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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Intruder alert: 'Smart Dew' will find you!


A remarkable new invention from Tel Aviv University — a network of tiny sensors as small as dewdrops called "Smart Dew" — will foil even the most determined intruder. Scattered outdoors on rocks, fence posts and doorways, or indoors on the floor of a bank, the dewdrops are a completely new and cost-effective system for safeguarding and securing wide swathes of property.
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Exerting better control over matter waves (A first step to major new technologies?)


“The concept of matter waves is at the heart of quantum mechanics,” Oliver Morsch tells “At the beginning of the last century, scientists discovered that solid particles could exhibit properties of waves, such as interference and diffraction. Until then, it was assumed that only light behaved as a wave. But in the quantum world everything is basically a wave.”
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This is a great example of something that is relatively modest in itself, but could eventually be seen as the first step to new technologies of major strategic importance. Often the first step towards such major/revolutionary/transcendent new science and/or technology seems—deceptively—rather innocuous.


First automated carbohydrate 'assembly line' opens door to new field of medicine


Scientists from Germany today reported a major advance toward opening the doors of a carbohydrate-based medicine chest for the 21st Century. Much more than just potatoes and pasta, these carbohydrates may form the basis of revolutionary new vaccines and drugs to battle malaria, HIV, and a bevy of other diseases.
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Making quantum computing scalable


Quantum information processing is one of the hottest areas of science and technology right now. Making quantum information processing scalable is an important part of the efforts involved with regard to practical quantum computing. “By tuning the gap of a superconducting qubit, we can allow different types of coupling for use in quantum information processing,” Hans Mooij tells

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Tirade: An Extensible Smalltalk Data Interchange Format

Göran Krampe has proposed (and implemented in Squeak) a generic, extensible data interchange format for Smalltalk. His initial use is limited to code delta streams, but the format actually defines a generic, extensible architecture that could be used to represent any sort of data.

I like it. I second the motion!


2009 US Holidays

Most of the listed "holidays" will actually be business days, although some will not. The US Federal Holidays (on which most US Government offices will close, along with all Federally-chartered banks) are highlighted in bold. Generally, each business decides on its own which of these days (if any) will be non-business days (and for which employees):

Thu, 01 Jan 2009: NewYearsDay
Thu, 08 Jan 2009: JacksonDay
Mon, 19 Jan 2009: MartinLutherKingDay
Tue, 20 Jan 2009: InaugurationDay
Mon, 02 Feb 2009: GroundhogDay
Thu, 12 Feb 2009: LincolnsBirthday
Sat, 14 Feb 2009: ValentinesDay
Mon, 16 Feb 2009: WashingtonsBirthday
Tue, 17 Mar 2009: StPatricksDay
Wed, 01 Apr 2009: AprilFoolsDay
Fri, 10 Apr 2009: GoodFriday
Sun, 12 Apr 2009: Easter
Wed, 22 Apr 2009: EarthDay
Wed, 22 Apr 2009: AdministrativeAssistantsDay
Fri, 24 Apr 2009: ArborDay
Sun, 10 May 2009: MothersDay
Mon, 25 May 2009: MemorialDay
Sun, 14 Jun 2009: FlagDay
Sun, 21 Jun 2009: FathersDay
Sat, 04 Jul 2009: IndependenceDay
Sun, 26 Jul 2009: ParentsDay
Mon, 07 Sep 2009: LaborDay
Sun, 13 Sep 2009: GrandParentsDay
Mon, 12 Oct 2009: ColumbusDay
Sat, 24 Oct 2009: UnitedNationsDay
Sat, 31 Oct 2009: Halloween
Wed, 11 Nov 2009: VeteransDay
Thu, 26 Nov 2009: Thanksgiving
Fri, 27 Nov 2009: DayAfterThanksgiving
Thu, 24 Dec 2009: ChristmasEve
Fri, 25 Dec 2009: Christmas
Thu, 31 Dec 2009: NewYearsEve

The above list was generated by the Chronos Date/Time Library, using the following "do it":

| list |
list := SortedCollection sortBlock: [:a :b | a value < b value].
SemanticDatePolicy unitedStates
nominalAnnualEventOccurenceDatesInYear: 2009 do:
[:semanticKey :date | list add: semanticKey->date].
Transcript cr.
list do:
[:assoc |
cr; show: (assoc value printStringUsing: #rfc2822);
show: ':'; tab; show: assoc key]


Physicist develops battery using new source of energy


Researchers at the University of Miami and at the Universities of Tokyo and Tohoku, Japan, have been able to prove the existence of a "spin battery," a battery that is "charged" by applying a large magnetic field to nano-magnets in a device called a magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ). The new technology is a step towards the creation of computer hard drives with no moving parts, which would be much faster, less expensive and use less energy than current ones. In the future, the new battery could be developed to power cars.
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Dialectical Bootstrapping

The article "Is that your final answer? Study suggests method for improving individual decisions" discusses a new decision-making heuristic called "dialectical bootstrapping":

Dialectical bootstrapping is a method by which an individual mind averages its' own conflicting opinions, thus simulating the "wisdom of the crowd." In other words, dialectical bootstrapping enables different opinions to be created and combined in the same mind. For example, in this study, participants were asked to identify dates of various historical events. After they gave their initial answer, the participants were asked to think of reasons why the answer may be wrong and were then asked to come up with an alternative second (dialectical) answer.

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It's Easier to Observe the Failure of Local Realism than Previously Thought


( -- Local realism is something we live with every day, even if we don’t realize it. The principle of local realism combines two assumptions: locality and realism. Locality says that distant objects cannot directly and instantaneously influence each other (since nothing can travel faster than the speed of light). Realism says that the things we measure and sense are indeed really there apart from our measurements, and it’s not just our measurements that make them exist.

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