Chronos is one of the many Smalltalk-related blogs syndicated on Planet Smalltalk

Discussion of the Essence# programming language, and related issues and technologies.

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Supreme Court Makes Two Good Decisions On Patent Law

Supreme Court Makes Two Good Decisions On Patent Law:

...the court has now made it clear that they consider software to be more of a blueprint than a component, and someone else can now make the argument that, based on this, software should not be patentable.
Once again, the Supreme Court has smacked down CAFC, saying that the lower court had gone too far in embracing an incredibly strict standard in determining obviousness. This is tremendously important, as the lower court's "test" for obviousness barely exists at all. Effectively, the only thing looked at is prior art, when the law is clear that patents need to be on processes that are both new and non-obvious. If this allows the courts and the patent office to start actually looking at the obviousness of patents, it could help get rid of plenty of really bad patents.

Full article


New pill would give obese easy route to health

From the article New pill would give obese easy route to health:

SCIENTISTS have created an exercise pill that tricks cells into thinking they are undergoing serious exertion and so helps the body burn extra fat.
The drug, a synthetic form of fat, has only been tested on animals. It appears to work by flicking a master switch within cells that regulates the laying down or burning of fat.

Ronald Evans, the researcher who created the drug, told the Experimental Biology conference in Washington DC over the weekend that such drugs could lead to new treatments for human metabolic syndrome.

Full article

About the version of Chronos distributed with VW 7.5...

VisualWorks 7.5 was released (finally!) a few days ago. For the first time, the Chronos Date/Time Library is included as a contributed component.

However, I would like to make everyone aware of the following points:

  • The version of Chronos that is on the CD (or that is available from the download page) is an ancient version from early January 2006 (more than a year ago.)

  • No Chronos parcels are included. Only the "" and "" files are present (because back in January 2006, I wasn't distributing parcel files for Chronos.) I've been including parcels in the VisualWorks version of the Chronos download archive since March 2006.

I really recommend that, instead of using the version of Chronos that comes with VW 7.5, you either download the latest version of Chronos (Chronos Version B1.196), or else get the latest released version from the Cincom Public Store.


Discovery of new family of pseudo-metallic chemicals

Discovery of new family of pseudo-metallic chemicals from

The periodic table of elements, all 111 of them, just got a little competition. A new discovery by a University of Missouri-Columbia research team, published in Angewandte Chemie allows scientists to manipulate a molecule discovered 50 years ago in such as way as to give the molecule metal-like properties, creating a new, "pseudo" element. The pseudo-metal properties can be adjusted for a wide range of uses and might change the way scientists think about attacking disease or even building electronics.


Next-generation, high-performance processor unveiled

Next-generation, high-performance processor unveiled from

The prototype for a revolutionary new general-purpose computer processor, which has the potential of reaching trillions of calculations per second, has been designed and built by a team of computer scientists at The University of Texas at Austin.


Scientists make major breakthrough in regenerative medicine

Scientists make major breakthrough in regenerative medicine from

Findings described in a new study by Stanford scientists may be the first step toward a major revolution in human regenerative medicine—a future where advanced organ damage can be repaired by the body itself. In the May 2007 issue of The FASEB Journal, researchers show that a human evolutionary ancestor, the sea squirt, can correct abnormalities over a series of generations, suggesting that a similar regenerative process might be possible in people.



Physicists bid farewell to reality?

A recent article in Nature begins:

There's only one way to describe the experiment performed by physicist Anton Zeilinger and his colleagues: it's unreal, dude.

Measuring the quantum properties of pairs of light particles (photons) pumped out by a laser has convinced Zeilinger that "we have to give up the idea of realism to a far greater extent than most physicists believe today."

By realism, he means the idea that objects have specific features and properties —that a ball is red, that a book contains the works of Shakespeare, or that an electron has a particular spin.



Mathematician suggests extra dimensions are time-like

Mathematician suggests extra dimensions are time-like from

In a recent study, mathematician George Sparling of the University of Pittsburgh examines a fundamental question pondered since the time of Pythagoras, and still vexing scientists today: what is the nature of space and time? After analyzing different perspectives, Sparling offers an alternative idea: space-time may have six dimensions, with the extra two being time-like.


Boy jailed over clock change mix-up

One more reason to use Chronos: Boy jailed over clock change mix-up.

You should also update your time zone rules on a regular basis.


Quantum secrets of photosynthesis revealed

Quantum secrets of photosynthesis revealed from

Through photosynthesis, green plants and cyanobacteria are able to transfer sunlight energy to molecular reaction centers for conversion into chemical energy with nearly 100-percent efficiency. Speed is the key - the transfer of the solar energy takes place almost instantaneously so little energy is wasted as heat. How photosynthesis achieves this near instantaneous energy transfer is a long-standing mystery that may have finally been solved.



Nanogenerator provides continuous power by harvesting energy from the environment

Nanogenerator provides continuous power by harvesting energy from the environment from

Researchers have demonstrated a prototype nanometer-scale generator that produces continuous direct-current electricity by harvesting mechanical energy from such environmental sources as ultrasonic waves, mechanical vibration or blood flow.



Flexible Batteries That Never Need to Be Recharged

From MIT's Technology Review magazine:

...a group of European researchers say they've found a way to combine a thin-film organic solar cell with a new type of polymer battery, giving it the capability of recharging itself when exposed to natural or indoor light.

It's not only ultraslim, but also flexible enough to integrate with a wide range of low-wattage electronic devices, including flat but bendable objects like a smart card and, potentially, mobile phones with curves.


Chronos Time Zone Repository Version 2007e Published

Version 2007e of the Chronos Time Zone Repository has been published. It is based on version 2007e of the Olson Time Zone Database.