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Submission + - Petition to guarantee access to this We the People website for every American (

An anonymous reader writes: This is a petition to guarantee that every American home has access to this We the People website. This is inclusive of an internet connection and a computer of sufficient to quality use it. Imagine if hundreds of millions of Americans voted on the issues that are important to us. That would carry real weight, give literally everyone a voice and would help to further democratize our government.

Comment hype alert (Score 2, Informative) 118

The title of their paper is "Security Aspects of the Authentication Used in Quantum Cryptography." That would make an awesome title for a book that aimed to cover every single security aspect of the authentication used in QC, but not a paper that simply points out that (duh!) you shouldn't allow the eavesdropper to see the key.

Submission + - IBM's Blue Brain project simulates a "rat brai (

Brian Mingus writes: "Yesterday at the Supercomputing 2007 Conference, Dharmendra Modha of IBM's Blue Brain project reported that, "we represented a rat-scale cortical model (55 million neurons, 442 billion synapses) in 8TB memory of a 32,768-processor BlueGene/L." (pdf) This model is seven times larger than their previous simulation of half a mouse brain earlier this year, making it the largest cortical model in history. While it doesn't have the large-scale anatomical connectivity of a rat brain, which give rats their smarts, this model of neuron soup is significant in size, speed and efficiency. They were able to simulate one second of rat brain in nine seconds of real time using their C2 cortical simulator."

Submission + - Software for reverse engineering the human brain (

An anonymous reader writes: In his book, "The Singularity is Near", Ray Kurzweil says the future of artificial intelligence may be in reverse engineering the human brain. Now, scientists at the University of Colorado have released software, dubbed "Emergent," that is aimed at allowing you to do just that. Using the ODE library for realistic physics, you can construct a robot with a simulated brain in a simulated world with a simulated body. I've seen neural network software before, but seeing a robot with his brain hovering over his head in 3D was a bit..shocking to say the least. Especially in light of this recent Oxford paper which asks, "Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?." I was even able to "lesion" his brain and see his performance go down. Could this approach possibly bootstrap us into real artificial intelligence? Will these new simulated robotic overlords someday assimilate us?

Submission + - ISP not providing service as advertised. Options?

Brian Mingus writes: "I've got a server at the University of Colorado that can upload data faster than I've been able to find a connection to download it (> 15 MB/s). At home, though, we've got Qwest DSL. My roommate set this up before I moved in and we are on a 2 year contract. The service is excruciatingly slow. Downloading something over BitTorrent is unimaginable — it clogs up our entire pipe, making web surfing impossible. I've read lots of stories about how far behind the curve the US is on broadband, especially w.r.t countries such as South Korea, but this is unimaginable. So I decided to check the numbers by running some freely available bandwidth tests. My DSL modem claims we are connected at 192 KB/s and upload at 4KB/s (note: are they kidding me?), but an average over five bandwidth speed tests, including one at the university across the street, shows us downloading at 91 KB/s and uploading at 3 KB/s. Even worse for my plight, my connection is apparantly slightly faster than average for Colorado. Do I have any way to win in this, or am I stuck with pre-2000, 2x dialup speeds for the next two years?"

Submission + - Father of the remote control: gone, not forgotten!

chrisgreencouk writes: "Dr. Robert Adler, the man credited with co-creating the remote control, died this week leaving behind a legacy of invention and innovation. His Space Command ultrasonic TV remote control was launched by Zenith back in 1956 and it changed life in the living room for many people. e-holland/13015/the-father-of-the-remote-control-g one-but-not-forgotten.thtml"

Submission + - Egyptian blogger sentenced to 4 years in prison

An anonymous reader writes: 22-year old Egyptian blogger and former law student Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman (aka Kareem Amer) was sentenced by an Egyptian court on Thursday to 4 years in prison, three years for "disparaging religion" and a fourth one added for "defaming the president." Amer, whose blog is still online, has become a cause celebre for human rights activists in Egypt and around the Arab world, who have set up a "Free Kareem!" campaign calling for his release online. Amer's case is interesting in that almost everything, from the crime itself to those rallying to Amer's aid, has been conducted in large part over the Internet. At one point, the legal defense team even tried to force the court to bring in a computer expert who could testify that the blog was hosted outside of Egypt and therefore out of the court's jurisdiction. While for an increasing number of individuals like Amer, blogging has become another form of regulated expression, it is also "an essential communication strategy for many frustrated Arabs who use blogging as a tool to promote democratization," as this editorial by one of the leaders of the "Free Kareem!" campaign claims.
Data Storage

Recovering a Wrecked RAID 175

Dr. Eggman writes "Tom's Hardware recently posted an article specifying how the professionals at Kroll Ontrack recover data from a RAID array that has suffered a hard drive failure, allowing for recovery of even RAID 5 arrays suffering two failures. The article is quick to warn this is costly, however, and points out the different types of hard drive failures that occur, only some of which are repairable. Ultimately the article concludes that consistent backups and other good practices are the best solution. Still, it provides an interesting look into the world of data after death."

Submission + - Best Open Source Automated Testing Tools?

An anonymous reader writes: As a software test engineer, I've found that one of the most common client questions involves automated testing. They typically want to know how much of your testing is going to be automated (so that they can presumably get their money's worth out of you and the hardware they bought for you). It's often difficult to tell the customer that there are certain applications for which automated testing (not at the unit level) has only limited appropriateness, and they never want to pay for testing tools. I've visited to try getting an idea of some of the best tools for testing web applications, and gotten some good ideas. Anyone have any favorite OSS load/integration testing automated tools that are easily configurable and usable by a test team with reasonably good (but not expert) Linux skills?

Submission + - Modular robot adept at wriggling

MattSparkes writes: "A modular robot that transforms itself into different shapes in order to walk, crawl and clamber up inclines has been demonstrated in the US. Each "Superbot" module is effectively a robot in its own right. The modules can move independently, flip over and rotate like wheels, and have 3D accelerometers that let them know their precise orientation. The six sides of each module can dock with any other module. Once connected, the modules can communicate, coordinate shape changes and even transmit power."
United States

Submission + - Inflatable mirrors may make solar power very cheap

rhettb writes: "Inflatable mirrors for capturing sunlight could reduce the cost of solar power 90% by 2010, making sun energy cost competitive with traditional fossil fuels. CoolEarth Solar, based in Livermore, California, believes its technology could make solar farming economically competitive within three years by making solar cheaper than coal and allowing farmers to become net suppliers of electricity. The technology essentially uses a string of balloons to concentrate and capture the sun's energy without occupying valuable real estate or using large amounts of silicon."

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