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AI

Free-Form Linguistic Input In Mathematica 8 84

vbraga writes "With the release of Mathematica 8, it now allows input through free-form English instead of the Mathematica syntax, just like the Wolfram|Alpha engine. The results are impressive. From the blog post: 'I routinely found myself using free-form linguistics as an integral part of longer computations — randomly interspersing Mathematica syntax and free-form linguistics on different lines in a Mathematica session, and just using whichever was most convenient for a particular input. And here's an exciting part: in Mathematica 8 the free-form linguistics doesn't just operate line-by-line. It knows the context in which it's used in a notebook, so you can use it to build things up.'"
Toys

Parrot iPod-Controlled Quadricopter Launches This Week 67

MojoKid writes "Remote-controlled helicopters are not new, but Parrot's AR.Drone Quadricopter is set to make a splash when it goes on sale on Sept. 9th. It will use an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad as a controller, and give a live video feed from two different cameras to the pilot. Each model comes with two hulls, one of them for indoor use, with protective loops around the rotors. The device creates its own Wi-Fi network, which the iOS device connects to in order to control the Quadricopter."
The Internet

Over a Third of the Internet Is Pornographic 247

Th'Inquisitor writes "Pornography makes up 37% of the total number of web pages online, according to a new study published by Optenet, a SaaS provider. According to the report, which looked at a representative sample of around four million extracted URLs, adult content on the Internet increased by 17% in the first quarter of 2010, as compared to the same period in 2009."
Image

The White House Listed On Real Estate Website Screenshot-sm 123

Forget visiting the White House, if you have $10 million you can own it. At least that is the price for the president's home on the real estate website Redfin. From the article: "Obviously this is an error. It looks like Redfin software pulled an example listing from the website Owners.com by mistake. That example listing was the White House. We have e-mailed Redfin for comment." I know it's historic but it still looks a bit on the high side according to the comparables in the area.
Image

Life-size Eva Unit 01 Being Built In Japan Screenshot-sm 80

JoshuaInNippon writes "Japan has gone life-size anime model crazy. Last year there was the robotic 1:1 Gundam model that guarded Tokyo for a few months in the summer to mark the series' 30th anniversary, and then there was the giant Gigantor moment that opened in Kobe in the fall in honor of the city's rejuvenation from the devastating 1995 earthquake. Now, an amusement park near Mt. Fuji named Fuji-Q Highland is building an Eva Unit 01 from the popular Neon Genesis Evangelion series, or at least a bust of it, in conjunction with the series' recent movies. The bust will sit in a replica hanger, and reportedly stand around 9 meters tall. Visitors will have the chance, for a little extra money, to have their photo taken in the unit's cockpit, where the series' protagonist-of-sorts Shinji Ikari normally sits. The attraction is set to a cost of over US$1.6 million to build, and open on July 23 of this year. It will also undoubtedly be swamped by crazed fans looking the opportunity to bring their anime dreams to life."
Medicine

The Lancet Recants Study Linking Autism To Vaccine 590

JamJam writes "The Lancet, a major British medical journal, has retracted a flawed study linking the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine to autism and bowel disease. British surgeon and medical researcher Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues originally released their study in 1998. Since then 10 of Wakefield's 13 co-authors have renounced the study's conclusions and The Lancet has said it should never have published the research. Wakefield now faces being stripped of his right to practice medicine in Britain. The vaccine-autism debate should now end."

Highly-Paid Developers As ScrumMasters? 434

An anonymous reader writes 'At my company, our mis-implementation of Agile includes the employment of some of our most highly-paid, principal engineers as ScrumMasters. This has effectively resulted in a loss of those engineering functions as these engineers now dedicate their time to ScrumMastery. Furthermore, the ScrumMasters either cannot or do not separate their roles as Team Leads with those of ScrumMastery and — worse — seem to be completely unaware that this poor implementation of Agile development is harmful to our velocity. To date, I have chalked this up to poor leadership, a general lack of understanding of Agile, and an inability to change from traditional roles left over from the waterfall development mode. In addition, I have contended that, for a given Scrum Team, the role of ScrumMaster should be filled by someone of lower impact, such as an intern brought in specifically for that purpose. But I would like to put the questions to Slashdotters as to whether they have seen these same transitional difficulties, what the results have been at their respective companies, or whether they just plain disagree with my assertion that principal engineers should not be relegated to the roles of ScrumMasters.'
Earth

"Gigantic Jets" Blast Electricity Into the Ionosphere 168

New Scientist has an update on the so-called "gigantic jets" first discovered in 2003 — these are lightning bolts that reach from cloud tops upward into the ionosphere, as high as 90 kilometers. (There's a video at the link.) What's new is that researchers from Duke University have managed to measure the electrical discharge from a gigantic jet and confirm that they carry as much energy skyward as ordinary lightning strikes carry to the ground. According to the article, "Gigantic jets are one of a host of new atmospheric phenomena discovered in recent years. Other examples are sprites and blue jets."
Biotech

DNA Differences Observed Between Blood and Organs 85

Scrameustache writes "Researcher working on a rare type of aortic abnormality found that the DNA from diseased tissue did not match the DNA from the blood of the same patients So far it's unclear whether these differences in the blood and aortic tissue are the consequence of RNA editing, which changes the messenger RNA but not the gene, or DNA editing, which involves differences in the gene itself. Based on the evidence so far, the researchers believe the differences resulted from developmental rather than somatic DNA alterations. 'Traditionally when we have looked for genetic risk factors for, say, heart disease, we have assumed that the blood will tell us what's happening in the tissue,' lead author Bruce Gottlieb said in a statement. 'It now seems this is simply not the case.'"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Sophos Releases Klingon Language Version 94

Bantu1 writes to mention an attention grab by anti-virus company Sophos, which is now offering a Klingon language version of their popular anti-virus software. Now Qo'nos too can be completely safe from the storm. If only we could see a Sophos logo in the next Paramount endeavor, the cycle would be complete.
Image

Elderly To Get Satellite Navigation To Find Their Way Around Supermarkets Screenshot-sm 80

Three government centers in the UK have been working on a way to use digital technology to help the elderly and the disabled. One of their ideas is a supermarket satellite navigation system to help elderly people who get confused by changing layouts in the aisles. Professor Paul Watson, of Newcastle University, said: "Many older people lack the confidence to maintain 'normal' walking habits. This is often due to worries about getting lost in unfamiliar, new or changing environments." A kitchen for Alzheimer's patients packed with hidden sensors and projectors is also in the works.
Image

Cutting Steel With Flaming Bacon Weapons Screenshot-sm 73

Ed Pegg writes "Theo Gray demonstrates the Bacon Lance, a flaming meatsword that can cut through steel. Yes, with some ordinary bacon, and some pure oxygen, it's possible to cut through security doors. Form the article, 'I recently committed myself to the goal, before the weekend was out, of creating a device entirely from bacon and using it to cut a steel pan in half. My initial attempts were failures, but I knew success was within reach when I was able to ignite and melt the pan using seven beef sticks and a cucumber.' This comes out right after his profusely illustrated book of science experiments, Mad Science."
Space

ISS To Become Second Brightest-Object In the Sky 243

Matt_dk writes "Move over, Morning Star. Once Canadarm2 helps install the fourth and final set of solar array wings to the International Space Station later this month, the Station will surpass Venus as the brightest object in the night sky, second only to the Moon. The Space Shuttle Discovery is set to deliver the power-generating solar panels and Starboard 6 (S6) truss segment to the ISS on the 125th mission in the Shuttle program, known as STS-119/15A (slated for launch on March 11)."
Microsoft

A Real Bill Gates Rant 293

lou ibmix XI submitted an email written by Bill Gates a few years ago and turned over to the feds as part of the government's antitrust case. Great quotes like 'Someone decided to trash the one part of Windows that was usable?' and 'The lack of attention to usability represented by these experiences blows my mind.' We like to think of him as an abstract, but I think this is interesting stuff. Also, this might seem familiar. Oops.

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