Programmers wanting to avoid the Y2K bug had two broad options: entirely rewrite their code, or adopt a quick fix called “windowing”, which would treat all dates from 00 to 20, as from the 2000s, rather than the 1900s. An estimated 80 per cent of computers fixed in 1999 used the quicker, cheaper option.
“Windowing, even during Y2K, was the worst of all possible solutions because it kicked the problem down the road,” says Dylan Mulvin at the London School of Economics.
Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie’s was “dmac”, Bourne’s was “bourne”, Schmidt’s was “wendy!!!” (his wife’s name), Feldman’s was “axlotl”, and Kernighan’s was “/.,/.,”.
and Ken Thompson’s was “p/q2-q4!” (chess notation for a common opening move).
In what’s being hailed as a “major breakthrough” in Maya archaeology, researchers have identified the ruins of more than 60,000 houses, palaces, elevated highways, and other human-made features that have been hidden for centuries under the jungles of northern Guatemala.
Under the gun, Smith and Boyle went into an office and, in one hour, emerged with the basic plans for the CCD, the sensor still used in digital photography today. A CCD works like this: Light hits a tiny grid of photosensitive silicon cells, each which build a charge proportional to the intensity of the light hitting it. This charge can be measured precisely and we can know exactly how bright that portion should be. Add filters, and color can be discerned too.
Physicist James Clerk Maxwell was perhaps the first to recognize that atoms could be used to keep time. In 1879 he wrote to electricity pioneer William Thomson, suggesting that the “period of vibration of a piece of quartz crystal” would be a better absolute standard of time than the mean solar second (based on the Earth’s rotation) but would still depend “essentially on one particular piece of matter” and therefore would be “liable to accidents.” Maxwell theorized that atoms would work even better as a natural standard of time. Thomson wrote in the second edition of the Elements of Natural Philosophy, published in 1879, that hydrogen atoms, sodium atoms, and others were “absolutely alike in every physical property” and “probably remain the same so long as the particle itself exists.”
But now even Ke, the reigning top-ranked Go player, has acknowledged that human beings are no match for robots in the complex board game, after he lost three games to an AI that mysteriously popped up online in recent days.
The AI turned out to be AlphaGo in disguise.
Ken describes how he injected a virus into a compiler. Not only did his compiler know it was compiling the login function and inject a backdoor, but it also knew when it was compiling itself and injected the backdoor generator into the compiler it was creating. The source code for the compiler thereafter contains no evidence of either virus.
Ken wrote, In demonstrating the possibility of this kind of attack, I picked on the C compiler. I could have picked on any program-handling program such as an assembler, a loader, or even hardware microcode. As the level of program gets lower, these bugs will be harder and harder to detect. A well installed microcode bug will be almost impossible to detect.
Source: The Ken Thompson Hack
That faint rising tone, physicists say, is the first direct evidence of gravitational waves, the ripples in the fabric of space-time that Einstein predicted a century ago (Listen to it here.). And it is a ringing (pun intended) confirmation of the nature of black holes, the bottomless gravitational pits from which not even light can escape, which were the most foreboding (and unwelcome) part of his theory..
“Everything else in astronomy is like the eye,” he said, referring to the panoply of telescopes that have given stargazers access to more and more of the electromagnetic spectrum and the ability to peer deeper and deeper into space and time. “Finally, astronomy grew ears. We never had ears before.”
During that interval, Jupiter’s motion across the sky appears to slow. (Such erratic apparent motion stems from the complex combination of Earth’s own orbit around the sun with that of Jupiter.) A graph of Jupiter’s apparent velocity against time slopes downward, so that the area under the curve forms a trapezoid. The area of the trapezoid in turn gives the distance that Jupiter has moved along the ecliptic during the 60 days. Calculating the area under a curve to determine a numerical value is a basic operation, known as the integral between two points, in calculus. Discovering that the Babylonians understood this “was the real ‘aha!’ moment,” Ossendrijver says.
After cuneiform died out around 100 C.E., Babylonian astronomy was thought to have been virtually forgotten, he notes. It was left to French and English philosophers and mathematicians in the late Middle Ages to reinvent what the Babylonians had developed.
Telephone calls haven’t declined because we have become anxious or lazy. They’ve fallen out of favor because using the telephone feels mechanically ungainly as much as socially so.