In his book Normal Accidents: Living with High Risk Technology, Charles Perrow wrote that for highly complex systems, "multiple (failures) and unexpected interactions of failures are inevitable." At the time, he was writing about nuclear power plants and the risks of the Y2K bug, but the same is true of big online systems: despite all the efforts to make them 99.95 percent available, there will always be unknowable risks buried within the systems' complexity. When something fails in a server room or a smaller data center, the cause is usually not too hard to find after going through the log files or inspecting the components. But the sheer complexity and scale of cloud services like Blackberry email or Amazon's EC2 service can turn a small failure into a large one. The very things that cloud and managed service providers do to make their systems more resilient can actually cause them to fail more spectacularly. … [Read more...] about Why RIM still hasn’t found the cause of its world-wide outage
Bottom line: When it comes to spending a fun weekend indoors, you can do a lot worse than building Lego's rendition of the Lamborghini Sian FKP 37. The kit's 3,696 pieces are likely going to keep enthusiasts busy for hours on end as they painstakingly assemble them into a 1:8 scale model of the actual car. Although the price is a bit steep at $380, it's still a much cheaper way for fans to put a Lamborghini in their driveway - or their shelf to be more precise - for an exotic that had already sold out ahead of its debut last year. Lego Technic kits are one of its more challenging products, aimed at car enthusiasts who don't mind spending unhealthy amounts of time tinkering with complex plastic pieces that take the shape of a Porsche 911 RSR, a Corvette ZR1, a Bugatti Chiron or even the new Defender from Land Rover. … [Read more...] about Lego’s 1:8 scale model kit of the Lamborghini Sian might actually be more desirable than the real car
Women need to place the top of their funnels directly against their bodies, so the sides of the female funnels need to be vented so that air can flow in when the suction is turned on, Weinstein explained. And women can choose among three funnels with differently shaped tops there are two funnels with oval-shaped tops and one with a circle-shaped top. … [Read more...] about How Do Astronauts Go To the Bathroom in Space?
Gypsum is formed when calcium-containing water comes in contact with sulfates, either from rocks or via volcanic activity. The calcium sulfate precipitates, capturing water molecules within the crystal structure in the process. The gypsum vein clearly indicates that water was flowing through through cracks below the surface of Mars at some point in its past; the rover's scientific lead, Cornell's Steve Squyres, calls it a "slam-dunk story." … [Read more...] about Gypsum deposit on Mars provides definitive evidence of water
The scientists then simulated the eruption in a climate model—one some scientists think exaggerates the cooling effect from eruptions—and found that the aerosols could have cooled southern Europe and northern Africa by up to 7°C. The team looked for corroboration about the climate in three tree ring archives that stretch this far back. Ones from Scandinavia and North America show clear cooling in 43 and 42 B.C.E. But the one from the Alps shows a cooling trend that began 10 years before the eruption, with 45 B.C.E. its coolest year, Anchukaitis says. “If we’re connecting Roman Republican history to climate and volcanoes, we need more of these records,” he says. … [Read more...] about Alaskan megaeruption may have helped end the Roman Republic