mlimber sends along a Washington Post story about the immanence of completely artificial life: "The cobbling together of life from synthetic DNA, scientists and philosophers agree, will be a watershed event, blurring the line between biological and artificial — and forcing a rethinking of what it means for a thing to be alive... Some experts are worried that a few maverick companies are already gaining monopoly control over the core 'operating system' for artificial life and are poised to become the Microsofts of synthetic biology. That could stifle competition, they say, and place enormous power in a few people's hands."
And, I have the choice to change the channel when TV commercials are on so that I don't have to watch their ads. In a sense I'm adblocking with the TV. Are the TV networks going to try and make TV manufacturers not allow channel changes during commercial breaks?
Alfaresy writes "As previously reported by Degadget back on June 19th, the iMac update due this summer and is expected to be available in 20- and 24-inch versions, while the 17-inch version set to be discontinued. Apple's next iMac revision is currently tracking for release in August, and will have a brushed aluminum enclosure with measure just 2-inch thick, according to ThinkSecret's sources. Furthermore, ThinkSecret's sources say, "The elegant new enclosure will somewhat resemble the current white iMac but is said to feature a shorter space below the actual display, where most of the internals are housed." The upcoming iMacs are expected to be based on Intel's Santa Rosa platform with speeds to reach the highest point at 2.4GHz."
kcurtis writes "According to the Boston Globe, MIT Researchers have powered a light bulb remotely. The successful experiment lit a 60-watt light bulb from a power source two meters away, with no physical connection between the power source and the light bulb. Details about WiTricity, or wireless electricity, are scheduled to be reported today in Science Express, the advance online publication of the journal Science, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said. 'The team from MIT is not the first group to suggest wireless energy transfer. Nineteenth-century physicist and engineer Nikola Tesla experimented with long-range wireless energy transfer, but his most ambitious attempt - the 29m high aerial known as Wardenclyffe Tower, in New York - failed when he ran out of money. Others have worked on highly directional mechanisms of energy transfer such as lasers. However, unlike the MIT work, these require an uninterrupted line of sight, and are therefore not good for powering objects around the home.'"
Moochman writes "New Scientist reports on a technology Microsoft is developing to identify users based on their browsing habits. Quote: 'The software could get its raw information from a number of sources, including a new type of 'cookie' program that records the pages visited. Alternatively, it could use your PC's own cache of web pages, or proxy servers could maintain records of sites visited. So far it can only guess gender and age with any accuracy,' but the aim is to be able to identify name, occupation and location as well. On a related note, The Inquirer reports on Microsoft's plans to widen the use of its identity-verification technology CardSpace, which is built into Windows Vista and available as an add-on to XP. It's being envisioned as an identity solution for the entire internet: says Kim Cameron, pioneer of the technology, 'We feel it has to solve all use cases.' (Aha, so the anonymous use cases, too, eh?) One might ask, with all of this user-ID information on hand, how long will it be until the Feds come knocking on Microsoft's door asking for help? They already have."
Bananatree3 writes "Popular Icelandic photographer and art-student Rebekka Guoleifsdottir has been targeted by Flickr for posting a plea for help in a theft case involving an online retailer selling copycat art. She requested that people send the retailer letters concerning the issue, and in response her original post was promptly deleted. It is still ironically available on Yahoo cache. In the end it appears that the retailer had been duped by a rogue art dealer under the title "Wild Aspects and Panoramics LTD". However, Flickr seems to have overstepped its bounds in deleting this post." This whole case brings back up the messy issues surrounding content ownership in this strange new world of a services based internet.
Jim Buzbee writes "Ever wanted to rip all your DVDs to a big network server so that you could select and play them back to your TV? Up until now, manufacturers have been wary of building a device to allow this type of usage because they've been afraid a lawsuit. The DVD Copy Control Association had claimed this was contractually forbidden, but now a judge says otherwise stating, 'nothing in the agreement prevents you from making copies of DVDs. Nothing requires that a DVD be present during playback.' Kaleidescape has finally won their long-standing lawsuit, a case we first talked about early in 2005."
An anonymous reader writes "Emotiv Systems today unveiled a brain/computer interface system with a helmet and software applications at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The Project Epoc system can move objects based on a gamer's thoughts, reflect facial expressions, and respond to the excitement or calm the gamer mentally exerts, the company said....While Emotiv is not yet ready to announce any partnerships, [they] did say the product will be coming to market in 2008."
An anonymous reader writes "An ad campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force featuring the Mooninites Ignignot and Err caused major security concerns in Boston, MA when magnetic light displays were mistaken for possible bombs. The displays included one of Ignignot flipping the bird (as hard as he could), but Gov. Deval Patrick was not amused."
K-Man writes "Jim Gray, Turing Award winner and developer of many fundamental database technologies, was reported missing at sea after a short solo sailing trip to the Farallon Islands off San Francisco. Gray is manager of Microsoft's eScience group. The Coast Guard is searching for his vessel over 4,000 square miles of ocean, and there have been no distress calls or signals of any kind. Gray is 63 and a sailor with 10 years' experience."
moon_monkey writes "Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a 'neural extension cord' by growing neurons attached to a microchip. The cord is made by gradually moving two batches of neurons apart, as they naturally grow towards one another. This biological 'data cable' could then interface with the brain once implanted, the researchers say." From the article: "...in the long run, it may not be necessary to interface directly with nerves at all. 'In Europe most researchers in this field are using non-invasive EEG,' [an outside researcher] explains... 'The signals are weaker so more complex processing is needed, but not having to perform surgery on the nervous system has many advantages,' [he] says."
prototypo writes "The Free Lance-Star newspaper is reporting that the Navy Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia has successfully demonstrated an 8-megajoule electromagnetic rail gun. A 32-megajoule version is due to be tested in June. A 64-megajoule version is anticipated to extend the range of naval gunfire (currently about 15 nautical miles for a 5-inch naval gun) to more than 200 nautical miles by 2020. The projectiles are small, but go so fast that have enough kinetic punch to replace a Tomahawk missile at a fraction of the cost. In the final version, they will apex at 95 miles altitude, well into space. These systems were initially part of Reagan's SDI program ("Star Wars"). An interesting tidbit in the article is that the rail gun is only expected to fire ten times or less per day, presumably because of the amount of electricity needed. I guess we now need a warp core to power them."
Zrop writes "AppleInsider is reporting that Apple has been working on OS-level integration of an geographical mapping technology as an integral part of Leopard, its next-generation OS. The technology is rumoured to employ GPS functionality. Will GPS chips make Apple iPod phones and MacBooks location aware? Users would be able to post information at a location, hanging in the air, ready to be browsed by people passing by. Imagine getting highly relevant messages, without even pressing a button, simply because you are in the vicinity and your preferences match the content of the post."