I will think of a better name for this blog one of these days.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cancer Research Keeps Me Warm

It's freezing today. 15 degrees Celsius (59 degree Fahrenheit). To those in the US, that might not seem that cold but it's different in Taiwan. Buildings here either have no insulation or very little insulation. So if it's 15 degrees outside, it's 16 degrees inside.

Usually this means my hands are freezing, they're always the first to get cold. But not anymore. Many months ago I downloaded a program called Folding@Home. It allows me to donate my computer's extra unused CPU cycles to simulate protein folding. I don't really know what that means but from the Folding@Home website it says:
". . . when proteins do not fold correctly (i.e. "misfold"), there can be serious consequences, including many well known diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many Cancers and cancer-related syndromes"
So I'm guessing the goal is to try to find out why proteins don't fold properly. This information could be useful in finding cures for many types of diseases.

What does this have to do with warming up my cold hands? Well, when I set my CPU to run at 100% high performance mode, Folding@Home basically turns my notebook computer into a the world's flattest space heater. Right now my CPU is running at a toasty 87 degrees Celsius (189 degrees Fahrenheit). The hot air it's blowing out the side and the now slightly heated keyboard keeps my hands nice and warm.

It's a Win/Win/Win situation. . . Win for disease research, win for keeping my hands warm, win for . . . . . .

Oh yeah, hopefully a win for getting me a new notebook soon. I'm hoping running the CPU at 100% utilization all day (and the CPU fan at max RPM all day) will blow something up in this old computer. Then it's new notebook time! :)