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Smart 'Lego' Set Conjures Up Virtual 3D Twin 63

philetus writes "New Scientist has up a story on Posey, a hub-and-strut construction kit that senses its configuration and communicates it wirelessly to a computer. From the article: 'If you gave Lego brains, you might get something like Posey, a new hands-on way of interacting with computers developed at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, US. When Posey's plastic pieces are snapped together, an exact copy of the construction appears on a computer screen. Every twist of, say, a stick figure's arm is mirrored in 3D modelling software ... Each piece's plastic shell is stuffed with chips and devices for processing these signals. They are sent wirelessly to a computer using a low-power protocol called ZigBee. This means, bending Posey's pieces can make objects on-screen respond in real time. Right now, each custom-made piece has about US$50 (£25) worth of parts, Weller estimates. But if mass produced, it could be much cheaper.'"

Weird Science Offered As University Class 137

ludwigvan968 writes "The ACTLab at the University of Texas at Austin is making waves with its Weird Science class. The link is to the TA's blog with documentation of some of the projects: a laser harp, a 3D environment constructed with fog and an LCD projector, and a 'water bridge' using a 50,000-volt transformer. Next semester, they're introducing a new class called 'Disruptive Technologies.'"

Submission + - Iran builds supercomputer from banned AMD parts 2

Stony Stevenson writes: Iranian scientists claim to have used 216 microprocessors made by AMD to build the country's most powerful supercomputer, despite a ban on the export of U.S. computer equipment to the Middle Eastern nation. Scientists at the Iranian High Performance Computing Research Center at the country's Amirkabir University of Technology said they used a Linux-cluster architecture in building the system of Opteron processors. The supercomputer has a theoretical peak performance of 860 giga-flops, the posting said. The disclosure, made in an undated posting on Amirkabir's Web site, brought an immediate response Monday from AMD, which said it has never authorized shipments of products either directly or indirectly to Iran or any other embargoed country.
United States

Submission + - Investigation Alleges Climate Science Manipulation

explosivejared writes: "The Washington post is running a story about a 16-month House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigation that alleges the White House tampered with climatology reports. The investigation's report finds that the White House has tried to downplay the significance of climate change through a consistent pattern of conduct by controlling public access to government climate scientists and suppressing views counter to the White House view. The 294 edits of the 2003 White House plan to address climate change by the The White House Council on Environmental Quality were especially controversial. The White House has consistently maintained contrary to their accusers that these edits and any other actions they have taken are only trying to highlight the fact that there is uncertainty about the causes of climate change and what should be done to combat it. They insist that they have not tampered with the science."

Submission + - Icelandian calls White House, labelled a terrorist ( 3

An anonymous reader writes: A 16-year-old boy in Iceland called a secret government phone number, which he thought was Bush's private number, and posed as the president of Iceland. After passing some impromptu security questions, such as President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson's birth date (which he answered with Wikipedia), Bush's secretary told him to expect a call back. Instead, police surrounded his house and interrogated him on where he got the number, threatening to put him on a no-fly list if he didn't tell. He claims he can't remember where he got the number, but says "I must have gotten it from a friend when I was about 11 or 12."
United States

Submission + - EA : Developers In Europe Are Better Than The US (

XueCast writes: "Today, during an interview with, Electronic Arts ( EA ) said that video game developers in Europe are much more creative than their United States counterparts. EA said that video game developers in the United States are more interested in making money than to deliver something unique to the gamers."

Submission + - HFS+ For Windows ( 2

Bizzeh writes: "their are one or to ways that i know of to access HFS+ (Mac OS) partitions in windows (e.g. MacDrive, HFSExplorer), but in general, they are terrible. are their any GOOD file system drivers for HFS+ for windows (2k/xp/vista), prefairably free ones?"

NASA Snaps Mysterious "Night-Shining" Clouds 198

coondoggie writes to tell us that NASA has captured some pretty impressive images of the Alluring noctilucent (or "night-shining") clouds. These clouds are made up of ice crystals and dust and are formed at high altitudes near the poles. "Very little is known about how these clouds form over the poles, why they are being seen more frequently and at lower latitudes than ever before, or why they have been growing brighter. AIM will observe two complete cloud seasons over both poles, documenting an entire life cycle of the shiny clouds for the first time. 'It is clear that these clouds are changing, a sign that a part of our atmosphere is changing and we do not understand how, why or what it means,' stated AIM principal investigator James Russell III of Hampton University, Hampton, Va. 'These observations suggest a connection with global change in the lower atmosphere and could represent an early warning that our Earth environment is being changed.'"

Submission + - Real-world Linux programming (

davidmwilliams writes: "Here's a real-world Linux app written for, and used by, an ISP. It gave help desk staff the ability to perform any sysadmin task which could be scripted for them. The app gave a controlled menu environment, using sudo to launch scripts with elevated permissions if necessary."

Submission + - Mobile Linux Group Releases First Specification (

narramissic writes: "Android may be getting all the headlines, but the venerable LiPS (Linux Phone Standards Forum), which launched to much fanfare in 2005, is rolling out the specs. The group, comprised of companies including Orange, France Telecom, MontaVista and Access, announced Monday that it has completed the first release of its mobile Linux specification, adding components including APIs for telephony, messaging, calendar, instant messaging and presence functions, as well as new user interface components."

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