. Her Maj was a little more classy – giving Obama her traditional gift of a framed photograph of herself and Prince Phillip.

(via Telegraph)

USA orders Sequoia – "the fastest supercomputer in the world"


Not content with owning the fastest computer in the world, the USA wants to keep its title, so it’s ordered one fifteen times faster. The current fastest, IBM’s Roadrunner, is designed for 1.7 Petaflops, whereas the new one should be able to crank out 20 – that’s 20,000 trillion floating point operations per second. Impressive.

It’ll be packing 1.6 million processor cores, putting my quad-core to shame, and will be based on IBM’s Blue Gene/Q supercomputer. What are they going to use it for? Managing their nuclear weapons stockpile. Yes, they’ve still got that many. It’ll occupy 96 server racks over an area the size of a tennis court, and use 6 megawatts of power.

While they’re building it, they’re building a smaller supercomputer to build the applications that’ll run on the big one. “Dawn” will run at 500 teraflops. The only thing unspecified? How much the whole project’s going to cost. I suspect it won’t be cheap.

(via PC World)

Related posts: Supercomputer beats human at “Go”, celebrates with a Tsingtao | NEC designs world’s most powerful supercomputer, the tights-and-cape-wearing SX-9

eBay Nutcase of the Week: Buy Snoop Dogg's old shed


Do you watch Snoop Dogg’s reality TV show – “Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood”? No, nor me, but apparently this shed features heavily in it. Whenever Snoop tires of the limelight, and needs some alone time (with a camera crew present, obviously) he heads out to his shed. However, he recently upgraded the “Dogg House” to a new model, so he’s flogging the old one on eBay. Over to Snoop:

“I’ve had this shed since the turn of the century. I’ve watched football tapes, seen the Lakers win championships, and, most of all, written hits in it”.

Editor Dan also suggested he might have “nutted” some bitches in there, too. What does that even mean? Ah well, either way, all proceeds from the sale will go to Snoop’s Youth Football League, though I’m assuming that’ll be American Football, not real football.

Auction page (via CMU)

Related nutcases: Gobble gobble | Flying car

FCC Commissioner brands WoW as a leading cause of college dropouts


This is something that I’ve seen evidence of first-hand. The US Federal Communications Commissioner, Deborah Taylor Tate, has seen fit to label World of Warcraft as one of the biggest enemies of the education system:

“You might find it alarming that one of the top reasons for college drop-outs in the U.S. is online gaming addiction – such as World of Warcraft – which is played by 11 million individuals worldwide”

Now it’s true that World of Warcraft, when taken to extremes, can annihilate everything else in your life. However, it’s not an addiction – the vast majority of players know how to get the work/play balance right. Don’t condemn the many for the actions of a few.

(via Kotaku)

Related posts: Swedish kid collapses after 24-hour WoW marathon | Gaming Addiction Centre Chief: “Compulsive Gaming Is Not Addiction”

If the world could vote in the American election, who would they pick?


Given that the American presidency is the closest thing we’ve got to a “President of the World”, people around the globe care dearly about who gets elected to the White House. If you’re stuck in another country without a vote, you can only pray that the independent voters of America choose to endorse the same candidate that you like.

To give you some sense of participation, however, a website’s sprung up to try and find out who would win the election if the entire world could vote. It’s called, appropriately, “If the world could vote!”…

Is your neighbour an evil felon? Find out online, right now, for free.

We all know the fear..

A new guy moves in to the place next door, and he seems nice enough – all smiles, and quiet, and polite, and stuff.. But, no-one is really that nice, are they?

You’ve just started dating, and as you stare lovingly in the eyes of your newly beloved, a thought crosses your mind.. you can’t help but wonder.. Is he/she all he/she seems to be? Is the friendliness and charm just a cover for a darker, more sinister reality? Is this person a serial killer who likes to rape children!?! They could be! How would i know!?

Well, if you live in America, there is now a convenient, free, online way for you to find out. Yes, spying / invading privacy has just got that little bit easier: criminalsearches.com is a beta website (i.e. ‘in development’), that allows anyone with access to the internet (that’s everyone now, right?) to search for any and all criminals living in their neighbourhood, or State, or indeed, Country. Not only that, but the website lists what crimes they were convicted of, and, brilliantly, their names and addresses too.

3G iPhone June launch date confirmed as 100% FACT by, er, AT&T cancelling its employee holiday


American exclusive iPhone supplier AT&T has given the world its iPhone Rumour of the Day today, thanks to an internal email.

The phone company has asked its employees not to book any holiday between the dates of June 15 and July 12 – presumably, as the blogosphere is now presenting as 100% confirmation, because the 3G iPhone is indeed coming in June and it’s going to be ALL HANDS TO THE DECK to cope…