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Artificial Retinas Can Balance a Pencil On Its End 165

mikejuk writes "A team of researchers has built a neural information system that is good enough and fast enough to balance a pencil in real time. If you think it's an easy task, try it! The Institute of Neuroinformatics, ETH / University Zurich have used what look like video cameras to do the job but in fact they are analog silicon retinas. They work so fast that even with fairly basic hardware they can balance a pencil."
PlayStation (Games)

Sony Must Show It Has Jurisdiction To Sue PS3 Hacker 217

RedEaredSlider writes "A California court today asked that Sony show it has jurisdiction over the hacker who publicized a 'jailbreak' for the PlayStation 3 console. Judge Susan Ilston, in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, said Sony has to show that George Hotz, a hacker who posted a method of 'jailbreaking' PS3 consoles, has some connection to California if Sony is to claim damages for his work on the PS3." For his part, Geohot has moved quickly to fight back against Sony's accusations. His legal team issued a statement (PDF), and also pointed out, "On the face of Sony’s Motion, a TRO serves no purpose in the present matter. The code necessary to 'jailbreak' the Sony Playstation computer is on the internet. That cat is not going back in the bag. Indeed, Sony’s own pleadings admit that the code necessary to jailbreak the Sony PlayStation computer is on the internet. Sony speaks of 'closing the door,' but the simple fact is that there is no door to close. The code sought to be restrained will always be a Google search away."
United Kingdom

EDSAC Computer To Be Rebuilt 97

nk497 writes with this bit from PCPro: "The first working stored-program computer is set to be rebuilt at Bletchley Park, home to the UK's National Museum of Computing. The Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator ran its first programme in 1949, and was two metres high. Its 3,000 vacuum tubes took up four metres of floor space, and it could perform 650 instructions per second. All data input was via paper tape. The EDSAC used mercury-filled tubes for memory, but in the interests of safety, the replica will use an alternative non-toxic substance. Rebuilding it will take four years, and the public can visit to watch the work as it happens."

Google Pushes New Chrome Release, Pays $14k Bounty 182

Trailrunner7 writes "Google has released version 8.0.552.237 of its Chrome browser, which includes fixes for 16 security vulnerabilities. The company also paid out more than $14,000 in bug bounties for the flaws fixed in this release, including the first maximum reward of $3133.7. The new version of Google Chrome has fixes for 13 high-priority bugs, but the most serious vulnerability the company repaired in the browser is a critical flaw resulting from a stale pointer in the speech handling component of Chrome. That flaw, along with four others, was discovered by researcher Sergey Glazunov, who earned a total of more than $7,000 in rewards for the bugs he reported to Google."

Double Eclipse Photographed, Sun, Moon, and ISS 159

The Bad Astronomer writes "The exceptionally talented astrophotographer Thierry Legault captured a picture extraordinary even for him: the space station passing in front of the Sun while the Sun was being partially eclipsed by the Moon! He traveled all the way from France to the Sultanate of Oman to take this amazing shot. I have more information about the picture itself on the Bad Astronomy blog, but you should go to Thierry's website to see more amazing pictures he's taken over the years. They're simply jaw-dropping."

Why Published Research Findings Are Often False 453

Hugh Pickens writes "Jonah Lehrer has an interesting article in the New Yorker reporting that all sorts of well-established, multiply confirmed findings in science have started to look increasingly uncertain as they cannot be replicated. This phenomenon doesn't yet have an official name, but it's occurring across a wide range of fields, from psychology to ecology and in the field of medicine, the phenomenon seems extremely widespread, affecting not only anti-psychotics but also therapies ranging from cardiac stents to Vitamin E and antidepressants. 'One of my mentors told me that my real mistake was trying to replicate my work,' says researcher Jonathon Schooler. 'He told me doing that was just setting myself up for disappointment.' For many scientists, the effect is especially troubling because of what it exposes about the scientific process. 'If replication is what separates the rigor of science from the squishiness of pseudoscience, where do we put all these rigorously validated findings that can no longer be proved?' writes Lehrer. 'Which results should we believe?' Francis Bacon, the early-modern philosopher and pioneer of the scientific method, once declared that experiments were essential, because they allowed us to 'put nature to the question' but it now appears that nature often gives us different answers. According to John Ioannidis, author of Why Most Published Research Findings Are False, the main problem is that too many researchers engage in what he calls 'significance chasing,' or finding ways to interpret the data so that it passes the statistical test of significance—the ninety-five-per-cent boundary invented by Ronald Fisher. 'The scientists are so eager to pass this magical test that they start playing around with the numbers, trying to find anything that seems worthy,'"

A Guitar Robot That Can Really Shred 88

botPatrol writes "As reported today by Create Digital Music and the Wired blog, PAM (Polytangent Automatic (multi-)Monochord) is a robot who has discovered a love for vintage Metallica riffs, and can churn them out non-stop at superhuman speeds without ever requiring anger management therapy or treatment for drug abuse." (Read more, below.)
United Kingdom

Periodic Table Etched Onto a Single Hair Screenshot-sm 59

adeelarshad82 writes "The University of Nottingham's Nanotechnology Center decided to help Professor of chemistry, Martyn Poliakoff celebrate his special day by 'etching' a copy of a Periodic Table of Elements onto a single strand of the scientist's hair using a 'very sophisticated' electron ion beam microscope. The microscope creates a very fine etching of the periodic table only a few microns across by shooting a 'focused ion beam' of gallium ions at the hair. The technology here is nothing revolutionary, but it is inspiring to see a grown man get so giddy with the prospect of seeing science in action."

Solar Panels For Your Pants Screenshot-sm 81

Phoghat writes "A new line of clothes come with its own solar panels to charge small electronics in your pocket. It might be overdoing the 'Green' technology but for the low, low price of $920, you can own a pair of Go Urban Cargo Pants, which boasts 'fly front, low-slung drawstring waist, and two back patch pockets with button down flaps,' but the main reason you might want them is the: "'two side cargo pockets with independently functioning power supply.'"

Scientists Decipher 3-Billion-Year-Old Genomic Fossils 217

hnkstrprnkstr writes "MIT scientists have created a sort of genomic fossil (abstract) that shows the collective genome of all life underwent an enormous expansion about 3 billion years ago, which they're calling the Archean Expansion. Many of the new genes appearing in the Archean Expansion are oxygen related, and could be the first biological evidence of the Great Oxidation Event, the period in Earth's history when oxygen became so plentiful that many anaerobic life forms may have become extinct."

JBI's Plastic To Oil Gets Operating Permit 223

Whammy666 writes "JBI, Inc. announced that it has entered into a formal Consent Order with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 9, which will allow the Company to immediately run its Plastic2Oil (P2O) process commercially and begin construction of an additional processor at its Niagara Falls, New York P2O facility. JBI has developed a process that takes waste plastic destined for landfills and converts it into diesel fuel, gasoline, and natural gas with very little residue. The process is said to be very efficient thanks to a special catalyst developed by JBI and an attention to process optimization. That plastic water bottle you tossed in the trash could soon be fueling your car instead of sitting in a landfill for 1000 years."

World's Smallest Battery Created 77

Zothecula writes "Because battery technology hasn't developed as quickly as the electronic devices they power, a greater and greater percentage of the volume of these devices is taken up by the batteries needed to keep them running. Now a team of researchers working at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies has created the world's smallest battery. 'It consists of a bulk lithium cobalt cathode three millimeters long, an ionic liquid electrolyte, and has as its anode a single tin oxide (Sn02) nanowire 10 nanometers long and 100 nanometers in diameter.' (Abstract in Science.) Although the tiny battery won't be powering next year's mobile phones, it has already provided insights into how batteries work and should enable the development of smaller and more efficient batteries in the future."

There is very little future in being right when your boss is wrong.