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Robotics

Elder-Assist Robotic Suits, From the Real Cyberdyne 121

Posted by timothy
from the how-do-you-know-it's-not-the-same-one dept.
Tasha26 writes "No, not the one which will end up building terminator robots. BBC's Click brings news of a Japanese company, Cyberdyne, which is in the process of building different robotic suits to assist the elderly in accomplishing simple body tasks such as walking and lifting. Even though still in R&D, this video (@3m15s) shows a pretty promising future for the elderly."
Google

Wolfram Alpha vs. Google — Results Vary 255

Posted by timothy
from the and-so-might-your-mileage dept.
wjousts writes "Technology Review has an article comparing various search results from Wolfram Alpha and Google. Results vary. For example, searching 'Microsoft Apple' in Alpha returns data comparing both companies stock prices, whereas Google top results are news stories mentioning both companies. However, when searching for '10 pounds kilograms,' Alpha rather unhelpfully assumes you want to multiply 10 pounds by 1 kilogram, whereas Google directs you to sites for metric conversions. Change the query to '10 pounds in kilograms' and both give you the result you'd expect (i.e. 4.536 kg)."
Businesses

Apple Snags Former Xbox Exec 190

Posted by kdawson
from the recruiting-games dept.
nandemoari sends along word that Apple has picked up Richard Teversham, a senior Executive from Microsoft's European Xbox operations, ending his 15 years of service to Redmond. Some press accounts assume that Teversham's role may lie in beefing up the games scene on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Forbes goes farther, opining that Apple "appears to be preparing an all-out assault on the handheld gaming market." Other reporting associates the hire with Apple's recent buildout of chip-design expertise.

Comment: Re:I look forward to (Score 1) 148

by plehmuffin (#26399343) Attached to: AMD Plans 1,000-GPU Supercomputer For Games, Cloud
producing negative infinity carbon emissions

But The Plants! All the plants would die. In fact, the ridiculously negative carbon equilibrium so established would SUCK THE CARBON FROM OUR VERY BONES! (Carbon is a relatively major component of bone tissue, the calcium phosphate component aside.)

Comment: Simply Product Differentiation (Score 1) 361

by plehmuffin (#26170255) Attached to: Computer Models and the Global Economic Crash
I see absolutely no reason why a single account could not offer all those features. The only reason you "need" all that is because the banks created all these funny rules so that they could introduce more and more products and services.

While some of these product distinctions are due to things like differing tax treatments for different types of investments, most of these things basically boil down to banks attempting to differentiate their products and because different models give different values to certain types of investments.

For instance, there is no inherent theoretical reason, according to the conventional risk-return gaussian models, why bonds should be treated differently from stocks with a suitably adjusted risk premium in the expected returns. But in actual fact, these things are very different: Bonds have a guaranteed return, and stocks could lose significant quantities of their value in a severe market downturn.

For that thing, it's actually a good reason we have all these different types of investment products, because they do have different risk profiles, and to maximally reduce your specific risks you'll want to load up on some and avoid others. It's when someone starts telling you that 'this high-yield investment is just as safe as a government bond' that you should get suspicious.

The Military

US Army To Develop "Thought Helmets" 226

Posted by Soulskill
from the better-than-"thought-pants"-i-guess dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Time Magazine reports on a $4 million US Army contract to begin developing 'thought helmets' to harness silent brain waves for secure communication among troops that the Army hopes will 'lead to direct mental control of military systems by thought alone.' The Army's initial goal is to capture brain waves with software that translates the waves into audible radio messages for other troops in the field. 'It'd be radio without a microphone,' says Dr. Elmar Schmeisser, the Army neuroscientist overseeing the program. 'Because soldiers are already trained to talk in clean, clear and formulaic ways, it would be a very small step to have them think that way.' The key challenge will be to develop software able to pinpoint speech-related brain waves and pick them up with a 128-sensor array that ultimately will be buried inside a helmet. Scientists deny charges that they're messing with soldiers' minds. 'A lot of people interpret wires coming out of the head as some sort of mind reading,' says Dr. Mike D'Zmura. 'But there's no way you can get there from here.' One potential civilian spin-off: a Bluetooth Helmet so people nearby can't hear you when you talk on your cell phone."
Social Networks

Facebook Blocks Users From Mentioning BugMeNot.com 448

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sorry-charlie dept.
ThinkingInBinary writes "The other day, I was trying to mention bugmenot.com in my Facebook status, and I discovered to my horror that Facebook blocks the phrase 'bugmenot.com' as "abusive" in status updates, messages, and presumably any other communications on the site. Facebook isn't even listed on BugMeNot, as they requested that logins for Facebook be blocked. This is pretty ridiculous, as I can't even send my friends a message mentioning bugmenot.com!"
Supercomputing

$208 Million Petascale Computer Gets Green Light 174

Posted by samzenpus
from the that's-a-lot-of-solitaire dept.
coondoggie writes "The 200,000 processor core system known as Blue Waters got the green light recently as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and its National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) said it has finalized the contract with IBM to build the world's first sustained petascale computational system. Blue Waters is expected to deliver sustained performance of more than one petaflop on many real-world scientific and engineering applications. A petaflop equals about 1 quadrillion calculations per second. They will be coupled to more than a petabyte of memory and more than 10 petabytes of disk storage. All of that memory and storage will be globally addressable, meaning that processors will be able to share data from a single pool exceptionally quickly, researchers said. Blue Waters, is supported by a $208 million grant from the National Science Foundation and will come online in 2011."
Earth

Estimated World Population to Pass 6,666,666,666 Today 645

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the you're-special-and-unique-just-like-everyone-else dept.
suso writes ""The estimated population of the world will pass 6,666,666,666 today. No doubt an interesting number for people everywhere (not referring to any religion connotations). 5,555,555,555 was passed about 14 years ago. You may not realize that only 80 years ago, the population of the Earth was only around 2 billion. This shows how the population of the world has increased at an alarming rate in recent times, although the growth rate is almost half what it was at its peak in 1963, when it was 2.2%. Unrelated but also an interesting coincidence, the estimated number of available IPv4 addresses is getting very close to 666,666,666. It should cross over today as well.""
Robotics

Robot Becomes One of the Kids 186

Posted by kdawson
from the everybody-say-awwww dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers have found that toddlers treat a small robot as a peer rather than a toy. A team from the University of California, San Diego, placed Sony's QRIO in a classroom of kids aged 18 months to 2 years and watched them interact. Over time the children grew to treat the robot as one of them — playing games with the robot, hugging it, and covering it up with a blanket when its batteries ran down."
Technology

Innovation's Role Is Sorely Exaggerated 203

Posted by kdawson
from the against-the-church-of-technological-hype dept.
Strudelkugel writes "The New Yorker has a book review describing our common misunderstanding of the value of technology and its ultimate uses. The reviewer notes that the way we think about technology tends to ignore older objects of technology. Quoting: '[W]hen we do consider technology in historical terms we customarily see it as a driving force of progress: every so often... an innovation — the steam engine, electricity, computers — brings a new age into being. In "The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History Since 1900", by David Edgerton, a well-known British historian of modern military and industrial technology, offers a vigorous assault on this narrative. He thinks that traditional ways of understanding technology, technological change, and the role of technology in our lives, have been severely distorted by what he calls "the innovation-centric account" of technology.'" Money quote: "Seen in this light, my kitchen is a technological palimpsest."
Censorship

Posting Porn Link Judged Unlawful in Hong Kong 146

Posted by Zonk
from the touchy-on-titilation dept.
hkxforce writes "Can you imagine posting a link to a website that would get you arrested by the police? In Hong Kong, a middle-age man has been heavily fined for posting a porn link in an adult discussion forum. 'A court in the Kwun Tong district of the city heard that Woo provided a hyperlinked message on the forum which, when clicked, would enable other forum users to access an overseas pornographic website showing the photos. But Internet Society chairman Charles Mok Nai-kwong said the court case raised several concerns. 'In this case, the court has given a new direction to the public concerning the responsibility of internet users,' he said. Mok added that he also believed the case could damage the freedom of information on the internet. 'This man posted a link on the internet which now becomes an act that constitutes the breaking of law, and my question is whether a link is being regarded as the 'obscene article,'' he said.'"

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

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