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World robotic sailing championship 2010

Take an eclectic fleet of experimental radio-controlled model yachts. Add a mix of engineering and computing students from around the world. Add coffee, shake, and let the engineers work for a year. Then turn the boats loose on the race course- and leave them entirely to their own devices. That is the essence of the World Robotic Sailing Championship.

Wind turbine noise: Some sanity and science, please

There has been a lot of debate recently about the low-intensity, low-frequency noise created by megawatt class wind turbines. Although a few credible studies have been conducted (and several are still underway), there is still a great deal of uninformed hyperbole flying around on all sides of the issue.

I'd like to see some sanity in this debate, and I'd like the discussion to be grounded in scientific evidence. Without rehashing the entirety of the debate, here are a couple of points that might smooth developer-community relations a bit.

Security at sea: encrypted email

Is there really such a thing as private communications anymore? By long-standing convention, radio traffic (except emergency and "all ships" calls) is supposed to be kept confidential, but these days, I wouldn't put too much faith in that. Public 802.11 wi-fi is also remarkably easy to hack, unless you're on one of the rare networks that use WPA2 encryption and rotate the access codes frequently.

Virtual machines at home: tinkering without the risk

If your computer use and skills fall into the home or work user category, all the hype over "virtualization" has probably gone mostly unnoticed. If you've heard the term at all, it's likely been in the context of something your company is doing with their servers, or perhaps something that a geek friend was fiddling around with. But virtual machines- essentially, complete and independent virtual computers existing within the operating system you're familiar with- can be an incredibly useful tool for home users as well.

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