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July 17, 2013

Host: Ted Simons

AZ Technology & Innovation: Data Centers

  |   Video
  • Data Centers, which store digital information, have seen a steady growth in Arizona. Several factors have led to that, including a lack of natural disasters. We’ll take a look at OneNeck IT services, a Tempe-based Data Center.
Category: Technology   |   Keywords: technology, storage, information, tempe,

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Ted Simons: Finally our focus on Arizona technology and innovation, we visit a local data center. Arizona's data center industry is getting a financial boost thanks to new tax breaks that allow certain companies to avoid paying taxes on infrastructure, equipment, and utilities for up to 10 years. The incentives are designed to attract more data centers to the state. Producer Christina Estes and photographer Scot Olson take us behind the scenes of this growing industry.

Chuck Vermillion: You're going to just see rows and rows and rows of pretty much the same thing.

Christina Estes: To most of us, they just looks like big boxes. But to Chuck, they're his babies.

Chuck Vermillion: This is what they call EMCVNX. And right next to that is IBM XiV.

Christina Estes: These computer servers, network equipment, and information technology are processing orders, tracking victim shipments, and storing data for a variety of businesses across the country.

Chuck Vermillion: An interesting statistic, if there's a disaster in a company with regards to their data center or in some cases just a catastrophic disaster of their hardware, companies that don't have that data restored and operational within a week, the statistic is 90% of those businesses will go out much business if they cannot restore it in a week.

Christina Estes: The equipment inside this facility supports companies like fender guitars and Russell Stover candies.

Chuck Vermillion: Fire in this facility, that's my biggest fear.

Christina Estes: That's why they have several ways to detect smoke or heat as quickly as possible.

Chuck Vermillion: This gas will be released only in the area where it detects it. This gas will come up from the ground, from underneath the tiles as well as from the top, and it essentially somewhat sucks the air out of the room that then gives the fire needs air to burn, so it takes the air out.

Christina Estes: These flashing lights mean data is being transferred to keep them blinking, even during a power outage, they rely on massive batteries but even with the latest super computers, they still go a little low tech. Every day they back up changes to customers' data on tape.

Chuck Vermillion: Put the tapes inside, lock it.

Christina Estes: Canisters stored offsite and only they have the keys.

Chuck Vermillion: The amount of computing power that companies need is just expanding exponentially. And so the need for data centers is growing.

Christina Estes: Arizona is considered attractive because we don't have hurricanes, tornadoes, or big earthquakes that could destroy computers and buildings.

Chuck Vermillion: A data center is an incredibly expensive proposition. Somewhere upwards of $850 per square foot to build, plus the cost to taken main is huge as well.

Christina Estes: The electrical bills can be sky high. The temperature needs to be around 77 degrees, with humidity near 70%.

Chuck Vermillion: If you don't have enough humidity, then you have static electricity that builds up, and that tends to ruin equipment and wipe away data.

Christina Estes: They think the tax breaks are substantial and should help our economy.

Chuck Vermillion: Arizona used to be considered a call center capital of the world. So we had more call centers here than almost anybody. But those are relatively low paying jobs in general. Whereas the kinds of folks that it takes to build and manage and maintain not only the data center, but the systems that are in the data center, those are pretty highly skilled individuals, high priced guys with great average salaries.

Ted Simons: The valley is home to over data centers and is considered a top market for the industry. And it is a growing industry. It's expected that 80% of all companies will use data centers in some capacity within the next decade.

Janet Napolitano

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  • Former Arizona governor Janet Napolitano has resigned as Secretary of Homeland Defense to take a post running California’s University System. Arizona State University pollster Bruce Merrill will talk about Napolitano’s latest career move.
  • Bruce Merrill - Pollster, ASU
Category: Government   |   Keywords: government, update,

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Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Former governor Janet Napolitano last week resigned as secretary of homeland security. Napolitano stepped down to take a post as president of California's University system. ASU Pollster Bruce Merrill joins to us discuss the former governor's move. Good to see you again.

Bruce Merrill: Good to see you, Ted.

Ted Simons: Was this a surprise?

Bruce Merrill: Yeah, it was. I didn't know -- No reason I would, but it was certainly a surprise when I heard about it. Though keep in mind, at this time in the second term of a president's administration, many of the cabinet people do resign and will resign over the next several months.

Ted Simons: Was there any indication the administration wanted her out?

Bruce Merrill: Not that I've heard. Remember, she was the -- One of the very earliest supporters of the president, and they're very close friends. So my suspicion is that this is just one of those normal things where many of these people look around for what are they going to do for the rest of their life.

Ted Simons: Are you surprised that she figured out what she wanted to do was run the University of California system? That's a beast just like the homeland security was.

Bruce Merrill: It is, maybe more so in some respects. It wasn't a surprise for me in this sense. I worked with and talked with governors for the last years, she is certainly one of the brightest women I've ever met in Arizona. She's a very, very bright person. So I think she'll be comfortable in a University setting. She's very dedicated, that system has a lot of problems. She's going to have some real challenges. But I'm not at all surprised that she would be considered capable of doing this.

Ted Simons: Is she taking sometimes job people will tell you, take your next job with the next job in mind. Is she taking this job with another job in mind?

Bruce Merrill: I don't know what her long-term interests are. Certainly when you make this -- When you go to the presidency of a system like California, I'm sure she's made at least a five-year commitment if not longer. I mean, it's a big ship, it takes a big ship a long time to turn in any direction. She's going to have real challenges. I think what we do know is that it would seem to me she's decided that her immediate future is not in Arizona. She could have come back and run for governor and been very competitive and a Democratic primary. If McCain doesn't run in a couple of years, she is always wanted to be a senator. She might have done that. But by leaving Arizona and going to California, she really doesn't have much of a definable future in Arizona.

Ted Simons: Does she have a definable future in California politics?

Bruce Merrill: She could have. But my suspicion is she's going to be heavily challenged were the system over there. Education is in trouble. It's supported by taxpayers, and as you know the tax situation in California is very difficult. And so I think that that's not a place where I think that she would expect to have great successes that would propel her into running for governor over there or something.

Ted Simons: Or the U.S. senate.

Bruce Merrill: Or the U.S. senate. Although it's certainly possible. Would I never underestimate or I think she'll do a job.

Ted Simons: What about the Supreme Court vacancy. She's still a name there, isn't she?

Bruce Merrill: I think that's the most likely, if she were to leave. It may very well be that the president will have a couple of more appointments before he leaves. She's very close to him, she's a very fine attorney. My suspicion is that she would have a real shot at that. And that would -- It's such an important job. That's one that probably she could leave after a couple of years and not be criticized that she's just jumping ship for something else.

Ted Simons: Looking back, you mentioned Arizona. I know some democrats in Arizona are still upset with her for leaving. Some Republicans most Republicans in Arizona are upset with her just, you know, because she's a Democrat, they're a Republican, just out of formality here. Looking back, was leaving Arizona, the governor's office for this position in Washington, was that a smart move on her part?

Bruce Merrill: It was probably smart -- I would argue that's one of the most important positions for the whole country. National security as we've seen has been a major and growing concern. To be tapped to run that operation is a real tribute to her, I think, and I think it would have taken something like that to get her to leave Arizona.

Ted Simons: Does she have a legacy as homeland security director?

Bruce Merrill: I think so. I haven't seen a lot of criticism. I think there's pressure because of the Boston bombings now, but I think she's well respected. People forget with Janet, former governor Janet Napolitano, she was one of the most popular governors we've had I've been polling on every governor for 40 years, she got the highest ratings of any governor. And I think -- I don't agree with people who say she has no legacy here. I think she's done a lot for particularly education in Arizona, she did the all-day K, she was a real friend to the Universities and building the Universities as the driving engine of the economy. So I think she's done a lot.

Ted Simons: That being said, could Janet Napolitano right now emerge and make it in Arizona state politics?

Bruce Merrill: I doubt it. And for one reason, I guess we should be delicate about it, but because even though she was -- Had such an important job with national security, it was -- She was close to Obama. Obama is not very popular here. My guess is if I did a poll right now because of that association, that she would be much, much lower than she was when she left.

Ted Simons: Isn't that interesting. Last question. Is this the last we've heard as a public person? The last we've heard of Janet Napolitano?

Bruce Merrill: I doubt it. My guess is that she'll have challenges at the University of California system, but it's a bigger state, it's a Democratic state, where being a Democrat won't hurt her as much. There's a possibility the Supreme Court -- I don't think you've heard the last of Janet Napolitano.

Ted Simons: Bruce, always a pleasure. Thanks for joining us.

Bruce Merrill: Good to be here, Ted.

Krauss on Science

  |   Video
  • World famous physicist Lawrence Krauss makes his monthly visit to Arizona Horizon to talk about the topic of time.
Category: Science   |   Keywords: krauss, science, ASU,

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Ted Simons: World renowned physicist Lawrence Krauss appears on "Arizona Horizon" each month to discuss science news and issues. This month our conversation centers on the physics of time. Thanks for joining us. Good to see you again.

Lawrence Krauss: It's always good to be back.

Ted Simons: This is something that I'm trying to wrap my mind around, the concept of time.

Lawrence Krauss: Time is an amazing -- I know you're fascinated by it, but it is a perplexing quantity. Because it seems so different. The future is different than the past, at least for most of us, we hope. And yet the problem is the time -- The question is, is time real? Is time any -- Have any object reality of course it does. It does, because we can't repeat the -- We can repeat the conversation we just had, but perhaps not exactly the same way. That's done. That's in the past. But what the first wrinkle, if you wish, and I want to be -- To make a fun for that book "a Wrinkle in Time," but the first wrinkle was Einstein, who showed that time clockers tick at -- Clocks tick at different rates for different observers, depending on their relative conditions. If I'm moving with respect to you, my clock is ticking more slowly than yours. And we test that every day in undergraduate laboratories. But the thing I wanted to point out, it's not so esoteric. We depend on it every day. I depended out twice today when I was using my GPS. Einstein showed not only if you're moving while your clocks get slower, but if I'm standing on top of the table and I'm a little higher than you, my clock is ticking a little bit slower. The effects are so small, you'd think they would be irrelevant. But GPS works. All these satellites up there, they're traveling about 12,000 miles up, maybe 10,000 miles an hour, and they -- And the way it works, two of them beam a signal down at you, or signal up from you and back again, and they measure the time And they triangulate. So the difference in time between those two round trips is how they can find out where are you. You got a better triangulation if you have three of them. But if we didn't take into account the fact they're moving, and high up, it turns out in order to have a accuracy of a meter, light travels sort of 60 centimeters every nanosecond, every billionth of a second, so I have to have accuracy of a few billionths of a second to have a meter accuracy, or maybe a few millionths of a second to get 10 meters. It turns out the clocks are ticking at different rates because they're at different heights and speeds, and if they didn't take that into effect, then within about a minute, all GPS would stop working. We have to take into account the fact that their clocks, their atomic clocks are ticking more slowly than ours, so it's not so esoteric. Every day we have to use the fact their clocks are more slowly than ours.

Ted Simons: That's us adjusting to what time is as far as how we experience it. What is time?

Lawrence Krauss: You know, in physics, that's a really good question. In physics it's a parameter that allows us to say when things happen. In that sense it's like space. But it just seems weirder. What is space? Space is -- Tells me where you are. You're at some point in space and I'm in a different point in space. And we can tell a lot about what's happening by where we are when we come together here in the studio when our points of space converge, we have an event. We have one of these little dialogues. And time has a way of labeling events. What Einstein told us is space and time are tied together in a four-dimensional universe in which each point is a point in space and a point in time. But it gets weirder. Because I can do a circle in space, right, I can walk around this table and come back. But if time and space are together as part of the universe, why can't I do a circle in time? Because we all know as far as we can see that we just move forward in time. Can I travel backward in time? And that's a fascinating question. In fact, I've written about it, and in fact when I wrote a book called "The Physics of Star Trek" it caused a stir because Stephen hawking wrote the forward and he previously said time forward is impossible, but in the forward he said it was possible, because I said it in the book and I was right. But he said time travel is impossible, because if it wasn't we'd already be inundated by tourists in the future. I said they all went back to the 1960s. But that paradox, you see, if you can do time travel, and all the most for many people their favorite science fiction episodes involve time travel. We have cause -- In our world, cause always precedes effects. We predict things, a cause, and then an effect. But if I had time travel, you could go back in time and kill your grandmother before your mother was born. And then your mother wouldn't be born, but then you wouldn't be born, and if you weren't born how did you go back in time and kill your grandmother? Many physicists like Hawking had said time travel must be impossible because all these paradoxes as a result. But we've learned the universe is the way it is whether we like it or not. We don't know, Einstein's theory, because it connects space and time, tells us in principle time travel is position, because you could create a geometry where you could do a circle in time. Of the thing that creates that geometry, space and time, their fabric is determined by energy and matter. So the left-hand side is space and time, the right side is energy and matter, and so if I can imagine a mathematical universe with time travel, on the right side all I have to do is come up with the right configurations of matter and energy to do that and I'm going to interrupt you one more time. That's the open question. We know that the geometries can exist but what we don't know, can you create the configurations of matter and energy that would produce time travel? That's an open question at the forefront of physics and that's one of the things I worry about.

Ted Simons: Is it safe to say that you can travel, we will be able at some point to travel back in time, but only back in time if we have a certain parameter or if something has -- In other words, no one from the future can come back now, but in the future we can come back to a previous future because we've laid the ground work --

Lawrence Krauss: No.

Ted Simons: You're saying no.

Lawrence Krauss: We don't know. We don't know if time travel is possible. The point sits possible in principle, because mathematics allows to you create a universe in which time travel is possible. Mathematically you could -- But this is physics. We don't know if there are principles of physics that determine the energy and matter configurations that are necessary to produce those. Clearly if we saw someone from the future would it anxious that question, for we could see particles that go back in time, but at this point none of that is around and because of all the paradoxes, many physicists think the laws of physics, the ultimate laws of physics would in fact preclude creating those conditions of energy and momentum and matter that would create time travel. So there's a big debate about whether it's possible. What we can say now is at least it isn't impossible. But let me -- One other thing. We may not be going where you want to go, but I want to dash one more of your hopes.

Ted Simons: Please.

Lawrence Krauss: If you went in a time machine this, is something I remember from H.D. wells, no one realizes that hey, it's time and space. So the earth, we feel like we're at rest, but the earth is going around the sun at 30 kilometers a second. OK? If you went back in your time machine a minute earlier, so you went back in time a minute, but stayed at the same point in space, the earth would have moved 1,800 kilometers away and you would be now the space without any air or anything else. So every time they talk about a time machine, I think of going back in time and popping out and discovering --

Ted Simons: Yes. You're not going to land in the same spot.

Lawrence Krauss: Because the earth is moving.

Ted Simons: Alright. At the speed of light, time pretty much stops.

Lawrence Krauss: Not just pretty much, it stops. That's one of the reasons why there are limits on how fast you can -- How close to the speed of light you can get.

Ted Simons: Let's say some future generations can hit the speed of light. Does that mean there's no past, there's no future? It's all now forever?

Lawrence Krauss: In fact there are particles that go the speed of light. They're called light. [laughter] And for them, if you really were sitting on a lights wave, the entire history of the universe would happen instantaneously.

Ted Simons: If anything happens instantaneously, what is time?

Lawrence Krauss: Well, for a light ray they there would be no time. But one of the things that's -- One of the Catch-22s of relativity is because we have mass, it takes an infinite amount of energy to get to the speed of light. So we'll be able -- In principle we can travel closer and closer to the speed of light and it is true, it's not science fiction, if you were going around in a spacecraft traveling at 99.99% the speed of light, could you go on a trip that would take two weeks, but you come back to earth and 50,000 years would elapse. We test that all the time. We have in fact one of the simplest tests of that is the amazing fact if you had a Geiger counter, it would be clicking. And one of the particles that would be clipping from are nuons. They're created when cosmic rays hit the upper atmosphere and they produce these particles. At rest it lives one millionth of a second. You could show even traveling at the speed it is, it wouldn't make it down to the earth. But the reason it makes it down to the earth is its clock is ticking slowly and it says oh, it's a millionth of a second, time for me to decay, but in our -- But it's much more than a millionth after second so it makes to it earth. So the very fact we can measure these cause and create particles on earth, is due to the fact their clocks are ticking slowly. It's not subjective. It's not as if we perceive time to be -- It really is. It really travels at different rates for different observers.

Ted Simons: If we -- If time is a glorified senses of measurement here, or how we purr Steve it -- Perceive it --

Lawrence Krauss: It's a way to label when it happens.

Ted Simons: If that's the case, is there such a thing as infinity, eternity?

Lawrence Krauss: I watch TV shows that certainly seems like there is. But we don't know. We don't know -- We know our universe had a beginning, a finite time ago. 13.8 billion years ago. We know that. But the future, we don't know. And it -- All the evidence is that our universe will expand forever and ever. And the future is indeed eternal.

Ted Simons: Back to your book, universe or nothing, you're saying there was -- I don't want to get too deeply into nothing, is there a beginning to time?

Lawrence Krauss: Everything that we know tells us yes. Namely because space and time are tied, at the very beginning it's equal zero when the entire universe, if you took the known laws of physics was in a single point. The laws of physics break down. And time itself may have arisen. So when people ask what happened before the big bang, we can give them the answer, that's not a good question. Because time itself may have begun in the big bang. Time may not have existed before the big bang. We don't know the answer because the laws of physics break down. When space and time become so small that the laws of quantum mechanics governing the space and time, all of our theories break down and our understanding of time and space go out the window. That's an open question. But it could shall the time began with the big bang. That this clicking this, classical clicking of a clock that we, use to delineate events and time just like with the ruler, we, delineate events in space. That all makes sense only after the big bang. Before the big bang, where quantum mechanics was governing the nature of space and time, rulers and clocks may have made no sense.

Ted Simons: If anyone were alive before then, they would be looking at us right now saying these people make no sense.

Lawrence Krauss: They may have been, but it's hard to imagine how you would be alive when all of the hundred billion galaxies in the universe were compressed in a region smaller than an atom. But you know what? At the limits of our knowledge, almost anything is possible.

Ted Simons: Last question -- Are there any breakthroughs on the horizon, anything that you think is coming up in terms of understanding time?

Lawrence Krauss: Well, I always tell you the same answer. If I knew what the next big breakthrough was I would be doing it. That's what's great about science. It's full of surprises. It could be that we learn that our universe isn't four dimensional. That there are more dimensions. That is a possibility. And that would change the whole nature of space time. And it might reveal new aspects of time. We don't know -- We may discover tomorrow that -- The only way we'll probably learn about the nature of time is to keep on looking for these weird and wonderful things. And if one of them is discovered I'll come back on the show and tell you. Or I'm come back in time --

Ted Simons: We'll make a spot for you. We're out of time. Good to have you.

Lawrence Krauss: Thanks.