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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 21 declined, 0 accepted (21 total, 0.00% accepted)

Government

+ - Hawii moves on Electric Cars->

Submitted by Gat0r30y
Gat0r30y (957941) writes "Energy costs are higher on islands. And in that spirit, islands make an ideal testing place for new energy infrastructure projects, like a fleet of all electric cars. Its a pretty interesting idea, replacing gas stations with battery swap stations. From the NYT (go to bugmenot.com to get around the stupid subscription) article:

"We always knew Hawaii would be the perfect model," he said in a telephone interview. "The typical driving plan is low and leisurely, and people are smiling."

On this note, what other energy projects would be ideally suited for an island test like this? Personally, I'd like to see a test of a breeder nuclear reactor, a full scale Hydrogen distribution network, a superconducting grid..... And as long as I'm wishing for things I'm not gonna get I want a pony too."
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Biotech

+ - Jacking into the brain->

Submitted by Gat0r30y
Gat0r30y (957941) writes "Sci-am has a sweet article looking at the present state, and the future of brain / machine interfaces. Their analysis indicates that we aren't going to see Kurzweil's singularity any time soon, but advances are being made in the field. Gary Stix acknowledges that at present, there is no method for putting information into the brain from a machine, but we have gotten pretty good at using signals already in the brain to control machines. On monkeys controlling prosthetic arms Duke University's Miguel A. L. Nicoleli had this to say: "There's some physiological evidence that during the experiment they feel more connected to the robots than to their own bodies". Stix seems to believe that the problem of sending information back the other way is intractable. I don't know if I buy this analysis though — there is no mention of how plastic the human brain can be. Even if it is an extremely complicated problem, and I'm sure it will be, I would posit that if a proper interface to the brain could be developed the brain would figure out what to do with the incoming information in the most appropriate way — sending .pngs to the visual cortex, and letting me download the instruction manual for my new jetpack straight to my brain.... I hope anyway. In any case, it is an entertaining article — so RTFA."
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Earth

+ - Plants no longer sitting ducks->

Submitted by Gat0r30y
Gat0r30y (957941) writes "FTFA:

Researchers at the University of Delaware have discovered that when the leaf of a plant is under attack by a pathogen, it can send out an S.O.S. to the roots for help, and the roots will respond by secreting an acid that brings beneficial bacteria to the rescue.

Sweet. Not quite the end of the world envisioned by M. Night, but still pretty darn cool."
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Government

+ - Obama Answers Science Debate 2008 Questions

Submitted by Gat0r30y
Gat0r30y (957941) writes "Presidential candidate Barack Obama has answered the 14 questions posed by Science Debate 2008. Wired is running a summary as well. All in all, surprisingly in depth answers, with quite a bit of actual policy statements included. From the Wired Article:"A lot of the scientists I've spoken to are pleased with the level of substance and detail," said Otto.
Interesting for sure, your thoughts? When might we expect a response to these questions from the Republican Parties nominee John McCain? Something tells me not to hold my breath."
Government

+ - No email/SMS privacy in the UK

Submitted by Gat0r30y
Gat0r30y (957941) writes "In a disturbing revelation it would appear that all SMS messages and emails to/from UK citizens will be recorded and made available to public investigators across Europe. FTA

The measure will mean that details of personal internet and text traffic, but not the content, will have to be made available by telecommunications companies to public sector officials investigating crime, or to "protect the public". The measure will also cover VOIP — voice over internet protocol — calls such as Skype.

Again FTA

This is justified on the grounds that much of the information is already stored as billing information by the companies.

I'm pretty sure we can all agree that this is a Bad Thing. I would like to ask how far will people let their government go in the name of "protecting the public" before they start asking for protection from the government?
On the other hand, I think it could generally be a good thing, if implemented in the right way. Perhaps with a little taste of radical transparency in government this could be useful. If this goes through, could we publish the location/content of all the SMS/emails initiated from/to all government employees? If there is no expectation of privacy (for anyone), and they have done nothing wrong, then they have nothing to hide right?
On another note, what is the over under on how long till this program gets abused for something incredibly ridiculous? My prediction — three weeks till a govt. employee gets busted tracking their daughters/sons/wife's SMS and email for no good reason."

Medicine

+ - 20 Percent of Scientists Admit Using Brain-Enhanci->

Submitted by
Gat0r30y
Gat0r30y writes "Wired is running this survey about a new study stating that 20% of scientists admit to using "Brain Enhancing drugs"

like Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Provigil (modafinil).
So, late at night, slaving over your research projects are you popping beta blockers to get the mental juices flowing? Or do you just chug pot after pot of coffee?"

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Government

+ - The tech world rejoices: a Congressman who can cod->

Submitted by Gat0r30y
Gat0r30y (957941) writes "CNet is running a little piece here about House of Representatives newest addition, Bill Foster. He won a special election in Illinois this last Saturday and he is a code geek. He has apparently coded in Assembly, Fortran and VB. Well, I guess I can excuse the VB just this once since he also did some Integrated Circuit design work that went into the particle accelerator at Fermilab. How did he win you ask? Well, he coded up a program to get out the vote, knocking on the right doors on election day got him his narrow victory."
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Databases

+ - Database assembles U.S. warnings of Saddam threat ->

Submitted by Gat0r30y
Gat0r30y (957941) writes "Routers is running this story about the new Center for Public Integrity database cataloging the false information the Bush Administration disseminated leading up to the war in Iraq. What are your thoughts? Is this a positive step toward greater accountability in government(red or blue, I think we can all agree accountability is a Good Thing)? Or is this just a petty jab at an already lame duck Administration for mistakes its far too late to recover from? And thinking forward, how might we as an ITcentric community offer new tools like this to keep our government in check?"
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Programming

+ - Scilab Home Page

Submitted by
Gat0r30y
Gat0r30y writes "A collegue just sent me a link to Scilab an open source replacement for Matlab. I nearly made a mess in my pants. Seriously, check it out. I've been looking for an open source alternative to matlab for years, and now i have it."

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

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