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Submission + - We will have Space Tourism by 2014, says FAA (fellowgeek.com)

An anonymous reader writes: We’ve talked about some of the progress towards manned commercial spaceflight before. I would even say that it is one of Fellow GEEK’s favorite things to talk about, and we talk about it whenever we can. So it with a fair bit of excitement that I’m writing this piece. The FAA is expecting that we will have the first manned commercial launches within the next 1-2 years, and that the industry...

Submission + - Brazilian Schoolchildren Tagged by Computer Chips (nytimes.com)

smi.james.th writes: The NYTimes has a piece today which says: "Grade-school students in a northeastern Brazilian city are using uniforms embedded with computer chips that alert parents if they are cutting classes, the city’s education secretary, Coriolano Moraes, said Thursday." Personally I don't find this too inspiring. Mr Orwell certainly has warned the world about this.

Submission + - Will.I.Am and Dean Kamen Want Kids to be excited about STEM

EuNao writes: "There is an interesting piece just posted by Will.I.Am and Dean Kamen, they want to get children excited about Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. They have teamed up with several sponsors and have launched a contest that aims at doing just that, Wouldn't It Be Cool If. The aim of this contest to get children to dream up the coolest idea to make their lives more awesome. It is open to kids ten to fifteen years old, here are the contest rules. The submission deadline is next Wednesday, March 28th."

Submission + - Clever Clues Clobber Crossword Computer

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Steve Lohr reports that an impressive crossword-solving computer program called Dr Fill matched its digital wits against 600 of the nation's best human crossword-solvers finishing only 141st at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in New York. "I wish it had done better,” says Dr. Matthew Ginsberg, the creator of Dr. Fill and an expert in artificial intelligence. Dr. Fill typically thrives on conventional crosswords, even ones with arcane clues and answers and solved one of the most difficult puzzles at the tournament perfectly. But the computer does poorly with clever clues based on puns or humor because humans and machines solve the crosswords very differently. Humans recognize patterns based on accumulated knowledge and experience, while computers make endless calculations to determine the most statistically probable answer so the computer program is literal minded, and tends to struggle on puzzles with humor, and puzzles with unusual themes or letter arrangements. Take this clue from a 2010 puzzle in The Times: Apollo 11 and 12 (180 degrees). The answer is SNOISSIWNOOW, seemingly gibberish. A clever human could eventually figure out that those letters when rotated 180 degrees spell MOON MISSIONS. Humans get the joke, while a literal-minded computer does not. “Occasionally, Dr. Fill just doesn’t get it,” says Ginsberg. “That’s my nightmare.”"

Submission + - Sen. Wyden demands ACTA goes before Congress (arstechnica.com)

Fluffeh writes: "As recently covered here, EU countries are starting to drop ACTA support, now long-time opponent of the secretly negotiated Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced an amendment to a Senate "jobs bill" that would force ACTA to come before Congress for approval. His second amendment tries to force a change in how the whole process around such treaties is handled. Right now, the US attempts to keep its negotiating positions a secret. What vital national security interests could be at stake if the public knew USTR was promoting "graduated response" laws or proposing changes in ISP liability? Wyden doesn't believe there are any."

Submission + - U.S. Congress Quietly Criminalizes Protesting (huffingtonpost.com)

CanHasDIY writes: From Huffington Post:

H. R. 347, better known to those in the DC beltway as the 'Trespass Bill' — potentially makes peaceable protest anywhere in the U.S. a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. H. R. 347, and it's companion senate bill S. 1794, make protest of any type potentially a federal offense with anywhere from a year to 10 years in federal prison, providing it occurs in the presence of elites brandishing Secret Service protection, or during an officially defined 'National Special Security Event' (NSSE). NSSEs , ( an invention of Bill Clinton) are events which have been deemed worthy of Secret Service protection, which previously received no such treatment... Past NSSE events included the funerals of Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, and the national security concern that was Superbowl XXXVI. Other NSSE protected events include the Academy Awards and the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions... HR 347 & S. 1794 insulates such events as the G-8, WTO and presidential conventions against tough questions and politically justified protests.


Submission + - Amazon Patents Annotating Books, Digital Works 1

theodp writes: On Tuesday, the USPTO granted Amazon a patent on its Method and System for Providing Annotations of a Digital Work, which covers 'receiving an annotation of the digital work, storing the annotation, and providing the annotation to a user.' This includes annotations received in a graphical or handwriting format, as well as highlighting of text.

Submission + - $1B of TSA Nude Body Scanners Made Worthless (wordpress.com)

TheNextCorner writes: "This video is here to demonstrate that the TSA’s insistence that the nude body scanner program is effective and necessary is nothing but a fraud, just like their claims that the program is safe (radiation what?) and non-invasive (nude pictures who?). The scanners are now effectively worthless, as anyone can beat them with virtually no effort."

Submission + - Congress repeals first amendment amid security concerns. (wsws.org) 1

girlintraining writes: The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 passed unanimously in the US Senate and had only 3 votes against in the House this past Thursday. The bill provides the Department of Homeland Security the power to declare any location or event a restricted area. There is no requirement that these restricted areas be published ahead of time. Violators of the no-protest zones will be jailed and stripped of their rights. The bill was introduced shortly before a coordinated assault led by the DHS led to mass arrests of the Occupy protests against various corporate interests. Obama is set to pass the bill later this week.

Submission + - Climate Change-Induced Drought Caused the Mayan Collapse (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "The collapse of the Mayan empire has already caused plenty of consternation for scientists and average Joes alike, and we haven’t even made it a quarter of the way through 2012 yet. But here’s something to add a little more fuel to the fire: A new study suggests that climate change killed off the Mayans."

Submission + - Nigerian Scam Artists Taken for $33,000 (couriermail.com.au)

smitty777 writes: An Australian woman who was being used by a group of Nigerian scam artists stole over $33,000 from the group who employed her. Her bank account was being used to funnel the cash from a dodgy internet car sales website. Irony aside, it makes one wonder how these folks ever got the nerve to go to the police with this matter. Those of you wondering, this article offers some answers to the question of why so many of these scams originate from this area.

Submission + - Transparency Launches as Linux of Drug Development (xconomy.com)

awjourn writes: "During his years working in pharma R&D, Tomasz Sablinski was frustrated by the industry's need for secrecy and it's utter inability to design patient-friendly drug trials. So he founded Transparency Life Sciences, a company that's developing three drugs based on input from patients and physicians, who log onto the company's site and voice their opinions about how drugs should be designed and tested."

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