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The Web Way To Learn a Language 165

theodp writes "Thanks to Tim Berners-Lee, you can now sit in your underwear in Omaha and learn French from a tutor in Paris. The NY Times has a round-up of ways to learn a language over the Web. 'We offer modern-day pen pals facilitated with voice over I.P.,' said Tom Adams, CEO of RosettaStone, whose learning options include RosettaStudio, a place where a user can talk to a native speaker via video chat. TellMeMore offers a speech recognition component that analyzes pronunciation, graphs your speech, and suggests how to perfect it. Free-as-in-beer offerings include BBC Languages, where you'll find varying levels of instruction for 36 languages, with features including audio and video playback and translation. Things have certainly come a long way since the PLATO Foreign Languages Project of the '70s."

Submission + - Music by natural selection (

maccallr writes: The DarwinTunes experiment needs you! Using an evolutionary algorithm and the ears of you the general public, we've been evolving a four bar loop that started out as pretty dismal primordial auditory soup and now after >27k ratings and 200 generations is sounding pretty good. Given that the only ingredients are sine waves, we're impressed. We got some coverage in the New Scientist CultureLab blog but now things have gone quiet and we'd really appreciate some Slashdotter idle time. We recently upped the maximum "genome size" and we think that the music is already benefiting from the change.

Can Fractals Make Sense of the Quantum World? 236

Keith found a New Scientist story about fractals and quantum theory. The article says "Take the mathematics of fractals into account, says Palmer, and the long-standing puzzles of quantum theory may be much easier to understand. They might even dissolve away."

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