System Bits: Aug. 27


Material that conducts and insulates It is well known to scientists that the three common phases of water – ice, liquid and vapor – can exist stably together only at a particular temperature and pressure, called the triple point. Also well known is that the solid form of many materials can have numerous phases, but it is difficult to pinpoint the temperature and pressure for the points at ... » read more

Talk, Talk And More Talk


By Ed Sperling To anyone who owns a cell phone—and there are at least several billion people who claim that distinction these days—it’s not surprising that bad reception lowers battery life. More bars, while not the most accurate gauge of a signal, are at least an indication that you can extend the time between charges even if you’re watching streaming video. But work is under way a... » read more

The Power In Errors


By David Lammers Since 1956, some of the top minds in information processing, including Claude Shannon and John von Neumann, have been pondering the problem of how to build reliable systems out of unreliable components. The communications industry embraced the challenge, and deployed error correction techniques to ensure that today’s most sensitive information is transmitted reliably over no... » read more

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