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Transportation

+ - Toyota black box data is more closed than others->

wjr writes: Many cars these days contain black boxes that record information (speed, accelerator position, etc) and can preserve information in the case of an accident. Ford and Chrysler say that they use "open systems" so anyone can read out the data; General Motors has licensed Bosch to produce a device capable of reading its cars' black boxes. On the other hand, Toyota has only a single laptop in the US capable of reading its cars' black boxes, and generally won't allow the data to be read without a court order. Honda seems to have a similar policy. This is emerging as an issue in the investigation into unintended acceleration.
Link to Original Source
Robotics

MIT and the Constant Robotic Gardeners 101 101

Singularity Hub writes "MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is pioneering the field of automated farming. During a semester-long experiment, CSAIL's researchers created a laboratory farm: tomato plants in terra cotta pots with artificial turf for grass. The goal of the experiment: to see if these tomatoes could be grown, tended, and harvested by robot caretakers."
The Courts

LifeLock Spokesperson's Stolen ID Inspires Lawsuits 217 217

OrochimaruVoldemort writes "It seems as though LifeLock isn't as secure as Todd Davis makes it out. According to a LifeLock spokesman, his identity has been stolen. For two years, Davis has been daring hackers to steal his ID. Looks like he got what he wanted. CNN reports: 'Now, LifeLock customers in Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia are suing Davis, claiming his service didn't work as promised and he knew it wouldn't, because the service had failed even him.'"

Comment: Slight correction: the Culture isn't "far future" (Score 2, Informative) 232 232

The description of the Culture as "far future" isn't correct - it's intended to be roughly contemporary with the present time, as evidenced by "State of the Art" and some of the timelines given in Consider Phlebas. "Technologically advanced" is a more accurate description.

This incident of nitpickery has been brought to you by the letters "E" and "Schwa" and the number needle-nardle-noo.
Science

Scientists Offer 'Overwhelming' Evidence Terran Life Began in Space 556 556

An anonymous reader writes "Using data from recent comet-probing space missions, British scientists are reporting today that the odds of life starting on Earth rather than inside a comet are one trillion trillion (10 to the power of 24) to one against. That is, we're not originally from around here. Radiation in comets could keep water in liquid form for millions of years, they say, which along with the clay and organic molecules found on-board would provide an ideal incubator. 'Professor Wickramasinghe said: "The findings of the comet missions, which surprised many, strengthen the argument for panspermia. We now have a mechanism for how it could have happened. All the necessary elements - clay, organic molecules and water - are there. The longer time scale and the greater mass of comets make it overwhelmingly more likely that life began in space than on earth."'" jamie points out that the author of this paper has many 'fringe' theories. Your mileage may vary.
The Courts

+ - Spammer Convicted of Phishing Scam

eldavojohn writes: "Jeffrey Brett Goodin has been convicted under the 2003 CAN-SPAM Act. He is facing a sentence of up to 101 years in a federal prison after being found guilty. From the article, "The law forbids e-mail marketers from sending false or misleading messages and requires them to provide recipients with a way to opt out of receiving future mailings." And somehow he's the first person to violate this law since 2003? I'd gladly turn over my inbox to the DoJ if it results in even one of the people responsible spending 101 years in federal-pound-me-in-the-ass prison!"

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"

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