Here's a fascinating (for certain, functionally pathetic definitions of fascination common to geeks like me) look inside Google's query serving architecture. It takes a look at how they take advantage of parallelism (at the network, hardware, and processor levels) inherent in serving search engine queries and explain their practical choices based on hardware costs, power consumption, and the savings possible when using cheap hardware with fault-tolerant software. (via Aaron Swartz's Google weblog)
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. There are many examples
of outsiders who eventually overthrew entrenched scientific orthodoxies,
but they prevailed with irrefutable data. More often, egregious findings
that contradict well-established research turn out to be artifacts. I have
argued that accepting psychic powers, reincarnation, “cosmic conciousness,”
and the like, would entail fundamental revisions of the foundations of
neuroscience. Before abandoning materialist theories of mind that have paid
handsome dividends, we should insist on better evidence for psi phenomena
than presently exists, especially when neurology and psychology themselves
offer more plausible alternatives.
— Barry L. Beyerstein, “The Brain and Conciousness:
Implications for Psi Phenomena”.