Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment cell cultures as controllers (Score 1) 170

So he uses cell cultures as controllers for robots. I don't have access to his article now to see what he did exactly, but I doubt he can make this work efficiently.

I remember a talk about some DARPA projects after 9/11 for chemical sensing that used also alive cell cultures. Advanced chemical sensing could serve to detect explosives and chemical weapons and therefore shield again terrorist attacks. They would take a cell culture from a rat brain put it onto a dish and then characterize the responses to different kinds of currents (output from chemical sensors), so they could implement a computational model that separated these responses and made sense of them. The problem they had was that the cultures are difficult to maintain in the same state. For chemical sensing they had to be transported which was problematic, because even slight jerks would change the culture. They are very sensitive to temperature and then of course they change over time (as the introduction states). So, the would have to be adjusted again, which is time consuming and expensive. Until he finds a way to maintain the state of the network and control the intrinsic changes of the network (culture) he will have problems with stability and it will not be very useful.

Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft helps Russia pursue opposition (nytimes.com)

asaz989 writes: The New York Times reports that Russia selectively pursues software piracy complaints from Microsoft in order to suppress the opposition — confiscating computers for evidence, searching offices, and the like. Microsoft lawyers usually back the authorities in such cases, even when cases such as that of the environmentalist group Baikal Waves, which went out of its way to buy licenses to prevent police harassment and nevertheless had its offices raided, and its computers confiscated. Microsoft participated in this legal process. Published alongside this story, under the same byline, is a related piece on the collusion of Microsoft lawyers with corrupt Russian police in extorting money from the targets of software piracy investigations. In a responding press release, the company states, 'Microsoft antipiracy efforts are designed to honor both [antipiracy concerns and human rights], but we are open to feedback on what we can do to improve in that regard.'
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft aids persecution of Russian activists

jmcbain writes: The NY Times is reporting that Microsoft directly aided the arrest of Russian evenvironmental activists. The Baikal Environmental Wave was organizing protests against Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin's decision to reopen a paper factory that had polluted nearby Lake Baikal. Instead, the group fell victim to one of the authorities' newest tactics for quelling dissent: confiscating computers under the pretext of searching for pirated Microsoft software. As the ploy grows common, the authorities are receiving key assistance from an unexpected partner: Microsoft itself. Baikal Wave, in fact, said it had purchased and installed legal Microsoft software specifically to deny the authorities an excuse to raid them. The group later asked Microsoft for help in fending off the police. "Microsoft did not want to help us, which would have been the right thing to do," said Marina Rikhvanova, a Baikal Environmental Wave co-chairwoman.
Security

Submission + - Faulty Alarms Blamed for van Gogh Theft (google.com)

pickens writes: AP reports that none of the alarms and only seven out of 43 surveillance cameras were working at a museum where a Vincent van Gogh painting was stolen, as thieves made off with the canvas, known by the titles of "Poppy Flowers" and "Vase with Flowers," on Saturday from the Mahmoud Khalil Museum in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. This is the second time this painting by the Dutch-born postimpressionist has been stolen from the Khalil museum. Thieves first made off with the canvas in 1978, before authorities recovered it two years later at an undisclosed location in Kuwait. Officials have never fully revealed the details of that theft.

Submission + - Critical e-voting researcher arrested in India (freedom-to-tinker.com)

mpawlo writes: Hari Prasad, a researcher working with J. Alex Halderman, Ed Felten and Rop Gonggrijp on a (highly) critical study of flaws in Indias e-voting system was arrested by ten police officers in Hyderabad, India yesterday. It appears this is a political arrest to unveil the groups anonymous source whom provided a voting machine to the group's study.
Earth

Submission + - Is Your Sloppy Code Killing Polar Bears?

theodp writes: Better go over that Java code again, Bunky, lest IBM accuse you of stranding polar bears on melting ice with your sloppy coding. Big Blue has filed for a patent on its Program Development Tool Configured to Compile Source Code According to Energy Consumption Requirements. The invention of four IBM'ers purports 'to determine energy requirements associated with specific elements of the source code, and to present graphical indications of energy requirements along with those code elements.' Time to start pricing carbon offset credits, programmers?
Wikipedia

Submission + - Zionists organize to edit Wikipedia (nytimes.com) 4

djconrad writes: NYTime's The Lede has a piece (and video interview) on an "instruction day for Wiki editors," whose goal is to present a Zionist perspective. From the article: At the opening seminar, attended by about 80 activists, one of the organizers, Naftali Bennett, said that the aim of the course is to make sure that information in the online encyclopedia reflects the worldview of Zionist groups. For example, he said, “if someone searches [for] ‘the Gaza flotilla,’ we want to be there; to influence what is written there, how it’s written and to ensure that it is balanced and Zionist in nature.”
Technology

Submission + - Charged with frauding a robot (www.dn.no)

Kanel writes: Most of the transactions in stockmarkets today, are handled by automatic or semi-automatic algorithms, so-called "stock market robots". The norwegian daytraders Larsen and Veiby successfully carried out a form of social engineering against one of these stock market robots and could now face up to six years in jail.

The two daytraders, who worked independently, placed a number of sell and buy orders onto the Oslo Stock Exchange. For many of these orders, a deal was never completed. The police claim that Larsen and Veiby placed these orders to manipulate the stock exchange and fool a robot owned by US trading house Timber Hill. The police is quoted in the newspaper Dagens Næringsliv saying that the 2200 buy and sell orders carried out from november 2007 to march 2008 changed the robots' impression of the price of certain stocks, something that Larsen and Veiby took advantage of this.

It should be mentioned here that while the stock exchange announce an "official" price on stocks, many stock market robots analyze buy and sell orders in real-time, to predict the next official update from the stock exchange and gamble against this.
Larsen and Veiby claim that they did not manipulate the robot or the stock exchange in an unlawful manner. Nor were their buy and sell orders "fake". The daytraders took an economic risk as anyone could have taken them up on their buy and sell offers.

In this man versus machine lawsuit, commentators rally in support of the two daytraders, who got the paltry sum of 67 000 USD out of their social engineering scheme. The main argument in their defence is that the stock market robots are gaming each other in the same manner all the time. Is something legal when an algorithm performs it at lightning speed and illegal when a human plays by the same strategy? The robots of Goldman Sachs earned the company a hundred million dollars by a similar trading on small margins and got away with it, but when two humans bested a robot at its own game, they were sued.

Several commenters see the lawsuit as part of an ongoing fight to keep small players out of the stock market. Large actors on the stock market move their computers closer to the stock exchange, with direct connections to it, so that their algorithms get a millisecond headstart against other traders when a buy or sell order is announced. While this high-tech is the norm, it appears infeasible, according to commenters, to let everyone in on robot trading. There is no way for say a student or an independent trader to design and connect a robot trading algorithm to the stock exchange and play the same field as the big robots. In Germany alone, 200 000 people is reported to have left the trading arena because of the robots and the preferential treatment they get at the stock exchanges.

Submission + - Open Source 3D Printed Jewelry (kickstarter.com)

An anonymous reader writes: I am currently running a Kickstarter project to try to fund the release of several of my 3D printed jewelry designs under a Creative Commons license for others to modify, mashup, or print out at cost. With this, I'm testing out a business model where product designers can make a living off their work while swiftly adding their designs to the public pool without the need to retain them as trade secrets or to lock them down by copyright.

Submission + - IBM is India's second largest pvt sector employer (indiatimes.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Tata Consultancy Services is the largest private sector employer in the country. It had 1,63,700 employees as on June 30. But guess who's number 2?
The honor goes to — surprise, surprise — IBM. That's right. Not to Infosys or Wipro.

The fact that IBM has over one lakh people on its rolls in this country is one of India Inc's best-kept secrets. No one in US-headquartered IBM will admit that it employs such a large number of people in India — for fear of a backlash at home. There's been rising anger in the US over the transfer of `American jobs' to lower cost havens, particularly India. Faced with an economic slowdown and a politically-damaging high employment rate, Barack Obama himself has begun to sound jingoistic. He has issued barely-veiled threats against US companies that ship out work and promised candies to those who stay patriotic.

Google

Submission + - Google Opposes Government-Mandated Sorting 2

theodp writes: Q. How are a 2-year-old and Google alike? A. Both throw public tantrums when they don't get their way. Google has accused California of rigging the bidding process for a $60MM e-mail contract in Microsoft's favor. Google unsuccessfully asked state officials to level the playing field by changing or removing 142 of the state's contract requirements, many of which involved functions that Gmail isn't designed to perform. Among other things, Google complained about having to duplicate Microsoft Outlook's ability to sort e-mails alphabetically, insisting that government workers would be 'more effective' if they instead searched for specific messages. So, do the 'the smartest people in the industry' have a valid point, or is this another case of when you've got a (search) hammer, everything looks like a nail?

Submission + - Restaurant uses social media to exclude patrons (gothamist.com)

RevWaldo writes: From Gothamist: Five former employees of Bowlmor Lanes in New York have filed a lawsuit against Strike Holdings CEO Tom Shannon, claiming he used social media outlets to keep minorities from making reservations at "one of the city’s hottest and most compelling nightlife venues." The suit claims Shannon met with top executives after "incidents" at Bowlmor's restaurant, Carnival, "to discuss possible ways to exclude certain people...such as African-Americans, Asians and Latinos."...The suit claims the workers were asked to look up prospective patrons on Facebook and MySpace to see how they looked and dressed and where they lived. If they didn't fit the Bowlmor customer ideal, they didn't get a reservation.

Slashdot Top Deals

If the aborigine drafted an IQ test, all of Western civilization would presumably flunk it. -- Stanley Garn

Working...