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Robotics

+ - Singapore holds "Terminator" robotics comp

Submitted by
duc0n
duc0n writes "Singapore's Defence Science and Technology Agency has just recently started a robotics competition named "TechX". The goal? Design a robot capable of entering an urban proving ground, navigating obstacles such as stairs, elevators and doors, and able to recognize and engage a specific target (using "a means that [they] will provide for the robot to mark the target"). All this is, of course, hauntingly similar to the Samsung sentry robot story from awhile back. Applications have been open since January, but the final event is not set to take place until August 2008."
Space

+ - vast water reservoir revealed

Submitted by
Agent Provocateur
Agent Provocateur writes "WUSTL has a news bulletin about research which has shown a hidden ocean the size of the Artic. A seismologist at Washington University in St. Louis has made the first 3-D model of seismic wave damping — diminishing — deep in the Earth's mantle and has revealed the existence of an underground water reservoir at least the volume of the Arctic Ocean. It is the first evidence for water existing in the Earth's deep mantle. Full report here."
Movies

MPAA and FBI Help To Train Swedish Police 165

Posted by kdawson
from the Pirate-Bay-not-obvious-enough? dept.
Several readers let us know about a program in which a US FBI agent and employees of the MPAA led a seminar for Swedish police officers in methods of finding and stopping illegal downloading from the Internet. The writer at zeropaid.com says, "I bet the Swedish people are going to love to find out that the US government and a US lobbying group now have a hand in training their police personnel. So much for the notion of national sovereignty." Reader Oxygen provided a bit of translation from an article in Swedish on IDG.se: "According to Bertil Ramsell, responsible for the course, the purpose of the visit was to give the invited speakers a chance to explain to the students what their organization's purpose was. But in a report from the IIPA, the purpose was to educate students in anti-piracy."
Editorial

+ - When Good Intentions Meet Poor Research

Submitted by
dbthaw
dbthaw writes "Professor Tim Wu of Columbia University Law School was recently cited in this InformationWeek article for his arguments about, amongst other things, interoperability among wireless carriers. (SeeTim Wu, "Wireless Net Neutrality: Cellular Carterfone and Consumer Choice in Mobile Broadband." (February 15, 2007).) The Wu's arguments describe a series of failures in the wireless telephony industry to promote innovation and maintain proprietary controls over their networks. (For Wu's full article, see here.)

In particular, Wu makes a lengthy comparies between rules promulgated by U.S. Federal caselaw and Federal Communications Commission decisions which prevented wireline telephone carriers from blocking "attachment" of devices they didn't manufacture or approve.

While there certainly are some notable parallels between these examples, Professor Wu's research overlooks a critical technical component. Interoperability between the devices of wireless carriers is not merely blocked by "proactive" choices made by wireless carriers. Rather, it is primarily a function of differing technologies. Verizon and AT&T Wireless, for example, use fundamentally different technologies for their wireless connectivity. In other words, for a device to operate on both networks — that device would have to be manufactured with two transceivers (I use this term broadly to encompass all the necessary codecs and processing hardware/software necessary each of CDMA and GSM technologies).

Conversely, for a manufacturer wishing to offer a new product, such as the example of Apple's iPhone discussed in the InformationWeek article, that manufacturer would have to make a technical investment in designing two different wireless transceivers for their device.

My comments should neither be taken as an attack on the recommendations of Professor Wu nor the many other points he discusses in his full report. Rather, I am attempting to point out a concern I have with how policy arguments about modern Information Technologies are constructed.

My concern is that potentially important arguments are defeated not on their policy merits, but rather because of a failure to properly understand the technologies. It would not require much time or research money to employ a talented undergraduate engineering student (something Columbia University certainly has in ample supply) to explain the fundamental technical differences between the operation of the Public Swtiched Telephone Network and the various wireless communications carriers. From this, Professor Wu's argument could be reworked to draw similar overall conclusions, without exposing them to easy targets for failure to properly understand technological implementation.

It is my hope that researchers like Professor Wu will consider these thoughts in their future writings, for the work they undertake is (in my opinion, at least) important, and should risk being dismissed as a whole for slight misunderstandings of technical concepts."
Enlightenment

+ - You are not Free

Submitted by
JAB Creations
JAB Creations writes "There is no law that requires you to pay income tax. The Supreme court ruled taxes as only profits and only corporates make profits yet citizens paid nearly one trillion in taxes compared to corporate American's quarter of a trillion dollars in taxes at the value of four cents to the dollar. This is not about tax evasion but about your rights to life, liberty, and freedom. In 2008 you will not be able to buy food, clothing, or obtain shelter without having your every move and financial transaction monitored and that includes the not for long anonymity of cash. The government that should be answering to the people is answering only to the private institution of the Federal Reserve (private bank) under which who's ownership is unknown. Sound crazy? Once you watch the video, do some research, and connect the dots then you'll understand why people who live in the woods have lots of guns."
Announcements

+ - Australia Outlaws Incandescent Lightbulb

Submitted by
passthecrackpipe
passthecrackpipe writes "The Australian Government is planning on making the incandescent ligtbulb a thing of the past. In three years time, standard lightbulbs will no longer be available for sale in the shops in Australia (expect a roaring grey market) and everybody will be forced to switch to more energy efficient Fluorescent bulbs. In this move to try and curb emissions, the incandescent bulb — which converts the majority of used energy to heat rather then light — will be phased out. Environmental groups have given this plan a lukewarm reception. They feel Australia should sign on to the Kyoto protocol first. (Article in Dutch). A similar plan was created together with Phillips, one of the worlds largest lighting manufacturers. What do other slashdotters think? Is this a move in the right direction? Will this boost the development of better fluorescent bulbs? Improve the design and lower the costs of LED lightbulbs? Will this plan make a big difference to the environment at all?"
Communications

+ - UK taps 439,000 phones and emails; wants 645 more

Submitted by JPMH
JPMH (100614) writes "With the largest density of CCTV cameras in the world, and an increasing network of automatic number-plate recognition cameras on main roads, Britain has long been a pioneer for the surveillance society. Now new official figures reveal that UK agencies monitored 439,000 telephones and email addresses in a 15 month period between 2005 and 2006. The Interception of Communications Commissioner is seeking the right for agencies to be allowed to monitor the communications of Members of Parliament as well, something which has been forbidden since the 1960s. It must be that it is bringing their numbers down: on the law of averages they should be monitoring at least 5 of the MPs."
Privacy

+ - Europe's Plan to Track Phone and Net Use

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/20/business/worldbu siness/20privacy.html February 20, 2007 Europe's Plan to Track Phone and Net Use PARIS, Feb. 19 — European governments are preparing legislation to require companies to keep detailed data about people's Internet and phone use that goes beyond what the countries will be required to do under a European Union directive. In Germany, a proposal from the Ministry of Justice would essentially prohibit using false information to create an e-mail account, making the standard Internet practice of creating accounts with pseudonyms illegal."
Democrats

+ - Candidate Sites and how they rank on the Internet

Submitted by
Web Candidate 2.0
Web Candidate 2.0 writes " Ranked via Alexa.com

Traffic Rank for BarackObama.com 22,153
Traffic Rank for HillaryClinton.com 24,217
Traffic Rank for JohnEdwards.com 53,758
Traffic Rank for ExploreMccain.com 198,447
Traffic Rank for MittRomney.com 251,405
Traffic Rank for JoinRudy2008.com 257,732

How the Republicans Compare to each other


How the Democrats Compare to each other


www.webcandidate.blogspot.com"
Education

+ - Gaming skills directly linked to surgical skills

Submitted by
Orinthe
Orinthe writes "According to Reuters, a new study involving 33 surgeons at a New York hospital shows "a strong correlation between video game skills and a surgeon's capabilities". A statement by the senior author of the study even suggests the use of video games as a training tool for surgeons. Another of the study's authors cautions parents to curb excessive gaming, however: "spending that much time playing video games is not going to help their child's chances of getting into medical school"."
AMD

+ - AMD Athlon 64 6000+ Launched And Tested

Submitted by Spinnerbait
Spinnerbait (666) writes "AMD officially launched their next speed bump in the Athlon 64 product line, in the form of a new 3GHz part branded the Athlon 64 6000+. This new dual-core Athlon 64 sports 1MB of on-chip cache per core and is designed for AMD's Socket AM2 platform. This chip is still built on AMD's 90nm fab node and is comprised of some 227 million transistors. It also carries a thermal power profile of about 125Watts. Unfortunately, in all the benchmarks seen here, it was still unable to catch Intel's Core 2 Duo E6700 chip at 2.66GHz."
AMD

+ - AMD Releases 3GHz Athlon 64 X2 6000+

Submitted by
mikemuch
mikemuch writes "AMD's new processor, released today, has a higher clock speed than the top Intel dual core and a lower thermal envelope than AMD's recent efforts, but it still trails Intel in game, application, and media encoding benchmarks, and it still uses only a 90nm manufacturing process. The good news is that at $459 (in bulk) it's a little bit cheaper than the closest Intel competitor, the Core 2 Duo E6700 CPU."
Data Storage

+ - hard drives that are used often, last longer?

Submitted by tora201
tora201 (910302) writes "The BBC reports that Google engineers have surprisingly discovered that the impact of heavy use and high temperatures on hard disk drive failure may be overstated. From the article: "Google employs its own file system to organise the storage of data, using inexpensive commercially available hard drives rather than bespoke systems. Hard drives less than three years old and used a lot are less likely to fail than similarly aged hard drives that are used infrequently, according to the report.""

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