mosel-saar-ruwer writes: We all knew that it was only a matter of time, and tonight, it's offical: Cold Spring Harbor has suspended its Chancellor, the Nobel laureate, Dr. James Watson. Watson now joins Harvard's ex-President, Dr. Lawrence Summers, among prominent academics who have learned that there are some topics which we just don't broach anymore. Oh well, so much for freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of inquiry. By the way, there was some worry earlier this week that Dr. Watson might actually be arrested in England, for having violated the British "hate crimes" laws; here's to hoping that he at least makes it home without being imprisoned.
mosel-saar-ruwer writes: Madeleine L'Engle Camp Franklin passed away, on Sept. 6, aged 88, at Rose Haven nursing home, in Litchfield, Connecticut. Even before we discovered Tolkien, CS Lewis, or Robert Heinlein, many/.-ers' first exposure to Science Fiction and Fantasy was surely L'Engle's 1962 novel, A Wrinkle in Time. The Washington Post has an obituary, and the New York Post's John Podhoretz relates his childhood memories of life at 924 West End Avenue with Mr. & Mrs. Franklin.
mosel-saar-ruwer writes: Noah Shachtman, blogging at Wired, notes that the first armed patrol robots have begun operations in Iraq. The SWORDS platforms, manufactured by Foster-Miller, feature a 'three-part arming process — with both physical and electronic safeties... required before firing', and 'now come with kill switches, in case there's any odd behavior'. Foster-Miller claims that SWORDS can be fitted with the Barrett.50 caliber, but apparently the units deployed to Iraq were fitted with the 5.56mm FNH M249 light machine gun. No details yet on the number of rounds of ammunition carried by the robots [which might very well be classified information].
mosel-saar-ruwer writes: After ten years, the Bletchley Park Trust yesterday unveiled a reconstruction of Alan Turing & Gordon Welchman's 'Bombe', which defeated the Enigma Code. Approximately 200 of these machines were built by the British Tabulating Machine Company, of Letchworth, Herts, but the project was deemed so secret that, after the war, these machines were destroyed, and survived thereafter only in blueprints, a few photographs, and the memories of the progenitorial Hax0rs & Crax0rs who operated them. Details of the unveiling ceremony can be found in numerous stories in the British press — The BBC, The Times, The Scotsman — but The Telegraph ran with a particularly fetching picture of Jean Valentine, and of course there are further pictures on the newswire. The team of reconstructors was led by John Howard, and he has many detailed pictures of the mechanical parts on his website [which, I trust, is about to experience a big slashdotting].