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A Canadian duo and their Kickstarter-funded, pedal-powered helicopter have won one of the longest-standing challenges in the history of aviation — keeping a human-powered aircraft hovering up in the air at height of at least 9.8 feet, within a 32.8 by 32.8-foot square, for 60 seconds minimum. The challenge, known as the Sikorsky prize, has withstood at numerous failed attempts since it was established in 1980, 33 years ago, even with a $250,000 bounty. But it was finally bested earlier in June by the Atlas, a gigantic human-powered helicopter designed by Cameron Robertson and Todd Reichert, aeronautical engineers from the University of Toronto, who cofounded a company AeroVelo.

The pair funded the construction of their winning aircraft through a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, and just barely managed to beat a rival team from the University of Maryland, whose craft Gamera failed to stay within the square-foot range required by the prize, as Popular Mechanics reports.

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Several times a year, Mr. Buffett invites business students from around the U.S. to Berkshire’s headquarters in Omaha for a day’s visit. He answers their questions, and they tour local businesses owned by Berkshire. Throughout the day, Mr. Buffett doles out lessons on life, telling the students to choose the right spouse and surround themselves with people who are better than they are. The ritual ends with a photo shoot. Each student gets to take two pictures with Mr. Buffett. The first one is a serious shot, the second is a funny pose of their choosing.

Photographer Stephanie Sinclair got the rare opportunity to photograph this ritual. Here are some of her photos from that shoot. (For the story and more photos, click here.)

All photographs by Stephanie Sinclair/VII for The Wall Street Journal.


‘I asked, “Would you mind grabbing my tie and pretending like you’re choking me to death?” He was in on it and he did it right away.’ —Pat Ryan, 29, second-year M.B.A. student at the University of Notre Dame


‘I said, “I’m going to whisper something in your ear,” and then I said, “Pretend I’m saying something very exciting!” And he started making these noises, like “Oooh!”‘ —Masha Dudelzak, 27, second-year M.B.A. student at the University of Toronto


‘I didn’t know he gave me bunny ears until my friends told me. I thought we were taking a regular picture.’ —Vu Le, 24, University of Massachusetts senior, from Vietnam


‘I wanted to do something unique to Notre Dame…so I asked him, “Could you put your hands up like the Fighting Irish?” He had seen the leprechaun logo of our school before, and I helped him move his arms into the right spots.’ —Adrianna Stasiuk, 25, second-year M.B.A. student at the University of Notre Dame


‘We saw another student do it with him and we asked if we could kiss him at the same time, and he said yes. He was very laid back and nice and fun.’ —Kelsey Kotur, right, 22, second-year M.B.A. student at the University of Missouri

‘I just thought it would be so funny to have a picture of us doing that; not many people get that opportunity.’ —Paige Halamicek, left, 22, first-year M.B.A. student at the University of Missouri


‘He just said, “I’ll just put you in a headlock, how about that?”‘ —Alex Williams, 21, senior at Gonzaga University


‘I got my friend’s ring and I was going to propose to him. He said, “Let’s do a good one,” and got down on a knee, grabbed my hand and said, “Please take me, please have me.” It was funny. I was so shocked.’ —Alexa Tavasci, 21, junior at Northern Arizona University


‘Students who went last year told us about the serious and funny photos, and the plan was to bring some props. I had couple of sunglasses from a previous party, so I brought them along and asked if he would wear them.’ —Andrew Robertson, 27 years old, second-year M.B.A. student at the University of Toronto

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The Open Data Movement aims at making data freely available to everyone.
There are already various interesting open data sets available on the Web. Examples include Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Geonames, MusicBrainz, WordNet,
the DBLP bibliography and many more which are published under Creative Commons or Talis licenses.

The goal of the W3C SWEO Linking Open Data community project is to extend the Web with a data commons by publishing various open data sets as RDF on the Web and by setting RDF links between data items from different data sources.

RDF links enable you to navigate from a data item within one data source to related data items within other sources using a Semantic Web browser. RDF links can also be followed by the crawlers of Semantic Web search engines, which may provide sophisticated search and query capabilities over crawled data. As query results are structured data and not just links to HTML pages, they can be used within other applications.

The figures below show the data sets that have been published and interlinked by the project so far. Collectively, the 295 data sets consist of over 31 billion RDF triples, which are interlinked by around 504 million RDF links (September 2011).

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Fabric Engine: Multithreading the Web

Google Tech Talk (more info below) June 23, 2011 Presented by Phil Taylor and Peter Zion. ABSTRACT The architecture in modern computing platforms has changed significantly over the last decade - multi-core CPU architectures and the use of the GPU for computation have brought significant challenges for software developers. This hardware is incredibly powerful when properly leveraged, but writing software that can take advantage of multiple cores and heterogeneous architectures is a daunting task. Factor in the many different software and hardware platforms that must be addressed, and it's easy to see what a tough problem this is. Web technologies solve one aspect of this problem - they are ubiquitous and bring many advantages to developers and their customers. In an ideal world, we would use the browser for all of our computing needs. However, web applications lag behind the performance of native applications - largely because the browser is unable to take advantage of modern hardware. This means that many types of application are not possible in today's browsers. As native developers begin to utilize multi-core CPUs and GPUs, this performance gap is only going to become more pronounced. Our talk will cover the following: - how hardware has changed over the past decade, and where it is heading next - how fragmentation is becoming a big deal again - the problems of developing for heterogeneous architectures - challenges around the performance of current web technologies <b>...</b>
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