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Submission + - Will Super Powers Give Us Super Problems? (

SirLurksAlot writes: We've all imagined what it would be like to have super powers (I personally can't wait to have the strength of 10 gorillas!), but how often have we stopped to consider what the ramifications of having said powers actually are? How would society change if these abilities became, if not common-place, but real and available? From the article: "In reality, though, enhanced humans already exist ... and they don't look like Marvel characters. As different human enhancement technologies advance at different rates, they bleed into society gradually and without fanfare. What's more, they will increasingly necessitate discussion about areas that are often overlooked – what are the logistics and ethics of being superhuman?"

Submission + - Jim Weirich, Creator of Rake Has Passed Away

SirLurksAlot writes: News is beginning to circulate on Twitter and various sites that Jim Weirich, the creator of Rake, has passed away at the age of 58. He was an active developer (his last commit in the last 24 hours) and has made many contributions to the Ruby community over the years, as well as being a prolific speaker and teacher. He had a great sense of humor and was beloved by many. He will be greatly missed.

Submission + - Neural Network Learns to Recognize Humans, Cats, Spatulas (

SirLurksAlot writes: According to a recent article on IO9 Google X Lab has conducted an experiment in which they connected 1,000 computers (16,000 processors) in a neural network and taught it to recognize human and cat faces. They accomplished this by training the network with 10 million still frames from youtube. Interestingly, during an unsupervised (i.e. undirected) period of time the neural network learned about other concepts with less meaning from a human standpoint. From a Slate">article: "For instance, they became intrigued by "tool-like objects oriented at 30 degrees," including spatulas and needle-nose pliers."

The abstract from Google can be found here.


Submission + - Media Fasts for IT Workers? ( 1

SirLurksAlot writes: I recently came across an article from 2007 on the Washington Post in which the author asked a class of undergraduates to go 24 hours without any electronic media, including cell phones, MP3 players, computers, etc. The article details the experiences of the students during their 24 period sans technology, which ranged from dismay to a new-found sense of freedom. While the idea of media fasts isn't exactly new I wonder how they might affect IT workers. As a developer I often find myself bordering on obsessed when it comes to writing code, and nearly so with technology in general even though I try to strike a balance in life. Working in the corporate world makes the idea of a media fast doubly hard due to work responsibilities and on-call duty. So I ask you, Slashdotters, what is your experience with media fasting? Have you attempted it and if so what were the results? Is a media fast even possible for the average IT worker?

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The means-and-ends moralists, or non-doers, always end up on their ends without any means. -- Saul Alinsky