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Submission + - Aiming to Learn as We Do, a Machine Teaches Itself (

olegalexandrov writes: NELL is a Carnegie Mellon University project in a widening field of research and investment aimed at enabling computers to better understand the meaning of language. Unlike many other semantic learning systems, NELL is highly automated. Its tools include programs that extract and classify text phrases from the Web, programs that look for patterns and correlations, and programs that learn rules. "The technology is really maturing, and will increasingly be used to gain understanding," said Alfred Spector, vice president of research for Google. "We're on the verge now in this semantic world".

Submission + - $30MM in the Hand Worth $1B in the Bush

theodp writes: Q. What's the difference between $15 million and $150 million? A. Not much, according to Vivek Wadhwa, who offers his two cents on the question of whether entrepreneurs should bet it all on the billion dollar exit, or cash out small. Explains Wadhwa: 'If you're a founder and own 50% of your startup, a $30 million acquisition can be life-changing. With a $15 million payout, you go from poverty to riches. You're set for life: you can afford to send the kids to the best schools, buy a multi-million dollar house on the hills, live a great lifestyle, and personally fund your next startup. The difference to you between $15 million and $150 million (if you go for the billion-dollar exit) is small—the extra millions really won't change your world that much more.' They say that once you're lucky, twice you're good. So, assuming you're good, Wadhwa notes that if you take-the-money-and-run the first time around you can always 'go for the billion dollars when you start your next company.' And if it turns out you were just lucky, well, cashing out small means that at least you'll have the kids' college education paid for and won't be worrying about whether you — or your partners — possibly made the worst decision ever.

Submission + - BitTorrent only movie denied listing on IMDB (

Ransak writes: The Tunnel (a publicly funded movie being paid for a frame at a time) movie is currently in production and despite pleas from the makers, IMDb won’t allow it on their site. The creators of this horror movie believe that because they have shunned an official distributor and chosen a BitTorrent model instead, this has put them at a disadvantage with the Amazon-owned site.

Submission + - OpenGL 4.1 Specification Announced (

WesternActor writes: The Khronos Group has announced full details for the OpenGL 4.1 specification. Among the new features of the spec, which comes just five months after the release of the 4.0 specification, is full support for OpenGL ES, which simplifies porting between mobile and desktop platforms. It'll be interesting to see what effect, if any, this new spec has on the graphics industry--more compatibility could change the way many embedded systems are designed. There are lots of other changes and additions in the spec, as well.

Comment One of these doesn't belong (Score 5, Insightful) 18

I'm probably going to get modded down for this, but it needs to be said:

a doctor diagnosing patients in the rural areas of Africa or a Homeland Security agent working to thwart an act of bioterrorism

One of these doesn't belong. I'll give you a hint: There are billions of one (that we don't hear enough about from anyone), and like three of the other (that we hear way too much about from certain mainstream media sources).

Comment Re:Email is like Postcards.... (Score 1) 490

You're arguing semantics. My point was that in the usual function of a modern e-mail system, only the sender and intended recipient are going to see the message; someone would have to "go out of their way" to spy on that message, even if technically speaking that would be very easy (as I said, technically speaking, slicing open an envelope is easy too).

Comment Re:Email is like Postcards.... (Score 3, Insightful) 490

I strongly disagree. I've said it before, I'll say it again: It's not like mailing a postcard, it's like sending an electrically encoded text message over a packet-switched data network where the only expected viewing point is at the intended recipient's terminal; this is how the e-mail protocol was designed to work. Sure, a malicious party can read it because it's not encrypted, but someone can easily slice open a postal mail envelope and read the contents of that, too. (You can encrypt the text of your postal-mail letters, but one already has an expectation of privacy, so few people bother. Same as e-mail.)

The bottom line is, since a non-trivial effort has to be made to read the contents, and since the service has always been presented as a "sealed letter" (via GUI icons, ISP adverts, etc), the average user is not unreasonable in expecting privacy.

It should be obvious that the 4th amendment applies to e-mail.

Submission + - Sprint Received 8M Location Data Requests in 2009 (

Professor_Quail writes: The EFF reports that Sprint received over 8 million requests for its customers' information in the past 13 months. That doesn't count requests for basic identification and billing information, or wiretapping requests, or requests to monitor who is calling who, or even requests for less-precise location data based on which cell phone towers a cell phone was in contact with. That's just GPS. And, that's not including legal requests from civil litigants, or from foreign intelligence investigators. That's just law enforcement. And, that's not counting the few other major cell phone carriers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. That's just Sprint.

Comment Re:Some apps break at high DPI (Score 1) 496

Or you may have
- poor apps whose layout breaks at low DPI
- poor apps that don't resize icons for lower resolutions
- apps that down-sample resolution poorly
And so people should run their screens at high resolution. Not.

The point is that you shouldn't have to change your resolution or worry about resolution or its affect on your apps. The OS should put the resolution at an optimal value for the monitor that you are using. That's what Fedora does for me.
A GUI or app that assumes a fixed resolution or font size is a poor app. If you don't use or buy them they will go away.

Comment Re:Well that's easy... (Score 3, Insightful) 427

I think you mean capitalism (mostly the same thing, but sure). You know, the whole, priced to what the market will bear nonesense that is the fundemental underpinnings of our economy. In this case, the cost of batteries for garden tools is lower because NiCa and other technologies are still viable alternatives, whereas in the laptop segment they are not. In other words, there are more competitors and a higher supply in one market segment than another.

Comment Impractical (Score 3, Insightful) 178

This idea is impractical in so many ways. Leaving aside the privacy issues raised by the prerequisite of collecting the kinds of information the author mentions, he makes far too many assumptions (and of course, does not back them up with any hard facts).

Even if his assumptions are partially correct, he fails to factor in how real security software interacts with real users. Modern viruses are very fluid things, and thus modern virus detection is non-deterministic (and so is this author's system as far as I can tell). So in order to catch all viruses a certain level of false positives will inevitably arise. And it doesn't take many false positives before the user starts to ignore the warnings.

Comment Morons! (Score 5, Insightful) 616

The electromagnetic spectrum is not a hard concept to grasp. Radio waves are about the most harmless radiation there is. They have a lower frequency than microwaves, infrared, or fucking ordinary visible light. Are they going to blow up the sun next?

Yet another group of ignorant children playing dangerous games in the adult world. Sigh.

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