An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from the NY Times: "Advances in an artificial intelligence technology that can recognize patterns offer the possibility of machines that perform human activities like seeing, listening and thinking. ... But what is new in recent months is the growing speed and accuracy of deep-learning programs, often called artificial neural networks or just 'neural nets' for their resemblance to the neural connections in the brain. 'There has been a number of stunning new results with deep-learning methods,' said Yann LeCun, a computer scientist at New York University who did pioneering research in handwriting recognition at Bell Laboratories. 'The kind of jump we are seeing in the accuracy of these systems is very rare indeed.' Artificial intelligence researchers are acutely aware of the dangers of being overly optimistic. ... But recent achievements have impressed a wide spectrum of computer experts. In October, for example, a team of graduate students studying with the University of Toronto computer scientist Geoffrey E. Hinton won the top prize in a contest sponsored by Merck to design software to help find molecules that might lead to new drugs. From a data set describing the chemical structure of 15 different molecules, they used deep-learning software to determine which molecule was most likely to be an effective drug agent."
An anonymous reader writes "The amusing 'but does it run Crysis?' question has a cousin: 'but does it run Minecraft?' The makers of Raspberry Pi can now officially say that yes, yes it does. Called Minecraft: Pi Edition, the latest flavor of the popular game carries 'a revised feature set' and 'support for several programming languages,' so you can code directly into Minecraft before or after you start playing. That means you can build structures in the traditional Minecraft way, but you can also break open the code and use a programming language to manipulate things in the game world."
avxo writes "According to an article on the New Zealand Herald, Kim Dotcom says his team has evidence showing that the Department of Homeland Security served a search warrant on Megaupload in 2010, forcing it to preserve pirated movies. According to Mr. Dotcom, those preserved movies are the center of the latest legal battle. 'When the FBI applied to seize the Megaupload site in 2012, it said the company had failed to delete pirated content and cited the earlier search warrant against the continued existence of 36 of the same 39 files.' He added: '[t]he FBI used the fact the files were still in the account of the ... user to get the warrant to seize our own domains. This is outrageous.'"
slashchuck writes "One of the drawbacks of Google's Nexus 4 was its lack of support for 4G LTE. Now comes a report from AnandTech that it's possible to enable partial LTE support on the device. It seems that a simple software update can allow the Nexus 4 smartphone to run on LTE Band 4. All users have to do is dial *#*#4636#*#* (INFO) or launch the Phone Info app. After that, choosing to connect to AWS networks should allow the Nexus 4 to run on LTE networks on Band 4. The AnandTech report states explicitly that the LG Nexus 4 only works on LTE Band 4, on 1700/2100MHz frequencies, and supports bandwidths of 5,10, and 20MHz."
Frosty P. writes "Scientists have discovered a new smell, but you may have to go to a laboratory to experience it yourself. The smell is dubbed 'olfactory white,' because it is the nasal equivalent of white noise, researchers report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Just as white noise is a mixture of many different sound frequencies and white light is a mixture of many different wavelengths, olfactory white is a mixture of many different smells. In a series of experiments, they exposed participants to dozens of equally mixed smells, and what they discovered is that our brains treat smells as a single unit, not as a mixture of compounds to break down, analyze and put back together again."
stern writes "The internet may be contributing to divorces (thanks, Facebook!) but it's also reducing the pain, especially the bitter fighting associated with joint custody. Calendars are now much easier to coordinate, and if one parent denies a court-ordered phone call to another, there's no way to hide the fact that the call didn't happen. Because of these and other technologies, divorce has changed radically in the last ten years. From the article: 'When [one divorcee] requested court-mandated parent counseling, the judge ordered the two to use an online tool called Our Family Wizard instead. Now, lawyers supervise e-mail exchanges between her and her ex, ensuring that each party responds to the other in a timely manner. All e-mails are time dated and tracked. Parents can create a shared expense log and receive automated notices and reminders about parental obligations.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The Register has a BlackBerry 10 preview up. They say, 'BlackBerry users have a love-hate relationship with their phones. The devices were often forced upon users rather than chosen. At the same time, the handhelds were the most usable and useful communications gadgets you could put in your pocket.' The preview is surprisingly positive, and it goes on to look at BB10's Hub/notifications feature, which they call 'utilitarian' and efficient compared to Windows Phones, which are more about 'style and novelty' whilst being 'a bit limiting.' BlackBerry's implementation may actually improve the system, rather than detracting from it. With BlackBerry providing a QT environment (compatible with Sailfish, which we discussed earlier) and RIM having managed to maintain BB's 3rd place in the mobile OS market, there may a chance for real three-way competition between QT, Android and iOS in the mobile market."
An anonymous reader writes "Alex Norton is the man behind Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox, an upcoming indie action-RPG. What makes Malevolence interesting is that it's infinite. It uses procedural generation to create a world that's actually endless. Norton jumped into this project without having worked at any big gaming studios, and in this article he shares what he's learned as an independent game developer. Quoting: "A large, loud portion of the public will openly hate you regardless of what you do. Learn to live with it. No-one will ever take your project as seriously as you, or fully realize what you're going through. ... The odds of you making money out of it are slim. If you want to succeed, you'll likely have to sell out. Just how MUCH you sell out is up to you.' He also suggests new game devs avoid RPGs for their first titles, making a thorough plan before you begin (i.e. game concepts explained well enough that a non-gamer could understand), and considering carefully whether the game will benefit from a public development process."
fustakrakich writes with news that a boat powered only by its sails has reached speeds of 100km/h for the first time. The team also claims to have reached 109km/h over a 500m course. The craft took the speed record back from kite surfers, who have somewhat smaller sails but a massive weight advantage over boats. "Sailrocket 2 set the record last week, and the speed 54.08 knots (100.1 km/h) the craft achieved has been recognized by the World Sailing Speed Record Council as the new mark in Class B for vessels traversing a 500 meter course. The speed is higher than any other vessel recorded in the Council’s lists and is the only recorded speed over 100 km/h." Gizmag has a more detailed article about Sailrocket 2's exploits, and says in an update that the craft achieved speeds of 121km/h today (65.37 knots).
An anonymous reader writes "An article at BusinessWeek highlights an issue most corporate workers are familiar with: the flood of useless reply-all emails endemic to any big organization. Companies are beginning to realize how much time these emails can waste in aggregate across an entire company, and some are looking for ways to outright block reply-all. 'A company that's come close to abolishing Reply All is the global information and measurement firm Nielsen. On its screens, the button is visible but inactive, covered with a fuzzy gray. It can be reactivated with an override function on the keyboard. Chief Information Officer Andrew Cawood explained in a memo to 35,000 employees the reason behind Nielsen's decision: eliminating "bureaucracy and inefficiency."' Software developers are starting to react to this need as well, creating plugins or monitors that restrict the reply-all button or at least alert the user, so they can take a moment to consider their action more carefully. In addition to getting rid of the annoying 'Thanks!' and 'Welcome!' emails, this has implications for law firms and military organizations, where an errant reply-all could have serious repercussions."
An anonymous reader writes "THQ has clarified comments made by 4A Games' chief technical officer, Oles Shishkovtsov, about why their upcoming first-person shooter, Metro, won't be available for Nintendo's new Wii U console. Shishkovtsov had told NowGamer, '[The] Wii U has a horrible, slow CPU,' by way of explaining why a Wii U version of Metro wasn't in the works. Now, THQ's Huw Beynon has provided a more thorough (and more diplomatic) explanation: 'It's a very CPU intensive game. I think it's been verified by plenty of other sources, including your own Digital Foundry guys, that the CPU on Wii U on the face of it isn't as fast as some of the other consoles out there. Lots of developers are finding ways to get around that because of other interesting parts of the platform. ... We genuinely looked at what it would take to bring the game to Wii U. It's certainly possible, and it's something we thought we'd like to do. The reality is that would mean a dedicated team, dedicated time and effort, and it would either result in a detriment to what we're trying to focus on or we probably wouldn't be able to do the Wii U version the justice that we'd want.'"
Zothecula writes "With the aim of providing some physical interaction between entertainment robots and guests at its theme parks, while still maintaining a safe distance between the two, Disney Research has created an animatronic robot that can play catch and juggle balls with a human partner. Caught balls are thrown back 2.5 meters (8 ft) to the thrower, while the developers have given the robot several different animations that play out when it drops a ball. These include a shaking of the head, looking behind, looking down, or a shrug of the shoulders."
ryzvonusef writes with news that hackers have taken down the local Pakistan versions of many popular websites, including google.com.pk, apple.pk, microsoft.pk and yahoo.pk. 284 sites were affected in total. Many of the sites were defaced, and a group called Eboz is taking credit for the hack. According to TechCrunch, "The root of today’s attack, it seems, came via a breach of Pakistan’s TLD operator, PKNIC, which administers and registers all .pk domains. Looking at affected organizations via PKNIC’s look up, it appears that all the sites are now redirecting to two nameservers, dns1.freehostia.com and dns2.freehostia.com."
David Hume writes "The Los Angeles Times has a story about the two-year University of Tulsa Cyber Corps Program. About '85% of the 260 graduates since 2003 have gone to the NSA, which students call "the fraternity," or the CIA, which they call "the sorority."' 'Other graduates have taken positions with the FBI, NASA and the Department of Homeland Security.' According to the University of Tulsa website, two programs — the National Science Foundation's Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship for Service and the Department of Defense's (DOD's) Information Assurance Scholarship Program — provide scholarships to Cyber Corps students."
dncsky1530 writes "UNSW professor Richard Buckland, lecturer of the famous Computing 1 course on YouTube, is now running a large scale open online Computer Science course for the world. UNSW Computing 1 — PuzzleQuest and the Art of Programming starts off with microprocessors and works it way through C with interactive activities while taking students on an adventure of hacking, cracking and problem solving. It's based around a three month long PuzzleQuest with grand and suspiciously unspecified prizes as well as fame and glory for the intrepid. The next class starts December 3rd 2012."