Mighty Titan

Torment of the Titans Atlas & Prometheus,
Laconian black-figure amphora C6th B.C., Vatican City Museums (credit theoi.com)
*Shrugs* No, it's neither Atlas, nor Prometheus.

The US DoE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have "launched a new era of scientific supercomputing" with the latest most powerful supercomputer yet known as Titan.
In their Oct 29 press release, ORNL announced the launching of the 20-petaflop-supercomputer (that's 20 trillion calculations per second, WHOA!), containing 18,688 nodes, with each holding a 16-core AMD Opteron 6274 processor and an NVIDIA Tesla K20 graphics processing unit (GPU) accelerator. Titan also has more than 700 terabytes of memory. This system is 10 times faster than its ORNL predecessor, Jaguar, and uses only marginally more electricity (5 times more energy efficient).

ORNL's supercomputer Titan (click for high-resolution image)

By relying on 299,008 CPU cores and its new GPU system, "Titan will allow scientists to simulate physical systems more realistically and in far greater detail" —announced James Hack, director of ORNL's National Center for Computational Sciences in the fields of energy, climate change, materials and other disciplines (more on scientific applications here).

Titan will be open to select projects, 40 projects a year will continue to be given access to the lab’s massive computational facilities based on their scientific merits, reports Russia Today.

At par with IBM's Sequoia BlueGene/Q, and slightly ahead of China's Tianhe-1A, Titan is a new important achievement in computational technologies and hopefully will help us solve a lot of our scientific research problems in the near future.



Into the Future

A conceptual futuristic city (credit Great Leadership)

The future, the ultimate unknown to the human mind, has been the central focus of our cultures and civilizations since ever. We have always pictured it as better, with solutions to all our medical, technological, cultural,... problems. This is probably one of the major reasons to give us hope in our daily lives.

We may not know how the future is going to be (or do we?), but we sure can orient it towards a desired outcome by actions we perform in the present.

But what are we doing to reach the fantastic future we dream of in movies and novels?

More than 1/7th of the earth population is under the weight of hunger while food production and demographic growth are not going hand in hand, consumerism is on the rise despite steep economic crises, finite resources are being carelessly wasted, extremism, fundamentalism and religionism are rising, civilian (non-military oriented) science is facing budget cuts in most of the countries, the industry of war is flourishing with more lethal and mass destructive weapons.

In short, we are doing it wrong. At this pace the future is bleak and nothing like we fantasize about it.

On these thoughts, I leave you with a brighter take on the future and time travel with a series of strips from my favourite comic Calvin and Hobbes.

(credit GO Comics)
(credit Go Comics)
(credit Go Comics)
(credit Go Comics)
(credit Go Comics)
(credit Go Comics)
(credit Go Comics)
(credit Go Comics)
(credit Go Comics)


The Savage Civilization of Apartheid and Hypocrisy

Advertisement that reads "Support Israel/Defeat Jihad" in the Times Square subway station in New York
(Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid)
After NYC, a court in Washington has ruled in favor of "anti-Jihad/pro-Israel" poster campaign.

The campaign raises many suspicions and a link to the worldwide riots against the awful US-produced movie "The Innocence of Muslims", which mocks Islamic beliefs and prophet, can be established as aiming towards the same goal of creating an anti-American/anti-Israel Islamist boogie-man, especially after many claims that Americans are supporting extremist terrorist groups in the Middle East (especially in Syria).

The message used in the poster says:
In any war
between the 
civilized man 
and the savage,
support the civilized man.
Support Israel. 
Defeat Jihad.
This is quite ironic, especially when calling for support of a racist and criminal state such as Israel, as opposed to an extremist concept which isn't adopted by most of the Muslims or non-Muslims who oppose the neo-colonization of the US.

You don't have to be an Islamist or extremist or a Muslim or even a religious person to understand how wrong this campaign is, especially that Israel, the party we're supposed to support as per the ad, is a criminal apartheid regime, which is settling into Palestinian land by using excessive and brutal force against men, women and children alike, a hypocrite system which exerts all kinds of inhumane measures against Palestinians, depriving them from freedom, keeping them under siege with bare access to vital needs, striking and bombing civilians on a quasi-daily basis under lame pretexts, then gets outraged when any act of resistance is expressed by the oppressed people.

“It’s a victory for all freedom-loving Americans,” claimed the attorney of the advertiser.
No mister, this is another phony exploit of the savage civilization of apartheid and hypocrisy that your ideals represent.
No mister, this is a victory for inhumanity and injustice against the people of the world and especially the Middle-Easterns and Palestinians.



Conquest of Freedom

I finally watched the supposedly controversial huge Turkish production Fetih (Conquest) 1453 ("Illegal" peer-to-peer download, if you insist), about the conquest and fall of Constantinople at the hands of the army of Sultan Mehmet II. (Update: Apparently the movie was officially banned in Lebanon)

A promotional poster of Fetih 1453 (credit: mintmax.tk)
Overall, it's a fairly OK movie —considering its cost of about $18 million but it seems the producers invested more budget on the CGI and hollywoodic cliche scenes than on the actors. Anyhow, the director managed to make a major historical personality and influential on the world history appear as a delusional, lucky, poor tactician (but with great faith and commitment to the conquest, nevertheless). On the other hand, the historical context is pretty much real, but also one-sided and overlooks a lot of facts about the terrorism of the Ottomans, but would you expect otherwise?

I happened to have watched the movie in a period where the world is boiling with protests against the very controversial (in timing and motives) US-produced movie "The Innocence of Muslims" (which happens to be a terrible low budget production, judging from the trailer published online).

Naturally, being advocate of freedom of thought and expression, I believe in the importance of art in expressing opinions and delivering messages of all sorts no matter how offending to some, or far opposite to personal opinions and biases (provided the quality of the artwork is decent enough, and it's not serving a terrorist political agenda).

No book or movie banning, no protests, no riots and no violence is an acceptable response or can constitute enough reason to threaten the sacred right of expressing thoughts, criticizing ideas and dogmas, expressing a historical point of view, etc.

If you are not supposed to criticize and mock something, then there must be something legitimately deserving criticism and mocking about it.

It's about time we stop fighting fire (of "offense") with fire, and move to the battlefield of arguments, logic and reason.



Why Did I Cry When You Died?

Death has never struck so close.
It came along like a thief in the night,
Discreet, silent and by surprise.
And like wildfire,
The poisonous news spread through my veins,
Paralyzing my body, mind and soul,
Inflicting all the pain of the world,
To finally sprinkle through the soul mirrors,
In a diamond-shaped tear.

I thought I have already killed my feelings.
I was absurdly wrong.
Love, friendship, care, protection,
Have lost their meaning without you.
Life, ambitions, dreams, future,
They are not the same after you.
Why did I cry you when you died?
If only could it have spoken,
My diamond-shaped tear.

I cried you when you died,
Mostly not because you were gone
And deprived from precious life.
Not because the path to god,
was shattered to no return.
I have cried a part of my soul that I have buried away,
Till my last breath, when you'll be my final memory,
And I'll be the guy who died, in his eyes
A diamond-shaped tear.