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AI

+ - 204 Fabricating Nature and a Physical Turing Test

Submitted by arrow3D
arrow3D (2773363) writes "A new startup in Norway is focused on design and fabrication at the level and quality of nature. Using pure mathematical volumes, rather than surfaces or voxels, they are developing a new generation of 3D modelling tools specifically aimed at high resolution 3D printing, to "support the future of design and manufacturing". Their software was recently used to create the multi-material Minotaur Helmet by Neri Oxman from MIT, as featured in Wired UK last month. An interesting thought (as recently illustrated in Dilbert) is the idea of a Physical Turing Test for synthetic objects and that both Turing Tests may require each other — i.e. only by designing and building at the resolution of nature can we achieve the intelligence of natural objects. Their software platform is still very much under development but they've started trying to "save the world from polygons" with a KickStarter campaign that's live now."
Security

+ - 229 Cyberespionage For Everyone->

Submitted by Mephistophocles
Mephistophocles (930357) writes "A chilling article by Darkreading's Kelly Jackson Higgins describes how the growing accessibility of hacking tools like RAT's (Remote Access Trojans) have made cyber-espionage possible for more than just those financially backed by large nation-states, and speculates on what the implications of this may be:

"Researchers at Norman Security today revealed that they recently analyzed malware used in phishing emails targeting Israeli and Palestinian targets and found that attackers used malware based on the widely available Xtreme RAT crimeware kit. The attacks, which first hit Palestinian targets, this year began going after Israeli targets, including Israeli law enforcement agencies and embassies around the world. Norman says the same attacker is behind the attacks because the attacks use the same command-and-control (C&C) infrastructure, as well as the same phony digital certificates.

This attack campaign just scratches the surface of the breadth and spread of these types of attacks around the world as more players have been turning to cyberspying. "We're just seeing the tip of the iceberg," says Einar Oftedal, deputy CTO at Norman.""

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+ - 118 Computer Glitch Creates Voting Precinct With No Residents->

Submitted by
phishead
phishead writes "Barry Clegg, who chairs the line-drawing Charter Commission elaborated that the software "could not draw the line around the edge of the lake without putting a census block in the wrong ward; it would just connect along the shortest distance between two points, which meant a line across the lake.""
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Power

+ - 131 Atomic Comics: Comic books and the atomc education of America->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Great review of the book "Atomic Comics." Includes wonderful old illustrations from Atomic Rabbit, Atoman, Buck Rogers, True Comics, Whiz Comics, etc. Here's a quote: "Still, the comics had been dealing with atomic beams, weapons, and propulsion through most of the war, and if these comic strips and books were wrong about the details, Szasz notes, "the fact that the American public instantly grasped the basic outlines of the atomic age almost surely has its roots in the larger-than-life adventures of Superman, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, and Mickey Mouse, and well as other long-forgotten characters from that 'loose and baggy creature' of American popular culture."""
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Biotech

+ - 195 Study Claims Human Intelligence Peaked Two to Six Millennia Ago-> 1

Submitted by eldavojohn
eldavojohn (898314) writes "Professor Gerald "Jerry" Crabtree of Stanford's Crabtree Laboratory published a paper (PDF warning) that has appeared in two parts in "Trends in Genetics." The paper opens with a very controversial suggestion, 'I would be willing to wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions' and from there speculates we're on the decline of human intelligence and we have been for at least a couple millennia. His argument seems to suggest that agriculture and, following from that, cities have allowed us to break free of such environmental forces on competitive genetic mutations — a la Mike Judge's theory. However, the conclusion of the paper urges humans to keep calm and carry on as any attempt to fix this genetic trend would almost certainly be futile and disturbing."
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Robotics

+ - 162 1 million robots to replace 1 million humans at Foxconn->

Submitted by
kkleiner
kkleiner writes "Foxconn, the Chinese electronics manufacturer that builds numerous mobile devices and gaming consoles, previously said the company would be aiming to replace 1 million Foxconn workers with robots within 3 years. It appears as if Foxconn has started the ball in motion. Since the announcement, a first batch of 10,000 robots — aptly named Foxbots — appear to have made their way into at least one factory, and by the end of 2012, another 20,000 more will be installed"
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Programming

+ - 229 Ask Slashdot: How to catch Photoshop plagiarism 4

Submitted by jemenake
jemenake (595948) writes "A friend of mine teaches electronic media (Photoshop, Premiere, etc.) at a local high-school. Right now, they're doing Photoshop, and each chapter in the book starts with an "end result" file which shows what they're going to construct in that chapter, and then, given the basic graphical assets (background textures, photos, etc.), the students need to duplicate the same look in the final-result file.

The problem, of course, is that some students just grab the final-result file and rename it and turn it in. Some are a little less brazen and they rename a few layers, maybe alter the colors on a few images, etc. So, it becomes time-consuming for her to open each file alongside the final-result file to see if it's "too perfect".

When I first discovered that she was doing this, my first reaction was that there's got to be some automated way of catching the cheaters. Of course, my first idea of just doing MD5 hashes of each file won't work, since most kids alter the file a little bit.

A second idea I had was to alter the final-result file in a way that isn't obvious, like removing someone's shoelace, mis-spelling a word in the background, or removing/adding some dust-specks. (I know map publishers and music transcribers use this trick to catch copiers). But this still requires that she look for the alteration in each file. I'd think that Photoshop, after all these years, would have some kind of scripting language which also supports some digital watermarking, but I've just never dabbled in that realm.

And, of course, I guess another solution would be for her to not provide the end-result file in Photoshop format, but to export it as a flat image. But I'm still intrigued by the notion of being able to "fuzzily" compare two photoshop files or images to find the ones which are too similar in certain aspects (color histograms, where the edges are, level of noise, whatever).

Anybody else have any clever ideas for this?"
Robotics

+ - 202 Mind-Controlled Robot Avatars Inch Towards Reality->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Researchers at the CNRS-AIST Joint Robotics Laboratory (a collaboration between France's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology) are developing software that allows a person to drive a robot with their thoughts alone. The technology could one day give a paralyzed patient greater autonomy through a robotic agent or avatar."
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Google

+ - 155 Acer C7 Chromebooks Expand Chrome OS Market->

Submitted by
Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google is following up last month’s Samsung Chromebooks with a new, lower-priced one developed by Acer. Retailing for $199, the 11.6-inch Acer C7 Chromebook features an Intel Celeron 847 processor, 2GB of DDR3 memory, a 320GB hard drive, three USB 2.0 ports and an HDMI port for various cords and auxiliary devices. It’s designed for portability, weighing 3.05 pounds and measuring an inch thick. Boot time is reportedly less than 18 seconds.

If the new Chromebook has a weakness, it’s the advertised 3.5 hours of battery life. That’s less than the MacBook Air (which features anywhere from 5-7 hours’ battery life, depending on specs) and many of the Windows-backed Ultrabooks, some of which claim up to 11 hours of battery life depending on usage. It’s also far less than the posted battery life for tablets such as Apple’s iPad and Google’s Nexus 7, which are widely viewed as the most prominent competition to laptops in the extra-portable category."

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Businesses

+ - 163 Here come the humanoids. There go U.S. jobs-> 1

Submitted by
concealment
concealment writes "Rethink Robotics founder Rodney Brooks took to the stage at the Techonomy conference here to talk about the wonders of his new robot, Baxter, which is designed to work on factory floors doing dull and necessary tasks. He costs just $25,000 and works for what amounts to $4 an hour.

Baxter is a step forward in robotics with mass potential. It has a face and sensors to tell it when people are near. It's about as close to a humanoid robot as we can get, and Brooks said it's just the beginning.

"Within 10 years, we're going to see humanoid robots," said Brooks, who was a co-founder of iRobot, maker of iRoomba, the vacuum cleaner robot."

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Science

+ - 123 Wayback Machine trumps FOI tribunal->

Submitted by calder123
calder123 (911363) writes "Last week, the BBC won an FOIA tribunal ruling that they didn't have to reveal the names of attendees at a seminar in 2006, designed to shape the BBC's coverage of climate change issues. The document, uncovered by Maurizio Morabito, puts comments by the BBC that the meeting was held under Chatham House rules, and that that the seminar drew on top scientific advice in an interesting light. In a bizarre co-incidence, four of the BBC's attendees at the seminar have resigned in the last few days."
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Businesses

+ - 269 Mark Cuban: Facebook Is Driving Away Brands - Starting With Mine->

Submitted by
concealment
concealment writes "Tech billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says he is fed up with Facebook and will take his business elsewhere. He's sick of getting hit with huge fees to send messages to his team's fans and followers.

Two weeks ago Cuban tweeted out a screen grab of an offer he'd received from Facebook. The social network wanted to charge him $3,000 to reach 1 million people. Along with the screen grab, Cuban wrote, "FB is blowing it? This is the first step. The Mavs are considering moving to Tumblr or to new MySpace as primary site.""

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+ - 110 Best 32-bit System In 2012->

Submitted by
justthinkit
justthinkit writes "I have a number of applications that will not run on 64-bit Windows, but I would like to gain the benefits (most better caching) of having more than 4GB of RAM. Am I stuck with these Windows operating systems? And why is Windows Server 2008 Datacenter and Enterprise not included on that page? Should I go with a Linux or Win 7/8 system, and run a VM of Windows XP? Is this a solved problem or a lost cause?"
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Music

+ - 193 Why dissonant music sounds 'wrong'-> 1

Submitted by
ananyo
ananyo writes "Many people dislike the clashing dissonances of modernist composers such as Arnold Schoenberg. But what’s our problem with dissonance?
There has long been thought to be a physiological reason why at least some kinds of dissonance sound jarring. Two tones close in frequency interfere to produce 'beating': what we hear is just a single tone rising and falling in loudness. If the difference in frequency is within a certain range, rapid beats create a rattling sound called roughness. An aversion to roughness has seemed consistent with the common dislike of intervals such as minor seconds.
Yet when cognitive neuroscientist Marion Cousineau of the University of Montreal in Quebec and her colleagues asked amusic subjects (who cannot distinguish between different musical tones). to rate the pleasantness of a whole series of intervals, they showed no distinctions between any of the intervals but disliked beating as much as people with normal hearing.
Instead the researchers propose that harmonicity is the key. Notes contain many overtones — frequencies that are whole-number multiples of the basic frequency in the note. For consonant 'pleasant sounding' intervals the overtones of the two notes tend to coincide as whole-number multiples, whereas for dissonant intervals this is no longer the case.
The work suggests that harmonicity is more important than beating for dissonance aversion in normal hearers (abstract)."

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Microsoft

+ - 126 Windows Head Leaves Microsoft

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "The Guardian reports that in a shocking move move that comes just two weeks after the launch of Windows 8, Steven Sinofsky, the head of the Windows division at Microsoft is to leave the company. Sinofsky had been at the company for 23 years and had been seen by some as a future chief executive of the software giant but according to reports, there had been growing executive friction between Sinofsky and other top executives at the company. "This is shocking news. This is very surprising," says Brendan Barnicle, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities. "Like a lot of people, I thought Sinofsky was in line to potentially be Ballmer's successor." Sinofsky's place will be taken by Julie Larson-Green, another Windows executive who has been at Microsoft nearly as long as Sinofsky – joining in 1993 – and will be in charge of hardware and software for Windows. "If this had happened before Windows 8 shipped, I would have worried about potential delays," says Al Hilwa, program director for application software at the research company IDC. "The strategy of folding PC, tablet, phone and set-top into a single platform and ecosystem is the right strategy, and likely will continue to be the strategy of record.""
Oracle

+ - 253 Oracle makes Red Hat kernel changes available as broken-out patches->

Submitted by Artefacto
Artefacto (1207766) writes "The Ksplice team has made available a git repository with the changes Red Hat made to the kernel broken down. They are calling this project RedPatch.

This comes in response to a policy change Red Hat had operated in early 2011 with the goal of undercutting Oracle and other vendor's strategy of poaching RedHat's customers. The Ksplice team says they've doing the work they're now making available since the policy was implemented; they claim to be now making it public because they "feel everyone in the Linux community can benefit from the work".

For Ksplice, we build individual updates for each change and rely on source patches that are broken-out, not a giant tarball. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to take the right patches to create individual updates for each fix, and to skip over the noise — like a change that speeds up bootup — which is unnecessary for an already-running system. We’ve been taking the monolithic Red Hat patch tarball and breaking it into smaller commits internally ever since they introduced this change.

At Oracle, we feel everyone in the Linux community can benefit from the work we already do to get our jobs done, so now we’re sharing these broken-out patches publicly.

"

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Google

+ - 167 Flash Player Update Forces Installation of Google Toolbar-> 4

Submitted by
breakpoint8088
breakpoint8088 writes "Flash users who don't want the Google Toolbar should avoid updating Flash, at least on 64-bit Windows 7. I finally relented and allowed Adobe Flash to update on my Windows 7 box, and my security solution caught it trying to install the Google Toolbar-- without asking. Other people are seeing this as well. Adobe has not yet commented."
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Microsoft

+ - 109 Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft With Immediate Effect->

Submitted by toomanyairmiles
toomanyairmiles (838715) writes "The BBC reports that Microsoft's head of Windows division Steven Sinofsky has left the company with immediate effect. He will be replaced by Julie Larson-Green "Microsoft Corp. today announced that Windows and Windows Live President Steven Sinofsky will be leaving the company and that Julie Larson-Green will be promoted to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering. Tami Reller retains her roles as chief financial officer and chief marketing officer and will assume responsibility for the business of Windows. Both executives will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. ""
Link to Original Source

+ - 141 15 year jail sentence for pirating movies.-> 1

Submitted by
Xpo3
Xpo3 writes ""The RIAA has welcomed a mind-boggling jail sentence handed to a man who sold pirated movies and music. The 37-year-old man pleaded guilty to six felony counts of selling counterfeit media after he sold five movies and one music CD to an undercover investigator without the permission of copyright holders. As a result he will go to jail in Mississippi for 15 years to be followed by three years of supervised release." -TorrentFreak"
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Crime

+ - 264 In Mississippi: 15 Year Jail Sentence For Movie and Music Copyright Infringement->

Submitted by patella.whack
patella.whack (2630677) writes "A guilty plea for six counts of selling counterfeit media gets a defendant 15 years in Mississippi. An undercover reporter from the Attorney General’s Intellectual Property Theft Task Force managed to buy a total of five copied movies and one music CD from the defendant who had 10,500 pirated discs at home and 2 prior convictions: one for assaulting a police officer 17 years ago and one for CD piracy that got him a year under house arrest.

          Says the RIAA: "[This] highlights the fact that the individuals engaging in these activities are frequently serial criminals for whom IP theft is simply the most convenient and profitable way they could steal from others."

          Frequently serial criminals? 15 years? I wonder how much of his sentence can be attributed to his priors rather than to other factors..."

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