ITER Decision Reached

Finally after being delayed for several years, a agreement to build ITER (the International Termonuclear Experimental Reactor) has been reached. ITER will be placed in the European Union. There has been intense discussions on where to host the project with two sites, one in the EU (more specifically Cadarache, south of France) and one in the Japans.

The partners in the projects are the European Union, the United States, the Russian Federation, the Japans, China and South Korea. In order to get the Japans to yield their site they were offered 20% of the research posts while only paying for 10% of the project, the Japans will also host a material research facility.

It was important to host this in the Union over the Japans due to a number of reasons, firstly the EU has made the most progress in the area of controlled fusion research and secondly hosting such an important project in an earthquake threatened area is not an alternative as I see it.

The project is one of the most important scientific projects ever undertaken, it will in the end give us cheap, clean and safe energy. When comparing to the currently used fission reactors, fusion reactors do not produce any low active nuclear waste and fusion reactors cannot cause any major accidents.



The Anthem of Europe

One of the great obstacles that we must overcome together is that Europeans do not feel European. Peter Roland and Peter Diem wrote new lyrics for the Union anthem two years ago, in hope to promote European identity and unity.

The anthem is to be sung in latin, though there are translations into all the official languages of the Union (so that we can understand the text being sung). Using latin is smart, since no one can object about one language being favoured over the other.

The lyrics are available here!

Sing this, learn it by heart and spread the use of the song, for Europe!

Rippling Effect of the Referendums

It is very interesting to see how the referendums have changed the opinion in for example Denmark. Why do each state have the referendums on different dates? It is clear that the outcome of one referendum will effect the outcome in another, especially when the result is so exposed in the media as it have been. What happened when the Spanish voters said yes with a crushing majority? Well, nothing, except a small note in the newspaper.

I have previously written about how wrong it is with national referendums. This is another reason; at least the politicians could have the courtesy of having all the referendums on the same date in order to avoid this rippling effect.

There were complaints from the commission when the Dutch authorities released the results of the last EP elections one day in advance, fearing that it would effect the elections in the other states. Why is no one reacting now?

Dagens Nyheter


Sane ABI for Mac OS X86

I was a bit worried when Apple decided to switch to the IA32 architecture. Three reasons I had for this:
  1. To few visible registers
  2. No Open Firmware
  3. Brain dead calling conventions in System V ABI

Item 1 will be addressed in the EMT64 extensions. Item 2 is a lost cause. Item 3 was addressed by Apple when they defined their own ABI, differing from the Sys V ABI that GNU/Linux use.

Important here is that Apple mandates that the stack pointer is 16 byte aligned at call site boundaries, this implies that the base pointer will also be 16 byte aligned. So, for all 8 (or less) byte variables, the compiler can guarantee that they are aligned properly by the natural alignment.

Further more, in order to ensure minimal performance loss due to miss-aligned access, the ABI enforces a strict 4 byte stack element size, everything including chars are 4 byte aligned on the stack.

This also mean that you will put elements on the stack in the same way as on the PowerPC, i.e. modify stack pointer, place elements with offset from the stack pointer.

Thank you Apple, some hope in the darkness. Now, I only hope that you don't let the new machines be BIOS based, I grieve Open Firmware.


Microsoft bans Democracy

Microsoft just launched their blogging service MSN Spaces in China. In a move to appease the communistic government in China, users of the service was banned from labelling blogs with words such as democracy, freedom, demonstration, democratic movement and Taiwan independence. Entering these words as keywords resulted in a message saying: This item contains forbidden speech. Please delete the forbidden speech from this item.

On the positive side, users were still permitted to write about these subjects in their blogs. But just wait... that will probably be banned as well in a short while.

Financial Times
Full article at MSNBC, ironic isn't it?