OCTOBER 31 — STUDS TERKEL
American labor, oral historian, “common man” proponent.
OCTOBER 31 HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS…
HALLOWEEN. Druids’ SAMHAIN, Autumn sun festival. Ancient Roman
FEAST TO POMONA. Druids held human sacrifices and prayers…
ALL HALLOWS EVE, 10th century. ALL SAINTS EVE. Human sacrifice be-
came cakes left out for the dead, thrown into the fire in the
morning. In Brittany all wore black, etc. Old Celtic NEW YEAR’S EVE.
Struggle between old and new years. FESTIVAL OF INNER WORLDS.
ALSO ON OCTOBER 31 IN HISTORY…
1517 — Martin Luther launches Reformation, Wittenburg, Germany.
1795 — Renowned British lyric poet John Keats born, London, England.
1927 — Kemal Ataturk abolishes the fez, “emblem of ignorance, fanaticism.”
1961 — Uncle Joe Stalin’s body removed from public display in Red Square.
1984 — Indian prime minster Indira Gandhi assassinated in her garden, New Delhi.
2008 — American oral historian, labor journalist Studs Terkel dies, Chicago, Illinois.
Excerpted from The 2009 Autonomedia Calendar of Jubilee Saints: Radical Heroes for the New Millennium by James Koehnline and the Autonomedia Collective
PlayStation 3 Modification Tutorial
“Computer hobbyists and researchers take note: two U.S. scientists have created a step-by-step guide on how to build a supercomputer using multiple PlayStation 3 video-game consoles. The instructional guide allows users with some programming knowledge to install a version of the open-source operating system Linux on the video consoles and connect a number of consoles into a computing cluster or grid. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth physics professor Gaurav Khanna first built the cluster a year ago to run his simulations estimating the gravitational waves produced when two black holes merged. Frustrated with the cost of renting time on supercomputers, which he said can cost as much as $5,000 to run a 5,000-hour simulation, Khanna decided to set up his own computer cluster using PS3s, which had both a powerful processor developed by Sony, IBM and Toshiba, but also an open platform that allows different system software to run on it. On the how-to-guide Khanna says the eight-console cluster is roughly comparable in speed to a 200 node IBM Blue Gene supercomputer. Khanna says his research now runs using a cluster of 16 PS3s. Khanna’s not the first researcher to use PS3s to simulate the effects of a supercomputer. The University of Stanford’s Folding at Home project allows people to help with research into how proteins self-assemble — or fold — by downloading software onto their home PS3s, creating a virtual supercomputer. Their research is currently targeting proteins relevant to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease. But the guide posted by Khanna and Poulin is the first that might allow someone to set up a supercomputer in their own home.”
Previously On Spectre : Gravity Waves
“Todd Martínez has persuaded the supercomputing centre at the University of Illinois to buy eight computers each driven by two of the specialised chips that are at the heart of Sony’s PlayStation 3 console. He is using them to simulate the interactions between the electrons in atoms, as part of work to see how proteins in the body dovetail with drug molecules. He was inspired while browsing through his son’s games console’s technical specification “I noticed that the architecture looked a lot like high performance supercomputers I had seen before,” he says. “That’s when I thought about getting one for myself.” The Wii, made by Nintendo, has a motion tracking remote control unit that is cheaper than a comparable device built from scratch. The device recently emerged as a tool to help surgeons to improve their technique. Meanwhile, neurologist Thomas Davis at the Vanderbilt Medical Centre in Nashville is using it to measure movement deficiencies in Parkinson’s patients to assess how well a patient can move when they take part in drug trials.”
Folding@home Reaches Million PS3-User Milestone
“Sony recently announced that more than one million PlayStation 3 owners are taking part in Folding@home, the distributed computing project run by Stanford University. The participation of PS3 owners in Folding@home allows the project “to address questions previously considered impossible to tackle computationally.” Folding@home’s mission is to try and better understand how proteins fold, and how misfolds are related to various diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. PS3s currently comprise about 74 percent of the entire computing power of Folding@home. When the project achieved a petaflop in September, it officially became the most powerful distributed
computing network in the world.”
The Do-It-Yourself Supercomputer
“Our solution was to construct a computing cluster using obsolete PCs that ORNL would have otherwise discarded. Dubbed the Stone SouperComputer because it was built essentially at no cost, our cluster of PCs was powerful enough to produce ecoregion maps of unprecedented detail. Other research groups have devised even more capable clusters that rival the performance of the world’s best supercomputers at a mere fraction of their cost. We knew that obsolete PCs at the U.S. Department of Energy complex at Oak Ridge were frequently replaced with newer models. The old PCs were advertised on an internal Web site and auctioned off as surplus equipment. A quick check revealed hundreds of outdated computers waiting to be discarded this way. Perhaps we could build our Beowulf cluster from machines that we could collect and recycle free of charge. We commandeered a room at ORNL that had previously housed an ancient mainframe computer. Then we began collecting surplus PCs to create the Stone SouperComputer. Our room at Oak Ridge turned into a morgue filled with the picked-over carcasses of dead PCs. Once we opened a machine, we recorded its contents on a “toe tag” to facilitate the extraction of its parts later on. We developed favorite and least favorite brands, models and cases and became adept at thwarting passwords left by previous owners. On average, we had to collect and process about five PCs to make one good node.”