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Operating Systems

Submission + - Make Your Own OS With MikeOS

ADenyer writes: Want to write your own OS? Fancy trying your hand at x86 assembly language? MikeOS is an open source x86 operating system, designed to show you how a simple OS fits together. Yes, it's 16-bit (for BIOS access), but it's small enough to avoid the old-school DOS memory segment woes, and includes a very thorough HandBook with a guide to writing your first OS kernel. The new 1.1 release includes build scripts for Mac OS X and Windows.
Power

Submission + - Ethanol Under Siege

Reservoir Hill writes: "Little over a year ago, ethanol was winning the hearts and wallets of both Main Street and Wall Street, with promises of greater US energy independence, fewer greenhouse gases and help for the farm economy. But the Wall Street Journal reports that critics now blame ethanol for pushing up food prices and dispute how much it really helps reduce the need for oil while environmentalists say additional ethanol production could strain water supplies and impair water quality and the EPA says that "ozone levels generally increase with increased ethanol use." President Bush gave ethanol a boost in his State of the Union speech in 2005 by calling for "strong funding" of renewable energy. Energy legislation that summer required oil companies to blend a total of 7.5 billion gallons of "renewable" fuels into the nation's fuel supply by 2012. Now the ethanol lobby is pushing for the Senate version of pending energy legislation, which includes a requirement that gasoline blenders use 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022 but formidable opponents such as the livestock, packaged-food and oil industries also have lawmakers' ears and what once looked like a slam-dunk could now languish in pending energy legislation that might not pass for weeks, if ever."
Government

Submission + - Utah Cop Tases Man for Speeding

An anonymous reader writes: It's a disturbing trend lately. People are getting tased by cops for just about every infraction imaginable. We're all familiar with most of them, as they have made their way to YouTube, but a recent incident in Utah is especially disturbing. Not only was the man tased for a trivial "crime" (speeding), but the officer in question also refused to read him his rights as he was arresting him, despite being asked repeatedly to do so. From the article:

The victim of police brutality was a motorist named Jared Massey. Mr. Massey was pulled over on a Utah highway for allegedly speeding. When Mr. Massey asked the officer why he was being pulled over, and then to help him understand why he was accused of speeding before he signed the ticket, the officer ordered him to exit the vehicle. Mr. Massey was then asked to turn around and put his hands behind his back. Mr. Massey began walking back towards the car, obviously confused as to why he was being ordered to put his hands behind his back, and less than 10 seconds later was tased.
A video of the incident is available, from the records of the police vehicle.
Transportation

Submission + - Someone getting Hybrids right (cnn.com)

dragonsomnolent writes: A company by the name of H-Line conversions in Wichita, Kansas is converting cars to hybrids by ripping out their standard engines, and replacing them with a setup slightly reminiscent of a modern diesel locomotive. He puts in an electric motor powered by batteries, which are in turn charged by a bio-diesel generator. His client list includes Niel Young and Arnold Schwarzenneger, but at a cost of $40,000, it might take a while for this to get to the masses.
HP

Submission + - 10 reasons why HP revenues hit $100 billion

Stony Stevenson writes: Hewlett-Packard's 2007 annual revenues shot past the $100 billion mark for the first time with sales reaching $104.3 billion for the year ending 31 October. itNews is running an article detailing 10 factors that helped make HP a $100 billion baby. Number one surprisingly comes out as: Hiring Carly Fiorina as CEO. Others include: "Making products that don't burst into flames", and "Buying Hot Companies".
Robotics

Submission + - Why Dogs Can't Play Chess? No Spirit (blogspot.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Atheists and believers, take notice. This author argues that human memory is biologically implausible. From the article:

The Magical Human Brain

Unlike a computer, the brain does not have the ability to instantly scan a random series of locations in its memory. To do so would require that every memory location be connected to every other location, which is clearly not the case, biologically speaking. Alternatively, it would require an address bus, a data bus, a memory controller and RAM, much like a computer. This is not the case either. Human memory does have a random access capability but it is extremely slow compared to a computer: the axon of a neuron must grow until it physically establishes a synaptic connection. And yet, amazingly, human memory acts as if it does have instant random access capability. For example, we can instantly record (memorize) any short sequence of random musical notes and instantly recite it with no trouble even if we have never heard or used that sequence before. How can this be? How does the brain instantly record a random sequence of events that it has never encountered before and play it back in the same order?

The act of recording a sequence of events presupposes the existence of a recording medium. The only biologically plausible way to record and play back a sequence of events is to use a control neuron that is physically connected to all the neurons that represent the events in the sequence. One can imagine using synaptic strengths to encode the delays and a steady oscillatory firing of the control neuron to trigger each node at its assigned time. One can even imagine using a faster or slower oscillation frequency to play the sequence under different tempos. The point I am driving at is that, in order for the human brain to be able to instantly record and play back short random melodies, it would need a pre-wired network of all such possible sequences to serve as a universal medium. This is an extremely huge number even if we limit the melodies to seven notes each, the capacity of human short-term memory. If we include all the other possible event sequences that human memory can instantly record, the number becomes astronomical. There is no evidence for the existence of such an immense pre-wired network. In fact, the evidence is that much of the wiring of the brain occurs during learning. Is the brain using some kind of magic to do its amazing tricks? The answer depends on what one calls magic. I call it something else. I call it the spirit.

In part II, I will expand on the spirit theme and go over the real reason that dogs can't play chess.

Biotech

Submission + - should-silence-some-critics (bbc.co.uk)

lstellar writes: "Crucially, it could mean that such research is no longer dependent on using cells from human embryos, which has proved highly controversial...The cells created were similar, but not identical, to embryonic stem cells, and the researchers used them to produce brain and heart tissue." Gives us hope. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7101834.stm
Robotics

Submission + - Fudan Intelligent Robot (shanghaidaily.com)

martinsslaves writes: Shanghais' Fudan University have made some considerable progress in their endeavors in learning robots, with their new "Fudan Intelligent Robot" looking a whole lot more polished than their previous Fudan-1 model. The goal is for the robot to learn new tasks by following voice commands, which the researchers hope could eventually allow the robot to help the elderly or become a "good household mate" for families. Among other things, the bot can currently can plot out its own map of its surroundings and remember specific locations and, of course, change TV channels at your command (or, as you can see above, even serve as a TV itself).
The Internet

Submission + - Bill Gates voted IT's most influential person

Stony Stevenson writes: Bill Gate, Steve Jobs, and Michael Dell rank one, two, and three in a list of the most influential people in IT over the past 25 years. The list was compiled by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a tech trade group with 22,000 members. The poll got 473 votes, mostly from people who have worked in the tech industry for at least three years. Gates, chairman and co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, was selected by 84% of the participants. Jobs, CEO and co-founder of Apple, was selected by 73% of those taking the poll. Michael Dell, CEO and founder of Dell, got the nod from 53% of CompTIA voters. Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux operating system, made the list with 47% of the vote, tying for fourth place with Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Strangely absent from the list is anyone responsible for pushing the computer gaming envelope.
Toys

Submission + - Jenkem Users Group (yahoo.com)

Anti-Globalism writes: "We are tired of struggling in darkness against the blindness of a society that will not see our truth. Behind every Jenkem addict there is a person like you and me who deserves compassion. Long cast to the corners of our society that not even our drug treatment programs will address, Jenkem use is growing as people discover the joys of this 100% natural* and safe hallucinogen. It is easy to manufacture and if you do it well, pleasurable. Jenkem use comes to us from Africa, from which came jazz and blues and hip-hop and most of the culture of our modern time, and is a gift from the gods for those of us who are sick and tired of drug dealers, cops and synthetic highs. Join the 100% natural* revolution and reach out to a Jenkem user. Cast down the tired taboos of a dying society, and open your mind to the wonders of nature's drug... Jenkem

The Jenkem mailing list is for Jenkem users, families of Jenkem addicts, and Jenkem users who want to know the secrets of Jenkem cultivation, safe use, Jenkem recipes and how to have clandestine Jenkem parties.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jenkem

* depends on what you eat to produce the Jenkem.

WTF LOL"

The Courts

Submission + - Hans Reiser Trial Update (wired.com)

eldavojohn writes: "The Hans Reiser trial ended its second day today and the developments have been interesting. The prosecutor is alleging that Reiser convinced his son to help cover up Hans murdering Tina. Some of the most suspicious evidence against Hans arose at the very end of the day: "Hora ended the day's session by telling jurors that the defendant's small Honda Civic went missing for two weeks, until authorities discovered it after a lengthy manhunt two weeks after Nina Reiser vanished. "When they looked inside the car, it's missing the front passenger seat," Hora said. "It's gone. It's not there." In an impromptu news conference outside court, defense attorney DuBois said Reiser had removed the seat because his client was in financial straits and was living in the 1988 vehicle." Hopefully the real murderer of Nina can be found and convicted."
Businesses

Submission + - Silicon Valley - the new Detroit? (mercurynews.com)

fiannaFailMan writes: The San Jose Mercury News is speculating about Silicon Valley's potential for becoming the Detroit of a future electric car industry. Among the valley's strengths is an ability to adapt to rapidly changing business environments and develop new business models, something that the Big Three can hardly be accused of. On the downside, it's a capital-intensive business and isn't like raising $40 million and having an IPO. Apparently there are five companies in the valley already pursuing electric car technology, most notably Tesla.

Last week's announcement by Shai Agassi, a former SAP executive based in Palo Alto, that he's raised $200 million for a company that will try to revolutionize the electric car industry is the latest sign of this region's growing role in one of the hottest sectors of the automotive industry.

Google

Submission + - Man WrongIy Imprisoned After Google IDs Him 3

DrEnter writes: A man in Bangalore, India was wrongfully arrested and imprisoned for 50 days after being misidentified as the individual who posted images deemed insulting to a revered historical figure. The Indian police asked for, and Google provided, the IP address of the user which was then given to the ISP Airtel, who misidentified it as belonging to someone it didn't. That someone than spent the next 50 days in jail (including 3 weeks AFTER the real individual was caught). Disturbingly, when questioned if the authorities provided a court order or merely asked for the anonymous poster's info., Google was hazy about the answer, only saying that they complied with Indian law.

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