Dik Zak writes "Many news sites are reporting that the magazine Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists intends to move the hands of the Doomsday Clock on Wednesday 17 January. The clock was started at seven minutes to midnight during the Cold War and has been moved forward or back at intervals, depending on the state of the world and the prospects for nuclear war. Midnight represents destruction by nuclear war. It is not revealed in which direction the hands of the clock will be moved, but it should be safe to assume that they will move closer to midnight: the magazine cites 'worsening nuclear [and] climate threats.' The clock stood at two minutes to midnight when both the United States and the Soviet Union tested nuclear weapons in 1953. The farthest away from midnight it ever got was 17 minutes, in 1991 when both superpowers signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. It currently stands at seven minutes to midnight."
eldavojohn writes "It may be no surprise but Wikipedia is now being used in the field of artificial intelligence. The applications for this may be endless. For instance, the front of spam fighting is a tough one and it looks as though researchers are now turning towards an ontology or taxonomy based solution to fight spammers. The concept is also on the forefront of artificial intelligence and progress towards an application passing the Turing Test and creating semantically aware applications. The article comments on uses of Wikipedia in this manner: '"... spam filters block all messages containing the word 'vitamin,' but fail to block messages containing the word B12. If the program never saw B12 before, it's just a word without any meaning. But you would know it's a vitamin," Markovitch said. "With our methodology, however, the computer will use its Wikipedia-based knowledge base to infer that 'B12' is strongly associated with the concept of vitamins, and will correctly identify the message as spam," he added.'"
Calling Seagate Tech Support:Seagate: Welcome to Seagate, the current wait time is... 12 days, 6 hours and 32 minutes.. please hold....
*12 days later*
Seagate Tech: Welcome to Seagate Tech Support, How can I assist you today?
Customer: hi ummm... I lost my password for this new Encrypted Hard Drive, can you help me?
Seagate: Sure can, ok at the prompt type the following: Lieutenant General Keith B. Alexander
Customer: hmmm ok, HEY!! it works thank you!!
Seagate: Not a problem, have a wonderful day!
uniquebydegrees writes, "InfoWorld is blogging about the (predictable) results of a Microsoft-sponsored antiphishing technology bakeoff. From the TechWatch blog: 'Microsoft's Phishing Filter (MPF) in IE 7 Beta 3 received the highest "composite score" at 172, followed closely by NetCraft's toolbar with a composite score of 168. But when you dig into the numbers, another story emerges... IE's MPF antiphishing toolbar doesn't top out any of the individual tests that make up the composite score... So how did MPF end up on top?... Microsoft didn't do the best job of spotting phish sites, but it did do the best job of blocking the ones it did spot, and blocking was what garnered the most points... Blocking a phishing Web site earned you twice as many points as just warning about it in this test, but is blocking really twice as effective as just warning users?'"
SeaDour writes, "China claims to have carried out a successful test of its experimental thermonuclear fusion reactor. But what exactly made this test 'successful' is not clear. From the article: 'Xinhua cited the scientists as saying that deuterium and tritium atoms had been fused together at a temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius for nearly three seconds. The report did not specify whether the device... had succeeded at producing more energy than it consumed, the main obstacle to making fusion commercially viable.'" China is a participant in the 10-nation ITER project to build a fusion reactor in the south of France by 2015. The article quotes the research head of ITER as saying, "It was important for China to show that it is part of the club. Here are English language versions of the Chinese news release: announcement, background.
Roland Piquepaille writes "Georgia Tech researchers have shrunk an optical device called wavelength demultiplier (WD) by combining into one crystal three unique properties of photonics crystals. This optical discovery opens the way to sophisticated and cheap bio-sensors mounted on 'lab-on-a-chip' devices -- sensors to run blood tests, detect chemicals in water supplies or for drug testing. Their new WD is less than a millimeter in all dimensions rather than the several centimeters of other currently available WDs. And it should not cost more to produce."
anthemaniac writes "The moon has an unexplained bulge that astronomers have been trying to find a source for since 1799. Finally, an apparent answer: The equatorial bulge developed back when the developing moon was like molasses (and you thought it was cheese!) and, rather than today's nearly circular orbit, it 'moved in an eccentric oval-shaped orbit 100 million years after its violent formation.'"
Video-On-Demand is one of the best things I have ever seen come from the cable company. I never had digital cable or seen it (figured all it was was a little better quality and a way to encrypt the pay channels), until I went to my buddys place and helped him set up his home theatre. Video on demand kicks ass. Being able to watch Monk episodes a day after they are shown, having access to the HBO series on demand, all the free movies that are available, it's very nice. I hate movie theatres, so I have missed out on a lot of releases and in the past couple months hanging out with my friends I've caught up on so many movies by just hitting the VOD button and pressing play. The only time it sucks is when their server goes down or when the movie isnt coded right and it starts playing the wrong movie.
plaastik writes "The next generation of naturalistic and touch-sensitive artificial limbs are being worn by U.S. Soldiers. Instead of the old velcro strap and cup these new models are fused directly to the bone and are controlled by controlled by the wearer's brain. From the article: 'Future prosthetic arms will fuse to existing bone, eliminating the need for awkward attachment systems. These more naturalistic limbs will use bionic nerves attached to natural nerves to send and receive signals from the brain. Chips embedded in the user's brain will help command artificial-muscle-activated, touch-sensitive, fully articulating hands.'"
antikarma writes "NASA engineers successfully activated the Advanced Camera for Surveys at 9:12 a.m. EDT Friday aboard the agency's Hubble Space Telescope. Checkout was completed at 10:20 a.m. EDT with science observations scheduled to resume Sunday, July 2. 'This is the best possible news,' said Ed Ruitberg, deputy associate director for the Astrophysics Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. 'We were confident we could work through the camera issue, and now we can get back to doing more incredible science with the camera.'"