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+ - Crowdsourced evolution of 3D printable objects->

Submitted by
JimmyQS
JimmyQS writes "The Cornell Creative Machines Lab, which brought us chatbots debating God and unicorns, has developed Endlessforms.com, a site using evolutionary algorithms and crowdsourcing to design objects that can be 3D printed in materials such as silver, steel or silicone. MIT's Technology Review says "The rules EndlessForms uses to generate objects and their variants resemble those of developmental biology—the study of how DNA instructions unfold to create an entire living organism. The technology is 'very impressive,' says Neri Oxman, director of the MIT Media Lab's Mediated Matter research group. She believes the user-friendliness of the evolutionary approach could help drive the broader adoption of 3-D printing technologies, similar to how easy-to-use image editors fueled the growth of digital photography and graphic manipulation. Oxman [notes] that this could ultimately have an impact on design similar to the impact that blogs and social media have had on journalism, opening the field to the general public." The New Scientist has a quick video tour and describes how the same technology can evolve complex, artificially intelligent brains and bodies for robots that can eventually be 3D printed."
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Hardware

+ - Demystifying UEFI, the overdue BIOS replacement

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "After more than 30 years of unerring and yet surprising supremacy, BIOS is taking its final bows. Taking its place is UEFI, a specification that begun its life as the Intel Boot Initiative way back in 1998 when BIOS’s antiquated limitations were hampering systems built with Intel’s Itanium processors. UEFI, as the article explains, is a complete re-imagining of a computer boot environment, and as such it has almost no similarities to the PC BIOS that it replaces."
Robotics

Robotic Hands Grip Without Fingers 105

Posted by Soulskill
from the please-don't-send-this-to-japan dept.
sciencehabit writes "Physicists have designed a robotic hand that doesn't have fingers, yet can still serve drinks and draw pictures. The hand is a thin, rubber sack filled with coffee grains or small glass spheres. When it comes into contact with an object, a small pipe sucks air from the sack, causing it to contract and mold to the object's shape. As long as the gripper can fold about one-fourth of the object's surface, it can pick up just about any shape thrown in its path. The article includes a video of the hand in action."
Games

Defining Video Game Addiction 354

Posted by Soulskill
from the one-more-pindle-run dept.
1Up has a feature discussing where the line should be drawn when it comes to game addiction. The author speaks to researcher Neils Clark about some of the common characteristics of addiction, and how the high level of immersion in many modern games contributes to the mind's ability to drown out mundane tasks. We've discussed game addiction many times over the past several years. Quoting: "If we're not all dribbling addicts, then why are we playing so much? Clark puts this down to a theory proposed by The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien — primary and secondary worlds. The primary world is our own real life. The secondary is the fictional world: literature, film, videogames, and so on. 'It used to be that the imagery and artistic intent had to be fully available before you could really "find" yourself in a written story,' Clark says. 'Immersion has progressed to the point where entering a world [inside a game] is almost automatic. At the point we're at, playing healthy not only means understanding immersion but [also] recognizing that these secondary worlds are designed to be more fulfilling than the primary. Learning to balance them is its own technology. It's something that humankind is in a process of developing, even if on a subconscious level for most gamers.'"
Google

Google Chrome, the Google Browser 807

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the fun-unfounded-rumor dept.
Philipp Lenssen writes "Google announced their very own browser project called Google Chrome — an announcement in the form of a comic book drawn by Scott McCloud, no less. Google says Google Chrome will be open source, include a new JavaScript virtual machine, include the Google Gears add-on by default, and put the tabs above the address bar (not below), among other things. I've also uploaded Google's comic book with all the details (details given from Google's perspective, anyway... let's see how this holds up). While Google provided the URL www.google.com/chrome there's nothing up there yet."
Censorship

IOC Admits Internet Censorship Deal With China 380

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the shut-up-it's-patriotic dept.
Dave writes "BEIJING (Reuters) — Some International Olympic Committee officials cut a deal to let China block sensitive websites despite promises of unrestricted access, a senior IOC official admitted on Wednesday. Persistent pollution fears and China's concerns about security in Tibet also remained problems for organizers nine days before the Games begin. China had committed to providing media with the same freedom to report on the Games as they enjoyed at previous Olympics, but journalists have this week complained of finding access to sites deemed sensitive to its communist leadership blocked. 'I regret that it now appears BOCOG has announced that there will be limitations on website access during Games time,' IOC press chief Kevan Gosper said, referring to Beijing's Olympic organizers. 'I also now understand that some IOC officials negotiated with the Chinese that some sensitive sites would be blocked on the basis they were not considered Games related,' he said." But yet somehow the mainstream media will ignore this because the Olympics are patriotic or something.
Mozilla

Firefox 3.1 Alpha "Shiretoko" Released 385

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the get-your-compile-on dept.
Just as you were getting used to 3.0, those Mozilla guys have announced 3.1's Alpha release. FTA "Built on the pre-release version of the Gecko 1.9.1 platform, Shiretoko includes a variety of new features. Called an 'early developer milestone,' the release includes bug fixes, improved Web standards support, Text API for the Canvas Element, support for border images and JavaScript query selectors, and improvements to the tab-switching function and the Smart Location Bar." You can download it if you dare.
It's funny.  Laugh.

The Ridiculous LexisNexis Search that the Justice Department Used 589

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the your-government-ruining-america dept.
jamie writes "The politicization of Bush's Justice Department, which this week was officially determined to be illegal, has a funny side too. Sometime in 2005-2006, White House Liaison Jan Williams attended a seminar on LexisNexis searches, and wrote one herself. When she left, she passed it on to her successor Monica Goodling in an email. Justin Mason, author of SpamAssassin, is skeptical about its accuracy:

[First name of a candidate]! and pre/2 [last name of a candidate] w/7 bush or gore or republican! or democrat! or charg! or accus! or criticiz! or blam! or defend! or iran contra or clinton or spotted owl or florida recount or sex! or controvers! or racis! or fraud! or investigat! or bankrupt! or layoff! or downsiz! or PNTR or NAFTA or outsourc! or indict! or enron or kerry or iraq or wmd! or arrest! or intox! or fired or sex! or racis! or intox! or slur! or arrest! or fired or controvers! or abortion! or gay! or homosexual! or gun! or firearm!

Needless to say, when asked about it, Williams first said she didn't remember ever seeing it, then said she'd used an edited version just once. LexisNexis records show she used it, as shown, 25 times." Note that 'sex!' appears twice in the query. Must be VERY important.

The Internet

Police Shame Pranksters On YouTube 390

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-they-can dept.
Barence writes "British police are shaming hoax 999 callers and time-wasters on YouTube in an effort to cut down on non-emergency calls. Video clips uploaded include a lady phoning police to ask what year the internet started, the dramatic tale of a man whose wife would only provide salmon sandwiches for lunch, and another worried soul who had lost her glasses and could not see properly to peel potatoes. Anyone else think the chance of YouTube fame is more likely to encourage copycats than educate people about the wrongs of hoax calling?"

Techdirt: South Park Comes Full Circle, Though Viacom Doesn't Seem To Realize It->

From feed by techdirtfeed
Kevin Stapp writes in to let us know that Viacom has decided to put every episode of South Park online. The article quotes MTV Networks Chairman and Chief Executive Judy McGrath talking about having TV shows online doesn't hurt their viewership and could actually help: "One does not diminish the other by any stretch of the imagination." This is something that plenty of folks have noticed before, but perhaps something McGrath shouldn't be saying it as her parent company is trying to convince a court that YouTube is costing it money. McGrath's quote probably won't play very well in court.

However, what's even odder is that no one (in the article, at least) seems to recognize that this is simply a case of South Park coming full circle. The only reason that South Park even is a TV show is because of the video short created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone got passed widely around the internet back in 1995 and 1996. Also, once the show launched, it was one of the first TV shows that fans quickly put online and shared, helping promote the popularity of the show. I still remember people passing around links to the first few episodes in order to round up people to get together to watch the newest episodes on TV. And, what happened? You guessed it... Comedy Central flipped out and started threatening all of the sites that were hosting the episodes. Yet here we are, a decade later and its big news that the company has finally (partially) come to its senses?

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The Media

+ - People confused about their rights

Submitted by JonnyRocks
JonnyRocks (877543) writes "I just thought the slashdot community would be interested in what I found. I saw a question on yahoo answers about legality of limewire and what concerned me is how many of the answers were wrong. I sometimes fear that people think downloading anything off the net is illegal. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=Aj5x3XFF63j7S40sn28pENXsy6IX;_ylv=3?qid=20071129135605AAvmTEG&show=7#profile-info-6jydNwohaa"

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