GabrielF writes: "Artificial Intelligence pioneer Joseph Weizenbaum, who created the first chatbot Eliza in the 1960s, died last Thursday at the age of 85. The New York times has an obituary. Weizenbaum designed Eliza so that a user's interaction with the program would approximate the conversation a patient might have with a Rogerian therapist. Although the realism of the interaction was limited, Weizenbaum noted that many users became deeply attached to the program, sharing their deepest secrets with it. This observation contributed to Weizenbaum's later ambivalence about computer technology and worry about the potential implications of artificial intelligence."
GabrielF writes: In a press release today, Apple confirmed that NBC TV shows will no longer be sold on iTunes. According to Apple, NBC, which accounted for 30% of Apple's TV sales, wanted to double the wholesale price of each episode, resulting in a new retail price of $4.99 an episode instead of $1.99. The other four networks, as well as more than 50 cable channels, will be selling their next season's shows on iTunes for $1.99 an episode.
GabrielF writes: "Steve Jobs has followed up on the success of his Thoughts on Music editorial by publishing a new piece on Apple's website aimed at responding to a different set of critics. In A Greener Apple, Steve acknowledges that Apple has been a frequent target of environmental groups such as Greenpeace for building products that "contain hazardous substances that other companies have abandoned." Jobs describes Apple's current use of a variety of toxic chemicals, contrasts his company with others in the industry and outlines ambitious plans for the future, for example, eliminating the use of arsenic in displays, and PVC plastics in all products by 2008 and expanding its recycling program to 19 million pounds per year by 2010, or 30% of the product weight Apple sold 7 years earlier. By comparison, Apple, Dell and HP each currently recycle about 10% of the product weight they sold seven years ago. How will this new piece be received by environmentalists? Will it help kick-start industry-wide changes like Thoughts on Music?"
An anonymous reader writes: The principal owners of E-Gold Ltd., an online payment system where users convert currency assets into equivalent amounts of precious metals, were indicted last week for allegedly allowing the service to be used by criminals engaged in financial scams and child pornography.
mikemuch writes: "ExtremeTech has just posted reviews of five free online video editors. They range from Cuts, which only works with already-hosted video clips, to products like Jumpcut and One True Media which offer an assortment of scene transitions and special effects on video you upload to the service. The last is the only with a clear profit strategy, offering a more powerful premium version, and most of the rest are basically YouTube-plusses, with sharing groups and community features."
Tal Garfinkel writes: "There is long been a disconnect between academic computer security and underground forums like Blackhat and Phrack. A new USENIX sponsored workshop called WOOT (Workshop On Offensive Technologies) is looking to bridge that gap by providing a high quality, peer reviewed form for submitting attack papers, with top reviewers from the academic, open source, commercial IT and information warfare communities. Got a great attack paper, see if it makes the cut at WOOT ."
Kevin Granata — Described as one of the top 5 biomechanics researchers in the US
Liviu Librescu — 76, a Romanian-born Israeli Holocaust survivor "recognized internationally for his research in aeronautical engineering". He reportedly saved the lives of his students by throwing himself in front of the shooter when the man tried to enter the classroom
paulraps writes: ...or at least the bit where Darwin says that behaviour cannot be inherited. Researchers from Sweden and Norway
have found that offspring of domestic hens that were exposed to high levels of stress displayed similar behavioral anomalies as their parents — despite growing up in a stress free environment. Of course, this doesn't mean evolution is out the window, but it's a major new twist in the tale.
StarvingSE writes: Virginia Tech police state that at least 20 are dead in a campus shooting school officials are describing as a "monumental tragedy." From the article:
"Today the university was struck with a tragedy that we consider of monumental proportions," said university President Charles Steger. "The university is shocked and indeed horrified."
The attacks mark the worst school shooting incident since 1999 when Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 students and a teacher before killing themselves at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado
This story is a little off-topic on a technology-related site, but I'm sure quite a few readers attend or are alumni of Virginia Tech.