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First protons fired, World still safe : Large Hadron Collider

Three decades after it was conceived, the world's most powerful physics experiment Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has sent the first beam around its 27km-long tunnel.
Scientists at the world's largest particle collider have fired the first protons into a 17-mile-long tunnel in science's next great step to understand the makeup of the universe.
Project leader Lyn Evans gave the go-ahead to send the protons into the accelerator below the Swiss-French border early Wednesday.
The $3.8 billion Large Hadron Collider was under construction since 2003. Scientists hope it will provide the necessary power to smash the components of atoms so that they can see how they are made.
The startup has been eagerly awaited by 9,000 physicists around the world who will conduct experiments here.
Some skeptics have said they fear the collisions of protons could eventually imperil Earth.
'It's nonsense,'' said James Gillies, chief spokesman for CERN, the host European Organization for Nuclear Research.
CERN is backed by leading scientists like Britain's Stephen Hawking in dismissing the fears and declaring the experiments to be absolutely safe.
Gillies told the AP that the most dangerous thing that could happen would be if a beam at full power were to go out of control, and that would only damage the accelerator itself and burrow into the rock around the tunnel deep below the Swiss-French border.
And full power is probably a year away.
''On Wednesday we start small,'' said Gillies. ''What we're putting in to start with is one single low intensity bunch at low energy and we thread that around. We get experience with low energy things and then we ramp up as we get to know the machine better.''
He said a good result for Wednesday would be to have one beam going all the way around the tunnel in a counterclockwise direction. If that works, the scientists will then try to send a beam in the other direction.
''A really good result would be to have the other beam going around, too, because once you've got a beam around once in both directions you know that there is no show stopper,'' Gillies said. ''It's going to work.''
However, if there is some blockage in the machine, experts will have to go in and fix the problem, and that could take time.
The LHC, as the collider is known, will take scientists to within a split second of a laboratory recreation of the big bang, which they theorize was the massive explosion that created the universe.
The project organized by the 20 European member nations of CERN has attracted researchers of 80 nationalities. Some 1,200 are from the United States, an observer country which contributed $531 million. Japan, another observer, also is a major contributor.
The collider is designed to push the proton beam close to the speed of light, whizzing 11,000 times a second around the tunnel.
Smaller colliders have been used for decades to study the makeup of the atom. Less than 100 years ago scientists thought protons and neutrons were the smallest components of an atom's nucleus, but in stages since then experiments have shown they were made of still smaller quarks and gluons and that there were other forces and particles.
The CERN experiments could reveal more about ''dark matter,'' antimatter and possibly hidden dimensions of space and time. It could also find evidence of the hypothetical particle _ the Higgs boson _ believed to give mass to all other particles, and thus to matter that makes up the universe.
Some scientists have been waiting for 20 years to use the LHC. But even their younger colleagues are excited that startup has finally arrived.
''I think it's a very important project,'' said Katie McAlpine, 23, a Michigan State University graduate who made a rap video about the project.
''It's mostly out of scientific curiosity, what is the universe made of? How does it work? What are the rules? That's very exciting and it's important to advance our knowledge,'' she told Associated Press Television News.
She said she was surprised by the success of the video, which has had more than a million views on YouTube and which has received approval from CERN for its scientific accuracy, especially in its success with young people.

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IT employees under scan

Wipro Tech puts 3000 staff under scan
Wipro Technologies has put about 4-5% of its workforce, about 2,400-3,000 employees, under the scanner for non-performance. While some would be given counselling to improve their performance, others would be asked to leave.

Wipro’s corporate vice-president (human resources) Pratik Kumar confirmed the move. “It’s a regular annual exercise. As the appraisal cycle gets over, a multi-layer review happens. Following that, people who have fallen in the lower quadrants of performance are put on watch. Some are asked to pull up and others are asked to move on,” he said.

Asked how many employees had been asked to move on, he said the company did not disclose that number, but it was “significantly lower than 2,000”. Company sources said about 1,000 employees were being asked to leave. “I can’t comment on a particular number,” Mr Kumar said, when asked to comment. The review includes all the 60,000 global IT services employees from the senior leadership team down to the person with one-year experience.

In February, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the country’s largest IT services firm, had given pink slips to 500 non-performers. IBM, too, had asked about 700 employees in India to leave, citing non-performance. In July, Patni Computer Systems had shown the door to 400 employees. While IT companies said the move was not linked to the slowdown in the US, a key market for IT services, there was a consensus that it was time for belt-tightening.

At the end of the quarter ended June 2008, Wipro’s IT services employee base had fallen to 61,345 from 62,070 employees at the end of the previous quarter.

“It’s not just our view, but the industry’s view, that we have to be thoughtful of additions and drive productivity. We took a closer look at our hiring and realised that we did not need to hire more, since there were people on the bench,” Mr Kumar said. Bench refers to the buffer of employees not assigned to a particular project.

As the company works towards improving utilisation rates while keeping a tight rein on employee additions, its bench strength would come down. At the end of the quarter ended June 2008, Wipro’s utilisation rate was 78% (excluding trainees) and 74% (including trainees). “We want to raise utilisation by 1-2% during the year and the bench strength would go down by a similar percentage,” Mr Kumar said.

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Google Chrome VS Microsoft Internet explorer 8 Beta

Google Chrome

Google Chrome is an open source browser based on Webkit and powered by Google Gears. It was accidentally announced prematurely on September 1, 2008 and slated for release the following day. It premiers originally on Windows only, with Mac and Linux versions to come later.
Features include:
1. Tabbed browsing where each tab gets its own process, leading to faster and more stable browsing. If one tab crashes, the whole browser doesn’t go down with it
2. A distinct user interface that places tabs on top of the browser window instead of right below the address bar
3. An “incognito” mode that lets you browse the web in complete privacy because it doesn’t record any of your activity
4. A new JavaScript engine built from the ground up for speed
5. Malware and phishing lists that automatically update themselves and warn you of bad websites
6. A default homepage that displays your most commonly used sites and other personalized information.

Download Link : Google Chrome

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 is released with 6 top features like Compatibility View, InPrivate Browsing, Accelerators, Web Slices, Smart Screen Filter, Search suggestionsNew security features help to protect you against deceptive and malicious websites which can compromise your data, privacy and identity.

Download link : MS IE8 Beta

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