Researchers for [IBM] are working on a technology known as racetrack memory which uses tiny magnetic boundaries to store data.
In a paper in the journal Science, the team at IBM’s Almaden lab in California outline ways to make the building blocks of the novel storage medium.
The capacity of MP3 players could increase 100 times from present levels.
But the IBM team say racetrack memory is still seven to eight years away from commercial use. [NOOO!!!!]
Hard drives are cheap but their moving parts mean they are not very durable. They are also slow in that they typically take a few milliseconds to find and fetch data.
By contrast flash memory is more reliable and data can be read from it much faster though it has a finite lifespan and is expensive compared to hard drives.
The work being done on racetrack memory by Dr Parkin and colleagues could produce a storage medium that is cheap, durable and fast.
Ultimately, said Dr Parkin, racetrack memory could replace both flash and hard drives in computers and other gadgets.
The racetrack memory stores data in the boundaries, known as domain walls, between magnetic regions in nanowires.
The medium gets its name because the data races around the wire or track as it is read or written.
The domain walls are read by exploiting the weak magnetic fields generated by the spin of electrons.
The tiny amounts of power needed to exploit these fields means racetrack memory generates far less heat than existing devices.
If the expected data densities of the technology are realised it could mean gadgets that have about 100 times more memory on board than is possible today. It would mean that a portable MP3 player could hold up to 500,000 songs.
“We are embarking on a path to build a prototype,” said Dr Parkin. He said it could take up to four years to produce that prototype and a further three or four to refine it for commercial use.
We are talking terabyte iPods, people! And lightning-fast multi-terabyte PC/server drives that don’t crash. You could use the same memory card in your digital camera for your entire life and never have to delete a single image.
Apparently the new right-wing attack group Freedom’s Watch is, shall we say, underperforming:
In Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, foreign-policy hawks thought they had found the conservative answer to liberal philanthropist George Soros: a deep-pocketed benefactor eager to dole out generous sums to right-leaning advocacy groups and grassroots campaigns. Adelson’s largesse, they believed, would underwrite the further advancement of conservative causes—particularly those regarding national security—and allow conservatives to do well-financed battle with ideological adversaries such as MoveOn.org.
Conservatives, of course, have long had a well-established network of think tanks, which have produced influential monographs such as the one that became the basis of the Bush administration’s Iraq surge strategy. And well-funded organizations on the right like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have mounted successful campaigns against Democrats. Nevertheless, conservatives in Washington have felt they lacked a comprehensive network of issue-advocacy, grassroots, and campaign groups that could influence the 2008 election and rally public opinion to support their national security agenda over the long term. So last year, when Adelson helped to establish Freedom’s Watch, a group that late last summer launched a $15 million media campaign in support of the U.S. troop surge in Iraq, hopes were high—both for Adelson and for Freedom’s Watch. As former White House press secretary and Freedom’s Watch official Ari Fleischer put it in August, “The cavalry is coming.”
Almost eight months later, some Freedom’s Watch watchers are wondering whether some of the cavalry got lost. Even as the group has mounted a new campaign to coincide with General David Petraeus’ testimony on Iraq to Congress this week, there has been conservative grumbling about Freedom’s Watch—and Adelson. And several Freedom’s Watch staffers, including its first president, Bradley Blakeman, have left the group. Now Washington conservatives are worrying that Adelson may not be the white knight they had wished for.
In not-for-attribution interviews, a few conservative think tank hands and activists expressed frustration that Freedom’s Watch has yet to develop a comprehensive strategy, and they gripe that it has been slow to set up a MoveOn-style infrastructure. Freedom’s Watch hasn’t realized its full potential, they say, in part because Adelson overly involves himself in the group’s decision-making and won’t heed the good advice of, �well, people like them.
“He is both meddlesome and attached to his own agenda,” says a conservative think tanker. “And he is not listening to people who are giving him good political and strategic advice.�… They are late to the game and they need to recognize that,” he adds. “MoveOn has had a microphone to itself for a number of years. Freedom’s Watch is not entirely ineffective, but they are not well organized or maximizing their impact.” (Conservatives may be too obsessed with MoveOn to realize that it’s a membership-based organization and not a precise model for a top-down outfit like Freedom’s Watch.)
Conservatives seem to be experiencing Soros envy, believing—rightly or not—that a well-heeled left has out-organized them. “The fact is this [liberal] network, it goes all the way from MoveOn to trial lawyers to the Center for American Progress: The left has all this set up, a very sophisticated structure,” this source says.
Those poor, plucky Republican underdogs. Once again, they are hopelessly overmatched by the awesome might of the all-powerful liberal conspiracy. If only they had spent the last few decades pouring billions of dollars into taking over media corporations and constructing a massive, coordinated propaganda apparatus. How will they ever get their message out now?