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Having a bite of the original Apple

Having a bite of the original Apple

It’s the kind of electronic junk that piles up in basements and garages — an old computer motherboard with wires sticking out. But because it was designed by two college dropouts named Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, it could be worth more than half a million dollars (€375,000).

An Apple 1 from 1976, one of the first Apple computers ever built and forerunner of today’s MacBooks, iPads and iPhones, goes on the auction block at Christie’s next week.

The bidding starts at $300,000 (€227,000). “This is a piece of history that made a difference in the world; it’s where the computer revolution started,” said Ted Perry, a retired school psychologist who owns the old Apple and has kept it stashed away in a cardboard box at his home outside Sacramento, California.

The green piece of plastic covered with a copper-colored labyrinth of memory chips was one of the first 25 such computer elements, and sold for $666.66. About 200 were made but most have disappeared or been discarded.
Various estimates put the number known to still exist from about 30 to 50. They came with eight kilobytes of memory — a million times less than the average computer today.

Vintage Apple products have become an especially hot item since Jobs’ death in October 2011, surrounding the mystique attached to this entrepreneur who joined forces with Wozniak to build computer prototypes in a California garage.

Another Apple 1 was sold last month for a record $671,400 by a German auction house, breaking a previous record of $640,000 set in November. Sotheby’s sold one last year for $374,500.

“This is the seed from which the entire orchard grew, and without this, there would be no Apple,” said Stephen A. Edwards, professor of computer science at Columbia University. “I’ve been shocked auction prices got into the six digits. The market has just gone crazy.”

The latest auction at Christie’s, “First Bytes: Iconic Technology from the Twentieth Century,” is being conducted online only from June 24 to July 9.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 22, 2013 at 7:56 pm

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A volcano is now a world heritage site

A volcano is now a world heritage site

Italy’s Mount Etna, one of the world’s most “active and iconic” volcanoes, was on Friday granted World Heritage status by UNESCO in recognition of its scientific and cultural importance.

The tallest active volcano on the European continent at 3,300 meters (10,900 feet), Mount Etna has been written about for 2,700 years and has “one of the world’s longest documented records of historical volcanism”, according to UNESCO.

“The diverse and accessible assemblage of volcanic features such as summit craters, cinder cones, lava flows, lava caves and the Valle de Bove depression have made Mount Etna a prime destination for research and education,” UNESCO said.

The volcano, in the east of Sicily, is one of the most-studied in the world and “continues to influence volcanology, geophysics and other earth science disciplines”, UNESCO added.

“Mount Etna’s notoriety, scientific importance, and cultural and educational value are of global significance.”

Situated near Catania, Sicily’s second city, the volcano, which is some 200 kilometres in circumference, was created by a series of eruptions beneath the sea off the ancient coastline of Sicily some 500,000 years ago. There are still periodic eruptions at the central crater. Lava flows down the sides of the volcano have sometimes threatened villages, which are built up to around 800 metres.

Catania city has been hit several times during eruptions, including being almost completely destroyed by one of the largest recorded eruptions in 1669, after which it was rebuilt in the Baroque style.

The zone listed by UNESCO — largely undeveloped except for a few seismic monitoring stations and some shelters along mountain paths — is part of the Mount Etna National Park, created in 1987.

The Italian delegate to the UNESCO meeting told that they were “moved and touched” by the decision.

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Future of monsoon could be erratic

Future of monsoon could be erratic

Close on the heels of a World Bank report — warning India of extreme more extreme droughts in large parts, resulting in widespread food shortages in the next few decades — comes more bad news on the weather front
Indian monsoon’s daily variability is likely to increase under future global warming, a new study has revealed.

Computer simulations with a comprehensive set of 20 state-of-the-art climate models were used to derive the likelihood of Indian monsoon to be all the more erratic in near future.

The study conducted by Anders Levermann and Arathy Menon, have found that the ‘‘increased variability’’ translates into potentially severe impacts on people who cannot afford additional loss.

Levermann said that all the different climate models have shown increased variability and adaptation measures are necessary to tackle the problem. He further pointed that if rainfall comes in a spell and is followed by a drought it can be devastating even if the average is normal. This requires the right kind of adaptation measures that account for this variability like intelligent insurance schemes.

The study pointed out that even if global warming is limited to internationally acknowledged threshold of 2 degrees Celsius, this would lead the risk of additional day-to-day variability of 8-24 per cent above pre industrial level.

Menon said that 4-12 per cent increase in the daily variability of Indian monsoon indicate to per degree Celsius of global warming which is a robust indicator that it is going to increase in near future.

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A woman’s face determines the length of a relationship, says a new study

Coming face to face with the truth

A woman’s face determines the length of a relationship, says a new study

Men looking for a quick fling prefer women with more “feminine” facial features, said a study on Friday that delved into the evolutionary determinants of the mating game.

Feminine features like a smaller jawbone or fuller cheeks are closely linked to a woman’s perceived attractiveness, which in turn is taken as an indicator of health, youth and fidelity and other traits, it said. Feminine features are associated with a higher level of the female hormone oestrogen, which is also linked with reproductive success.

Studies on factors that influence human mating mostly focus on women, who have shown a similar preference for a hunkier man for a fling but a geekier one to settle down with – possibly a more reliable bet for helping to raise children.

In a study with several hundred heterosexual male volunteers, a team of researchers made composite pictures of women’s faces, and asked the men which ones they would choose for long or short-term relationships.

There were two versions of each face —one with slightly more feminine and the other more masculine features. The faces were taken from European or Japanese faces.
They found that men rated women with more feminine features more highly for a fling. The preference was especially high among men who were already in a steady relationship.

“When a man has secured a mate, the potential cost of being discovered may increase his choosiness regarding short-term partners relative to unpartnered men, who can better increase their short-term mating success by relaxing their standards,” wrote the study authors.
But in making long-term choices, men “may actually prefer less attractive/feminine women,” they added.
Previous research has found that attractive women are likelier to be unfaithful, particularly if their partner is ugly.

“If his partner cheats on him, a man risks raising a child which is not his own,” explained the authors.

The study, led by Anthony Little from the University of Stirling and Benedict Jones from the University of Glasgow, appears in the British Journal of Psychology.

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