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Submission + - Are we Searching Google, or is Google Searching us (

An anonymous reader writes: via The folks at the Edge have published a short story by George Dyson, Engineer's Dreams. It's a piece that fiction magazines wouldn't publish because it's too technical and technical publications wouldn't print because it's too fictional. It's the story of Google's attempt to map the web turning into something else. Something that should interest us. The story contains some interesting observations such as, "This was the paradox of artificial intelligence: any system simple enough to be understandable will not be complicated enough to behave intelligently; and any system complicated enough to behave intelligently will not be simple enough to understand." After you read it, you'll be asking the same question the author does, "Are we searching Google, or is Google searching us?".

Submission + - Free Your Robot! (

An anonymous reader writes: I noticed over at they've posted a press release from the OpenJAUS team about the new release of OpenJAUS v3.3 which implements the DoD's Joint Architecture for Unmanned Systems (JAUS) protocols for robots in a free and open source software library. The SAE is migrating this standard for use in civilian robots too. Even better, they say this gives robots a free software equivalent to proprietary robot platforms like Microsoft Robotics Studio and Evolution Robotics ESRP. So go download this thing and help your robot overlords throw off their bonds of proprietary software servitude!

Comment Re:Slashdot exercise: prove it was an "obvious ide (Score 1) 253

I'm pretty sure any typical Fidonet BBS system did this sort of thing back in the 1980s. They used a Nodelist which categorized other Fideonet nodes geographically and including a topical index of store-and-forward discussion areas called Echoes. There was definitely "a plurality of computers" on Fidonet. The echo tossers and netmail handlers could be considered as agents handling "search requests" from other systems. The nodelist was divided into zones which represented major geographical areas and some file and message transfer functions limited searches to a single zone ("elect one of said hierarchy of geographical areas") before providing results. It's been years since I used Fidonet but I think you could argue that it embodied many of the principles described in this patent. You might find similar functionality in Usenet systems back in UUCP days too.

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