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Math

111 Years Ago, Indiana Almost Legislated Pi 379

Posted by kdawson
from the squaring-the-circle dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "On February 5, 1897, 111 years ago today, the Indiana legislature very nearly passed a bill 'introducing a new mathematical truth,' that would have erroneously established pi as the ratio 'five-fourths to four' or 3.2. The story explaining the rationale behind the bill and how they were prevented from legislating it when a real mathematician intervened is quite interesting, because the man who discovered the 'new mathematical truth' wanted to charge royalties, which could have made pi the first form of irrational property."

Thinkpad X300 Specs Leaked 372

Posted by Zonk
from the little-tiny-thinker dept.
Kyokushi writes "Gizmodo reports that some specifications of a new ultralight Lenovo X300 have been leaked. 'It appears that Lenovo have themselves a new ultralight X300 series Thinkpad — and outside of the price and release date, we have all of the specs that you need to know. At a glance, some of the major features include: a 13.3-inch LED backlit 1440X900 screen, an ultralight 2.5 pound form factor, and Intel Merom Santa Rosa Dual Core CPU (2.0 Ghz / 880 Mhz ), a 64 GB SSD, up to 4GB of DDR2 PC2-5300 memory, and 4 hours of battery life.' If this is true, then Lenovo looks to have some heavy competition for the Macbook Air." Update: 01/20 22:55 GMT by S : Corrected Gizmondo->Gizmodo.
Privacy

The Doctor Will See Your Credit Score Now 464

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the what's-up-doc dept.
mytrip writes to mention that the same people who invented credit scores are working to create a similar system for hospitals and other health care providers. "The project, dubbed "MedFICO" in some early press reports, will aid hospitals in assessing a patient's ability to pay their medical bills. But privacy advocates are worried that the notorious errors that have caused frequent criticism of the credit system will also cause trouble with any attempt to create a health-related risk score. They also fear that a low score might impact the quality of the health care that patients receive."
Bug

Y2K38 Watch Starts Saturday 542

Posted by kdawson
from the not-a-good-day-for-a-loan dept.
Jon Masters writes "I just wanted to remind everyone that Saturday, January 19th 2008 will mark the beginning of the 30-year countdown to the Y2K38 bug, when Unix time will overflow 32 bits. Some 30-year loan calculation software might start having problems with this over the weekend."
United States

Anti-Game Candidates Do Poorly in Iowa Caucuses 111

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the games-probably-not-the-deciding-factor dept.
Ron Bison writes to mention Game Politics is reporting that anti-game presidential candidates didn't fare so well in the Iowa caucuses. "On the Republican side, Mitt Romney, who lumps violent video games into what he terms an ocean of filth, was badly beaten by Mike Huckabee. Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton saw both Barack Obama and John Edwards win more of the popular vote. Clinton has previously proposed video game legislation in the U.S. Senate. She recently told Common Sense Media that she would support such legislation if elected president."
Handhelds

Just What is this ASUS Eee Thing Anyway? 401

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the been-asking-myself-that-for-awhile-now dept.
davidmwilliams writes "ASUS have released a cheap subnotebook. It is far from state-of-the-art tech-wise, with 512Mb RAM and a Celeron processor. It has a 4Gb hard drive and no optical drive. Its screen is 7" and runs at the odd resolution of 800x480 and the operating system looks like something Fisher Price might have designed. Why would you buy it? What on earth can you do with this?" I've been wondering this myself given the huge coverage in the media of this thing.
Red Hat Software

Fedora 8 A Serious Threat to Ubuntu 334

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the they-sure-couldn't-talk-more-about-themselves dept.
Tubs writes "According to MadPenguin.org's latest article, Fedora 8 from Red Hat is a serious threat to Ubuntu. The author writes, "I was never that swept up with past releases of Fedora. There was nothing compelling about it. But for the first time, I cannot help but feel that the Fedora team has been spoon fed an extra helping of Wheaties, which has put them into overdrive with their accessibility efforts."
Music

RIAA Now Filing Suits Against Consumers Who Rip CDs 403

Posted by Zonk
from the because-we-needed-another-reason-to-be-cranky-at-them dept.
mrneutron2003 writes "With this past week's announcement by Warner to release its entire catalog to Amazon in MP3 format with no Digital Rights Management, you would think that the organization that represents them, The RIAA, would begin changing its tune. Instead, they are pressing on in their campaign against consumers by suing individuals who merely rip CDs they've purchased legally. 'The industry's lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are "unauthorized copies" of copyrighted recordings.'"
Wireless (Apple)

Apple Patents 'Buy Stuff Wirelessly, Skip Lines' Tech 254

Posted by Zonk
from the be-nice-if-we-ever-see-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Apple is looking to patent a process that will save customers the hassle of waiting to order a cup of coffee at a local Starbucks. Even better: The technology would let you jump the line of those ordering in person. 'Customers might tap a button to order their favorite drink, say a double-shot mocha, as they stroll up to the nearest coffee shop. When the drink is ready go to, the device--such as an iPhone--would chime or blink to let the thirsty one know it's time to scoop up the order at the counter. The patent puts Apple's partnership with Starbucks in a new light. The technology promises to morph Apple from the business of simply selling gadgets and music and movies that can be played on those devices into an intermediary in all kinds of exchanges.'"
Communications

Alexander Graham Bell - Patent Thief? 280

Posted by timothy
from the game-of-telephone-but-with-patents dept.
DynaSoar writes "MSNBC is carrying an AP article reviewing a book, due out January 7, that claims to show definitive evidence that Bell stole the essential idea for telephony from Elisha Gray. Author Seth Shulman shows that Bell's notebooks contain false starts, and then after a 12-day gap during which he visited the US Patent Office, suddenly show an entirely different design, very similar to Gray's design for multiplexing Morse code signals. Shulman claims that Bell copied the design from Gray's patent application and was improperly given credit for earlier submission, with the help of a corrupt patent examiner and aggressive lawyers. Shulman also claims that fear of being found out is the reason Bell distanced himself from the company that carried his name. And if Gray Telephone doesn't seem to roll off the tongue, Shulman also noted that both of them were two decades behind the German inventor Johann Philipp Reis, who produced the first working telephony system."
IT

How Would You Design Your Dream Office? 376

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the a-step-up-from-the-broom-closet dept.
An anonymous reader writes "My company is building a new office. As the local IT Guy, I've been asked to design my new office from the ground up. If you were given the opportunity to design your dream office, what features would you include? What things would you try to avoid? I get to determine absolutely everything. The catch? I have to share my office space with all the network equipment. Just 4 standard racks, and all your basic telephone and network wiring. Can anyone help me get started? I have no idea where to even begin."

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