Leon Brooks Update

Update from PLUG:

Author: Alex Polglaze
Date: 2006-02-28 13:09 +1100
Subject: [plug] LEON BROOKS UPDATE

This is an update of Leon Brooks’s current situation.

Leon is in Royal Perth Hospital in a medically induced coma. He currently has a chest infection and the doctors are fighting that. They expect that it will be another 4-5 days before they can reduce the sedation sufficiently and assess the brain and spinal damage.

He is expected to be in Intensive Care for another 4-5 weeks and therefore cannot receive any flowers during this time. Also Lucy is not at home much, so please hold the flowers.

Currently, babysitting, transport and meal preparation and supply are under control.


Lucy thanks everybody for the well wishes and support and is mentioning everybody as she talks to Leon.

So keep thinking of him and hopefully he will recover.

Alex Polglaze

Here is a probably related ABC news item from Sunday.

Hang in there Leon…

Leon Brooks in Intensive Care After Car Crash

Bad news reported in a message to the PLUG list:

Date: 2006-02-27 13:54 +1100
To: plug
Subject: [plug] leon brooks

It is my sad duty to inform you all that Leon Brooks had a car accident on Saturday night and has severe head injuries and is currently in ICU.

Further details are sketchy at this stage.


Leon, I hope you make a speedy and thorough recovery. Get well soon.

Via Linux Australia

Non-Running Quantum Program Gives Answer

From the “my brain hurts” department..

New Scientist magazine is reporting that:

[..] researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have improved on the original design and built a non-running quantum computer that really works

Yes, you read that correctly.. they’ve built a quantum computer that doesn’t do anything but provides the correct answer.

This is from something called the Zeno Effect that has been exploited here to allow a photon to be influenced on a quantum level with a non-operational quantum computing program, but (through the constant measurement inherent in the Zeno Effect) not be allowed to actually execute the program. Through this influence the answer appears, even though you’ve never run the program.

One of the developers said:

“It is very bizarre that you know your computer has not run but you also know what the answer is,”


“A non-running computer produces fewer errors,”

I couldn’t put it better myself! 😎

Computer Aided Heart Surgery

This is pretty amazing, an imaging system linked to robotic surgical instruments have been developed that compensates for the beating of the heart possibly allowing surgeons to operate without having to stop or slow it during an operation.

Whilst they’ve only tested it on an artificial silicone heart the fact that this could end the trauma of open heart surgery and removing the need to break open the patients chest sounds wonderful. I’d speculate that this would reduce the risk to people from such surgery significantly…

Pioneer 10: Last Chance to Phone Home

Pioneer 10 (c) NASA

Just listening to a podcast of the Planetary Society where they were talking to John Anderson (Senior Research Scientist, JPL) about their research in to the Pioneer Anomaly and he mentioned that the last possible chance to communicate with Pioneer 10 will be coming up around the 4th March this year.

To give you an idea of the difficulties they face, they will be trying to detect a signal strength of around 8 watts coming from a craft 3 times as far away as Pluto is from us. Imagine having to first of all turn on a lightbulb 90 times as far away as the Sun by sending a signal, waiting over 12 hours for it to get there and (hopefully) start transmitting back and then waiting another 12 and a bit hours for that signal to come back to Earth and then try and catch it!

If the Deep Space Network does come onboard for this, and it works, then this will be the final icing on the cake for the Pioneer Anomaly team as that’ll be yet more red shift information to add to the the almost 40GB of data they’ve recovered from both the Pioneer 10 and 11 missions.

UK Heading for Energy Shortages ?

Blackouts ‘threaten UK Olympics’

Category: News article

Company: BBC

Year created: 2006

Overall rating: 4 out of 5

The BBC has this interesting story on how closures of UK nuclear and coal fired power stations, coupled with growing demand for energy, could leave the UK with a 20% shortfall in electricity supply by 2012, and still end up not meeting its Kyoto targets.

The survey polled 140 experts from industry, government, academia and environmental groups on their attitudes towards energy issues.


Nuclear power supplies about 20% of the nation’s electricity; but by 2012, nine of the 12 stations still operating will have closed.

A significant number of the existing coal-fired stations may have closed too under the European Union’s Large Combustion Plants Directive.

Tags: UK electricity blackouts