Friday, 31 October 2008

Hubble Telescope is back in business

The Hubble Space Telescope is back in business after a month of problems, but preparing spare equipment to keep the orbital observatory running will force NASA to delay its final servicing mission beyond February, officials said on Thursday

The agency released an image taken by the telescope's Wide Field Planetary Camera showing a pair of gravitationally locked galaxies, located more than 400 million light years away in the constellation Cetus.

The picture was the first taken by Hubble since a computer problem shut down science operations in September.

During the attempt to switch over to a backup system earlier this month, a problem with another computer again shut down the observatory.

But engineers were finally able to sort out the glitches this week, allowing astronomers to train Hubble's eye on the pair of galaxies known as Arp 147, which remain gravitationally interacting long after a suspected collision between the two.

Hubble's problems prompted NASA to delay the October launch of space shuttle Atlantis and seven astronauts on a final house call to upgrade Hubble.

The mission had been rescheduled for February, but NASA said Thursday replacement equipment won't be ready in time to make that date.

Because it orbits outside the Earth's atmosphere, Hubble's cameras can take extremely sharp images.

NASA at one point was planning to abandon the telescope, which is hugely popular among astronomers. But the U.S. space agency relented after a public outcry.

In 2013, the James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to replace Hubble.

Source : Reuters

Hooray for the engineers who managed to sort this problem out

Sony recalls PC Batteries

Sony Corp said five PC makers including Hewlett-Packard Co and Toshiba Corp will recall 100,000 computer battery packs made by the Japanese electronics maker due to a fire hazard.

Sony said the recall is expected to have limited impact on its earnings, and its shares outperformed a falling Tokyo stock market on Friday.

The recall is a fraction of a much bigger recall of 9.6 million Sony PC batteries in 2006, which cost the company around 35.5 billion yen ($360 million).

The U.S. government issued on Thursday a recall of 35,000 Sony batteries and the Tokyo-based company said it would recall a further 65,000 batteries worldwide.

PC makers have reported 40 cases of overheating, including four cases where users suffered minor burns, and 21 cases of minor damage from fires and overheating, a Sony spokeswoman said.

The recall affects around 74,000 notebook PCs sold by HP and 14,400 from Toshiba.

The faulty batteries are also used in laptop PCs from Dell Inc, Acer Inc and Lenovo Group Ltd, Sony said.

Sony blamed the faulty batteries on factory changes dating back up to four years, which it believes may have affected the quality of some battery cells.

Other incidents of overheating may have involved a problem with raw materials, the company said.

Sony recalled last month 438,000 of its Vaio laptops due to concerns about overheating batteries.

Source : Reuters

Hats off to Sony for having made this decision

Friday, 24 October 2008

Annual study by Consumer Reports shows Japanese cars lead

An annual study, besides its influence with car shoppers, is used by major automakers as a proxy for their performance in improving and maintaining vehicle quality.

Japanese cars were the most reliable overall, leading 15 of 16 categories in its ratings, the study said.

Source: Reuters

Friday, 10 October 2008

Dell Factory Tour(Courtesy of Dell on YouTube)

Inside UPS(Courtesy of National Geographic Channel on Youtube)

World's soundest Bank System

According to an article published by Reuters- Canada has the world's soundest banking system, closely followed by Sweden, Luxembourg and Australia, a survey by the World Economic Forum has found as financial crisis and bank failures shake world markets.

Netherlands ranks 6th and South Africa 15th.

Source: Reuters

Undergraduate Worldwide University rankings

This week marks an important point in the calendar for the leading global universities with the publication of the latest THE/QS World University Rankings. In only four years, the rankings have established themselves as an accepted benchmark of quality. Thursday’s publication in Times Higher Education and subsequently on this website will be scrutinised by students, employers and academics on every continent.

Harvard keeps the top spot, followed by Yale, Cambridge and Oxford.

The top Dutch university that appears in the top 200 is the University of Amsterdam, followed by Leiden University and the University of Utrecht.