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Sandia Labs on Enron betting pools and flying diapers

Sandia National Lab chief technology officer Richard Stulen just visited. A few highlights:

* Network analysts at Sandia studied the patterns of the e-mails in the last months of Enron Corp. They located a betting pool within the company. (Makes sense, considering that Enron’s entire business was based on gambling, both mathematical and legal.)

* Sandia researchers working with GM have designed a next-gen engine that could cut fuel consumption in half. It will take years before GM has those engines in its cars and trucks, though. He estimates that hydrogen engines are 15-20 years away, and adds: “We’d like someone to get aggressive with plug-in hybrid diesels.”

* Proctor & Gamble uses supercomputers to maximize diaper manufacturing. They have to simulate the racing lines of diapers, moving them ever faster while tweaking them to change the aerodynamics—and keep the diapers from taking flight.

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