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Submission + - Interview with Steve Ballmer on Dutch TV (omroep.nl)

tsa writes: Yesterday there was an interesting and very funny interview with Steve Ballmer on our national TV. The audience were 600 students of our Erasmus University, who were allowed to ask questions. There is a small part that is in Dutch because Steve happened to have a Belgian teacher for a while. She tells us what kind of a kid he was when he was 8 years old. During the interview Steve gets some tough questions that he answeres like a pro. Despite the fact that they don't ask him about the chair, it's worth watching!
Science

Submission + - Startup Publishes Mathematics of Brain Circuits 2

braingal writes: The brain’s core algorithm for intelligent thought and action is closer to being cracked, thanks to a new mathematical model of cortical function. The model, developed by the Silicon Valley startup company Numenta, is described in a paper entitled “Towards a Mathematical Theory of Cortical Micro-circuits” in the October issue of PLoS Computational Biology . The model provides detailed, testable predictions about many enigmatic features of cortical circuitry. It also makes predictions about the systematic errors and illusions that living brains exhibit and has implications for understanding mental disorders. There are technological ramifications as well: an accurate model of the cortical algorithm may accelerate the creation of intelligent machines ( Singularity...here we come!!) by revealing which details of the neural circuitry are functionally relevant.
Input Devices

Submission + - Image Recognition Neural Networks (sourceforge.net)

sevarac writes: The latest release of Java Neural Network Framework Neuroph v2.3 comes with ready-to-use image recognition support. It provides GUI tool for training multi layer perceptrons for image recognition, and easy to use API to deploy these neural networks in end-user applications. This image recognition approach has been successfully used by DotA AutoScript tool, and now it is released as open source. With this Java library basic image recognition can be performed in just few lines of code. The developers have published howto article and online demo which can be used to train image recognition neural networks online.

Submission + - Bruce Sterling reviews new Pirate Party manifesto (wired.com)

vkg writes: He's as terse as ever, but the Pirate's Platform is short, to the point, and quite interesting. What would happen if the pirate movement became more than a single issue party and moved in the direction outlined here?

Submission + - Student Faces Prison for Disrupting Oil Auctions

pickens writes: Hugh Pickens writes:

The NY Times reports that last December Tim DeChristopher went to a federal auction of oil and gas leases offered in the Bush administration's closing days and even then the subject of protests and lawsuits — and bid on contracts that he had neither the money nor intent to actually fulfill. "My intention was to cause as much of a disruption to the auction as I could," says DeChristopher, a 27-year-old student at the University of Utah. "Making that decision — that keeping the oil in the ground was worth going to prison — that was the decision I made." DeChristopher is now charged with two felony counts of interfering with an auction and making false statements on bidding forms even as most of the specific leases DeChristopher protested — many of them near national parks or monuments — have not only been deferred or taken off the table by federal land managers in the Obama administration but also scathingly disavowed. "There was a headlong rush to leasing in the prior administration that led to the kinds of shortcuts we have demonstrated," says Obama's Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. DeChristopher praised Salazar's decision, saying it represents government taking a "serious stance in the defense of our land and climate." Federal prosecutors argue that whether DeChristopher was on some level correct in opposing the leases is irrelevant and DeChristopher now faces up to five years in prison on each of the two counts and up to $750,000 in fines. DeChristopher's attorney has asked the judge to allow a so-called necessity defense at the trial.enabling DeChristopher to argue that he faced a "choice of evils" that justified breaking the law. "Bush and the [Bureau of Land Management] should be on trial here," says DeChristopher's lawyer.
Science

Submission + - An Electron Microscope for Your Home? (wired.com)

CuteSteveJobs writes: Could Microscopy be in for a new golden age? Wired previews the desktop-sized Hitachi TM-100 Electron Microscope. Light microscopes can magnify up to 400X (1,000X albeit at lower quality) — just enough to see bacteria as shapes — but this one offers 20X to 10,000X giving some amazing pictures. Unlike traditional electron microscopes, this one plugs into a domestic power socket and specimens don't need any special preparation; It's point-and-shoot much like your typical digital camera. So easy, a grade-schooler could use it and earlier this year that's what happened: The kids at Iwanuma Elementary School in Miyagi, Japan got their own electron microscope. At $60,000 you'll have to give up on the BMW, but the hope is with economy of scale (so far 1,000 have sold) and miniaturization the price will continue to drop. The only bad news? It runs XP.

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