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Sunday, March 9, 2008

software development kit for Apple's iPhone

Sun will make Java work for iPhone
After the release of the software development kit for Apple's iPhone, Sun Microsystems says it's going to enable Java applications to run on the device, InfoWorld is reporting.

Sun will build a Java Virtual Machine (JVM), based on the Java Micro Edition version of the programming language after June of this year. It will be available in the iPhone AppStore. Eric Klein, vice president of Java marketing at Sun, told InfoWorld Friday that although Apple passed on enabling Java on the iPhone, Sun decided to do so anyway after Thursday's SDK unveiling. After combing through the documents for the SDK and seeing nothing that barred it from doing so, Sun decided to go for it.

"We're going to make sure that the JVM offers the Java applications as much access to the native functionality of the iPhone as possible," Klein said.

Java on the iPhone will mean that versions of software, like customer relationship management and other enterprise applications, could be available on the device.

Medical students will soon be able to dissect cadavers twice - once for real and again on a special computer program that simulates everything from or

Computers let medical students operate on digital cadavers
Medical students will soon be able to dissect cadavers twice - once for real and again on a special computer program that simulates everything from organs to blood vessels and bones, according to the University of Heidelberg. The university says it will be the first to offer a seminar of this kind in Germany. It says the 3D imaging program should help students to orientate themselves within the human body and better learn anatomical structures.

The new course, called "virtual anatomy," has been running parallel to traditional anatomy courses with cadavers since the start of the 2007/2008 winter semester.

"This way the students can view structures that are hard to reach and usually have to be cut away," said Sara Doll, who runs the university clinic's anatomy courses.

The course was developed by the Institute for Anatomy in cooperation with the DKFZ German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg.

weather 90% favorable for Endeavour launch

Japan lab section set for launch to space station

With the weather 90% favorable for launch, Endeavour's fuel cells were scheduled to be filled early Sunday morning as the shuttle faced clear sailing to launch early Tuesday morning.
On a mission to the International Space Station, the shuttle will deliver the first of three parts of a massive Japanese laboratory and will install a Canadian robot.

"We're tracking no issues," NASA test director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said Saturday.

Testing of a UHF radio showed that two low-power bands provide adequate redundancy, even with the failure of the radio's high-power mode, Blackwell-Thompson added.

Endeavour's radio had been borrowed from Atlantis, and while a working radio sits in Discovery at Kennedy Space Center, borrowing a second radio from an orbiter was rejected. At least one spare radio exists at Marshall Spaceflight Center in Alabama.

FIND MORE STORIES IN: Alabama | Earth | Discovery | International Space Station | Atlantis | Kennedy Space Center | Endeavour
"From a system perspective, there is adequate back-up in the low-power mode," Blackwell-Thompson said.

The radio is used to communicate with spacewalking astronauts and for air-to-air communication while the shuttle is landing.

The crew on adjusted sleep schedules will wake Sunday at 4:30 p.m. Commander Dominic Gorie and Pilot Greg Johnson were scheduled to practice landing in the Shuttle Landing Aircraft at 8:15 p.m. Saturday, preparing to return Endeavour to Earth in darkness after the 16-day mission.

Winds gusted to 44 mph at KSC on Saturday but were expected to be light from the northeast during Tuesday's 2:28 a.m. ET launch, shuttle weather officer Todd McNamara said.

"By launch day, we'll see the high pressure to the north of us," McNamara said.

Shuttle Is Set for an ‘Exciting Mission’
The shuttle Endeavour will light up the skies over Florida early Tuesday, kicking off a busy 16-day mission to the International Space Station.
If weather and the millions of parts that make up the shuttle cooperate, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will launch the shuttle at 2:28 a.m. from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.

The mission calls for astronauts to deliver the first section of a new Japanese laboratory known as Kibo to the station, as well as an eerily human-looking robot. That robot, a Canadian creation named Dextre, can sit on the end of the station’s robotic arm and perform some of the risky maintenance and service work that currently calls for a human touch.

“If you had to go to a drawing board and describe an exciting mission from scratch, I think you’d come up with STS-123,” Dominic L. Gorie, the flight commander and a retired Navy captain, said at a news conference in Houston last week, using the mission’s official name.

The mission does, in fact, have a little of everything: a dramatic night launching, five spacewalks and station construction with the first Japanese module, which means that components from all of the station’s international partners — the United States, Russia, Canada, Europe and Japan — will finally be joined in orbit. “For years we’ve been calling it an international space station,” Captain Gorie said, “and now we’re truly there.”

The portion of the Kibo module that is riding with the Endeavour will be put in a temporary position on the station until the main laboratory is taken up this spring. Takao Doi, a Japanese astronaut on the flight, will take part in installing the pressurized room — not much longer than a Mini Cooper automobile — and will be the first to enter it.

Other spacewalks will involve assembling the nine large pieces of Dextre and inspecting a damaged rotary joint that is supposed to turn half of the station’s immense solar panels to face the sun. The joint has been out of commission since last year, and NASA has a team dedicated full time to figuring out how best to get it moving again.

Another spacewalk is devoted to a bit of unfinished business after the loss of the shuttle Columbia five years ago: testing an orbital goo gun that could be used to fix minor damage to shuttle tiles during a mission.

The other members of the crew are the pilot, Col. Gregory H. Johnson of the Air Force; Dr. Richard M. Linnehan; Capt. Michael J. Foreman of the Navy; Maj. Robert L. Behnken of the Air Force; and Garrett E. Reisman, an astronaut who will be staying aboard the station for long-term duty. He will take the place of Gen. LĂ©opold Eyharts, a French astronaut who has lived aboard the station since last month.

Colonel Johnson, Captain Foreman, Mr. Reisman and Major Behnken are rookies. This will be the fourth flight for Captain Gorie and Dr. Linnehan, and the second for Mr. Doi.

A forecast issued Friday at a space agency news briefing put the likelihood that weather conditions will allow launching at 90 percent. To avoid scheduling conflicts with an Air Force satellite launching at Cape Canaveral, NASA will only attempt launchings on Tuesday and, if there is a delay, on Wednesday before waiting until March 17.

At 16 days, this will be the longest mission devoted to station construction. It is also, however, part of the winding down of the shuttle program, which will have just a dozen missions more after this one to complete the station and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope before 2010.

This knowledge of an ending makes each mission somewhat bittersweet for those involved, Major Behnken said in an interview. “When I was a kid, I got to see the shuttle’s transit across the country” on the back of a 747, he said.

“It’s a little bit sad to see something that has been a part of your life” go into retirement, he said, “but it’s also kind of what needs to be done in order to move on.”

The fleet will be grounded to make way for the development of a new generation of spacecraft capable of taking people back to the Moon and beyond, which should be flying by 2015. During the gap between the old and the new, NASA will be dependent on the Russian space program for access to the station.

Major Behnken said, “I think it really is important for NASA to have something that goes beyond just low-Earth orbit, and so if it takes retiring the shuttles to move on, you need to rip that Band-Aid off” and press on.
Endeavour launch early Tuesday

Who Needs IT Experts?Workers Go Online to Solve Tech Problems

Who Needs IT Experts? Workers Take Control
Savvy office workers frustrated that their on-the-job computer tools don't function as smoothly as, say, an Apple iPod are taking matters into their own hands.

No longer are they relying on company technicians, or information technology (IT) administrators, to choose the software needed to get the job done. They know how to pluck tools right off the Web.

Industry observers use the term "consumerization" to describe the phenomenon whereby office workers are less likely to wait for the IT folks to equip them.

Analyst Rebecca Wettemann of software research firm Nucleus Research says her company's surveys of corporate technology users frequently turn up the question: "Why can't I do what I want without getting an OK from IT?"

All of this poses a challenge to Microsoft Corp's business software franchise, and may be one of the under-appreciated reasons it's trying to acquire Yahoo Inc with its 500-million-strong base of Web consumers.

"Individual people, not IT organizations, are driving the next wave of (technology) adoption," Forrester Research said in a recent report.

Forrester refers to the movement toward user control and individual empowerment as "Technology Populism," others refer to it as "Office 2.0." Less sympathetically, consulting firm Yankee Group, in a 2007 report entitled "Zen and the Art of Rogue Employee Management," sees it as a threat for IT managers.

Micorsoft Vulnerability a Yahoo Strength

Once an isolated minority, these unhappy consumers have entered the mainstream of work life with a growing technical self-confidence. The braver souls shun corporate "help desks" as much as possible.
Because Web-based services often are free or charge little, budget restrictions, typically used by corporate managers to rein in organizational projects, rarely apply.

"IT managers have served as corporate gatekeepers. With software on demand, average people are able to explore and access and do much more than they have in the past," Wettemann says. "That power is going away," she said of central control.

Rookie robot joins shuttle crew

This illustration provided by The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) displays "Dextre" (Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator). Astronauts bound for orbit this week will dabble in science fiction, assembling a "monstrous" two-armed space station robot that will rise like Frankenstein from its transport bed. Putting together Dextre, the robot, will be one of the main jobs for the seven Endeavour astronauts.
Space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to blast off Tuesday carrying seven astronauts and an eighth passenger that is in some ways superior: a robot that will take the astronauts' place for many jobs in outer space.

Dextre, as the robot is known, has two arms, each with seven joints that allow the limb to twist and bend more than a human arm. Each of its two hands has pincers to grip objects and built-in socket wrenches to drive bolts.

Dextre will be able to handle items as small as a phone book and as big as a phone booth. Never before has such a sophisticated robot flown in space.

"As spacewalkers, we don't want to put ourselves out of a job," Endeavour astronaut Mike Foreman says. "But I think (the robot) will be a boon."

Endeavour's crew will assemble Dextre and place it on the International Space Station, where it will start work in 2009. Eventually it will shoulder tasks that would otherwise be done by astronauts during risky spacewalks. Ten years in the making, the robot has a working life of 15 years.

Endeavour is scheduled to lift off 2:28 a.m. ET. During the 16-day mission, the longest flight ever to the station, the crew will perform five spacewalks, the most during any station mission. The astronauts' goals, besides adding Dextre:

•Delivering the station's first Japanese section, an equipment room for a Japanese laboratory to be added to the station in May. A February shuttle mission dropped off the station's first European segment, a laboratory.

•Testing the last major safety improvement made after the 2003 breakup of shuttle Columbia, which killed the crew. Astronauts will experiment with a goo for patching holes in the shuttle's heat shield.

•Inspecting a broken wheel that points half the station's solar panels at the sun. The malfunction, first detected last fall, has cut the amount of electricity supplied to the station.

The mission will be an exhausting long haul, Endeavour commander Dom Gorie says, but piecing together the $210 million Dextre will be particularly tough.
Dextre is riding to orbit in nine pieces. Over the course of three spacewalks, astronauts will attach the hands to the robot's 11-foot-long arms. Then they'll lift the arms, which on Earth would weigh 775 pounds each, to Dextre's shoulders and bolt them into place.

"Some assembly required," Foreman jokes. "It reminds me of (being) a dad on Christmas Eve and opening up presents to put together … and wondering what I got myself into."

Dextre will be able to replace nearly 140 parts of the station, such as batteries and circuit boxes. It will do so thanks to a sense of touch, which will allow it to "feel" when it needs to apply more force to slide a component into place. It's expected to aid astronauts not only with spacewalks but making repairs.

Dextre can be operated by either Mission Control or by the crew living on the station. NASA has no estimate of how many hours of astronaut time the robot will save, but the Canadian Space Agency, which built Dextre, says the robot will make repairs to the station as often as six times a year.

"He's almost like Spot the Pet Robot," says Endeavour astronaut Rick Linnehan, who will help put Dextre together. "He's going to go out there and get lots of important work done for you so you don't have to worry about it."

World's Largest Optical Telescope Now Operating in Arizona

In this image released by the Large Binocular Camera team, Rome Observatory, is an image taken by the Large Binocular Telescope on Mount Graham, Ariz., showing a spiral galaxy 102 million light years away. Considered the world's most powerful telescope, it has taken celestial images using its twin side-by-side, 27.6 foot primary mirrors together, achieving first "binocular" light.

Largest Optical Telescope Now Operating..

The world's most powerful optical telescope is now operating on southeastern Arizona's Mount Graham, capturing striking images of objects millions of light years away.

The Large Binocular Telescope — two 8.4-meter diameter mirrors that together gather more light and have 10 times the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope — took its first images using both mirrors late last year. The first images were released to the public on Thursday.

There are huge telescopes that operate in other parts of the spectrum — from low-frequency radio waves to far beyond visible light — but no traditional telescope is more powerful.

The telescope is the $120 million crown jewel of the University of Arizona's Mount Graham International Observatory. The telescope is the third atop the 10,500-foot peak, including the Heinrich-Hertz Submillimeter Telescope and the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope.
The largest optical telescope

Measuring 387 inches and 9.82 m, the Keck telescope is known as the world's largest optical telescope. Formerly, the Hale telescope was the largest instrument of its kind until the Keck telescope was built in 1990. It is located at the Mauna Kea Observatory right on Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano in Hawaii. The laboratory sits as high as 4,205 m(13,796 ft.)above sea level. This high altitude provides a good view of the sky above with only a little bit of interruption from other light sources.

The instrument was designed in the form of a reflecting type. It is a telescope whose concave-shaped mirrors absorb light and shows what the focused object looks like. All in all,it consists of 36 separate hexagonal segments of mirrors. Each of these segments measures at about 2 meters(6.6 ft.) across. In modern astronomy,the Keck telescope is of great use in knowing the situation of the galaxy and how it affects the planet Earth. It also shows what is happening on the other planets.
An example of an event where the telescope showed a great importance in the field of astronomy was when the instrument showed precise and valuable images on what the planet Jupiter looked like after certain pieces of fragments from the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 fell into it. Another instance was when it proved some scientists' theory that fragments of gamma rays were scattered across the galaxy after the said rays exploded. The Keck also determined and discovered that these fragments are about billions of light years away by measuring how far it is to its optical counterparts in 1997.

The building where the instrument was located is as tall as eight stories high. Placed at about ten meters across the Keck telescope is the Keck 2 which was completed in 1996. These pair of telescopes have strong resolving power which can be compared to a single telescope 90 meters in diameter. It also allowed astronomers to view distant objects throughout the universe.

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