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Christmas Cheer

Submission + - 2007 Cost of the Twelve Days of Christmas 1

qeorqe writes: PNC has been calculating the cost of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" since 1984. They calculate all occurrences of all items in the song for 2007 at US$78100 (up 4% from 2006). One day's worth of each item is US$19507.

They also did a calculation for buying everything on the internet at US$128886. That is US$50786 extra. They explain, "In general, Internet prices are higher than their non-Internet counterparts because of shipping costs."

Their valuation of a beer was missing.
Robotics

Submission + - CMU wins Robot Car Challenge 2

qeorqe writes: Tartan Racing Team from CMU has been declared the winner of The Urban Challenge. Autonomous (unmanned)robot cars competed in tasks in an urban setting. Professional human drivers drove on the course as moving obstacles. Vehicles were penalized for violating the California driving laws, collisions, hitting the curb, and various other restrictions.

DARPA sponsored the competition. Tartan Racing Team (CMU) won the $2 million first prize with their entry "The Boss" based on a Chevy Tahoe. Stanford Racing Team won the $1 million second prize with their entry "Junior" based on a Volkswagen Passat. VictorTango (Virginia Tech) won the $1/2 million third prize with their entry "Odin" based on a Ford Escape. Junior had line honors being the first to cross the finish line. The Boss finished shortly after Junior. Because starts were staggared and penalties were applied for errors, a corrected time was used to determine the winner.

MIT's car cut off and hit Team Cornell's car during the competition. Both cars were eventually able to resume.

Congratulations to all participants and especially Tartan Racing Team. Is there any chance of The Boss leading a victory parade through the streets of Pittsburgh?

Some other coverage may be found at WIred and itwire. Earlier slashdot coverage can also be found.
The Courts

Submission + - America's Cup, Court, Catamaran 1

qeorqe writes: Does this seem like Deja Vu?
No we are not back in 1988.

The Swiss won their defense of the America's Cup in 2007 in one of the closest AC matches in history. Since Switzerland is inland, the venue was Valencia Spain. Upon winning, the Swiss accepted a challenge from the Spanish for the next America's Cup. The venue will probably again be in Spain.

The Spanish seem to have conceded most terms of the competition. The Swiss have declared major changes. They are eliminating the current boat design in favor of a new larger design. They are also giving themselves the option to compete in the challenger series.

Larry Ellison (Oracle CEO) is threatening court action according to Stuart Alexander of "The Independent".

"Ellison said that the Spanish challenge was invalid and issued his own."

"Ellison's challenge would be for a 90ft-long boat to challenge in just 10 months' time. His challenge also makes the yacht 90ft wide, indicating a catamaran again. What Ellison really wants, however, is to lever Bertarelli into negotiations."
Robotics

Submission + - Walking on Water

qeorqe writes: A robot is being developed at CMU that walks on water. It is modeled after the basilisk lizard. Information about the robot can be found in a pdf file. They have done both computer simulations and experimented with test models. External counter weights were used with the models.

Information about why you can't walk on water is in a ppt file and also converted to an html file in the Google cache.
Power

Submission + - Solar Powered Air Conditioner by SolCool (inhabitat.com)

Jill writes: "Since the hottest months of the year are also the sunniest — the idea of using solar energy to power your air-conditioner makes perfect sense. SolCool's super smart Millennia air-conditioner uses solar power to cool you down during the height of summer steaminess — cleverly making use of the summer heat instead of blindly fighting it."
United States

Submission + - Limited Rights Art

qeorqe writes: An art exhibit titled "To Get to The Other Side" opened 5/11/07 at CMU's Regina Gouger Miller Gallery. One of the art pieces had an interactive computer component dealing historically with government violation of The United States Bill of Rights. The interactive component is available at limitedrights.us. Beware it uses flash.

It shows the Bill of Rights. When an era is selected some phrases become obscured. Scrolling over the Bill of Rights magnifies that portion. Clicking an obscured portion produces an explanation of the violation.

Below is an example from the Civil War era.

Article the Sixth
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a xxxxxx xxx xxxxxx trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

The x's represent "speedy and public". Clicking would reveal "1861 President Abraham Lincoln suspends Habeas Corpus and 13,000 people are held without trial."
United States

Submission + - Limited Rights Art

qeorqe writes: An art exhibit titled "To Get to The Other Side" opened 5/11/07 at CMU's Regina Gouger Miller Gallery. One of the art pieces had an interactive computer component dealing historically with government violation of The United States Bill of Rights. The interactive component is available at limitedrights.us. Beware it uses flash.

It shows the Bill of Rights. When an era is selected some phrases become obscured. Scrolling over the Bill of Rights magnifies that portion. Clicking an obscured portion produces an explanation of the violation.
The Media

Submission + - Not All the [DOJ] Missing Emails are Missing

Hylas writes: "Greg Palast. Investigative journalist reports on Democracy Now's newscast 5/14/07: [David] "Iglesias believes the real reasons for the firings are in what are called the missing emails, emails sent by the Rove team using Republican Party campaign computers, which Rove claims can't be retrieved. But not all the missing emails are missing. We have 500 of them. Apparently the Rove team misaddressed their emails, and late one night they all ended up in our inboxes in our offices in New York City." http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/1 4/1426254"
Classic Games (Games)

Submission + - Deep Blue vs Kasparov 10th Anniversary

qeorqe writes: For the tenth anniversary of Deep Blue's victory over the world chess champion Garry Kasparov, Wired has an interview with Murray Cambell, one of the developers of Deep Blue.
  • PC beats Kramnik
  • current cell processor as powerful as Deep Blue
  • no future in man vs machine chess matches
Recent reports have discussed Garry's recent arrest for participation in a political march in Russia.

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