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Microsoft

MS Researchers Develop Acoustic Data Transfer System For Phones 180

Posted by timothy
from the just-do-it-quietly-ok dept.
angry tapir writes "Smartphones that support NFC have been making their way onto the market, but many handsets still don't support the wireless technology. As an alternative, Microsoft researchers have prototyped a system that instead uses a phone's microphone and speaker to transmit and receive data. The P2P data transfer system uses a novel technique of 'self-jamming' to stop nefarious third parties from monitoring transfers, and the researchers believe it's more secure than standard NFC communications. No word on whether it sounds like the squeal of a 56k modem."

Comment: Re:This thought crosses my mind a lot. (Score 1) 808

by aquabat (#43748801) Attached to: Rice Professor Predicts Humans Out of Work In 30 Years

Hmm, fembots. I suppose the Apple model will be prettier, but much more expensive?

The real problem is that it will demand ecosystem monogamy.

As long as they come out with a new model every 12-18 months, that shouldn't be a problem.

"Fembots", Bah! They'll be hot for a couple of years, sure, but Androids are the future. Not only are they cheaper, they are much more versatile. Fembots are designed to be used in only certain specific ways, but you can do anything you want to an Android.

Comment: Re:Unfortunately terrorists are often engineers (Score 1) 416

by aquabat (#43501871) Attached to: FBI Releases Boston Bombing Suspect Images/Videos
That's different. You're talking about command structure; I'm talking about footsoldiers. Sure, the commanders are sharp. They have their agenda, and they give orders to achieve that agenda. (They're still heartless, but maybe they know it and have come to terms with it). However, I have trouble believing that the kids they send out to bomb random targets have thought very deeply about their own motivations for doing so. The tribe is a powerful thing.

Comment: Re:9/11 terrorists were all college educated (Score 1) 416

by aquabat (#43501657) Attached to: FBI Releases Boston Bombing Suspect Images/Videos
Ideally, I'd say choose from a variety of different cultures. One of the points of a university used to be to have a place where people could get together and discuss their ideas and opinions without getting punched in the face. The critical thinking part is the real meat of the matter for me. I'm not scared of reading the wrong books, because I know I can unpack whatever is in them and evaluate the contents in a more or less objective manner. Just pick something at random and have at it.

Comment: Re:9/11 terrorists were all college educated (Score 3, Interesting) 416

by aquabat (#43490093) Attached to: FBI Releases Boston Bombing Suspect Images/Videos

Just in case you don't know it yet ...

The terrorists who hijacked the planes and then slammed them into the World Trade Center (and the Pentagon and the one which crashed in Pennsylvania) were ALL college educated

Respectfully, I think they had the wrong type of education.

I don't care how awesome an engineer you are, if you have never taken and understood a philosophy course or an ethics course, you have probably never seriously and critically examined the things you were brought up to believe, or tried to follow the reasoning of someone else's beliefs.

Hell, even a proper, proof based, mathematics course will have you identifying logical inconsistencies in various lines of reasoning by the time you take your mid-term. Other good choices are history, psychology and anthropology. Oh and definitely, absolutely, a first year literature course, where you have to learn to think critically about what you see, hear and read, then form a supported opinion, and then express it coherently, to other smart people.

Not to say that there aren't people out there that can instinctively and naturally think in both a rigorous and a compassionate manner (and I am definitely not trying to imply anything personal, Sir), but if you've ever read English papers written by first year engineers, you can probably see where I'm coming from. Most people need to be taught these kinds of things, if only to jump start their own awareness of just how diverse and wonderful the wider world really is. It's called "The Big Picture" for good reason.

Cellphones

In Iceland, Tap Cellphones To Avoid Incest 296

Posted by timothy
from the please-don't-repurpose-this-app dept.
Kozar_The_Malignant writes "Students at the University of Iceland have written an Android app that helps you avoid dating your cousins. The app accesses the Icelandic national genealogical database that contains information on all living citizens and their ancestors going back 1,100 years. Tapping two phones together will bring up an alert if you share a common grandparent." Just one of the consequences of having a population small enough (and well documented enough) to have a well-known genetic makeup.

Comment: Re:Why is it always the little guys? (Score 1) 727

by aquabat (#43106035) Attached to: North Korea Threatens US With Preemptive Nuclear Strike

But, looking at a satellite photo of the Korean peninsula at night, I'm not sure that would amount to much of a threat.

There must be some truly incredible skies there for stargazing. I would think looking up and seeing that every night for your entire life would instill a sense of humility and scale or something.

Transportation

Corn Shortage Hampers US Ethanol Production 419

Posted by timothy
from the but-think-of-the-poor-candlemakers dept.
drdread66 writes "A nationwide corn shortage brought on by last year's drought has started to curtail ethanol production. While this shouldn't be surprising to anyone, it raises public policy issues regarding ethanol usage requirements in motor fuel. Given that the energy efficiency of ethanol fuel is questionable at best, is it time to lift the mandate for ethanol in our gasoline?"

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