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Comment Re:Pittsburgh, PA (Score 1) 464

Another good thing about Pittsburgh is that it's easy to reach the New York or Washington metro areas when you want to enjoy some "big city" amenities like a Broadway show or a visit to the Smithsonian, but far enough away that the cost of living is ridiculously cheap. Grad students buy houses here. And Pittsburgh has had a TechShop for years. Also, the local government is actually supportive of Uber, which might explain why Uber built their Advanced Technology Center here for self-driving car research.

Comment Re:Zotero and ResearchGate (Score 1) 81

Boycott ResearchGate: they're spammers. If you enter your papers into ResearchGate they will spam all your co-authors and FORGE YOUR NAME as the sender of the spam. Every time I've informed a colleague that "they" have spammed me, they've been horrified and unsubscribed from ResearchGate. It's no surprise that such an unethical company brags about Bill Gates being one of their investors.

Comment CMU computational neuroscience course (Score 1) 90

I teach a graduate course in computational neuroscience at CMU. My lecture notes, exercises, and Matlab software are all available online via my home page, at

I disagree with the notion that only professionals should speak publicly about their scientific work. Amateurs should be welcome in any branch of science. Who knows where the next contribution will come from? And there is plenty of disappointing work from tenured professionals. So read the journals, but be prepared to wade through a lot of straw to find the gold. One of the advantages of graduate school is that there are experts who can help you with this.


Programmable Quantum Computer Created 132

An anonymous reader writes "A team at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) used berylium ions, lasers and electrodes to develop a quantum system that performed 160 randomly chosen routines. Other quantum systems to date have only been able to perform single, prescribed tasks. Other researchers say the system could be scaled up. 'The researchers ran each program 900 times. On average, the quantum computer operated accurately 79 percent of the time, the team reported in their paper.'"

Diskeeper Accused of Scientology Indoctrination 779

touretzky writes "Two ex-employees have sued Diskeeper Corporation in Los Angeles Superior Court after being fired, alleging that the company makes Scientology training a mandatory condition of employment (complaint, PDF). Diskeeper founder and CEO Craig Jensen is a high-level, publicly avowed Scientologist who has given millions to his Church. Diskeeper's surprising response to the lawsuit (PDF) appears to be that religious instruction in a place of employment is protected by the First Amendment." The blogger at believes that the legal mechanism that Diskeeper is using to advance this argument ("motion to strike") is inappropriate and will be disallowed, but that the company will eventually be permitted to present its novel legal theory.

Submission + - Diskeeper accused of Scientology indoctrination ( 1

touretzky writes: "Diskeeper Corporation has been sued in Los Angeles Superior Court by two ex-employees who allege that the company makes Scientology training a mandatory condition of employement. Diskeeper founder and CEO Craig Jensen is a high levelI, publicly-avowed Scientologist who has given millions to his Church. Diskeeper's surprising response to the lawsuit appears to be that religious instruction in a place of employment is protected by the First Amendment."

Submission + - new humanoid robot announced (

Davide writes: "Many of us think that all the humanoid robots are Japanese or Korean. Actually, there is a quite interesting human size robot that comes from UAE, REEM-A. It has some interesting skills as dynamic walking (of course), object recognition, voice recognition, self localization and mapping, long battery life and face recognition ("where have I seen you before?"). Recently, the development team announced that the second prototype, REEM-B, will be presented in February 2008. The second prototype got many improvements: a fingered hand with 12 motors, the ability to go up and down stairs, additional force sensors on the arms, ultrasonic range finders to avoid obstacles and a completely new look (but we must wait 2 more months to find out how REEM-B looks like)."

Submission + - Quixtar sues 21 anonymous bloggers and YouTubers (

Dave Touretzky writes: "Quixtar (formerly known as Amway) has filed suit against 21 anonymous bloggers and YouTubers in an effort to unmask their identities. The suit alleges that the anonymous critics are acting on behalf of TEAM, a group of Quixtar distributors that recently broke with the company. Quixtar and TEAM are presently suing each other, and TEAM has called Quixtar a "pyramid scheme" whose prices are too high. One of the videos mentioned in the subpeona is a hilarious spoof of a Quixtar sales presentation that does seem to repeat TEAM's criticisms of Quixtar — but they're the same criticisms people have been making for decades. Another one of the targeted videos is an innocuous piece of criticism whose inclusion clearly demonstrates that Quixtar's real interested is intimidating its critics. Google is giving YouTubers until Nov. 5th to file motions to quash the subpoenas for their identities. Once unmasked, Quixtar will likely subpoena the defendants' hard drives, as they have done previously."

It is easier to change the specification to fit the program than vice versa.