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Comment Re:Virtual Personal Translation Assistant (Score 1) 159

I would be astonished if it was close enough to 100% accurate on free-form translation on 170 languages with no need for training to each individual's speech to provide useful translations on open ended questions. However I assume that this works through a decision tree process with limited options at each step and using diagrams to help; 'Point on the screen to the part of your body where it hurts the most" etc.

Comment Re:More to come? (Score 1) 197

It is not clear from your post if the providers are violating HIPAA or violating management directives, which are often not the same thing. Especially when HIPAA first came out there was a lot of confusion about what could or could not be done, and, at least from what I have seen, the lawyers would err on the side of caution towards breaking HIPAA, often imposing rules far exceeding those required by HIPAA. HIPAA is also a good way to kill projects you don't like while appearing to support them.

Comment Re:Can someone make sense? (Score 1) 108

"The aircraft is larger and heavier than an average hummingbird, but is smaller and lighter than the largest hummingbird currently found in nature." --- I don't really get that sentence, can someone explain?

Sure, it means that he aircraft is larger and heavier than an average hummingbird, but is smaller and lighter than the largest hummingbird currently found in nature.

Comment Re:Scientific Research Run Amok... (Score 2) 144

For starters it is a very convenient laboratory to test social networking theories. Do current theories about social networks in the real world apply in the virtual world? What aspects of virtual social networks apply to the real world? Theories about those aspects that do apply can potentially be tested much more easily in the virtual world than the real world.

It's a great place to make predictions, for example, about anxiety. Do we know how social networks effect our health? Good place to try and differentiate between effects of face-to-face contact and friendship.

What can virtual social networks tell us about the real world? Can they be used to predict disease outbreaks?

People studying facebook for these kinds of things are usually not interested in facebook, but rather using it because it is a convenient way to examine social networks. Kind of like examining Drosophila in biology.

Comment Re:Response from Another VP (Score 1) 596

Presumably something like this, but probably more sophisticated:

Bing sidebar extracts list of unique words appearing on each site user goes to and feeds back to MS. MS correlates keywords to the next site that the user visits.

Google honeytrap employees search for trap term on google, click on the returned link which goes to an unrelated site. Since the honeytrap term is unique and no site contains this word, the only data the MS has that relates to this word comes from the sidebar data stream which shows that when a user visits a page containing this word, the next page they go to is the unrelated site. Thus the make the connection that that page is relevant.

I would have thought however that MS would have put a check in to not pull data from the sidebar when the user is visiting Google to precisely avoid this kind of accusation. Since Google found the issue for some of the words in the honeytrap but not all of the words suggests that something more subtle is happening. For example, some of the honeytrap employees might have checked their email using an online hosting service (e.g. gmail etc) to find out what the honeytrap word is before proceeding. The sidebar extracts the unique words from the email and sends to MS. Two or three clicks later the employee is at the unrelated site. Suppose the sidebar is setup to ignoring Google searches. If MS correlates to a few links out it will see the honeytrap word from the email related to the unrelated site without observing the Google results.

Comment Re:Pixel-peeping verus art (Score 1) 103

Not that I know of. Of course anyone on slashdot should be able to whip one up in a couple of minutes... :)

Doing so might violate Google's terms of service, but there are no copyright issues involved, so the only recall Google would have is to block you from their services. Once you have the image it is yours to do what you please with, though IANAL.

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