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Comment Random topology? (Score 1) 198

Matching the neuron count and connection count of a cat brain is clearly not sufficient to simulate the functionality. Neurons in a mammal brain are not randomly connected. A great level of organization happens during the growth of the brain cells and connections starting from the embryonic stage. Much of the functionality is "hardwired" as result of this organized growth process which has evolved over hundreds of millions of years, and for higher level mammal like a cat a lot of the functionality is wired (learned) during early "kittenhood". Without reverse engineering some of this "schematic diagram", I am not sure how useful it is to simulate a random set of neurons that are wired randomly unless the object is to create a high-grade white noise generator.

Comment Can be a bit tricky to program... (Score 5, Interesting) 269

I built a single instruction microprocessor at grad school. The only instruction was to move a 32-bit data from one address to another address. All the ALU and I/O functions were memory mapped. For example, you could have an adder where address A was operand #1, address B was operand #2 and address C was the result. Branches were handled through ALU units where the result of the operation changed the instruction pointer for some future instruction. It was very easy to implement and notoriously difficult to program.

Submission + - IBM claims supercomputer is smarter than a cat (

nokiator writes: Scientists, at IBM Research — Almaden, in collaboration with colleagues from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, have performed the first near real-time cortical simulation of the brain that exceeds the scale of a cat cortex. The simulator, which runs on the Dawn Blue Gene /P supercomputer with 147,456 CPUs and 144TB of main memory, simulates the activity of 1.617 billion neurons connected in a network of 8.87 trillion synapses. ArsTechnica has an article covering this which is a lot more informative than the IBM PR.

Of course, we all know that cats are smarter than people...

Submission + - Microsoft applies for patent on Tufte's sparklines ( 1

jenkin sear writes: Data Visualization Guru Edward Tufte developed Sparklines, a great way to display condensed data as an inline graphic. Excel's new version has incorporated the design element- and Microsoft has applied for a patent on them- without so much as a by-your-leave from Tufte. So much for a kinder, gentler Microsoft.

Comment Ideal FBR Location (Score 1, Interesting) 581

Build the FBR on the moon. The amount of fuel that needs to be sent over is not that much, and we don't have to worry about disposing of the nuclear waste or about unfriendlies smuggling the plutonium back to Earth in 18-wheelers...

Of course, you would need some kind of a monster microwave link to carry the energy back to the Earth...

Comment Broken economics (Score 1) 466

Another MPAA attempt to resuscitate a dying business model through prohibitive legislation. The fundamental source of the piracy problem is economical. Technology has greatly reduced the cost of creation and distribution of content (not including the pay for stars/directors/studio execs), but content owners still want to impose archaic pricing policies on content which clearly is not worth it for many people.

I stopped buying DVDs since renting them (mail or online) through Netflix is much more economical and convenient. I pay my $16.99 monthly content "tax" to Netflix, and I am all set. This is the new model for content use. The solution is to extend the fee based online access to cover all available content. If I can watch any movie I want any time I want for a $20/month subscription fee, why would I bother pirating DVDs?

Trying to fight economics through legislation has never worked, and never will.

Comment Pleae pay for a good script (Score 1) 708

Yes, it is hard to believe that we haven't seen a series of movies (or a SyFy series) based on Foundation yet. There is a lot of good material out there that would make excellent movies:
  • Neal Stephenson: Diamond Age, Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon. (Although not Sci-Fi, Baroque Cycle series would make a good series of movies, too.)
  • Vernor Vinge: A Fire upon the Deep, A Deepness in the Sky, even the Realtime series...
  • Greg Bear: Eon (and Eternity and Legacy)
  • Karl Schroeder: Virga series
  • Charles Stross: Many books, but the Merchant Princes series may be particularly good fit for movies.
  • Joe Scalzi: Bring back some humor into Sci-Fi movies?

Licensing the movie rights for any one of these shouldn't cost more than the typical pay for lead actor...

Comment I fully support Mr Murdoch (Score 1) 549

Google and all other search engines should immediately start excluding links to Murdoch's web sites from all of their search results. Mr Murdoch should look into other ways of increasing his profits form the content his publications are providing. He should go one step further and make Fox News Channel a premium cable channel that costs $49.95/month...

Comment Slashdot - the Murdoch way? (Score 3, Insightful) 293

This way this article is quoted on the Slashdot is nothing but politically motivated propaganda and is full of non-facts. Of course, not many will bother to do a minimal amount of research which would reveal that most ($359.36 million portion) of this loan will be directed to Fisker's Project Nina, an effort by the automaker to develop a lower-cost, higher-volume plug-in hybrid car by late 2012.

Also, many adults are not able to understand the difference between "million" and "billions". The total amount of the government loan (not handout) of given to these two innovative automakers add up to less than a billion dollars. Compared that to nearly a trillion dollars that has been spent over the last year to rescue banks and investment bankers. It is very likely that a lot more than a billion dollars of the government handout to the banks was used to paid "guaranteed bonuses" for the executives who were (ir)responsible for bringing their financial institutions to the brink of bankruptcy. And the "Citizens Against Government Waste" somewhat did not bother to make any comments regarding the $1 Trillion handout to Wall Street...

Mirrors should reflect a little before throwing back images. -- Jean Cocteau