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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

A 3D HDTV Stereo Home System for $12,000?
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, if the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) can successfully sell licenses for its new stereo vision technology, you soon will be able to watch your favorite movies in 3D with light glasses and at a reasonable cost considering the prices of current 2D home theater systems.

This new one, named PSC Stereo Animation System (PSC-SAS), includes some specialized software to speed up the decoding of digital files and a two-processor PC to decode the right and left channels. You'll also need a pair of projectors to display the right and left-eye polarized images on the non-polarized screen simultaneously, and some light glasses.

Many 3D visualization technologies have been invented in the last fifty years, but none ever had a broad success. Will this new one come to the market and will it be successful? Time will tell. Read more for other details and references.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 3:30 PM Comments (1)
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Molecular Electronics on Silicon
In order to build ever smaller electronic circuits, the semiconductor industry will have some day to move from current lithography technologies to something different, such as molecular electronics. This new process is pioneered by a group of engineers at Northwestern University. They are using a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to precisely align multiple types of molecules on a silicon surface at room temperature. Their nanofabrication process will soon lead to molecular transistors or light-emitting diodes. As this new process works at room temperature, this means it is possible to integrate it with current technologies. Putting it in another way, in some future, we'll still be able to look at the screens of our computers, but we'll not see the chips inside, even with a home microscope. Read more for more details and great pictures.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 3:28 PM Comments (0)
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Nanotubes that Form 'Nanocarpets' and Kill Bacteria
By mixing a salt compound with an hydrocarbon, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have created molecules able to sense their environment. Then they used these molecules to develop self-assembling nanotubes which look like that 'nanocarpets'.

These nanostructures can change colors when their environment is modified and can be trained to kill bacteria, such as E. coli. Now, they plan to develop products that would both detect and destroy biological weapons. Read more for selected excerpts about these nanostructures acting as biosensors.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 3:23 PM Comments (0)
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Monday, September 27, 2004

Go Sub-Orbital for only £115,000
Sir Richard Branson has announced plans to offer the world's first commercial space flights by the end of the decade, the UK Telegraph reports. In a multi-milion dollar deal, Virgin Galactic will license technology from Mojave Aerospace Ventures, the same team responsible for leading X-Prize contender SpaceShipOne.
Sir Richard said: "We hope to create thousands of astronauts over the next few years and bring alive their dream of seeing the majestic beauty of our planet from above, the stars in all their glory and the amazing sensation of weightlessness.

"The development will also allow every country in the world to have their own astronauts rather than the privileged few."
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 1:18 PM Comments (0)
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Sunday, September 26, 2004

Times of London on Business Blogging
The Times of London recently did this story on business blogging, which just happens to feature Daily Relay contributor Roland Piquepaille.
One of the most important lessons for aspirant corporate bloggers, according to Big Blog Company associate Jackie Danicki, is how to write. Lesson One: drop the corporate speak. "It's not just getting on your blog and talking about 'This is why our product is the best and you should buy it'. That is not the point and people see through that.

"You basically have a lot of CEOs who are sitting there and writing about what they know. Also adding personal things in, talking off-topic, about their holidays. ..It gets readers to feel an affinity."
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 4:50 PM Comments (0)
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Will Azul Reign on the Server Market?
A 105-person company, Azul Systems, is almost ready to enter the competitive server market with a new approach to computing named 'network-attach processing,' similar to the NAS approach for data storage. In "Azul: A Server Startup with a Plan," BusinessWeek Online writes that the company will release its product in early 2005.

Azul designs its own chips and the first boxes will come with an amazing number of 384 cores. These servers will only run 'virtual-machine' codes, such as those written in Java or .net. And the company claims that its servers will be ten times more efficient than other servers. Of course, this is largely unproven technology and the company is trying to build its credibility by giving access to its boxes to selected undisclosed customers for early evaluation.

So will Azul unseat IBM, HP, Sun and Dell? Time will tell, but Azul already envisions a second-generation box with 896 cores. Read more for selected excerpts about this radical new approach to computing.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 8:22 AM Comments (1)
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A Liquid that Goes Solid when Heated
There are some sure things in life, such as death and taxes. When you are heating a solid, you expect it will melt and when you're boiling water, you're pretty certain that it will turn into vapor. But what about a liquid that becomes solid when it's heated? Of course, it has already been done, for example in the chemical process of polymerization. But now, PhysicsWeb writes that a team of French physicists has discovered a law-breaking liquid that defies the rules.

When you heat it between 45 and 75įC, it becomes solid. But the process is fully reversible, and this is a world's premiere. When you decrease the temperature, this solid melts and turns again into a liquid. I'm not sure of the implications of such a phenomenon, but it's fascinating. Read more for essential details.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 8:20 AM Comments (0)
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Wireless Sensors Monitor Volcanic Activities
Several months ago, I wrote
about how wireless sensors were used to monitor glacier behavior. Now, for the first time, a wireless array of sensors has been deployed to monitor the eruptions of an active volcano in central Ecuador, the Tungurahua.

An international team of computer scientists and seismologists installed a small wireless network of five nodes to record 54 hours of continuous infrasound data transmitted over a 9 km wireless link back to a base station at the volcano observatory. As the results are very encouraging, and because these wireless sensors are very cheap, this installation will soon be duplicated to detect eruptions of other active volcanoes.

The team expects to deploy larger infrasonic arrays consisting of up to 50 nodes in the next six months either on Tungurahua or elsewhere in the world. Read more for other details, references and pictures.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 8:17 AM Comments (0)
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Thursday, September 23, 2004

Sony to support MP3
CNET reports that Sony will begin to add MP3 support to its portable music players, reversing a longtime stance.
Sony is revisiting its MP3 strategy at a time when competition in the digital music market is heating up and threatening to leave the company behind. The surprise move could portend a major strategy reversal for the consumer electronics giant, with important ramifications for the fledgling online music market.
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 6:42 PM Comments (0)
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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Flexible Sensors Make Robot Skin
In recent years, lots of efforts have been made to give robots the ability to hear and see. But what about the sense of touch? Unlike us, robots don't have sensitive skin. But this is about to change. By using organic, or plastic, field-effect transistors as pressure sensors deposited on a flexible material, researchers at the University of Tokyo have created an artificial skin which will give robots the sense of touch.

The prototype has a density of 16 sensors per square centimeter, far from the 1,500 of our fingertips. When this density increases and when the problem of the reliability of this kind of transistors is solved, the researchers say this artificial skin will also be used for car seats or gym carpets. Expect to see them in four or five years. Read more for other details and a picture of a robotic hand using organic transistors as pressure sensors.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 1:25 PM Comments (0)
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Wearable Aid for People with Low Vision
People with low vision usually rely on dogs or canes to detect obstacles at ground level. But what about higher ones such as street signs or tree branches? Computer scientists at the University of Washington think they have the answer, according to this IEEE Pervasive Computing article (PDF format, 4 pages, 390 KB). They've designed a cheap wearable device which alerts visually impaired people that they're about to hit an inanimate object.

Their prototype device consists mainly of a video camera mounted on headset glasses and a laptop carried in a backpack which uses specialized software to detect potential collisions. The device, which is still in an experimental stage, should cost less than $1,000, but weighs about 15 pounds, so I'm not sure if it will ever turn into in a commercial product. Read more for other details and a picture of one of the patients testing the equipment.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 7:35 AM Comments (0)
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Monday, September 20, 2004

'Smart Dust' for Monitoring Ready for Sale
Kris Pister is one of the pioneers of the concept of 'smart dust,' or grids of very small wireless communication nodes dubbed 'motes,' which permit to monitor the environment. Now, Pister is the CTO of Berkeley-based Dust Networks. Today, according to both the Wall Street Journal (paid registration needed) and Business 2.0, this company is delivering its first products, composed of motes and specialized software.

The motes are linked to sensors which detect temperature, air flow or humidity, and wirelessly inform systems which monitor building security or manufacturing processes. This will -- theoretically -- lead to businesses that are run even more efficiently than they are today. If you want to try it, an evaluation kit, including 12 motes, will cost you $4,950. Read more for selected excerpts from the above articles and an illustration of the SmartMesh concept.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 1:26 PM Comments (0)
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'Cursor on Target' and 'Click to Approve'
The Cursor on Target (CoT) initiative is giving the U.S. Air Force the ability to share data across multiple and various systems used by air and ground forces. Currently, voice messages are exchanged back and forth by combat controllers in the field, command centers, air operation centers and aircrafts, allowing for human errors and loss of valuable time. On the contrary, the CoT project, which only cost $800,000 so far, relies on XML to carry and exchange information between these different entities. With CoT, all messages are transmitted in a common XML format, allowing a rapid process of 'cursor on the target' and 'click to approve.'

The system, which uses only a few hundred lines of code, has already been tested in Afghanistan and Iraq. These tests have shown that 'sensor-to-shooter paths enabled with CoT software improve the speed of the process by nearly 70 percent, while also significantly increasing firepower accuracy.' Read more for additional details and selected excerpts.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 1:20 PM Comments (0)
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Saturday, September 18, 2004

Weir to Direct Pattern Recognition
I don't know when this was announced, but according to the Internet Movie Database, Peter Weir is directing an adaptation of William Gibson's Pattern Recognition.
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 4:48 PM Comments (0)
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Friday, September 17, 2004

Nurses Bid Online for Extra Shifts
Two U.S. hospitals, one in Ayer, Massachusetts, and another one in Chicago, have found an innovative way to deal with nursing shortage. They post shift openings and the highest hourly rate they're willing to pay. Then, the nurses bid online for these extra shifts. The lowest bidders get the shifts and are notified by e-mail. The software behind the process, named eShift and marketed by FlexEstaff, is raising eyebrows at nurses associations. Still, FlexEstaff is negotiating with 8 more hospitals.

This bidding process is almost certainly a good thing for the hospitals, but is it good for the nurses? Will we soon other industries adopt auction systems? Imagine a company telling you, "Hey, you want to make some extra dollars by building this car or writing this piece of software? Name your price, and you'll make some more cash." What do you think of this bidding process? Read more before posting your comments.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 1:19 PM Comments (0)
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The First Bluetooth Enabled Motorcycle Helmet
So you thought that you could quietly ride your bike without receiving pesky phone calls. Not anymore. Motorola and an Italian style firm, MOMODESIGN, have teamed up to produce the first Bluetooth enabled motorcycle helmet. This helmet, dubbed Fighter, embeds a Motorola HS810 headset and you can talk non-stop for five hours. The Fighter will be available at the beginning of 2005 for an undisclosed price.

The press release which announces the product contains a gem. It says that this helmet is "an essential accessory for urbanites who demand to stay in touch at all times, whether in the car, on a bike, in the office or at home." Well, only if you remember to remove the headset from the helmet. Can you imagine wearing a motorcycle helmet in your office just to give phone calls? Very silly. Read more for a picture of the Fighter.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 3:06 AM Comments (0)
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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Hip-Hop Atoms
For the first time, a team of physicists of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has controlled "the movement of a single atom back and forth between neighboring locations on a crystal." This will allow to build nanoscale devices atom by atom. Not happy enough with this technological breakthrough, the NIST team also discovered that the atoms were 'noisy' when moving on the crystal surface. They converted the electronic signals emitted by the atoms into audio ones and they were quite surprised to hear something similar to a 'hip-hop' musician's rhythmic 'scratching'.

The audio files also helped the team to know in real time that atoms have moved into desired positions. Read more for pictures and references or jump here to listen to the hip-hop atoms (Real Player necessary, 2 minutes and 40 seconds).
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 1:25 PM Comments (0)
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Gaia and its Billion-Pixel Camera
Gaia is an ambitious project from the European Space Agency to create the most precise map of a billion stars in our Galaxy and millions of other celestial objects invisible from current telescopes. When the spacecraft is launched in 2010, it will carry the most sensitive cameras ever made. Its billion-pixel camera will be in fact composed of 170 separate cameras, tiled together in a mosaic to register every object that passes through the field of view. Each individual camera or 'charge-coupled device' (CCD) will have a resolution of almost nine million pixels. Gaia will take images for five years.

The above link will provide you with more details about this billion-pixel camera, but here I chose to focus on a particular aspect of the mission: checking the usually unobversable asteroids between the Sun and the Earth because of light conditions. Read more about Gaia for other details and references about these asteroids -- which should not hit us.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 1:22 PM Comments (0)
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Speech recognition on a chip
According to this news release from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the National Science Foundation awarded a $1 million grant to a team of CMU and researchers at the University of California at Berkeley to develop a silicon chip for automatic speech recognition. In fact, speech recognition will move from software to hardware.

The goal of the engineers is to develop "a radically new and efficient silicon chip architecture that only does speech recognition, but does this 100 to 1,000 times more efficiently than a conventional computer." Even if the future chips will be integrated in cell phones or PDAs, the real goal is to help security and emergency organizations. These chips should be ready in three years. Read more for other comments and references.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 1:15 PM Comments (0)
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Sunday, September 12, 2004

The Self-cleaning NanoHouse
In "Technology at your service," Australian IT looks at how some emerging technologies will improve our lives. The list goes from solar-powered robotic lawn mowers, network-controlled appliances such as microwaves or air-conditioners, to even full houses.

For example, in the MajikHouse, all the home's systems, such as heating, electricity or entertainment are wirelessly controlled via touchscreen panels and smart phones. There is also the NanoHouse, co-developed by CSIRO and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).

The NanoHouse is a new type of ultra-energy efficient house using the new materials being developed by nanotechnology such as self-cleaning glass or dye solar cells. The NanoHouse is currently a concept going from one exhibit to another. But prototypes should appear in 2007 while manufacturing should start around 2009. Read more about the NanoHouse here for other details and references.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 1:46 PM Comments (0)
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Saturday, September 11, 2004

Quantum Optics: Coupling One Atom To One Photon
For the first time, a team of scientists from Yale University has successfully coupled a single photon to a single superconducting qubit (quantum bit or "artificial atom"). In "Yale scientists bring quantum optics to a microchip," you'll discover that it is now possible to perform quantum optics experiments in a micro-chip electrical circuit using microwaves instead of visible photons and lasers.

This is another important step towards quantum computers where bits of data are replaced by qubits, or atoms. Because it's now possible to couple qubits to photons, this could allow qubits on a chip to be wired together via a "quantum information bus" carrying single photons. Read more here for other details and references.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 3:20 PM Comments (0)
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Friday, September 10, 2004

'Nurturing' Computers Are Coming
Current computers don't have a clue about what their users feel or think. This is about to change, with ATHEMOS (Automatic THErmal Monitoring System), a device developed by Ioannis Pavlidis, a computer science professor at the University of Houston (UH). This news release from UH says that ATHEMOS is a physiological device which performs touchless measurements of your vital signs, such as blood flow, pulse or breathing rate.

During the three days of Wired Magazineís Nextfest, where ATHEMOS was featured, over 500 people had their vital signs measured at a distance of about 10 feet. So maybe one day, our computers will warn us to get some rest or to go jogging. Read more here for other details and references.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 2:01 PM Comments (0)
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California Sues Voting Machine Maker Diebold
The San Jose Mercury News reports that California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has joined a lawsuit against Diebold, one of the leading manufacturers of electronic voting machines.
Lockyer joined a suit filed in November by whistle-blowers who charged that Diebold Election Systems sold the state faulty balloting equipment that could make California elections vulnerable to software glitches or hacking.

Additionally, the attorney general closed a criminal investigation against the Ohio-based company without pressing charges.

Lockyer's move throws the state's weight behind the activists' false-claims suit. He took action after his investigators found ``sufficient evidence of them defrauding the state'' by providing the electronic voting systems, said spokesman Tom Dresslar. Alameda County also joined the suit.
(via MIT Technology Review)
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 12:28 PM Comments (0)
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Save the Planet: Go Wireless
Wireless delivery of news generates as much as 140 times less carbon dioxide, gobs less greenhouse gases and between 26 to 67 times less water. This according to UC Berkely Lab Notes. While common sense dictates that teleconferences are more environmentally friendly than travel, the actual savings in emissions is massive, and this study did not include the cost of roads, airports, maintenance and vehicle manufacture.
:: posted by Doug, 11:37 AM Comments (0)
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Thursday, September 09, 2004

Cubes Not Just for Nintendo
A new wave of super small, low-cost, hi-powered satellites are being deployed into space. As orbital space becomes more crowded and consumers demand more connectivity from their everyday devices, the race to build a smaller satellite heats up.

When most people think of satellites they imagine those giant insectoid crafts with large golden solar panels, like some heavenly dragonfly. I alway think of V'ger from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The new CubSats are the polar opposites. An average cubsat is about 4 inches (10 cm) square, weighs about 2 pounds (1 kg) and is made from more or less off the shelf parts. These mini-monsters are cheaper to deploy, easy to replace and quite effective. This could lead to more competition in the cellular and wireless internet markets. Small startups and nations with less resources stand a chance at making a dent in a field almost completely dominated by large corporations and governments.

For more info:
CNN Article
:: posted by Ben Jarvis, 9:32 PM Comments (0)
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Top 10 Gaming Grails
Clean out your closets, GameSpy lists the top 10 most collectible video games. Alas, I have none of them.
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 1:28 PM Comments (1)
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Mitnick Movie Comes to DVD
After a six-year path from controversial screenplay to final product, Takedown, the movie based on Kevin Mitnick's exploits is being released in the US on September 28th. The film was previously released only in France as Cybertraque. This comes as an unpleasant surprise to Mitnick - and probably to anyone who sees the film. Reviews are tepid and Mitnick himself is disappointed that the film depicts him doing things he never did.
:: posted by Doug, 10:58 AM Comments (0)
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Futuristic Farming
From computers monitoring plant population and seed placement to milking robots, and from GPS receivers enabling farmers to map their fields and track their cows, the farming world is using more and more high-technology tools, at least in developed countries. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review attended Ag Progress Days 2004, a three-day event sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and reports on these technological advances in farming.

This long article also mentions robotic transplanters to deliver seeds and high tunnel vegetable production to extend the growing season, a technology which doesn't involve electrical services or heating systems, to the point it has been adopted by a group of Amish growers. Read more here for specific details on this technology, and watch the great lettuce produced with it.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 8:58 AM Comments (0)
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Supercomputer Helps to Find Metallic Glass
Before going further, what are metallic glasses? Unlike conventional metals, which have regular molecular structures, amorphous metals, or metallic glasses, exhibit disorganized structures. Because of this disorganization, they don't have the defects which are common in crystals, and which lead to corrosion or even rupture. Until now, these amorphous metals were created by melting and casting various alloys. Not anymore. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that a team of physicists led by a Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) professor is using a new computational method to simulate future alloys at the Pittsburgh Computing Center (PSC).

For example, with the help of the supercomputers at PSC, the team discovered that adding small quantities of yttrium will lead to superstrong amorphous steel, before doing any physical experiment. In the next three to five years, this will bring to the market ship hulls that never rust and are invisible to magnetic detection. And amorphous aluminum will be incorporated into lighter planes and cars. Read more here for other details and references, including a couple of pictures showing the difference between conventional and amorphous metals.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 8:55 AM Comments (0)
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Self-assembling 3D Nanostructures
Chips holding 10 terabits of data? Copper as strong as steel? Ceramics tough enough to be used in car engines? All this will be true in five years, thanks to two new methods to create self-assembling 3D nanostructures. These methods used pulsed laser deposition to create layers of nanodots organized in a matrix. These arrays of nanodots are consistent in shape and size -- 7 nanometers with nickel for example.

But the real beauty of these methods is that they can be applied to almost any material, like nickel for data storage or aluminum oxide for ceramics. These methods also reduce drastically imperfections, leading to future superstrong materials. Read more here for other details and an image of a single nickel nanocrystal, or nanodot.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 8:53 AM Comments (0)
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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Concerned about piracy, XM Radio discontinues PC receiver
The RIAA wasn't at all a factor in XM Radio's decision to cancel release of the PC version of their radio receiver. Oh, no. Not at all.
:: posted by Doug, 11:43 PM Comments (0)
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1.5Gb Closer to a PDA/Phone/iPod
Samsung has shown what they hail as the worlds first hard-drive based phone. The gadget has a (not)whopping 1.5Gb hard drive. Although not a world shaker - except for the $800 price tag - it's a start. As much interest is that the unit "also features an FM radio, 64-voice polyphonic ringtone support, a 240 x 320 display and TV output." For sale only in Korea starting next month.
:: posted by Doug, 1:45 PM Comments (0)
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Monday, September 06, 2004

Tivo and Netflix Join Forces
Newsweek reports that Tivo and Netflix have joined forces to provide viewers with downloadable movies on demand.
Netflix and TiVo want this digital nirvana to arrive as soon as possible, and they are about to join forces to make it happen. Later this month, NEWSWEEK has learned, the companies plan to unveil a simple but significant partnership that could shake up the media world. Subscribers who belong to both services will be able to download their Netflix DVDs over the Internet directly into the TiVo boxes in their homes, instead of receiving them in the mail. Spokespeople at the companies refused to comment on what they called rumor. But an insider who was close to the negotiations says the straightforward partnership is all but a done deal, pending only the approval of the TiVo board this week: "You don't need a lot of creativity to figure out the details," the insider said.
(via BoingBoing)
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 4:10 PM Comments (0)
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Marijuana Helps to Shrink Brain Tumors
A team of Spanish researchers has discovered that cannabinoids, the active ingredients in marijuana, make brain tumors shrink by halting the growth of blood vessels that feed the tumors, reports New Scientist. The researchers have successfully tested the effect of this cannabis extract on thirty mice which were given a cancer similar to the human brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme).

More importantly, they also successfully tested the procedure on two human patients who had glioblastoma multiforme and had not responded to chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery. Of course, these results are encouraging, even if larger studies need to be done to be sure that these cannabinoids are really effective on human brain cancers, and possibly other forms of cancers. Read more here for other references and a picture showing the effect of this marijuana extract on two human patients.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 6:25 AM Comments (0)
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Simulating the Whole Universe
An international group of cosmologists, the Virgo Consortium, has realized the first simulation of the entire universe, starting 380,000 years after the Big Bang and going up to now. In "Computing the Cosmos," IEEE Spectrum writes that the scientists used a 4.2 teraflops system at the Max Planck Society's Computing Center in Garching, Germany, to do the computations. The whole universe was simulated by ten billion particles, each having a mass a billion times that of our sun.

As it was necessary to compute the gravitational interactions between each of the ten billion mass points and all the others, a task that needed 60,000 years, the computer scientists devised a couple of tricks to reduce the amount of computations. And in June 2004, the first simulation of our universe was completed. The resulting data, which represents about 20 terabytes, will be available to everyone in the months to come, at least to people with a high-bandwidth connection.

Read more here about the computing aspects of the simulation, but if you're interested by cosmology, the long orginal article is a must-read.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 6:21 AM Comments (0)
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Friday, September 03, 2004

Nuclear Energy to Go
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are designing a self-contained, tamper-resistant nuclear reactor that can be transported and installed anywhere in the world. In "US plans portable nuclear power plants," New Scientist writes that the sealed reactors would last 30 years and deliver between 10 and 100 megawatts. The largest version would be about 15 meters high and 3 meters wide, with a weight of about 500 tons, allowing for transportation by ships or very large trucks.

The DOE thinks that this kind of nuclear reactor -- named SSTAR for "small, sealed, transportable, autonomous reactor" -- would help to deliver nuclear energy to developing countries while significantly reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation associated with the use of nuclear power.

What do you think of this idea? Is it a good one or a crazy one? Leaving a nuclear reactor in a developing country which can potentially become unstable during the 30 years of service of the reactor doesn't seem to be terribly safe. Read more before deciding. Anyway, there will be no prototypes before 2015.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 7:25 AM Comments (0)
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The MDGRAPE-3 Will Now Reach 1.4 Petaflops in 2006
The specifications of the MDGRAPE-3 have evolved since October 2003, when I wrote "Protein Explorer, the First Petaflop System." This system, which will be operational in 2006, will contain 6,144 processors instead of 5,120. And each chip, now running at 350 MHz, will have a peak speed of about 230 gigaflops, with 20 pipelines being able to compute 33 floating-point operations per cycle. This will bring the total power of the full system to an astounding 1.4 teraflops.

But please note that this is a specialized system, designed exclusively for molecular dynamics calculations and simulations at the RIKEN Genomic Sciences Center, based in Yokohama, Japan. The whole machine will not be very big, with only 32 standard 19-inch racks. Each rack will contain 16 boards hosting 12 chips each.

CNET News.com gives more details in "Japan designers shoot for supercomputer on a chip." Read more in this updated overview of the first petaflop system to come.
:: posted by Roland Piquepaille, 7:20 AM Comments (0)
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Thursday, September 02, 2004

2600 Editor Arrested at RNC Protest
Emmanuel Goldstein, editor of the hacker mag 2600, was among 900 people arrested on Tuesday during protests at the Republican National Convention, 2600 reports. He was released 30 hours later, given a Desk Appearence Ticket (DAT) charging him with disorderly conduct.
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 12:53 PM Comments (0)
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Past Features:

feature: january 26, 2006
The Telephone Repair Handbook
by Mark Pesce & Angus Fraser
In a three-part feature, Mark Pesce and Angus Fraser propose a complete rethinking of a technology that everyone depends on: the telephone.

interview: may 30, 2005
Brooke Burgess: The Mindjack Interview
by Melanie McBride
Mindjack's Melanie McBride recently caught up with Broken Saints creator Brooke Burgess to talk about long form Flash and the way of this Broken Saints warrior.

feature: may 13, 2005
Piracy is Good? How Battlestar Galactica Killed Broadcast TV
by Mark Pesce
In the first part of a two-part article, Mark Pesce looks at how a re-visioned 70s camp classic changed television forever.

feature: may 21, 2005
Piracy is Good? Part Two: The New Laws of Television
by Mark Pesce
In the final part of a two-part article, Mark Pesce lays out some new rules for television, which he says are good for everyone — unless you're a broadcaster.

feature: february 01 , 2005
The Future of Money
by Paul Hartzog
Mindjack's Paul Hartzog examines the changing nature of money and what might be in store for the currency of tomorrow.

feature: november 05, 2004
Cities Without Borders: Digital Culture and Decentralization
by Paul Hartzog
Paul Hartzog rethinks sociologist Saskia Sassen's idea of the Global City and how it may or may not apply to digital culture.

feature: august 31, 2004
Banner Ads Invade Gamespace
by Tony Walsh
What do you get when you cross the world's most measurable medium with the world's most immersive medium? Video games peppered with Internet-style banner-ads. This new method of marketing allows measurable demographic data to be collected from the elusive online gaming community, targeting dynamically-downloaded advertisements at specific demographics. The promise of a new revenue stream is obviously attractive to advertisers and game publishers, but will the idea win over gamers?

feature: july 20, 2004
Multiplayer Gaming's Quiet Revolution
by Tony Walsh
Today's avatars in massively multiplayer environments like Second Life are giving their users the gift of expression and infusing games with something more, soul.

feature: june 25, 2004
Supernova 2004
by J.D. Lasica Reports
Blogging, collaborative work tools and the drawbacks of social software took center stage at this year's Supernova. The third annual tech-in-the-workspace conference — "Where the decentralized future comes together!" — drew more than 150 technology thought leaders, software startup CEOs and other heavy hitters (alas, fewer than 20 of them women) to the Westin Hotel in Santa Clara, Calif., on June 24-25.

feature: may 24, 2004
Will Digital Radio Be Napsterized?
by J.D. Lasica
The Recording Industry Association of America has discovered that digital radio broadcasts can be copied and redistributed over the Internet. The horror. And so the RIAA, the music business's trade and lobbying group, has asked the Federal Communications Commission to step in and impose an "audio broadcast flag" on certain forms of digital radio.

feature: may 17, 2004
Redefining Television
by Mark Pesce
In the earliest days of television, writers like George Orwell in 1984 and Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451 projected television as the instrumentality of a totalitarian future - a monolithic entity dispensing propaganda. And, if any of you occasionally watch Fox News, you can see they weren't that far off the mark. But here's the thing: the monolithic days of television are numbered. Actually, they've already passed - though, as yet, very few people realize this.

feature: april 19, 2004
Linked Out: Blogging, Equality, and the Future
by Melanie McBride
With the mainstream media's interest in blogging at a fever pitch, Mindjack's Melanie McBride takes a critical look at the future of blogging and talks to some of the bloggers trying to shape it.

feature: april 12, 2004
"The killing fields"
Copyright Law and its Challengers
by J.D. Lasica
A profile of Jed Horovitz and his documentary Wilfull Infringement, about his struggles with Disney over copyright laws, and other individuals who have run into similar problems in their creative pursuits.

feature: march 11, 2004
Is Nothing Sacred?
Digital Music for a Digital Age

by Ian Dawe
"Is nothing sacred?" This was the rallying cry, some years back, concerning sampling. Pioneered by the fledgling hip-hop artists, with its roots in music concrete, sampling is the art of extracting snippets of music from other recordings and re-assembling them into a new piece, usually based around some kind of electronic beat. Theft, it was called. Another phrase applied to it was "art".

feature: december 12, 2003
Reunderstanding Movies
by Donald Melanson

Social software is the latest "next big thing" to get technophiles excited and VCs interested. What exactly it is, few can describe. In some respects, it is nothing new at all, but rather a means of connecting and defining previously disparate elements. Mindjack editor Donald Melanson takes a look at one group that has taken this idea and run with it, before the idea ever had a name: film and DVD enthusiasts.

feature: october 29, 2003
12 Variables for Understanding Online Communities
by Andrea Baker and Bob Watson
This article is an attempt to discuss some of the qualities that define virtual communities. It is a work in process, an exploration. The twelve variables we've selected are most likely not all that exist, just the ones we find most important in our thinking right now. These variables struck us as important ways in which communities are differentiated despite the type of software chosen to carry a given community.

feature: october 29, 2003
Deconstructing Knowledge
by Nicholas Carroll
"I was puzzled the first time I read about "knowledge management." How can you manage knowledge -- much less shuffle it around an organization -- when knowledge is a construct in an individual mind? People in information science and neurobiology were of the same opinion: you can manage information, but not knowledge. Knowledge is something that lives between your ears. It has to be reduced to information to be organized, stored, and transmitted."

feature: september 18, 2003
The Myth of Fingerprints
by Ian Dawe
Mindjack's newest contributor, Ian Dawe, examines the history of identification technology, from passwords to fingerprints to DNA.

The Trouble with e-Voting
by Sarah Granger
e-Voting is one of those things Iíve been dreading for several years. Since it first became a technological possibility, the thought of all of the security risks involved has been swarming in my head like a hornetís nest. On the surface, it sounds like a beautifully democratic thing Ė each person anywhere in the world just needs to get him or herself to a computer in order to vote. But when one puts together the current legal ramifications and the technological flaws, itís actually rather scary.

Have iPod, Will Travel
by Raffi Krikorian
Raffi reviews the iTrip FM Transmitter for the iPod from Griffin Technology.

Reloaded: The SimMatrix
Bryan Alexander on The Matrix Reloaded
A sequel to The Matrix faces a series of challenges. It must satisfy, then exceed its audience’s appetite for imaginative fight scenes. It needs to work with the science fiction concept of split-level reality, going further without undoing the premise. Fidelity to an ambitiously defined alternate world isn’t crucial, yet – unlike the situation of the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings movies. However, a sequel is bound to plumb the first movie’s underworld of technological fear and cultural theory riffing. The Matrix: Reloaded attempts all of these, but diffuses, throwing itself into an open, unsettled finale

feature: may 26, 2003
Taste Tribes
by Joshua Ellis
Josh examines the online, interconnected groups of people that you turn to for advice on music, art, fashion, books, etc., and the broader implications of these taste tribes.

interview: may 05, 2003
Thinking Outside The MUD
Ludicorp CEO Stewart Butterfield on the Game Neverending
Mike Sugarbaker talks to Stewart Butterfield about his company's take on massively-multiplayer gaming.

feature: march 21, 2003
The State of Digital Rights Management
Bryan Alexander reports from the Berkely DRM Conference.
In February the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology held a conference to demonstrate and push the limits of DRM. For a sunny weekend in northern California, representatives of computer science, entertainment, media companies, Congress, the FTC, European copyright law, and the occasional cypherpunk, offered their versions of DRM, while holding each other's notions up to fierce scrutiny.

culture: march 21, 2003
Two Degrees of Separation
by Sarah Granger

In an entirely unscientific study, Sarah examines the uncanny social connections that sprout from the Silicon Valley populus.

books: march 10, 2003
More Machine Than Flesh
by J. Johnson
A review essay of Rodney Brooks' Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change Us.

feature: february 17, 2003
Spinning the Web
by Nicholas Carroll
"Online reputation management" is reminiscent of the political term "spin control." But the Internet is not traditional media, and opportunities for controlling one's reputation are quite different – in theory unlimited, but in practice limited by an almost inherent lack of focus, and the countervailing weight of mainstream media.

feature: november 04, 2002
Inside The Internet Archive
by Doug Roberts
Tucked away in one of the seediest neighborhoods of San Francisco is a roomful of over two hundred computers with a terabyte of data stored on every three.

interview: october 28, 2002
The Transmetropolitan Condition
An Interview with Warren Ellis

by Melanie McBride
There has never been a better time to read the work of comic book legend Warren Ellis. From the formulaic pornography of news coverage to the on-going ineptitude of our world "leaders", Ellis delivers an intelligent and savagely funny antidote to global idiocy. The creator of Transmetropolitan, Planetary and Global Frequency talks to Mindjack about his work, our times and the future.

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