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Seriously. IBM has taken microphotography to an incredible extreme. IBM scientists (yes, they pay scientists to do real science, even during a recession) have managed to capture an image of a pentacene molecule. Now, as you might guess, this is not photography in the canonical sense. It uses an amazing device called an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) a device that “feels” the very tiny differences in electrical charges in a material and assembles a 3D image based on these. The article and accompanying video describe how it was done. Gizmodo has another take.

What amazes me most about this is the absolute similarity of the “real” picture to the drawings and models used in chemistry and physics textbooks. Molecules actually DO arrange in geometric shapes, just as they have been envisioned for decades—the pentacene “picture” looks exactly like its diagram and model. Linus Pauling would be so proud.

UPDATE as would Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz, the scientist who originally conceived of geometric chemical structures.


In what must be a fantastic coup for the Maemo developer community, Nokia has announced a phone based on the popular Linux-based development platform. This marks a major step in the adoption of Linux in the smartphone market, and the blogosphere is buzzing. Well done, Maemo!


Shameless self-promotion: my article on running Angstrom on the Beagle Board is now up on IBM developerWorks. Enjoy & feel free to give feedback in the comments.

http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/l-beagle-board/index.html


Ars Technica let us know today that Novafora has folded. Last fall, Novafora purchased the steaming remains of once-promising hardware manufacturer Transmeta Corporation, which at one time was rumored to be developing alien technology. Transmeta was thoroughly trounced (some say illegally) by the competition and never made it to profitability, and eventually stopped producing products altogether in favor of licensing its coolness to others.

Now that Novafora is out of business, Transmeta is truly gone, and its brief yet shining era has ended. Transmeta was sort of a revolving door for many. I spent almost five years there from 1999 through 2004, bumping elbows with some of the smartest folks I have ever met.

What is saddest about Novafora’s demise is that they will always be remembered as those guys who bought Transmeta and then died. “What was it they were producing, again?” will be heard for countless… well, for the next week or two at the dive bar in Santa Clara. For the record, Novafora was a hardware company working on a video decoder chip, but not much had been announced on it, and now we’ll never know.

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