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Submission + - "Turing Test Passed" was just a load of hype?

beaker_72 writes: On Sunday we saw a story on /. alerting us to the news that the Turing Test had finally been passed: The same story was picked up by most of the mainstream media and reported all over the place over the weekend and yesterday. However, today we see an article in TechDirt telling us that in fact the original press release was just a load of hype from someone who has previous in the area: So who's right? Have researchers at a well established university managed to beat this test for the first time, or should we believe TechDirt who have pointed out some aspects of the story which, if true, are pretty damning?

Comment Why Compare her to Scott? (Score 2) 144

Do they expect that she won't make it?

If it's a well planned, modern thinking, expedition, would seem to make more sense to compare her to Amundsen...

Scott appears to have been very brave, but he also seems to have been stuck in the century old Royal Navy mindset of the nobility of man hauling during polar exploration. Amundsen seems to have studied the problem of polar exploration from a very young age and put this knowledge gained into designing a successful solution. He got there first, got there faster, and didn't lose a single man.

Terra Nova - a play about the race to the South Pole

Submission + - Atheists know religions best (

bfandreas writes: The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has published the results of a survey on knowledge about religion. You can take the quiz pitting yourself against various segments of the US populace.
According to the survey, atheists seem to have the most detailed and in-depth knowledge.

Comment 'Mousetrap' rights just released in AU (Score 1) 244

I think the solution has been on Wikipedia for some time - it's presumably why the article is semi-protected from edits, and there's a lot of fierce talk on both sides on the discussion page.

What is somewhat interesting is that after 60 years, the performance rights of 'Mousetrap' have only just been made available in Australia. Sydney's Genesian Theatre will produce the Australian premiere of the play in 2011. The rights holders really have been very strict about keeping the secret for many years, so it's hardly surprising they're upset at finding out it's on Wikipedia.

But I guess Australians will no longer have to travel to London or Wikipedia to find out the ending...

Submission + - Maybe Lou Gehrig Didn't Have Lou Gehrig's Disease (

Hugh Pickens writes: "Researchers report that Lou Gehrig's death — and that of other athletes and soldiers given a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease — might have been catalyzed by injuries only now becoming understood: concussions and other brain trauma and although the paper does not discuss Gehrig specifically, its authors in interviews acknowledged the clear implication: Lou Gehrig might not have had Lou Gehrig's disease. The finding could prompt a redirection in the study of motor degeneration in athletes and military veterans being given diagnoses of ALS at rates considerably higher than normal, say some experts in ALS. Patients with significant histories of brain trauma could be considered for different types of treatment, perhaps leading toward new pathways for a cure. "Most ALS patients don't to autopsy so there's no need to look at your brain and spinal cord," says Dr. Brian Crum. "But a disease can look like ALS, it can look like Alzheimer's, and it's not when you look at the actual tissue. This is something that needs to be paid attention to.""

Submission + - Green laser pointers may be dangerous ( 1

maxwell demon writes: Researchers at NIST have found out that cheap green laser pointers can emit dangerously intense infrared light. Since you cannot see infrared light, you'll normally not notice it, however it's dangerous for your eye. The article also describes how to test laser pointers with consumer equipment. Of course, while doing that, do not look into laser with remaining eye.

Submission + - New Writer Extension for Braille (

ChristopheS writes: The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U.Leuven) has released an extension for Writer that enables users to save documents as Braille or to send them directly to a Braille embosser. "odt2braille" ( is a freeware extension for Writer.
odt2braille is available for Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista and Windows 7), and will later also become available for Mac OS X and Linux/Unix. The current version of odt2braille supports eight Braille embossers, and additional embossers will be added later. One of the supported embossers is the Elekul, which was developed at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven by Prof. Dr. Guido Francois, and which was the first system that could emboss Braille on both sides of the same sheet of paper.
odt2braille is being developed in the context of the AEGIS project, a research & development project supported by the European Commission. The AEGIS project develops software for persons with disabilities, covering the desktop platform, the Web (Rich Internet Applications) and mobile devices. In November 2009, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven released another extension in the context of the AEGIS project: odt2daisy (, an Writer extension that converts text documents to audio books in the DAISY format.

Submission + - Auto-GCAS, the uncrashable plane?

Dexter Herbivore writes: Guy Norris of Aviation Week was taken on a test-flight to demonstrate the capabilities of Auto-GCAS (Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System). In his words "The Auto-GCAS’s capabilities can best be appreciated firsthand.". Previous systems warned the pilot of an imminent collision, the Auto-GCAS actually takes control of the plane and performs the manoeuvres to avoid collision.

Submission + - Combating the dangers of a helpful helpdesk (

An anonymous reader writes: An Australian hacker explains how he won the flag-capture component of the annual social engineering competition at DEF CON. The secret: a help desk staffer who was too helpful by half and handed over corporate secrets such as details of the RFID tags the Fortune 500 company used and the nature of their archive and disposal processes.

Submission + - Kmart Offers $149 Android Tablet (

pickens writes: A Kmart circular came out last week with an uber-geeky product that perked up a few ears in the gadget community. Augen's 7-inch Gen-78 Android tablet which runs Android 2.1 is on sale for $150 (normally $170). The tablet is as bare bones as it gets, but it does work and has some features which may interest those who can't reconcile the $500+ price of Apple's iPad. Features include Android 2.1 (no skinning) 800x480 Display, WiFi 802.11G, 2GB of storage +SD card slot (up to 32GB), 256MB of RAM (same as iPad), HDMI out for 720P viewing on an external display, Android Market access, an eBook reader, YouTube app, and Maps. The tablet is currently sold out at many locations but Kmart is offering rain checks. "I'll be honest," writes Seth Weintraub. "I don't trust my toddler with an iPad but this thing will be great for watching Gumby (don't ask) at home and Sesame Street in the car."

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