Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Earth's oldest object on display

Filed under
Sci/Tech

The 4.4 billion-year-old zircon crystal, barely two human hairs wide, was brought out at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Saturday.

The day's festivities also featured the Rock Concert, which was to include jazz from a band using rocks as percussion.

The zircon, found in Australia in 2001, led to a reappraisal of early Earth.

Analytical work by geophysicist Professor John Valley at the university in Madison, Wisconsin, showed the crystal could only have formed in a low-temperature environment.

That suggested the early Earth was much cooler than previously thought, meaning life-forming elements such as oceans were formed earlier too.

Computer beats

Saturday's accompanying music included jazz composed especially for the day to try to answer the question of what 4.4 billion years old sounds like.

Roy Nathanson, who composes for the performing New York-based Jazz Passengers, said his rock banging, jazz and computer beats would trace the crystal's origins.

"The whole thing is something that captures your imagination," he told the Associated Press news agency.

Professor Valley said: "This is our first glimpse into the earliest history of the Earth. The miraculous thing about the crystal is that we've been able to make such wide-ranging inferences about the early Earth."

The festivities also included a lecture from the man who decided the age of the crystal - Professor Simon Wilde of the Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia.

Source.

More in Tux Machines

Open source now part of Romania’s Digital Agenda

All of Romania’s public administrations are to use open source and open standards software. The government is making this a (minute) part of the 2014-2020 Digital Agenda, made public in November. The approach will increase interoperability of ICT systems. Read more

GNU Binutils 2.25 Released With Port To Andes NDS32

The Binutils 2.25 changes include support for the Andes NDS32 architecture and new --data, --include-all-whitespace, and --dump-section options. Among the changes for GNU ld in Binutils 2.25 is support for the Andes NDS32 architecture, support for the OpenRISC and OR32 has been replaced with the OR1K port. Gas for Binutils 2.25 has support for AVR Tiny micro-controllers, support for the NDS32, and enhanced ARM support. The NDS32 enablement within the GNU stack has been going on for a while with last year GCC seeing a port to this architecture, etc. The NDS32 from Andes Technology is a 32-bit CPU architecture designed for embedded environments using the AndeStar ISA and the SoC processors are marketed under the AndesCore brand. Read more

2014 Year-End NVIDIA Linux Benchmark Comparison

For this article today, the major driver releases of the year for their mainline driver were benchmarked while ignoring some of the later drivers in each series that just shipped bug-fixes or new kernel / xorg-server support after a new driver series was already in beta or stable. The tested NVIDIA drivers for this article include the 331.38, 334.16, 337.12, 337.19, 340.17, 343.13, 343.22, 346.16, and 346.22 Linux x86_64 drivers. The 331 series was the last driver series from late 2013 for reference. The graphics card used for today's testing was a GeForce GTX 780 Ti (Kepler) graphics card as being a high performance GPU that's compatible with all of the driver releases tested throughout the year. Read more

Quadcopter drone packs first all-Linux APM autopilot

Erle Robotics launched a ROS-enabled, open source “Erle-brain” autopilot that runs APM directly on Linux. The device also powers an “Erle-copter” drone. Over the last year, Spanish firm Erle Robotics S.L. has been working with 3DRobotics to develop an open source BeaglePilot autopilot for drones that can run Linux on 3DR’s popular, Arduino-based APM (ArduPilot Mega) platform. The APM Linux port was developed by both companies, as well as several academic institutions. The BeagleBone-based “Erle-brain” autopilot is built into the $490-and-up Erle-copter quadcopter. Read more