Book: The first war of physics: the secret history of the atom bomb, 1939-1949

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

I’m hoping to do more book reviews here, as I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading this year. So, here’s one to get started… The first war of physics : the secret history of the atom bomb, 1939-1949 [ISBN: 1605981974] by Jim Baggott is an excellent history of the physics, politics, wartime events and […]

Type too fast, melt your processor?

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Not really, of course, but there’s a nice ASPLOS XV paper from Mesa-Martínez et. al. titled Characterizing Processor Thermal Behavior which explains, among other things: “…each [Emacs] keystroke generates around 1â—¦ C thermal spike…” Who knew?  In their tests, the startup phase of Emacs raised the processor temperature in the area being measured (simulated) by […]

Radioactive decay affected by solar activity?

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Seems hard to believe but Purdue and Stanford researchers report that the rates of decay of several radioactive elements drop somewhat during periods of solar flare.  Amazing.  Thanks to @bramcohen and @daveo for passing this on. UPDATE:  Discover Magazine reports that other scientists are skeptical, with some supporting reasons, but in the same article the […]

The Feynman Messenger Lectures on Physics are available online

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Several of the legendary 1963 Feynman Lectures on Physics are now available for viewing online at at Microsoft Research’s Project Tuva (direct link to videos).  (UDPATE:  oops, my mistake! It’s not the 1963 Caltech lectures, it’s the Messenger Lectures from Cornell — see first comment below). Feynman was one of the great physicists of the […]