‘House’ episode helps doctor diagnose rare cobalt poisoning

When a patient in Germany stumped his doctors with a strange combination of severe symptoms including heart failure, vision and hearing loss, acid reflux, and enlarged lymph nodes, Dr. Juergen Schaefer was called in to lend his expertise. Turns out the doc isn’t only gainfully employed solving medical mysteries at the Center for Undiagnosed Diseases just outside Frankfurt — he’s also a fan of the TV show “House.”

Schaefer had recently seen and lectured about an episode in which the fictional Dr. Gregory House sees a patient with the same symptoms. In the episode, the fictional patient had been on the wrong end of a botched hip replacement and was suffering from cobalt poisoning. Schaefertold The Associated Press that, thanks to the show’s well-researched script writing, “After five minutes, I knew what was wrong.”

More at CNET.

The Open Compute Project

About

HOW IT BEGAN

A small team of Facebook engineers spent the past two years tackling a big challenge: how to scale our computing infrastructure in the most efficient and economical way possible. Working out of an electronics lab in the basement of our Palo Alto, California headquarters, the team designed our first data center from the ground up; a few months later we started building it in Prineville, Oregon. The project, which started out with three people, resulted in us building our own custom-designed servers, power supplies, server racks and battery backup systems. Because we started with a clean slate, we had total control over every part of the system, from the software to the servers to the data center. This meant we could:

  • Use a 480-volt electrical distribution system to reduce energy loss.
  • Remove anything in our servers that didn’t contribute to efficiency.
  • Reuse hot aisle air in winter to both heat the offices and the outside air flowing into the data center.
  • Eliminate the need for a central uninterruptible power supply.

The result is that our Prineville data center uses 38 percent less energy to do the same work as Facebook’s existing facilities, while costing 24 percent less. Everyone has full access to these specifications. We want you to tell us where we didn’t get it right and suggest how we could improve. And opening the technology means the community will make advances that we wouldn’t have discovered if we had kept it secret.

WHERE WE GO FROM HERE

The ultimate goal of the Open Compute Project is to spark a collaborative dialogue. We’re already talking with our peers about how we can work together on Open Compute Project technology. We want to recruit others to be part of this collaboration — and we invite you to join us in this mission to collectively develop the most efficient computing infrastructure possible.

Learn More at Open Compute.

Why Open Source Hardware Is No Oxymoron

“It’s time to stop treating data center design like Fight Club,” said Jonathan Heiliger, “and demystify the way these things are built.”

It was April 2011, and Heiliger — the man who oversaw all the hardware driving Facebook’s online empire — was announcing the creation of something Facebook called the Open Compute Project. As Google, Amazon, and other online giants jealously guarded the technology inside their massive computing facilities — treating data center design as the most important of trade secrets — Heiliger and Facebook took the opposite tack, sharing their hardware designs with the rest of the world and encouraging others to do the same. The aim was to transform competition into collaboration, Heiliger said — to improve computer hardware using the same communal ethos that underpins the world of open source software.

Via Wired.

Meet the Open Source Trio Primed to Topple Oracle

Oracle remains the undisputed king of databases. But what — if anything — is on track to replace it? Data published today by the Austrian IT consulting company Solid IT may offer a few clues.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen an explosion of new databases. Several companies are offering relational databases that directly challenge traditional offerings from Oracle — databases that designed to store information in neat rows and columns on a single machine. And thanks to research papers detailing software built by Google and Amazon, we also have a slew of open source NoSQL databases — databases designed to store massive amounts of information across tens of hundreds of machines.

Via Wired.

10 Ingenious Hacks That Helped Facebook Take Over the Internet

Facebook’s first ten years changed the world in more ways than you think.

Earlier this week, as Mark Zuckerberg’s social network celebrated its tenth birthday, WIRED looked back on some of its biggest innovations, including the Like, the Wall, and the Timeline. But these are merely the obvious innovations — the innovations you see every time you visit Facebook on your phone, tablet, or PC. Behind the scenes, inside the massive data centers that power this worldwide social network, you’ll find all sorts of other technologies that have changed our world in very different ways — and perhaps bigger ways.

Via Wired.

Facebook’s first ten years changed the world in more ways than you think.

Earlier this week, as Mark Zuckerberg’s social network celebrated its tenth birthday, WIRED looked back on some of its biggest innovations, including the Like, the Wall, and the Timeline. But these are merely the obvious innovations — the innovations you see every time you visit Facebook on your phone, tablet, or PC. Behind the scenes, inside the massive data centers that power this worldwide social network, you’ll find all sorts of other technologies that have changed our world in very different ways — and perhaps bigger ways.