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Math

+ - Berkeley Ph.D. Proves "Jesus Tomb" Improba

Submitted by
Daniel Foster
Daniel Foster writes "Looks like the 'Jesus Tomb' people got their math wrong. Dr. Randy Ingermanson (Ph.D. in physics from U.C. Berkeley) recalculates the statistical probability used by the Jesus Tomb book and documentary and finds that 'Jesus of Nazareth is EXTREMELY UNLIKELY to be the Jesus found in the family tomb.' He says, 'My estimate is that the odds are at least 10,000 to 1 AGAINST Jesus of Nazareth being the man found in the tomb.' Check out his data and decide for yourself whether he's onto something."
Announcements

+ - Jeff Hawkins' Cortex Simulation Platform Available

Submitted by
UnreasonableMan
UnreasonableMan writes "Jeff Hawkins is best known for founding Palm Computing and Handspring, but for the last eighteen months he's been working on his third company, Numenta. In his 2005 book, On Intelligence, Hawkins laid out a theoretical framework describing how the neocortex processes sensory inputs and provides outputs back to the body. Numenta's goal is to build a software model of the human brain capable of face recognition, object identification, driving, and other tasks currently better suited to humans.

For an overview see Hawkins' 2005 presentation at UC Berkeley. It includes a demonstration of an early version of the software that can recognize handwritten letters and distinguish between stick figure dogs and cats. Whitepapers are available at Numenta's website.

Numenta wisely decided to build a community of developers rather than try to make everything proprietary. Yesterday they released the first version of their free development platform and the source code for their algorithms to anyone who wants to download it."
Space

Milky Way's Black Hole a Gamma Source? 100

Posted by kdawson
from the high-energy-pinball dept.
eldavojohn writes "A paper recently accepted for publication (preprint here) proposes a sound explanation for the source of the gamma rays that permeate our galaxy. The Milky Way's central object Sagittarius A*, widely believed to be a supermassive black hole, is now suspected to be the source. To test this theory, two scientists created a computer model to track the protons, flung outward with energies up to 100 TeV by the intense magnetic fields near the event horizon, as they make a random walk through the plasma environment. It can take thousands of years for them to travel 10 light-years from the black hole, where they collide with lower-energy protons to form pions. These decay into gamma radiation emanating from a torus-shaped region around the central object."
Media

+ - Researcher Laments Being Published in Science

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Voltage Gate has a story about a researcher who was recently published in Science without his approval. It turns out that he is a blogger himself, and wrote a long commentary about how his wishes to publish in an open access journal (like PLoS) were ignored."
United States

+ - Nielson Results Reveal Consoles on the Rise

Submitted by
eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes "Nielson ratings are in and the results are that gaming is continuing its steady trend upward. From the article, "In a study released on Monday entitled, "The State of the Console," Nielsen Media Research found that 41.1 percent of households with televisions in the U.S. now have gaming consoles. That number represents an 18.5 percent increase since 2004, according the research firm, who used a sample of 12,000 TV-viewing households for its report." More ammo for Jack Thompson or simply proof that game consoles are universally enjoyed?"
Microsoft

+ - Vista upgrades still causing pain

Submitted by
s31523
s31523 writes "Vista has been out for some time now, and it has many people asking "Should I upgrade?" BBC business editor Tim Weber details his experience as the "Vista Trap". The consensus seems to be, as the article says, "Wait for half a year until the driver issues are settled and then buy a new PC". I find it somewhat ironic that the numerous issues that people have with Vista, driver problems, software compatibility, lack of support, etc. are all akin to the problems people mention when getting a Linux Distro working right."
Space

+ - Chinese Astronaut Could Be On The Moon In 15 Years

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Xinhua and Reuters are reporting that China will have the technical capability to put astronauts on the moon within 15 years. According to Huang Chunping, chief launch vehicle designer, a Chinese lunar landing will be achievable in that time frame if funding is available and preliminary projects go well. Huang says that China's current generation of Long March rockets are 'slightly' better than Europe's Ariane rockets, but trail the United States and Russia. China achieved its first human space flight in 2003. The United States had its first human space flight in 1961, and put the first astronauts on the moon about 8 years later, in 1969. The US is planning to return to the moon by 2020, 13 years from now."

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