Future Safari 3D Demo

I’ve used Firefox and other WebKit-based browsers for years. Safari is one that I’ve used since inception – and given current speed results, I finally made it my default browser.

So, I’m interested in what’s coming.

Charles Ying over at satine.org has put together an impressive demo using Safari’s forthcoming CSS 3D transform features. There is a YouTube video of the demo (you can watch it in the 2nd half of this post), as a nightly build of WebKit or the Snow Leopard version of Safari is required to render it.

The demo, titled Snow Stack, displays a wall of photos in three dimensions and allows you to navigate across the wall using your arrow keys. The wall of photos seems to go on into infinity while it dynamically loads the photos from Flickr as you travel across it.

The animation style is similar to the browser plug-in Cooliris (formerly known as PicLens), but it was written entirely in HTML and CSS, with some JavaScript to pull in the photos from Flickr. The animations are so amazingly smooth animations it’s hard to believe that only CSS was used to create them.

San Diego menaced by giant squid

Scuba divers off the Californian city of San Diego are being menaced by large numbers of jumbo squid.

The beaked Humboldt squid, which grow up to 5ft (1.5 metres) long, arrived off the city’s shores last week.

Divers have reported unnerving encounters with the creatures, which are carnivorous and can be aggressive…

The creatures – also known as jumbo flying squid – do not affect swimmers because they remain deeper in the water…

“The ones that we are getting right now have a big beak on them, like a large parrot beak,” San Diego’s Union-Tribune quoted John Hyde of the National Marine Fisheries Service as saying earlier in the week.

They could take a chunk of flesh off you…

Scientists say they do not know why the squid – which usually live in deep waters further south off Mexico and Central America – have come so close in.

But one expert, Nigella Hillgarth of the San Diego-based Scripps Institution of Oceanography, told AP it was possible that the squid had established a year-round population off California.

Maybe we should return to polluting the water?

How a global company – yes, Google – saves energy

Google is operating a data center in Belgium without chillers (which augment cool air to help keep the data center at the right temperature and use a lot of electricity), according to Rich Miller over at Data Center Knowledge. However, what’s most noteworthy about this is that Google appears to have the means to automatically shift its data center operations from the chiller-less data center if the temperatures get too high for the gear. The ability to automatically and seamlessly shift data center operations and tasks is a key element in building out data centers that can operate on renewable energy or merely more efficiently. Miller calls it a “follow-the-moon” strategy because a company with a larger number of data centers could shift computing around the globe so processes are completed at night when the temperature is lower and cooling costs are cheaper…

I wrote about a similar scenario last July, only I said data center operators would follow the sun with their workloads so they could use a renewable energy like solar power to provide electricity for their operations. When the sun sets, or on cloudy days, the workload moves to where another power source is available. Regardless, moving data center operations isn’t an easy process, and it requires a lot of bandwidth between the data centers. As Google masters this, expect other companies to follow suit, not merely because they can save on power, but because it makes cloud computing much more reliable in that when one data center experiences a failure, a cloud provider can redistribute operations around the globe.

Interesting concept. Maybe this also explains all the Dark Fibre Google bought up a few years back?

Back in the day, Microsoft did a study that showed this was impossible. Was that then? Or was it Microsoft?

Democrat/Republican hacks squander tax-dollars on F-22’s

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Saying he “didn’t molt from a hawk into a dove on Jan. 20, 2009,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates sharply criticized Congress on Thursday for trying to push more F-22 fighter jets into the Pentagon budget than he and President Obama say the country needs.

If we can’t get this right, what on earth can we get right?” Mr. Gates said in an acerbic, sometimes withering speech to the Economic Club of Chicago. “It is time to draw the line on doing defense business as usual.” From his point of view, that means overbuying weapons for wars the nation is unlikely to fight.

Mr. Gates, a Republican who served as defense secretary during the last two years of the George W. Bush administration, is in a standoff with the Senate over the F-22, the world’s most expensive combat plane. Mr. Gates wants to cap the number at 187, but last month the Senate Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to set aside $1.75 billion for seven more.

To the consternation of the Pentagon and the White House, liberal Democrats like Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John Kerry of Massachusetts have said they support the additional planes, arguing that their production can help preserve jobs in districts across the country.

In response, Mr. Obama reiterated a threat on Monday to veto next year’s military spending bill unless the extra planes are removed. Mr. Gates went to Chicago to reinforce the message.

“The president has drawn that line, and that line is with regard to a veto, and it’s real,” Mr. Gates told the club…

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Color-coded terror alert system to get the ax?

Sometimes keeping a straight face is the hardest job in the world.

Can we all just lay off and admit that Tom Ridge did one helluva job presenting this alert system to the public. He must have been up all night making the posters. Suppose you had been told to get in front of the cameras and pretend that this thing was supposed to help anybody. You think you could have done better?

The U.S. Homeland Security Department has appointed a task force to conduct a 60-day review of the nation’s color-coded terror-alert system.
The five-color coding system, created after the Sept. 11 attacks, goes from green, signaling a low threat of attack, to red, signaling a severe threat. Since its introduction in March 2002, the level has been changed 16 times but remained most of the time at mid-level yellow (elevated) or orange (high), the statement said.

The threat level has never been lowered to blue (guarded) or green.

Stop laughing. All this stuff kept us safe for eight years!

Iceland’s Parliament votes to join EU – barely

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Iceland’s parliament voted by a narrow margin Thursday to apply for membership in the European Union, moving to relinquish some of the recession-hit country’s cherished independence in the name of stability.

In a fiercely debated motion, members of Iceland’s parliament, the Althingi, voted 33-28 to start membership talks with the EU. Two lawmakers abstained…

Icelanders have always fiercely defended their independence, and been wary of transferring political power to the European Union’s center in Brussels.

Until last year it seemed this tiny, independent-minded nation, whose 320,000 people are mostly descended from Viking settlers, could thrive on its own.

Financial deregulation, a stock market boom and a surging krona helped Icelandic entrepreneurs go on a global buying spree, snapping up businesses from Britain’s Hamleys toy store to the Karen Millen clothing chain. Iceland’s banks drew depositors from around the world with too-good-to-be-true savings rates.

Then the global financial crisis hit, and Iceland became one of the earliest casualties. The over-stretched banks collapsed under the weight of debt amassed during the years of light regulation and retailers went bankrupt. The country’s currency, the krona, has plummeted, while unemployment and inflation have spiraled.

Thousands of Icelanders held angry protests against the pro-business government, clattering pots and kitchen utensils in what some have called the ”Saucepan Revolution.” The government was forced to resign and was replaced after a national election by a coalition of Johanna Sigurdardottir’s pro-European Social Democrats and the Left Greens.

Sigurdardottir has said she wants to submit a membership application to the EU by the end of the month, although a final decision to join the 27-nation bloc would need approval by Icelanders in a referendum. The EU would also have to approve the addition.

I doubt it will happen. Iceland values the independence of their history and culture at least as much as Eire. And I think the EU resolution will flunk in Ireland, too.

Both nations spent too many centuries under the thumb of self-important colonial powers. I sure as hell wouldn’t vote to rejoin the club as a junior member.

In general, I like Sigurdardottir’s politics; but, she knows as well as anyone else she could have campaigned as the Silly Walks Party and been elected – just to get the corrupt conservatives out the door.