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Brain Interface Lets Monkeys Control Prosthetic Limbs 208

himicos was one of many readers to point out one recent success of scientists working to develop working brain-machine interfaces, writing "A team at the university of Pittsburgh has finally advanced a 2002 technology enough for use in prosthetic limbs, the targeted application all along. Training computer models to the firing patterns of the neurons in the parts of the brain that control motion, they are able to project the intentions of a monkey to a robotic arm, which follows the will of the animal. The sad thing about the articles is that the beauty of the mathematics used to create and train the models is totally ignored." Reader phpmysqldev adds a link to coverage at the BBC, and writes "This of course brings significant hope to amputees and other other people with physical disabilities." (Note that this research has been going on for quite some time.)

Large Sheets of Carbon Nanotubes Produced 155

StCredZero brings news that scientists have developed sheets of nanotubes that measure up to three feet by six feet, and they promise "slabs 100 square feet in area as soon as this summer." The developers see uses for the sheets in electromagnetic shields and airplane construction, and according to the Next Big Future blog, the sheets could also impact the development of solar sails. "The sheets, which the company can produce on its single machine at a rate of one per day, are composed of a series of nanotubes each about a millimeter long, overlapping each other randomly to form a thin mat. The tensile strength of the mat ranges from 200 to 500 megapascals--a measure of how tough it is to break. A sheet of aluminum of equivalent thickness, for comparison, has a strength of 500 megapascals. If Nanocomp takes further steps to align the nanotubes, the strength jumps to 1,200 megapascals."

Submission + - SPAM: USAF Mining Data Use Patterns to Find Thoughtcrime

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: If shutting down access to blogs isn't enough to create resentment, the Air Force is "developing data mining technology meant to root out disaffected insiders based on their e-mail activity — or lack thereof." With "Probabilistic Latent Semantic Indexing" a graph is constructed of social network interactions from an organization's e-mail traffic "If a worker suddenly stops socializing online, abruptly shifts alliances within the organization, or starts developing an unhealthy interest in "sensitive topics," the system detects it and alerts investigators."
The Courts

Submission + - SPAM: Taskforce seizes $76 Million in counterfeit Cisco

coondoggie writes: "An international law enforcement task force today said they have made over 400 seizures of counterfeit Cisco network hardware being trafficked between the US, Canada and China with an estimated retail value of more than $76 million.The initiative targeted the illegal importation and sale of counterfeit network hardware, in particular network routers, switches, network cards and modules manufactured by Cisco. By intercepting the counterfeit hardware at ports of entry and dismantling illegal supply chains in the US, the operation has achieved significant successes in protecting the public from the risk of network infrastructure failures associated with these counterfeits, officials said in a release. [spam URL stripped]"
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Upcoming Execution in Saudi Arabia & Petition (

warehousenorth writes: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has long been known as a dangerous locale for women who don't hide in the shadows. With improved telecommunications and media coverage, we are now hearing of extreme examples of miscarriage of justice. This appears to be an extraordinary example, with no meaningful due process (link to article at The Register

This presents an opportunity to 1)express your opinion, 2)share your opinion with friends, and 3)return the favor to the region that kept mathematics alive while Europeans were picking fleas during the Dark Ages. Remember, everybody needs a helping hand sooner or later..."

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval