crimeandpunishment writes "A compromise on net neutrality appears to be as likely as Google and China becoming BFFs. House Democrats have pulled the plug on efforts to work out a compromise among phone, cable, and Internet companies. House Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, who shelved the proposal late on Wednesday in the face of Republican opposition, said, 'If Congress can't act, the FCC must,' and called this development 'a loss for consumers.' Internet companies and public interest groups say the new regulations are needed to keep phone and cable companies from playing favorites with traffic, while those companies insist they need flexibility so high-bandwidth applications don't slow down their systems." The net neutrality debate seems to have fallen victim to the extreme polarization evident in the larger political culture.
Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers at the MIT McGovern Institute for Brain Research have used a biological model to train a computer model to recognize objects, such as cars or people, in busy street scenes. Their innovative approach, which combines neuroscience and artificial intelligence with computer science, mimics how the brain functions to recognize objects in the real world. This versatile model could one day be used for automobile driver's assistance, visual search engines, biomedical imaging analysis, or robots with realistic vision. Here is the researchers' paper in PDF format."
Arlen writes "As many as 17,000 people (according to police estimates) watched Senator Barack Obama officially announce his candidacy for President in Springfield, Illinois today. He mentioned several things that will interest readers of Slashdot. The Senator said he wanted to free America from 'the tyranny of oil' and went on to promote alternative energy sources such as ethanol — a popular stance in the Midwest where he announced, because of all the corn farmers. He also talked about using science and technology to help those with chronic diseases, which is likely to have been an allusion to his staunch support for stem cell research. Perhaps most of interest to readers here is the following statement halfway through Obama's speech: 'Let's invest in scientific research, and let's lay down broadband lines through the heart of inner cities and rural towns all across America. We can do that.' Like nearly everything in his speech, this was met with robust applause from the crowd. You can watch a video of the entire speech at Obama's website."
Nuclear Elephant writes "The Consumerist is running a story about a house burned down by a Dell laptop. 'My 130-year-old former farm house was engulfed in flames, with thick dark smoke pouring out of the windows and roof... Hours later, after investigation the fire marshal investigator took me aside asked me if I had a laptop computer. Yes — I told him I had a Dell Inspiron 1200.' It was determined that the laptop, battery, or cord malfunctioned after its owner left for work, leaving the fire to spread through the entire house. All attempts to contact Dell have failed. 'I have tried to call Dell to at least notify them of my problems, but each time I have called I get transferred into an endless loop of "Joe" or "Alan" all speaking a delectable version of English I presume emanates from Bangalore. I have been outright hung up on each time I get someone who speaks a reasonable version of English, or sounds like they might be in charge of something. Promises of call backs have gone, of course, unreturned.'"